Wedding Destination Spotlight: Cartagena, Colombia
30 Jul 2018 •7 min read
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Never considered having a wedding in Cartagena, Colombia? You might want to! After we visited this enchanting city, it's safe to say we've absolutely fallen in love with Colombia. Equally rich in history and beauty, Cartagena is one of the most unique and underrated destinations. Our team of editors have done all the research and pulled together a full list of the top reasons that Cartagena is a locale worth thinking about when planning your wedding, honeymoon, or just a quick romantic getaway.
Cartagena is a city like no other. Just a 5-hour flight from NYC, Cartagena, Colombia is a romantic getaway where you can walk through colorful and cobbled streets in the old city and make your way to the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean Sea. Just picture this: Gorgeous Spanish-colonial architecture and people dancing salsa in the streets; Cartagena will transport you to a place where the history and romance of Colombia meet the breathtaking waters of the Caribbean, making it the perfect wedding, honeymoon, and girls trip destination.
Whether honeymooners are looking to explore the walled city and relax on the beach, or soon-to-be-weds are looking for an affordable destination wedding locale, or with many historic chapels, Cartagena is a must to consider.
How to Get There
Only a 5-hour flight from NYC and a 2.5-hour flight from Miami, you're there. When you get there, it is only about a 10-minute drive from the airport to the city center for around $5. Uber and easy Taxi apps are available, which is ideal! Once you're in the city you can rent bikes, catch a cab, take a ferry to one of the surrounding islands, and pretty much walk to any destination. SO ideal.
Best Time To Visit
It is always warm in Colombia, so no matter when you’re planning your wedding, honeymoon, or bachelorette, you can expect it to be at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit. But be mindful that it's going to be pretty humid. So if you’re looking for warm and dry, the best time to travel is between December and April. As far as the rainy season goes, that will fall between May and November.
When the beaches get crowded in Cartagena with tourists, locals, and street vendors, you should visit the Baru and Rosario Islands in Nat Park. White powder sand and turquoise water is just a ferry ride away and you can enjoy the beach by getting a day pass at one of the many beautiful hotels that line the water. There is also a must-see beach on Tierra Bomba Island if you're looking for something closer. To avoid tourists altogether, try to plan your trip during off-peak months as the consistently warm weather will not be something to worry about when traveling.
Food, Food, Food!
Cartagena has a lot of restaurants that focus on gastronomy - particularly seafood. You'll definitely find an endless array of spots to choose from! From sipping a Lemonade de Coco at Cafe Del Mar, an outdoor bar that looks out onto the Caribbean Sea, to enjoying fresh ceviche at La Cevicheria, a favorite local spot, to fine dining at one of the many traditional Colombian cuisine restaurants--Cartagena is a city filled with culture that shines through their food.
Along with its food is the culture and liveliness that comes with the city of Cartagena. While roaming the streets, you will find people dancing to local musicians, both modern and traditional art in the museums and hidden within old churches that are perfect venues for weddings. Cartagena is also the home of an annual music, literature, and movie festival.
When it is winter everywhere else, it feels like summer in Cartagena, so it is the perfect escape from the cold and the best place to travel year to year round.
The city is so colorful, you'll be so inspired! Imagine bright Spanish-colonial houses in the Old Town, bougainvilleas draping from balconies (perfect Insta moments), and street vendors selling fresh fruit. It is a city meant to explore. Cartagena's beautiful churches also host many weddings year round, with its most famous chapels being Parroquia San Pedro Claver, Santo Domingo, and Santa Toribio.
Once in Cartagena, there are so many things to do. You can take a walking tour of the city or bike and explore the town on your own. You can rent a boat with friends to island hop and snorkel the beautiful beaches, and later get drinks and dance at the local salsa clubs. Whether you’re looking for fun in the sun, a bit of relaxation, or exploration of a romantic city, Cartagena is the ideal destination where the adventure is endless.
The best part about Cartagena is that it is very affordable as in the past years Colombia was a place travelers avoided driving rates down. Now that things have changed, it is a total tourist destination as people can stay in the hotels and dine for a total bargain. In Cartagena, you can have an amazing destination wedding, bachelorette party, or a honeymoon without worrying if whether that it is going to come at an extreme cost.
Although historical, Cartagena is a city of luxury. There are many hotels featuring amazing spas, beautiful wedding venues, and fine dining.
Where to Stay
The best place to stay in Cartagena, Colombia is Sofitel Legend Santa Clara - one of only 5 Legend hotels in the entire world. The hotel was named a Legend as it has over 100 years of history originally built as a convent dating back to 1621. The building still maintains many historical elements where you can discover secrets about every detail of the hotel when you stay. The perfect combination of traditional and modern, the hotel is the perfect blend of colonial architecture meets French luxury. The hotel even includes 4 iconic suites, each uniquely represented by a renowned Colombian artist. The building also hosts amazing restaurants, a beautiful first-class spa, and the biggest pool in any hotel in the walled city.
Photos Courtesy of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Where to Wed
Cartagena is a dream wedding destination. You can get married on the beach or at one of the local churches and hold your reception at one of the nearby hotels. Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is home to the city’s most beautiful Capilla del Convento chapel and ballroom that can hold up to 200 guests and is the perfect venue for your wedding reception.
With all the culture, amazing food, and of history you are sure to fall in love with Cartagena.