San Felipe de Barajas Castle, Cartagena

4.4
Wander the mighty fortifications of San Felipe de Barajas Castle, which played a crucial role in protecting gold shipped back to Spain by conquistadors in the New World. Originally completed in 1536 and expanded twice in the 17th and 18th centuries, the complex system of bunkers, batteries, and parapets represents one of the most formidable accomplishments in the history of Spanish military architecture. Walk the walls, explore the maze-like network of tunnels that links the different parts of the fort, and enjoy panoramic views from its highest point. You'll find little written information throughout the castle, so rent an audio guide if you want to learn about its history. Plan my day in Cartagena using traveler tips and tourist information provided by Inspirock.
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San Felipe de Barajas Castle Reviews
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4.5
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  • A reference to historical and in theory is a must, but I disagree. Its splendor and Majesty looks better from afar and shuts down on its interior. Required only if you're a fan of history
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  • It is America's largest Spanish fortress, so it is worthwhile to know it. Go early in the morning or ending the evening.
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  • I don't know about you but we were looking forward to a resort town to relax and expected it would be quite mundane. How wrong we were?! Cartagena is where the Caribbean meets South American culture -...  more »
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  • Huge fortress, well preserved. Lots out on the open,so suncream and water needed. You can get an English audio tour which adds a little more than the pretty detailed map they give you on entry. The video in multi languages in the hospital hut is air-conditioned and pretty good to understand the fort's history
  • Amazing castle and history. Very good explanations on the audio guide. I really enjoyed, but I recommend only for the people really interested in castles and history because the visit is long (3 H if you visit and listen everything) and the most part is under the sun. Go early in the morning. Possible to get there on foot. 30 min from the old town by walking.
  • Very interesting historical landmark. Read the Wikipedia page ahead of time: they'll hand you a leaflet that is only moderately interesting. If you're staying in the walled city, I'd recommend walking to the castle. Some blocks are slightly questionable, but there are some murals in the Street of the Turtles that are interesting. Make sure to check out the sculpture of the Old Shoes, right behind the castle, before you leave (it is in a square just outside of the castle, so you'll need to exit the castle first). Try to go when the sun isn't very strong; most of the time you'll be outside.
  • Fantastic place if you are into history and want to experience it first hand. Although, considering the high entry fee and the fact that it's considered a world heritage site, they could have done a much better job in preserving it and making it engaging for tourists. Lots of potential being wasted in here. Pd: go when the sun is low if you don't wanna roast!
  • Very cool, lots of little passageways and tunnels to explore. Animated history video. Little shop. Great 360° views of the city. Worth a visit for around $8 entry fee.

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Where to stay in Cartagena

Despite its status as a major tourist hub, Cartagena offers a good choice of affordable places to stay. If you're looking to splurge, consider staying at one of the town's restored colonial-era buildings, which now house boutique hotels packed with modern amenities. Alternatively, several old monasteries in Cartagena's walled colonial district offer outstanding facilities at very high prices. Budget-conscious travelers can explore the many mid-range hotels and low-cost hostels clustered in Getsemani, an up-and-coming neighborhood and center of the backpacker scene.
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