Unveiling the Vibrant Nights of Cartagena: A Guide to Nightlife Hotspots

Cartagena is renowned for its thriving nightlife scene. The warm Caribbean nights and tropical vibes all year round make the perfect mix for a night to remember.

While many come to the Colombian coast for the beaches, islands, and warm weather, many others also flock to Cartagena to enjoy the nightlife events and nightclubs. Cartagena is the proud home of award-winning bars and restaurants. Every night of the week, hundreds of people take to the streets to dance, drink, and revel in the delights of the city. No matter which month of the year you plan to be in Cartagena, you’re bound to encounter something fun and memorable, which will have you booking your next flight back to Colombia before you’ve even arrived back home.

The best bars and clubs in Cartagena

Cartagena has many award-winning bars that offer tasty craft cocktails, live DJs, and impeccable vibes. One of our favorites is Alquímico, a three-story colonial townhouse with two different ambiances. Their mixologists make liquid art, and use creative ingredients and flavors. Right opposite, you will find La Jugada, a stylish nightclub with a rooftop bar. Keep an eye out for the fireworks and performances that take place on the roof after midnight. We also love La Movida, the place for all the beautiful people of Cartagena to see and be seen. With multiple ambiances and an outdoor terrace, La Movida will have you boogying all night long. When these clubs close, head to El Pasquín, another of Cartagena’s hottest nightclubs, which opens until 4 a.m. These places are some of the most high-class bars and clubs in Cartagena, so rock your hottest ‘fits and leave the sandals for the beach.

Alternative Nightclubs in Cartagena 

If you’re looking for a different vibe, head to Casa Cruxada. This nightclub-cum-restaurant attracts Cartagena’s alternative crowd. Located in an antique, crumbling building, with its trademark deliberately wonky window, you can enjoy different live DJs every night of the week. You will mainly hear electronic, house, and tropical beats. Or for something totally different and super fun for bachelorette or bachelor parties, make a reservation at Seven 7 Times. With multiple ambiences, from tropical, to urban, to cantina, there is something for everyone. Our favorite has to be the live burlesque show they do in the main salon, which is steaming hot and super entertaining.

Want more information on the best bars and clubs in Cartagena? Get the full scoop in our other blog post.

Events and Festivals in Cartagena 

Whilst the majority of major music festivals and concerts in Colombia tend to take place in Bogotá and Medellín, Cartagena has its fair share of events throughout the year.

The Wild Brunch – The wildest live music festival of the year

The Wild Brunch is one of the biggest events of the year, usually taking place a few nights before New Year’s Eve. With the arrival of the giant inflatable rubber duck perched in the Convention Center, the fun begins. See the hottest Latin and international artists and DJs in this surreal, colorful, explosion of sequins and fun. The costumes, makeup, dancers, and general vibes of this crazy festival are trippy and surreal. It is truly one of the best ways to end the year. This event takes place on the water’s edge, and you can even rent a boat slip to park your yacht right up next to the DJ.

New Year’s Eve – An unmissable party in Cartagena

 Of course, New Year’s Eve, just a night or two after the Wild Brunch party, is another one of the biggest events of the year in Cartagena. The whole city lights up in a giant street party, and all the hottest bars and clubs in town (see above) become hosts to incredible parties. Buy your New Year’s Eve tickets early because the best places always sell out. Make sure you leave plenty of time for wandering the balmy streets too. Soak up the best vibes at one of the peak times for nightlife in Cartagena. Contact the Two Travel concierge team today to get the latest info and tickets for New Year’s in Cartagena 2023.

Wakanda Festival – For the hottest Afrobeat vibes

If you’re into Afrobeat, Dancehall, and Champeta, Wakanda Fest is the one for you. This super cool urban music festival takes place right on the beach, for the ultimate Cartagena experience. Appreciate the best of Cartagena’s thriving local music scene and take the opportunity to dress up in your hottest outfit. The spirit of Africa is alive and thriving in Cartagena and can be found at Wakanda Fest.

November Independence Parade of Cartagena – for the Carnival seekers

If you find yourself in Cartagena around the week of the 11th of November, you will inevitably come across the Independence Parade and celebrations. These are enormous, carnivalesque parties that take place across the entire city to celebrate the independence of Cartagena. Colombia’s national beauty contest to crown “Miss Colombia” also takes place during this week. The parade is an incredible sight to behold; the main streets are closed and hundreds of dancers and performers parade down the street, with day parties turning into night. Don’t wear your best clothes if you join these street parties, as things can get messy! Locals love to spray foam and throw cornstarch and blue powder paint. Put on your oldest pair of sneakers, leave your valuables at home, and join in the fun!

Hot events at local island beach clubs – For boujee beach-goers 

Keep an eye out throughout the year for various events taking place at local island beach clubs, Fenix Beach and Blue Apple. They often host special events such as dinners hosted by local chefs, or beach parties with bonfires and guest DJs. With these events, return boat trips are often included. These beach clubs also double as hotels, so you can also book a night or two and boogie until dawn on a Caribbean island.

Tips for a memorable night out 

Staying safe in Cartagena is simple if you keep your wits about you and don’t make any foolish decisions. The center of Cartagena is a safe place, as it is buzzing with people at all hours of the day and night. As with any major city, it’s important to keep a close eye on your belongings to avoid pickpockets, and, as the famous saying here goes, “Don’t give papaya”. This basically means to not flash expensive jewelry or items in places they shouldn’t be flashed. While in bars and nightclubs in Cartagena, don’t leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers. If you’re staying outside the walled city and need to get a taxi at night, make sure you negotiate the price before getting in. You can also use reputable taxi apps such as Uber and InDriver which are popular in Cartagena.

Whatever you end up doing in Cartagena, you’re sure to have a night to remember. Perhaps you’re in town for a special event, like one of the many festivals that take place in the city. Or perhaps you end up in one of the many bars or nightclubs of the historic center. Either way, the undeniably tropical vibes of this coastal city are always on point, and Cartagena nightlife will never let you down.

Need a villa for you and your crew to crash at after your night out in Cartagena? Or a yacht to carry on the party? We got you! Contact us today!

What to do for New Year’s Eve in Medellin

Known for its warm hospitality, breathtaking landscapes, and lively culture, Medellín offers a unique New Year’s Eve experience that you won’t soon forget. Explore the best places to go, restaurants to savor, party spots to dance the night away, and nearby towns to visit while also diving into popular traditions. We will guide you every step of the way with tips on what to do, how to book in advance, and how to escape the crowds so you can have a night to remember. 

Keep reading to know why Medellín stands out as an exceptional choice.

Why celebrate New Year’s Eve in Medellín

Here are some of the advantages of celebrating the arrival of the new year in this vibrant Colombian city:

Perfect Weather
Medellín is known as the “City of Eternal Spring” due to its pleasant climate year-round. Unlike many other destinations that experience cold winter temperatures during New Year’s Eve, Medellín offers a comfortably mild climate, ensuring you can enjoy outdoor festivities without bundling up.

Warm Hospitality
Colombians are renowned for their warmth and friendliness, and this extends to New Year’s Eve celebrations. You’ll feel welcomed by locals eager to share their traditions and joy with visitors.

Stunning Scenery
The city is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including lush green hills and picturesque towns like Guatapé, providing the perfect backdrop for your New Year’s Eve celebration.

Diverse Entertainment
Whether you’re partying all night long and looking for lively nightclubs or someone seeking a more tranquil celebration with the family, Medellín offers diverse entertainment options to cater to every preference.

Dining Options for All
Medellín boasts a thriving culinary scene, offering a wide range of dining experiences from traditional Colombian cuisine to international fusion. You can savor delicious dishes at a fraction of the cost you might pay in more touristy cities.

Contact us today to receive customized guidance on how to plan and book your trip and have a New Year to never forget in Medellin!

How to Spend New Year’s Eve in Medellin: Dinner Option

New Year’s dinner is an integral part of the festivities, and it plays a significant role in many cultures worldwide. In Medellín, as in other parts of Colombia, this meal is an opportunity for families and friends to come together, enjoy delicious food, and make cherished memories as they bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one.

If you plan to dine out on New Year’s Eve in Medellín, we advise you to make reservations well in advance. Popular restaurants tend to fill up quickly, and having a reservation ensures you have a seat at your chosen venue.

Discover some of the best restaurants here or ask us to give you recommendations. We can make restaurant reservations, create personalized itineraries, and even do your shopping. Get in touch with us today to enquire about Two Travel’s Concierge Services.

Midnight toast and party with Medellin locals

Medellín’s New Year’s Eve parties offer an electric atmosphere and a chance to dance, toast, and celebrate the start of a new year with people from all around the world. Whether you’re into the club scene, prefer a more cultural experience, or want to ring in the new year with a rooftop view, Medellín has a New Year’s Eve party that will suit your style and create unforgettable memories.

But with so many bars and clubs in Medellín, it’s often difficult to know where to head first.

Provenza in El Poblado is undoubtedly one of the hottest spots for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Its surrounding streets are transformed into a bustling party hub with live music, street performers, and a joyful atmosphere. Many bars, clubs, and restaurants in the area host special events and parties, making it a go-to destination for travelers.

We work with many party promoters, bars, clubs, and restaurants in Medellín. As soon as they start to release tickets for the hottest events in October or November of each year, we open access to you.

If you want to be first on the VIP list to access tickets, sign up today!

Best Bars to Enjoy New Year’s Eve in Medellin

El Social
The perfect spot for a traditional paisa (as locals are called in Medellin) celebration. You can either stop at their spot in Provenza and join locals and other visitors with a toast, vibrant music, and picturesque traditions, or head to the botanical garden which they have taken over this year to host a party you won’t want to miss.

La Deriva
Want a night night in style? This is the place. Perched on top of the Click Clack Hotel, head to La Deriva for cocktails and delicious food in an immersive and scenic experience. Imagine yourself dipping your toes in the rooftop pool whilst sipping on an Aperol Spritz… yes, this is the best way to welcome the new year!

Gusto Nightclub
Located right in central Lleras Park, Gusto nightclub will never disappoint. Nightly escapades at Gusto involve laser light shows, beautiful girls, and expertly poured drinks. It is a great option in this super touristic area that doesn’t feel like a tourist trap.

La Oculta
Do you ever wonder where the young locals go to party? What if we told you it was in a speakeasy-style joint, hidden behind a bookshelf? La Oculta is, like its name suggests, hard to find, but a total gem once you get in. This intimate club is small but perfectly formed, and its glittering chandelier adds a boujee touch to your night. Great to share a bottle of whiskey with a group of friends and listen to local Latin beats.

Where to Stay in Medellin for New Year’s Eve

Why stay in a hotel, when you can stay in a place of your own and celebrate in style?  Make a luxury private villa your home for a while, relax, and welcome the new year with drinks, music, and the best company while not worrying about a thing – our villas come with all the amenities you need and 24/7 security.  Just tell us what you need or find your perfect place here.

Special New Year’s Eve events are announced in October and November, and we can offer you first VIP access to the best with the best prices too.

Año Viejo Effigies
One of the most distinctive traditions is the creation of “Año Viejo” effigies. These are life-sized dolls or figures made of old clothes, newspapers, and other materials. People create these effigies in the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve and then set them on fire at midnight, symbolizing letting go of the old year’s burdens and starting anew.

Yellow Underwear
It’s a widespread belief in Medellín, and Colombia as a whole, that wearing yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve brings good luck and prosperity in the coming year. It’s not uncommon to see locals sporting yellow undergarments as part of their New Year’s attire.

Las Doce Uvas (the 12 grapes)
It is a tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. As the clock chimes twelve times, people eat one grape with each chime, making a wish for each grape. It’s believed that if you successfully eat all 12 grapes, your wishes for the new year will come true.

Walking Around the Block with Your Luggage
You are already traveling but take your luggage for a stroll down the block to travel even more in 2024. In Medellín, it’s believed that taking a brief walk around the block with an empty suitcase on New Year’s Eve can bring good fortune in the form of travel opportunities, symbolizing a desire for new adventures, journeys, and new experiences.

Lentils in Your Pockets
Another charming tradition involves carrying lentils in your pockets on New Year’s Eve. Colombians place a few lentils in their pockets to attract financial well-being and success in their personal and professional lives. This tradition reflects the cultural importance of economic stability and growth.

Other Activities To Enjoy New Year’s Eve in Medellin

Watch the Alumbrados
The “Alumbrados” is a beloved tradition in Medellín, especially during the holiday season. Alumbrados, which translates to “lighting” or “illuminations,” refers to the Christmas light displays that adorn the city. This tradition has become a source of immense pride for the people of Medellín and is one of the most anticipated events of the year.

The Alumbrados are spread throughout the city, with some of the most iconic displays located in central areas like Parque Norte, Parque de los Deseos, and Parque de los Pies Descalzos. Additionally, many neighborhoods and streets also participate, decorating their homes and storefronts.

Guatape and other towns nearby
Just a short drive from Medellín, Guatapé is famous for its colorful houses and the towering El Peñol rock. Start your New Year’s Day with a trip here, go to a coffee farm, or explore other lovely towns around like San Antonio, La Ceja, El Retiro, and El Carmen for a more cultural and outdoorsy experience.

This and a ton of other things to do in Medellin are waiting for you. Get in touch today to plan your next adventure with us!

2024 Guide to the Best Bars in Cartagena

El Baron, Cartagena
El Barón, Cartagena

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 2024 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!

Alquimico, Cartagena

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 party here.

Townhouse for Brunch

Townhouse rooftop bar, Cartagena

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.

Cafe Del Mar, Cartagena
Cafe del Mar, Cartagena

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 party here.

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.

Movich Hotel Rooftop for the best rooftop view

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 party here.

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, Cartagena

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.

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.