Allure Of Cartagena
Global Traveler|November 2019
Discover the Caribbean charms of Colombia’s coastal city.
Stephen Jermanok

TRAVEL TO COLOMBIA surged since the signing of the historic Peace Agreement in November 2016, ending a half-century-long conflict. A record 4.4 million visitors came to the country in 2018, up a staggering 300 percent from a decade earlier, when reaching 1 million travelers was a lofty goal. This surge in demand led to better international flight options, which should only continue to increase visitor numbers from abroad as long as the country remains stable.

While Bogotá remains the business and financial core of Colombia, more and more meetings now take place in far more picturesque Cartagena, a Spanish colonial city that seems to be built with the traveler in mind. Behind the fortress walls the city boasts narrow streets; large plazas; 17th-century churches; and row after row of charming restaurants, boutique shops and salsa dance clubs. Walking the pedestrian-only streets of the Old Walled City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, compares to strolling the French Quarter of New Orleans. Bougainvillea flows from the terraces of the colorful homes, and under a historic Clock Tower local merchants sell candy produced from tropical fruits such as guava, mango, papaya and coconut.

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