Plaza de Los Coches is in the city’s Central square and was a meeting place for slaves on market days. Today it is the horse drawn carriages that wait there for tourists who wish to take a ride through the historic center. Nighttime is something not to be missed with the colonial facades lit up after sunset and when the cobbled streets fill with the sounds of jazz, and traditional dance groups perform. In the evening the popular “Portal de los Dulces” offers a huge variety of “cocadas" (coconut candies), milk candies and fruit caramels.
Plaza San Pedro Claver is named in honor of the work he did on behalf on the slaves sold in Cartagena de Indias which was a major slave port at the time. The imposing church of the same name bears witness to the way this area has been embellished over the years. Today it is surrounded by souvenir shops, jewelery stores, restaurants and the Modern Art Museum. Curious wrought iron figures are arranged around the square and represent the everyday life in Cartagena: you can have your pictures taken with a “Palenquera” (colorfully dressed woman usually selling fruit from a basket carried on her head), or with a “raspado” seller, a combination of crushed ice, fruit flavors, and condensed milk.
This is a charming corner of the city, even more beautiful at sunset when the whole area is engulfed in a golden light. It has direct access to the “Parque la Marina” plus a beautiful view of the ocean and other parts of the walled town.
Cartagena at night becomes even livelier thanks to the bars, musicians, theater groups, storytellers and other artists that wonder around the square after nightfall and that’s without counting the restaurants, jewelry stores, and coffee shops that are open from early morning; just one of the focal points of the walled city in terms of entertainment. Two of the attractions not to be missed are the historic Santo Domingo’s Church, and the statue of “La Gorda Gertrudis” by the Colombian artist, Fernando Botero.