Take a step back in time with colonial Cartagena

One of the many charms of Cartagena de Indias is that you feel as though you're leaving the 21st century behind. Thanks to the city's beautifully well-preserved historic center, visiting Cartagena de Indias is like traveling back in time.

Recognizing colonial Cartagena is easy, as it's surrounded by walls that trace the outline of the old city.

Visiting colonial Cartagena is such a remarkable experience that Gabriel García Márquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, once said that he was reborn after visiting for the first time.

Don't forget to take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the colonial homes that once housed viceroys and colonists as you tour the iconic monuments of the historic center.

One monument you should add to your list of stops is the Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower), a colonial-era jewel considered one of the most beautiful of its kind by BBC Travel.

After stopping at the Torre del Reloj, you can visit the Portal de los Dulces. The Portal, where you can enjoy a number of local sweets, is located right next to the tower.

After satisfying your sweet tooth, head over to the Parroquia San Pedro Claver, a church that dates back to 1603. The church is known for once being the home of a Jesuit priest who dedicated his life to the protection of slaves.

The next stop on your tour of colonial Cartagena is the Zenú Gold Museum, which is charged with the conservation of many pieces of Pre-colombian goldwork. Then you should visit Las Bóvedas, a beautiful building constructed with many arcs and domes, which is located between the Santa Clara and Santa Catalina forts. It's the perfect place to purchase charming artisanal works and local antiquities.

Finally, you can wrap up your tour with a visit to the fabulous Plaza de Santo Domingo which, while it retains the colonial appearance of the city, is also the focal point for a number of bars and restaurants where you can have fun, relax, and sip a refreshing cocktail or sample some of Cartagen's varied cuisine.

This trip can be made on foot at any time; however, we suggest that you try it again at night, in a horse-drawn carriage. This romantic experience will give you a taste of the beauty and perfection that colonial Cartagena has to offer.

But your date with history wouldn't be complete without a visit to the iconic Castillo de San Felipe, which is the largest military building constructed by the Spanish Crown in America.

Explore tunnels, galleries, and escape routes that will take you back in time to discover the thrilling past of colonial Cartagena. More than just a history lesson, visiting the Castillo de San Felipe will make your stay in Colombia truly unforgettable.