Shopping in Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias is Colombia’s main maritime port due to its geographical location, and considered one of the Caribbean’s main ports.  As a consequence, it is also a very desirable touristic denomination; a mixture of history and urban development, makes its shopping experience so authentic; from handcrafted pieced and jewelry, extraordinary quality items manufactured at a national level, to imported items.

Shopping Malls

Caribe Plaza Caribe Plaza, By:

Two big shopping centers are the result of Cartagena’s urban development. Only 10 minutes away from downtown, ask your taxi driver to take you to Caribe Plaza. Described as a “world class shopping center”, is the largest mall in the city with well known nationally and internationally stores, and a wide array of products and services. Featuring a wide variety of local and national stores, that reflect on the local culture and well known quality products.

Mall Plaza Catillo.Mall Plaza Catillo. By:

My second selection is Mall Plaza El Castillo; this shopping center promises to get you” transported to a world of luxury” of national and international merchandising. Featuring exclusive department store with international brands like Falabella, a Mac Center, Tous, Diesel, Chevignon, Naf Naf, and Esprit.

Studio F in Caribe PlazaStudio F in Caribe Plaza. By: Google Images

In both cases I recommend buying Colombians brands; you are indeed in Cartagena and the quality of our manufacturers is incredibly good, durable and well designed. Search for Arturo Calle (compared to Perry Ellis, Tennis (compared to The Gap) and Studio F (compared to Express brand).

Arturo calle CartagenaArturo calle Cartagena. By Google Images

On the streets

Boutiques in downtownBoutiques Downtown Cartagena. By Google Images

After your mall experience, get ready for a little high-end boutique experience in downtown Cartagena. Tell your taxi driver to take you to Santa Teresa’s Plaza, order a refreshing beverage, like Limonada de Coco (coconut lemonade) or lemonade with a touch of mint.

From Colombian emeralds, elegant attire, to swimming wardrobe, these boutiques from the best Colombian designers, are walking distance from each other.

Beatriz Camacho Boutique.Beatriz Camacho Boutique. Bu Google Images
Silvia Tcherassi Boutique.Silvia Tcherassi Boutique. By Google Images

If looking for real high end Colombian attire, stop at Silvia Tcherassi’s or Beatriz Camacho’s boutiques. Women will be delighted with the quality of the designs and textures in every item. Other boutiques to stop by for national products as clothing and finest leather accessories and pre Colombian jewelry are Salomon, Jon Sonen, Galería Cano, Boots & Bags, and Gaby Arenas. If searching for the finest Colombian Emeralds, be sure you step into a certified shop like Joyeria Cesareo or Joyeria Caribe.

Juan Valdez Café.Juan Valdez Café. By Google Imges

Continue your journey with energizing Colombian caffeine hit at the renowned Juan Valdez Coffee, and then get literally down to business, on the streets, exploring the local vendor’s handcrafts made jewelry and colorful items all over the side walk. Take 40,000 Colombian Pesos (20 USD) out of your wallet and be ready to bargain and get a good deal.

Shopping on the streets.Shopping on the Streets. By Google Images
Las Bobedas Shopping.Las Bóvedas. By Google Images

You cannot go back home without some souvenirs of the magical Cartagena de Indias.  Walking distance from the famous boutiques discover Las Bóvedas, once a warehouse for ammunition and supplies, now  a building of 23 painted archways of colorful souvenir shops, well stocked with all the emeralds, Botero reproductions, home decorations, hammocks, textiles and sewing, and Las Chivas (famous colorful buses).

Souvenir chivas.Souvenirs in Las Bóvedas. By Google Images

Top Waterfront Sightseeing in Cartagena

Cartagena is a Caribbean destination filled with historical sights and 400 years of stories to tell. History never gets old, but is time to take a gaze at the modern Cartagena, its urban development and the beautiful Caribbean ocean.

Modern Cartagena

You will feel in a completely different city. A big red double-decker, hop-on hop-off bus is the perfect method of transportation to drive through El Laquito, Castillogrande, and Bocagrande; the main prosperous neighborhoods surrounded by the most beautiful Caribbean bay and ocean.

City surrounded by water. City surrounded by water. By Google Images.


 Outside Cartagena

Tunnels in Los ManglaresLos Manglares. By Google Images.

10 minutes away from the city you will find nature’s creations; labyrinths of mangrove tunnels filled with many different animals, and that represent a natural treasure for the region; Los Manglares (the Mangroves), a place which not only oxygenate the water, but your mind.  Discover its incomparable beauty and stunning wildlife; Birds that have formed their hidden place in those forests as well as numerous fish.

Species in Los ManglaresBird species in Los Manglares. By Google Images.
Volcan del TotumoVolcan del Totumo. By Google Images

Just 45 minutes by car discover the therapeutic powers of a rustic mud baths in Volcan del Totumo (Totumo Volcano). Take your water shoes and a swimming suit if you are willing to be healed. Hike up the handmade stairs of the steep volcano and dive in the nature’s most pleasant feeling. At first you’ll feel kid for dirty, but remember, it is just mud. Let your body loose in it, and don’t try to swim, there is no need to. The mud is thick and supports your whole body in a way that you will feel literally out of space; gravity free. Feel your skin revitalizing and the incredible view evaporating your thoughts. Play with the mud and go back couple of years… Let your inner child out.

Playing with the Mud inside the VolcanoPlaying with the Mud inside the Volcano. By Google Images.

The experience do not ends there. When you are ready and the mud is getting stuck to your body descent down the stairs. A native from the region will be waiting for you to give you a bath. Remember, you already left your shame inside the volcano, is time to get pampered. Be ready for the most extreme bath inside the ocean that you have ever taken.

In the Caribbean Ocean

View From TierrabombaView From Tierra Bomba Island. By Google Images.

Start with Isla Tierra Bomba, just 5 minutes away from the city. You would be amazed by the Castillo San Fernando de Bocachica (San Fernando de Bocachica watchtower), once destroyed by British troops who attacked the Spaniards, and rebuilt in 1753, on the ruins of the Castle of San Luis de Bocachica.

CCastillo San Fernando de BocachicaCastillo San Fernando de Bocachica. By: Google Images.
Archipielago de BarúArchipielago de Barú. By Google Images.

Archipielago de Barú (Barú Archipelago) has beautiful white sand beaches, clear waters, passageways surrounded by mangroves and coral colored. It can be reached by land across the Canal del Dique (Dique Canal) from Pasacaballos, or as for a better experience of the never ending Caribbean ocean, travel by water across the Bay of Cartagena.

View from Archipielago de Barú.View from Archipielago de Barú. By Google Images.

Time to eat; my menu suggestion for a characteristic Caribbean lunch is fresh fish, coconut rice, fried plantains and a typical coconut dissert.

Islands surrounding the Rosario IslandIslands surrounding the Rosario Island. By Google Images.

I cannot stop recommending a at list a full day trip to the as Islas del Rosario national park (Rosario Island). Book a boat ride and just 28 miles you will be delighted by coral reefs, crystalline waters, and beautiful beaches. For a complete experience tell the pilot to take you for a drive through the small islands surrounding the Rosario Island.

Islas del RosarioIslas del Rosario. By Google Images.

Make a last stop at the Isla San Martín de Pajarales you will find El Acuario San Martín (the Aquarium), swim with a dolphin or enjoy its show and look down the surrounding dock, where you are standing, and witness multiple marine species.

Dolphin-Aquarium-cartagenaDolphin in El Acuario. By: Colombia

These are two full days of waterfront sightseeing of the Caribbean ocean surrounding Cartagena, and its healing, and peaceful experiences.

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