Tourism has always been important for Cartagena's development and today nearly a quarter of the local economy comes from the tourism industry.
In recent years the return of cruise ships and the explosion of investment in hotels and restaurants in the old town and surrounding areas has multiplied radically the industry's impact on the city but at the same time has brought into sharp focus the difficult task of balancing the needs of the local population and those of visitors.
Privilege is a word that has resonated in Cartagena since it was founded in 1533 and for This is Cartagena the word carries with it serious social responsibilities that can't be ignored.
Beyond the picturesque and luxurious surroundings of the walled city and the beach districts to the north, there is another Cartagena that has been affected by many of Colombia's most recent difficulties.
Large displaced populations on the outskirts of the city live a very different reality to that lavished on visitors to the luxury hotels and restaurants in the centre.
By visiting, eating, drinking and being merry - especially when tipping the table staff generously - you are helping the city to progress but at This is Cartagena we are keen to promote the holy trinity of environmental integrity, social justice and economic development within the local community.
Working with important stakeholders such as the Alcaldia de Cartagena, Corporacion de Turismo and key non-government organisations promoting social and environmental programs we hope to move towards a responsible model for the city's tourist development.
Do Your Bit
Whether that means saving on water, turning off the air conditioning, or being more aware of a company's social responsibilities we hope to celebrate and honour the businesses and visitors that go further to create a healthy tourist industry that benefits everyone in the city.
If as a visitor or a local business you are interested in doing more (and there is plenty more that needs to be done) there are many opportunities to work to improve the lot of the majority of the local population living below the poverty line.
For those looking to leave their mark beyond simply offering generous tips you can find a number of worthy causes to donate to or to support by offering your time here. We will be creating a listing of those people looking for volunteers and the city needs YOU!
Send Us Your Good News
This is Cartagena aspires to act as an agent for change. There are some inspirational stories to be told and we want to tell them. If you have a story you would like to share please contact our editorial team.
There are many local non-government organisations addressing the serious issues that still affect many of Cartagena's more marginalised communities: poor sanitation, gang violence, drug abuse, child prostitution, underage pregnancies, child malnutrition and many other social problems.
This is Cartagena believes the tourism industry has an obligation to help eliminate these problems by creating a less socially exclusive, more sustainable model for the city's development.
Not far from the five-star hotels of the historic centre there are people living in the most basic of conditions.
Do your best to leave more behind than just your rubbish and a big carbon footprint.
Here are a few of the people we work with to to maximise the economic impact of the tourism industry at a local level and minimize the damage it has on the environment.
Responsible Travel "Travel like a Local"
Give our on the ground team a little more information about what you are looking for and when you are looking to do it. Our travel team will take care of the rest.