The colonial city of Cartagena Colombia is charming beyond belief, everything from the cobble stone roads, to the rich vibrant balconies, to the spirited street vendors selling the ripest mangoes and the sweetest coconuts. Every narrow alleyway is brimming with antiquity and adventure. With so much history to this walled city, it’s no wonder Cartagena’s Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Where To Stay
There are lots of benefits to staying within the historic walled city. It’s easy to explore by foot, has lots of restaurants, has a stellar nightlife, and is home to many attractions. There are numerous budget-friendly airbnbs. We stayed at the no-fills Hotel El Viajero Centro and it was exactly what we needed at that time: a clean hotel in the heart of the city and right above a bakery. Other hotel options to consider:
Top 10 Attractions in Cartagena
- 1. Explore the Walled City (La Ciudad Amurallada)
- 2. Seek out Pastel Colonial Architecture
- 3. The hipster neighborhood of Getsamani
- 4. Upscale dining at Carmen
- 5. Watch the Caribbean Sunset from the Wall
- 6. Explore Santo Domingo Square
- 7. The Clock Tower
- 8. Colombian Coffee Tasting
- 9. Indulge in Real Chocolate
- 10. Try a Bocadillo at a Local Bakery
1. Explore the Walled City (La Ciudad Amurallada)
The walled city has enough to keep you busy for days. You’ll be close to the historic buildings, bars and restaurants, colonial architecture, street vendors, and attractions.
2. Seek out Pastel Colonial Architecture
The city center is dotted with gorgeous pastel facades. Meander through the city and get lost amidst this sea of color
3. The hipster neighborhood of Getsamani
Getsemani is Cartagena’s hipster neighborhood. Take a tour through the numerous murals and graffiti art.
4. Upscale dining at Carmen
Carmen Restaurant in Cartagena embodies the very soul of the city. The dishes are as vibrant and colorful as Colombia itself. The al fresco dining is relaxed and unostentatious. The preparations are bold, rich, and seafood centric.
The pargo platero, a bold and modern interpretation of the traditional Caribbean dish of the same name, is dressed dressed table-side with a silky coconut curry.
The rock shrimp ceviche with coconut foam and delicate dusting of “edible sand” laced with nori flake was perfection in every bite.
To end the meal, a furry of signature Colombian favors in the form of sorbets and ice creams come your way. The TROPICAL features an orange lemongrass sorbet, nestled atop a brazil nut crumble, and topped with an araza espuma. The COROZO & NATA is a milk ice cream swimming in a chilled corozo soup and lychee puree.
5. Watch the Caribbean Sunset from the Wall
The wall offers the best view in the house to watch the sun set over the Caribbean waters. Grab a cocktail from Cafe Del Mar, a restaurant on the wall, and watch the sun dance its way down.
6. Explore Santo Domingo Square
The vibrant Plaza Santo Domingo is a great place to sit down and grab a drink. There are numerous bars, shops, jewelry stores, and restaurants here. During festivals, the square is packed with locals and tourists and the vibe is electric!
7. The Clock Tower
The Clock Tower is hard to miss! The narrow street across from the Tower is known as El Portal de los Dulces (Sweets Street). It’s filled with sweet dessert vendors.
8. Colombian Coffee Tasting
If you are a coffee affectionate, fead to Cafe Epoca. They offer coffee flights which let you try different beans and different preparations. It’s truly a unique experience!
9. Indulge in Real Chocolate
Colombia is also known for their bean-to-bar chocolates. The walled city has numerous chocolate shops and experiences. Head to Republica del Cacao to sample their various chocolates and pick up a few bars for yourself. Head to Museo Del Cacao (Choco Museo) to take chocolate making workshops.
10. Try a Bocadillo at a Local Bakery
You will likely find a bakery on every corner of the walled city. A bocadillo is a traditional Colombian pastry filled with guava. Don’t skip trying a pandeBono (at La esquina Del Pandebono), it’s a small round balled bread made fresh throughout the day.
Where to Eat in Cartagena
- La Cevicheria – for ceviche
- La Perla – for Andean cuisine
- La Esquina Del Pandebono – for pastries and their famous Pandebono
- Pastelería Mila – for their flan and cakes
- Epoca espresso bar – for their coffee tasting
- Malagana – for fresh fruit juice
- Demente – for their rum cocktails
- El Barón – for craft cocktails
- Alquimico Bar – for A+ vibes cocktails, and rooftop
- Monkey Bar – Cocktails
- Cafe Del Mar – Cocktails and food with a view
Hope this helps you in planning your Cartagena trip! If you have any questions, leave a comment below or message me on Instagram @croissantsandcaviar!
Thanks for stopping by!