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Cartagena

Mr. Harper's Travel Guide

The most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Granada, Cartagena served for centuries as the main gateway to South America. Its wealthy residents built elaborate mansions and palaces in the historic center, many of which have now been converted into richly atmospheric hotels ...

The most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Granada, Cartagena served for centuries as the main gateway to South America. Its wealthy residents built elaborate mansions and palaces in the historic center, many of which have now been converted into richly atmospheric hotels and restaurants. 

Some have compared Cartagena to Venice, but to me, it feels closer to New Orleans. Both draw throngs of tourists but retains their identities as a real cities, with music, shopping, art and culinary scenes of interest to locals as well as to visitors. Several universities draw a youthful energy to the city, and cultural institutions host noteworthy events such as a contemporary art biennale. 

The best way to discover this colorful city is simply to amble along its flower-filled streets, browsing the museums and boutiques and pausing for refreshment from time to time in a shady courtyard café. A driver and guide are recommended for visiting sights farther afield, such as the hilltop La Popa convent and the fortress of San Felipe de Barajas.

bird icon Hotels & Restaurants in Cartagena

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