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Cartagena Itinerary – 7 Days in Cartagena Ultimate Guide for 2023

For your Cartagena itinerary in 2023, we recommend a full 7 days in Cartagena. In this post, you’ll see everything you can explore with your Cartagena itinerary in 7 days, with alternative plans, what to eat, and special things not to miss to have an enjoyable week in Cartagena.

How many days in Cartagena is definitely up to you, so if you find yourself wanting to spend less days for your Cartagena itinerary, or more days, you can adjust this Cartagena itinerary.

Related Travel Guides – Cartagena Itinerary

SIM CARD AT CARTAGENA AIRPORT

I wouldn’t recommend you to buy a sim card at Cartagena airport. If you wish comfort you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Cartagena. Read here Colombia sim card for tourist and best Colombia eSim

You can find the cheapest Colombia eSim with Airalo Colombia eSim prepaid for $8 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days. For $15 USD with 2 GB data valid for 15 days. For $21 USD with 3 GB data and for $32 USD with 5 GB data valid for 30 days. (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%).

Holafly Colombia eSim for $44 USD if you use our code GAMINTRAVELER coming with 6 GB data valid for 15 days.

BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE

You can read Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full Heymondo Travel Insurance Review

You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included

Cartagena vs Medellin - 10 Best Reasons to Visit Each City, Cartagena itinerary
See colorful colonial buildings as part of your Cartagena Itinerary

Getting There – Cartegana Itinerary

There are several ways to get to Cartagena:

By air: Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG) is the main airport serving Cartagena and is located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the city center. There are direct flights to Cartagena from major cities in Colombia and other countries in South America. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a shuttle service to your hotel.

RELATED GUIDE: How to get from Cartagena Airport to City Center All Possible Ways

By bus: There are several bus companies that operate long-distance routes to Cartagena from cities across Colombia. Buses depart from the Terminal de Transporte in Cartagena and drop passengers off at the bus station in the city center.

By car: Cartagena is located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia and is connected to other parts of the country by a network of highways. If you are driving to Cartagena, you can park your car at one of the public parking lots in the city.

By boat: Cartagena is a port city and there are several companies that operate boat trips to and from the city. You can take a boat from Cartagena to the Rosario Islands or other destinations in the Caribbean.

RELATED TRAVEL GUIDE: How To Get From Riohacha To Cartagena De Indias – All Possible Ways

Where to Stay in Cartagena – Cartagena Itinerary

There are numerous hotels and B&B that you can choose from especially in Getsemani area. Accommodation prices can take you around $15-20 USD if you sleep in a dorm. For mid-budget accommodation starts at $40-60 USD and for more than $100 USD you will find luxury accommodation in Cartagena.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN COLOMBIA BEFORE YOUR TRIP WITH BOOKING

Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena: This luxury hotel is housed in a converted 17th-century convent and features a spa, a swimming pool, and a gourmet restaurant.

Hotel Casa San Agustín: This elegant hotel is located in the heart of the Old City and features a rooftop pool and a restaurant serving contemporary Colombian cuisine.

Movich Cartagena de Indias: This modern hotel is located in the Bocagrande neighborhood and features a rooftop pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant serving international cuisine.

Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa: This boutique hotel is located in the historic Santa Teresa neighborhood and features a pool, a spa, and a restaurant serving traditional Colombian cuisine.

Hotel Casa del Arzobispado: This luxurious hotel is located in the Old City and features a rooftop pool, a spa, and a restaurant serving international cuisine.

Hotel Tcherassi: This stylish hotel is located in the Old City and features a rooftop pool, a spa, and a restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine.

Where to Eat in Cartagena – Cartagena Itinerary

Try Colombian ceviche when you're in Cartagena - Cartagena itinerary
Colombian ceviche in Cartagena

La Cevichería: This popular restaurant serves a variety of ceviches (marinated fish or seafood dishes) and other seafood dishes in a casual setting.

La Mulata: This upscale restaurant serves traditional Colombian cuisine with a modern twist and has a beautiful outdoor dining area.

La Vitrola: This iconic restaurant is located in the Old City and serves traditional Colombian dishes and seafood in a romantic setting.

Don Juan: This popular restaurant serves a variety of seafood dishes and has a beautiful outdoor dining area with views of the Caribbean Sea.

La Cabaña Las Lilas: This upscale Argentinean steakhouse is located in the Bocagrande neighborhood and serves a variety of grilled meats and seafood.

El Bistro: This chic restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine in a stylish setting.

Top Coffee Shops in Cartagena – Cartagena Itinerary

Cartagena Itinerary - 7 Days in Cartagena Ultimate Guide for 2023
The beautiful interiors in Cafe San Alberto, Cartagena – loved this place so much! Image via Sprudge

Café del Mar: This rooftop coffee shop has panoramic views of the city and serves a variety of coffee drinks and pastries.

Café Havana: This popular coffee shop is located in the Old City and serves Cuban-style coffee and sandwiches.

El Corojo: This artisanal coffee shop roasts its own coffee beans and serves a variety of coffee drinks and pastries.

Café San Alberto: This coffee shop chain sources its coffee beans from small farmers in Colombia and serves a variety of coffee drinks and pastries.

Aromas del Alma: This artisanal coffee shop roasts its own coffee beans and serves a variety of coffee drinks and pastries in a cozy setting.

La Palettería: This trendy coffee shop serves a variety of coffee drinks and pastries, as well as smoothie bowls and acai bowls.

Things to Do in Cartagena – Your 7 Days Cartagena Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival and Exploring the Old City

La-Boca-del-Puente-and-Clock-Tower-Monument-Cartagena - Cartagena Itinerary - How many days in Cartagena
The Cartagena Clock Tower, entrance to the Walled City

After getting settled in your Cartagena Hotel for the week, you can start exploring the Old City (Centro Histórico). Here you can see the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a fort built in the 1600s to defend the city. Going around the Old City, you can admire the colorful and colonial houses around, what Cartagena is known for.

If you love Spanish colonial towns, the Old City is something to be really fascinated with, and frankly, we don’t get tired of it. Most of the Instagram worthy shots of Cartagena will be found in the old city as well. Whether you’re looking at colonial towns and architecture, colorful facades and walls of buildings, and coffee shops. All the colors matched with Cartagena’s warm weather are a treat all year round.

What to See in the Old Walled City

BOOK ONLINE: Cartagena Walled City Walkign Guided Tour

Day 2 – See Gethsemani and Do Walking Tours

Church of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena - Cartagena Itinerary
Church of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena – Cartagena Itinerary 7 Days

Gethsemani are full of colors and wall art in Cartagena and where most of the more affordable accomodations are, including backpackers and smaller hostels and restaurants. You can take lots of pictures here as well, or just go around and wander all the streets full of colors and appreciate all the wall art that local artists new and old have done in the area.

The graffiti walking tour, whether guided or done on your own is definitely not to miss so make sure you make time for this!

BOOK ONLINE: Getsemani Graffiti Guided Walking Tour

  • Visit the Museo del Oro Zenú, which has a collection of gold artifacts from the pre-Columbian Zenú culture
  • Visit the Palacio de la Inquisición, a museum housed in a colonial building that was once used as a tribunal by the Spanish Inquisition
  • Take a walking tour of the Getsemaní neighborhood and visit the Church of San Pedro Claver, a 17th-century church dedicated to a Spanish saint who worked to free slaves
  • In the evening, attend a performance of traditional music and dance at the Centro Cultural Rafael Núñez

Day 3 – Day trip to Islas Del Rosario

Cartagena Itinerary - 7 Days in Cartagena Ultimate Guide for 2023
Rosario Islands – Beautiful islands an easy hour away from Cartagena

Take a boat tour to the Rosario Islands, a group of 27 coral islands located about an hour from Cartagena
• Spend the day relaxing on the beach and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters
• In the evening, return to Cartagena and enjoy a sunset cocktail at the Cafe del Mar, a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city

BOOK ONLINE: Popular Day Trips to Islands from Cartagena

Day 4 – Check out Food and Markets

Visit the Mercado de Bazurto, a bustling market where you can find everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts
• Take a cooking class and learn how to make traditional dishes like sancocho (a soup made with chicken and vegetables) and arepas (corn cakes)
• In the evening, dine at one of Cartagena’s many upscale restaurants and try dishes made with local ingredients like seafood, plantains, and coconut

BOOK ONLINE: Full tour of the Mercado de Bazurto or Bazurto Market with an introduction to Caribbean Cuisine

Day 5 – Experience Caribbean Culture

Visit the Castillo San José, a museum located on an island in the Bay of Cartagena that was once used as a prison
• Take a boat tour of the mangroves and visit the Mamonal Industrial Zone, where you can learn about the history of the region’s industrialization
• In the evening, attend a performance of traditional Caribbean music and dance at the Teatro Adolfo Mejía

BOOK ONLINE: Mangroves Trip w/ lunch

Day 6 – See Nature and Do Adventure

Take a day trip to the Totumo Mud Volcano, a natural phenomenon where you can relax in the therapeutic mud and take a dip in the nearby lagoon
• In the afternoon, visit the Aviario Nacional de Colombia, a national park home to over 200 species of birds

In the evening, go on a night tour of the Old City and learn about the city’s history and folklore

Day 7 – Go Shopping and Departure

Visit the Castillo de San Nicolás, a castle built in the 1500s that offers panoramic views of the city
• Do some last-minute shopping and pick up souvenirs at the Mercado de San José, a market known for its handicrafts and art
• Head to the airport and say goodbye to Cartagena.
I hope this itinerary gives you some ideas for things to do during your trip to Cartagena!

Budget in Cartagena

While budget for a Cartagena itinerary 7 days can vary, here’s an estimate you can start with. Just add or lessen, depending on your needs:

Accommodation:

Prices for hotels in Cartagena can vary widely, but you can expect to pay around $50-$100 per night for a budget hotel and $100-$300 per night for a mid-range or luxury hotel.

Food:

Prices for meals in Cartagena can also vary widely, but you can expect to pay around $5-$10 for a budget meal at a local restaurant and $15-$30 for a mid-range meal at a sit-down restaurant.

Transportation:

Taxi fares in Cartagena are relatively inexpensive, and you can expect to pay around $5-$10 for a short ride within the city. You can also use public transportation, such as buses or the metro, which costs around $0.50 per ride.

Activities and excursions:

Prices for activities and excursions in Cartagena can vary, but you can expect to pay around $30-$50 for a boat tour or a day trip to a nearby attraction.

Total budget:

Based on these estimates, you can expect to spend around $700-$1500 for a one-week trip to Cartagena, depending on your travel style and preferences. This budget does not include the cost of flights to and from Cartagena.

Best time to Visit Cartagena

The best time to visit Cartagena depends on your preferences and the type of trip you are planning. Here are a few things to consider:

Weather in Cartagena

Cartagena has a tropical climate, with hot, humid weather year-round. The rainy season runs from May to November, and the dry season runs from December to April. If you prefer dry, sunny weather, you might want to visit during the dry season. However, the rainy season can also be a good time to visit, as the showers are often brief and the prices for accommodation and flights may be lower.

Crowds in Cartagena

Cartagena is a popular tourist destination, and the city can get quite crowded during peak season, which runs from December to April. If you prefer to avoid crowds, you might want to visit during the off-peak season.

Festivals and events in Cartagena

Cartagena is home to many festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Cartagena International Film Festival and the Cartagena Music Festival. To experience one of these events, you’ll need to plan your trip accordingly.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Cartagena will depend on various elements. It’s a good idea to consider the weather, crowds, and events when planning your trip.

Cash and ATMs in Colombia

The official currency of Colombia is called Colombian Peso (COP). And $1 USD=4000 COP. ATMs are available all throughout the country but my advice to you is to use those inside the banks.

And it is also advisable to withdraw as much as you can because fees for transactions tend to be higher for foreign cars. The maximum amount that you can withdraw will be around 600K COP depending on the bank.

Click here to check the exact change rate.

Where to go Next from Cartagena

There are many great places to visit after Cartagena, depending on your interests and travel style. Here are a few suggestions:

Medellín: Medellín is the second-largest city in Colombia and is located in the Andean region of the country. It is known for its year-round spring-like climate, beautiful parks, and vibrant nightlife.

Cali: Cali is the third-largest city in Colombia and is located in the western part of the country. It is known for its salsa music and dance scene, as well as its beautiful beaches and national parks.

Guatapé: Guatapé is a small town located about two hours from Medellín. It is known for its colorful houses, beautiful lake, and nearby rock formations that can be climbed for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Bogotá: Bogotá is the capital and largest city in Colombia and is located in the Andean region of the country. It is known for its historic center, cultural attractions, and vibrant nightlife.

Tayrona National Park: Tayrona National Park is a beautiful national park located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and wildlife.

Related Travel Guide: From Cartagena to Bucaramanga – All Possible Ways

Hope you had a great time with this Cartagena itinerary 7 days. Let us know how you enjoyed Cartagena and til our next guide!

Ruben Arribas is the co-founder of Gamintraveler and a Spanish traveler who has traveled to more than 100 countries around the world. He is now a full-time digital nomad.