Home Travel 17 Absolute Finest Issues To Do in Cartagena, Colombia (A Curated Record!)
Travel - March 16, 2021

17 Absolute Finest Issues To Do in Cartagena, Colombia (A Curated Record!)

New York winters may be brutal and as soon as the festivities of Christmas are over, issues can begin to really feel drab. With Spirit Airways providing low-cost flights from New York to Cartagena by way of Fort Lauderdale (we paid round $250 spherical journey!) me and my buddies determined to flee the chilly and jet off to Colombia for 5 days searching for solar, sea and sand.

One of many nice issues about Cartagena is that the airport is so near town centre, so should you can solely snag just a few days off work you don’t must spend a lot time in transit. Inside quarter-hour we have been by means of the airport and pulling up exterior our trip rental in a taxi.

Located on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, town has two fundamental vacationer areas – the Previous City with its colourful buildings and cobblestone streets, and the seashore space of Boca Grande, which is the place you’ll discover the bigger lodges. There’s additionally the nightlife space of Getsemani, which is the place a number of hostels are positioned.

Cartagena is a type of locations that has the right mixture of the whole lot – nightlife, sightseeing and seashores. You possibly can’t go away town with out taking a go to to among the islands, resembling The Rosario Islands and Cholon.

Right here’s my checklist of high issues to do in Cartagena:

Rooftop on the Movich Resort

For one of the best views of town, head to the Movich Resort rooftop at sundown. The roof gives 360-degree panoramic views of the walled metropolis and past – you’ll be able to see completely the whole lot from up there. Order a cocktail, chill out and possibly even take a swim within the resort’s rooftop pool.

Blue Apple Seashore Home

Blue Apple Beach House

One of many highlights of my journey was positively Blue Apple Seashore Home. This boutique resort and seashore membership is tucked away on the southern shore of the Tierra Bomba, one among Cartagena’s greatest islands. You don’t should be staying on the resort to go to – you’ll be able to simply make it a day journey and ebook the resort’s shared boat service, which prices $20 spherical journey per individual. Solar loungers are $10 per individual, whereas meals and drinks are a la carte. The pool has a extremely chill vibe and on weekends it has extra of a celebration environment, with DJs taking part in within the afternoon.

La Cevicheria

Visited by Anthony Bourdain in an episode of his present No Reservations, La Cevicheria is a cute restaurant within the Previous City that serves – you guessed it – ceviche. Along with ceviche you too can select from many alternative seafood dishes, together with octopus salad, black squid ink rice and seafood paella. The meals is tasty, parts are good and the menu is fairly priced.

Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca is Cartagena’s most well-known seashore, with powdery white sand, turquoise blue water and loads of seashore shacks serving recent fish. The draw back to Playa Blanca is that it may be very crowded and also you’ll be approached by a lot of seashore sellers, however the environment is enjoyable and it actually lives as much as its popularity. It’s additionally 90 minutes away from Cartagena, so it truly is a full day tour.

The quickest and best solution to get there may be by taking a taxi which prices 81,000 pesos (round $22). That’s the choice we selected when going to Playa Blanca. When it was time to return we have been approached by individuals promoting tickets for shared velocity boats, so we negotiated a fare to take us again. The velocity boat was tremendous enjoyable (positively bumpy although!) and dropped us off on the port in Cartagena.

Cafe del Mar

Cafe Del Mar Cartagena - things to do in Cartagena Colombia

Not linked to the bar of the identical title in Ibiza – Cafe Del Mar is likely one of the greatest locations to get pleasure from sundown within the metropolis. Located on the water on the sting of the Previous City, this bar/restaurant has many tables and chairs to accommodate giant numbers of vacationers, however positively get there early to safe your spot. Benefit from the dwell music and cocktails as you watch the solar go down.

Dinner at Alma

Alma restaurant - things to do in Cartagena

Cartagena has loads of superb eating places and whereas I’m advised it’s costlier than different elements of Colombia, you’ll be able to nonetheless get pleasure from unimaginable dinners at way more inexpensive costs than you’d within the U.S. Our greatest meal in Cartagena was at Alma – a nice eating restaurant serving Colombian delicacies. This massive ethereal restaurant has a very nice atmosphere, with colonial interiors and three spacious rooms. The meals was scrumptious and I’d return once more in a heartbeat.

Cholon social gathering island

Cholon party island - best things to do in Cartagena

If you happen to prefer to social gathering then you definately shouldn’t go away Cartagena with out going to Cholon, an island close to the Rosario Islands. If you happen to’re touring in a gaggle then the easiest way to do it’s by hiring a ship for the day, or you’ll be able to ebook a shared boat should you don’t have sufficient individuals to go together with. It’s form of like Spring Break, though the social gathering occurs each weekend and main vacation.

All of the boats principally moor up on a sand bar and play music – the whole lot from reggaeton to techno. It’s a bit chaotic once you hear so many several types of music blasting out all of sudden, however it’s tremendous enjoyable and it’s a good way to satisfy new individuals. You don’t even must take meals with you as there are distributors that cook dinner up recent seafood to promote to all of the hungry partygoers. It’s a day I’ll positively always remember.

Wander the Previous City

Cartagena’s Previous City is crammed with colourful colonial buildings and bougainvillea-covered balconies. You possibly can spend a complete afternoon simply wandering round and taking pictures within the doorways. Constructed within the sixteenth century, the Previous City earned UNESCO World Heritage standing and is filled with plazas, church buildings, eating places and retailers.

La Jugada

La Jugada Cartagena

For a enjoyable night time out head to La Jugada within the Previous City, which is a nightclub with 3 flooring and a tropical rooftop. It’s tremendous enjoyable and we appeared to finish up there virtually each night time! If you happen to like home music, that is the place to go in Cartagena.

Rosario Islands

The Rosario Islands is an archipelago 100km off the coast of Cartagena. There are numerous organized excursions you’ll be able to prepare should you’d prefer to go snorkeling and island hopping, or should you’d choose to do one thing a bit extra enjoyable, you’ll be able to prepare to go to a resort resort. We made a day journey to Coralina Island, which is a tiny island resort with bathing platforms, hammocks and loads of timber for shade. We booked their VIP Gourmand Day Tour, which prices $220.000 COP + a port tax of $17.000 COP. The journey contains pick-up and drop off, boat experience, a welcome glass of wine, gourmand a la carte lunch and use of the services.

The Pink Sea of Colombia (El Salar de Galerazamba)

If you happen to’d prefer to get out of town and maybe seize an unimaginable Instagram photograph, go to the Pink Sea of Colombia, which is northeast of Cartagena. To get there you’ll be able to ebook an organized day journey, experience a bus, rent a automobile, or you are able to do what we did and arrange a driver for the day (we did this by means of our lodging). El Salar de Galerazamba is a salt mine that will get its pink colour from the rain breaking down salt molecules, together with microalgae that create pigmented beta carotene. The ocean is barely pink in February and March, so that you’ll be disenchanted should you go to exterior of those months!

Guests normally mix this with a visit to the mud volcano, Volcun Totumo. Entry to the volcano prices 10000 pesos and also you principally climb down a set of stairs right into a volcano of mud. Varied locals will pat you down, therapeutic massage you and take pictures for you, then scrub you right down to get you clear once more. These persons are from the group close by and do that to make suggestions, so be sure to carry some money with you.

Dance salsa at Cafe Havana

One solution to get to know the tradition of a spot is thru the music, and the affect of music may be very sturdy all through Colombia and Latin America usually. To expertise a night of salsa, pop over to Cafe Havana, which gives dwell bands, salsa and cocktails all night time lengthy. This full of life bar has a canopy cost and there’s usually a line to get in (significantly on weekends) so get there on the sooner facet should you can. Issues are likely to get crowded and sweaty however it’s good enjoyable.

Social gathering in Getsemani

Getsemani Cartagena

The hip space of Getsemani is positioned simply exterior town partitions and its streets are crammed with avenue artwork. Within the day time it’s an excellent place to wander round, eat some arepas and have a look at all of the inventive murals. At night time time issues actually come alive and the hostel Media Luna Hostel hosts a well-known social gathering on its roof on Wednesdays – all people is aware of about it! I you need to get chatting to new individuals from everywhere in the world, that is the place to go.


Alquimico is one other fashionable bar/restaaurant/membership in Cartagena, housed inside a colonial palace. Sit on the artwork deco bar on the bottom flooring and order a cocktail or head as much as the big rooftop space, which has loads of tables for teams.

El Baron

For among the greatest cocktails in Cartagena, stroll on over to El Baron, nestled in Plaza San Pedro Claver. This bar has among the greatest bartenders on the town and a relaxed, intimate vibe. Specialty cocktails embrace Rosarito, with mezcal, pineapple, cilantro, lime, spicy bitters and angostura; and Cucumis Bitter, with gin, whisky, hibiscus, lime and cucumber.

Montesacro Resto Bar

After Alma, my second favourite restaurant was Montesacro Resto Bar, which has an inside space and tables on a colonial balcony overlooking the streets of the Previous City. The meals is scrumptious; dishes embrace pastas, ceviche, grilled fish and squid ink risotto.

Arepas at Sierva Maria

Arepa at Sierva Maria Cartagena

For an inexpensive lunch we actually appreciated the smoothies, Arepas and recent fish dishes at Sierva María. This tiny restaurant is contained in the walled metropolis and is affordable in comparison with numerous the locations in Cartagena.

The place to remain in Cartagena

A last phrase

There are many lists on the web discussing one of the best issues to do in Cartagena, however I couldn’t discover any that listed all of the issues I’ve listed right here. We had an unimaginable time and should you strive any of this stuff I’m fairly assured you’ll have an excellent time too. Cartagena is one among my favourite locations I’ve ever visited and I’d fortunately return once more. The Previous City is a photographer’s dream and you’ll’t go incorrect with a trip that includes a lot of cocktails and seafood served on the seashore.

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