Cartagena (car-ta-HEY-na…not car-ta-HEY-nya as pronounced wrong by Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone and then by many others, including myself before I started planning my trip, because of that) is Colombia’s Caribbean jewel. The center of town is a UNESCO World Heritage site of walled-in Spanish-colonial splendor. In the 1500s, this port city became the major northern gateway to South America. It also was a major target for pirates. Despite numerous attacks, Cartagena persevered and eventually led the way to all of Colombia’s Independence movement from Spanish rule.
The walled port is still an enclosed maze of cobbled streets, colorful stucco buildings draped in bougainvillea, green parks, plazas, churches, and palaces.
(to see full images, click on each)