Guide to the Cartagena Hay Festival – 2019 Edition

The Cartagena Hay Festival is an annual festival of cultural, artistic, and intellectual achievement.  It features presentations, interviews, forums, and performances by artists, writers, musicians, journalists, and academics from around the world.  Read on for a guide to the Cartagena Hay Festival, including information on the 2019 Hay Festival Cartagena.

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Photo of people attending a presentation.
Cartagena’s Hay Festival features presentations from distinguished national and international writers, artists, and thinkers. Read on to learn more. Image Source: Pixabay

What is the Cartagena Hay Festival?

The Hay Festival originates from a literary festival held in a small town in Wales named Hay-on-Wye.  The town became reknowned for its many book shops.  It acquired the nickname “The Town of Books.”

The first official Hay Festival was held in 1988.  It has subsequently gone on to expand to several other cities around the world.  Those other cities include both Cartagena and Medellin in Colombia.

See also:  Information on the Medellin Hay Festival.

The Hay Festival’s website describes it as an event that brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world.  The festivals inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be.”

Therefore, it brings together novelists, scientists, politicians, historians, journalists, musicians, artists, and scholars to talk about their work as well as relevant social and political issues.  There are performances, interviews, round table discussions, and lectures.

The Cartagena Hay Festival began in 2007.  It features numerous events over its several days.  All the events are open to the public but tickets are required (read on to find out about the schedule and tickets for this years event).

Cartoon of an open book with a dog, street lamp, and child popping up form the pages.
The Cartagena Hay Festival brings readers and writers together to consider how to improve the world.

When is the Cartagena Hay Festival?

The Cartagena Hay Festival is usually held at the end of January.  It is usually 4 days long, running from Thursday to Sunday.

The 2019 Cartagena Hay Festival will be from Thursday January 31-Sunday February 3.

Who Will Present at the Cartagena Hay Festival?

There are events throughout the 4 days of the festival, including many that are held simultaneously on Saturday and Sunday.

Among those that will present at the 2019 Cartagena Hay Festival are a number of Colombian writers, journalists, and scholars, as well as international writers, journalists, and scholars.  Some of the highlights include the CEO of the New York Times, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian and Islamic woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

There will also be the premier of the documentary “El Testigo:  Cain y Abel” about Jesus Abad Colorado, a press photographer who has covered 25 years of Colombia’s internal conflict.

Beyond that, there will be countless other presentations as well as a concert each night.

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How do I Buy Tickets for the Cartagena Hay Festival?

You can buy your tickets for the 2019 Cartagena online at the festival’s websiteTickets for most of the events cost $35,000 pesos, with a few running a bit more expensive.

I’m not going to include the entire schedule here because it is so extensive.  However, you can see the schedule for the 2019 Cartagena Hay Festival as well as buy your tickets (in English) at the following link:  2019 Cartagena Hay Festival Schedule and Tickets.

I hope if you go to the Cartagena Hay Festival you enjoy it and this article helped you plan.


Ready to plan a trip to Cartagena for the Hay Festival?

  • Be sure to check out our Insider’s Guide to the Best Areas to Stay in Cartagena
  • Check out hotels and the latests deals on booking.com below:



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