Skip to content
Trip to Palenquera

Dive Deep into the Heart of Colombian Culture: A Day Trip to Palenque

Are you craving an extraordinary adventure during your stay in Cartagena? We invite you to take a soul-stirring day trip to Palenque, a historic village that fiercely preserves its African heritage. Here, you’ll immerse yourself in a world of vibrant traditions, from captivating songs and dances to exquisite art, and even the rare Palenquero language. This experience is indispensable for those eager to delve into the African roots of the New World and uncover the authentic stories behind the cities they explore.

Unraveling the Layers of Palenque’s History

Cartagena, Colombia, stands as a testament to the profound impact of Spanish colonialism. As the empire extended its reach across South America, Cartagena emerged as a crucial hub for the exchange of goods, raw materials, and, tragically, enslaved Africans.

With one of the largest slave markets on the continent, Cartagena’s past is intertwined with stories of oppression and resistance. Saint Peter Claver, a beacon of hope during these dark times, dedicated his life to alleviating the suffering of newly arrived African slaves. Today, his legacy lives on in the Church of Saint Peter Claver, an imposing structure in the heart of the city, safeguarding relics and tales from this epoch.

Approximately 400 years ago, the air in Colombia was charged with the spirit of rebellion, inspired by uprisings throughout the Caribbean. Although the revolt was short-lived, it allowed a group of enslaved Africans to break free and establish their own sanctuary—Palenque. In this haven, they fiercely protected their culture, practiced their faith, and spoke their native tongue, all while resisting numerous Spanish attempts to reclaim them.

This resilient village birthed the iconic Palenquera fruit sellers, a vibrant presence in Cartagena’s Old Town, and a living link to a story of defiance and preservation.

Palenquera fruit seller in Cartagena

Today’s Palenque: A Living Museum of African Resilience

Embarking on the 1.5-hour journey to Palenque is to step back in time and bear witness to a culture that has withstood the test of centuries. In the shadows of the Spanish Empire, Palenque’s African spirit has not only survived but thrived, earning it the prestigious title of “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO nearly two decades ago.

As you wander through Palenque, you are invited to:

Revel in the music that beats at the heart of the community
Join the dance of life that has danced through the ages
Savor the food, a symphony of traditional African flavors and Colombian ingredients
Observe daily life, customs, and beliefs that tell the story of resilience and identity
Admire fashion trends that carry the echoes of the past

Culinary Delights and Timeless Traditions

Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in Palenque’s culinary treasures. From the sweet allure of coconut cakes and cereal balls to the zesty embrace of tamarind sweets, each bite is a journey through time and tradition.
Embark on this transformative journey and rediscover Palenque, a living testament to the strength, beauty, and resilience of African culture in the heart of Colombia.

Palenquera in Cartagena

Palenque Travel Arrangements Made Easy

When you stay at one of our luxury vacation rental homes in Cartagena, take full advantage of our complimentary concierge service.

With one phone call we can arrange travel to and from Palenque for you and your whole group. The vehicle and host will pick you up at your door, take you through the countryside to Palenque, and drive you safely home after an afternoon or entire day of exploration.

Palenquera walking streets Cartagena

Martha Hampton

Martha Hampton
Home Curator
Founder of Cartagena Colombia Rentals & Hampton Property Rentals LLC

Back To Top