Things to Do in Caribbean Coast - page 2
Boasting a prime location on Bolivar Square (Plaza Bolivar), the Palace of Inquisition (Museo Histórico de Cartagena de Indias) museum is housed in an 18th-century mansion that was once the headquarters of the Spanish inquisition. Not for the feint of heart, the museum exhibits diverse artifacts that range from torture devices and paintings to pre-Colombian statues and ceramics.
A small Colombian fishing village-turned-beach hangout, laidback Taganga is a hub for party-loving backpackers and scuba divers alike. Use Taganga as an affordable jumping-off point for exploration of Tayrona National Park, Ciudad Perdida, or mountainous Minca, before returning to admire the sunset from one of Taganga’s many beach bars.
With more than 200 species on display, Santa Marta’s Marine World Aquarium (Mundo Marino Acuario) is a must for nature lovers of all ages. Discover sharks, turtles, starfish, octopuses, seabirds, and more, while learning about conservation efforts in the region.
Situated on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Cartagena Cruise Port welcomes 30 different cruise ship lines and features several attractions that reference the country’s natural resources—before exiting, pass through a replica emerald mine and an aviary with birds such as flamingoes, peacocks, and parrots.
In Cartagena, the Casa de Rafael Núñez is a mansion that was once home to the famous politician, poet, and lawyer Rafael Núñez. The country's president on four occasions, Núñez' importance in Colombian history cannot be overstated — not only did he write the country's 1886 constitution, in effect until 1991; he also wrote the words to the Colombian national anthem.
A three-minute walk from the Walled City in El Cabrero, the Caribbean-Antillean styled white and green mansion was built in 1858, and today it's a museum where you can see Núñez' documents and personal possessions including furniture, paintings, and art. Just opposite the Casa de Rafael Núñez you'll see the chapel of Ermita del Cabrero, where the ashes of Núñez and his wife rest.
Discover paintings and sculptures from Colombia and beyond during a visit to the Cartagena Museum of Modern Art, or the Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena. Located within the 17th-century Royal Customs House, this museum is home to both a permanent collection and rotating exhibitions featuring young artists from around the world.
The Rosario Islands(Islas del Rosario) are a highlight of Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, famous for their vibrant marine life, pristine white beaches, and sun-soaked beach resorts. A cluster of 28 idyllic islands dotted offshore of the port city of Cartagena, this archipelago sits atop the world’s third-largest barrier reef and makes up Islas del Rosario National Park.
Opened in 1992 on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the Americas, Cartagena's Naval Museum of the Caribbean tells the history of the city and its surrounding areas, as well as the story of how Panama became a separate country. Housed in what was once a Jesuit college, the whitewashed museum by the sea is easy to spot.
As you make your way round the exhibits, you'll see historic maps, ship tools, detailed model cityscapes, and model boats from throughout the centuries. And in the outer hall on the second floor, you'll get to see guns that have been salvaged from the seabed.
The history of Cartagena is immutably tied to its relationship with the sea, and the detailed texts on show at the Naval Museum of the Caribbean give a summary of 300 years of naval conflicts off the city’s shores. You'll learn all about the Spanish conquest of Colombia, and the later attempts of other European fleets to take Cartagena. And on the upper floor there's information about the modern Colombian navy and its role in the Korean War.
At the heart of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Nabusimake—the spiritual home of the Arhuaco people—is a secluded indigenous village which few outsiders get to experience. Known for virgin landscapes and wattle-and-daub homes, this sacred settlement is mostly closed off to the outside world.
Cartagena has its own beach, but venture farther afield to the Rosario Islands (Corales Islas del Rosario) for some snorkeling, scuba diving—or complete relaxation. Isla del Encanto provides a tranquil escape from modern life. The private island is home to a resort hotel where visitors can spend the day by the pool or on a beach lapped by the Caribbean.
More Things to Do in Caribbean Coast
A striking reminder of Cartagena’s colonial heritage and standing proud at the heart of the historic district, Cartagena Cathedral (St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral) is not only one of the city’s most notable landmarks, but one of Colombia’s most famous cathedrals. Dating back to 1577 and taking over 84 years to complete, the historic church is remarkably preserved, with recent renovations helping to restore its original features.
Today, the cathedral stands out thanks to its domed clock tower and bright yellow-painted façade, and makes a popular tourist attraction, as well as hosting daily services. Highlights of the cathedral include a series of exquisite frescos, an 18th-century gilded altar and a gleaming marble pulpit.
Barranquilla, Colombia’s fourth-largest city, is also one of its most vibrant. Home to the country's largest port, this industrialized city sits where the Magdalena River meets the Caribbean Sea. The city is most famous for its Carnival, second in size to Rio de Janeiro’s and recognized by UNESCO for its Intangible Cultural Heritage.
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