Fiestas de Cartagena 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Cartagena Independence Day 2018

Amber Dunlap

November is an important month for Cartageneros, if not the most important month of the entire calendar year. Parades fill the streets, concerts take over the plazas, and the city explodes into one long-awaited month-long fiesta. The takeaway: Cartagena Independence Day is an event not to be missed by locals and tourists alike. Consider this your pocket guide to what it is, when it is, and where to be during Cartagena’s biggest party of the year.


A Brief History

The November festivities of Cartagena are in celebration of the day Cartagena became the first Colombian city and the second of the South American continent to declare independence from the Spanish. The date – November 11, 1811 - was a major milestone for the region, as the city had been one of the Spanish Crown’s most important port cities for moving their riches between Europe and the continent.

The 2018 Schedule of Events

Friday, November 2

Fantasy Night: This event displays the creativity of the Colombian Caribbean through costumes, music, and dance groups. This year’s parade and concert will pay tribute to the flora and fauna of Cartagena’s bodies of water.

Location: Puerto Duro
Time: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Festival Escolar de Música y Danza: In homage to Jorge Garcia Usta, a local writer, journalist, researcher and university professor who passed away in 2005, this event features the music and dance of Cartagena culture and history through performances by student groups from more than 50 schools across the Bolivar region.

Location: Coliseo Norton Madrid
Time: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, November 7

Desfile Estudiantil: This parade of student marching bands honors the heroes of Cartagena’s independence. Find a spot along the parade route as it winds its way through Cartagena’s Walled City.

Location: Centro
Time: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Thursday, November 8

Desfile de Noche de Candelas y Jolgorio de Tambores y Cantaoras “Etelvina Maldonado”: This event pays tribute to the traditional rhythms of the Colombian Caribbean with fire and dance.

Location: Parque de Bruselas
Time: 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.


Friday, November 9

Swimsuit Parade: This popular event and parade features the candidates for Queen of Independence Day in Cartagena.

Location: Sector Las Tenazas.
Time: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 10

March for the Recognition for Sexual and Gender Diversity: This parade is an opportunity for the LGBTI community to express themselves during Cartagena’s most important festivities. It’s colorful and festive with brightly colored costumes, performers, and folkloric dance groups all proudly waving the gay flag through Cartagena’s downtown.

Location: Centro
Time: 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.

BACK TO AFRICA FEST. Get yourself some colorful African attire and attend the Back to Africa Fest Music in Media Luna Hostel in Getsemaní. The cost for entry is 50,000 pesos. Write us at to get the tickets or via whatsapp +57 3016039371 +57 3112048591.
Sunday, November 11

Lectura de Acta de Independencia: On the official Cartagena Independence Day, the Declaration of Independence is read at the Convention Center.

Location: Centro Internacional de Convenciones Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala
Time: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Ofrenda Floral a los Mártires de la Independencia: In recognition of the martyrs of Cartagena’s independence, flowers are laid at the memorial sight.

Location: Camellón de los Mártires
Time: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Desfile folclórico y artístico Fiestas De Independencia de Cartagena de Indias: This parade features traditional songs of Independence Day in Cartagena. It’s a popular event so plan to arrive early if you hope to have a good view of the colorfully-clad procession of dancers and musicians.

Location: Avenida Santander
Time: 1 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.



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. It’s a parade of disquises, cultural dances, and music that starts in the Canapote sector and ends in Getsemaní.

Location: Sector Canapote to Getsemaní
Time: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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.

Location: Plaza de la Aduana
Time: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Monday, November 12

Election and Coronation of Miss Colombia 2018 – 2019: This year, the Queen is selected and crowned on Monday with a celebration at the softball stadium in Chiquinquira.

Location: Estadio de Softball Chiquinquira Argemiro Bermúdez
Time: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m

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¡MIS VERDADERAS REINAS!, En serio, ustedes no saben el cariño tan especial que le tengo a éste par de bellezas❤. Gracias por tanto amor por Cartagena, sin duda alguna, dos de las mejores reinas que ha tenido la Independencia de nuestra ciudad. Un muy hermoso recuerdo! Reina de la Independencia 2015-2016 @naomy_ocoro y reina de la Independencia 2016-2017 @camilasinning #resuenacartagena #cartagenaenmedellin #fiestasdeindependenciadecartagena2018 #gózatelaherencia #nuestropatrimomio #bellezascartageneras #reinadocolombia #cartagena #micartagena #srtacartagena #RIC #eresquienquieresser #micorralitodepiedra #80añosRIC #lafantastica #missuniverse #mujeresreales #bellezasdectg #srtacartagena2018

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A full list of Cartagena Independence Day events can be found here.

A Few Tips

Wear clothes that you don’t mind having get wet and dirty, as part of the celebrations include throwing foam, flour, and aerosol spray string at passerby.
Take special care of your belongings. Not only can they get wet, but there is a greater chance of them getting stolen if you’re not paying attention.
Wear sunscreen, a hat, and light clothing. Cartagena’s humidity paired with crowded streets and an endless parade of outdoor events means that there’s little protection from the sun and heat. Come prepared.


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