Arrival into Cartagena today from the U.S. Cartagena can be easily reached via nonstop flights from U.S. gateways such as New York, Miami, Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale, as well as connecting service via Bogotá and Panama City.
With due respect to other contenders, Cartagena is without a doubt the crowning jewel of the Caribbean, and therefore is Colombia’s top destination. This stunning 16th-century Spanish fort city is superbly preserved with cobblestone streets filled with colorful colonial homes whose terraces overflow with lush bougainvillea flowers. Here, the climate is warm and tropical, so a leisurely three-night stay is often our recommendation.
Your private driver and English-speaking Exeter Latin America guide will welcome you just outside Customs for your private transfer to your deluxe hotel in the heart of the old city – we have a few favorites and will help you choose the best fit for your travel style.
After some time at leisure to settle in and have lunch (not included), meet your guide for an introductory walk around the historic center of Cartagena.
The colorful streets are made for exploration on foot, and as you walk around your guide will bring the history and legends of Cartagena to life as you stop at various important landmarks including the Clock Tower and the monument to Don Pedro de Heredia, founder of the city in 1533. Your guide will also point out some notable museums you may wish to visit during your stay, including the Gold Museum and the Museum of the Inquisition.
Evening at leisure, but we’ll be happy to make advance dinner reservations for you.
After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, meet your English-speaking guide and driver in the lobby to continue your exploration of Cartagena.
This morning, you’ll leave the historic center and head first to La Popa Convent. Founded by Augustine fathers in 1607 atop a 492-foot hill–the highest point in Cartagena–the convent offers spectacular views of the entire city. Then, you’ll continue on to San Felipe de Barajas, the largest fort built by the Spanish in South America. You’ll have as much time as you like to explore the fortress with your guide, including its tunnels! Following the fortress, your guide and driver will take you on a panoramic drive around the city, including the modern area of Bocagrande as well as the nearby Getsemani quarter – just outside the old city, it’s currently home to some of the hottest new restaurants.
Return to your hotel and then you’ll have the afternoon free to explore or relax as you wish.
Late this afternoon, you’ll be met by a professional bartender to indulge yourselves with a tasting of several top-quality Caribbean rums while you learn about the history of the spirit and the different styles in Latin America. This is the perfect way to start a great evening in Cartagena!
For those who prefer a pick-me-up before the evening in Cartagena, instead we can organize a coffee tasting at one of our favorite cafés nearby in the old town. Here, an expert will lead you through a tasting of different varieties of coffee from a family-owned, single origin farm in Quindío province, while explaining about Colombian coffee production and more broadly the coffee culture. For anyone not visiting the coffee region, this experience is an absolute must!
Evening at leisure in Cartagena.
Further Exploration of Cartagena or Nearby Islands
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Cartagena on your own.
Or we can arrange additional exploration such as one of the favorite options below (additional cost):
Explore the city’s art scene with a bilingual expert, focusing either on contemporary art museums and galleries or visit the home museum and studio of a famous local sculptor
For shopaholics, a fashion specialist will get you special access to the top designers’ shops in Cartagena, featuring both Colombian and international designers
Eat your way through Cartagena with tasting menus of typical dishes at four different restaurants. Or, hit the traditional Bazurto market and then get to work in a Caribbean cooking class (Lunch included with this option)
Explore Cartagena with an expert on the life of Gabriel García Marquez
Head out of the city to learn about the unique paso horses, and go for a ride along the beach
Private Boat Island Hopping (optional – not included) Or, you may want to spend the entire day enjoying the Caribbean to its fullest.
The Rosario Islands are a coral reef comprising 27 islands, located about one hour by boat from Cartagena. Its natural landscapes, crystal clear water and coral reefs, home to diverse flora and fauna, are of course the main attraction.
Sail on a private motorboat or yacht, enjoy a joy ride and watch the Caribbean’s water as it changes color right in front of your eyes. You will stop at one spot for snorkeling, one for lunch at a lovely Caribbean house, and then at a beach. On board, a chef will prepare drinks and snacks for you as well! (Please inquire with your Exeter Latin America representative for details and cost.)
Until Next Time!
Leisurely morning before checkout and your private transfer with English-speaking assistance to the airport for your journey onward. (Air not included.)
Looking to spend some more time exploring the magical realism of Colombia? Here are three of our favorite ideas that can be easily combined with Bogotá and each other, for a longer trip of a week or more.
City lovers should head to Bogotá, the country’s bustling capital city. Here you’ll find a thriving dining and cocktail scene, rich colonial history, a vibrant arts scene, great shopping, charming park-filled neighborhoods, and beautiful boutique luxury hotels.
Head to the Quindío province of the Coffee Region, the heart and soul of Colombia. Enjoy a learning about the coffee culture through visits to family-run farms, hiking among the soaring wax palms of the Corcora Valley, horseback riding, and relaxing at an exclusive hacienda-turned-boutique hotel set on a 500-acre ranch.
See the remarkable social transformation which Medellin has undergone, from drug cartel capital to revitalized city buzzing with energy. Our terrific guides are eager to show you just how far the city has come in the last decade.
Private Journey PricingPer Person
From Price Per Person
Deluxe Itinerary: 2 Guests Traveling Together
Deluxe Itinerary: 4 Guests Traveling Together
Premium Itinerary: 2 Guests Traveling Together
Premium Itinerary: 4 Guests Traveling Together
3 nights in a Premium Balcony room at Charleston Hotel Santa Teresa (Deluxe) or Deluxe room at Casa San Agustin (Premium).
Private arrival and departure transfers (assumes all guests on same flights.) English-speaking guide included when specified in itinerary.
Private, local English-speaking guides for all activities as described in the program.
Private air-conditioned vehicle for all included activities and transfers, with bottled water daily.
Cost of entrance for all sights and experiences specifically included in your program.
24/7 local emergency contact during your journey.
Full-service advance tailoring of your itinerary and assistance with restaurant reservations.
Lunches, dinners and alcoholic beverages unless otherwise specified in your program.
Gratuities to guides, drivers, hotel porters, etc. unless otherwise specified in your program.
Travel or medical evacuation insurance.
Any other items or services not specifically included in your itinerary.
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