South AmericaColombiaWhat To Wear In Cartagena? A Perfect Packing List
What to wear in Cartagena

What To Wear In Cartagena? A Perfect Packing List

Cartagena packing list and outfit ideas

What will you be wearing when you travel to Cartagena?
Walk the walled city of Cartagena?

Explore the booming restaurant scene?

Take the most instagrammable photos in the colonial neighborhoods?

Cartagena climate averages 30 Celcius year-round. Spring, summer and early autumn is brutal. It’s not simply hot. The humidity is almost that of a rainforest of Amazonia.That pretty much answer the question what to wear in Cartagena

What to pack for Cartagena Tropical Weather

What should you bring when you’re packing for Cartagena’s tropical heat?

Here are the essentials you should pack for your trip to Cartagena, Colombia.

  • practical
  • picture-perfect
  • heat resistant

Loose-fitting styles and breathable fabrics are simply a must. Any piece that offers good breathability for the tropical climate is your best friend.

If you are going to Cartagena in spring or summer (sometime between April and November) be ready for the real heat and humidity. The kind you’ve never felt before.
I’m a Miami Beach resident and the most brutal summer in South Florida is nothing compared to Cartagena’s humidity and heat.

Vibrant colored dresses, frills and ruffles for days!

Vacation is not an everyday type of event. So why stick to your regular wardrobe? 

Cartagena is the best place to organically wear:

  • bright maxi dresses
  • exaggerated ruffled tops
  • embroidered pieces

 Vacation means a break from the norm and that goes for the wardrobe, too.

Ruffles in Cartagena means…styling your photos to channel palenqueras but less theatrically.

For example, a boho dress with ruffle details is a perfect choice to feel flowy, comfy, and stylish and get fantastic photos.
The key is not to overdo it. If you wear bright colors and ruffles, match it with a classic hat, not a turban, so you don’t look like palenquera yourself. Try to embrace the tropical backdrop and the colorful side of wanderlust.

Bonus: ruffled dresses hide body imperfections and highlight the shapes!

Bonus Bonus: I love pleats and frills because unlike “organic cotton” it doesn’t wrinkle in your luggage.

What shoes to pack for Cartagena:

  • White sneakers
  • Tan sandals
  • Bright quality leather sandals
  • Comfortable but trendy mules
  • Havaianas for pool or beach

Keep in mind that you’ll walk a lot. And there is no such thing as a perfect shoe for travel. Of course, it matters that you do t get blisters. What I mean is your feet will hurt from the amount of walking whatever you wear. The feet will swell and be sore. And swollen as well.

Walking+heat+occasional cocktails = swollen feet.

Swallen feet rescue: The only thing that helps is a foot massage, a bath or, if things are totally out of control and my feet look so swollen, they’d blow up at any moment I do an ice bath. Ice buckets can be found at any hotel, so are the ice machines! 

I also find it helpful to rotate my sandals. 

For example, I’ll wear a flip flop style and later on a classic leather sandal, might switch to a flat or sneakers. This way I am not putting “pressure” on one part of my foot all day.

Accessories to pack for Cartagena

When it comes to dressing up in Cartagena, these are some especially multi-functioning accessories. Make sure you add them to your Cartagena packing list

Hats, wraps and silk scarves:

  • protect from the heat
  • hide the humidity affected drenched hair
  • make your photos pop. Really pop. 
  • turn every casual outfit into something vacation chic


Light, natural straw hats is the best choice. White straw hats will look best in photos.

Statement earrings, but nothing too precious – raffia, beads, there are so many to choose from! A statement pair will instantly turn every outfit into the most instagrammable piece.

Pro Tip: the La Serrezuela mall in Cartagena (Centro Comercial La Serrezuela) has hats by local designers and hand-woven natural straw hats for under $100. This is way less than what you’d pay in a specialized hat shop. It’s located in the walled city of Cartagena and turned out to be my favorite place to spend hot afternoons at.

How to dress to take perfect photos blog

What to wear in Cartagena: Silk scarves

Whether you wear them as a bandana or a scarf, keep it cool and stylish.
Use them to transform your bag into a tropical style statement. Use to protect your hair from the sun and add a classy vibe. (And also hide the sweating mess, the humidity mess your hair into) This is an essential item for Cartagena packing list.

The headbands look phenomenal too. And if you manage to find a colorful structured one, it’s a winner. It blends well and styles to resemble the turban the palenqueras are wearing – but a less theatrical version of it.


  • Woven clutch bags
  • Rattan bags
  • Raffia bags
  • Bucket bags

All of the above were invented for the tropical chic. I always use my clutch bags as a vanity bag to save space.

Don’t forget about the grooming!

It’s not all about outfits for looking great while vacationing. Don’t underestimate the importance of grooming. Feeling polished can come from simply being groomed! 

  • A bright lipstick (long wear) 
  • Perfect manicure and pedicure 
  • Trimmed ends and healthy hair
  • Moisturized glowing skin

For the beach

You’ll want to take a lightweight day sack or beach bag with you on your trip so that it’s handy when carrying around sightseeing essentials.
The tap water in Cartagena is officially safe but not always tasty- consider bringing in water flask.

Other essentials to pack

The phone bunjee is a great way to keep your mobile safe while traveling. It comes in all shapes and sizes, so there’s one for every occasion! Whether you’re going on vacation or just taking the train back home – this nifty little gadget will come with ya day-of protection from loss via theft OR damage thanks its tough exterior construction coupled wth durable shielding material inside which prevents electronic malfunctioning caused by saltwater environment exposure during ocean rafting expeditions ̶ not forgetting about.


I hope this blog helped you with ideas of what to wear in Cartagena!

Now that you are all packed for Cartagena, here are sone ideas of best things to do in Cartagena.

And right here you’ll find a perfect Cartagena itinerary.

I believe that you can travel the world without quitting your job. I believe that you can experience all the magic, the foodies and the cultures of the world while having a normal life. And, perhaps, two dogs. This is exactly what I’ve been doing for 15 years. This is exactly what my blog is about. Love, Lilia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *