The colourful Caribbean port of Cartagena is a true colonial gem. The Unesco-protected walled city enchants visitors with its well-preserved colonial architecture and is one of the finest on the continent. Old Spanish fortifications, historic convents, beautiful churches, winding alleyways, stunning mansions with overhanging flower-filled balconies and small attractive plazas are best explored on foot. Lovingly restored colonial houses open their doors as charming boutique hotels and retain some of their original frescos and ironwork. Day trips to the nearby Rosario islands with crystal-clear waters and coral reefs can also be arranged.