The Guide to a Romantic Cartagena Honeymoon in Colombia

Discover why discerning globetrotters are flocking to this destination in South America.
Couple walking in the streets of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
Photo: Diegomezr | Shutterstock,Location: Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
Holly Riddle - The Knot Contributor.
Holly Riddle
Holly Riddle - The Knot Contributor.
Holly Riddle
The Knot Contributor
  • Holly is a freelance contributor for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on travel, honeymooning and wedding planning.
  • Holly has been a travel, food and lifestyle freelancer for her entire career.
  • Holly also works for a range of publications and brands as a ghostwriter and marketing copywriter.
Updated Apr 23, 2024
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A Cartagena honeymoon is perfect for newlyweds looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience. It's one of the best honeymoon destinations if you want to explore somewhere culturally enriching, filled with history and with fantastic, warm weather. This South American honeymoon location in Colombia is an enchanting mixture of old and new, European influence and Latin flair, daytime diversions and nighttime fun.

In fact, just about any couple could find something to love about Cartagena. Not to mention, for all of this luxury and elegance, you won't be forced to pay extreme prices. Travel costs in Cartagena are much more palatable than what you'll find across comparable European destinations.

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to pack your bags and explore one of the most romantic destinations on this side of the globe. Here's what to expect from a Cartagena honeymoon.

Cartagena Honeymoon Tips in this Article:

    A view of the narrow walled city street with a colorful yellow tower in the background.
    Photo: Monica Hernandez Ahman | Getty

    Best Time to Honeymoon in Cartagena

    Cartagena boasts consistent warm temperatures, in the mid-80s. However, Colombia does have wet and dry seasons. The best time to visit to avoid the rain would be December through April, when the climate is sunny and pristine.

    If, however, you'd rather avoid the crowds and you're willing to put up with a little precipitation, you can still find relatively agreeable weather from June through September. The average rainfall is under four inches per month (for comparison, this would make the city similar to Seattle in the spring or fall).

    Best weather: December to April.
    Festival highlights: The Cartagena International Music Festival in January brings classical music to the colonial churches and streets. The Hay Festival, also in January, is a celebration of literature and arts. In November, the Independence of Cartagena is a week-long festivity with parades, beauty pageants and plenty of dancing.

    Cartagena Honeymoon Planning Tips

    Cartagena ticks all kinds of honeymoon boxes for most couples. It's a Caribbean destination packed with culture, food, history and fun. You'll have no problem packing your itinerary. It's also relatively affordable, making it a worthy pick if you're looking for a cheaper couples' vacation. The travel times are palatable as well, with non-stop flights whisking you away from the Northeast in as little as five hours, or from Miami in as little as three. If you're traveling from the West Coast, you'll face a likely layover, though you'll arrive in less than one day.

    If you desire a romantic getaway that's more jungle-themed or nature-centric, you may want to opt for another destination. You can find relaxation aplenty at resorts throughout the Caribbean, and nature-heavy honeymoons can be better found in other nearby areas further south in Colombia, or in places like Costa Rica or Belize.

    Entry requirements: A US passport that is valid for the duration of your stay in Colombia.
    Location: Cartagena is located on the northern coast of Colombia, facing the Caribbean Sea.
    Currency: The Colombian Peso (COP).
    Flight time to Destination: From Miami, direct flights are only 3 hours.
    Getting around: Cartagena, Colombia can be easily explored on foot, especially within the Old Town, which is compact and pedestrian-friendly. Taxis are readily available and affordable for longer distances.

    Pro tip: Invite a honeymoon planning expert to join your vendor team. Browse travel agents near you on The Knot Marketplace for Cartagena honeymoon expertise, reviews, testimonials and more.

    Best Cartagena Honeymoon Hotels and Resorts

    When planning a honeymoon in Cartagena, Colombia, consider booking a boutique hotel within the Old Town for a truly romantic and historic atmosphere. Look for honeymoon packages that include special amenities like spa treatments, romantic dinners or private tours. Planning ahead for excursions to nearby islands like Isla Baru or the Rosario Islands can also add a memorable adventure to your Colombian honeymoon.

    View from the hotel deck featuring lounge chairs, palm trees, and views of the colorful buildings of downtown Cartagena.
    Photo: Casa San Agustin

    Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort

    The first luxury hotel on Isla Barú opened in December 2021 and couples are clamoring to experience it. Honeymooners will first take a private yacht ride from Cartagena, an easy and scenic 25-minute ride, to the luxurious resort. With 187 rooms and locally-sourced dining options, Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort also offers a range of relaxation activities. (That way, they can let go of all wedding planning stresses at this pristine destination.)

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Casa San Agustin

    Casa San Agustin is hands down one of the most romantic hotels in Cartagena. Situated within Old Town, it's also where you'll find Alma. But beyond the acclaimed restaurant, you'll also enjoy the historic and architecturally stunning digs, the pool, the rooftop bar and the daily teas. Book a suite with a balcony for a truly luxurious experience.

    5.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Sofitel Legend Santa Clara

    If, though, you'd rather stick with an international hospitality brand, opt for the much larger Sofitel Legend Santa Clara. It features more than a hundred guest rooms set within a 1600s convent and is filled with artwork. Plus, this hotel boasts the largest pool in the Old City, perfect for some afternoon relaxation. You're also a few steps away from the Caribbean Sea.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Pro tip: If you're looking for Cartagena accommodations that'll provide you more privacy or lower prices, you might also want to consider staying at a romantic Airbnb or VRBO.

    Cartagena Honeymoon Itinerary Ideas

    When it comes to romantic things to do on a Cartagena honeymoon, there really is a lot to choose from. Newlyweds will love exploring the streets of the Old Town, visiting historic sites like the Castillo de San Felipe and foodie couples will revel in the fresh and delicious local cuisine.

    Aerial shot of a stretch of Baru Beach with colorful buildings, boats, and crystal-clear waters.
    Photo: gastonr.greco | Shutterstock

    Explore the Walled City

    Most travelers spend the bulk of their time in Cartagena within the Walled City (sometimes also called the Old City or Old Town). If you stay within this historic neighborhood, your days will be teeming with gorgeous colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, delicious restaurants and tons of history.

    You can get a taste of this history at Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a historic fort where self-guided tours allow you to go at your own pace. Stroll through the plazas (Plaza San Pedro Clever and Plaza Santo Domingo are favorites) and spectate the landmark Clock Tower. Whatever you do, though, don't miss climbing atop the wall to take in the romantic sunset views and, for extra romance, hop aboard one of the horse-drawn carriages you'll see around the plazas, for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood.

    Savor the food scene

    Walking food tours are a favorite in Cartagena. Enjoy some of the city's best bites without doing a ton of restaurant research on your own (it is your honeymoon, after all). Plus, if you schedule your food tour for the beginning of your trip, you can find restaurants to revisit throughout the duration of your stay. One top eatery to consider is Alma, where you'll find fine cuisine accented by live music every evening.

    Fill your suitcase with souvenirs

    Shopping is a favorite activity for travelers in Cartagena, whether you're looking for luxury goods or local wares. Mercado Bazurto is a large local market filled with food vendors, so a nice spot to shop around lunchtime. For a mall atmosphere, try La Serrezuela, in the Walled City, where five stories of shops are set within the remains of a bullfighting ring. Bookworms will want to make tracks for Abaco Libros y Cafe, a colorful bookstore and coffee shop.

    Expand your exploration to the islands

    Don't just stay within the Walled City, though. Head further afield to explore Cartegena's islands by crossing the Bay of Cartagena. Baru and the Rosario Islands are just a quick boat ride away, and where you can find beautiful beaches surrounded by the Caribbean, as well as water sports like snorkeling. In fact, most honeymooners plan to spend a few extra days on the islands, either at the start or end of their trip.

    Getsemani is also a popular neighborhood filled with street art and hip restaurants and bars. Another popular day trip from the city is to El Totumo, a mud volcano where you're encouraged to take a dip in the warm mud.

    What to Pack for a Cartagena Honeymoon

    Smiling woman leads man off camera into a colorful plaza in Cartagena.
    Photo: Circle Creative Studio | Getty

    When it comes to packing your honeymoon luggage, couples will want to bring streetwear that can stand up to the heat. Cartagena is also known for its sultry nightlife, so suitable outfits for when you decide to enjoy the city's vibrant dining and dancing scene are a must-pack. If traveling during the summer months, add an umbrella and rain jacket to your packing checklist. Sunscreen, bug spray and sunglasses are all recommended as well.

    Brittany Barber contributed to this article.

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