The picturesque city center of Cartagena Las Indias -- its full name, given to distinguish this Colombian-Caribbean destination from the original in Spain -- is meant to be explored on foot, its narrow stone streets winding through colorful Spanish Colonial architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage site, still surrounded by the ancient city's walls, is packed with eateries and boutiques hawking local specialties. When you have an extra day to enjoy, check out the following landmarks and attractions.
Storm the Castle
The iconic Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, the largest military fortress constructed by the Spanish in the Americas, is a marvel of 16th-century Spanish architecture that rises 135 feet above sea level. Take a tour to explore the tunnels, galleries and escape routes in the complex of bunkers that comprise this strategic landmark.
For idyllic Caribbean beaches, the Rosario Islands are off the coast of Cartagena -- but seem a world away. Less than an hour by boat from the city's docks transports you to tranquil beaches, gorgeous mangroves and stunning wildlife in a national park.
The Bean Scene
Pay a visit to the "coffee temple" of Café San Alberto, and hone your appreciation of the country's largest agricultural export. Book a "Coffee Baptism" to learn the finer points of specialty coffee, or simply enjoy a cup.
, a casually elegant restaurant with a biblical theme and heavenly food, fuses traditional Caribbean dishes with French and artistic flair. Seafood is a focus, but it's all delectable for groups or solo travelers in the San Diego district of the old city.
Looking to Plan a Meeting in Cartagena?
Learn everything you need to know about this spectacular locale -- and others around the globe -- at SMU International, Northstar's premier event for meetings and incentive pros looking to book biz in the area. SMU 2020 takes place Feb 27-29, 2020, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. Buyers, learn more about this fully-hosted event and apply to attend here.