If you're a history buff who wants to learn more about the European colonial period, then look no further than Cartagena in Colombia. One of the more historically rich ports on a Panama Canal cruise, shore excursions in this city will give you plenty of insight into a bygone era.
At one point in time, Cartagena could be considered the seat of power for Spain in South America. The Spanish empire used the port to transfer much of the wealth they had accumulated throughout colonies back to Europe. Today, Cartagena has launched into the modern era, with parts of the city looking similar to many other destinations around the globe. Fortunately, the colonial Spanish architecture and other features of the old Cartagena has been preserved in many areas.
For a prime example of this, pay a visit to the Caragena's beautiful Old City, which is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area of town looks exactly as it did many years ago, and the impressive walls surrounding it, known as Las Murallas, were once Cartagena's only fortification. Be sure to visit Las Bovedas, a row of former dungeons located within. These historic buildings have since been converted to function as charming shops and restaurants.
Of course, not everything worth seeing in Cartagena is located in the Old City. You won't want to miss the Cartagena Cathedral, a beautifully constructed church, and the Palacio de la Inquisicion, which has since been converted into a museum.