​Ursula Hosting, 2019

Cartagena

our little guide

Things to do

 

Cartagena’s old town is meant to walk, explore, get lost.  It is a small but busy area full of beautiful buildings, shops, good restaurants, bars, cafes, and beautiful plazas.   A little bit for everyone.

 

I recommend walking to the parks and plazas, getting a coffee or beer in one of the shops around, sit and enjoy the view. There is always good people watching, some kind of life performance, and beauty to admire.   Some of my favorite ones are San Diego, Fernández De Madrid, Bolívar, San Pedro Claver, and lastly but not least Plaza Trinidad, which is in Getsemani and always crowded at night with young tourists and locals.  There are more, but these ones are my favorites to visit, and enjoy. If sitting and people watch is not your thing, they all have at least a museum around for you to check out, a bar to get a drink in, and restaurants to indulge in.

 

Another great thing to do is to walk on the wall. They say 60% of the wall is still up, so take a moment and enjoy it. It’s what makes Cartagena different after all.  Grab a couple a of beers and sit on the edge for a while, watch the sunset over the ocean, or simply walk to one of the two bars on it.  One is Cafe del Mar (DJ, Amazing view and cool vibe), and Baluarte de San Francisco (Good view and more calm ambiance).  Both are specially famous to watch the sunset. You can sit down, order cocktails and even food in both.  Cafe del Mar gets packed around sunset so arrive a little earlier if you want to find an open table.

Other options for things to spend your time are:

  1. Museums are also a good way to spend a couple of hours while in the old town. Here are some that I like:

    • Museo Naval - I recommend it if you want to learn history of the city, how Cartagena was before the Spanish, colony, pirates attacks, etc.  This is in the first floor. The second floor is only interesting if you really care about the naval history of Colombia.

    • Museo Arte Moderno - Good collection of Latin American Art. Art is always good to appreciate, if you have the time

    • Museo de Inquisicion - It is located in a beautiful house. The collection itself is ok, good to spend some free time.  Inquisition history in the first floor and Cartagena history in the second.

    • Museo de Oro - This one is a small and quick to see, interesting, and free.

    • Museo de Chocolate - This one is just delicious. They are a small international company that have opened these in countries that produce cacao.  There are two in Cartagena, I like more the one across from Parque Madrid. They have delicious chocolate candies, and you can learn about Colombian chocolate industry and make your own chocolate candy bar if you want to pay for one of their workshops.

2.  Rooftops are becoming popular in Cartagena. There are many in private homes and Hotels, but now there are more options open to the public. Check out the ones in the new TownHouse hotel, the famous Alquimico Bar , Hyatt Regency, and the Movich Hotel.  They are all good for drinks and tapas as well

3.  Discover Getsemani. This is the area right next to El Centro. Getsemani is not as famous but it is becoming the new touristic and fun area. It is right outside the main wall. It used to be the more simple side of the city, kind of forgotten, but now it is an area in constant change with new restaurants, and bars, graffiti art, little plazas, etc.  Some of our recommendations are located there, so hopefully you can explore it as much as El Centro during your visit.

4.  Restaurants - There are tons and tons of restaurants to choose from for all styles, moods, and wallets.  You can find some really good options for executive lunches and dinners ($3 to $4) around the city, as well as a wide variety of international cuisine and options to have a fabulous night. These are some of my favorite (**) and local famous options:​

  • Gourmet. Elegant. And With Good Reputation

  • Gourmet, But More Chic

    • Don Juan: a classic good restaurant. It is beautiful, food is good, and good service. Colombian and international food. More on the gourmet side.   http://www.donjuancartagena.com/

    • Carmen: beautiful restaurant, one of the newest hippest places. Food is good but very gourmet, small sizes, etc. A bit expensive for Cartagena   http://www.carmencartagena.com/en/

  • Nice, With an Upbeat Vibe

    • Juan Del Mar**: this one is also a classic. I always go, it has life music, and it can accommodate large groups.  Really good seafood. Note: there are three restaurants connected, and most of the bad reviews online are for the other two restaurants. I only do the seafood one. Website didn’t work for me, maybe it does for you. A lot of info onlinehttps://www.juandelmar.com/

    • Alquímico**: This place is pretty great. Mostly for drinks and hors d’oeuvres, finger food though. The decor is sexy and the rooftop is fun. For dinner or just drinks we will definitely go there https://www.alquimico.com/

    • Sinko: another fun place with good food and good drinks. Also pretty new. Sadly couldn’t find website but plenty of review online toohttps://www.facebook.com/SinkoBarCartagena/

    • Maria: cute, good food, many people love it. Service can vary . https://www.mariacartagena.com/

    • Mistura**: also one of the most popular places. Good food and atmosphere. Fusion Latin, Asian, Peruvian https://misturarestaurante.com/restaurantes/mistura-cartagena/

    • El Kilo

  • More traditional, laid back atmosphere

  • Ceviche  -  This is a very popular thing to eat in Cartagena, some good ones to try are La Cevicheria, El Boliche, El Kilo, Ceviche Peru, and Getsemani Ceviche and Pastas among others

  • Popsicles/Ice Cream  -  Make sure to check out some of the delicious popsicles very popular in Cartagena, Nothing like them to refresh your stroll in such hot environment. Two popular ones are La Paleteria, and Goyurt

 

Gay life

Cartagena touristic area is very gay friendly and seems to be a big destination for gay couples. You will spot us everywhere and feel completely comfortable in all our recommended restaurants, rooftops, and bars, but there is only one official gay establishments in the city (Sadly other two closed since the creation of this guide) 

 

Le Petite - Small bar that is a restaurant during the day time. It has multiple rooms, specially when they open the top floor during the weekend. Plays Latin, Top 40’s, and electronic music.  It can feel a crowded when busy, and smoky. Cheap drinks, and it’s the only option open every night.


 

Other Bars and places to check out are:

 

  • Cafe Havana - Famous salsa club. Always fun, always good live music. Hillary Clinton checked it out herself during her visit to Cartagena as Secretary of State

  • La Movida (bar / nightclub). It’s Beautiful, and popular

  • The Saint (Late Party)

  • Bazurto Social Club

  • La Jugada

  • Plaza de la Paz - This is in front of Torre del Reloj. Talk about people watching, especially at night time

  • Hotel Santa Clara - Beautiful hotel that used to be a convent. Even if you are not stayin, you can check it out, visit its courtyard, restaurant, and beautiful bar.

  • Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa - Same as above.

 

Check out these other helpful tips from one of our local partners

These are examples of activities we could schedule for you two: