With just under 1 million inhabitants, Cartagena is the most popular tourist resort town in Colombia. It is divided into two main parts: the Ciudad Antigua (Old City) and the Ciudad Nueva (New City). Cartagena used to be a popular place for the privateers of the Caribbean (the most famous being Sir Francis Drake). Accordingly, the Spanish invested heavily in thick walls to protect this important harbour from attacks.
The walls are over 10km long and enclose the pleasant Ciudad Antigua, built in 1533 along a beautiful Caribbean harbor. Its very pleasant to stroll down the narrow streets and take in the stylish colonial architecture. The cathedrals and palaces face cool shady plazas, where you can buy little cups of coffee (tinto) and watch the world go by.
Around Cartagena some very fine beaches are to be found, where you can get a tan under the tropical sun.
Nightlife in Cartagena is quite lively, as there are a number of bars with good (Salsa) music and cheap beer. Finding a decent place to eat is never difficult, and restaurants specialize in Caribbean and creole dishes.
From Cartagena you can travel on to Bogot, Cali, Medelln, and Santa Marta, a great old city on the coast, from which you can visit the Ciudad Perdida of the Tayrona Indians.