Cartagena Colombia Itinerary

Cartagena Colombia Itinerary

Colombia may not be the first place you think of when you think of getting away to the Caribbean. But after spending 4 days there, I highly recommend adding it to your list of winter-getaway “top contenders.” I wish I could write a post on traveling all of Colombia. Unfortunately, that will have to be a different trip. So take this post as long weekend trip to the Caribbean. Read on for our 3 full day Cartagena Colombia itinerary!

More Cartagena posts:

Cartagena Colombia Itinerary beautiful blue building

We traveled to Cartagena for an amazing friend’s wedding. Due to vacation time and our upcoming wedding and honeymoon, we had to make this trip short. If we had unlimited vacation time, we would have made it much longer! So we tried hard to make the most of our 3 full-day Cartagena Colombia itinerary.

Side note, if you’re interested in getting ideas to make the most of limited vacation time, read my post here.

How would I describe Cartagena?? Cartagena is a large city on the northern coast of Colombia. It is a city full of history seen in the “Walled City” combined with a modern seascape of high-rises reminiscent of Miami. Cartagena fuses Latin culture, Roman Catholic history, and Afro-Caribbean culture.

Colombia has a “reputation”, as in — we have all heard stories of safety and crime. There’s so much more to Colombia than this. After doing some planning and taking precautions, you should put all of these stories and ideas of Colombia way, way, wayyyyyyy to the back of your mind. Follow advice from locals and experts and you will enjoy your experience in Cartagena.

Here’s what we recommend for 3 full days in Cartagena. This itinerary is based on what we did and what we wished we would have done….

Day 0 of your Cartagena Colombia itinerary: arrive!

Cartagena Colombia itinerary — Walled City map

This itinerary is based on the likelihood that you will fly into Cartagena in the afternoon, evening.

I highly recommend working with your hotel in advance to coordinate an airport pick-up. This worked really well for us. We stayed in the ‘Walled City” at the Alfiz Hotel Boutique. I highly recommend this hotel and staying in the Walled City for the duration of your stay in Cartagena. There are countless “boutique” hotels in the Walled City at affordable prices. Often times this includes breakfast, a pool, and gorgeous, quaint rooms in an ancient, narrow building.

When you arrive to your hotel, this itinerary gives you time to get settled and go grab some quick dinner — there will be so many options! If you feel up to it, you could follow dinner with a drink at a rooftop-bar (check out these recs) or back at your hotel room.

Get some good sleep to soak in the next few days!

Day 1


Most hotels in the Walled City provide breakfast. At least from our experience at Alfiz, the breakfasts are delicious! We had fresh fruit juice, omelets, bread, and of course-coffee every morning. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

After breakfast, I recommend doing a walking tour of the “Walled City”. I like to organize a walking tour or some sort of ‘city tour’ early on my trips in a new place. This helps get you acclimated to the area and gives you tips about what to visit again!

We actually didn’t do this on our trip. As much as I love planning trips, this one admittedly snuck up on us! But this is one “regret” I have. We heard great things about the walking tours that people went on. You can find them everywhere on Google or Viator. And most likely, your hotel can help you set one up.

After your walking tour, find a coffee shop/cafe to sit down at and sip on some amazing Colombian coffee. One coffee shop we kept running into and enjoyed some AC in the hot weather was Cafe La Manchuria.

After you sip on some coffee (and nibble on a pastry), walk around more of the Walled City or browse around some cute shops.


Grab some lunch! There are many places to grab lunch in the Walled City. We had great experiences and delicious coconut rice and seafood. Honestly, I don’t remember the names of the restaurants. But you can’t go wrong! And after all the walking you do in the morning, something will catch your eye. Just go back for food!

I don’t like to overbook my days when traveling. I really enjoy spending some quiet time at the hotel/airbnb in the afternoon. This is especially a good idea in Cartagena because it’s hot (all… year…. round). And if your hotel is anything like ours was, it will likely have a little pool.

So go rest, sit in the pool, cool off in the A.C., read a book, or take a nap.


For us, our first evening was a Colombian wedding! And…it was amazing…. But even if you don’t have a wedding to go to, I would recommend taking this evening to get dinner at a nice restaurant (you might want to consider making reservations for dinner. And check out all of these highly recommended restaurants.), have a fun night on the town, search for events that are happening, or go bar hopping (to rooftops of course).

Day 2

Morning and afternoon

Get that hotel breakfast, yum!

Today, I recommend you head to the Rosario Islands. This was another thing that we did not do…. Because we were hanging out with other wedding guests. But I would recommend anyone going to Cartagena go here. We met some people who spent a day here and only had amazing things to say. It came recommended by hotel staff and locals.

So on Day 2, after eating some breakfast, head out to the islands for the day!

You can find some tours/excursions through Viator, on Google, but also consider working with your hotel. Your hotel will probably have a connection with a company and you can find comfort in knowing they will be safe and good quality.


After spending most of the day out on a boat and swimming in the sun, you will probably be tired!

So consider getting dinner at a restaurant, maybe a drink after, and then going to bed early.

Day 3


I’ll just remind you in case you somehow forget: eat some delicious breakfast, coffee, and fresh juice!

Then go explore the Getsemani neighborhood! The Getsemani neighborhood is known for their iconic umbrellas above the street. The neighborhood is characterized as being hip, artistic, and lively. You can find numerous cafes and bars, music in the streets, and phenomenal art on buildings.

This is a wonderful place to take pictures (solo, with your travel companion, fiance, or family)!


Have some delicious lunch in the Getsemani neighborhood. Then head back to your hotel for an hour of relaxing, pool-time, napping, or reading.

Then get ready for your evening excursion: a sunset cruise!


For your last evening in Cartagena, I recommend doing one of our favorite things from our trip: a sunset cruise. The bride and groom recommended this — through Viator. So we got the chance to spend more time with them an many other friends while cruising on a catamaran out in the bay, seeing a completely different side of the city.

This was a highlight of our trip. We spent so much time in the Walled City, in a small part of the city. So the cruise was an opportunity to see more of the city, from a beautiful angle on the water. The views of the more modern part of Cartagena will remind you of Miami.

The sunset cruise had a bar and as the sun went down local music was played and people just got moving. It was a blast and quite romantic if your traveling with a husband, wife, boyfriend, fiance, or anyone else you love 🙂

Finish your evening getting some dinner and maybe a drink.

Day 4: leave Cartagena……

I hope you found some inspiration from this 3-full-day Cartagena Colombia itinerary. While it might take you a day to get here, it’s worth it to get away to some warmth and beauty during the U.S. winter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap

Looking for Something?