In the Bolivar District, on the country’s Caribbean coast, awaits one of Colombia’s most popular destinations.
Veiled in colonial walls, canyons, fortresses, and an almost-magical timeless history, Cartagena, once home to the Caribe Indians, was founded in 1533 as “Cartagena de Poniente” to distinguish it from “Cartagena de Levante” in Spain.
Later the city became known as “Cartagena de Indias”—and today is just “Cartagena.”
Cartagena’s biggest draw is its Old City, a place that is at once both romantic and full of exhilarating legend, nestled within the confines of the largest fortress in the Americas.
Generously funded by the Spanish, the walls (Las Murallas) were erected for protection from the foreign buccaneers and pirates who perpetually pillaged the city and targeted the Spaniards’ treasure.
A fascinating maze of colonial, Republican, and Italian architectural treasures, where colossal churches overshadow plazas, monasteries, and palaces, and mansions flaunt their trademark overhanging balconies draped in bougainvillea, a stroll along the Old City’s cobbled streets reveals why it received its World Heritage Site title.
The Old City is separated into an outer and inner section, which comprise four distinct districts. The inner walled city is home to the historical districts El Centro, the heart of Cartagena, which includes the Palace of the Inquisition, the Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de Santa Catalina de Alejandría, and the masterpiece San Felipe de Barajas Castle, and San Diego, the classiest and most sophisticated part of Cartagena, where you will find the Convent of the Nuns of the Order of Saint Clare.
Today, that structure is the enchanting Hotel Santa Clara and Las Bovedas (the Vaults) of the Santa Catalina Bastion, which both afford beautiful views of the Caribbean.
Once the neighborhood of the city’s African slaves, the Getsemaní zone comprises the outer walled city.
Though less glamorous in comparison to the inner city, here you will find hotels and popular nightlife clubs and restaurants, as well as many surviving colonial buildings and the prominent Parque Centenario (Centenary Park) commemorating a century of independence. Getsemaní connects to the modern sector of La Matuna, the commercial and financial area of the city.
Aside from the center of the city is the Bocagrande neighborhood—Cartagena’s most modern sector (said to be Cartagena’s Miami Beach), which includes nightclubs, beach resorts, trendy cafés, and upscale condos, as well as a notable nightlife. Bocagrande is connected to the barrios of El Laguito and Castillo Grande, which also form part of today’s modern city.
And just a 45-minute boat ride away, you’ll find the outstanding beaches of the Islas del Rosario: Barú and Playa Blanca.
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is a perfect blend of vintage and contemporary, striking a balance between art and beauty to accommodate modernity and technology in unique surroundings; each detail tells a story. This hotel includes 122 rooms, including 19 suites, six meeting rooms with capacity for up to 300 people in the auditorium and is equipped with the latest technology for events and conventions. The Sofitel Santa Clara hotel offers the perfect combination of age-old tradition, local hospitality and French luxury. With its blend of colonial architecture and modern comforts, the hotel offers comfortable rooms, personalized service, gourmet cuisine, a first-class spa, meeting rooms and cutting-edge technology for events, conventions and weddings.
A luxurious small hotel lovingly restored and reimagined for a new generation of travelers, exquisite Casa San Agustín echoes Cartagena’s fresh contemporary style and colorful Caribbean sensibility. Refined yet relaxed, its trio of colonial era white-washed buildings exudes the warmth of a magnificently appointed private residence. From original frescoes in the library to centuries-old wood-beamed ceilings in the guest rooms, Casa San Agustín’s art and architecture evoke the city’s rich history as 17th century Spanish stronghold. Located within Cartagena’s walled Old Town, the hotel features 24 guest rooms and 6 suites, each taking its color cue from the nearby Caribbean Sea. Shades of soft blue mix with specially commissioned furnishings and fixtures to create spaces of singular beauty and originality. The country’s abundance of seafood and exotic ingredients inspires the contemporary coastal Colombian cuisine of Alma, the hotel’s signature restaurant, and its charming bar and nearby alfresco courtyard – two picturesque settings for conch, ceviche and custom-crafted cocktails.
Charm, exclusivity and luxury services go hand in hand at the Bastion Luxury Hotel, one of the most exceptional hotels in Cartagena de Indias. It is an accommodation in Cartagena’s old town, Colombia, built on the site of an old XVIth-century colonial house. This hotel has been specially designed to offer our guests unique experiences that will allow them to discover all the secrets of this fascinating city.