Cartagena portor Puerto de Cartagena is a port of call for ships of many cruise lines such as Princess, Fred Olson, Thomson, and Oceana. Due to the increased efforts of the government of Madrid to transform its major naval port of Cartagena into a tourist destination, this port city is now in the process of being reborn. This port city has served as the capital of the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Department of the Mediterranean from the time the Spanish Bourbons set foot here around the 18th century. Currently, works are on to open two new museums in Cartagena, and the Rafael Moneo (the Pritzker-prize winning architect) has been roped in to make magic with a new visitor center. The Cartagena cruise terminal is quite close to the San Javier International Airport and a short cab ride will suffice to reach the port from the airport. The climate of the region is predominantly warm and semi-arid.
Many European retail shops are lined up against the streets of Cartagena town. There is a balanced mix of cafes, bars, and traditional shops that serve the famous crespillos—mini appetizers baked with salt and pepper. Espacio Mediterraneo is considered to be shopper’s heaven with its cool interiors that house art, sports, food, and beer shops, and an impressive casino. If you are looking for a shop with reasonably priced goods, head over to Blanco, which frequently holds sales on clothing and accessories. Shopping around the town is quite refreshing; all you need to do is keep in mind the timings followed by the shops: 10:00 to 13:30 (siesta time) and 17:00 to 21:00.
Things to See
The Templo de la Musica of Cartagena is inspired by the Temple of Love and Music in Versailles. The painter-turned architect Francisco Salazar got a wooden kiosk demolished to construct this temple. Earlier, the site of an arena in Cartagena was covered up with houses. Later on, when the unstable blocks of houses were pulled out, the underlying arena was uncovered. The center for all archaeology-based activities of the city is the Municipal Archaeological Museum and has an impressive collection of inscriptions. The Museum Roman Theater came into the limelight as a result of a chance discovery made in 1987. According to the inscriptions in this structure, it dates back as late as the 1st century B.C.
Restaurants and Bars
Right opposite the entrance to Puerto Pesquero Santa Lucia is the Restaurant “des Pescadores.” Many local inhabitants prefer to dine here due to the delicious seafood menu offered. Tourists often prefer dining at Jose Maria Los Churrascos, at Avenida Filipas, as its food—especially, the fish—is always delectable; further, the staff is very well-mannered, efficient, and helpful. Techosbajos—very close to the Restaurant “des Pescadores,” is crowded with local inhabitants on all Fridays. The service is impeccable and three different sizes of tapas are available. The seafood here is always appreciated by those who get a chance to taste it.
If alternate music is what you like to jive to, go to Stereo. A group of DJs take turns to play their favorite music and put on new shows each week. The most famous bar in Cartagena is Tris Tras, which plays a nonstop selection of good blues music.