Founded in 1533, CARTAGENA was the Caribbean gateway port used by the Spanish to store riches plundered from the interior before shipment to Spain. Naturally, the city was a tempting target for buccaneers and pirates, who attempted to seize it many times. Most notable was Sir Francis Drake, the English privateer, who accepted payment of 10 million pesos in 1586 in return for not levelling the city. Subsequently, plans were made to fortify the city and work on the defensive walls began. These centuries-old walls still stand today and mark the boundary between the old and new parts of town. Now a World Heritage Site and redolent with bygone derring-do, the Old Town is fairy-tale perfect with cobbled alleys, overhanging balconies dripping bougainvillea and massive churches casting shadows over the plazas. Cartagena's rich history, diverse culture and vibrant energy will delight you. Passionate and dynamic, Cartagena mixes African rhythms and indigenous soul with Spanish colonial splendour in an intoxicating cultural cocktail. You will fall in love with this amazing destination!