Pretty cobbled streets

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Beauty without equal

Step off your Caribbean cruise and step into history, in the port of Cartagena in Colombia. 

Cobbled streets, balconies overflowing with blooming bougainvillea and pastel-coloured buildings lining the elegant plazas, make Cartagena one of Latin America's most photogenic cities. Founded in 1533, this Spanish colonial city is steeped in history. Its location made it a popular port for plunderers and pirates but today the city is quick to give up its treasures to modern visitors.

Signs of the city's pirating past can be seen on every corner. The best example is Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas – built to fend off pillagers, it is the city's largest fortress and one of the strongest forts ever created by the Spaniards during their colonial period. Other forts, dating from the sixteenth century, make a worthwhile visit and we highly recommend the Cartagena City Tour, which will suit history buffs and shopaholics alike.

Other great deals on local attractions and not-to-be-missed sightseeing packages are covered in our Panoramic Bay Tour.

For a unique day out, you can choose to spend your day away from the ship and travel back in time as you board a majestic seventeenth century galleon and relive the sights and sounds of yesteryear. Imagine sighting a ship on the horizon. The flag’s Spanish and it’s riding low in the water, the hold bound to be full of plundered Inca gold. Time to hoist the Jolly Roger and set full sail to plunder the plunderers!

Nature lovers, meanwhile, can leave the swashbuckling to others and take in a Mangroves Ecological Tour, where the natural treasures of the region are available for all to enjoy.

Must see places in Cartagena

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    A sophisticated colonial style
    A sophisticated colonial style

    Home to a traumatic but rich history, stunning scenery and some of the continent’s most welcoming and sophisticated people, Colombia is a natural draw for travellers to South America.

    Foreigners and Colombians alike are now far more able to explore this thrilling paradise of cloud- forested mountains, palm-fringed beaches and gorgeous colonial cities. The only country in South America to border both the Pacific and the Caribbean, Colombia offers a huge range of ecosystems, from the Amazon rainforest near Leticia to the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the tropical islands of San Andrés and Providencia. Cosmopolitan Bogotá is, like most capitals, a busy commercial centre, with a vibrant cultural scene and festive nightlife.

    The two other major cities, Medellín and Cali, are also lively but less overwhelming. Just a stone’s throw from the beach, the walled city of Cartagena is the biggest South American Spanish colonial port you will visit during your cruise to Colombia. A few hours east, the less scenic Santa Marta and fishing village of Taganga are near Parque Nacional Tayrona, whose picturesque sandy beaches are unrivalled.