Any Latin American city centers on its cathedral and main square. Plaza de Bolívar—a statue of South American liberator Simón Bolívar stands watch over the square—is a shady place from which to admire Cartagena's 16th-century cathedral. (It's officially the "Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de Santa Catalina de Alejandria.") Construction lasted from 1577–1612. British pirates attacked and pillaged the site about halfway through the process, a fate that befell many buildings in Cartagena in those early days. The colorful bell tower and dome date from the early 20th-century. Inside are a massive gilded altar and towering arches.
Plaza de Bolívar, Cartagena, 130001, Colombia