This Coastal South American Destination Is A Great Spot For A Picture-Perfect City Break

The colorful continent of South America has an offering for every type of traveler. Avid hikers can get their adrenaline-induced fix on one of Chile's many challenging hikes, foodies will be pleased with the flavors of Buenos Aires, world-wonder chasers have options at both Peru's Machu Picchu and Brazil's Christ the Redeemer, and nature-lovers will thrive in the Amazon or Galapagos Islands. For city slickers, the options feel just as endless, but if you're looking for a coastal city that's not too far from the USA, there's one obvious choice.

Cartagena, Colombia, is a vibrant, colorful city with great food, incredible vibes, and wonderful people. Conveniently located along the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena especially makes for a fabulous winter escape. Whether exploring the walled city, its designated beach, Playa de Bocagrande, or simply wandering around for the best bite and drink, Cartagena is a fantastic choice for travelers looking for a taste of Colombia. 

Colombia's most colorful city

There's a strong emphasis on calling Cartagena bright because it is arguably the most colorful city not only in South America but also in the world. When walking around Cartagena, vibrant colors decorate the scenery, including shades of yellow, blue, pink, purple, green, and red. It certainly makes for a photographer's paradise to get lost in the rainbow-hued streets.

Cartagena's food game is just as top-notch as its aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. While there are plenty of sit-down establishments throughout town, don't be afraid to dig into the street food here. Late at night, watch local dancers in Plaza Santo Domingo while trying a street arepa, best paired with a proper Michelada, of course. You'll also want to try local favorites like sancocho, ceviche, and fresh Colombian fruit.

But beyond the scrumptious dishes and vibrant hues, attractions abound in this stunning city. One of the most sought-after is the stone wall built some 400 years ago to protect Cartagena and its residents from pirate attacks. While the walls have stepped down from guard duty, they now stand as a testament to Cartagena's resilience and interesting history.

Activities around the city

If you find yourself wanting to get out of the city for a day, there are plenty of great nearby destinations that make for an easy day trip from Cartagena. Topping that list is Isla Baru, a vibrantly blue-water beach along the Caribbean coast. Just don't forget to wear sunscreen because the beach sits in an area close to the equator, which makes its sun rays particularly intense.

For a true slice of paradise, head to the nearby Rosario Islands. Snorkelers and divers will want to prioritize a visit here, thanks to the abundance of coral reefs. A popular way to visit is by taking an organized catamaran tour. Totumo Volcano is another great choice for a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here, visitors can take a dip into the hot volcanic mineral-rich mud, which is alleged to have healing properties. 

Colombia might have been the victim of a bad reputation for a while, but the country has slowly but surely redeemed itself with a large influx of tourism over the past several years. If you've ever been curious about exploring South America, especially one of its most colorful cities, Cartagena is a picture-perfect city break.