Cartagena is a vibrant and historic city with plenty to see and do. But if you’re looking to get out of the city for a day and explore some nearby destinations, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are 10 possible day trips from Cartagena that are sure to inspire your wanderlust.
Day trips to do from Cartagena
1. Rosario Islands
Just off the coast of Cartagena lie the beautiful Rosario Islands. These islands are home to stunning beaches, clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and plenty of opportunities for relaxation and adventure. You can take a boat tour from Cartagena to explore the islands, or opt for a day trip package that includes activities like snorkeling and lunch.
2. Playa blanca
If you’re looking for a more laid-back beach experience, head to Playa Blanca. This beautiful white sand beach is located about an hour from Cartagena and is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying a relaxing day by the sea. There are plenty of beachfront restaurants and bars to choose from, as well as opportunities for water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding.
3. Volcan de lodo el Totumo
For a unique and unforgettable experience, head to the Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. This “volcano” is actually a mud bath that is said to have healing properties for the skin. You can take a day trip from Cartagena to the volcano, where you’ll have the opportunity to climb inside and soak in the warm mud.
4. La Boquilla
If you’re interested in learning more about local culture and traditions, head to La Boquilla. This small fishing village is located just outside of Cartagena and is home to Afro-Colombian communities that have preserved their cultural heritage through music, dance, and cuisine. You can take a guided tour of the village, enjoy a traditional lunch, and even try your hand at fishing with local fishermen.
5. Santa Marta
If you’re looking for a longer day trip from Cartagena, consider visiting Santa Marta. This charming coastal city is located about three hours from Cartagena and is home to beautiful beaches, a historic city center, and plenty of opportunities for adventure. You can visit the Tayrona National Park, hike to the Lost City, or simply relax on the beach.
Located about an hour and a half from Cartagena, Barranquilla is a bustling city with a rich cultural heritage. It is known for its vibrant Carnaval celebrations, which take place in February each year and are considered one of the largest and most colorful in the world. But even outside of Carnaval season, Barranquilla is worth a visit for its museums, historic sites, and lively nightlife.
7. San Basilio de Palenque
San Basilio de Palenque is a small town located about two hours from Cartagena that is known for its rich cultural heritage. It was founded by escaped slaves in the 17th century and is considered the first free town in the Americas. Today, the town is home to Afro-Colombian communities that have preserved their traditions and language, and you can take a guided tour to learn more about their history and culture.
For a truly unique and historic day trip, head to Mompox. This small colonial town is located about four hours from Cartagena and is known for its well-preserved architecture, beautiful churches, and historic significance. It was once an important river port and trading center, and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is often referred to as a living museum. You can take a walking tour of the town to see its historic sites, visit local artisans, and even take a boat tour of the nearby Magdalena River.
9. Isla de Baru
Located an hour from Cartagena, Isla de Baru is another beautiful destination for a day trip. This island is known for its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and opportunities for snorkeling and diving. You can take a boat tour to the island, enjoy a traditional lunch, and spend the day soaking up the sun.
10. Cartagena de Indias
Finally, if you’re looking for a day trip that allows you to stay close to Cartagena, consider exploring more of the city itself. There is so much to see and do within the city walls, from visiting historic sites like the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas and the Palacio de la Inquisición, to exploring the vibrant streets of the Getsemaní neighborhood and enjoying a coffee at a local cafe.