21 Very Very best Issues To Do in Cartagena, Colombia [ULTIMATE guide]
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I recently are living in New York, the place winters will also be brutal, and as soon as the festivities of Christmas are over, issues can begin to really feel drab. With Spirit Airways providing affordable flights from New York to Cartagena by way of Citadel Lauderdale (we paid round $250 spherical commute!) me and my buddies determined to flee the chilly and jet off to Colombia for 5 days on the lookout for solar, sea and sand.
One of the crucial good things about Cartagena is that the airport is so on the subject of town centre, so if you’ll handiest snag a couple of days off paintings you don’t wish to spend a lot time in transit. Inside quarter-hour we had been throughout the airport and pulling up outdoor our holiday condominium in a taxi.
Positioned at the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, town has two primary vacationer spaces – the Previous The town with its colourful constructions and cobblestone streets, and the seashore house of Boca Grande, which is the place you’ll to find the bigger accommodations. There’s additionally the nightlife house of Getsemani, which is the place a number of hostels are positioned.
Cartagena is a kind of puts that has the easiest mixture of the whole thing – nightlife, sightseeing and seashores. You’ll be able to’t depart town with out taking a discuss with to probably the most islands, akin to The Rosario Islands and Cholon. It’s a wonderful town with a number of brightly coloured constructions, nice meals, and very best of all costs are somewhat reasonably priced so your commute gained’t cost a fortune. Whilst it’s touristy in comparison to puts like Medellin or Bogota, Cartagena is an enthralling position and it’s very tough to not fall in love with this town.
If in case you have a couple of days or perhaps a week, there are many good things to do in Cartagena:
Most sensible Issues to Do in Cartagena
Rooftop on the Movich Lodge
For the most productive perspectives of town, head to the Movich Lodge rooftop at sundown. The roof gives 360-degree panoramic perspectives of the walled town and past – you’ll see completely the whole thing from up there. Order a cocktail, loosen up and perhaps even take a swim within the lodge’s rooftop pool.
Blue Apple Seaside Area
One of the crucial highlights of my commute was once undoubtedly Blue Apple Seaside Area. This boutique lodge and seashore membership is tucked away at the southern shore of the Tierra Bomba, one in every of Cartagena’s very best islands. You don’t must be staying on the lodge to discuss with – you’ll simply make it an afternoon commute and e book the lodge’s shared boat provider, which prices $20 spherical commute in step with particular person. Solar loungers are $10 in step with particular person, whilst foods and drinks are a los angeles carte. The pool has a actually relax vibe and on weekends it has extra of a celebration environment, with DJs taking part in within the afternoon.
L. a. Cevicheria
Visited by means of Anthony Bourdain in an episode of his display No Reservations, L. a. Cevicheria is a adorable eating place within the Previous The town that serves – you guessed it – ceviche. Along with ceviche you’ll additionally choose between many various seafood dishes, together with octopus salad, black squid ink rice and seafood paella. The meals is tasty, parts are just right and the menu is relatively priced.
Playa Blanca is Cartagena’s most famed seashore, with powdery white sand, turquoise blue water and quite a few seashore shacks serving contemporary fish. The drawback to Playa Blanca is that it may be very crowded and also you’ll be approached by means of a number of seashore dealers, however the environment is amusing and it actually lives as much as its recognition. It’s additionally 90 mins clear of Cartagena, so it actually is a complete day tour.
The quickest and very best technique to get there may be by means of taking a taxi which prices 81,000 pesos (round $22). That’s the choice we selected when going to Playa Blanca. When it was once time to return we had been approached by means of folks promoting tickets for shared pace boats, so we negotiated a fare to take us again. The velocity boat was once tremendous amusing (undoubtedly bumpy even though!) and dropped us off on the port in Cartagena.
Cafe del Mar
No longer related to the bar of the similar identify in Ibiza – Cafe Del Mar is without doubt one of the very best puts to experience sundown within the town. Positioned at the water at the fringe of the Previous The town, this bar/eating place has many tables and chairs to deal with massive numbers of visitors, however undoubtedly get there early to safe your spot. Benefit from the are living song and cocktails as you watch the solar pass down.
Dinner at Alma
Cartagena has quite a few superb eating places and whilst I’m instructed it’s costlier than different portions of Colombia, you’ll nonetheless experience improbable dinners at a lot more reasonably priced costs than you could possibly within the U.S. Our very best meal in Cartagena was once at Alma – a high-quality eating eating place serving Colombian delicacies. This massive ethereal eating place has a actually great atmosphere, with colonial interiors and three spacious rooms. The meals was once scrumptious and I’d return once more in a heartbeat.
Cholon Birthday party Island
Should you love to celebration you then shouldn’t depart Cartagena with out going to Cholon, an island close to the Rosario Islands. Should you’re touring in a bunch then one of the best ways to do it’s by means of hiring a ship for the day, or you’ll e book a shared boat with Hello Cartagena for those who don’t have sufficient folks to head with. It’s now not affordable ($175 in step with particular person) however no less than it comprises an open bar and meals. The well-known Cholon celebration more or less like Spring Ruin, even though the celebration occurs each and every weekend and main vacation.
The entire boats principally moor up on a sand bar and play song – the whole thing from reggaeton to techno. It’s slightly chaotic while you listen such a lot of several types of song blasting out all of sudden, however it’s tremendous amusing and it’s a good way to satisfy new folks. You don’t even wish to take meals with you as there are distributors that cook dinner up contemporary seafood to promote to the entire hungry partygoers. It’s an afternoon I’ll undoubtedly by no means disregard.
Wander the Previous The town
Cartagena’s Previous The town is stuffed with colourful colonial constructions and bougainvillea-covered balconies. You’ll be able to spend an entire afternoon simply wandering round and taking footage within the doors. Constructed within the sixteenth century, the Previous The town earned UNESCO Global Heritage standing and is full of plazas, church buildings, eating places and retail outlets.
L. a. Jugada
For a amusing evening out head to L. a. Jugada within the Previous The town, which is a nightclub with 3 flooring and a tropical rooftop. It’s tremendous amusing and we gave the impression to finally end up there nearly each and every evening! Should you like area song, that is where to head in Cartagena.
Consult with Teatro Heredia
Who would’ve concept Cartagena has an opera area? Inbuilt 1911 to commemorate 100 years of Colombian independence, Teatro Heredia is a shocking construction with a wonderful faded crimson facade. Within the theater is designed in a horseshoe form, Italian marble staircases and sculptures. Should you forged your eyes as much as the ceiling, you’ll see a portray of the 9 muses by means of global famend painter Enrique Grau. You’ll be able to take a guided excursion within the opera area, or purchase tickets to peer a efficiency.
The Rosario Islands is an archipelago 100km off the coast of Cartagena. There are more than a few arranged excursions you’ll organize for those who’d like to head snorkeling and island hopping, or for those who’d wish to do one thing slightly extra enjoyable, you’ll organize to discuss with a lodge lodge. We made an afternoon commute to Coralina Island, which is a tiny island lodge with bathing platforms, hammocks and quite a few bushes for colour. We booked their VIP Gourmand Day Excursion, which prices $220.000 COP + a port tax of $17.000 COP. The commute comprises pick-up and drop off, boat journey, a welcome glass of wine, connoisseur a los angeles carte lunch and use of the amenities.
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
Positioned at the hill of Hill of San Lázaro in Cartagena, Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is alleged to be the “very best citadel ever constructed” by means of the Spanish within the Americas. Paintings at the citadel started in 1536 and it was once later expanded in 1657.
Designed to offer protection to Cartagena from pirates and enemies making an attempt to grasp treasures destined for Spain, it includes a complicated labyrinth of tunnels that had been used to distribute provisions and for evacuation functions. They had been designed in one of these manner that any noise would elevate all of the duration of the tunnels in order that Spanish forces might be alerted of any drawing near enemies.
Access prices 25,000 pesos and the fortress’s strategic location approach it additionally gives gorgeous perspectives of town.
Horse and Carriage Experience
It will really feel slightly tacky however it’s nonetheless great to take a horse and carriage journey across the town. Anyplace you pass whilst strolling round Cartagena’s Previous The town, you’ll listen the clip clop of horses hooves at the street. The most efficient position to pick out up a journey is Plaza de los Coches, the place you’ll see the horses and carriages all coated up. What you pay to your horse and carriage journey is dependent upon your haggling talents.
The Crimson Sea of Colombia (El Salar de Galerazamba)
Should you’d love to get out of town and in all probability clutch an implausible Instagram photograph, discuss with the Crimson Sea of Colombia, which is northeast of Cartagena. To get there you’ll e book an arranged day commute, journey a bus, rent a automobile, or you’ll do what we did and prepare a motive force for the day (we did this thru our lodging). El Salar de Galerazamba is a salt mine that will get its crimson colour from the rain breaking down salt molecules, in conjunction with microalgae that create pigmented beta carotene. The ocean is handiest crimson in February and March, so that you’ll be disenchanted for those who discuss with outdoor of those months!
Guests in most cases mix this with a commute to the dust volcano, Volcun Totumo. Access to the volcano prices 10000 pesos and also you principally climb down a suite of stairs right into a volcano of dust.
More than a few locals will pat you down, therapeutic massage you and take footage for you together with your telephone, then scrub you all the way down to get you blank once more. Those persons are from the neighborhood close by and do that to make pointers, so you’ll want to carry some money with you.
Salsa at Cafe Havana
One technique to get to understand the tradition of a spot is throughout the song, and the affect of song may be very robust all through Colombia and Latin The usa normally. To enjoy a night of salsa, pop over to Cafe Havana, which gives are living bands, salsa and cocktails all evening lengthy. This full of life bar has a canopy fee and there’s frequently a line to get in (in particular on weekends) so get there at the previous aspect if you’ll. Issues generally tend to get crowded and sweaty however it’s just right amusing.
Birthday party in Getsemani
The hip house of Getsemani is positioned simply outdoor town partitions and its streets are full of side road artwork. Within the day time it’s an excellent spot to wander round, consume some arepas and have a look at the entire creative work of art. At evening time issues actually come alive and the hostel Media Luna Hostel hosts a well-known celebration on its roof on Wednesdays – everyone is aware of about it! I you need to get chatting to new folks from in every single place the arena, that is where to head.
Alquimico is every other stylish bar/restaaurant/membership in Cartagena, housed inside of a colonial palace. Sit down on the artwork deco bar at the flooring ground and order a cocktail or head as much as the massive rooftop house, which has quite a few tables for teams.
For probably the most very best cocktails in Cartagena, stroll on over to El Baron, nestled in Plaza San Pedro Claver. This bar has probably the most very best bartenders on the town and a at ease, intimate vibe. Forte cocktails come with Rosarito, with mezcal, pineapple, cilantro, lime, highly spiced bitters and angostura; and Cucumis Bitter, with gin, whisky, hibiscus, lime and cucumber.
Montesacro Resto Bar
After Alma, my 2d favourite eating place was once Montesacro Resto Bar, which has an inside of house and tables on a colonial balcony overlooking the streets of the Previous The town. The meals is scrumptious; dishes come with pastas, ceviche, grilled fish and squid ink risotto.
Arepas at Sierva Maria
For an reasonably priced lunch we actually preferred the smoothies, Arepas and contemporary fish dishes at Sierva María. This tiny eating place is within the walled town and is reasonable in comparison to numerous the puts in Cartagena.
The place to Keep in Cartagena
There are two primary spaces the place the general public keep in Cartagena – both by means of the seashore in Bocagrande or within the Previous The town. I stayed within the Previous The town for many of my keep after which Bocagrande for one evening after I volunteered to take the following flight out (my flight was once complete). Having stayed in each I’d say undoubtedly keep within the Previous The town. No longer handiest is it extra handy for sightseeing (and lovely) however I additionally simply felt a lot more secure strolling within the partitions of the Previous The town at evening.
The hostels are basically positioned in Getsemani and there are many them! Media Luna is a smart celebration hostel if you wish to drink and meet folks. Additionally take a look at:
- Viajero Cartagena Hostel
- Casa Movida Hostel
- Casa del Pozo Boutique Hostel
- Santuario Hostel
- Republica Hostel
How Many Days Do I Want in Cartagena?
I spent 5 days in Cartagena, which I believe was once the optimum period of time to do the whole thing there may be to do with out feeling rushed. Since Cartagena has a laid-back Caribbean vibe, it’s simple to spend as much as per week right here simply enjoyable at the seashores and going out at evening.
At minimal I’d recommend spending 3 days right here so to get out to the islands and discover town.
Protection in Cartagena
I don’t wish to scare you however my buddy travelled solo to Cartagena and not got here again. A thriller girl spiked with an unpleasant drug referred to as Scopolamine, also referred to as “Satan’s Breath”, which is basically present in Colombia. This drug principally turns folks into zombies and is used to rob vacationers – you’ll be informed all about it right here. Unfortunately, whilst she can have now not meant to kill him, he was once discovered useless in his lodge room. At all times, at all times watch your beverages and don’t settle for beverages from strangers. Be sure to teach your self in this drug and at all times stay your whits about you.
Have in mind, whilst Cartagena is a touristy position, you’re nonetheless in South The usa. At evening time, attempt to stick with the Previous The town/Getsemani and don’t pass strolling round outdoor town partitions by yourself at evening. Should you’re touring solo, I at all times suggest having a pal or circle of relatives member on In finding Pals when you’ve got an iPhone. Let folks know the place you’re going, don’t elevate valuables or a number of money round and don’t get blackout under the influence of alcohol.
I had a good time in Cartagena however as with any place I go back and forth, I attempt to keep vigilant.
A Ultimate Phrase
There are many lists on the web discussing the most productive issues to do in Cartagena, however I couldn’t to find any that indexed the entire issues I’ve indexed right here. We had an implausible time and for those who take a look at any of these items I’m beautiful assured you’ll have a great time too. Cartagena is one in every of my favourite puts I’ve ever visited and I’d thankfully return once more. The Previous The town is a photographer’s dream and you’ll’t pass fallacious with a holiday that comes to a number of cocktails and seafood served at the seashore.