Help Lauren Lieberman
Cartagena is amazing. Highly recommend it. I would plan to spend at least 3 days, but you could easily spend a week and not regret it. The beaches are nice, and the old city is magical!!
Hi Lauren. I was in Cartagena for the month of December last year. 2 to 3 days is probably all you need to explore the city but I would highly recommend staying there for New Year's. For New Year's, I don't recommend the hotel deals. Join the locals and have dinner outside at a restaurant in one of the plazas. After midnight, you never know what might happen. If you're lucky (as I was), you might be hanging out with Gabriel Garcia Marquez at some artist's party.
Cafe Havana (hands down my fave place in Cartagena)
Donde Fidel - charismatic salsa place in the old city
Sofitel - great place to relax and escape the mayhem
Day trips from Cartagena:
Isla Del Rosario
Overnight trip (2 to 3 days needed)
Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
If you're thinking about visiting another city in Colombia, I would recommend Medellin over Bogota. Here's a recent article from the Wash Post: