TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN CARTAGENA
Cartagena de Indias is considered the most important tourist destination of Colombia, because of its inhabitants, tourist attractions, beaches and hotel infrastructure. The most visited places are:
El Corralito de Piedra
It is an historical zone, a colonial village enclosed by walls that were made in order to protect the city from permanent attacks. The construction was established by periods; in 1556 and in1608.
Inside the city, there are many ancient buildings and streets. The square is surrounded by ancient residences and wood balconies. Outside the walls, there are romantic bars and restaurants.
It is a tourist region, contains the major quantity of bars and restaurants of the city. The beaches are plenty of national and international tourists. It offers many entertainment places which are located in front of the sea. Such places have a tropical atmosphere reflected on discos and casinos.
This is a very famous place, a consolidated tourist center because; it presents the best tourist infrastructure of the region. Most of the tourists enjoy its calm zones.
Pie de la Popa
It is one of the first neighborhoods of Cartagena, has important colonial houses, and is rich in history. Nowadays, it has one of the largest shopping centers of Colombia; it’s named Caribe Plaza and covers an area of eight hectares.
It is one of the most representative neighborhoods of the city. There, the cry of independence in 1811. This was the place were the slaves inhabited. There is a modern Convention Center Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala, the Tercera Orden church, the Centenario Park, the Camellón de los Máritres and the Cloister of San Francisco.
It is the financial area of the city that includes industries as international trade, the tourism and the transportation. La Matuna developed into one of the places where part of the wall was cut and then redesigned and appropriated as business center.
There are many beautiful beaches, surrounded by white sand like Barú Island; Rosario Islands, where it is possible to practice diving among the reefs and ecologic walks in a natural and pleasant environment.
The beaches are the main attractions for visitors in Cartagena de Indias. In the urban area Cartagena has 19Km of beaches, where people can practice different aquatic sports.
Among the most important beaches are: Bocagrande, Marbella, Bocachica and Bahia del Castillo Grande beach which is covered by tropical savannah, fish, urban sea landscapes, green waters with few swells.
Attractions in the centre of the city
At the moment of visiting the city, it is possible to arrive to some important historical places such as:
Puerta del Reloj (The Clock’s Door)
It is the symbol of Cartagena, and also represents the country. It is located on the Blas de Renzo Avenue. This central door used to communicate the city to Getsemaní village.
La Plaza de los Coches (square)
La Plaza de los Coches (The Cars´ Square), is an historical square where African slaves were brought and sold. There is a monument, the statue of Pedro de Heredia, the founder of Cartagena de Indias.
Plaza de la Aduana (square)
It is the biggest square, is very peculiar because of its colonial architecture. There, it was located the custom where the district mayor office functioned.
It is full of trees, in the middle is located Simon Bolivar sculpture, it is possible to appreciate a beautiful fountain.
Castle of San Felipe
Opening hours: from 8:00 to 18:00hrs
It is a military construction that protected the city against pirate attacks. Inside, there are tunnels, galleries and traps doors. The visit lasts 45 minutes approximately. In the same zone, Blas de Lezo statue and the monument to Zapatos Viejos are placed.
It is the biggest fortify, was built by the Spaniards during colonial epoch, was originally built from 1636 and 1657, and then enlarged in 1762. It was originally named Castle of San Lázaro. It was on San Lázaro hill and from there it was possible to dominate any invasion attempt both by land or ship.
Convent of “la Popa”
It is commonly known as “Nuestra Señora de La Candelaria convent, was former barracks. It is an excellent place to enjoy the panoramic views of Cartagena; from there, it is possible to appreciate the airport Rafael Núñez, Tierrabomba and Islas del Rosario.
During colonial epoch, there were ranches and fishing industries. At the beginning of XVII, the Cartagena de Indias´ council looked the possibility to found a convent on the top for parishioners in the zone.
It is the most prominent zone of the city, has become a kind of guard. It was founded in 1607 by the Agustinos Descalzos Recoletos, in order to expel to Buziraco, god of indigenous, figure of billy goat.
For visiting La Popa, it is advisable to go by car, since the road is steep and for better safety.
San Agustín Convent
It is in the fortified city and was started to build in 1580. It was a convent, then a military barrack and nowadays is the main headquarter of Cartagena University.
Church of the Holy Trinity
It is a simple church, its quaint façade with its tower remind to Santo Domingo. The movement of our Independence was taken place on the square. The modernity has been affected to the temple, made its whole original structure disappear. The chapel was in charge of Biffi School’s direction, it was built in the posterior yard for teaching to the neighborhood young.
It is placed in Getsemaní neighborhood, Trinidad Square, between Pozo and San Antonio Street.
San Agustín Church
It was founded in 1580 by Fray Jerónimo Guevara. First, it was convent, then military quarrel in several moments of the independence wars and since the republican life. Nowadays, it is totally changed and is the University of Cartagena. It is remarkable that this convent was very important for the city history because of the events and the personalities that pass through.
In 1665, the church was started to build with the offerings that the neighbors of Los Jaqueyes collected; it was finished after different outshined attempts by lack of money in 1732.
Santo Toribio de Mongrovejo Church
It is a cozy church; unfortunately it was victim of the modernism, suffering changes that damage it. It is located inside the Walled City: San Diego, Street of theSargento Mayor, Curato street corner.
Chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Merced
It was founded in 1617 by the Father Fray Francisco de Rivera. It was built on the northeast of the city, in the same place where there were an old chapel named as “El Humilladero”. It depends from the Mercenaries of Lima (Perú).
During the XIX century, the building suffered the attacks of the Independence War. During the republican epoch, it turns into School and then was the Supreme Court of Justice. At the beginning of this century, the chapel and the convent of Law Courts were remodeled.
The theater has been restored changing into what now the Heredia Theater is; and Tadeo Lozano University functions in what the convent was.
Bastion of La Merced
It is a deserted bastion which bas built by Francisco Murga and forms part of the place known as “La Muralla de La Marina”. The canvas of the wall that connects with the bastion of Santa Cruz is known as the platform of Las Ballestas (crossbows). The wall towards the bastion of Santa Clara is similar to the opposite stretch. Both were refurbished by Juan Herrera and Sotomayor at the beginning of XVIII century.
Bastion of San Ignacio de San Francisco Javier
They were built in 1630 by Francisco de Murga, governor of that epoch. The bastions are alike; its features have baroque gariton, wide paving floors, irregular floors and access ramp.
Its mission was to avert attempt against the dock and cooperate with the bastion of San Francisco Javier.
Bastion of San Pedro Mártir
A large curtain wall begins from the Bastion of San Lucas and goes round Juan Angole canyon. The door of Santa Catalina and the named Paz and Concordia are placed there.
The stretch continues to get to “La Boca del Puente” that was pulled down the first decades of our century.
Bastion of Santa Catalina and San Lucas
It is one of the most important stretches of walls by its great outstanding features; each one has an access ramp, drying areas, loopholes for artillery, wells and curbs.
Bastion of Santa Clara
Its name is due to the proximity to Las Clarisas convent. It is a bastion of right angles, with two sentry boxes in the angles. Its construction dates back to the beginning of XVII century, was restored by Juan Herrera and Sotomayor.
Bastion of Santo Domingo
It is the first work of the chain of walls designed by Cristobal de Roda, was built in 1614. Initially, it wasn’t named bastion of San Felipe and then Santo Domingo because it is behind the convent.
It is the first bastion built in the city and its special feature is the canvas of the wall that connects with the bastion of “La Cruz”. The door of Santo Domingo “without vaults bombproof” is placed there; it was built during the refurbishes of Juan Herrera engineer and Sotomayor.
In 1714, it was repaired by Juan Herrera and Sotomayor. It was built in order to protect the place where Francis Drake has begun the attack to Cartagena.