San Basilio de Palenque was the first free town in America, founded by self-emancipated former Slaves during Colombia’s colonial period. This town remains a symbol of resistance and of African pride due to its impressive story. Thanks to isolation and resistance, Palenqueros preserved African culture while creating new local manifestations such as Alegrías (a type of candy), Son Palenquero (a music genre) and the first Spanish-based creole language, which is still spoken in this place.
San Basilio de Palenque is located in the Montes de María region, about an hour and a half outside Cartagena. On the car ride, you will be able to learn about the African exodus and slavery situation during the colonial period accompanied by a local guide.
After a warm welcome upon arrival in San Basilio, you will be able to connect with the local culture through meeting the town’s people. You’ll have the chance to hear the language - Lengua Palenquera - and even pick-up a few words yourself.
On a walking tour through the town, you will come across important monuments and colorful paintings that will bring you even closer to understanding the history of this place. You will also visit San Basilios most recognized musician, Rafael Cassiani Cassiani, and learn about the typical instruments and rhythms of Son Palenquero.
Something not to be missed on a cultural experience in San Basilio is trying their delicious food. While trying mouthwatering sweet and savory preparations, you will be taught about their traditional recipes and what they mean to them. After enjoying the lunch prepared by the locals, you’ll head back to Cartagena to enjoy the rest of your day there.
How this tour creates an impact
The people of San Basilio de Palenque have created a culture founded on tradition and resistance, unlike any other. Recognized as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site, the town offers travelers a deep dive into their traditions and history, just outside Cartagena. By connecting the community with international travelers, the valuable customs and knowledge of the culture is appreciated and preserved. Community members like Rafael Cassiani Cassiani act as cultural guardians, passing the local tradition on to younger generations. This preservation of culture and their memory is made possible by the incomes deriving directly from living and sharing their cultural experience with the world.
This tour is part of our HEART experiences.
This is an intercultural experience, so be ready to live something very different from usual.
Things to bring:
This experience can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund