Cartagena is a major port city in Colombia and also one of the country's oldest settlements - originally named "Cartagena de Indias". The cruise port is a popular Southern Caribbean call port, especially on Panama Canal transition itineraries. The city has population around 920,000 (metro around 1,3 million). With the same name is the Mediterranean Port Cartagena in Spain.
During the Spanish colonial period, the city played a key role in the expansion of the Spanish Empire (1492-1975) and was also a center of political and economic activity. In 1984, the city was listed as a UNESCO Site. Cartagena is one of South America's most impressive colonial cities featuring cobbled streets, well-preserved fortifications (including 7 shoreside forts) and stone-made city walls. Castillo San Felipe de Barajas (1639-built) was the biggest Spanish fort in the Americas. The historic downtown is marked by narrow streets, grand colonial buildings and arcaded plazas.
Best-known buildings include Palace of the Inquisition, Cathedral, Gold Museum (all located around Plaza de Bolivar), several churches and monasteries (including San Agustin, Santo Domingo, San Francisco, Santisima Trinidad). Tourists can also explore the Islas del Rosario's surrounding coral reefs or take a mud bath close to El Totumo volcano.
In 2020, RCG-Royal Caribbean Group's subsidiary company Pullmantur Cruises had ~50% market share of Colombia's ship cruising market. Pullmantur started operations here in 2014. As of 2019, Colombia is company’s 3rd largest market (after Spain and Brazil) operated year-round with 1 liner (Pullmantur Monarch). The ship is homeported in Cartagena and Colon Panama for round-trips to Southern Caribbean port destinations. Colombia is currently ranked South America's 3rd largest market - after Brazil and Argentina.
Cartagena Colombia cruise terminal
Cartagena (Colombia) cruise port is located in a harbour bay, approx 4 km (2,5 mi) from the Old City. The port has a total of 5 berths (docking piers). The cruise port provides free of charge shuttle buses for passenger transportation between the docking pier and the cruise ship terminal building. At the terminal there is a taxi rank with taxis going to the Old City. The Old City itself is easily walkable (approx 30-min walking distance from end to end).
The cruise terminal offers as facilities tax-duty-free shop, cafeteria, a premium coffee shop (named Juan Valdez). At the adjacent to the terminal shopping area passengers will find hand-made arts and crafts (also pre-Colombian art items for sale), jewelry (also precious stones), leather merchandise, traditional souvenirs, liquors, and tobaccos. Currency is the Colombian peso.
Cartagena Colombia tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Walled City (guided tours, including on bicycles)
- Bocagrande (leisure and shopping area with galleries, clubs, cafes, shops)
- City Trolley Excursion
- City Sightseeing Excursion
- Totumo Volcano Excursion
- Organic Mud Bath Excursion
- Native Fishing and Cooking Excursion
- SCUBA Diving (Boat Excursion)