Cartagena enchants visitors with one of the best-preserved old towns in the Western Hemisphere. Panelists cited the boom in high-rise hotel construction along the city's beach as a cause for concern.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Cartagena old city is fantastic. The hotel district looks like Miami, however. It needs more local flair and aesthetic. It is important to watch out for petty crime at night."
"Cartagena and its environs are, without any doubt, the top coastal draw in Colombia. As far as romantic cities go, the old part of Cartagena is unrivaled. That said, uncontrolled coastal developments are slowly ruining the romance of the region. The government needs to act fast!"
"A beautiful city. Efforts to preserve the old city of Cartagena are remarkable. However, the hotel industry has severely compromised the beaches and coastline. Pollution is a major issue."