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To protect this key trading center on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, 6SDLQ IRUWL¿HG &DUWDJHQD E\ surrounding it with fortress walls that are up to 20 feet thick. Today Cartagena is a draw for tourists who may enjoy joining locals in drinking rum, dancing and basking in the tropical sun.
When you visit Plaza de Bolívar in the Old City, you can relax under majestic trees. Facing the plaza is the Palace of the Inquisition, a museum that displays instruments of torture used during Spain’s Inquisition. It makes for a fascinating yet disturbing visit.
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is a complex of batteries, tunnels and hiding places that were built from stone to ensure that no enemy could survive an assault on Cartagena. The tunnels were constructed so that any sound would echo loudly enough to alert guards. Now the fort is open to visitors who wish to walk through a piece of history.
However, Cartagena also has its fair share of luxury. Most notable is Bocagrande, several minutes from town by taxi, which boasts a beach, resort hotels, restaurants and nightclubs.