Cartagena is located on the northern coast of Columbia on the Caribbean Sea. Founded in 1588 by Don Pedro de Heredia, it became a hotspot when gold was rumoured to have been found in the tombs of the local indigenous leaders. This town quickly transitioned into a city and became the main port into Colombia for the Spanish. Due to the rapid expansion and wealth, the city became a place for pirate raids and the Spanish government built better defence walls to protect the city. These walls and fortresses officially became a part of UNESCO world heritage sites and are an integral part to the city’s historical atmosphere. Here Viva Air takes you through some of the top events in the Cartagena Independence Day calendar.

1. Celebrate Colombia Independence Day in Cartagena


The date of November 11, 1811 was a major milestone for the region as it officially declared independence from the Spanish empire and this day remains viewed as an important step towards the independence of Colombia. Modern commemorations of this date are joyous and festive as the people of Cartagena celebrate the independence of Colombia. Festivities include parades and especially so in Cartagena wher the largest and most colourful parade takes place. Dance shows, cultural spectacles, “bandos” (neighbourhood’s celebrations), and the highlight of the ‘Battle of the Flowers’ contest all take place in celebration of Independence Day.
The celebration of independence is a week-long event in Cartagena with multiple events spanning the entire city.

2. Festival Escolar de Música y Danza

This event celebrates the rich history of Cartagena through music and dance. Over 50 school groups take part in this performance and it is a good place to be entertained and learn about Cartagena’s various cultures.

3. Desfile Estudiantil

This is a parade of student marching bands and honours the heroes of Cartagena’s independence. The usual route is within the ‘Walled City’ and many food vendors can be found along the parade route for locals and visitors to satisfy their hunger while enjoying the festivities.

4. Lectura de Acta de Independencia

On the official Cartagena Independence Day, the Declaration of Independence is read at the Convention Centre and draws large crowds to kick off the celebrations.

5. Desfile folclórico y artístico Fiestas De Independencia de Cartagena de Indias

This parade features traditional songs of Independence Day in Cartagena. It’s Cartagena’s largest festival during the festival so plan to arrive early as the parade of colourfully-clad dancers and musicians wind their way through the city.

6. Cabildo de Getsemaní

This is one of the most traditional events of the entire Cartagena Independence Day festivities as it takes place in Getsemaní, where the independence movement began. This parade is full of costumes, cultural dance and music.

7. Remate de Bando

Cartagena’s Independence Day celebrations wrap up with a concert in the Customs Square, Plaza de la Aduana, featuring popular Colombian music.

8. Election and Coronation of Miss Colombia

The festivities are usually concluded by the “Battle of the Flowers” where Miss Colombia is crowned as the countries representative at the Miss Universe pageant.