Scenes of Cartagena with Less Shopping
Local Sightseeing, All
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Approximately 3½ hours
This tour departs directly from the pier and explores the magnificent city of Cartagena -- one of the most important ports in colonial times for transporting gold and other precious cargo to Spain. Cartagena came under frequent attack by pirates and corsairs. Baals (1543), Drake (1586), Jean-Bernard Desjeans, Jean Ducasse (1697), and Edward Vernon (1741) all made off with and enjoyed spending the wealth of the Spanish Crown. Tired of the constant pillaging of the city, the colonists fortified the city, making Cartagena most impenetrable colonial stronghold in South America.
Drive throughthe residential area of Manga and admire the late-19th-century, Republican-style mansions.
Castillo San Felipe de Barajas Fort was Latin America’s most important military structure and was built in the 17th and 18th centuries to defend the city. was Latin America’s most important military structure and was built in the 17th and 18th centuries to defend the city.
One of Cartagena s more gruesome spectacles is Las Bovedas (the dungeons), located in the Old City. In colonial times these were used as military barracks and a munitions depot. After independence, they were mainly used as jails. Local artisans display their colorful and interesting arts and handicrafts here nowadays.
Visit San Pedro Claver Church, built in the 17th century. Inside you'll see some exquisite statues and Old-World furnishings honoring missionary Peter Claver. The Patron Saint of Slaves, Claver was the first person to be canonized in the Western Hemisphere --a sign that the tenets of Catholicism had firmly taken root in Colombia.
Stop at Inquisition Palace, which served as a tribunal court and tried anyone the Church viewed as a heretic. The palace contains instruments of torture, along with documents, paintings and explanations about the Inquisition. You will see the small barred window from which the sentences handed down by the tribunal were announced to the public -- generally speaking, it wasn’t good news.
Guests who wish to stay in town to shop or explore independently are welcome to do so, but must make their own way back to the ship. Shade is limited; please dress accordingly. Bring a hat and wear sunscreen. The Old Town streets are cobblestone and are uneven in places.