If you want to take your kids somewhere filled with exciting history, stunning nature, and a rich cultural landscape – then you should take a family vacation to Cartagena, Colombia! This energetic coastal town is so much more than a stopover city after a long flight. Here, travelers will find endless things to do that are perfect for all ages.
There has never been a better time to take your family on a trip to Colombia’s colonial towns, where you feel transported back in time wandering through historic districts. Beyond the exciting educational activities in Cartagena, there are also many fun excursions awaiting in this dynamic destination. Below is Kuoda’s expert guide to taking a family vacation in Cartagena, Colombia – including the best things to do, places to stay, and travel tips for making this an unforgettable adventure!
Best Things To Do In Cartagena For History Lovers
With several noteworthy historic sites throughout the city, Cartagena is an excellent destination for families interested in teaching their kids a bit more about world history while traveling. Immersive experiences are the best way to educate anyone, and this port town is full of fascinating stories to discover on your trip.
One can’t miss stop is the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, a UNESCO Heritage Site located in the city’s historic center. This fortress was built in 1657 during the Spanish colonial era as a means of defending against invading pirates and pillagers who sailed in the Caribbean. The best way to learn about this fortress is with a private tour guide who can take you through the underground tunnels, point out the best viewpoints from atop the fortress walls, and teach your family about the lore of Castillo San Felipe.
The pulse of history is not only thriving inside the Walled City of Cartagena but also in the surrounding landscapes. Families interested in discovering a hidden gem nearby should take a day trip to San Basilio de Palenque, the first-ever free slave city in the Americas. Officially liberated in 1713, the Afro-Caribbean inhabitants that lived here have maintained their culture and customs for centuries. Even the local language remains in use, which earned the town UNESCO recognition. Spending a day here will be filled with world-renowned gastronomy, music that fills the streets, and a truly local experience that your family will never forget.
And when you return to Cartagena for some more historic adventures, don’t miss the Palace of Inquisition. Located beside Plaza de Bolivar, this site is part of Cartagena’s historic center and has a complex history worth learning. The building itself is an architectural landmark, and the Inquisition Museum within is where you and your kids can learn about the history of the city during Spanish colonial rule. This would be a great activity for families with older teenagers or even adult children who are interested in learning about complex historic events on their trip.
Explore Local Life In Cartagena
While Cartagena is known best for its historic landmarks, there are also bustling communities worth exploring if you want to get a taste of the local lifestyle. Discover the coolest neighborhoods, best local boutiques, and favorite street food spots that are enjoyed by those who know the city best.
One of the best parts of the city worth exploring is Getsemani, a neighborhood whose walls are covered in amazing street art created by local artists. Booking a street art tour is the best way to see all the coolest pieces in the neighborhood, and get a little history lesson about how graffiti art became such an important form of expression in Cartagena. And while you’re here, be sure to stop by Plaza de la Trinidad. This lively plaza is a gathering place for locals who want to grab some street food, pick up a cup of Colombian coffee, and appreciate the beauty of the colonial-era church in the center of the square.
Take your family on a delicious adventure when you spend the morning strolling around the Bazurto Market. This is an extremely local market where you can shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, and if you’re a bit bold you can try some traditional Colombian bites. Getting a tour of this chaotic shopping destination is the best way to see it with your family since a local guide will be able to show off all the best parts of the marketing while also avoiding some of the more hectic areas.
Coolest Outdoor Adventures For Your Family Vacation To Cartagena, Colombia
Another huge benefit of traveling to Cartagena with family is that this bustling city is very close to so many fun outdoor adventures! From beautiful Caribbean beaches where you can relax and play in the water, to more exciting excursions venturing through the national parks nearby, there are plenty of places to incorporate a sporty excursion into your itinerary.
One of the best outdoor adventures in Cartagena that’s accessible for families of all ages is a canoeing trip through the mangroves just outside the small fishing village of La Boquilla. Prepare for a truly magical experience as your guide leads your family through the still waters that weave between forests of dense mangroves. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for some of the migratory birds located in this ecosystem – from small Canary Mangroves to larger Herons and Fishing Eagles.
For an adventure that’s sure to make your little ones laugh, head to the Totumo Mud Volcano. This small natural formation is a naturally occurring mud bath that’s fun to jump around in for kids, while parents can soak up the mini spa treatment! After rolling around in the volcanic mud, you should rinse off before heading to another stunning and strange natural spa – the Salinas de Galerazamba. Bright pink water stretches across the land to create a rare saline lake that will take your breath away. It’s a great place to grab a few family photos to capture the pure magic of your Colombia vacation.
Where To Stay During Your Family Trip To Cartagena
Making sure you have a comfortable place to rest every single night is just as important as planning the best excursions. Luckily, this city is home to some of the most amazing luxury hotels in Colombia so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when planning your trip!
Swamp the shared hotel rooms for a private luxury apartment when you stay at Casa Pombo, a beautiful boutique residence in the heart of Cartagena’s Historic Center. Choose the accommodations that best suit your family’s needs, from their luxury duplex with an indoor pool and three private bedrooms, or a smaller luxury bedroom with your own terrace overlooking the city. The property is located right on Bolivar Square, so if you’re planning a lot of activities in the historic center of Cartagena, this is an excellent option.
Another excellent option is Casa San Agustin, a luxury boutique hotel that unites traditional Colombian design with modern and relaxed details to ensure you feel right at home during your stay. Parents, if you want to treat yourself to something after a long day of adventure, the Aurum Spa on site is a great place to unwind and refresh yourself between long adventure-filed days!
The best way to ensure your family vacation to Cartagena, Colombia is fun and stress-free is by planning with Kuoda. If you want to discover the hidden secrets of this magical city, enjoy the best dining experiences, and discover as much of Cartagena’s natural beauty as possible – talk to one of the Kuoda experts who will help curate your family’s dream itinerary. From there, we’ll take care of organizing all the logistics so you and your loved ones can focus on enjoying every moment of a bucket-list trip!
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