During my last stay of 45 days in Cartagena de Indias, I had the opportunity to experience a chill and fun Cartagena bike tour. Thanks to this post, you should be able to decide if it’s a tour for you and how to book it.
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Cartagena bike tour: Overview
- Price: < than 26 USD
- Duration: 2 hours
- Difficulty: easy
- Type: shared tour
- Where: Walled city & Getsemaní
- My opinion: A leisurely bike ride among street arts, colonial houses, and churches of Cartagena, combined with some historical explanations.
- Book it here (Free cancellation).
Cartagena bike tour: the itinerary
At 4 pm, Gustavo opens the way towards the Castillo San Felipe. It is quite a challenge to pass the bridge and the intersection among the cars. In Cartagena, the road is a bit like the jungle. The bigger you are, the less you are bothered.
I’m a short bearded man on a bike. I’m like an ant.
Castillo San Felipe
Fortunately, we only need 5 min to reach the fortress.
Because of Cartagena’s shallow waters, pirates used to attack from the land. San Felipe’s purpose was to block their advance and prevent the attackers from using their cannon to fire on the wall.
Then we head to Getsemaní, passing by the famous walls that protect the old city.
Getsemaní is a colorful neighborhood full of life, mixing tourists and locals.
The ride through this neighborhood is short – about 20 minutes. The idea is to get a feel for the atmosphere before heading to the historic center (El Centro).
I follow Gustavo down the street with the colorful umbrellas (you must have seen the pictures) and stop at the Plaza Trinidad. This is a well-known area to enjoy in the early evening, and it played an essential role in the independence of Cartagena.
El Centro is part of the Old Walled City.
It was the wealthiest part of Cartagena. It has the tallest buildings, with doors wide enough to let the carriages in.
On the way, Gustavo shows us the most important monuments: The Clock Tower, The Palace of the Inquisition, La Gorda de Botero, Sanctuary of San Pedro Claver, Bolivar.
San Diego is next to El Centro. This is my favorite neighborhood for colorful walls and flowering balconies.
As the night begins to fall, we ride through the alleys, slamming between the occasional horse-drawn carriages.
The area is quieter than El Centro, and many travelers forget to visit it.
After 1h45 on the road, it’s time to return to Getsemaní and leave our bicycle at the office.
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Why book this Bike tour in Cartagena, Colombia
Is this an experience for you?
I like the feeling of being on a bike. You feel powerful, with the wind refreshing you from the humid climate of Cartagena.
Also, the city is flat. You won’t sweat!
Last but not least, the agency had a good idea to start this tour at 4 pm.
It’s a fun tour
Not all travelers love in-depth explanations.
During this bike tour, you will make a dozen stops to understand the core of Cartagena’s history — but they won’t last more than 5 min!
You’ll also realize how easy it’s to wander between the different areas of the walled city. You’ll get a quick glimpse of the district’s vibes and can decide which one you like the most.
The owners put their heart into it
Hernando and Dalys started this adventure 8 years ago by renting bicycles in front of their house in the Getsemaní neighborhood. Every day they listen to the recommendations of travelers to improve the bikes and their tours.
Nowadays, they use bikes called “playeras.” The saddles are wide and comfortable, and there are no gears to shift.
Every night, Hernando checks them to make sure the brakes and chains are well oiled.
Excellent English guides
In 8 years, the agency worked with many tour guides. Hernando and Dalys now have a solid selection of the best bilingual guides in Cartagena.
Our guide Gustavo spoke perfect English.
Get a flowery bike
Travelers who love to take pictures will be delighted to choose this option. The front basket is filled with colorful flowers. It stands out well in the photos.
Who won’t like this bike tour
Cartagena is not a bike-friendly city.
You’ll have to navigate between people and vehicles – and don’t count on their kindness to let you pass. It’s the jungle!
You never go very fast during this tour. There are even several moments where you will have to push your bike. So it’s easy to avoid everyone.
However, if you’re not comfortable riding your bicycle, you might have a few cold sweats.
Also, don’t book this bike tour, hoping you’ll get tons of explanations about Cartagena. The main goal is to explore the city!
Private or shared tour?
You always get better attention when you book a private tour. However, you’ve to be ready to pay a higher price.
If you can’t afford it, then this option is ideal.
Not many people book bike tours in Cartagena —when I did this tour, we were 4 in total (+ the tour guide).
And the minimum number of people required is 1! Which means you are guaranteed to make it.
The bottom line
If you want a tour that allows you to discover the different areas of the old city quickly, then this Cartagena bike tour will suit you perfectly. The flat streets and short distances make it accessible for most travelers. However, it would help if you were not afraid of traffic and pedestrians.
Last tips for enjoying this experience:
- I would recommend skipping Castillo San Felipe. You won’t have to deal with the traffic jams, and you’ll have more time to spend in the historic center.
- Bring sneakers rather than flip-flops.
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