Cartagena is full of interesting parques and plazas, all with their own unique characteristics and atmosphere. We’ve identified the top five parques and plazas in Cartagena, which we recommend you must visit during your vacations in Cartagena.
Plaza de la Trinidad
The oldest plaza in Cartagena has something for everyone, regardless of how low or high your budget is. The plaza is host to a wide variety of entertainment, whether it is public Zumba sessions on Sundays or regular football matches between local children and their families, there is always something happening. You’ll see local men enjoying games of chess or dominoes, locals and tourists congregating together and street vendors selling a wide variety of delicious street food. From hamburgers, kebabs, quesadillas and local food such as arepas or empanadas to crepes, ice cream and fresh juice. Grab a cheap drink from the corner shop and find a seat on a bench or even the pavement to enjoy the relaxed though very busy atmosphere that is Plaza de la Trinidad in Getsemani neighborhood. Just remember that if you want to drink alcohol from the shop you will need to sit on the opposite side of the road as alcohol is not permitted in the actual plaza. And if you’d rather a sit down meal or drink there are plenty of restaurants and bars in Getsemani surrounding the plaza for you to discover. During the day the plaza is fairly quiet except for the church services but you can listen to the beautiful songs and watch the service through open doors.
Parque Centenario is a large park where locals and tourists unwind during the day. If you are lucky you might see a sloth lazing about or an iguana enjoying the sun and possibly even a monkey or two. The exotic birds are interesting to observe and the crazy red squirrels are fun to watch running up and down trees. In the two large white pavilions you will see local dancers practicing hip hop routines for the nightclubs or to busk among the tourists. This huge park is also home to a roller skating rink with a basketball court as well so you can watch the locals or get involved yourself. Locals relax in the shade selling fruit, lollies, cigarettes and books. There is also a large water feature to add to the relaxing atmosphere.
Parque Fernandez Madrid
It’s relaxed atmosphere is perfect for reading a book enjoying a meal or watching the small children chase the birds. At night there is regular live music to appreciate along with some great dancing acts who perform in front of some restaurants and ask for a small donation for enjoying their show. There are also plenty of restaurants surrounding the parque, but be warned that there will be locals trying to sell you their wares if you sit at the outside tables. If chocolate is your thing, make sure you stop at the Chocolate Museum opposite the parque.
Plaza San Pedro Claver
Here you will see a series of metal sculptures that have been made to depict the everyday life of Cartagena locals. The sculptures include people playing chess or dominoes at tables, carrying or preparing fruit and listening to music. Plaza San Pedro is also host to a large congregation of pigeons. You can feed the birds with corn sold by the locals and the pigeons will come flocking. If it takes your fancy you can get a photo covered in birds by holding out your hands with corn in them and standing still. There is also Cartagena’s Modern Art Museum and the San Pedro Claver Church and Cloisters which are well worth investigating.
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Plaza Santo Domingo
The home of one of Fernando Botero’s signature sculptures, ‘The Fat Lady’ is a popular place among tourists. Whether you come to see this piece of art, visit the museum or enjoy a coffee or meal al fresco, this plaza deserves a look. Keep in mind it can be a little touristy so prices won’t be cheap though they are still fairly reasonable.
Plaza de Bolívar
This is an emblematic square in Cartagena, where you can feel a special and relaxing atmosphere. The Plaza de Bolivar is the ideal place to go during the day to take a break under the refreshing shade of its tall trees, watch the locals that get together there to play chess while you enjoy a delicious raspao (snow cones in local flavors), fresh juice or a fruit salad. You can also go at night to have fun watching the different cultural activities that take place there, such as the performances of folklore music and dance bands with their colorful costumes. What’s more, opposite the Plaza you will find several museums like the Palacio de la Inquisición and the Museo del Oro Zenú, and you can also see the beautiful Cartagena’s cathedral.
Plaza San Diego
The Plaza San Diego, located in the historic center, is perfect to relax and have a few drinks or something to eat at night. From here you can watch the architecture of the buildings surrounding the plaza with its beautiful balconies, and you can also enjoy the local dance and music presentations. If you want to feel the atmosphere of the plaza but eat in a restaurant, around the plaza there are a lot of places that offer the best food.
If you find that anything mentioned in our Top Plazas and Parques of Cartagena has changed please contact us as we aim to provide the most up to date information as possible to give you the best experience when visiting Cartagena.
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