City Spotlight: Cartagena, Colombia



Some people say it is one of the most romantic cities in Latin America. Located on the northern coast of Colombia along the Caribbean Sea,  the city is making its way to the forefront as a major tourism destination. Do you want to know how to shop in Spanish? Download our Survival Guide for free!




If you though Colombia only had coffee to offer think again.




With a population of around 893,000 people, it is the 5th largest city in Colombia.  It is the  commercial and touristic hub of the country with a climate that is normally hot and windy.  The city might sound familiar because of the international headlines it got when President Obama’s security staff hired prostitutes there.


Beach in Cartagena


Cartagena was founded on June 1, 1533 by Spanish commander Pedro de Heredia.  The city was named after Cartagena, Spain where most of Heredia’s sailors were from, which in fact is named after Carthage in Tunisia.


Downtown Cartagena


The city has a rich blend of Spanish and indigenous influences.  Inside the city walls you will find cobblestone alleys and brightly colored houses along with beautiful churches and squares.


Woman in Cartagena


You will also find women wearing typical bright-colored clothes with baskets of fruit just hanging out in the squares.  Have you wallet ready if you plan on taking a picture of them.


Castle in Cartagena


Outside the walls is traffic and the hustle and bustle of the city moving around the walled center.

European military engineers built the walls in the 17th century.  It took over 200 years to construct the walls that surround the city and the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas fortress.


Castillo San Felipe, is one of the greatest fortress in any of Spain’s colonies.  The fortress is named after Spain’s King Philip IV and was never taken even though there were many attempts to do so. You can visit this fortress take an audio tour as well.  Entrance is free the last Sunday of every month between February and November.


Cartagena is an amazing city with cruise ships arriving daily.  A destination that is a must see if you find yourself in Colombia and a great place for a vacation to practice your Spanish along the Colombian coast.


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