Cartagena —or as its inhabitants call it, ‘La Heroica’ (the Heroic City)— is known around the world as a must-go to destination in Latin America. But the city offers more than the usual touristic plans: it also shows the world the cultural diversity of its people. These are five plans one can’t miss in Cultural Cartagena.
History lies within The Walls
The Walled City (Cartagena’s Historical Center) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It is one of the country’s most important touristic sites. Its streets carry the legacy of the Spanish Conquest, and one can find beautiful squares, museums, and statues that preserve the country’s history.
Relive Gabo’s Route
García Márquez Cartagena: Real and imaginary stories. This is the touristic route that takes visitors through some of the magical passages that appear in the Colombian Nobel Prize winner’s work. The tour can be done on foot or on a horse led chariot, and it takes about four hours. Audioguides are available in five languages, and they narrate Gabo’s characters’ anecdotes.
Ask Martín for a book
Martín Murillo is a 45 year old native from Chocó who came up with The Literary Cart. In 2007 he took a cart full of books around Cartagena, and lent a book to any passerby who showed interest in literature. Martín has taken his cart to cities such as Madrid and Guadalajara.
Discover the feat of freedom
Palenque de San Basilio is a fundamental part of Cartagena’s cultural legacy. Visiting it means feeling the history of the America’s first free town, which was founded by slaves who escaped Spanish yoke. The town is 60 kilometers away from ‘La Heroica’, and has unique characteristics like palenquera tongue (a mix between Spanish and African languages). This made it one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Sites.
Champeta, joy, and dance: a heroic treasure
Picós are popular meetings where communities come together around champeta dancing. This musical genre from Cartagena is part of the afro-descendants’ heritage. It mixes African, West Indian, and Caribbean elements. To experience it and know more about Cartagena’s customs, travellers can visit neighborhoods such as La Boquilla, La María, Olaya Herrera, and Nuevo Paraíso.
Cartagena has a cultural treasure every traveler should know. Discover why when it comes to heritage, the answer is Colombia.