10 fun things to do in Cartagena with kids

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Cartagena, a vibrant coastal city in Colombia, offers many family-friendly activities for those traveling with children. Known for its rich historical background and breathtaking architecture, Cartagena presents a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern-day attractions, making it an ideal destination for families looking for memorable experiences.

A street lined with buildings at dusk in cartagena, colombia.
Colonial streets in Cartagena de Indias. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

These are ideas for 10 exciting things you can do in Cartagena to keep the little people in your life happy and occupied.

Swimming on a pristine beach

One fun activity with children in Cartagena is visiting Playa Blanca, known for its soft sand, and calm, warm and clear water. It is a beautiful destination for a family beach day, providing opportunities for kids to play in the sand and parents to relax in the sun.

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Walking the walls

A must-see attraction for families visiting Cartagena is the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. This impressive fortress, built in 1657, offers an engaging and educational experience for children. They can explore the underground tunnels, learn about the history and architecture of the massive fortification and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top.

Making the visit even more kid-friendly, guides are available to walk families through the interesting aspects of the fortress, ensuring children are entertained while learning about Cartagena’s history. After a visit to the fortress, don’t forget to simply wander the walls surrounding the city — many are accessible for free and allow for a breathtaking view.

Taking a trip to a magic island

A hut with a thatched roof sits on the edge of the water.
Colombian Islands, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

A step away from the city, Isla del Encanto is a family-friendly resort in Barú that offers a perfect setting for a memorable family vacation in Cartagena. The resort is located within the beautiful Corales del Rosario Natural Park, boasting crystal clear waters to explore. Children will love the resort’s pool and play area, while adults can relax on the stunning sandy beach.

Wandering through cobblestone streets

One fun activity for families with children in Cartagena’s Old Town is exploring the vibrant streets on foot. The colorful buildings and charming cobblestone pathways offer numerous photo opportunities for a memorable family experience. Children will enjoy discovering the history and culture of this picturesque city — just keep in mind that the city’s narrow sidewalks and cobblestone streets are not very stroller-friendly.

“With horse-drawn carriages rolling down cobblestone streets lined with shops, hotels, and restaurants, the Old Walled City is a fascinating place to explore with kids in Cartagena. Be sure to visit La Serrezuela, a bull-fighting stadium that’s been transformed into a gorgeous shopping and entertainment experience.”

— Sage Scott, Everyday Wanderer

Exploring Colombian history

While in Cartagena with older children, make sure to visit the former Palacio de la Inquisición. This historical museum showcases the city’s rich past with engaging exhibits. It’s recommended to spend one to two hours exploring the museum, ensuring a captivating experience for the whole family. Located in the heart of the city, it also offers easy access to other family-friendly attractions nearby.

Playing with gold

Colombia has a very rich history of gold manipulation, dating back thousands of years. The Museo del Oro Zenú, located in the old city, showcases a captivating collection of gold, silver and ceramic relics from the once-thriving Zenú civilization. Children will be fascinated by the stunning artifacts displayed, providing insight into the history and culture of this ancient society. Although relatively small, the museum offers an engaging experience for kids, sparking their curiosity and interest in cultural heritage.

Getting lost in a convent

A white and red building.
Convent in Cartagena. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

One enjoyable activity with children in Cartagena is visiting the Convento de la Popa. This beautiful, white-washed convent stands on a 500-foot hill, offering stunning panoramic views of the city. Kids will be fascinated by the rich vegetation and architecture of the convent, which allows them to learn and explore in a captivating setting. The lush gardens surrounding the convent make for a pleasant walk in a tropical setting.

Dipping in mud

A unique and engaging activity for families visiting Cartagena is a trip to the Totumo Mud Volcano. Located 45 minutes away from the city, this is truly a one-of-a-kind experience where kids and adults can climb up a slippery staircase to reach the mud pit. Once inside, kids have free reign to get as dirty as they’d like, all in the name of health.

Once inside, enjoy floating in the natural, viscous volcanic mud. The mud is said to contain minerals with healing properties, and visitors often enjoy a massage while submerged in the mud. After the mud bath, kids and adults can easily clean off in the nearby lake with the help of locals.

Sailing on a pirate ship

In Cartagena, a unique experience awaits families with children sailing aboard the Fantastica Cartagena pirate boat adventure. This pirate-themed boat tour provides a memorable way to explore the waters around the city. While sailing, adults can imbibe in an array of pirate-themed tropical drinks, and kids can enjoy audio guides, available in multiple languages, providing insight into Cartagena’s history and legends of pirates. The sunset tour is a popular option, combining adventure with breathtaking views of Cartagena’s skyline.

Sampling street food

Whether it’s your first or 10th time visiting Colombia, trying local Colombian street food and sweet treats is a must-do experience. Kids will especially enjoy indulging in freshly made churros and arepas, especially the cheese arepas.

One can find tasty options throughout Cartagena, but the Old City is notably a hotspot for street food vendors. There, families can wander through colorful streets, take in the vibrant atmosphere, and sample the flavors of local Colombian cuisine. Remember to always exercise caution and choose vendors that appear clean and popular among locals to ensure a safe culinary experience for the little ones.

Kid-friendly Cartagena accommodations

A narrow street in San Juan, Colombia.
Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

For families visiting Cartagena, Las Américas Casa de Playa is a top choice. Situated on the beachfront, this resort offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Children can enjoy the private beach, kid-friendly pools and a supervised Kids’ Club, while parents can unwind at the spa or arrange exciting excursions through the helpful concierge. With spacious accommodations and delicious dining options, Las Américas Casa de Playa ensures a memorable family getaway where both parents and children can create lasting memories in the tropical paradise of Cartagena.

Those looking for a more autonomous, self-designed vacation are welcome to look into a short-term apartment rental. If desired, you can even hire a cleaner and cook for the duration of your stay.

Ksenia Prints is a food writer, blogger, photographer and recipe developer from Montreal, Canada. She blogs over At the Immigrant’s Table, a food blog showcasing healthy, beautiful international recipes for adventurous home cooks. She loves to highlight ethnic cuisines and immigrant cultures by working with chefs from relevant countries and adapting those recipes to gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free and other dietary restrictions.

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