Cartagena de Indias is one of the most beautiful cities in the Colombian Caribbean. It is a romantic destination full of magic, legends and colonial architecture. But, if you still don’t know what to do in Cartagena, you’ve come to the right blog.

In this travel guide you will discover the best things to do in Cartagena, as well as the places to visit and of course, the islands you must see.

Let's start with the best plans to discover cartagena

1. Rosario Islands

The Rosario Islands are located within the Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo National Natural Park. This archipelago is composed of more than 20 islands, including Isla Grande.

Isla Grande is the largest of the archipelago and is located relatively close to Cartagena de Indias. On this island, you will enjoy white sand beaches, an extensive barrier reef perfect for snorkeling and a lagoon and mangrove complex that can be explored.

 These islands in the Colombian Caribbean offer some of the best beaches in the country, and even the possibility of learning about bioluminescent plankton.


Tip: While it is possible to visit the Rosario Islands in a single day trip, Backpackers offers an excursion called 5 VIP islands in this tour you will see 5 islands as they are: Isla Grande, Isla Cholon, Isla Tierra Bomba, Isla Baru. In addition you will make an excursion with natives of the fort of San Fernando, who will tell you a little about the events in the colonial era.

In the Backpackers excursion they provide you with the equipment to enjoy the reefs and the beauty that you can’t see with the naked eye.

A comfortable, safe and convenient option to visit the Rosario Islands in a single day is to join an organized tour or a tour that includes transportation by sport boat with music. We recommend booking in advance to guarantee your place. Below are the recommended tours:

2. Totumo Volcano

The Totumo volcano is a mud-filled volcanic cone located in the rural area of the municipality of Santa Catalina (Bolivar), in the Caribbean Region of Colombia, next to the Ciénaga del Totumo and near the border with the department of Atlántico. The townships of Loma de Arena, Galerazamba and Pueblo Nuevo are the closest to it. The formation has a low elevation (approximately twenty meters) to reach the crater is necessary to climb a rustic wooden staircase.
Outstanding Activity
Bathing in the Totumo volcano:
Ecotourism is practiced in the site, it is accessed through the national route 90A highway Paralela al Mar (or Via al Mar) that connects Cartagena de Indias with Barranquilla. It receives more than 1,533 hikers per month who, in addition to appreciating the relief of the mud volcano and the Ciénaga del Totumo, take baths in both natural formations.

The best option to visit the totumo volcano in an organized tour offered by Backpackers as a tour operator in the city of Cartagena, the tour is done by land and we start at our meeting point which is in the monument of the pegasus. We recommend you to book in advance to guarantee your place. Recommended excursions are listed below:


The largest aviary in the Americas is located 14.5 km from Cartagena – Baru. A tourist attraction that promotes the care of nature along with the importance of environmental sustainability. The National Aviary of Colombia has 138 species of birds and approximately 1800 specimens, among them: the Harpy Eagle, the Caribbean Toucan, the Pink Flamingos, the Crowned Crane, among others. It also has three eco-systemic environments (tropical rainforest, coast and desert) that support its wide variety of permanent exhibits.

The best option to visit the national aviary in an organized tour offered by Backpackers as a tour operator in the city of Cartagena, the tour is done by land and we leave from our meeting point which is at the monument of the pegasus. We recommend you to book in advance to guarantee your place. The recommended excursions are the following:

4. Sunsets in cartagena

Bordering the Caribbean Sea, the city of Cartagena enjoys some of the most breathtaking sunsets. Each day, as the sun begins to set over the horizon, the sky changes to a myriad of spectacular colors and the entire bay becomes harlequin with its reflection. Watching the sunset on the horizon is a must in Cartagena. The orange sky panoramas are so beautiful that it is not uncommon to see large crowds gathered to begin watching the breathtaking spectacle. Here’s a list to prepare you in advance to get the best unobstructed views of stunning Caribbean sunsets in Cartagena.

Get a different perspective as you sail aboard a private boat to watch the sunset from the water, while you sit back with a drink and take in the spectacular view. Watch as the setting sun casts its extraordinary cuts across Cartagena’s historic district. On board, you will quickly discover why this is the best place to watch the sunset in Cartagena.

Backpackers offers a tour called Tulum Golden Hour which consists of watching the sunset in a sport boat party style and after finishing a big party on the island tierra bomba in a beach club until nightfall and not all is over the party still continues in the historic center in a club norturno guaranteeing a magical day.
I’ll leave you some more information here:

5. Night tour of the city of cartagena

Cartagena has a colonial charm and is completely transformed after sunset, where the fun and excitement continues. Caribbean nights offer the perfect setting to explore the entire walled city under the stars. Just imagine walking through the narrow cobblestone streets, illuminated by lanterns, listening to live music coming from the bars, restaurants and plazas, or having a different night on a yacht, scenarios that become lively meeting points, where locals and tourists mingle, enjoying dance and culture, with a constant breeze. Also, you will observe the ornate balconies in the colorful colonial houses and you will find from small bars to clubs with Latin rhythms where you can dance until dawn. As for gastronomy, the restaurants offer a variety of culinary options, from local dishes to international delicacies and you can enjoy dinner under the stars on rooftops.

We recommend an activity called pub crawl which is a very fun night tour that is very sociable and serves to make friends and get to know the different cultural styles that Cartagena has to offer.

Learn More...

And this is a little of everything we can discover in the city of Cartagena, if you want more information about everything we have to offer in the city and Colombia contact us Backpackers Travels.