Luggage and bags:
We were traveling with backpacks but this is a town where you'll likely take a cab to and from your chosen gateway, be it bus, boat, or plane so you could easily come here with a simple suitcase. If you are planning on doing any trekking in the surrounding areas of Santa Marta then you'll be glad for the pack just the same.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Cartagena tropical climate means you won't need a sweater anytime soon even if you come in the cooler preferred months of December and January when we visited. It can be rainy in October but must say we did not see one drop while there. Comfy shoes or sandals are a must and make sure they are broken in as you'll be doing a lot of walking.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen is a must in sunny Cartagena!
Photo Equipment: A wide angle lens will help you get some of the larger of Cartagena's colonial gems into your frame and also lets you bring things into the foreground of your photos that make them more interesting. A zoom is great for taking shots of people and you'll see some nice birds while in town so nice for that too. A polarizer helps for midday sun but nothing is better than coming out when the sun is low in the sky like early morning or late afternoon.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: We had all our camping gear for our various treks but not much use here where you can still find reasonable and nice accommodation.
Miscellaneous: Thanks to D for being the perfect love in our time in Cartagena.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It is mighty hot in Cartagena so dress LIGHT. No worries about propriety here, it's the Caribbean coast! The steamiest it got for us was when we visited the fort (pictured here)--up on a hill, in the blazing sun, it was pretty brutal. Luckily, you can buy cold drinks at the top!