The Most Romantic Things to Do in Cartagena, Colombia

May 24, 2021

streets of cartagena

South America

Colombia, destinations, Guest Author, South America

Have you ever dreamed of being in another year? More specifically, have you ever imagined yourself getting into a travel machine and visiting some beautiful old city? You can experience a similar feeling by visiting Cartagena de Indias! This city in Colombia sure looks like we are in another century, and the best you can do is visit it with the love of your life.

Cartagena is one of the main touristic cities in Colombia, and it is located right next to the Caribbean Sea, and it is also one of the major ports on the northern coast. The city has had many nicknames, one of my favorite nicknames is based on Carlos Vives’ song, La Fantastica, meaning “the fantastic”. Cartagena is truly fantastic! The city is the perfect mix of colorful and well-preserved streets and buildings.

I got the chance to visit Cartagena with my husband, and we both feel that this was a place we could go back to, especially during an anniversary. Today I will suggest some of the most romantic things you can do in this incredible city.

The Most romantic things to do in cartagena

streets of cartagena

Walk Around the Old City

One of the main attractions of Cartagena is the old part of the city, especially the inner walled town. This area includes the districts of El Centro and San Diego, known because of their historical backgrounds.

Cartagena’s old town is magical and very romantic, with its well preserved and beautiful colonial architecture and old streets. Stepping inside the walled town is like going back in time. Make sure you take your camera with you because you will find bright colorful houses, flower-covered balconies, and massive wooden doors, besides many old buildings that are full of history and beautiful architecture.

The first attraction that you can enjoy will be the Torre del Reloj, or Clock Tower, considered by BBC Travel as one of the 5 most beautiful towers of this type. Sometimes you can enjoy dancing groups that take advantage of the wide space you find in front of the tower, to show some of the most typical dances of the area. If you keep walking and finally enter the city, you will find the Portal de Los Dulces, and taste some typical sweet candies and pastries from Cartagena and the coast.

One of the main attractions found inside the walled city is the San Pedro Claver Church, named after Saint Peter Claver, who dedicated his life to ministering to the slaves brought and sold in Cartagena. He would advocate for their humane treatment. The church includes a museum, and both areas can be visited by tourists. This is a building in which you can appreciate the 1600s Jesuit architecture, plus different galleries of indigenous, Africa, and religious art. Keep walking and you will find Las Bovedas market, which you could go shopping for some souvenirs and antiques, in a series of souvenirs shops built in the old cells of the former Cartagena prison.

By walking around the city you can find the Plaza Bolivar and Plaza de Santo Domingo, both beautiful and perfect places with shade and rows of benches to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Old Town.

torre del reloj cartagena

Another great thing to do is walk around the walls of the fortress of Cartagena, its most iconic fortifications. These were walls made to protect and defend the city from different attacks. The defense was complemented with the Castle of San Felipe, another place you must visit with your loved one.

I loved walking along the walls with my husband because they are right next to the sea and we could see the beautiful colors of the sunset reflecting on the ocean from there.

Cartagena is a hot and humid city, due to the proximity of the ocean, so I strongly recommend you visit the old city early in the morning or in the afternoon. Those hours will be ideal if you want to take pictures and take a tour. Many companies offer tours, and it all depends on what you are looking for and your budget. However, I recommend you try one of the free tours given offered by Travel City Tours, o Beyond Colombia. They both work with tips and offer historical tours, which is ideal to not only feel that you go back in time but also learn about Cartagena’s interesting past.

This is the official site to check out Cartagena’s things to do – https://www.colombia.travel/en/cartagena-de-indias 

You can also learn more about Cartagena’s architecture here – https://www.colombia.travel/en/cartagena-de-indias/colonial-architecture-cartagena 

You can check Beyond Colombia tours here – http://www.beyondcolombia.com/cartagena?locale=en

You can check Travel City Tours here – https://en.freewalkingtourcartagena.co/

san felipe castle cartagena
las bovedas cartagena

Take a Carriage Around the Old City at Night

Once the sun comes down, the city changes and another kind of magic shows up. The old part of the city turns its lights on and the romantic feeling you get intensifies. Walking the city during the night is a great plan because you get to see the old buildings from another perspective.

I recommend you visit Plaza Santo Domingo and choose one of the many restaurants that offer all kinds of food or walk around the streets to find a place that catches your attention. When we visited this Plaza, we thought it was a great place to fill the vibe of Cartagena and enjoy some delicious food and live shows.

One of the most romantic plans to do during the night is to ride a horse-drawn carriage through the cobblestone streets of the walled city. There are many ways to do this, and they offer different options, from carriage rides of 30 minutes to carriage rides of 60 minutes. The difference lays in the route you want the carriage to take, all of them are around the walled city. This ride usually includes a tour given by the chauffeur, and there is an option of doing this tour in English. When we had this experience, we picked up the carriage in the street, but there some websites that allow you to make reservations.

Alternative Travel Cartagena offer some tours in a carriage – https://www.alternativetravelcartagena.com/tours/city-tour-in-a-horse-carriage-2/ 

Viator also offers some options on this type of tours – https://www.viator.com/tours/Cartagena/Cartagena-Horse-and-Carriage-Night-Ride-Including-Dinner/d4498-6289GLCPCC?localeSwitch=1

couple in carriage ride cartagena

Look Over the City Lights at Night

Speaking of night plans, a great plan in Cartagena is to watch over the city at night. This is one of my favorite plans to do in any city, but it was romantic to do it in Cartagena.

There are a couple of lookout places in the city. We did not have to go far away because we could see most of the old city from the hotel we stayed at. The Hotel Boutique Casa Cordoba Estrella Cartagena is a hotel in which you could feel the whole “time machine traveling” I have been talking about from the beginning. It is an old house restored and decorated like in the old times, but with all the facilities we would like nowadays. One of those facilities is an outdoor swimming pool, in a sundeck, which turned out to be my favorite place to enjoy views of the city at night and day.

There are also some lookout points in which the views are even more beautiful and impressive. One of those places is the San Felipe de Barajas Castle, which is also a very important touristic point. The castle is located on top of the San Lazaro hill, and it was built in 1536. Its location helped detect possible enemy attacks and it gave time to the military to defend the city on time. Cartagena doesn’t need to protect the city from pirates anymore, so now the castle is a perfect place to watch the sunset and take some beautiful panoramic pictures.

The other recommended lookout point is found in the Santa Cruz de la Popa convent, located at the top of Mount Popa. The height of the mount helped with the defense of the city as well, and now it helps us appreciate the walled city, the modern area of Cartagena, and the bay. This is a great place to look at Cartagena from another point of view either during the morning or night, and it is for sure a romantic place to hold your lover’s hand and tell them you love them with a sight.

Here you have the link to check out the hotel I told you about – http://casa-estrella.cartagena-hotels.net/en/

cathedral cartagena at night

Get a Romantic Dinner Near the Beach

One of the things my husband and I love to do is eating, so I considered that having a romantic dinner is for sure a great plan to do in Cartagena.  The city is well known for its delicious seafood and a great variety of restaurants. Some of the dishes you have to try are cazuela de mariscos (which is a seafood stew with coconut milk), camarones al ajillo (shrimp with butter and garlic), ceviche, seafood rice, and any type of fish the suggest in the restaurant.

We tried out a couple of restaurants and there are a lot that is still on our list for the next time we visit Cartagena. However, three restaurants are super recommended if we are looking to have good food paired with awesome and romantic sights.

One of those restaurants is called Club de Pesca. It is a seaside restaurant that allows us to enjoy our dinner along the waterfront, where the sounds of the sea help us to easily set the mood. Some of the friends that went there said is a great place to enjoy breath-taking views with the love of your life. You can check out their website here: https://www.restaurantefuertedelpastelillo.com/#1 

Another restaurant you should try is Marea by Rausch, where twinkling lights on the terrace set the mood of your dinner, along with the beautiful harbor views. It is said to be one of the most romantic restaurants made by the famous Rausch brothers, so great food is assured. Here you have their website to make reservations and check the menu: https://www.mareacartagena.com/ 

My third recommendation based on research is Alma, a beautiful restaurant located in the old city where they claim to serve typical Caribbean food. The pictures speak for themselves and I want to try that restaurant because it has a neat, colonial-style decor with mini balconies adorning the walls. And of course, please check out their dishes because they look amazing! Check the restaurant out in their website: https://www.almacolombia.com/

view from mount popa cartagena

Cartagena is an amazing and beautiful city to visit anytime, with whoever you want, but it can be the most romantic place to visit with your loved one!


Yours truly,


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the most romantic things to do in cartagena
the most romantic things to do in cartagena
the most romantic things to do in cartagena

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