The Ultimate Guide to Cartagena’s Colonial District: The Walled City vs. Getsemaní

Beautiful sunset over Cartagena, Colombia
Beautiful sunset over Cartagena, Colombia. Photo by: Starcevic.

Not sure where to stay in Cartagena? If you’re looking to immerse yourself in culture, a stay in Cartagena’s colonial Centro area is in order. But which is better, the Walled City or Getsemaní? Stick with us as we take a deep dive into Cartagena’s most historic neighborhoods, from accommodation to nightlife, and safety.

Cartagena is undeniably the jewel of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Positioned on the Caribbean Sea, this historic port town attracts thousands of visitors every year due to its unique architecture and charm. In Cartagena, you can see the stunning juxtaposition of new and old. It is a beautiful sight to see the Miami-like skyline of Bocagrande whilst standing on the centuries-old city wall. But the true appeal to most visitors is the timeless beauty of the colonial neighborhoods of Centro and San Diego within the Walled City, and Getsemaní, just outside of it. These neighborhoods are iconic and, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, remain as a window to a past that has long gone by. 

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Cartagena’s Walled City: A Charming and Romantic Escape

Cartagena Colombia
Photo: Shutterstock

The historic center of Cartagena is surrounded by 11 kilometers of defensive walls. Built in 1586 to protect Cartagena from invading pirates, they now form a central part of the identity of the city. Nowadays, with no threat from conquistadors, pirates, or invasions, Cartagena welcomes thousands of visitors each year to stroll its picturesque streets. You are sure to be charmed by its cobbled streets and quaint, colorful buildings with flowering bougainvillea all year round. Cartagena has been named one of the most romantic cities in the world. Despite its historic facade, Cartagena is full of modern restaurants, trendy bars, and boutique designer shops. This makes it the perfect place to wander around for the afternoon, and well into the evening.

What is the Nightlife like in the Walled City?

Nightlife in Alquimico, one of Cartagena's best bars.
Nightlife in Alquimico, one of Cartagena’s best bars.

The nightlife in Cartagena’s walled city is unparalleled. As the sleepy heat of the day wears off, the city comes alive at night. Stroll through quaint plazas where artisans sell their wares, such as San Diego Square, or grab an arepa de huevo (Cartagena’s signature fried treat – the egg arepa) in Fernandez de Madrid Square.

The walled city is always buzzing with people until the small hours of the morning. You can find some of the best and most stylish bars and clubs in Cartagena inside the old town. Check out our guide to the best bars and clubs in Cartagena – all of which are located within the walled city. Some of our favorites include Alquimico for the best craft cocktails in town, and La Movida for a stylish nightclub with excellent music. The old town of Cartagena is super walkable and bar hopping is not only easy but recommended.

Where can I stay in the Walled City?

Luxury Villa in Cartagena Colombia
Luxury Villa in Cartagena, Colombia.

The old town of Cartagena probably has one of the highest ratios of hotels and Airbnbs per square meter than anywhere else. It is positively bursting with incredible locations to stay. Despite the fact that there are hundreds of hotels and hostels inside the walled city of Cartagena, we will always prefer to choose a villa over a hotel.

A villa rental is superior because you and your group will have the whole vacation rental to yourselves. The appeal of privacy, plus your own private garden, balcony, and swimming pool is just too much to pass on. Plus, the colonial architecture of the private villas in the walled city is second to none. You can even hire a private chef to cook up a storm for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, while you kick back on your private rooftop terrace. Sounds too good to be true? Check out our villas and see for yourself.

If you do fancy a hotel stay, there are some world-renowned options within the old city, such as the Charleston Santa Teresa or the Sofitel Santa Clara. The Santa Clara is a converted convent that looks onto the ocean and is steeped in history. It is even said to be the inspiration for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book “Of Love and Other Demons”.

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How safe is the Walled City of Cartagena?

If you’re within the walled city, you’re in one of the safest areas of Cartagena. The main streets are busy at all hours and are well-lit. As with any major city, it’s always good to have your wits about you. Pick-pocketing can easily happen, especially in large crowds. Don’t carry large amounts of cash on you, and make sure you take out some Colombian pesos rather than dollars if you want to buy any souvenirs in the street.

Speaking of money, make sure you always negotiate a price before purchasing a service. For example, getting in a yellow cab, getting a massage on the beach, or renting the horse and carts you will see around town. It’s always better to agree on the price beforehand to avoid getting scammed. And that photo with the beautiful Palenquera lady with the fruit basket on her head? It’s not for free. And finally, be careful when using dating apps. Make sure to always meet in a public place and keep your friends informed of your whereabouts.

Getsemaní: The Walled City’s Bohemian younger sister

Cartagena colombia Gesemani neighborhood
Beautiful street in Getsemaní neighborhood. Photo by: Priscilla Burcher

Getsemaní (pronounced het-sem-a-KNEE) was, historically, a slum where the slaves would live during colonial times. Until around 10 years ago, it was preceded by its reputation for being seedy and dangerous. Today, however, it is a totally different neighborhood. Getsemaní is a diamond in the rough; it is charming, without being perfectly polished like many parts of Centro. Enjoy its vibrant street art, much of which celebrates the essence of what it is to be proudly Afro-Colombian. The locals of Getsemaní have banded together to make the most of living right in the heart of one of Cartagena’s most touristic districts. Every family home has become a business; whether they are selling beers through their window, colorful canvases with local art, or cheap cocktails. Getsemaní was even named by Forbes magazine back in 2018 as one of the “coolest neighborhoods in the world”.

What is the Nightlife like in Getsemaní?

Getsemani Cartagena Colombia
Café Havana in Getsemaní, Cartagena, Colombia.

The nightlife experience in Getsemaní is very different from the experience in the walled city. It is a lot more chaotic and busy as there is a high volume of people in a smaller space. It is also a lot more relaxed in terms of the general atmosphere. The beating heart of Getsemani is Plaza de la Trinidad, where you will find many locals and tourists alike. Many people gather in this square during the evenings to chat, drink, and watch the street performers. Keep an eye out, and you might see Michael Jackson, or even Shakiro (Cartagena’s answer to Shakira which needs to be seen to be believed). Or if you fancy a $2 cocktail, head down to Callejon Ancho, where you will find a bunch of makeshift bars, blaring music, and the best vibes to get your weekend started.

There are also some great bars, restaurants, and clubs in Getsemaní. We like Seven Times, a cabaret-style club with different ambiances. Head to the famous Cafe Havana to dance salsa into the small hours of the night, or to Calle Dragones for some creative cocktails. We also can’t forget about dinner at Celele, a contender in the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants (2022).

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Where can I stay in Getsemaní?

Casa Santa Ana Cartagena
Luxury Villa in Cartagena, Colombia

Much like the walled city, Getsemaní also has its fair share of Colonial villas. Much like the villas in the old city, these stunning, centuries-old houses have private pools, terraces, and all the modern amenities. After the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Getsemaní, entering your private villa feels like the perfect escape. Relax, party, or host in total privacy. Getsemaní has a much higher proportion of backpacker hostels compared to the Old City. Many of these are located on its main street, Calle Media Luna. There are also some more upper-scale hotels, such as Casa Lola, which stays true to the rugged yet charming vibe of Getsemaní.

How safe is Getsemaní?

Despite being a little rougher around the edges compared to the walled city, Getsemaní is also pretty safe. In recent years, safety has improved a lot in this area, as it has gotten more gentrified and popular. Still, it’s important to stick to well-populated areas such as the main square and the streets where the main bars and restaurants are. Don’t engage in conversation with homeless people or people selling things. All our previous recommendations for the walled city of Cartagena also apply here; no des papaya (don’t give papaya) as they say in Cartagena, and you’ll be fine! This local saying basically translates to don’t flash what you’re not willing to lose. If you stick with your group and go to reputable places, you have nothing to worry about. You’re sure to have the best time on your trip to Cartagena!

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Unmissable Sites Near Mexico City: Must-Visit Guide

Oaxaca. Mexico.

If history and archaeology are your passions, and learning about cultures different from your own is what gets you out of bed in the morning, Mexico City has a great deal to offer regarding that. You’ll find many fascinating options in downtown Mexico City alone. However, if your passion also includes the heart of an explorer, you’ll be thrilled to discover that more sites near Mexico City are worth seeing. Sites near Mexico City include the Teotihuacán Pyramids, San Miguel de Allende, and Oaxaca. Every site near Mexico City has something to offer. From ancient ruins in Teotihuacán Pyramids to culinary wonders in Oaxaca, you’ll find these and more near Mexico City.

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Ruins Near Mexico City: Teotihuacán Pyramids

Teotihuacán Pyramids.
Avenue of Dead and Sun Pyramid in Teotihuacán.

Discover the ancient wonders just a stone’s throw away from the bustling metropolis of Mexico City at the iconic Teotihuacán Pyramids. As a testament to the rich history of Mesoamerican civilizations, these ruins offer a captivating journey into the past. Teotihuacán, meaning “the place where the gods were created,” stands as one of the most significant archaeological sites in the region. This easily accessible site near Mexico City, and UNESCO World Heritage place allows visitors to step back in time and explore the remnants of a once-thriving pre-Columbian city.

Nestled within the Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacán’s grandeur is exemplified by the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, both towering structures that beckon travelers seeking a cultural and historical escape. The site provides a unique opportunity to marvel at the advanced urban planning and architectural prowess of the ancient Teotihuacanos. Exploring these ruins near Mexico City is not just a journey into the past; it’s an immersive experience that unveils the mysteries of a civilization that thrived over two millennia ago. For those eager to unearth the secrets of Mesoamerican history, Teotihuacán stands as an unmissable destination, right on the doorstep of Mexico’s vibrant capital.

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San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende near Mexico City

If you’re interested in taking a day trip, Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende is about a four-hour drive. There are tons of things to do there such as visiting museums, visiting boutiques where you can find handmade items, enjoying live music, good food, wine tastings, and more. There are a couple of interesting stops between Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende that you may want to consider if you want to take a break from driving and get out to stretch your legs.

Museo Nacional de Virre is about an hour away from Mexico City. It’s filled with fine art, inlaid wood pictures, religious statues, paintings, and more. This is something of an extension of the beautiful artistic works you’d see in Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.

Another option that’s about an hour away from Mexico City is Xochitla Ecological Park. Though the park is privately owned, it’s open to the public. It offers a beautiful and peaceful 2.3-mile loop that’s typically considered a moderately challenging hike on a dirt trail. The focus of this park is to enhance environmental conscience and to offer a refuge to wildlife.

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Guanajuato

Guanajuato

Another option for a day trip is Mexico City to Guanajuato, which is about a five-hour drive. Guanajuato was quite a wealthy location in its early days. It was very rich in silver and gold deposits. Back in the 16th century, it was considered a silver-mining center. Then it went into an extended time of decline because of a revolt in 1810. It didn’t start to make a comeback until about the middle of the 20th century.  If you’re into architecture, you’ll get to enjoy colonial-style buildings and brightly colored homes as you explore along cobblestone streets. Guanajuato’s most famous attraction is the Mummy Museum. There’s also an interesting theater, which is a unique blend of ancient Roman architecture on the outside, and oriental styling on the inside.

It’s interesting to note that a drive from San Miguel de Allende to Guanajuato would be about one-and-a-half hours. So it would be possible to visit Guanajuato after spending time in San Miguel de Allende.      

If you were to choose to travel from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende to Guanajuato, you could also pick up Leon, which is about one-and-a-half hours from Guanajuato. Leon is a bustling city and is the fifth largest city in Mexico. It’s a great place to get quality leather goods and is accessible from several airports. 

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Oaxaca

Oaxaca,,Mexico,,Scenic,Old,City,Streets,And,Colorful,Colonial,Buildings

If you’re a road warrior, Mexico City to Oaxaca is just over a six-hour drive. So this might make a good weekend adventure because of the travel time involved. As much as Oaxaca has to offer, planning for more than just a weekend visit may be necessary.

Oaxaca is a place of variety, activity, beauty, history, and fine culinary delights. One of the most fascinating places to visit in Oaxaca is the UNESCO site in Monte Alabán. Three different people groups lived in the area for 1500 years, so there is a large number of amazing ruins including ancient pyramids, fortresses, an observatory, and more.

Oaxaca is full of open-air markets. The most well-known is the Tlacolula Market. Besides fresh meat and vibrant produce, there’s also the opportunity to check out local, handmade items such as pottery and wooden collectibles.

A beautiful, historical building in the downtown area of Oaxaca is the Oaxaca Cathedral. It’s been around since the 1500s but had to undergo significant repairs after it was damaged in an 

earthquake in 1714. Oaxaca Cathedral is a beautiful site to visit, especially at night when it’s lit up.

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Beyond Mexico City Surroundings

While Mexico City has a great deal of beauty, history, and fun places to explore, each nearby city has its own story to unfold about Mexico’s past, present, and dreams for the future. The information shared here is only a fraction of the fascinating travel experiences awaiting those who choose to step into the journey of unmissable sites near Mexico City.

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Cultural Landmarks You Must See in Mexico City

mexico city cultural landmarks

Mexico City is the very heart of Mexico and is Mexico’s largest city. Mexico City is also the biggest city on the continent of North America. Fascinating history, exquisite art, delicious food, breathtaking architecture, and a variety of cultural landmarks. All of these can be found throughout Mexico City.

The bustling city boasts of the variety it offers to tourists who enjoy being immersed in a vibrant culture that embraces life to the fullest. Some of Mexico City’s most notable cultural landmarks include Templo Mayor, the National Palace, and Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. 

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Mexico City Landmarks

mexico city altitude
Zocalo Constitution Square in Mexico City, landmark Metropolitan Cathedral, and National Palace.

These cultural landmarks can be explored throughout a weekend, and offer some great photo ops. There’s a plethora of dining options available and some nice variety. Besides Mexican food, there is also Spanish, French, Mediterranean, Asian and more. You’ll even be able to squeeze in learning a high-level view of Mexico’s history.

The Aztecs gave Mexico City its foundation way back in the 13th century, although it was known as Tenochtitlan at the time. They were responsible for developing a fairly advanced civilization with an organized social, political, and religious culture. Then the Spanish conquest and the French invasion brought about changes and new influences. 

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Templo Mayor Mexico City

Ruins of the Museo Templo Mayor
Ruins of the Museo Templo Mayor. Photo by: Günther Bayerl.

When the Aztecs originally constructed the Templo Mayor (Main Temple), it was the hub of their civilization’s activities, including special ceremonies and rituals. So they made it the center of their city. It was about 100 feet high and overlooked the entire city with massive pyramids on each side of an enormous platform. The Aztecs were religious and worshiped many gods. Temple Mayor was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war and the sun, and also Tlaloc, the god of the rain.

When a new Aztec ruler took the throne, he would typically add enhancements to the Templo Mayor to mark his reign in the empire and to honor the gods and the Aztec empire. The Templo Mayor went through several major phases of construction. The temple has also been home to some of the most incredible works of art in history, as well as elaborate architectural embellishments.

When Hernán Cortés and his Spanish conquistadors invaded the area, their group only consisted of 400 soldiers. However, the Aztec empire had become unstable even before the invasion, and even though Cortés was outnumbered, his conquistadors were armed with better weapons.

After the Spanish overcame the Aztec empire, the Templo Mayor was nearly destroyed and erased from history for many centuries. Then its ruins were accidentally rediscovered toward the end of the 1970s because of some area electrical upgrades, and it was decided that an archeological dig should take place. Today, tourists can walk along gated paths and see the ruins, and pay a fee to see the many artifacts in the museum located behind Templo Mayor.

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National Palace Mexico City

National Palace Palacio Nacional Zocalo Plaza de la Constitucion Mexico City
Photo by: Robert Harding.

The National Palace is an impressive structure that is located at the center of the city’s main square (Zócalo). Today, the National Palace is being used as the location of various government offices and the residence of Mexico’s president. Besides it has an amazing history. Some of the National Palace’s building materials are as old as Montezuma, who was one of the last emperors of the Aztec empire. Because of the building’s history, it’s considered to be one of the most symbolic representations of Mexico.

The National Palace is also home to an exquisite mural that tells the story of Mexico’s history and is entitled, The History of Mexico. Mexican artist Diego Rivera is the artist who painted the mural, which fills the three enormous walls alongside the National Palace’s main stairway. Rivera’s challenge was to choose the key events of Mexico’s history and bring them to life in the present and for future generations with his brilliant artistic ability. His masterpiece spans from the time of the Aztec empire through the Spanish conquest, and the revolution into the industrial years. Rivera also painted other works that can be viewed in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico.

Admission is free, but since it’s a government building in use today, you will need to be prepared to show your identification. Any bags you have with you will go through a security check.

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Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Metropolitan Cathedral Mexico City
Photo by: Aidan McRae

Approximately 50 years after Hernán Cortés led his Spanish conquistadors into victory over the Aztecs, construction started on the Metropolitan Cathedral. It took 250 years to build this massive and impressive religious structure. The time involved in its construction meant that several types of architecture were woven in by all who took part. The blend of styles includes Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical.

The Metropolitan Cathedral was built on top of the Templo Mayor upon the orders of the conquistadors as a symbol of their victory over the Aztecs. Many of the remains of the Templo Mayor were incorporated into the Metropolitan Cathedral as additional symbolism of the outcome of the Spanish conquest. The Metropolitan Cathedral has had issues with sinking, and so far, has sunk about 32 feet (10 meters), so a major stabilization project took place during the 1990s and was completed in 2000.

Today, the Metropolitan Cathedral is the home of many gorgeous paintings of religious figures, statues, and various artifacts. In addition, it is the home of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico. The building is often open for self-guided tours when religious services are not taking place. It will be best to check which days and times in advance of your visit.

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Only a Taste of All that Mexico City Offers

These amazing landmarks barely scratch the surface of all the amazing sights and history you can experience in Mexico City. Including these cultural landmarks in your Mexico City itinerary will give you a taste of the beauty and the fun adventures the country has to offer, a desire for a return visit, and plenty of photos and bragging rights to share with friends and family when you get home.

Craving a taste of Mexico? Let us be your flavor guide! We’re not just planners; we’re memory architects. Dive into your dream getaway with us, where every detail is a stroke of brilliance.

Mexico City Altitude Recommendations

mexico city altitude

Mexico City is one of the most popular destinations for tourists, but one thing you need to be aware of if you’re planning a trip to Mexico City is the difference in altitude. Prevent altitude sickness, so you can enjoy your trip to Mexico City stress-free!

No matter if you’re planning on spending your time here wandering around art museums, or indulging in delicious Mexican cuisine, it’s best to be aware of some of the best altitude recommendations for Mexico City.

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What is the Altitude in Mexico City?

mexico city altitude
Zocalo Constitution Square in Mexico City, landmark Metropolitan Cathedral, and National Palace.

The altitude in Mexico City is something every visitor needs to be aware of. Mexico City’s elevation in feet is 7,349, or 2, 240 meters above sea level.

Due to Mexico City’s height, visitors can often experience altitude sickness, which can really take away from their enjoyment of the trip. Let’s face it, everyone imagines their vacation to Mexico City to be spent exploring art galleries, dining on delectable Mexican cuisine, and sipping on fruity cocktails – not feeling sick, dizzy, and dealing with headaches every day!

With Mexico City insights in mind, let’s craft a tailor-made itinerary for your unique experience.

Can You Get Altitude Sickness in Mexico City?

mexico city altitude
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Due to the elevation of Mexico City, altitude sickness is a common problem among visitors who are not prepared to adjust to this new altitude. It is a common problem as Mexico City has 5% lower oxygen levels than at sea level. This makes it important to understand the common symptoms of altitude sickness and how to prevent it before you travel.

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What is Altitude Sickness?

mexico city panoramic
Museo Nacional in Downtown Mexico City

In short, altitude sickness is a variety of symptoms people experience when they ascend to a much higher altitude too rapidly.

Not allowing the human body to adjust to the lower oxygen levels at the higher altitude, and the changes in air pressure can create a host of unwanted symptoms which can interfere with the enjoyment of your vacation.

It’s important to be aware that the symptoms of altitude sickness, in some circumstances, can become life-threatening. Taking action to prevent it, and knowing the symptoms before you travel is very important.

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Symptoms of Altitude Sickness in Mexico City

mexico city cathedral in zocalo
Cathedral in the Zocalo of Mexico City, under cloudy skies.

Now that you know what Altitude sickness is, and what causes it, it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms, should you start to experience any when you arrive in Mexico City.

Symptoms of altitude sickness include:

  • A loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping / insomnia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Exhaustion / feeling tired / feeling weak
  • Swelling of the face, hands, or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritability

If your symptoms persist let us know and we’ll contact a healthcare professional for medical advice. If your symptoms begin to worsen, we’ll seek immediate medical attention for you and your group. We got you covered!

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How to Prevent Altitude Sickness in Mexico City

Traveling to Mexico City should still be fun and exciting, and you can enjoy your trip worry-free if you prepare well to prevent altitude sickness. There are many ways in which you can prepare for the altitude changes in Mexico City to avoid getting sick.

Supplements

There are several supplements on the market that have been found effective in treating and preventing altitude sickness.

Before purchasing any supplements it is important to do thorough research on the product and consult with your healthcare professional.

It is important to note that supplements should not be relied upon to prevent/treat altitude sickness, and these should be used alongside other natural ways to prevent altitude sickness.

Avoid Strenuous Activity

This can be a difficult one for those who are looking for an active vacation, but it is important to lower your activity level, and not engage in any strenuous activity during the acclimatization period, or until your body has fully adjusted.

Strenuous activity (even hitting the hotel gym!) can lead to more serious Mexico City altitude sickness, and it is important to wait until at least two days of no symptoms before you can engage in physical activity or exercise.

Acclimate Slowly

Acclimating slowly is one of the best ways of preventing symptoms of altitude sickness.

If you’re planning on visiting nearby mountains, you should be sure to spend several days in Mexico City Center before traveling any higher. This is especially important if you’re flying in.

If possible, it’s a good idea to plan a road trip to Mexico City, so that you can spend a few days adjusting slowly to the higher elevation and giving your body time to adjust.

Avoid Alcohol, Tobacco, and Caffeine

Although many people want to make the most of their time in Mexico City at night, it’s important to limit your alcohol intake, as well as tobacco and caffeine, especially for the first few days until you have adjusted to the elevation.

Not only can these cause oxidative stress, and be dehydrating (which can make it more difficult for your body to adjust to the new altitude, and increase your risk for altitude sickness), but the symptoms of a hangover due to excessive alcohol consumption can be incredibly similar to altitude sickness.

Get Plenty of Rest

It is important to get plenty of rest both before and during your trip. Sleep is an important part of helping the human body recover, so no matter how badly you want to get out and explore, it’s important to get around 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Good sleep will help increase blood flow, and prevent the development of altitude sickness.

Hydrate Well

Dehydration is one of the most common things that can cause altitude sickness symptoms to develop or worsen, so it is vital to drink plenty of water during your trip to Mexico City. 

Due to sweating in the warm weather of Mexico City, and the increase in respiration caused by the drastic increase in altitude, you will lose a lot of fluids. Therefore, it is important to ensure proper hydration and drink lots of water for the duration of your getaway.

If you need any more assistance with planning and preparing for your trip to Mexico City, one of our specialists can help you plan your dream getaway.

Downtown Mexico City: Discover the Historic Center of Mexico City

Historic center Mexico City
Street scene in the historic center of Mexico City

Mexico City Downtown, also known as the Historic Center of Mexico City,  (or locally as Centro Historic Mexico City), is a gorgeous historic district, brimming with classic architecture, delicious traditional Mexican cuisine, and even UNESCO world heritage sites.

Many consider this to be one of the best neighborhoods in Mexico City, not only due to its rich heritage but also due to the amount of amazing things to see and do here.

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico City, and are looking for the perfect spot to soak up some history and culture, then look no further than Downtown Mexico City.

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Visit the Zócalo

Plaza de la Constitucion in Mexico City
Historical landmark National Palace building at Plaza de la Constitucion in Mexico City. Photo by: R.M. Nunes

The Zócalo in Mexico City is one of the country’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Zócalo is one of the major reasons why the area is hailed as Mexico City’s historic center.

This plaza has stood as the main square of downtown Mexico City since Aztec times. Today is still one of the most popular areas for locals and tourists. Previously known as the Plaza de la Constitución, it features a huge flagpole flying the Mexican flag, and many great attractions. Zócalo includes artists selling handmade goods and souvenirs, street food vendors, and folk dancers.

With Mexico City insights in mind, let’s craft a tailor-made itinerary for your unique experience.

Visit Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor in the historic center of Mexico City
Templo Mayor in the historic center of Mexico City

Templo Mayor (Main Aztec Temple) is a famous temple which, as the name suggests, used to serve as the main location for the entire Aztec empire.

After the Spanish conquest, the temple was buried and the Zocalo was built on top. Efforts to excavate the temple took place between the 19th century and the 1980s. Today guests can walk through the remnants of the temple to view its spectacular history.

There is also an onsite museum that houses some of the 7,000 items and artifacts recovered from the temple. Guests can visit Tuesday to Sunday between 9:00 and 17:00, for a small entry fee of 80 pesos ($4 USD).

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Take a Trip to one of Mexico City’s Best Museums

Museo Nacional in Downtown Mexico City
Museo Nacional in Downtown Mexico City

Mexico City is home to around 150 museums, with some of the best being located in Centro Historico. No matter what your interests are, you’ll find a museum here that’s more than worth the visit!

Some of these include:

  • MUNAL National Art Museum: for those who are interested in traditional artworks.
  • Museum of Popular Art: for those interested in contemporary artworks.
  • Museum of Tolerance and Memory: an incredibly potent museum about discrimination, genocide, and human rights.
  • Diego Rivera Mural Museum: a museum home to just one painting. The mural ‘Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central’ is created by Diego Rivera (Frida Kahlo’s husband). Frida Kahlo is known for many as Mexico’s most important historical figure across 400 years.

If you have time, all of these museums are well worth the visit, especially if you’re interested in Mexico’s history or art scenes. The range in price goes between 35 pesos ($3 USD) and 95 pesos ($5 USD), making it easy and cheap to access great culture and heritage during a trip to the Historic Centre of Mexico City.

Got questions about exploring Mexico City? Drop us a message – we’re here to help you create an unforgettable Mexico City experience.

See Mariachi Bands at Plaza Garibaldi

Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City
Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City

If you’re looking to enjoy some authentic mariachi music in Mexico City, Plaza Garibaldi is a place where you can enjoy it day and night! 

So if you want to stop to admire the showmanship of the mariachi bands, or if you want to get involved in an impromptu dance party, Plaza Garibaldi is the place to be. Just to be on the safe side though, you’ll want to take an Uber back to the hotel if you’re visiting here after dark.

Now that you’re familiar with Mexico City, let’s design a custom itinerary for your exploration.

What to Eat in Downtown Mexico City

Mexico City Street Food

If you’re spending a day in Downtown Mexico City and are looking to indulge in some delicious and authentic food, then there are plenty of options for you to try! One of the best foods you’ll find in the historic downtown area is Tacos. Tacos Al Pastor, Tacos Suaderos, Tacos de Canasta, and Fish Tacos are all on the menu! There are options to sit down to eat them in restaurants, or to grab them to go and eat them standing street-side, just like the locals!

There’s also a branch of Churrería el Moro, home to the best Churros in Mexico City. Be sure to save room for a sweet and delicious snack!

Mexico City has one of the best dining scenes in the world. If you want to explore more restaurant options in Mexico City check out our guide.

Other Places to Visit in Downtown Mexico City

Whilst we have included in this guide some of the top things to see and do if you’re visiting the area for a day trip, there’s plenty more to experience here if you plan on staying in Mexico City’s Historic Center for a while longer including:

  • Torre Latinoamericana Tower (Latin American Tower): Head up to the mirador (viewing platform) on any clear day to enjoy sweeping views of the city below and all of its stunning historic buildings in a range of architectural styles.
  • Palacio Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts): Another great spot for art lovers, the famous golden-domed, beautiful building boasts stunning architecture, an art-deco interior, and the Museo Palacio de Bellas Artes, where guests can view rotating art exhibits from some of the world’s most famous classical artists.
  • Barrio Chino (Mexico City Chinatown): Mexico City’s Chinatown isn’t very big, but it’s a great spot to stroll through and take some travel snaps of the iconic entryways.
  • Parque Alameda Central Park: A great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area, Parque Alameda Central Park is a great spot for enjoying some delicious tacos or churros and watching the gentle fountains.
  • Palacio Nacional & Diego Rivera Murals: If you’re a fan of artwork, you can check out more of Diego Rivera’s work on the walls of Palacio Nacional, home to Mexico’s Federal Treasury and National Archives.
  • The Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City: A great spot to visit for architecture and culture alike, it is amongst the ten largest churches in all of the Americas.

Whether you’re a history fanatic or a lover of the arts, there’s plenty to see and do in the heart of Mexico City’s Historic Centre. Get ready to indulge in great tacos, dance to traditional mariachi music, and see some of the world’s most beautiful artworks all in one place – Downtown Mexico City!

Having an idea of what Mexico City offers, let’s work on a customized itinerary to maximize your experience. Contact our support team today for a personalized adventure in Mexico City!

Best Neighborhoods in Mexico City

Mexico City best neighborhoods
Photo by: Alfredo Estrella

Are you struggling to find your ideal neighborhood in Mexico City? Then you are in the right place!

Mexico City is nestled beneath the shadows of ancient pyramids and modern skyscrapers. It is a captivating tapestry of history, culture, and pulsating urban life. As you prepare to immerse yourself in this dynamic metropolis, the question of where to stay becomes a delightful journey in itself. From the refined elegance of Polanco to the bohemian charm of Roma Norte, each neighborhood has its unique charm and character. Explore with us the best neighborhoods in Mexico City.

With that in mind, we have reviewed a list of the three best neighborhoods in Mexico City to help you choose an ideal place to stay.

Best areas to stay in Mexico City

Here are some of the best areas to stay in Mexico City, each with its unique characteristics:

Polanco Mexico City: The Pinnacle of Elegance and Luxury

Photo by: Frank Nowikowski

Polanco is renowned for its upscale ambiance, cultural richness, and modern amenities. It allows you to experience a lifestyle where luxury seamlessly intertwines with the city’s vibrant spirit. Here are some reasons and allures that make Polanco the best place to stay in Mexico City:

  • Upscale Atmosphere: Polanco is known for its upscale and luxurious atmosphere. The neighborhood is home to high-end shopping districts, exclusive boutiques, and designer stores. All these attract a more affluent demographic.
  • Cultural Attractions: Polanco often hosts cultural events and exhibitions. You can visit their museums, such as Museo Soumaya and Museo Jumex.
  • Business Hub: The neighborhood serves as a significant business and financial hub. For instance, it hosts corporate offices, embassies, and upscale hotels. This makes it convenient for professionals working in the area.
  • Green Spaces: Polanco features well-maintained parks and green spaces. This provides a pleasant environment for residents and visitors. For example, Parque Lincoln is a popular park. You can relax and enjoy outdoor activities there.
  • Proximity to Chapultepec Park: Polanco is located near Chapultepec Park, one of the world’s largest urban parks. Residents easily access the park’s recreational areas, museums, and cultural attractions.
  • Dining and Culinary Scene: Polanco’s dining and culinary scene boasts numerous gourmet restaurants. They offer a wide range of international and Mexican cuisine. Therefore, if you are a food enthusiast seeking fine dining experiences, Polanco is a perfect neighborhood.

Condesa Mexico City: Bohemian Jewel of Mexico City

Condesa Neighborhood Mexico City
Photo by: Robert France

Condesa effortlessly blends historic elegance with a contemporary vibe. This creates a dynamic atmosphere. It also gives you a lifestyle steeped in creativity and cultural richness. 

Here are some reasons why Condesa is often highly regarded:

  • Architectural charm: Condesa is known for its beautiful and well-preserved architecture. You will love the tree-lined streets and the mix of Art Deco and colonial-style buildings.
  • Green spaces: Parque México and Parque España are two large parks located in Condesa. They will give you ample green space for recreational activities. You can also use them for picnics and relaxation.
  • Cultural scene: Condesa has a vibrant cultural scene. It includes numerous art galleries, theaters, and cultural spaces. It often hosts events such as art exhibitions, film festivals, and live performances.
  • Walkability: Condesa is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. It features walkable streets, making it easy for you to explore the area on foot. This will give you a more relaxed and community-oriented atmosphere.
  • Nightlife: Condesa is known for its vibrant nightlife. There are plenty of bars and clubs catering to different preferences. If you are seeking vibrant nightlife, Condensa is the perfect place to stay in Mexico City.

Roma Norte Mexico City: Cultural and Historic Oasis Of Mexico City

Roma Norte Mexico City
Roma Norte neighborhood in Mexico City. Photo by: Alejandro Cegarra

Nestled within the vibrant expanse of Mexico City, Roma Norte emerges as a cultural oasis. It is a favorite of both locals and expats. It has earned its stripes as one of the city’s best neighborhoods for the following reasons:

  • Cultural vibrancy: Roma Norte is a perfect neighborhood for vibrant cultural scenes. It has numerous art galleries, cultural centers, and theaters.
  • Architectural charm: Roma Norte has a mix of historic buildings and contemporary design. The tree-lined streets, charming plazas, and well-preserved structures add to the neighborhood’s appeal.
  • Diverse dining options: The neighborhood is renowned for its diverse and trendy dining scene. There are many dining options. Roma Norte offers a wide range of culinary experiences. You can find street food stalls and upscale restaurants there. The area is trendy for its international cuisine and fusion restaurants,
  • Green spaces: Roma Norte has several smaller parks and green spaces. You can relax and enjoy outdoor activities there. The only downside is that the parks are not as large as those in Condesa, 
  • Boutique shopping: Roma Norte is home to boutique shops, independent stores, and unique markets. This will give you a variety of shopping experiences. Moreover, the availability of unique and locally crafted goods adds to the charm of the area.
  • Accessibility: Roma Norte is centrally located. This allows you to easily and conveniently access other parts of Mexico City. The neighborhood is well connected by public transportation, including the metro and bus systems.

Now that you have an idea of where to stay in Mexico City, let us tailor-make a Mexico City itinerary for your stay in this city.

Factors to consider when choosing the best places to stay in Mexico City

Parque Mexico Roma Norte Condesa
Parque Mexico (Mexico Park) in the Condesa and Roma neighborhoods of Mexico City

Consider the following factors when screening for the best neighborhood in Mexico City:

Budget

You should determine your budget for housing and living expenses. Neighborhoods, such as Polanco are luxurious, and the cost of staying there may be higher. Other areas like some parts of Condesa and Roma can offer a more diverse range of housing costs.

Lifestyle and Interests

Consider your lifestyle and the amenities you value. If you enjoy cultural events, art, and vibrant nightlife, places like Condesa and Roma might be a good fit. If you prefer upscale ambiance, modernity, and luxury, areas like Polanco could be appealing.

Safety

Research the safety of neighborhoods. No area is crime-free. However, some neighborhoods are known for being safer than others. Therefore, you should consult with residents or online resources for up-to-date safety information.

Community atmosphere

Consider the community atmosphere of the neighborhood. Some areas have a strong sense of community with local events and markets. Other neighborhoods in Mexico City May be more cosmopolitan and diverse.

Future-development plans

Investigate any planned developments or changes in the neighborhood. For example, some areas may be undergoing urban development or revitalization. These could impact the overall atmosphere and property values.

Personal-preferences

Ultimately, consider your personal preferences and priorities. Make a list of what matters most to you in a neighborhood and use it as a guide in your search.

Once you have chosen an ideal place to stay in Mexico City, our team of experts is here to help you have an unforgettable experience.

Finale: Unveiling the Best Neighborhoods in Mexico City

Wherever you choose in Mexico City, your stay will not just be an accommodation choice. It will be an integral part of the adventure. Whether you are looking for the upscale elegance of Polanco, the bohemian vibes of Roma Norte, or the historic charm of Condesa, truly something for everybody in Mexico City. Be sure to choose a neighborhood that resonates with your individuality. Also, make sure it aligns with your aspirations.

You have officially discovered the best places to stay in Mexico City. Now all you need to do is book a ticket and experience it for yourself. Contact our support team today for a personalized stay in Mexico City!

Medellin’s Coolest Neighborhoods: Best Medellin Guide

The vibrant metropolis of Medellín, Colombia has become a hub of activity for business owners, digital nomads, trade, and tourism. As you navigate its streets, you’ll discover a tapestry of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and character. Explore with us Medellin’s coolest neighborhoods and where to stay on your upcoming trip.

Medellín is known for being a modern city that has something for everyone. From the trendy streets of El Poblado to the artistic enclave of Laureles, join us as we explore the beating heart of Medellín and uncover the hidden gems that make each neighborhood a testament to the city’s resilience and creativity. This city of 2.5 million inhabitants is surprisingly easy to navigate. It is the only city in Colombia that has a metro system, which is clean and well looked after. There is also a cable car system to reach some neighborhoods tucked up at the top of the valley. Uber and other taxi apps are also commonly used and super affordable. So read on to get the local’s guide on Medellin’s coolest neighborhoods and start planning your next trip!

Ready to visit Medellín? If you want to enjoy this wonderful city with unique experiences and adjusted to all your requirements we got you!

Poblado: The Trendy Hub

El Poblado is the go-to neighborhood for many people visiting the city for the first time. This vast neighborhood has a lot of the main bars, clubs, and restaurants. It is buzzing with activity and movement at night. If Poblado were a person, he would be your party-mad friend who drags you out every night of the week; a total foodie who can’t say no to a tasty cocktail. Always impeccably dressed and super sociable, but with expensive taste. Definitely a friend to keep close!

Poblado is a great place to stay for those who wish to be near all the main action. For that reason, we would generally recommend el Poblado for those who are visiting Medellin for just a few days. With less need to catch taxis or the Metro, a lot of this neighborhood is walkable, especially if you are staying near Parque Lleras or Provenza. Provenza, like the song immortalized by Reggaeton artist Karol G, is for sure one of Medellín’s coolest neighborhoods. This swish, upscale neighborhood is safe and walkable and home to some of the nicest bars, clubs, and restaurants in Medellin. Cruise down the tree-lined streets and pop into a speakeasy hidden behind a bookshelf, or enjoy a stylish cocktail frozen with dry ice. Walking the streets of Provenza will have you feeling like a celebrity; and you probably will be rubbing shoulders with a few, too. 

Coffee and brunch connoisseurs simply cannot leave Medellin without having visited the famous coffee shop Pergamino. Just a few blocks away from Parque Lleras and Provenza, Pergamino serves fresh, local coffee beans and is THE place to head to cure a hangover on a Sunday morning. They are also pet-friendly, and the beautiful dogs of Medellin are sure to bring you much joy. Foodies will be pleased to learn that the majority of the best restaurants in the city are concentrated in this area. You could have one of the best gastronomic experiences of your life just a few steps from your villa.

Check out our blog on the best restaurants in Medellin for the insider scoop on the hottest spots to eat in the city of eternal Spring.

Laureles – For local charm and artistic vibes

Laureles is probably the second most popular neighborhood for expats and tourists in Medellin. A little more residential, and a little more low-key than el Poblado, Laureles is the perfect place to spend a little more time. We love the laid-back vibes of Laureles, but also the fact that it still has some incredible restaurants, brunch spots, and a party district too. There is a pretty young crowd in Laureles, as it is a University district. You will often find digital nomads and young expats working remotely from its many coffee shops. Laureles is also packed with parks and green spaces, and football (soccer) lovers will be pleased to find out that this neighborhood is home to Medellín’s main football stadium. 

If you’re looking for a local party and don’t want to head into the hedonistic center of Parque Lleras in el Poblado, you can enjoy a more local party scene at “La 70”. Carrera 70 in Laureles is a strip where you can go bar-hopping and enjoy the local music scene. Think Salsa, Vallenato, Bachata, and many beautiful Colombians who are willing to teach you the dance moves. Laureles in general is cheaper than el Poblado, from the nights out to the cost of rent. Another reason why it is a clear winner amongst so many visitors and one of the coolest neighborhoods in Medellin.

Envigado – The Hidden Gem

Envigado is a super chill and very green neighborhood located in the southeast of Medellin. Technically a municipality rather than part of the city itself, Envigado is well-connected to the bustling city center by metro, local buses, and taxis. Envigado is another neighborhood that would be great to stay longer periods of time. Get a glimpse into middle-class Medellin life in the leafy streets of Envigado. Here, you will find lots of families and expats. It is a bit further from the main attractions, which for some is an attraction in itself.

Enjoy the beautiful parks such as Parque El Salado, which offer activities such as hiking, climbing walls, and bird watching. You might even see some monkeys in the trees! Parque El Dorado in Envigado is also the perfect place for dog walking or for kids to play. Pack a picnic and get out in nature during your stay in suburban Envigado. There are plenty more attractions in Envigado such as Finca La Leona, a coffee farm where you can get a tour of the coffee-making process in stunning green surroundings. Adventurous travelers can also get a bus to Arenales. Here, you can go hiking from Pablo Escobar’s “jail” La Catedral through pine forest, and past waterfalls and natural springs. Having all of this so close to the city is one of our favorite things about Medellin.

Belén – Authentic Colombian Experience

High-angle view of “Pueblito Paisa” main square at early dusk on Cerro Nutibara of Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia

If you want a taste of real Colombian life, try Belén, Medellin. It’s a residential neighborhood that is close to everything, with a super chill vibe. One of the first things you will surely notice about Belén is the difference in price compared to el Poblado and Laureles in particular. It’s super affordable, and many working to middle-class Colombians live here. Belén is pretty safe, and people are friendly, due to its residential feel. It is best for cheaper accommodation and long-term rentals. However, you will need to speak Spanish if you plan on staying in Belén for a longer period of time. It’s not nearly as touristic as the other neighborhoods we have mentioned. So dust off your Duolingo subscription and become a real paisa during your stay! It’s the best way to get the authentic Colombian experience!

There is plenty to do in Belén too; don’t miss out on visiting the Pueblito Paisa, located at the top of Cerro Nutibara. This mini replica of an old Antioquian town is a cute day out for a date or for families. You can try some traditional food and drink, and take in the sights of the city. A visit to Pueblito Paisa is an unmissable Belén experience in Medellin. Belén is also home to Parque de Belén, a central park where locals gather to enjoy outdoor activities.

Wherever you decide to stay during your trip to Medellin, you are sure to find a completely unique experience in each of these thriving barrios. Whether you are looking to party in El Poblado or blend in with the locals in a quaint coffee shop in Laureles, every neighborhood tells a story. There is truly something for everybody in Medellin. So, lace up your shoes and get ready to explore—the coolest neighborhoods of Medellín are waiting to be discovered.

Now you have a better idea of where you want to stay in Medellin, you can start planning your trip. Get in touch with our team today to tailor-make your experience!

How to Rent the Best Boats in Cartagena

Looking to rent a boat in Cartagena? Look no further. From 80ft yachts to private catamarans to sleek speedboats, we have exclusive access to the best boats in Cartagena. 

The Caribbean Sea, which extends all the way from the Mexican Riviera Maya to Barbados, can also be enjoyed in Cartagena, Colombia. These warm, calm waters are best appreciated from Cartagena’s islands, and most importantly, from your own private boat. But how to get your hands on one of these beauties that you can see cruising Cartagena bay? Read on to learn all about boat rental in Cartagena and how to do it the best way. 

Renting a boat in Cartagena is an absolute must. One of the city’s main attractions is the beautiful blue sea, which starts at Cartagena’s city beaches and extends past Tierra Bomba Island, Barú Island, all the way up to the Rosario Islands and beyond. 

The Rosario Islands are made up of around 27 small islands, located around an hour from Cartagena city. One of the main benefits of renting your own boat is that you have the freedom to visit beautiful corners of the archipelago that you wouldn’t normally see otherwise.

With the help and guidance of your experienced Captain and First Mate, you can customize your trip to whatever works best for you and your group. Whether you’ve come to visit Cartagena with a bachelor or bachelorette group, a wedding party, or just a group of friends, a boat trip is always a good idea.

But, before you rent your boat in Cartagena, you have some important decisions to make first…

Shared boat or private rental?

Whether you want to charter your own private boat or choose a shared experience is totally up to you. It’s best to weigh up your options depending on various factors: budget, destinations, privacy, and experience. There’s no doubt that a shared boat wins in the budget category, as it’s the cheapest option.

However, if you ask us, a privately chartered boat wins all the other categories. By paying slightly more, you get a fully private and customizable experience. You are literally captain of your own ship, and can choose your destinations and playlist, bring your own food and drinks, and in general have a superior experience. Private boat rentals start at $450 USD a day for a speedboat, and $2,400 USD a day for a yacht that can fit up to 25 people. If you have a bigger group, chartering your own boat is a no-brainer, especially if you’re in Cartagena for a special occasion – a birthday, wedding, bachelor or bachelorette party. We can help with all of those!

Should I rent a speedboat, yacht, or catamaran?

Speedboats: Cost-friendly and agile

Whether you’re a seasoned seafarer or a nautical newbie, we have the right type of boat for you. If you’re looking for something cheaper for a smaller group, we have some gorgeous speedboats. Cheaper than a yacht, but certainly not scrimping on quality, speedboats are a sleek and stylish option to explore the islands in Cartagena. Equipped with Bluetooth sound systems, a bathroom (confirm with your concierge agent beforehand), and a cushioned area for tanning, we love partying on speedboats. 

Yacht: Stylish yet functional

If you are looking for something a little more boujee, or simply require more space, check out our yacht rentals. You are sure to feel like a superstar tanning on the flybridge of your own private yacht. Yachts are a lot more spacious, often distributed over two floors, with more private bathrooms than speedboats. They also even have private bedrooms if you want to chill and take refuge from the midday sun.

And with more space, comes more options. Want to bring a private DJ on board to keep the good vibes pumping all day? We have the perfect contacts. How about a private chef – the ultimate flex for your trip out to the islands? We have just the man. It’s easy to enhance your experience at sea on the best boats in Cartagena – just ask us how. 

Catamarans: For superior comfort and space

Catamarans are also a great option for those with a bigger group – we’re talking 25–35 people. The slower pace of catamarans make them perfect for partying and mingling. Host your engagement party or pre-wedding bash on a 50+ ft Catamaran and feel like a million bucks. We also love power catamarans, as you get all the comfort, space, and beauty of a catamaran, with extra speed and agility added in. With all that extra space to dance, you simply have to bring a private DJ and chef on board. It would be rude not to. 

Want to check out our boat inventory? Be our guest!

What’s included in my boat rental? 

You’ve done the hardest part – you’ve picked your boat. Whether it’s a speedboat, yacht, or catamaran, you are sure to have the best time partying in Cartagena’s bay and beyond. But what’s included in the price that you pay for your boat rental? Every boat rental includes an experienced Captain and First Mate, fuel and taxes, and a cooler filled with ice (no alcoholic drinks included).

However, with Two Travel’s concierge services, we can most certainly help you with those small details. We charge a stocking fee and can fully stock your boat with beer and your favorite liquor and mixers. We can even arrange the delivery of your food and drinks! Believe us when we say it’s worth paying extra for the VIP treatment rather than juggling with bottles of tequila in foreign supermarkets at 8 AM. We can also make sure you have that sought after booking for lunch at one of the best beach clubs!

Speaking of timing, boat rental in Cartagena is from 9 AM to 5 PM. It’s important to not arrive late to the dock in the morning because it will eat into your precious time at sea. Most boats take just under an hour to get to the Rosario Islands – some take longer.

Due to safety reasons, boats must start their journey back to Cartagena from 3-4 PM, as the tides pick up in the afternoon. For the best day at sea, we want to ensure you have as much island time as possible. However, if you are looking for something out of hours, we can arrange sunset and evening tours, where we stay within the bay. 

How does pricing work for boat rentals in Cartagena?

We are upfront about our pricing on our boat rentals page. Keep in mind, however, that the prices advertised may differ depending on the size of your group. For many boats, there is a set price up to a certain number of people, and from there onwards, there is a set amount per person. For example, prices may be advertised as “From $600 for 10 people” – this is why the size of your group is important when asking for a quote. We only work with the best boats in Cartagena, and our pricing is competitive. 

Where should we visit on our trip to the islands?

Rosario Islands

There is a wealth of things to do and places to see from your privately chartered boat in Cartagena. Park your boat in party island Cholón to drink and mingle with neighboring boats. Swing by the “piscinita” (little pool) to snorkel and sunbathe. Or check out Pablo Escobar’s abandoned mansion and sunken plane (rumor has it) to learn more about the Narco history of Cartagena.

We can also arrange for you to stop off at a beach club if you fancy having lunch on firm ground rather than aboard your boat. If you leave early enough, you will have plenty of time to change locations several times. Our experienced captains can also give you their local tips and recommendations on where’s best to visit depending on the weather. 

What should we bring on our boat rental? 

As they say, it’s always better to be overprepared than underprepared. The sun this close to the equator is unforgiving, especially with the reflective glare of the sea. Bring plenty of sunscreen (at least factor 50), along with sunglasses and a hat, because there’s nothing unsexier than a sunburn.

Whilst stocking up on alcohol, don’t forget to bring plenty of water to put in your boat’s cooler. It’s also nice to bring some cash in case you want to buy any fresh oysters or drinks on the islands, and to tip your Captain and First Mate. Bring a towel and some beach-approved clothing.

And, most importantly, bring a pre-prepared playlist to plug into the boat’s Bluetooth speakers, so you can get the party pumping. Alongside what to bring, it’s important to mention what NOT to bring. Leave the Rolex at home, alongside any super nice jewelry, glasses, shoes or accessories you wouldn’t want to get wet or salty. 

Don’t fancy taking on the challenge of buying all the provisions for your boat trip? Check out our concierge services – we can sort it all out for you!

What do we do if the weather is bad? 

Cartagena is the city where it is sunny 360 days a year. But we do have a rainy season from May to October, where the weather is prone to the odd tropical shower. For days that are just a little drizzly – we certainly don’t let a little rain – well – rain on our parade! The party must go on, and you will find that once you are beyond the bay and heading towards the islands, it rarely continues to rain there too. Crank up the music and dive in the Caribbean Sea – you were going to get wet already, right?

We do get a few days a year when there are tropical storms and low visibility. The Coastguard is in charge of whether we can leave the dock or not. In the case of a last-minute cancellation due to weather conditions, you will get a full refund. It’s difficult to change dates, as your boat might already be booked for the next couple of days. 

How do I find the dock my boat is leaving from? 

There are several docks your boat might be disembarking from. All of them are either within – or a short taxi ride from – the walled city. Don’t worry, as we will embed a map showing you where the dock is located, with instructions on how to get there. The main docks that most of our boats leave from are either: Pegasus Dock, Todomar Marina, or Cartagena Nautical Club.

  • Pegasus Dock: This dock is conveniently located a stone’s throw from the famous yellow clock tower, 100 meters or so from the walled city. A lot of villas in Cartagena’s Centro district are within walking distance from this dock. Check the location on the map beforehand, however, to avoid any last-minute sweating.
  • Todomar Marina: Todomar is a privately-owned marina at the entrance of Bocagrande, Cartagena’s modern neighborhood. It can be reached by taxi in 5–10 minutes from most Centro locations.
  • Cartagena Nautical Club: This dock, located in the affluent neighborhood of Manga, is where you will find the majority of our bigger boats, especially yachts and catamarans. It is around a 10-minute taxi ride from the walled city. Leave plenty of time if leaving from this dock, as it gets busy and isn’t within walking distance. Taxi drivers will recognize it as “Club Nautico”. 

How do I book a superior boat rental experience in Cartagena?

Two Travel has the answers to all of your boat-rental questions (and beyond). The experience we offer is all-encompassing, and we don’t leave a single thing to chance. From the best boats, to top-quality add-ons and extras, your day on the islands in Cartagena is in safe hands. We can make your special day even more enjoyable by enhancing it with things like a private DJ and chef. Small luxuries that will improve your experience tenfold.

If you need more info or want to find out everything Two Travel’s concierge agents can do for you, get in touch with us today!

Things to do (for everyone) in Mexico City

Angel de la Independencia - Independence angel

You finally did it: you booked your trip to Mexico City. Now it’s time to plan your days there. You know you want to absorb the local culture, do some shopping and, of course, eat and drink as much as possible. But where to start? And how to keep everyone happy during the trip? This guide to just some of the Things to Do in Mexico City aims to help you plan your trip.

In a city as big as Mexico City, your best bet is to plan your schedule by neighborhood and prioritize those that fit your vibe. For example, spend an entire day shopping, dining, and museum-hopping in Polanco, or split your day between trendy, neighboring areas like Roma and Juárez. This way, you’ll save valuable time instead of sitting in traffic. You’ll also get a great sense of what makes each neighborhood in CDMX so unique.

Walk in the City’s Neighborhoods

Young Caucasian woman walking in Mexico City

Walking around Mexico City’s neighborhoods is an incomparable way to soak up the city’s diversity and color. Find charming cafés and restaurants in the leafy streets of Condesa, especially along its main avenue, Amsterdam, or the beautiful Parque España. Nearby, Roma is lined with trendy restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Many of them are housed in gorgeous restored houses from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The dining scene is also strong in Polanco, particularly in the area that surrounds Parque Lincoln. This lovely park is usually populated with local families enjoying a day out. This neighborhood is also your best bet for high-end shopping. Its main avenue, Presidente Masaryk, is home to a fabulous selection of designer boutiques.

Should you want a glimpse of the city’s more whimsical neighborhoods, head to Coyoacán and San Ángel, both in the southern part of town. San Ángel boasts gorgeous cobblestone streets lined with colonial-style houses and bougainvillea. It’s a particularly excellent destination on Saturdays when local designers and crafts makers gather at Bazaar del Sábado to showcase their creations. In Coyoacán, you’ll find a lovely square called Jardín Centenario, lined with restaurants and coffee shops, as well as the aforementioned market and, of course, the Frida Kahlo Museum.

Find out more about Mexico City’s Neighbourhoods in our Where to Stay Guide.

Mexico City’s Bars and Nightlife

When the sun goes down, Mexico City is still buzzing with life. Cocktail aficionados will appreciate the city’s booming mixology scene, present in bars like Brujas, in Colonia Roma. It’s a female-run spot that serves intriguing concoctions with mystical names. While in Roma, plan a visit to Licorería Limantour, a pioneer in the city’s cocktail renaissance. Over in nearby Juárez, the team at Handshake Bar serves creative and exquisitely presented drinks in an elegant speakeasy setting.

Those who want to explore the mystical world of mezcal should head to La Botica, with spots in Centro Histórico and Roma, or visit La Clandestina, in Condesa. With laid-back atmospheres and knowledgeable staff, these bars are ideal for sipping on this agave spirit.

If you feel like dancing, make sure to check out Salón San Luis, in Colonia Roma. The old-school vibe –waiters in white blazers, a live band onstage– sets the mood for a night of cumbia and salsa dancing til your feet hurt.

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Mexico City for Art and Culture Lovers

With more than 150 museums, it’s safe to say that the Mexico City museum scene covers whatever interest and passion you and your group may have. History buffs will be in awe of Museo Nacional de Antropología, in Chapultepec. It’s a stunning space with 22 halls dedicated to archaeology and ethnography, granting an incomparable glimpse into Mexican culture. Those who love classic art cannot miss MUNAL (Museo Nacional de Arte), in Centro Histórico. The building itself is an early 20th-century masterpiece. Discover Mexican art produced between the 16th and 20th centuries, including masterpieces by Raúl Anguiano and Saturnino Herrán.

If modern and contemporary art is your thing, head to Museo de Arte Moderno and Museo Tamayo, both located in the Chapultepec area, or visit Museo Jumex, in nearby Polanco. These spaces offer fascinating permanent collections and temporary exhibitions featuring some of the most prominent names in art. Mexico City is also home to unique and quirky museums, such as MODO, Museo del Objeto del Objeto. This design-oriented museum in Colonia Roma exhibits ordinary objects that tell extraordinary stories.

Explore Mexico City’s Markets

Exploring Mexican markets is a true feast for the senses. A colorful, loud, and sometimes overwhelming but always exhilarating ride. Although you’ll find markets of all sizes scattered across the city, here are a few of the most iconic ones. Our Cooking Class and Market Tour is a perfect introduction.

Mercado Coyoacán boasts countless rows of traditional market fare – fruits and vegetables, meat, spices and more. It’s also home to quite a few esoteric stalls, selling candles, crystals, and potions. No visit to this market is complete without a stop at its tostada restaurant. Treat yourself to tostadas topped with everything from chicken to shrimp cocktails.

Mercado San Juan, in the city’s downtown area, is a true paradise for those whose travel is led by food. Fresh fish and seafood, an impressive variety of meats (including exotic meats like iguana and boar), and edible insects coexist in the same space as colorful fruits and vegetables, Asian specialty foods, and European cold cuts and cheeses. 

Over at La Ciudadela, a dazzling selection of Mexican crafts awaits. La Ciudadela holds creations from around 350 vendors from all around the country. It’s perfect for authentic souvenirs, offering authentic textiles, silver, pottery, wooden alebrijes, and sculptures.

And for another colorful experience, make a trip to Mercado Jamaica, which specializes in plants and flowers. Although you may not be able to bring your purchases home with you, it is a true spectacle to see the variety of species sold here, as well as some of the creative flower arrangements offered for celebrations such as weddings and quinceañera parties. 

For more ideas on what to do in Mexico City, take a look at our Mexico City Experiences or give us a call to help Build Your Journey.

Tolantongo Hot Springs

Tropical paradise of Tolantongo

These hot springs are fantastic day trip from Mexico City. Start your day relaxing in cliff top pools with a view over the countryside, before a dip in the warm river waters and a chance to see the famous cave and waterfall of this special turquoise water paradise.

This tour can be done in one day, leaving early from Mexico City for the four hour drive to the hot springs in Tolantantongo.  You’re sure to enjoy the cleansing properties of the turquoise hot springs. We recommend taking this tour on a weekday when the pools are a little quieter.

Following breakfast en-route, on arrival at the hot springs, we get to the cliff top pools early in the day, so you can get that sought after Instagram shot in these one-of-a-kind pools.  Each pool is fed by the natural hot springs in this area, and due to the minerals found in the rocks, the water is an incredible hue. It’s a natural spa – no filters required!

You can opt for a zipline down from the pools to the river, or hike down through nature.  The river is also a wonderful color, and warm to the touch. It’s a great place for a dip, followed by a delicious lunch on the riverside. 

After lunch, you can enjoy the pools or the river, or for the more adventurous, explore the tunnels and caves that lead to a beautiful waterfall spot.  Make sure to bring water shoes or hiking sandals that you don’t mind getting wet, along with a waterproof cover for your phone or camera.