Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
4.5
Points of Interest & LandmarksCastles
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
Cartagena was always a desirable conquest for pirates and enemies of the Spanish Crown; and for this reason, the defense of the city from these threats was a question of priority for its inhabitants from the first decades of the existence of the city. Once the primitive nucleus of Cartagena and the outlying district of Getsemani were fortified, there was a need to erect a structure on San Lazaro Hill that would prevent an enemy attack from its peak, since the hill dominated the walls and the only entrance to the city, the Media Luna Entrance in Getsemani. In addition, this hill was the intermediate point between the city and the nearby Popa Peak, where some heavy guns and canons were installed between 1769 and 1780 to cross fire with the castle and make an enemy attack more difficult from the large beach of Playon Grande in Pie de la Popa.
Duration: < 1 hour
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  • Larry
    Cape Coral, Florida6 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    It’s a steep way up there but it’s worth it
    You could cover the entire castle in less than an hour (depending on your fitness level). The way up is steep but once you’re up there, you’ll have amazing views of the city and could take pictures with the big Colombian flag 🇨🇴. The tunnels were fun, definitely not for the claustrophobics, but try them out! There’s a souvenir shop with drinks and ice cream at the top but bring bottled water with you on the way up, you’ll need it.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 24, 2023
  • Albert B
    Cincinnati, Ohio395 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must Stop
    Try to time your visit (60-90 minutes) to a cooler part of the day. Pace yourself walking up inclines. Tunnels are interesting to explore. Snack bar and small gift shop will catch your attention. Visit a must for any one interest in history.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 29, 2023
  • Danuza
    Cambridge, Massachusetts951 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing place to visit
    Great place to visit and walk around. Beautiful views and interesting history. You can get there by doing the city tour hop in and out, or any other way. Definitively worth a visit. It is a nice area to walk around during the day.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 27, 2023
  • msa23_2000
    Chino Hills, California1,509 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    It’s an old fort that you can explore a little
    We went late in the afternoon, and it was very very hot. Consequently, they were not many people up there. You can walk around and get some great city views and also some great photos of the old wall. Make sure to wander down any of the stairs, and it feels like you’re going through catacombs at the bottom.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written July 2, 2023
  • 4NHTraveler
    New Hampshire225 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    History in Cartagena
    This castle is really cool. You can decide to take a guide or read the few information signs inside . When we went, it was very hot outside so we decided against a guide. A few people suggested that we should try to get more people and divide the cost of the guide among everyone in the group. My suggestion is to try to negotiate price if you’re blooming for a guide, as we were quoted at least 3 different prices to get a guide (cheaper was 100,000 pesos for 45 minutes (about $25). I think we probably would have gotten more out of the experience with a guide, but 45 minutes was a long time to my 17 year old so we passed.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 20, 2023
  • Abovetheclouds
    2,487 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Go as the sun is setting.
    This is lovely. Such a nice walk. Remember there is history here and not just about taking photographs. Best time to go is near when the sun is setting. Cooler. Walk, learn and enjoy the views. There are some information boards too. Wear flat shoes. It gets windy so watch hats. What is nice as the sun sets is the youngsters flying kites. With the sun setting in the background, these are magical moments and why we travel. A few street vendors around who will be pushing you to buy drinks!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written August 30, 2023
  • RICHARD B
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Grand San Felipe!
    The visit to the castle in Cartagena was amazing. Full of rich, history and incredible views from atop, the second highest point in Cartagena. Our guide Carlos was spectacular. He imported a wealth of information and knowledge and history, and was very thorough and complete information. Would definitely recommend this is a must see when in Cartagena. I especially loved going in the tiny, tunnels deep beneath the fort.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 11, 2023
  • Ron S
    Toronto, Canada504 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Huge Fort
    Our tour stop was fairly quick, enough to stretch our legs and take in the upwards view of this huge fort. Like all areas in Columbia, there were many gypsies hawking trinkets which made the attempt to enjoy the sights a bit bothersome. We wish we had more time to explore.
    Visited December 2022
    Traveled with family
    Written October 25, 2023
  • ajnavy04
    Denver, Colorado246 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must Visit in Cartagena
    This is a stunning piece of military engineering. A must visit spot if you're visiting Cartagena. I'd recommend visiting as part of a tour group since there is not much information available about the fort on site.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 27, 2023
  • Lia H
    Bogota, Colombia1,110 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    must do in Cartagena
    Wear comfortable shoes, bring a hat, and get ready for a nice workout. The place is filled with lots of history, beautiful sites, nice and windy up at the top. Buy the tickets at the bottom, where plenty of vendors will offer you water and tell you they don't sell water at the top. There is a cute little store when you reach the top, where they sell water, ice cream, fruit, and souvenirs! Lots of history to learn as well!
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 24, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles13,158 reviews
Excellent
6,717
Very good
4,685
Average
1,481
Poor
202
Terrible
73

Dutch0ven
Kingsport, TN17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
I use to live in Cartagena and have visited el Castillo many times. The first time was 24+ years ago where they use to let you see a whole lot more of the castle. What you will find now is worth the visit but is not as open as it used to be.

There are two main reasons to see it. Learn the history of the city and get great pictures. Nothing beats the modern Cartagena city backdrop with colonial architecture in the forefront. There's a few iconic places you'll have to stand in line to get pictures of but it's worth the wait.

Walking through the underground tunnels is pretty fun but a word of caution if you're claustrophobic. They are tight and muggy, poor airflow, so take caution.

Wear sunscreen, there is not a lot of shade and the light colored stone reflects quite a bit of heat. Buy the water bottles they sell at the entrance. You'll be glad you have them in about 40 mins of being there.

About 2 hours tops and you've seen it. If you want to pay for the tour guide it's up to you, most of what they say is not historically accurate but it's giving back to the local economy. I've found they charge anywhere between $10-$80 USD. Everything is negotiable.

When you're done, head down to Jumbo supermarket across the street, cool off and grab a maracuya at the smoothie shop in the food court.
Written September 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dwport
Melbourne, Australia19 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
A unique look into Spanish colonial history with this well-preserved fort. It dominates the landscape from a distance. When entering, at first appearance it gives the impression of not being much to it, but upon further exploration it really takes you back into time. Really recommend the labyrinthine tunnels. Also offers excellent views of Cartagena. We didn't take any of the offered tours. Tours in English were private only, no group option, and were quite expensive. It would be great if they had listening tours with headphones.
Written March 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GordonW318
Gloucester, UK1,242 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This is a must visit place.The Castillo de San Felipe is a very large fort built to protect the city from pirates. It is quite a steep climb to the entrance where there is a small fee to pay but well worth particularly for the views from the top.
Written January 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniel
Tegucigalpa, Honduras88 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Solo
I wouldn’t say this visit is exceptional, but a must see for a visit to Cartagena. Highly recommend water, sunscreen , and hat- I didn’t follow recommendations for an audio guide (so not sure how effective) but if you’re not participating with a guided tour, highly recommended. There’s not much depth wandering so the experience is “meh” except for the view- I love the contrast of the history against the modern city scape. The written signage is sparse and doesn’t truly highlight/communicate the rich history within the walls. Recommend doing your background research before arriving. Definitely arrive right when they home or later in day to catch the cooler weather. There are vendors with water at the entrance, but it’s also available right across the street if you forget before arriving. Enjoy!
Written January 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M S
Kissimmee, FL57 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
The English guided tour was definitely not worth it. First of all the guide spoke very poor English and seem to have limited knowledge of the complex. The guide was so bad, that we took a second tour in Spanish and it was quite a bit better. The first tour cost 70,000 pesos and was for two people, however the larger tour was for about 15 people and they didn’t refund the difference.
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lazza66
London, UK118 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
The views, history and tunnels make this 350+ year old fort well well worth the visit. Spent just over an hour, great way to start a Saturday in Cartegena. Entrance was 25,000 pesos (under US$10) per person.
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lexhuberts
Naples, FL12 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We arrived in the afternoon and asked to purchase the audio tour but they had none. Not sure why (there seemed only one place to obtain tickets etc.). The best part was a 20 minute video explaining the military rationale for the fort. There is a small building after you ascend from the entrance but it is easy to miss/not well marked. Traversing the Fort is also instructive, but displays and explanations are minimal imo. The structures may speak more to you if you read up a bit before making the journey to the castle/fort.
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

njcavalier
Chatham, NJ394 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
The Castillo is a magnificent fortress that sits on a hilltop overlooking Cartagena. The fortress, built to protect the city, affords wonderful views of the city. The batteries and parapets are well preserved, as are the labyrinthine tunnels within the fort. Part of the UNESCO Wirld Heritage Site that is the Old City of Cartagena, the fortress is well worth a visit. Practical advice: Visit with a knowledgeable guide, perhaps as part of a tour of the Old City, to maximize your understanding of the rich history of the fortress and the city. And be forewarned: The climb up the hill to the fortress and its parapets is steep and not for those with mobility problems. But if you can, make the climb.
Written April 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Liliana A
Windsor, Canada4 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022 • Family
Came with my four kids. We came early in the morning (8am) , as we didn’t want too much heat. We didn’t get a guide, I thought $100.000 cp for 45 min was too much… Then I realized I would love to have someone telling us the history of the place because otherwise you are just walking around aimlessly, as there are no many signs to read lol the views are nice, and it wasn’t crowded at that time.
Written March 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cam8880
Jensen Beach, FL506 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We arrived promptly at 8 am when they opened. Saturday it's open 8-12. You must buy admission tickets. There is no audio available presently so we decided to get a guide. The Castillo itself is an immense fortification made by slaves from coral stone in 1647. There is much history associated with Cartagena both surviving and falling to invaders over time. The fort plays a big part. Unfortunately you will not gain near enough information from your guide--English is passable; history is limited. We learned far more from Miguel at the Naval Museum! What the guide IS good for is showing you the secret passages, tunnels that end in a "mousetrap" and saving you many steps in the heat. We were finished in an hour and a half. Lovely Views from atop!
Written February 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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