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Cartagena de Indias is one of the most iconic cities in the Caribbean. Almost 500 years of history converge in this location: traditions of the African heritage and cultural traces of the Spaniard colony in America. Learn about our flights to Cartagena and visit its beautiful beaches.
The Caribbean charm comes to life in corners and in squares, in the streets and in the mansions, in its colonial architecture and in its Spanish heritage. Avianca flies to Cartagena, a city which thrives during the year with international music and cinema festivals, or with the Hay Festival. A city that brings together entrepreneurs from all over the world every month and to which some 200 cruises arrive with about 350 thousand people per year. A city with a warm climate—an average temperature of 28 °C—that encourages visitors to bring light clothes, comfortable shoes and wear sunscreen.
Our flights to Cartagena take you to the Rafael Núñez Airport, which is 5 kilometers from the Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower), one of the entrances to the Historic Center, and 6.5 kilometers from Plaza Bocagrande, where you can do your shopping. In addition to an offer of boutique shops and crafts, down town Cartagena is the home of some of the best restaurants in the country.
According to economist Adolfo Meisel, an expert on the subject, Cartagena is an example of what used to be the Spanish fortified Caribbean of the late 17th century and a city that was a protagonist in Colombia's history.
However, the 'Heroica'—so called because it endured the Spanish siege during 105 days in 1815—is not only a cultural and historic destination. Its 19 kilometers of beaches in the urban area, as well as the surrounding islands such as Barú and the Rosario Islands, make it an ideal destination to enjoy the Caribbean sun.
Cartagena is not the only place to enjoy the sun. Fly to Guayaquil and Río de Janeiro, and visit the South American beaches of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
As Gabriel García Márquez rightly said, "in Latin America there is a country that is not made of land, but water, which is the Caribbean." If this is so, Cartagena could very well be one of its capitals.
Explore our flights to Cartagena to walk through the streets of the Historic Center, enjoy the most delicious seafood and rest while you contemplate the blue Caribbean Sea.
485 years old and surrounded by 11 kilometers of walls, Cartagena is considered a Historical and Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO. Our flights to Cartagena will take you to colonial churches, ancient palaces and portals have survived centuries, tempests, pirates and riots. This is a tour of the places that have marked the people of Cartagena.
When the Spaniards saw it for the first time, they thought it was the stern of a giant ship. Hence the name of the highest point in the city with a dazzling view. Today, the 17th century cloister belongs to the Augustinians and visitors can find there a museum of religious art. Its altar is adorned with gold lamellae and, every February 2nd at dawn, it is visited by the devotees of the Virgin of La Candelaria de la Popa, patron saint of Cartagena.
Cartagena was vital for the Spanish Crown due to its position in the Caribbean. To defend it from possible attacks, this military complex was built. Its central fort, built like the rest of the structure by African slaves during the 16th and 17th centuries, was used to watch over the sea. The castle, located one and a half kilometers or around 17 minutes on foot from the Torre del Reloj, is an architectural milestone that took 120 years to be built. It hosts around 400,000 visitors every year.
The cathedral took 35 years to be built despite several missteps between 1577 and 1612: its structure was damaged by pirate attacks and by miscalculations in its design. However, from the beginning this Herrerian-style cathedral has been the religious epicenter of the city and is currently the seat of the archbishopric of Cartagena. It is the largest church in the city and its tower, which stands out in the skyline of the old town, was designed in 1921 by the French architect Gastón Lelarge when the temple was remodeled.
One hundred meters away from Santa Catalina stands a colonial house with a baroque portal and wooden balconies that was the seat of the Spanish Inquisition for more than two hundred years. Its permanent exhibition shows torture ponies, shackles, whips and other tools with which this institution punished anyone who was accused of heresy through the Mailbox of Ignominy (a small window on one of the walls of the palace where anonymous accusations were placed). Furthermore, since 1984, the Palace also hosts the Historical Archive of Cartagena.
This national monument is named in honor of the Spanish saint who dedicated his life to alleviating the suffering of the African slaves of Cartagena in the 17th century. Because of his calling and his love of neighbor, he is also known as "the slave of slaves", and his remains rest on the altar. The Parish was built from 1580 to 1654 and, before finding its current name—a tribute to the saint canonized in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII—, it was first called San Juan de Dios and then San Ignacio de Loyola.
Forbes Magazine ranked it in the 4th place in its 2018 list of the best neighborhoods in the world, thanks to its cultural and local identity. In the past, Getsemaní was known as “El Arrabal”, because it was built in the XVI century as one of the first suburbs. Learn about our flights to Cartagena and live an experience beyond the traditional hotels without missing the magic and charm of this beautiful city.
485 years old and surrounded by 11 kilometers of walls, Cartagena is considered a Historical and Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO. The colonial churches, ancient palaces and portals have survived the passage of time, the elements of nature, the assault of pirates and the independence riots. This is a tour of the places that have marked the people of Cartagena.
Eleven steel sculptures depict scenes from popular neighborhoods of La Heroica: children playing, families and friends chatting or selling fruit. They are the work of the artist Edgardo Carmona, born in Cartagena. In this iconic Getsemaní site you can have beers at the Black Parrot Bar or eat a tuna tartar at Demente restaurant.
It’s the meeting point at Getsemaní neighborhood. The name was given in 1643, the year in which the building of the homonymous church was finished. However, when Cartagena de Indias declared its independence from the Spanish Crown, in 1811, the place was renamed as ‘Plaza de la Libertad’ because of the many heroic acts related to the independence that took place in this square. Today you can enjoy street art shows from the bars and nearby coffee houses. In recent years, Plaza de la Trinidad has become scenario for live music shows.
An outdoor urban art gallery that is a place for Cartagena artists since 2013. With different techniques and styles, the images on the walls represent the mix of ethnic groups, cultural influences and iconic characters from Cartagena such as India Catalina or fruit vendors (called Palenqueras).
It is one of the most popular ateliers in the colorful streets of Cartagena. Guillermo Vega was born in Corozal, a town located 168 kilometers from the city in the nearby department of Sucre. His atelier in La Heroica has become a place where emerging artists can exhibit their work. Vega is considered as a naïf artist because of the ingenuity of his traits in which he depicts stray dogs, women in beaches and night spirits. Vega was self-taught as an artist.
Coffee Houses like El Mural and Café de las Novias have opened in recent years near this road to recover its historical commercial calling. In the past, Calle Larga was the meeting point for businessmen from different countries, called 'Turks' by the locals who weren't sure of their nationalities. Today, Calle Larga is located next to the Convention Center.
Today it is located close to the Centro de Convenciones. There you can find hostels and restaurants which lead to Plazoleta del Pozo.
Experts and amateurs know it: Cartagena has left a mark in the work of Nobel Prize Winner Gabriel García Márquez, as evidenced in books such as Love in the Time of Cholera and Of Love and Other Demons. For that reason, to walk along the city is to travel through Gabo's imagination and his love for Cartagena.
Gabo arrived in Cartagena in 1948 and looked for his friends at the student residence Hotel Suiza, located in Calle de las Damas. Since he did not find them, he had to spend the night at Parque de Bolívar, where he was arrested for violating the curfew enforced in the country after the assassination of political leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in Bogotá, which devastated the capital.
In Love in the Time of Cholera this place was called "El Portal de los Escribanos" (The Arcade of the Scribes): the place where Florentino Ariza confessed his love for Fermina Daza. As the name suggests, el Portal de los Dulces (The Arcade of Sweets) is an ideal place to taste candy made from tamarind, coconut, sesame, guava and other flavors that the author described in his novel: "the sellers of sweets who shouted over the din of the crowd: pineapple sweets for your sweetie, coconut candy is dandy, brown sugar loaf for your sugar”.
Located at the corner of Calle Zerrezuela, in front of the Hotel Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, this is the place where Gabo spent a few months before leaving for Mexico in 2014. It is a huge house with high coral walls, designed by the architect Rogelio Salmona.
The Convento de Santa Clara, now a hotel, was the scenery of Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Of Love and Other Demons. Built in the XVII century, it has served for different purposes, i.e. the workshop for the Fine Arts School and the local Forensic Institute had their headquarters there. It was restored in 1994 and adapted as the hotel seen today.
It is important to remark that García Márquez, 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, worked as journalist in Cartagena de Indias, specifically in El Universal newspaper. He was hired thanks to the recommendation of other colombian author, Manuel Zapata Olivella, and wrote 40 articles during his year and a half stay in the newspaper. Gabo referred to journalism as “the most beautiful profession in the world”.
Have you ever wanted to travel to a destination just because you read about it in a book? Fly to Lima and visit some of the places where the works of the Peruvian Nobel Prize Winner Mario Vargas Llosa are developed.
Avianca's flights to Cartagena will bring you closer to a destination full of stories where architecture, culture, cuisine and, of course, the Caribbean Sea are the protagonists. Book your flights now!
This is a unique plan: enjoy the night breeze in the bay during a trip in catamaran or sailboat. There are numerous offers for this activity, you can find one that includes dinner like sushi or any other variety of international cuisine and a bottle of wine in a private table for up to two hours. Options vary according with interests and budget, but beyond that, this is a memorable experience.
Based in the ancient practice that transformed the natural processes to improve matter (alchemy), Alquímico located in El Colegio street, offers true sensory experiences. It offers cocktails, experimental liquors infusions and a healthy gastronomical proposal. This exclusive place has two floors, several counters and a terrace with funk, electronic and house music.
Considered as the best romantic hotel in the world by the World Luxury Awards. Its design brings together colonial elements and contemporary tendencies. It is located in a former mansion built in the XVI Century, in the walled center of the city and its atmosphere is ideal for a honeymoon. It has the turn down service in which the server prepares the room to sleep, with lavanda leaves over the pillow. It helps to fall asleep faster. The amenities come from the brand Loto del Sur.
Colombia stands out for its gastronomic diversity. The Caribbean region, for example, incorporates indigenous, Spanish and African traditions, while taking advantage of the best land, sea and river ingredients. On your next flights to Cartagena, don't forget to try some typical dishes, which will surprise your palate.
Specialty: Local cuisine
This restaurant is an architectural and a historical experience. Its location in the colonial city allows diners to admire century-old streets and houses, including the one where the restaurant is located, which was built in the 17th century and which is also a hotel. Dishes from chef Heberto Eljach such as the Coco Woods ceviche (fish marinated with lemon, coconut milk, onion, chili and served with green plantain), seafood casserole 'a la cartagenera' (with lobster, clams, fish, squid, octopus, mussels with coconut milk and lobster cream) or sancocho made with the day's catch are a tribute to traditional flavors.
Specialty: Local and international cuisine
This place aims for the fusion of typical flavors and Asian cuisine. Some of its signature dishes are tataki salmon, spicy crab, tempura shrimp, chaufa lobster and the ramen. However, the most recommended experience is the omakase seven step tasting menu that recreates a trip from the Caribbean Sea to Japan. A modern space in the heart of the historic city with an open-air lounge to enjoy the breeze of the coast and a sushi bar in which drinks such as the Moshi Moshi cocktails (sake, vodka, lychee liquor, basil, lemon and ginger) and the Vernita Green (tequila, kiwi, cilantro, yellow lemon, kaffir lime and mint) stand out.
Perú is a country that has incorporated techniques and oriental recipes in its cuisine. Travel to Lima and taste the culinary outcome of a cultural clash.
Since its foundation, in 1956, this place has become one of the most traditional and recognized restaurants in the city. Located in the Fuerte San Sebastián del Pastelillo, a military stronghold built in 1743 to defend the city, this exclusive restaurant offers seafood, live music shows and a large selection of wines from Chile, Argentina, Italy and Spain. Arrival there is made by yacht and sailboat. The restaurant has a private dock.
The most famous cocktail bar in Cartagena is located in the Plaza de San Pedro Claver and it gathers the best of the Ciudad Vieja and the avant-garde atmosphere of its drinks. Aside from cocktails, tasting of Colombian rums is a different kind of plan: take a journey through the flavors that make the history of this spirit and the process of its creation. In El Baron you can eat tapas, sandwichs and salads. You can also take part of El Barón Academy, its recognized school of tasters.
Posta (beef cut obtained from the lower part of the hindquarters), prepared with a mix of onion, garlic, black sauce, cumin and raw cane sugar or brown sugar.
Fried arepa (round dough made with corn) filled with a fried egg. It can also be filled with other ingredients.
Soup prepared with yam (tuber) and costeño cheese (a type of salted Colombian cheese), garlic, onion and lemon.
White rice prepared with coconut scratch, coconut milk and raisins.
Better known as 'Leo', Leonor is the owner of two well-known restaurants in Bogotá: Leo and Misia, the first of which was recognized as the best in Colombia and one of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America, according to the 50 Best List. This chef from Cartagena has devoted much of her life to creating proposals based on local cuisine. Through her project, Funleo, she reinterprets the most traditional dishes of Colombian popular food and works hand in hand with the indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in the vindication of gastronomic traditions as a social and economic engine.
This type of yuca frying, similar to a croquette, can be made with meat or cheese and is usually accompanied by a sauce called costeño serum (similar to sour cream) or a bit of spicy sauce.
For 10 carimañolas
Fancy trying some of these dishes or visiting these restaurants? Avianca and its flights to Cartagena will bring you closer to the exquisite Caribbean flavors.
The capital of the department of Bolívar has become a destination that concentrates all kinds of events throughout the year. Here we recommend three that you should take into account in your next flights to Cartagena.
Since 2007, well-known soloists and groups such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the pianist Angela Hewitt and the Icelandic Víkingur Ólafsson, have passed through stages such as the Adolfo Mejía Theater, San Pedro Claver Square and the Port of Cartagena.
Dates: second week of January
This festival, born in Wales to celebrate literature, art and science, began to be held in Cartagena since 2005. Among its guest authors there are names such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mircea Cărtărescu, JM Coetzee and Yuval Noah Harari.
Dates: end of January and beginning of February
It is the oldest film festival in Latin America. It has had guests like Tilda Swinton, Darren Aronofsky, Harvey Keitel and Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Dates: beginning of March
The streets of down town Cartagena are constantly transformed to welcome and host many events that take place throughout the year. Choose which would you like to attend, buy your flights to Cartagena and get the most out of your stay.