Experience the raw, colonial heritage and exotic vibes of Cartagena. With several of its sites gaining World Heritage status including Los Katos National Park, the city is teeming with fascinating archaeological remains, pristine coastline and an engaging urge for exploration.
The beautiful city of Cartagena lies within massive fortifications on Colombia’s northern coast. The walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. The old town is a maze of cobbled streets, plazas, churches and bougainvillea-covered balconies. Its rich architecture includes Spanish colonial buildings, the Palace of the Inquisition, the Clock Tower and the Castle of San Felipe de Barajas.
Today we invite you to venture through the UNESCO World Heritage listed city. Start with a panoramic view of the city from the Monasterio and Iglesia de La Popa, formerly known as the “Popa del Galeon” and famous for resembling the stern of a galleon. Constructed in 1606 this church and monastery are located at a height of 140m above sea level from where one can enjoy 360º views of the city and the sea as well as the port zone, one of the most important in the Caribbean. Continuing to the San Felipe fortress, erected in honour of the poet from Cartagena, Don Luis Carlos López, made famous for his sonnet “A mi ciudad nativa” It was built on San Lázaro hill to defend the city from pirate attacks. Walk around the fortress and learn how the castle was constructed with its engineering feats, tunnels, underground galleries and passageways. Lastly head to the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas, a collection of archways built into the city wall of Cartagena and that were used until the end of the 1700’s to house armaments and then later as a prison in the XIX century. Nowadays it’s an artisan centre for local handcrafts. Return to the hotel.
Cruise between the Rosario Islands, dip in the Caribbean Sea and enjoy the company of the marine wildlife. The national park is surrounded by coral reefs and lapped by clear blue waters and is the natural habitat for a large variety of marine fauna. Three ecosystems thrive here: coastal lagoons, mangroves surrounding them and tropical forest. Once you arrive at “San Pedro de Majagua” island, you´ll have free time for snorkelling and relaxation. The only programmed activity is a delicious lunch prepared with local products. Return to the hotel.
Departure from Cartagena to San Basilio de Palenque, a town located 60km and approximately one hour’s drive along the “Vía de la Cordialidad” on the way to Barranquilla. Recognized by UNESCO, the town’s name comes from the Palenques, communities of fugitives and escaped slaves from the colonial period of the XVII century. This community has survived in San Basilio with their practices, customs and traditions intact. They retain heavy African influences in their daily routines, as for example in their palenquera language that blends elements of Spanish with the Bantu dialects of Africa. On arrival at Palenque meet a family who will teach you about the local customs and way of life here. Palanquera women will teach you how to carry fruit in a head basket while walking. Also take a walk around the community to listen to tales of religious beliefs and customs. Return to the hotel.
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Upmarket properties with above average facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST
Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.
Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:
1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.
2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.
3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.
4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.
5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.