With its colorful streets, rich culture, and laid back vibe, Cartagena, Colombia is exactly what I was looking for in a bachelorette party destination. However, as I am starting to prepare for my trip in just two short weeks, I am quickly realizing that my usual travel packing list of neutral-colored basics is just not going to cut it in colorful Cartagena. If you’re wondering what to wear in Cartagena, whether for a bachelorette trip, a solo adventure, or a couples getaway, you’ll find everything you need to stay cool and fit in with the locals in the comprehensive packing list below.
Cartagena, located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, has a tropical climate, a laid back vibe, and lots of sun. There are beautiful beaches scattered off the coastline, and taking a boat trip out to one of these islands is one of the most popular activities for tourists and locals alike. Despite its warm climate, however, it is unlikely that you’ll find many local women wearing shorts around town. Rather, light, flowy dresses and skirts are much more common and acceptable among locals. You’ll also find more light and airy colors and patterns around than darker colors, so don’t be afraid to get colorful, but stay away from deep hues as they just don’t fit the vibe of Cartagena as well, and you’ll regret dressing yourself as a heat absorber.
Needless to say, you’ll want to pile on the sunscreen when you’re there, especially if you have a paler complexion or are coming from a colder area without much sun (hello Chicago). Light cover ups and sun hats will also help protect you against the harmful rays while still keeping you cool, fashionable, and tan.
I’m starting with maxi skirts and dresses because you’re definitely going to want to pack at least one of these for your Cartagena trip. Since the weather will most likely be very hot, and shorts will automatically make you stand out as a tourist, maxi skirts and dresses are the best way to stay cool and blend in with the locals. Below are a few of my favorite maxi skirts and dresses, but you can find my complete list in my Amazon shop.
SVALIY Floral Off The Shoulder Chiffon Maxi Dress $22.99 | Yidarton Blue and White Porcelain Strapless Boho Maxi Dress $22.99 | NERLEROLIAN Strappy Beach Midi Dress $22.99 | R.Vivimos Deep V Cotton Beach Dress $28.99
If you are someone who finds herself sweating in just about anything when you’re in the heat and are afraid that a maxi skirt or dress will be too much fabric for your sweat glands to handle, or if you’re short like me and have a hard time finding maxi dresses that don’t drag, fill your backpack up with some short skirts and dresses instead. Below are a few of my favorite short skirts and dresses, but you can find my complete list in my Amazon shop.
Two Piece Jumpsuits
Two piece jumpsuits and sets are SO cute and easy to mix and match too, which is an important element for light packers like me. I love a crop top paired with a flowy skirt or flowy pants, keeping it cool and stylish. Below are a few of my favorite two piece sets for summer, but you can find my complete list in my Amazon shop. If you’re a fan of two piece sets like I am, you may also be interested in checking out my favorite travel rompers.
W-Grace Sleeveless Plaid Summer Crop Top + Knot Front Set $18.99 | Angashion Floral Crop Top Maxi Skirt Set $21.99 | Floerns Strapless Tube Top and Pants Set $23.99 | FANCYINN Deep V Crop Top Side Slit Wide Leg Pants Set $24.99
Two piece sets are adorable and fun, but if you’re a minimalist traveler like me, you might be more interested in mixing and matching your own tops and bottoms rather than packing matching sets that can be a little more difficult to mix and match. Below are a few of my favorite crop tops for matching with flowy bottoms, but you can find my complete list in my Amazon shop.
While shorts aren’t banned or considered offensive in Cartagena per se, they are also not the go-to for local women. In fact, one surefire way to stand out as a tourist in Cartagena is to walk around town in your jean shorts and a tee. Substitute your shorts for one of the flowy pants below, and enjoy Cartagena like a local. You can also find a complete list of my favorite flowy pants in my Amazon shop.
You simply cannot visit Cartagena without making a trip to the beach or pool, so make sure you pack your favorite swimsuits (yes, plural, because you’ll want to show off all your swimsuits – and that beach bod you’ve been working so hard on – once you get to this beautiful coastal city). Whether you’re looking for a new one piece swimsuit, high-waisted two piece, or bikini, I’ve got my top picks for you below.
dilinte One Piece Strappy Cross Women’s Swimsuit $25.99 | Tempt Me Two Piece Off Shoulder Crop Bikini $25.99 | Blooming Jelly High Waisted Bikini Set $22.99 | Seaselfie Tropical Forests High Neck Push Up Padding Bikini $28.99
If you have a bigger budget for your upcoming trip, I would highly recommend checking out these swimsuits from LIVELY, a primarily lingerie brand that also has super cute swimsuits and draws its inspiration from women with wild hearts and boss brains. Below are a few of my favorite styles and prints. Don’t forget to use code ‘AMB-ddwchen’ at checkout or simply click this link for $10 off your order.
The easiest way to go from the beach or pool to a restaurant or street is to throw on a beach cover up over your swimsuit. Below are a few of my favorite cover ups, but you can find my complete list in my Amazon shop.
A quality – and comfortable – pair of sandals is a must have in Cartagena, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking around old town and showing off your salsa skills at night. Below are a few of my favorite pairs, but you can find my complete list in my Amazon shop.
If you have a higher budget to work with, I highly recommend checking out these sandals from Everlane. They are classic, pretty, and comfortable – a perfect match for the colorful dresses listed above!
I cannot wait to leave my winter clothes behind and head down south to Cartagena with my girls in two weeks! Let me know in the comments below what your staple pieces are for a beachy/coastal destination like Cartagena, Colombia, and don’t forget to bring your favorite sunnies and sun hat!
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