One of the most photogenic cities in the Caribbean
Cobbled streets, balconies overflowing with blooming bougainvillea and pastel-colored buildings lining elegant plazas make Cartagena in Colombia one of the Caribbean's most photogenic cities, and a memorable stop on an MSC Caribbean and Antilles cruise.
Founded in 1533, this Spanish colonial city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is steeped in history. Its location made it a popular target for plunderers and English pirates, and arguably features the most impressive collection of forts in the Caribbean. Today the city is quick to share its treasures with modern visitors. Magnificent colonial structures such as the 16th-century Santa Catalina Cathedral, with its striking stuccoes and dome tower, and the three-arch clock gate, the Torre del Reloj, are just two of the many landmarks of this enchanting city dotted with many squares and sidewalk cafés.
A wonderful photo stop on our Cartagena City MSC excursion is the San Felipe de Barajas fortress, a marvel of colonial Spanish military engineering, begun in 1536. Slaves labored for more than 120 years to erect this fortress—built on high ground with dominating approaches to the city by land and sea to fend off pirates—and its network of tunnels.
On another MSC excursion, enrich your palate as learn about the rich aromas and flavors of Colombian coffee. Introduced by the Jesuits in 1723, coffee quickly became a key crop in Colombia, which is now one of the top producers of Arabica coffee in the world.
Colombia is also the world’s top producer of emeralds. If jewelry and gems fascinate you, learn all about these green precious stones and make your own emerald-studded jewelry in sterling silver in a hands-on MSC excursion that guides you step-by-step.
You don’t need to go far to explore nature. An MSC excursion takes you by canoe through mangrove tunnels to Ciénaga de la Virgen, where you can witness a diversity of birds from kingfishers and white herons to pelicans and pink-feathered roseate spoonbills.