Welcome to Blue Apple – one of the best beach clubs in Cartagena!
In their own words, “Blue Apple is an independently owned boutique hotel and beach restaurant with a strong focus on fun and also on sustainable tourism.”
Here, you can relax during the week and party and dance on the weekend. Blue Apple always has live music and DJs from Friday to Sunday, whereas the weekdays are more relaxed if you’re looking for a quieter time, maybe a horse ride or simply a delicious organic lunch and some cocktails by the pool.
Included in your day pass:
Round trip transfers in shared boat (departure from Cartagena 10am or 12pm, return from Blue Apple Beach 4pm or 5:30pm) – Make sure to choose the right schedule for you!
2 course lunch (any appetizer, paella for main course)
Foodies, rejoice! Gastronomy in Cartagena is BIG. Hidden amongst the cobbled streets of the walled city are some of the most talented chefs in Colombia. Wining and dining is our passion. We know all the best restaurants in Cartagena, from the classics to the new kids on the block. Read on for our definitive 2022 guide to the best restaurants in town.
Cartagena, being a touristic city, is a gastronomical melting pot. You can find an abundance of traditional dishes from the Colombian coast such as coconut rice, fried fish, and patacones. However, you can also find a varying range of flavors like Asian, Italian, Lebanese, Spanish, and everything in between. Due to its privileged location on the Caribbean coast, you can also expect some of the best (and freshest!) seafood of your life. It’s possible to eat at a different restaurant for lunch and dinner for every night during your trip to Cartagena, and still not even scratch the surface of the incredible restaurants that are on offer.
Along with the enormous variety in cuisines, Cartagena also has a huge variety of prices. From haute cuisine fine dining experiences at Alma or Carmen, to casual courtyard dining at La Cevichería, to $2 street pizza at Zazzy’s, there is something for everyone on the Cartagena restaurant scene. Some finer restaurants do have a dress code, so keep this in mind and save your sliders for the poolside, and get your long pants pressed! In Cartagena, high season is almost all year round, so make sure to make reservations in advance, especially if you have a bigger group and are looking to dine out on a weekend.
Don’t speak Spanish, or simply don’t fancy spending your well-earned vacay on hold? We got you! Just hire our concierge services. We can call in for you and make any and all reservations you need.
Carmen Cartagena – Best for fine dining Colombian fusion
Head chefs Carmen Angel and her husband both studied at Le Cordon Bleu, the most prestigious culinary institution in the world. Their experience and passion for local, fresh ingredients make Carmen Cartagena stand out above the rest. The restaurant is situated in an intimate and elegant colonial house downtown, and the menu is a celebration of local flavors, many of which are unique to Colombia. At their Cartagena restaurant, they also serve freshly caught lobster, octopus, and crab, presented in unique and creative ways. At Carmen, every plate is a work of art. Their à la carte menu is your best option for an optimal dining experience. Every tiny detail is executed to perfection, from the attentive service to the award-winning wine list and the innovative craft cocktails. For anyone looking to impress – think proposals, anniversaries, or milestone birthdays, Carmen is the place to come.
La Cevichería – Best for seafood and people-watching from the plaza
If you went to Cartagena and didn’t pass by La Cevicheria, did you really even go to Cartagena? This cute seafood restaurant perched on the corner of Plaza San Diego may seem small and unassuming, but don’t underestimate it, as La Cevichería is infamous in Cartagena. It even appeared in restaurant magazines and TV shows when Anthony Bourdain visited on his show ‘No Reservations’. Its blue and white color scheme and outdoor dining tables give off a Mediterranean vibe, with a Caribbean twist. The food is also fresh, healthy, and Mediterranean-inspired with a distinctly Colombian flavor. The use of coconut gives a strong nod to the Caribbean, and its homemade hot sauce is unbeatable. So grab a seat, and enjoy the spectacle in the plaza put on by the famous Cartagena street performers (here, Michael Jackson is well and truly alive and comes out to dance every night).
Price: $$ Dress code: Casual Reservations needed?: No reservations accepted, get there early and queue!
Alma – Best for a romantic gourmet meal
Situated in the super stylish boutique hotel Casa San Agustín, Alma is fast-becoming known as one of the unmissable culinary experiences in Cartagena. Its gastronomic concept pays homage to Caribbean Colombian cuisine and its traditional flavors, with a high-class and contemporary twist. We love going on weekends to enjoy the live Cuban son music, and the atmosphere is always warm and inviting. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic meal. Although fresh fish and seafood are the stars of the menu, Alma also offers vegan options and premium cuts of meat.
Price: $$$ Dress code: Smart. Long pants and closed shoes for men are a must. Reservations needed?: Yes
Restaurante La Única – Best for authentic Mexican food
If, after a few days in Cartagena, you have eaten yourself into a ceviche and lobster stupor and want to try something different, we absolutely love La Única. It’s a Mexican restaurant that actually has branches in Mexico – so you know it’s legit. This modern cantina will take you far away from the stereotype of a Mexican restaurant and allow you to focus on the quality and artistry of its food. From tacos and guacamole to grilled octopus and juicy steaks, La Única Cartagena will not disappoint. This restaurant is the perfect place to come with a group of friends, as it has a fun, playful vibe and has great music – from in-house DJs to live mariachi bands. Share a tequila or two with friends and let the good times roll!
Buena Vida Marisquería – Best for cheat day and good times
Everything about Buena Vida Marisquería – from the decoration, to the music, to the menu – characterizes the Cartagena we know and love. Colorful, fun, and irresistible are three words we would use to describe this seafood restaurant. While its dishes, such as the crab nachos, seafood mac and cheese and desgranado de camarones aren’t light on calories, they sure are full of flavor. It’s no coincidence that this restaurant’s name means Good Life, as you are guaranteed to have a good time at this restaurant, which consists of 3 floors of deliciousness. The first two floors are for the seafood restaurant, and the top floor is an adults-only rooftop bar with an impressive cocktail menu and smaller snack options from the restaurant. Come with a group of friends to start off an unforgettable Cartagena night.
Candé – Best for an immersive Cartagena experience
If Cartagena were a restaurant, she would be Candé. A lot of the culture of a city may come from its gastronomy, but we mustn’t forget about the rest. Music, dance, and traditional dress are all things that Candé incorporates into its dining experience to ensure that its diners are fully immersed in the Cartagenero experience. Enjoy the live musical show at both lunchtime and dinner time, and watch professionals dance the Mapalé and Cumbia, traditional Colombian dances. Stimulate your senses whilst you tuck into some incredible food. Make sure you leave room for dessert, however, as their menu features local delicacies you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Culture, music, and tradition all come together at Candé to provide an unforgettable experience for families, groups, and couples alike.
Price: $$$ Dress code: Dress smart! Reservations needed?: Yes. Make sure to request a table where you can see the show.
Cuzco Cocina Peruana – Best for Peruvian fusion
Feel free to cancel your upcoming flight to Peru, because Cuzco Cartagena has everything you need. Cuzco has really put itself on the map as one of the best restaurants in Cartagena. However, it is so much more than just good food. The entire experience offered at Cuzco Cocina Peruana makes for a fantastic night out. Enjoy live music by the glowing pool, some of the best ceviche in the city (and that’s saying something!), and romantic moments below the Colonial arches. Make sure to try chicha morada, a traditional Peruvian drink, but stay for the lobster risotto, a Two Travel favorite. The three varieties of sangria are enough to give you a merry start to your night. If you’re looking for a lively restaurant with a youthful feel, you can also go next door to Baruco by Cuzco. There, you’re also sure to find awesome food and great cocktails to boot.
Price: $$ Dress code: Smart chic Reservations needed?: Book a couple days in advance
Celele by Proyecto Caribe Lab – Best for a gastronomical experience
Hidden away in an unassuming colonial house in Getsemani, the bohemian neighboring barrio to Cartagena’s walled city, lies Celele. Voted as one of the “50 Best Restaurants 2020” and winning multiple other awards for their innovative menu and concept, chefs Jaime Rodriguez and Sebastian Pinzón have really hit the nail on the head. Celele is more than just a restaurant; it is a study of gastronomical anthropology. The chefs have travelled Colombia, talking to indigenous peoples and rediscovering long-forgotten flavors and methods. The food is visually stunning, and each dish has a profound cultural significance behind it. Celele restaurant celebrates the rich biodiversity of Colombia, taking humble ingredients and giving them a high-class spin.
Marea – Best for a romantic night on the waterfront
Marea, perched on the edge of the convention center and offering gorgeous views over the harbour and of the walled city entrance, is a romantic and intimate space. It is located on the water on Cartagena bay. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the menu is designed around the fresh fish and seafood brought in by local fisherman every day. Marea also offers terrific views of some of the most iconic architectural structures of Cartagena. Marea and El Gobernador, another top Cartagena restaurant, were owned by the Rausch brothers until recently. Rausch, a well-known chef and Masterchef judge, left a lasting impression on the Cartagena restaurant scene.
With so many restaurant choices in Cartagena, and new ones popping up every day, this list really could go on forever. We feel the need to make a few honorable mentions for some old favorites of ours with the Two Travel seal of approval. For those days when you really need a great steak, Quebracho Argentinian Grill is your best bet. They offer prime cuts any Argentinian would approve of. If Italian is your thing, Don Ignazio will transport you to the backstreets of Florence. Don’t forget to stop by Verona for some of the best pizzas in Cartagena. If you loved Cuzco and are craving more Peruvian food in your life, definitely check out Gran Inka Gastro Bar. And finally, if you had a long night out on the town and dinner feels like a long time ago, head to Zazzy’s Pizza in the Clock Tower Square to get an authentic New York slice until 3am.
Dining in Cartagena is nothing short of a cultural experience. Don’t forget that we are here for you to make life as easy as possible. We can call and make reservations on your behalf, as well as resolve any other issues or questions you may have!
Don’t work harder, work smarter, and let Two Travel Concierge take care of you and your group!
Cartagena is a party city. Tourists and locals love the Cartagena nightlife, but with so much choice, it’s easy to miss the best cocktails. Read on for our 2022 Guide to the Best Bars in Cartagena. From the ever popular Townhouse brunch to Alquimico and El Barón, these are the Cartagena party places not to miss.
The buzzing, vibrant city of Cartagena comes alive at night. When the heat of the day cools down, a new city emerges. And part of what makes Cartagena’s nightlife so unforgettable is its many bars. Most of the best bars are located within the picturesque walled city in Cartagena. From Instagram-worthy rooftops lined with palm trees to three-storey mansions serving uniquely crafted cocktails, Cartagena’s bars are built to impress – and they don’t disappoint. If you’re wondering where to find the best bars in Cartagena, look no further. It’s been our pleasure to try out every one of the following bars to give you the best recommendations.
Alquimico for craft cocktails
The award-winning Alquimico is a must for any trip to Cartagena. The mixologists are true artists making craft cocktails in minutes. The menu is a treat for the senses and we love how they use local flavors and ingredients, grown on their organic farm in the Colombian countryside. They frequently change their menu, always keeping it fresh!
We guarantee you’ll never have another cocktail like this one. Colombian rum infused with borojó (a locally-grown fruit also known as an aphrodisiac), anyone? If you’re into dancing, there are two ambiences to choose from. The DJ on the first and second floors plays popular Colombian tunes and throwback classics. Meanwhile, up on the rooftop, you’ll be treated to more tropical vibes. No matter what day of the week it is, Alquimico is bound to be buzzing. Get there early to avoid the inevitable queues!
If you’re in Cartagena for NYE, get tickets for Alquimico’s partyhere.
Townhouse for Brunch
If day drinking is more your vibe, we couldn’t recommend more highly the Boozy Brunch at Townhouse.
On Saturdays and Sundays, for $30 USD per person, you can have bottomless food and drink from 11am until 3pm. Yes, you heard us right. Unlimited mimosas, Bloody Marys, beers and juices, accompanied by delicious bite-sized brunch plates to help absorb the booze. Sounds like the perfect hangover cure to us!
It also helps that the Townhouse rooftop is a super cool place to hang out, with a birds-eye view over the walled city, a cute plunge pool to cool down in, and Instagram-worthy neon signs to pose next to once the fourth mimosa has kicked in.
And if the brunch is so good it turns into sunset drinks, Townhouse also offers an evening menu. The music is always spot on. It’s the perfect place to chill with friends or pre-game at the start of your night.
Café del Mar Cartagena for sunset by the sea
A trip to Cartagena wouldn’t be complete without visiting the renowned Café del Mar. Perched on top of the historic city wall and boasting some of the best sunset views, Café del Mar is a great option for groups and couples alike. This Ibiza-style upscale lounge has frequent DJ live sessions playing ambient house and Balearic beats with incredible views over the walled city. We recommend getting there early, around 5pm, to grab a good seat for the sunset, which will usually be at around 6pm. Or you can hire our concierge services, and we will make a reservation for you. Alongside delicious cocktails, liquors and local & imported beers, you can enjoy fresh seafood snacks as you watch the sun sink into the Caribbean Sea.
El Barón for artisan cocktails
El Barón, once a tiny hole-in-the-wall, has recently expanded due to its popularity amongst locals and tourists alike. This award-winning Cartagena bar boasts some of the best artisan cocktails in town. It wins the prize for some of the most visually pleasing food and drinks. Enjoy people-watching from one of its outdoor tables in San Pedro Square with a Gin Basil Smash in hand. Or head indoors after dark to peruse their extensive wine menu. We absolutely love the intimacy of this bar, which seems to have it all: great coffee and food for the daytime, and unique, avant-garde cocktails at night. They even have a Cuban cigar menu, where you can match your puro to your rum, Scotch, or Cognac, and enjoy Cartagena to its fullest.
If you’re in Cartagena for NYE, get tickets for El Barón’s partyhere.
Mirador Gastro Bar for dancing with the locals
If you’re looking for somewhere to get your boogie on, look no further than El Mirador. It’s a trendy rooftop bar with privileged views overlooking the famous Clock Tower and towards bohemian Getsemani. This bar has a great mix of Colombian locals and foreigners, which means one thing: dancing is inevitable. El Mirador is an awesome place to visit on a Saturday night and share a bottle of whiskey or rum with a group of friends. Its central location means that it is easily reachable on foot from your villa in the walled city, so you and your group can walk home without needing to split a taxi.
Don’t have your villa booked yet? Contact us, and we can hook you up with the best and most exclusive properties in town.
The Movich Hotel has made a name for itself as another one of the best sunset spots in Cartagena. The bar of this swanky hotel is located on the rooftop. It’s open to the public as well as hotel guests. Get there early for the best table and enjoy the view over the picturesque rooftops of the walled city. This bar creates a perfect chill ambience with its soft house playlists. Kick back on the comfy lounge furniture and enjoy the soft breeze bouncing off the terracotta tiles of Cartagena. If your sunset drinks leave you feeling peckish, you can enjoy Caribbean-style bites. The menu is paired perfectly with their exquisite cocktail menu.
La Movida for the best party in Cartagena
La Movida Club and Bar is where the beautiful and elite of Cartagena hang out. Often dubbed as the “best party in town”, La Movida is a fusion of old-school American Speakeasy and Latino lounge. Make sure you come dressed to impress, as the bouncers on the door may turn you away if you rock up in flip-flops and shorts. Open Wednesday to Sunday until 3am, La Movida really starts kicking off after midnight. Don’t forget to ask your Two Travel concierge to book you a VIP table, as this small joint really fills up on the weekends. La Movida Cartagena is a unique experience, so grab a Gin & Tonic, and come and party with us in its colorful courtyard.
La Jugada Club House for the cool crowd
La Jugada is one of the tallest clubs in Cartagena’s old town, with four floors in total; three inside, and a beautiful tropical rooftop terrace. If you’re seeing a trend here, you’re not wrong in thinking that rooftop bars are big in Cartagena. There’s never a dull moment in La Jugada Club House, as they like to occasionally set off fountain fireworks from the Pink Flamingo bar on the roof. Why? Because it’s Saturday night in Cartagena, what better reason do you need? Its 1920-style art deco decoration is enchanting, and the interior filled with mirrors and wrought iron is a nod to the decadence of past decades. If you were planning a night in La Movida, you should know that they are also the same owners of La Jugada. Their impeccable taste and penchant for attracting the young and beautiful crowds will soon become clear.
If you’re in Cartagena for NYE, get tickets for La Jugada’s partyhere.
51 Sky Bar for those that like heights!
The only contender from our list outside the walled city, 51 Sky Bar is a must-see on your trip to Cartagena. This bar is on the 51st floor of the Hotel Estelar Cartagena de Indias in the modern and exclusive neighborhood of Bocagrande, Cartagena’s own answer to Miami. It boasts 360° views over the modern skyscrapers, which light up impressively at night, and further on, towards the seemingly endless Caribbean Sea. Enjoy live music and light bites such as sushi and Peruvian ceviche, but stay for the cocktails, which are perfectly crafted and well-balanced. We love to get things spicy with their tequila-based cocktail, Atrevido, shaken with jalapeños and black pepper.
51 Sky Bar operates with a strict reservations policy, so make sure you book before you go. Or let our concierge do it for you, and don’t show up late to your reservation! This super modern bar will give you a new perspective on Cartagena, and is sure to take you up to dizzying heights.
Casa Cruxada for any time of day or night!
If you need to escape from the salsa music and reggaeton that you will inevitably hear in the Colombian coast, head down to Casa Cruxada. Here, you can hear live DJs play minimal techno beats and deep house. This club / bar / restaurant is in an enormous, crumbling Colonial building that feels like it is coming apart at the seams, in the best way possible. Its dark ambience and far-from-flawless decor only accentuate the perfection of its menu and playlists. But Casa Cruxada in the daytime is also a sight to behold. The light illuminates what in the nighttime becomes dark nooks and crannies, revealing the stunning architecture. The Spanish owners have crafted an incredible menu that is a gastronomical treat from breakfast to dinner. This multi-faceted bar is the perfect place for dinner and drinks, and after-midnight cocktail schmoozing, and everything in between.
If you’re in Cartagena for NYE, get tickets for Casa Cruxada’s partyhere.
Find out more about the beautiful city of Cartagena, choose a villa in centro, or contact us craft a special itinerary for you and your group. We promise you’ll get the best out of the city.
More and more foreign investors are looking to buy property in Colombia. Tourism in major cities like Cartagena and Medellín is driving up demand (and prices) for vacation rental properties. So buying property in Colombia is now considered an increasingly lucrative passive investment opportunity.
But how do you buy a property in Colombia? Two Travel are not just on hand for your vacation. We also offer property purchase and management services for foreigners who want to buy a property (turnkey, remodel, plot), gain a passive income and have a place to stay in their favorite Colombian city.
Our concierge team works hand in hand with lawyers, notaries, tax and visa experts, and have partnered with property concierges, Double Double to expand our real estate offering and expertise.
Here’s our Guide on How to Buy Property in Colombia.
Which Colombian cities represent the best property investment opportunity?
Colombia is becoming a more and more popular tourist destination, with direct flights from the US and Europe meaning over 4.5 million people visited Colombia just before the pandemic, and as the pandemic eases, we’re seeing those tourist numbers bounce back up again.
Most tourists spend time using Cartagena and Medellín as a base to explore the Caribbean coast and the famous coffee zone. We recommend both of these cities to people looking to buy a property as a vacation rental in Colombia. And it’s easy to offer that property at a good price for rent through platforms like AirBnB.
Is the cost of property rising in Colombia?
Yes, property values in both Cartagena and Medellin are consistently on the rise. Both Cartagena and Medellin present vibrant economies and real estate continues to show strong and consistent growth, with prices rising in both cities as they become increasingly popular tourist destinations.
Expect to pay at least $600 million pesos ($160,000 USD) for properties in the tourist zones of Bocagrande in Cartagena or El Poblado in Medellín. However, the demand for vacation rentals is high, especially during the high seasons, where you can expect to charge higher rates for accommodation in sought after locations like these. You can expect upwards of 10% return on investment if you manage and market your property well.
How do I find a property to buy in Colombia?
If you’ve visited Colombia, you no doubt fell in love with the warmth of the people and the weather. Many investors buy property having visited as tourists initially. We recommend that you visit the areas you’re interested in, and then talk to a property concierge like us to help you find a property that meets your needs.
Online property listings sites are not great in Colombia, and you’ll often find out-of-date information on these websites. Partnering with a property concierge is highly recommended, so you find properties as they come onto the market, especially in competitive locations like Cartagena and Medellín.
Once we’ve helped you find the investment property of your dreams, we can guide you through the process and be on hand to negotiate the best deal for you, even if you’re not physically in Colombia at the time of the sale.
Do I need to speak Spanish to buy property in Colombia?
Speaking Spanish is very advantageous when doing business in Colombia, but we always recommend working with a bilingual guide and lawyer when buying property. Contracts and legal processes can be difficult to understand if you’re not fluent and a specialist in Colombian property law. The lawyers that we work with are trusted experts when it comes to foreign investment in property.
Do I need a visa to buy property in Colombia?
No, you do not. But you may be eligible for a Colombian investment visa through the purchase of a property.
What else do I need to know to buy property in Colombia?
The purchase process often moves very quickly. You could find a property and close the sale in as little as one week! Location is extremely important, and you should always ensure the legal checks on the land titles and construction rights are completed correctly. We can also advise you on requirements needed for renovation and remodelling.
The purchasing process in Colombia is completely different from many other countries. There is no title insurance and there is no Escrow. Our attorneys know the real estate laws and will do all the title and background checks to make sure the paperwork is in proper order before any contracts are signed.
You’ll need to pay some taxes and fees when purchasing property in Colombia. The fees usually amount to 1.65% of the property value. We will always inform you of all the fees involved.
There’s more information about our property purchase and property management services here, or contact us for an initial consultation. We’re on hand to help you buy and manage your property in Colombia.
As you start to plan a trip to the city, no doubt you’ll find some articles complaining about the beaches in Cartagena. And it’s true that some Cartagena beaches don’t have the best reputation and are best avoided. But we’re here to help you get the best out of your trip.
We know some fantastic Cartagena beaches, and let’s just say – the secret to really enjoying a beach day while on vacation is to hit the beach clubs.
Although relatively new to Cartagena, the beach club scene has exploded over the last few years, as the city has opened up to a wider range of international tourists and discerning locals looking for more than just a day trip to a public beach like Playa Blanca.
So, believe us when we say, ignore the posts telling you how bad Cartagena beaches can be. Those people weren’t in the know like you. Get ready for sun, sand and so much more!
Here’s our “cool kids” guide to the best Cartagena beach club spots!
You’ll find the best beach clubs on the island of Tierra Bomba (10 – 20 minutes away by boat) and a little further out in the Rosario Islands (45 minutes away by boat). As a rule of thumb, as soon as your view of the city disappears, you’re out of the bay, and it’s these beach clubs that have the clear blue water you’re probably searching for.
But not all beach clubs are alike! Before you go, decide how much time and money you want to spend, and most importantly, what kind of beach vibe you’re looking for.
Beach club options
Every beach club featured here gives you the option to visit for the day (un pasa día), which is a great idea if you´re short on time, if you’re a big group, or if you want to party, then return to your villa or hotel in the city for the evening.
Take note that the vibe is often quieter and more chilled on a weekday than on a weekend, when many of the beach clubs are busier and some run special events with DJs, entertainment and dancing. The exception to the rule is Bora Bora, which offers music and dancing every day of the week. Or head to Amare on a Tuesday for “Industria on the Beach” – to see how locals in-the-know take a day off work in Cartagena!
If you’ve got a little more time, or you’re a serious beach lover, you can stay overnight at many of these beach clubs. We highly recommend Blue Apple Beach on the island of Tierrra Bomba, and also Gente de Mar on Isla Grande in the Rosarios. Both offer great accommodation if you’re looking to extend your beach stay beyond one day!
Best Cartagena beach clubs for a party
Cartagena loves to party, so start your day early with a boat to Bora Bora, and you can party all day long on the beach any day of the week. It’s a great choice for groups of friends, bachelors and bachelorette parties. Although the beach is small, the club overlooking it is extensive and the view is fantastic. Book the VIP pass with us and we’ll make sure you get the best spot.
For a weekend party near Cartagena, head to Blue Apple Beach, where you’ll find a gorgeous mix of discerning locals and tourists, looking wonderful in and around the double-the-fun pool. You’ll find top class DJs and dancers to teach you the steps alongside the regulars who dance the weekend away. It’s also a great spot if you’re craving decent wine – not easy to find in Cartagena!
Closest to Cartagena at just 10 minutes away by boat, is Fenix Beach – where you’ll find a laid back festival vibe, a large white sandy beach, beautiful natural sculptures for a photo and large pool that’s often surprisingly quiet. By day, you’ll find two vibes – a DJ on the beach, and a DJ in a cute booth further back, and by night, be prepared to dance around a fire pit with an amazing view of the city in the distance.
Best beach clubs for a day ON the beach
Amare may be one of the newest beach clubs, but it’s already a firm favorite with locals craving a beach day without the crowds of tourists or the vendors. Set on the far side of Tierra Bomba on a beach called Playa Linda (beautiful beach), this really is a gem of a place – white sands, blue sky, clear and clean waters. You’ll find excellent cocktails recommended by all the city’s bartenders, plus delicious satisfying design-your-own bowl-style lunches. This beach club truly is for those in-the-know wanting to experience local Cartagenero culture at its coolest!
Head further out to the Rosario Islands to Gente de Mar for the only beach club boasting not one, but three beaches, and all of them picture perfect! You’ll find some well known Instagram hotspots as you while away your day in the sun, relaxing, snorkelling or even exploring in and around Isla Grande by kayak or by foot. This place is perfect for a romantic getaway, especially if you choose to stay the night to enjoy the sunset together away from all the crowds.
And last but not least, don’t forget Fenix Beach. Set in the bay of Cartagena, it has a wonderful view of the city and a long white sandy beach, dotted with beach beds, a bar, a DJ and a dragon (yes, really!)
Best Cartagena beach clubs to relax and treat yourself
Makani is a new luxury beach club, located on Tierra Bomba island. If you’ve got the budget and really want to treat yourself to one of the biggest beach club pools we’ve seen in Cartagena, or take a day to enjoy a wellness spa experience, this is the place. We highly recommend Makani for a day of pampering and indulgence, with excellent options for food and cocktails.
Although Blue Apple is lively at the weekends, if you’re looking for a place to relax during the week, this is one of the best options. As well as the beach, the pools, the food and the wine, during the week, you can also explore the island on a horse, take a tour to discover how Fundación Green Apple is creating opportunities for locals on the island, go diving or get a massage. And if you have the time, stay the night in one of five amazing bungalows that have their own plunge pools.
And finally, our top recommendation especially for family groups, is Gente de Mar in the Rosario Islands. The kids will love the aquarium and water activities, and after lunch, you can all lie back and relax on the beach.
What’s not to love?
Choose your beach club
So now do you believe that Cartagena can live up to your beach dreams? Whatever your beach club desire, Two Travel is here to help you choose the best place for your day or stay in paradise. Get in touch if you have any questions about the beach clubs featured or need to rent a boat. We’ll help you get the best option for the best price, with all the care and attention you expect from a dedicated concierge.
If you’re planning to be in Cartagena for New Year’s Eve 2022 and New Year’s Day 2023, you’re in for a treat!
Colombia is known for its extensive festive New Year’s traditions, and Cartagena in particular offers some of the best opportunities for visitors to participate in the celebrations. Let’s be honest, Cartagena is not afraid of a party!
Tickets for the hottest events are now being announced!
We work with many party promoters, bars, clubs and restaurants in Cartagena. They are starting to release tickets for the hottest events in October or November. If you want to be first on the VIP list to access tickets, message us today!
And while you wait for more hot New Year’s events, here’s everything you need to know about visiting Cartagena, Colombia for the turn of the year. Get in touch and we will help you celebrate in style!
How to Spend New Year’s Eve in Cartagena
These traditions are a lot of fun, but you may still be wondering about what exactly to do on New Year’s Eve in Cartagena. If so, check out this list of the top 5 ways to celebrate the New Year during your Cartagena vacation!
1. New Year’s Eve Restaurant Reservations
If you’d like to ring in the New Year in style, we’d recommend reserving a spot at a Cartagena New Year’s Eve Feast. Several of the top restaurants, hotels, clubs, and bars will have special events, feasts, or parties planned. Many of the more popular events sell out well in advance, so be sure to book your reservations ahead of time!
For a dinner you won’t forget, we highly recommend these restaurants. We know they will all do something really special for New Year – Lobo del Mar, Carmen Restauran Cartagena, Celele, La Cocina de Pepina and La Única. If you’d like to find out more about the restaurants in Cartagena, check our our Cartagena restaurant recommendations.
2. NYE Fireworks at Parque de la Marina
One of the most popular Cartagena NYE activities is the fireworks at Parque de la Marina. Most locals will arrive well before dark with a picnic dinner and chairs or blankets to sit on. If you don’t feel like bringing all that, you can also pick up some delicious Colombian street food on your way and then rent chairs and tables at the park.
The firework show doesn’t start until midnight, but you’ll need to arrive early in order to find a place to camp out in the park. If you don’t make it in time to save a spot in this crowded square, you can also usually find a place to watch the fireworks at Muelle de los Pegasos or Cafe Del Mar, and then dance in the streets until dawn!
3. Tickets to the Best Cartagena New Year’s Eve Events and Parties
If your idea of a great New Year’s Eve celebration is exciting nightlife, Cartagena is the place for you! There are dozens of popular clubs and bars that stay open late on New Year’s Eve. Some, especially those in El Centro, host amazing festive New Year parties with live music. It’s best to head out for some dancing after dinner or other celebrations, as most locals won’t be venturing out to the bars until after midnight on New Year’s Eve.
If you’re looking to get a little bit more exclusive, we have the parties for you.
Special New Year’s Eve events are being announced, and we can offer you first VIP access to the best with the best prices too.
Wild Brunch is one of the most famous parties in Cartagena, and also sells out FAST! You’ll discover that Cartagena is ready to party like there’s no tomorrow at Wild Brunch. This really is our top recommendation! It takes place Dec 29, so you get a day to recover, before New Year’s Eve!
El Barón is famous for its cocktails and five star menu. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in this beautiful spot in San Pedro Claver square and don’t forget to dress to impress! Cartagena’s famous cocktail lounge will be sure to lay on live music, amazing food, and champagne! Get in touch and we’ll help you get tickets when they’re released!
Another favorite place for New Year is also one of the world’s best bars. Alquimico will no doubt have an exclusive party planned, with international DJs. Tickets for a sought-after table on the rooftop will sell out within days of release.
This new club was developed by the highly talented team that made Bogotá nightlife a mainstay. Its dark ambience and far-from-flawless decor only accentuate the perfection of the night this team will be throwing. Enjoy NYE dancing to international DJs with Tropical Vibes and Dark Disco. Get individual tickets here or get in touch for exlusive deals on tables, special drinks deals and more for groups of 4 – 20 people.
Immerse yourself with the best Cartagena has to offer. This event is sure to bring down the house. With top DJs, fireworks, dancers and many surprises, this NYE is one you’ll never forget. You can get a seat at a table on one of the three indoor floors (one of them is VIP) or go for the best of the best with the seats on the rooftop. All tickets include drink credit!
We also recommend Townhouse and Santa Clara for fantastic New Year’s Eve Celebrations.
4. Cartagena New Year’s Eve Street Party
Perhaps the most looked-forward to Cartagena New Year’s event is the traditional street party in San Diego Square. Located in one of Cartagena’s trendiest plazas, the BYOB event includes live music, dancing, and drinks. This is one of the most popular events in the city and seating is limited. So, you’ll definitely want to book your tickets well in advance to make sure you can welcome in 2023 at this Cartagena New Year’s party!
Note: Tickets to this event cost upwards of $75 per person. Information about the music line-up and other details of the party will be released closer to the date.
If you want to ring in 2023 the right way, you can bet that this is one city you won’t be disappointed to visit during this time.
5. Join a family celebration
As in all of Colombia, Cartagena New Year’s Eve celebrations tend to be much more family-oriented than they are in many other countries. You’ll find that most locals spend the day and evening at home with their families. Some of the younger members head out to clubs and bars, but usually only after midnight when the family celebrations are over. So if you’d really like to celebrate the New Year like a local, try to make some friends and get invited to a family celebration. Then you’ll be able to naturally participate in all the unique Colombian New Year’s traditions along with your host family!
While you’re here, why not take a deeper look at Cartagena? There are plenty of villas, private islands, experiences and yachts to make the most of! We still have some villas available over Christmas and New Year. Get in touch today!
You are not alone if you’ve never heard of the Rosario Islands before. Most people who’ve not visited Colombia have no idea that just off the coast of Cartagena, there lies an archipelago of nearly 30 protected islands to rival the picture perfect Caribbean islands of your dreams.
The Rosario Islands are nestled in a national park just an hour from Cartagena. The national park protects this important coral reef and the biodiversity that thrives in it. They are a must see for anyone coming to the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Despite being a protected area, the experiences you can have in the Rosarios are as varied as the sea life you’ll find here.
This Two Travel guide to the Rosario Islands will help you decide what kind of trip you want to take when you visit, the best things to do in the Rosarios, and the things you need to know, before you go.
What kind of Rosarios Islands trip are you looking for?
The Rosario Islands offer a wealth of options for visitors who want to explore this beautiful Caribbean setting. Before you book, it’s important to know what kind of trip you want.
Party Vibe with Friends
The party you can have in the islands with friends all depends on your time and budget.
If you’re on a budget with just one day to spare, hire a speed boat for an island hopping party.
For parties of 4 up to 15 people, a skipper will take you to a number of spots in the Rosarios to swim, snorkel and hit the beach. You´ll enjoy a traditional fish lunch and some dancing on the boat. And you´ll have time to explore some hotspots like Cholon which is THE party place in the Rosario Islands. Or maybe the hotspot where locals are flocking these days. It’s called La Piscina.
For a simple upgrade, choose a yacht or catamaran instead of a speed boat and hire your own DJ and chef. This is a great option for bachelor and bachelorette weekends or a pre-wedding event, or for friends looking for a spring breaks style day trip.
For a more exclusive party, or if you have a little more time, you can rent a villa on a private islandand really kick back and relax, or adventure and party. Staying the night in the Rosario Islands really gives you the chance to enjoy the turquoise waters and perfect sandy beaches. If you have a private boat, you can explore at your leisure, then come back to the villa to relax, or continue the party.
Tell us what you need and our concierge will make sure everything is arranged for you – be it the boat you want, a DJ and bartender for the evening, or drinks and snacks for the ride.
A Romantic Trip for Couples
The Rosario Islands are the perfect weekend away for couples and there are some beautiful places to relax, reconnect and recharge. Even if you don’t stay on a private island, if you choose a weekday trip to a small island, you may well be the only people there after the day trippers leave. Go for a sunset stroll or take in the sunset with a cocktail on the deck of a beach-side cabin, before an intimate dinner for two in the most gorgeous of surroundings.
Exploring and Adventure
If you’re keen to explore the biodiversity of the Rosarios, there are a wealth of options to suit any visitor. See the wildlife, coral reef or the mangroves in a kayak or on a paddle board.
Take a trip out for some excellent snorkelling or even better, scuba diving, and you will find yourself swimming with shoals of tropical fish in a unique coral wonderland. And if you’re staying the night, local residents will often offer you a chance to see and swim with bioluminescent plankton!
Relax for the day on a Caribbean beach
If you’re in Cartagena, without a doubt, you’ll be offered a trip to Playa Blanca. Although it’s true that the beach has idyllic white sand, tropical palms and incredible turquoise waters, it can also get VERY busy. If you don’t know the best spot, you will (most likely) be hounded by vendors. That’s not to say it can’t be enjoyable, but we know some better spots if what you’re looking for is an Instagram shot to keep or a day to chill away from everyone.
As well as the villas that are available on private islands in the Rosarios, we recommend a day pass at Gente de Mar, Isla Arena’s Bendita Beach, and Isla Marina’s Islabela Beach. Perfect for those iconic Caribbean Instagram shots in the warm, turquoise-jewelled waters, or on incredible white-sanded beaches. You’ll need to arrange a day pass or stay the night at these island hotels, but we can guarantee that they’re worth it if you’re looking to relax for a couple of days. We can help you get the best price – just get in touch.
What you need to know before a trip to the Rosario Islands
Although a day trip is great for a boat party trip to the Rosarios, to really kick back and relax, we recommend you stay at least one night to enjoy more of what makes these islands so very special. Most boats, whether you go on a tour or hire a private boat, will leave from the main marinas in Cartagena between 7.30am and 9am, returning at around 4pm, before the sea gets too choppy.
As you can see from this post, there are plenty of options for places to stay and things to do in the Rosarios, but do your research. If you’re looking for a quiet relaxing day, don’t head to Cholon or Playa Blanca. Instead, up your budget for a more luxe affair that you won’t forget.
Also, beware of gringo prices. Some tours, boats and lunch options are blatantly overpriced, but when you’re out in the islands, there’s no choice to go elsewhere, so please choose a trusted operator who can tailor a trip to what you’re looking for.
Because there’s one thing we do know – the Rosario Islands are a great option for every visitor to Cartagena.
If you enjoyed these recommendations, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more inspiration for your next trip to Cartagena or Tulum. And get in touch if you need help with a boat, island or in building your journey.
World-renowned as one of the most romantic cities in the world, Cartagena is a sought-after dream wedding destination for many couples, and for good reason.
Firstly, the historical Old City is resplendent with beautiful spots for those cherished photos of your special day.
Secondly, the range of venues for your wedding ceremony and reception are top class, catering to celebrations and budgets, big or small. Don’t forget that the US dollar goes a lot further in Colombia.
And thirdly, you’re just a yacht away from some of the most beautiful Caribbean islands for your pre- or post-wedding party or honeymoon.
Oh, and did we mention it’s one of the most romantic cities in the world?!
If you’re considering Cartagena as your wedding destination, here are some places to consider for your special day and some important things to keep in mind when planning a wedding in Cartagena, Colombia.
Wedding Venues in Cartagena
No matter how big or small your wedding guest list, Cartagena has a venue that will work for you. With so much choice in the city, choosing a venue is one of the hardest things to do. So rather than talk about every venue available, here’s Two Travel’s guide to the types of wedding venues you’ll find in Cartagena. Let’s get dreaming!
Luxury hotels like the Sofitel Santa Clara
The Sofitel Santa Clara is often at the top of the list when it comes to wedding venues in Cartagena. It’s a former convent, now a 5-star hotel set in luxury colonial style in the centre of the historic old city, with terraces, pools, fountains and cloisters that feel straight out of a film set. If you’re planning a big wedding with a budget to match, this is the venue for you. For smaller weddings seeking a similarly dramatic backdrop, consider a boutique hotel like Amarla or the unbeatable rooftop views at Movich.
Get hitched on the beach
If you’ve always wanted to get married on a beach, we highly recommend Blue Apple Beach Club. Located on Tierra Bomba, the nearest island to Cartagena, Blue Apple is perfect for couples who want a laid-back but luxury wedding of 10 – 200 people. They truly have a beautiful beach setting.
The island of Tierra Bomba is fast becoming a popular destination for beach weddings, with another luxury beach club – Makani – now open. Closer to the city, but with more of a festival feel, is Fenix Beach Club. And for those of you looking for a beach wedding, but without the boat trip, the Hilton Cartagena is an excellent spot. For the more adventurous, talk to us about planning a wedding on your own private island in the Rosarios!
A Cartagena Church Wedding
Even if you’re not religious, the churches and cathedrals in Cartagena will take your breath away. But if you want to get married in one of these stunning venues, you do need to prove your Catholic faith with both a baptism and confirmation certificate.
The three most impressive and sought after church venues for a wedding are found in the Walled City. They are the Cathedral, Santa Catalina, the Sanctuary of San Pedro Claver and Santo Toribio church. They are all set close to beautiful colonial squares for those all important “just married” photos.
Getting married in a private colonial house
Cartagena is blessed with a wealth of private colonial houses and villas, which can be hired and converted into the wedding of your dreams. Think cool green terraces, set back deep from the noise of the streets, overlooked by grand old balconies. They’re a godsend for any wedding photographer wanting to capture you and all your family friends together in one shot.
Two Travel has access to a huge number of villas and mansions in the city, so get in touch and we can discuss your needs in more detail.
Special Cartagena Wedding Venues
As we mentioned, Cartagena has a wealth of wedding venues to choose from. Here are a few that don’t fit in with the categories above, but are very much worth a mention.
Teatro de Adolfo Mejia – Truly a dramatic setting for a wedding, this theatre is a very special venue with impressive ceiling frescos, and beautiful boxes and balconies built in the old European style.
Club de Pesca – Set across the bridge in an area called Manga, this restaurant is nestled in a beautiful marina amongst luxury yachts and ancient colonial walls.
Centro de Convenciones (Cartagena’s Convention Centre) – set on the bay near the Clock Tower, here you can choose from a number of indoor or outdoor settings for your wedding. It’s also one of the best places for a show off fireworks display to celebrate your marriage!
Things to Consider when Planning a Wedding in Cartagena
We hope we’ve inspired you to choose Cartagena as your destination wedding location. But before you book, here’s a few things to keep in mind when you’re planning a wedding in Cartagena.
1. Best Time of Year for a Wedding in Cartagena
Any time of year can work for a wedding in Cartagena, but be mindful that the months of July and August are VERY humid, and October is often rainy. Prices tend to rise during the holiday months of December and January (Christmas and New Year), and around Easter week.
2. Consider a visit or two to get a feel for the city
We highly recommend at least one visit before your wedding day. Take time to get a feel for the city, experience the venues, and make plans face-to-face with your wedding suppliers. There are some fantastic wedding dress and suit designers based in the city, some of whom will also do rentals, so you don’t have to worry about how to transport your outfits on a flight.
For those of you based in the USA, you’ll find good direct flights from Miami (3 hrs) and New York (7 hrs), or if you’re based in Europe, Amsterdam has direct flights, or you could arrive into Bogota, then it’s a 90 minute flight into Cartagena.
3. Accommodation and activities for your guests
A wedding day takes a lot of planning. A destination wedding, even more so, because you, your family and friends are here for more than just a day or two. Consider the days running up to the wedding and the days just after your special day. Maybe you want everyone to go on a sunset boat cruise, or escape to the islands for a day or two. And don’t forget all the question you’ll get about where to stay in the city.
When planning a wedding with Two Travel, we don’t simply plan your wedding day. We, of course, have a dedicated wedding planner, who will help to organise every detail for your wedding day. But we also offer a concierge service for wedding guests – meaning your friends and family can ask us all those annoying questions about where to stay and what to do. And we’ll get you the best rates for any activity or accommodation you might want to offer.
4. Planning in Spanish and paying for services internationally
With Two Travel, you don’t have to worry about crossed wires from mis-translations between English and Spanish – we are all fluent in both English and Spanish. We’re also fluent in doing business in Colombia, which can be very different at times, to doing business in the US or Europe. We can ease the pain of international charges and currency conversions – not just for you, the special couple, but also for your family and friends. Get in touch with us to plan your wedding in Cartagena, and we not only get you the best prices, we make sure you get exactly what you want for your whole stay.
5. Don’t forget your bachelor / bachelorette parties or maybe your honeymoon
Cartagena is a popular destination, not just for weddings, but also for bachelor and bachelorette parties, and due to its UNESCO World Heritage status and its nearby Caribbean islands, it’s also a perfect place for your honeymoon. So if you want to make it more than just one flying visit, we can also make that happen – making sure all those all-important moments are unforgettable, fun and free of stress. Just let us know what you want, and we’ll help you make it a reality.
Have fun planning your wedding! We hope you come to Cartagena. Find out more about our wedding planning services, wedding guest services, bachelor weekends and bachelorette weekends. And if you have questions or want to plan your special event, get in touch to Build Your Journey >
Cartagena is a top destination for brides and grooms to celebrate with friends before tying the knot. With its beautiful landscape, relaxing Caribbean vibe, bustling nightlife, and wide array of fun activities, this city is the perfect backdrop for a great time.
Whether you are looking for a crazy night out on the town for the bachelor party or a relaxing bachelorette weekend on the beach with private in house massages, Cartagena has everything you need for a fun and memorable excursion!
If you’re ready to plan your escape to Cartagena, we’ve got you covered. This list of the top five ways to party in Cartagena includes the best places to stay, what to do, and where to eat.
Stay in a Private Villa
While there are a lot of premium hotels and resorts available in Cartagena, we think you’ll enjoy your bachelor trip a lot more if you rent a private villa for your entire entourage.
Many villa’s feature exquisite 19th century architecture, private pools, rooftop views, and even dedicated staff.
If you book a villa with Two Travel, we will offer you a private chef to prepare delicious meals for you and your guests during your stay, a full staff to provide daily cleaning, a professional masseuse, and a dedicated concierge to take care of any last-minute needs. At your request, you can also have a bodyguard to accompany you around the town.
No need to worry about spending hours planning a bachelorette party. We’ll take care of all the details, so you can just enjoy bonding with friends and visiting Cartagena!
Whether you want to spend your time exploring all that Cartagena has to offer or just relaxing by the pool in your secluded courtyard— a private villa is the perfect home base for your bachelor or bachelorette party!
If you really want to treat yourself to something special, you may want to consider renting one of the many private Cartagena islands!
Our top choice for renting an island in the Caribbean are the Rosario Islands, Cartagena. Located about an hour off shore of the city, these islands offer secluded white sand beaches, exotic palm trees, crystal blue waters, and stunning sunsets.
Surrounded by coral reefs and native south-american vegetation, the Rosario Islands are as close as you can get to heaven on earth. They’re the perfect backdrop for a tropical bachelorette party, an unforgettable stag weekend, or even a joint bachelor and bachelorette party.
The best thing about renting a private island? It’s all yours, so you can do whatever you like, whenever you like. Throw a giant party, stroll through tropical gardens, relax on the beach, or go kayaking or jet skiing on the ocean.
Our private island rentals accommodate from 10 guests and come with a full staff who will cook and clean daily. All the groceries you need for your stay will be delivered to the island before you arrive, and each day you’ll get a delivery of fresh-caught fish of the day! We’ll take care of everything for you, so you can just spend your time enjoying your Cartagena vacation.
Whether you stay at a private villa, rent an island, or opt for a resort vacation, there’s one Cartagena activity you definitely won’t want to miss out on: yachting!
If you want to enjoy a good party while taking in some breathtaking sights, renting a private yacht is the perfect solution for your stagette or bucks party.
As Cartagena is located right on the southern coast of the Caribbean Sea, you can board a yacht directly from the Old Town. Then spend the day exploring the islands and coral reefs of Cholon, Playa Blanca, and the Islas de Rosario.
Finish the day off by watching the majesty of a Caribbean sunset on board your yacht before heading back to shore.
Too busy to think about preparing food while partying? If you rent a yacht with Two Travel, we can provide catering onboard. We’ll make sure you have everything you need to make the most of your day on the sea! Find out more about the best way to explore the islands.
If you’re idea of the perfect bachelor party entertainment involves drinking and nightlife, Cartagena has some fantastic options! This city boasts a vibrant club scene complete with craft cocktails, dancing, and even live music for some special events.
If you want to enjoy some classic clubbing in a stylish setting, try out La Jugada. This club features up-cycled interiors, craft cocktails, and a dance-ready playlist. If you book a table here, come prepared for a stylish crowd and be sure to dress with an appropriate amount of class. It’s a local favorite, so spending an evening at La Jugada is a great way to experience the culture of Cartagena.
For an unforgettable and unique nightlife experience, head to Alquímico in the Historic Walled City. This innovative club features inventive cocktails, liquor infusions, and a menu that draws from local recipes and fresh ingredients. The menu isn’t the only reason to visit Alquimico, though! This club features a gorgeous art-deco cocktail bar on the ground floor, a roof terrace with city views upstairs, and a DJ curated playlist that features a variety of trendy music styles.
Having difficulties booking a table at your chosen club? Looking for VIP access to the best tables? If this is your scenario, we can help you out! At Two Travel, we have established relationships with the owners and managers of the top clubs and restaurants. We’re happy to get our clients VIP access, no cover charge, and even sold-out reservations that aren’t available online or by phone
Contact us to find out more about VIP access to the top Cartagena clubs today!
No Cartagena bachelorette or bachelor party would be complete without a dining experience at one of the city’s famous restaurants.
Visit Carmen for an intimate dining experience with a menu that features contemporary cuisine and authentic Colombian flavors. At Lobo Del Mar, you’ll find innovative cocktails and gastronomic creations inspired by classic Caribbean flavors and locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
Both Maria and Lila’s Pomarossa offer fine dining, locally sourced ingredients, and elegant cocktails, all served up in a stylish setting.
Cartagena is one of Colombia’s most thriving cities. Founded in 1553 as a portal of trade between Spain and the American colonies, this beautiful historic city boasts impressive colonial architecture, a rich history, a vibrant culture, and a beautiful landscape. Today, Cartagena is considered the safest metropolis in Colombia and one of the best spots for tourism in South America!
Located in the northwest area of Colombia, this city sprawls between the inland hills of the department of Bolívar and the white sand coastline of the Caribbean. There’s plenty to see and do in Cartagena—soak up the sun on the beaches, take in the spectacular views of the tropical scenery, or wander through winding cobbled streets in charming neighborhoods. Just a short boat ride away, you’ll find the Rosario Islands – a protected reserve or picture perfect islands and coral reefs.
Two places you absolutely won’t want to miss within Cartgena, are the Walled City of Old Cartagena and the neighborhood of Getsemani. Between these two districts, you can get a thorough taste of the culture and people of Cartagena while experiencing some of the city’s most noteworthy sights, tastes, and sounds!
The Walled City of Old Cartagena
One of the most memorable neighborhoods in all of Colombia, the Walled City of Old Cartagena is famous for its rich history and magnificent architecture. This district is so important to Colombian culture that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site In 1984!
Castillo San Felipe outside the historical centre, and the fortifications that surround and protect the city were built by Spanish colonists to protect from pirates, most notably Sir Francis Drake, during the 16th century. The entire neighborhood is surrounded by a massive stone wall and can only be entered through one of many arched gateways.
Despite the constant flow of tourists and the passage of three centuries, this enchanting fortified city has managed to preserve much of its authentic architecture and colonial charm. Visitors today find a winding network of cobbled streets, colonial churches, ancient mansions, and rows of brightly painted cottages protected behind the castle-like walls.
Today, Old Cartagena hosts a thriving tourist community. Many of the antique family mansions have been transformed into luxury hotels that still maintain some of the original construction and showcase authentic colonial decor. There are hundreds of world-class restaurants here, and it is expected that the Walled City will soon overtake Bogota as the culinary capital of Colombia!
You can expect to pay a little more for your accommodation, dining, and adventures within the walls, but it will be well worth it to experience this enchanting old-world city.
Things to Do in the Walled City
During the day, wander through the Old City’s streets, lined with brightly painted houses and seemingly perfectly preserved colonial architecture. Travelers will find tropical blooms draping from colorful balconies, enchanting stone archways, and a tantalizing selection of local street food.
If fine-dining is what you’ve come for, be sure to try La Cevicheria for exquisitely prepared Colombian seafood, Montmartre for classic French cuisine, or Alma for contemporary classics in a romantic setting.
The Walled City is an amazing place to watch the sunset over the Caribbean! Just before dark, head to the Cafe del Mar to enjoy cocktails and fine dining with the view, or purchase drinks and a fruit cup from one of the street vendors and join the locals on the western wall. Either way, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the sun setting over the vibrant Caribbean waters!
Getsemaní – Cartagena’s Williamsburg
Once considered Cartagena’s shadiest neighborhood, today, Getsemaní has evolved into a modern and trendy corner that draws tourists with its vibrancy and artistic expression. Located just outside of the Walled City, no trip to Cartagena is complete without a tour of this neighborhood.
Like the Walled City, Getsemaní features colonial architecture, winding streets, and bright colors. Mingled in with this classic aesthetic is an astonishing array of talented street art. Painted on buildings, walls, and sidewalks, the colorful local artwork has become an identifying characteristic of this trendy neighborhood.
Getsemani revolves around Plaza Trinidad, a large open square bustling with food vendors, cafes, and musicians. Every night, the plaza comes alive with a mix of tourists and locals coming together to enjoy good music, food, dancing, and company. While it’s still a bit rough around the edges, the local vibe, amazing street art, and authentic feel of Getsemani make it well worth the visit!
Things to do in Getsemaní
Getsemani seems to have been designed for wandering. The first thing you should do here is just that: walk! Amble up and down the narrow streets to enjoy the fantastic artwork, brightly colored homes, and prolific tropical plants that line almost every road.
For food, head to the Plaza Trinidad. The main square of the city has a wide selection of vendors to choose from, all of it well-priced and delicious. For a more formal setting, try out Di Silvio Trattoria for pizza and Italian food, or, go to Cafe del Mural for some of the best coffee in Cartagena!
Whatever you decide to do in the city of Cartagena, get in touch if you would like help with nightlife and restaurant reservations, tours, boat hire, day trips of the best villas in the city.