Cartagena, Colombia

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Cruising to Cartagena

Once the most important port in the New World, Cartagena's history is sprinkled with tales of pirates, treasure and power, and to this day the city is permeated by myths and legends. Much of this is down to the fact that the ancient city walls - which surround the Old Town - have been wonderfully preserved, and strolling around really is like stepping back in time to the colonial period.

A good way to get a feel for the history of this incredible Caribbean city is to visit the Castillo de San Felipe fortress, which is the largest Spanish fort in the Americas, and was built to protect the port from the intentions of the pirates which swarmed the nearby waters, hoping to plunder some of the treasure that passed through Cartagena on its way to Spain.

These days, the historic centre is also home to an array of modern restaurants and shops, although all of these have been designed in such a way so as to blend in seamlessly with the ancient architecture, meaning the place has gained plenty of amenities without losing any of its charm.

Away from the centre, the beachfront strip is the place to be if you want to soak up some Caribbean sunshine and culture, with a seemingly endless number of bars, restaurants and hotels lining the waterfront. For a more relaxing and idyllic day at the seaside, meanwhile, take a boat trip out to the desert island of Playa Blanca.


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