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Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia

Cartagena is located on the northern coast of Colombia, about 1,000 km from Bogota. It was colonized by the Spanish in 1533 and was called Cartagena after the Spanish city of the same name. The current population is about 900,000.

The climate is tropical: hot, humid, and windy, though the city is rarely affected by the hurricanes that often cause damage in other Caribbean cities such as San Juan, Kingston, and Havana.

It is a very popular tourist destination, especially Ciudad Amuallada (the walled city) and Bocagrande, which is a beachfront area with upscale hotels.

The walled city is a marvelous historical site, with many remarkably preserved forts and other structures from the Spanish Colonial days over 500 years ago. The infamous Palacio de la Inquisición (Palace of Inquisition), where the Spanish Inquisition tried, tortured and executed many prisoners suspected of crimes against the church, is located in Plaza de Bolivar.

The lovely beach at Playa Blanca is accessible by bridge, bus, or boat, and is a very clean beach where guests can even stay overnight in cabins. Islas de Rosarias (a small group of islands just off the coast) is another great day trip destination for beach lovers, especially the resort on Isla Baru, called Sportbaru and offering all kinds of activities including water sports, hiking, and more.

The Chiva Bus is a great way to see the city while enjoying cocktails and salsa music. The buses pick up passengers at most popular tourist hotels.

Cartagena is also known for emeralds, both loose and in jewelry. Just be sure the merchant is able to provide a certificate of authenticity.

Cartagena has plenty of hotels and restaurants featuring budget to upscale lodging and a wide variety of international and local dishes.

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Overview of Cartagena

Overview of Cartagena

Cartagena de Indias
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