by Lynn Kim Do

4 Things To Do In Cartagena [in 48 Hours]


If Bogota is their New York City, then Cartagena is their Miami. Except...that's not quite accurate. Cartagena has an intensely rich culture and a mind-blowing history. Cartagena is the city where slave trade began and was the biggest importer of slaves. I, among many tourists and locals, walked on the gorgeous cobblestone that use to be the center of the slave auctions. From the indigenous to the African descendants running away to create their own freedom deep in the mountains, the history here is undoubtedly so complicated in many ways but have also contributed to the beautiful culture that now thrives there. So what to do? I mean, there's so many but if you have two days (or more!), these are four things that you must do in Cartagena.

There is so much to do in the cobble stone, colored-buidings, and vibrant 6-mile walled in town known as Old City. I can, honestly, spend an entire day here and never get bored. Artwork, hand-crafted goods, and delicious street food is around every single corner. Music and performances, from free-styling rappers to mimes will stop you just to give you a private show. Don't forget to tip them! Some of the best restaurants are within Old City, stumble into one and try it out for yourself. At night, rooftop parties are a must. If that's not your style, play dominos with the local and drink wine outdoors to watch the festivities around you. And if people watching is also a sport to you, then this is people watching heaven.

If you're feeling a bit ballsy, why don't you spend half a day with a local. Drink their beers, dance to their music, eat what they eat, and just really have an authentic Cartagena experience. Choose wisely and be smart. One of our City tour guides was kind enough to take us near his home to meet his friends and drink couple beers with him. Another friend of mine went salsa dancing with some 80-year-old locals and had a blast! Don't shy away from locals, they're genuine and beautiful people. But, again, be smart about it. Never go alone. Always look at your beverage while it's being poured and never leave it alone. Always, ALWAYS, have a back-up plan and an escape route.


You will kick yourself in the butt if you don't spend a day at one of Islas Del Rosario or The Islands Of Rosario. For less than $70, you can take a trip to one of the gorgeous island off of Cartagena and it includes a delicious and authentic seafood lunch. This is the true beach experience. I enjoyed one of the best pina coladas of my life. Mud massages, snorkeling, jet-skis, and many other activities are all available to you at some of the most reasonable prices I've ever seen. Do yourself a favor, and go!

Do you know the expression, "Shop until you drop?" This building use to hold prison cells in the 1700s. Now the 23 little dungeons are boutiques and businesses that sell local goods and a ton of great accessories, art, and traditional pieces that are up for good haggle and a shopper's must-go.  And if you're asking if I walked away with some stuff...did you even need to ask?

Black Forest Top - Minnow Bathers // High Up Genuine Suede Shorts - Tobi  // Black Slip Ons - The Fifth Label // Hippy Clutch - Save My Bag 
For more clothing ideas, here are some Tobi favorites: Dresses, Crop Tops, Rompers, Jumpsuits, Skirts, Bodysuits
Photos by Mai Nguyen & Lynn Kim Do