Castillo San Felipe de Barajas in Cartagena, Colombia

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Cartagena is a city steeped in rich history as shown by its architecture and remnants from colonial times. One of these hard-to-miss remnants is Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, built by the Spaniards during the colonial era. If you’re planning a trip to Cartagena, a visit to the fortress should be on your itinerary.

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is the greatest fortress the Spaniards ever built in any of their colonies. It’s easy to see why. The fortress strategically covers the San Lázaro hill, an ideal location to defend against attacks by land and sea. Today, the fortress is an iconic part of Cartagena and dominates the cityscape. Plus, who doesn’t want to pretend they’re on the set of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie?

When you arrive at the fortress, you’ll pay an entrance fee and climb the various walkways to the top. Along the way, explore the labyrinth of tunnels that are open to the public – it’s an eerie walk not to be missed. The views from the top of the fortress are panoramic and stunning. Like many places in Cartagena, however, exhibits in English are minimal. You can purchase an audio guide at the entrance for an additional charge. For more tips and ideas on what to see and do in Cartagena, be sure to check out this travel guide here.

Know Before You Go

Address: Avenida Arevalo, Pie de la Popa, Cartagena, Colombia

Hours of Operation: Monday-Sunday from 8am-6pm

Food: Take water with you to stay hydrated as you make your way through the fortress. There is a small store at the top selling souvenirs and snacks, like cold popsicles.

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas


  1. December 19, 2016 / 2:42 am

    That is a really big fortress! Is the entire thing open to the public?

    • December 19, 2016 / 8:23 pm

      The fortress is massive and most of it is open to the public (except for a couple of underground tunnels)!

  2. December 19, 2016 / 9:33 am

    As a history teacher, I love touring old forts. You’re right about staying hydrated. There is usually never any shade, and you can get so hot quickly!

  3. December 22, 2016 / 1:11 am

    These are wonderful pictures from the fort. So sharp and clear. My favourite is the one of the wheel.

  4. December 22, 2016 / 1:58 am

    loved your post. Definitely somewhere I would like to visit when i’ll be in Colombia. Mention of Entrance fee cost would be useful 🙂

  5. December 24, 2016 / 2:23 pm

    Great photos thank you for sharing, good information makes me want go there

  6. Brown Gal Trekker
    December 25, 2016 / 10:48 am

    Cartgena is an attractive city. I do recall this place but didn’t have the time to enjoy it unfortunately. Gorgeous photos!

  7. December 25, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    This place looks amazing! And that view over the city 😮
    Would you recommend going in the morning to beat the afternoon sun – or will it not make a big difference?

    • January 1, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      I highly recommend visiting the castillo and if you go in the morning, the sun won’t be as strong. Cartagena is constantly hot and humid though, so be sure to stay hydrated!

  8. December 26, 2016 / 6:24 pm

    Beautiful pictures you have there… We have been to this place and I can confirm it is worth a vist. As is whole Cartagena. 🙂

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