Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 - Cartagena de Indias - is the jewel in the crown of the country's largely untouched Caribbean coastline.
It's not difficult to see why Cartagena de Indias is the most visited town in Colombia, outside the capital, Bogotá.
An exuberant city on the northern coast of Colombia, steeped in history, soaked in Caribbean sunshine and with an abundance of cultural activities to soak up when you've had enough of sun and sand, Cartagena is the hottest destination on the planet.
A population of 892,545 makes Cartagena the fifth-largest city in Colombia but annually 6.5 million visitors fill the place with the joys of the summer holidays.
The city's colonial architecture provides the perfect backdrop to regular cultural festivals, idyllic celebrations and weddings and a laid-back atmosphere to do business.
Different cultures of indigenous peoples have inhabited the area around the privileged Bay of Cartagena since 4,000 bc but it was the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century and the pillaging of gold throughout the Americas that really put the city on the map.
Named after the southern city of Cartagena, Spain, Cartagena de Indias served a key role in the development of the region during the Spanish conquering of South America.
As a centre for political and economic activity, its sumptuous colonial mansions housed royalty and wealthy viceroys growing rich off the slave trade and trade between Europe and the Indies.
The city played an important part in Colombia's struggle to overthrow Spanish rule with the first cries of independence coming from the Plaza de la Santisima Trinidad in Getsemani.
During the Republican period Cartagena's importance waned as Bogotá and Medellin grew in stature.
By 1984, Cartagena's colonial walled city and fortress was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site after important lobbying by Nobel Laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The move has attracted significant investment in its colonial heritage in the last 25 years with Cartagena's Historic Centre now some of the most expensive real estate in Latin America.
Modern-day Cartagena has become something of a millionaire's playground attracting a globe-trotting mix of flashpackers and backpackers determined to sample the local beaches, soak up the history and eat, drink and be merry.
Louis Vuitton's Marc Jacobs, Charlie Sheen, the hell-raiser with tiger blood and Nobel Laureate, Mario Vargas Llosa are all equally at home in the city's spending surroundings.
Finally, Cartagena is a safe city despite everything you will have read about Colombia in the media but as they say here 'no da papaya', which makes little sense translated directly but means don't leave things lying around or make it easy for someone who wants to rob a tourist.
If you do have problems Cartagena has the following consulate offices here to help.
AUSTRIA | Edificio Chambacu Business Center, 6th Floor, T 664 8490, email@example.com
BRASIL | Cabrero, Calle Real del Cabrero, Cra. 2 No. 41-29; T 665 6064, firstname.lastname@example.org
BELGIUM | Bocagrande, Edificio Vina del Mar, Cra 6 N 6-57, Apto 1201, T 655 0187
CANADA | Bocagrande, Carrera 3, # 8-129; T 665 5583
Edificio Punta Gigante, oficina 201, Santo Domingo, No. 33-08, Tel.: 57 (5) 664-7393
ECUADOR | Centro, Calle Gastelbondo, Edif. Santo Domingo L. 1; T 664 2575
FRANCE | Centro, Parque Fernandez Madrid; T 660 0167
GREAT BRITAIN | Chambacu, Edificio Inteligente, Carrera 13B No. 26-78, Of. 416, T 664 7590, email@example.com
ITALIA | Bocagrande, Av. San Martin, 9-45, Of. 901, T 665 3962
MÉXICO | Manga, Av. 3a No.21-205; T 660 5742
PANAMÁ | Bocagrande, Cra. 1A No.10-10 Hotel Decameron; T 665 7601
SPAIN | Centro, Claustro Santo Domingo No. 2-34; T 664 0904
USA | (57 5) 664 9375 (No Consular Services. For these services you need to contact the office in Barranquilla - Calle 77B, No. 57-141, Piso 5, Centro Empresarial Las Americas, T (5) 353 2001)
VENEZUELA | Bocagrande, Cra. 3 No. 8-129; T 665 0382
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