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About Tayrona and the city of Cartagena
Cartagena de Indias is considered the jewel in Colombia’s Caribbean crown. A sensual, evocative city with a treasure trove of colonial architecture, Cartagena is the perfect playground for wanderers, artists, and romantics. The colonial center has been lovingly restored, and is penned in by an impressive 13th-century structure of fortress walls. This UNESCO World Heritage architecture features cobblestone streets, leafy verandas, busy plazas, and colonial gardens. Cartagena is a pedestrian (and bike!) friendly city, with lovely restaurants, open-air cafes, street performers, and historical museums. Travelers spend days getting into the laid back rhythm of this coastal community, or head out to the islands and nearby historic sites on day excursions.
With just under 1 million inhabitants, Cartagena is a fully-functioning South American metropolis. Outside its colonial walls you´ll find a pulsing, no-nonsense modern city with a fast pace and modern feel. This coastal city is developing quickly, with high-rise condos, trendy new restaurants and clubs, and a beach culture that rivals that of South Beach. In colonial times, its privileged location on the Caribbean coast with close proximity to rivers, made it an important military/trade hub for the Spanish colonial empire. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a striking colonial fortress within the city walls, is considered the apex of Spanish military architecture from this era. Cartagena’s strategic location still benefits the city today as a burgeoning ship port fueling Colombia’s fast-growing economy, and trade winds that provide welcome relief from the powerful sun. As true as most Caribbean spots, Cartagena has a relatively consistent, hot climate. The average annual temperature hovers at around 28 degrees Celsius, with hot days and warm, breezy evenings.
Whether you’re craving crystal clear Caribbean waters, colonial villages, or national parks, the area around Cartagena is perfect for excursions outside of the city. Many take adventures out to the nearby islands, taking time to snorkel, swim, and relax in the sand. With wildlife areas boasting mangrove swamps and incredible biodiversity just a quick boat ride away, island trips are popular for locals and travelers alike. Islas del Rosario is a stunning archipelago made up of coral islands that teem with wildlife and natural wonder. If you haven’t quite worked up your sea legs yet, day trips to quaint colonial villages in Santa Marta or Tayrona National Park give a welcome respite from the city.
Cartagena’s positioning on the Caribbean coast makes for a terrific culinary experience. Fresh produce from nearby fertile soils abounds, andis paired with the catch of the day from the sea as well as the nearby rivers. Chicken served with rice is also a staple, with unique flavors from infused yams, plantains, yucca, mangoes, plums, and sweet peppers. You may just find yourself counting down the minutes between each Caribbean/Colombian meal.
COLOMBIAN BIKE JUNKIES IN CARTAGENA
Our goal in Cartagena is to strike the right balance between adventurous exploration and laid-back enjoyment of the local culture. Cartagena is not a city to be sped through, and we allow for long dinners and evenings strolls so that you can truly take advantage of the city’s unique cultural vibe. With that being said, come prepared to get to know the city, nearby islands, and the history of this influential Colombian region