Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas and Convento de la Popa
We chose to see San Felipe Castillo and La Popa in one day. They are only a taxi ride away from each other. We started off with San Felipe. The price of admission is 25000 COP per person. They do offer discounts for anyone with a student I.D. I am unsure if we picked a good day/time to visit the fortress but it was really empty. Construction began on the fortress in 1536. It was incredible to tour this fortress, inside and out. There are cannons and underground tunnels beneath the fortress. There is also a little gift shop that sells water. There is no shade at the fortress unless you are underneath so sunblock and water is a must. The castle is very well-preserved. I couldn’t believe how long ago it was built. Take your time walking around every part of this Cartagena sight.
After spending over an hour at San Felipe Castillo, we hailed a taxi. He took us to La Popa, situated on a high hill. You can see La Popa from the castle. There is no public bus that takes you to La Popa so a taxi or a tour is the only way to get there. We paid our taxi driver to drive us up the hill to La Popa and wait for us to finish touring the convent. The parking lot is an absolute zoo. There were donkeys, tour buses, shops, vendors and throngs of tourists. La Popa was much more crowded than San Felipe Castillo. After paying, we entered and immediately were stunned by the view. You can see everything in Cartagena from La Popa. After admiring the view, we walked around the patio and ducked into the convents chapel. There are a few exhibits to look at but you really cannot spend more than 1 hour here. The amount of people at La Popa is enough to turn most people off. It is worth it for the amazing view bu we didn’t spend more than 45 minutes here. We were grateful that our taxi driver waited for us and took us back to our hotel for one fee.