Parades, concerts, and a whole lot of revelry is what can be expected in Cartagena from the 9th through the 13th November as they celebrate their Day of Independence. On 11th November 1811, after 10 years of struggle, Cartagena de Indias became only the second South American city to become independent from Spain, marking a milestone in the region. It was until that point the most important port on the continent through which traversed the riches of the Spanish Crown.
Today, though, Cartageneros and tourists will come together to enjoy five days of non-stop festivities. It is the hope of the Mayor of Cartagena and the Governor of Bolívar that these holidays will be declared an Intangible Heritage of the Nation, turning it into one of the most significant events on the Colombian calendar.
Local and tourists will enjoy 5 days of revelry in the Walled City / Photo by Daytours4u
Wednesday, 9th November. Desfile de Fantasía (Fantasy Parade). Taking place in Plaza de la Aduana, this spectacle honours Colombian writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez; the father of magical realism.
Thursday, 10th November: Desfile en Vestido de Baño (Swimwear Parade). Held in Las Tenazas, this procession features the Queen of Independence contestants and closes with a concert in which both local and national artists will perform.
Friday, 11th November: Batalla de Flores (Battle of Flowers) is a show that represents the historical and cultural value of Cartagena. 10 public spaces from around the various neighbourhoods of the city have been selected to host “El Remate de la Independencia”: a celebration of popular Colombian music.
Saturday, 12th November: Parade of the candidates for the Queen of Independence by the Cuerpos de Agua: a collection of lagoons, canyons, and marshes of the region. Parades in these places are meant to reflect the environmental commitment and social responsibility of the candidates. The day will culminate with the Desfile de la Diversidad Sexual (Parade of Sexual Diversity)
Sunday, 13th November: Cabildo de Getsemaní, a traditional parade of disguises that alludes to the independence from the neighbourhood where the liberation of Cartagena was born. The parade will finish in the Chiquinquirá softball stadium with the coronation of the new Queen of Independence.
If you are visiting Cartagena during these holidays, be prepared to walk down streets full of people in constant celebration and be sure to dodge the food stalls and the street sellers offering souvenirs.
Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and light clothing. The weather in Cartagena is humid, so the heat can sometimes be really intense.
Stay close to the tourist areas. Public transport can be complicated and taxis do not have a meter so the calculation of the rates is not regulated. In the event that you need to take a taxi, call one who works with a well-known company or use such apps as Tappsi, Easy Taxi, or Uber.
The area of Getsemaní next to the Walled City is a great place for some walking, but keep your wits about you and take basic security precautions.
We also recommend that you watch out for any propositions that may seem strange to you – there are isolated people who use the party atmosphere as an opportunity to pickpocket. For more information about travelling safely in Colombia, check out this article.
If you want to make the most of the Independence party, take advantage of the Colombia4u discounts on tours and other activities in the city.
By: Daytours4u Content Team