Palenquera in Cartagena (Colombia)

Colombia – The Palenqueras of Cartagena

One of the most iconic characters you’ll see in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) are the smiling palenqueras — those ladies dressed in colourful outfits who balance a bowl of fresh fruits on their heads.

Originally, these women come from San Basilio de Palenque, a small village located southeast of Cartagena. In 2005, the village was declared by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. San Basilio de Palenque was founded in colonial times by runaway slaves and it’s considered one of the first free towns in the Americas;  and its rich cultural heritage remains to this day.

Have you been to Cartagena or San Basilio de Palenque? What was your favourite part of your visit? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know!

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1200 797 Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza

Bianca Bauza is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She's now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.

All stories by : Bianca Bauza
  • I’m finally getting to travel to Colombia this summer, so I hope to see the palenqueras when I visit Cartagena. San Basilio de Palenque sounds very colorful, maybe I’ll be able to visit this historical town, as well!

    • Oh, I’m so excited for you Cassandra! It’s great that you’ll be seeing Colombia :) Looking forward to see what you write about your trip! If you need any tips or have any questions, I’ll be glad to help!

  • Cartagena Icons That Are Not from Cartagena

    […] their heads are one of the most well-known icons of Cartagena. The truth is, however, that the Palenqueras of Cartagena are actually from a community of Afro-Colombians who live in San Basilio de Palenque, a town near […]

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