7 Things to Do with Teenagers in Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia is a great place for traveling with teenagers and young adults! There are so many fun things to do. I spent 10 days there recently with my two kids (ages 15 and 21) and they enjoyed it so much! My kids especially loved the street food, and a number of experiences that we booked. Here are seven of their favorite experiences that we had in Cartagena, Colombia.
- Ride horses in the ocean
We signed up for an experience with Horse Cartagena Tours, that included a demonstration about the paso fino horses, which are a Colombian breed prized for its rhythmic gait. In fact, this gait and their sensitivity to the rider make them very easy to ride. The most challenging part was that riding them in the ocean was a bit hard since the waves and uneven ground threw me off balance. The experience we did included a mini photo shoot which was nice since my kids hate having their picture taken. Some members of our group felt that there was too much focus on photos but I’m sure you can negotiate that part. The beach is located about 20 minutes north of Cartagena.
2. Take a cooking class
The cooking class at Lunático was fabulous! The space is beautiful, the instructor was wonderful and the food was among my favorite on the trip. Lunático offers all sorts of activities, but the cooking class was my favorite. We also had a rum and chocolate tasting experience there which was delicious! We spent about 3 hours learning to make yam soup, beef and coconut rice, ceviche and dessert. It was super fun and my daughter loved it. They offer a morning market tour in conjunction with the class as well.
3. Take a salsa dance class
We signed up for a class through Airbnb, and the class was also run through Lunático (your one stop shop) . The class was just an hour and included drinks. You do not need to have any experience to take this class! If you want a class that is a bit more advanced try Crazy Salsa School. I took an intermediate class there and it was fabulous!
4. Go to Palenque
This was my kids’ favorite experience of all! We went with CTG Connections, a local and Black-owned business. The drive is a bit long (about 2 hours from Cartagena depending on traffic), but it was so nice to get out of the city and to learn about the history of the first community started by escaped slaves in the Americas. The experience here is very hands-on–you will pound grain, learn some of the language (a mix of Spanish, African languages and Creole), and all about herbal medicine. Your tour ends with a delicious meal! Get the fish!
5. Enjoy some beach time
We went to two beaches – Baru Island and Makani Beach Club. We went to Baru Island as part of a sailing day with Boating Cartagena. It was a great day all around, and my kids enjoyed relaxing on the boat. Baru island however is busy and the locals working there can be very persistent trying to sell you massages and hair braiding. Makani Beach Club is a very peaceful alternative. You will get picked up in Bocagrande by a private boat and enjoy a more luxurious and private experience. The food, drink and pools were amazing, plus the beach access. Well worth the cost!
6. Take a street food tour
Who doesn’t love to eat? Food is the one thing that is certain to get my kids out of bed. We took a street food tour our first full day in Cartagena with Cartagena Connections and it was super fun! The pacing was nice, we tasted lots of different samples of delicious street food and learned the history of the neighborhoods from a local. Highly recommend it!
7. Just explore
My kids loved walking around the walled city where we stayed and enjoying the street food, cafes and buying souvenirs. The walled city and Getsemani are very safe to walk around in and they could even go by themselves (together). They even got to practice their Spanish that they’ve been learning in school. In terms of safety, I would suggest that kids have their own secure belt bag, cross body bag or fanny pack to hold money.
Other tips for traveling with older kids:
-I always make sure they can hold their own money. I hate carrying their stuff!
My son liked this one https://amzn.to/43M6WFn
My daughter went for a purse like this. https://amzn.to/43liXBD
-My rule is they have to order food in the language of the country we are in and try to speak the language
-We have ATT, which is great for talk and text in latin America – no additional charge!
-I planned just one event a day, most were just a few hours and only some were full day. That gives everyone free time to relax or explore.
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