Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Introduction to Cartagena de Indias

A romantic, enthralling and staggeringly beautiful city, Cartagena is one of Colombia's true gems. Home to the wonderful Santo Domingo plaza, Palacio de la Inquisicion and 16th century cathedral, Cartagena is bursting with Spanish heritage. With plenty of beaches to enjoy and a number of open air cafes, Cartagena is a haven of relaxation.

Dominated by the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, the enthralling city of Cartagena positively flaunts its Spanish heritage like a peacock flaunting its feathers. No-where else can this be seen more than in the wonderful plaza Santo Domingo, Palacio de la Inquisicion, and the 16th century cathedral.

Take time out to relax at one of Cartagena's many open-air cafés, perfect viewing spots to watch the parade of horse-drawn carriages, fashionable locals and curious tourists.

Don't miss the opportunity to go mingle with some gorgeous sea life on a Cartegena snorkelling trip, passing San Jose and San Ferna. With Cartagena sitting in such a beautiful part of the world, there are many beautiful spots to take in on your stay here.

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Cartagena City Tour


  • Explore the astounding city of Cartagena
  • Admire the historically rich architecture within the walled city
  • Go in search of those all-important souvenirs to take home to your friends and family
Price£25.00 - £40.00
DurationApproximately 4.5 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Cartagena de Indias was founded in 1533 and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique military, civil and religious architecture, built by the Spanish during the 15th and 16th centuries. Discover some of the many beautiful monuments this city has to offer.


You begin with a visit to La Popa, previously known as the ‘Stern of a Galleon’. This ancient monastery is located on top of a hill and offers great views of the city of Cartagena. Built at the beginning of the 17th century and still inhabited by monks today, it was used several times as a fortress because of its strategic position. A chapel dedicated to the Virgin de la Candelaria, patron saint of Cartagena, and the Colonial Museum are both open for you to visit.

Continuing you proceed to the San Felipe de Barajas. Situated outside the walled city, this monumental fort is considered to be the most outstanding feat of Spanish military engineering in the New World. Its construction commenced in 1536 and continued for the next 121 years. Admire the exterior of the fort before venturing into the dungeons. It is not all doom and gloom in the depths however, as these dungeons house a local craft market selling many items including brightly decorated clothes, Indian woven bags and a large selection of other souvenirs.

Your next visit is to the walled city, a construction that took 194 years to complete and enabled Cartagena to defend itself from attack by the English. The Spanish Colonial architecture is some of the most impressive and best preserved in South America, with  imposing merchant houses, narrow streets, colonial balconies, civic buildings and charming churches. The city is dotted with many squares and public spaces, which are now home to sidewalk cafes and restaurants where Colombians and visitors alike relax and enjoy the magic of this enticing city.

An approximate 20 minute guided walk in the colonial heart of the city, will include a visit to the San Pedro Claver Cloister and Monastery, built in honour of the Protector of the Slaves.

In complete contrast to the old city is Bocagrande – the most modern part of Cartagena with its shopping centre Pierino Gallo, containing a wide variety of jewellery shops. You can enjoy some time here at leisure to go in search of that all-important souvenir.


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that there is a moderate amount of walking involved in this tour often over uneven and cobbled terrain; at La Popa there will be approximately 20 steps to negotiate. Due to the amount of walking involved we do not recommend this tour to guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. It is possible that this tour may operate in a different order to that described.

Andean Condor, Colombia


  • Enjoy a visit to the National Aviary
  • Learn more about Cartagena’s diverse birdlife
Price£25.00 - £40.00
DurationApproximately 6 hours
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking

Colombia boasts the greatest diversity of birds in the world. Among its many species of birds, 86 are endemics and a record 197 are migratory species. 15 species are in critical danger of extinction, 36 are in danger, 50 species are vulnerable and 60, including the renowned national bird Andean Condor, are endangered.

Leaving the pier, you can enjoy panoramic views of the landscape and famous walls of the city of Cartagena, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue through downtown Cartagena, crossing over the Canal del Dique and passing through the picturesque countryside en route to the National Aviary, located on Baru Island.

The Colombian National Aviary is a conservation organisation that aims to educate and create awareness about the diversity of birds found in Colombian territory. This modern exhibition illustrates the different environments in which birds in Colombia live. Its purpose is to educate visitors about the importance of conserving each species and the struggles they all face each day.

During your time here, you can view more than 2,000 birds, comprising over 108 species. First you will encounter the Tropical Forest cage, where you can view small, colourful birds and larger creatures including the harpy eagle. Continue to the Littoral cage, where you will encounter marine birds such as pelicans, ducks and flamingos.

The Desert cage will transport you to the desert area of Colombia. Here you can walk through flora common to this area and admire the likes of jays, cardinals and canaries. Finally, visit the Condor de los Andes, a particularly important part of the aviary. The condor is classed as a near-threatened species, and so within the aviary they have begun a breeding programme to try and save it.


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately two hours of walking, some of which will be over rocky and uneven terrain. There are approximately 10  steps to negotiate at the National Aviary. Unfortunately it is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. For reference, the drive to and from the aviary will last approximately 90 minutes.

Emerald jewellery making, Colombia


  • Create your own piece of stunning Colombian emerald jewellery


Activity Tour
Price£30.00 - £40.00
DurationApproximately 4 Hours
LimitationLimited Capacity
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Colombia is the world leading producer of emeralds. On this tour, embark on a unique learning experience as you are invited to create your own piece of emerald jewellery.

A short transfer will take you to the Caribbean School of Jewellery, where you will be greeted by your instructors and provided with the work space and all the tools you need to create your own item of jewellery. During your approximate two-hour lesson, you will watch demonstrations, listen to instructions and enjoy a hands-on experience. Learn to melt metals, weld and laminate whilst creating a silver ring, a pendant, a pair of earrings or even a bracelet chain – the choice is yours!

Be sure to wear your jewellery back at the ship, to show off your masterpiece to fellow cruisers!


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that this tour will involve a minimal amount of walking, approximately 30 minutes in total. There will be around 12 steps to negotiate.

Horse and carriage ride, Cartagena, Colombia


  • Appreciate a panoramic tour of this colonial city
  • Marvel at the monuments showcased as you embark on a horse-drawn carriage ride
Price£20.00 - £40.00
DurationApproximately 2.5 Hours
LimitationLimited Capacity
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Free time includedFree time included

Enjoy a memorable horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic city of Cartagena.

Your journey begins by coach, where you will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the military fort of San Felipe de Barajas. Situated outside the walled city, this monumental fort is considered to be one of the most outstanding feats of Spanish military engineering in the world.

At Parque Apolo you will be invited to join your horse-drawn carriage for a journey through the narrow streets of the walled city. The city boasts a delightful mixture of colonial houses and squares such as La Merced, which is home to the Heredia Theatre, Santo Domingo with Gertrudis, San Peter with its magnificent church and Custom Square, home to the City Hall.  You will also pass the famous sculpture donated by Botero and the beautiful Baroque door of the Inquisition Palace at Bolivar Square.

A stop will be made at the dungeons within the walled city ramparts. These dungeons were originally built to store provisions for the troops; however today they are home to a handicraft market selling brightly decorated cloth, woodwork and woven bags made by some of the indigenous people of Colombia.

You will return to your awaiting ship by coach.


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour does involve some walking and standing, however the majority of this will be during your visit to the dungeons during the period of free time, when the amount of walking undertaken is at the individual’s discretion. Guests must be able to negotiate the steps to board both the coach and the carriage in order to participate on this tour. Depending upon traffic conditions, this tour may operate in a different order to that described.

Hacienda Victoria & coffee tour, Santa, Colombia


  • Enjoy a unique coffee tasting experience
  • Learn more about the production process, from bean to roast
  • Sample three varied coffee profiles
  • Enjoy a brief walking tour through the streets of the old city
Price£35.00 - £45.00
DurationApproximately 3 hours
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Become a coffee connoisseur as you experience this coffee extravaganza!

Your tour begins with a drive to the San Felipe de Barajas Fortress, situated outside of the walled city. Work on this monumental fortress, one of the most important sites in Cartagena, began in 1536 and took over 120 years to complete. It is renowned for being an outstanding feat of Spanish military engineering.

After arriving in the old city, take a short walk to your tasting venue. Upon arrival, you will be educated in Colombia’s most awarded single estate coffee. Enjoy a brief overview of the stages, from bean to roast, before learning three alternative brewing methods. Finally, sample a tasting of each to decide which profile you prefer! At the end of your insightful visit, you will be awarded a diploma marking your achievement.

Next, enjoy an approximate 30 minute walking tour through the old city, during which time you can admire the squares of San Pedro, Bolivar and Santa Teresa. You return to the quayside armed with your new-found knowledge to take home and impress your friends.


Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking and a few steps to negotiate. Unfortunately it is not considered suitable for wheelchair users.


  • Relax and soak up the Colombian sun on the sun-splashed isles of Rosario Island
Price£60.00 - £70.00
DurationApproximately 6 Hours
LimitationLimited Capacity
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Snack includedSnack included
Free time includedFree time included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

Discover one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the Caribbean as you enjoy a visit to Rosario Island.

Escorted by your guide, you will have a short walk to your boat which will take you on an enjoyable 60 minute journey through the harbour and bay of Cartagena to the beautiful crystal clear waters of the archipelago, Rosario Island. This group of 27 islands is surrounded by coral reefs and home to luxury private residences and exclusive tourist resorts – it really is the perfect location to enjoy the pristine white sandy beaches.

During your time on this beautiful island, you may choose to take a refreshing swim, enjoy a snack on one of Colombia’s fresh tropical fruits or even visit the Natural Aquarium, where you can view the dolphin and shark shows (please note that this is an optional extra and not included in the cost of this tour).

Savour a delicious lunch which typically consists of the locally caught fresh fish, all washed down with a Colombian coffee. Refreshed from your lunch, you will have the opportunity to relax at the water’s edge and work on your tan, swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea or simply comb the gorgeous beach.


Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: We recommend that you come already wearing your swimming costume under casual clothes and don’t forget to bring a towel and sun protection. We cannot guarantee what activities or facilities will be on offer when we call. We kindly request that extra due care and attention is taken when swimming, bathing or taking part in water sports.

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