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View Over Cartagena De Indias to Cathedral, Cartagena,Bolivar, Colombia
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Cartagena de Indias is a large Caribbean beach resort city on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region and capital of Bolívar Department. 

Cartagena is a centre of economic activity in the Caribbean, as well a popular tourist destination.

Activity and development of the Cartagena region is dated back to 4000 B.C. around Cartagena Bay by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. The Spanish colonial city was founded on June 1, 1533 and named after Cartagena, Spain. Cartagena served a key role in the development of the region during the Spanish eras; it was a center of political and economic activity due to the presence of royalty and wealthy viceroys. In 1984, Cartagena's colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cartagena, Colombia - 4 Ways To Visit Before Leaving Home   by Gary Sargent

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If you're not sure what to expect when planning a trip to Colombia, you've already got a wide selection of handy references in popular culture to give you an impression of the place before leaving. One place that pops up time after time is Cartegena, the colonial port town that sits on the Carribean coast. If you'd like to get excited about a Colombia vacation, try any of the following four options.
Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Novel
Colombia's most famous literary export, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, spent most of his early years in Cartegena. Even though the city is not explicitly mentioned (dubbed a "Caribbean port town") it doesn't take a genius to see that Marquez is writing about Cartegena in Love In The Time Of Cholera, one of his most famous books that became a film adaptation in 2007. Weaving a complex narrative that twists and turns amongst the city's "steamy and sleepy streets", Marquez will have you ready to book your ticket, even if the novel is set between the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

The Mission - The Award Winning Robert De Niro Movie

Set in the 1750's, The Mission chronicles the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in the jungles of South America. Showered with awards, The Mission won the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Filming took place in Cartegena and Brazil, so for an introduction to the city via an award winning film you should check this one out.

Dome of Cartagena De Indias Cathedral and Colonial Architecture, Cartagena, Colombia
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Walls and Forts Built Around the Old City, Cartagena, Colombia
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Smuggler's Blues - Miami Vice's Popular Episode
It's only so long before the drug references creep into any mention of Colombia, but what better way to introduce them than through one of Miami Vice's most popular episodes. The classic Eighties cop show goes on the road as Crockett and Tubbs are recruited by the DEA to track down a local law-enforcer who is murdering drug dealers and their families in cold blood. The episode takes its name from a song by musician Glenn Fray, who appears in the episode as a laid-back aircraft pilot, Jimmy Cole. If you can look up from your well-bitten nails, you'll see that most of the filming takes place in Cartagena, Colombia.

The Red Herring - Romancing The Stone
A popular offering from the mid-Eighties, you've probably seen Robert Zemikis' Romancing The Stone at one point or another. Kathleen Turner's big screen break and Michael Douglas' re-introduction to the movie-going public, the film enjoyed box office success.  For those without a viewing, the film follows romantic novelist Jean Wilder who is drawn down to Colombia when her sister is held to ransom in...yup, you've guessed it...Cartegena, Colombia.

However, before you dig out the VCR player and that old dusty tape, you should know that the majority of filming took place in Veracruz, Mexico. You're about as likely to see a Colombian vista as you are an appearance by Indiana Jones. Stacking up the reasons not to see this movie, Douglas pronounces the name of the town Cartegeña ("Cartehenya"), as opposed to the correct "Cartehena", a source of much annoyance amongst locals.

You may not be visiting 18th century Colombia or flying down with the boys from Miami Vice, but you can certainly afford to associate yourself with a little excitement and romance that will definitely be a part of your Colombia vacation if you decide to visit Cartagena.

Children Walking Past Colonial Facades on Cartagena De Indias, Cartagena, Colombia
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About the Author: Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies Escaped to Peru and Escaped to Latin America and has lived in South America for over 10 years. Gary is passionate about Latino life, people, customs and places. To learn more or to book your next adventure please visit


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Bantu Hotel Boutique, Cartagena
Bantu Hotel Boutique is located close to Cartagena de Indias’ most popular attractions. Close to the property, guests will find high-end restaurants, bars and shops. This Colombian hotel is situated close to the biggest conventions centre of the city. Bantu Hotel Boutique is a perfect accommodation choice for a romantic moment or relaxing holidays. It is a peaceful retreat in Cartagena de Indias. El Cabildo Restaurant serves the best of Colombian and Caribbean cuisine. For moments of leisure and relaxation, the hotel features a roof deck with Jacuzzi, swimming pool and solarium. Those with a laptop can make use of the Wi-Fi access.
Casa del Arzobispado Hotel, Boutique Hotel, Cartagena
The Hotel is located in the historic downtown of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, just 10 minutes away from the Rafael Nunez International Airport inside the old city walls.  It is located a few steps away from the main historic, cultural and touristic places of Cartagena. La Casa del Arzobispado (The Archbishop's House) was built at the end of the XVII Century and inhabited by Antonio Jose de Ayos, a colonial leader.  Don Juan Bautista Maineros y Trucco acquired the house at the end of the XIX century, a republican period, where it was transformed into a popular trade center. Its colonial style offers a singular and harmonic contrast for the senses.  It is extraordinarily located inside the old city walls and very close to the Getsemani Convention Center.
Casa Pestagua Hotel Boutique Spa, Cartagena
Casa Pestagua Hotel Boutique Spa, known as “the most beautiful house in Cartagena”, belonged to the 18th Century Count of Pestagua, a rich and powerful aristocrat who gave his name to this mansion with its impressive colonial architecture. Distinguished by its exquisite architectural and artistic harmony, today the Casa Pestagua Hotel Boutique Spa offers luxury hotel services, with the comfort and technology expected by the most demanding hotel standards. The all-inclusive dining room in the central patio allows you to savor a traditional breakfast or sample delicacies of Caribbean coast cuisine under the intricately decorated and faithfully restored ceiling, an architectural masterpiece of the Republican era.
Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa, Cartagena
Our luxury hotel stands inside the walled city, surrounded by and being part of the world heritage site that is Cartagena. With a privileged location that is blocks away from the Getsemaní Convention Center and just minutes away from the contemporary city, the history, flavor and mystique of Cartagena are all found here, at Charleston Santa Teresa. At our hotel, the aesthetic combination of the Colombian colonial and republican styles offers an extraordinary and harmonic contrast for the full enjoyment of the senses. Restored by expert hands, the sophistication of every detail can be appreciated throughout the entire hotel, from its stately facade to its splendid yet warm interior.
Hotel Castel, Cartagena
Come and enjoy of a pleasant, special and comfortable place located in Cartagena city. Hotel Casa Castel is located in the residential zone of Cartagena city and just 3 blocks from the bay. It offers luxurious accommodation, 2 outdoor swimming pools and free Wi-Fi. Rooms are spacious and all feature a unique décor combined with local art. All rooms are air conditioned and include LCD cable TV. Casa Castel offers a panoramic rooftop terrace. Guests can enjoy several massage treatments or book one of the many tours offered by the tour desk. A tropical breakfast with fruits and homemade bread and cakes is served in the eating lounge. Restaurant and bar options can be found in the area around the hotel for dinner and evening entertainment.
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