A Colorful Guide to Hotels & Food Cartagena, Colombia

Advisor - Kyra Goodman
Curated By

Kyra Goodman

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  • Colombia

  • Cartagena

  • Beaches

  • Bachelorette Party Destinations

  • Bachelor Party Destinations

  • Boutique Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Foodie

  • Island-Life

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Curator’s statement

The Old Town of Cartagena is a vibrant and beautiful city on Colombia's Caribbean coast. Covered with cobblestone streets, colorful colonial buildings and charming town squares, Cartagena is a dreamy place to explore. Pair a few days in the walled city by the sea with a boat day or a few days on the white-sand beaches of Baru or Islas del Rosario. And the best part if you're coming from the East Coast? It's only a 5-hour direct flight from NYC and just under 3 hours from Miami!

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Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

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Casa San Agustín

If you are looking for luxury, Cartagena has no better hotel than Casa San Agustin to unwind and pamper yourself.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Charleston Santa Teresa Cartagena

Colonial-style hotel overlooking the Caribbean Sea known for its colorful rooms with a restaurant, cafe and eatery.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome treat in room on arrival.

  • Upgrade & guaranteed late check-out.

Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena

Reinvented and innovative hotel, which recreates a tropical palace where the walls and ceilings retain the historical magic of this 17th Century Colombian building. 

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia

two women in colorful dresses sitting by a street lined with buildings and greenery
  1. Walk around and explore the old city. Browse the chic boutiques that line the colorful streets and pop into the beautiful hotels such as Hotel San Agustin, Sofitel Santa Clara and Hotel Santa Teresa for a drink or just to look around and eat a lot of delicious food.

  2. Go shopping! Here are the shopping musts:

    • St. Dom, a concept shop selling clothing, accessories and home decor by different Colombian designers.

    • Casa Chiqui, a home furnishings and accessories store down the street from Casa San Agustin with items from Bali, Thailand and Morocco.

    • Aqua de Leon, a great store with local designs and amazing accessories.

    • Onda de Mar & Agua Bendita for great swimwear.

    • Malvi Castañeda, a great linen store with a few different locations in the old city, with options for both men and women.

  3. Walk around different neighborhoods like Getsemani and Las Bovedas. Getsemani is a hip and lively neighborhood where you'll find street art, great eateries and the famous street with a canopy of umbrellas. Don't miss Calle jón Angosto and Calle de la Magdalena. This is where the well-known salsa bar Café Havana is located!

  4. Take a salsa lesson at Crazy Salsa.

  5. Visit San Felipe Castle which is right outside of the Old City. It's best to go in the morning or around sunset so it's not too hot.

  6. Take a boat out to the islands, Baru and Islas del Rosario, either for the day or for a few to stay at one of the great hotels on Baru (Sofitel Baru Calablanca or Las Islas) or Isla Tierra Bomba (Blue Apple Beach House). If as a day trip, I would recommend Blue Apple Beach House or one of the private beach clubs like Bora Bora, Matimba or Makani Luxury Beach Club. If you are staying at Casa San Agustin, I would highly recommend booking a boat day to Acasí which is their private beach on Barú that is reserved exclusively for hotel guests!

  7. Enjoy a private rum tasting at the cocktail bar El Barón or take a cooking class.

Places to eat & drink in Cartagena, Colombia

white chair and table next to pink bench
  • Alma - The restaurant at Casa San Agustin with delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner and great cocktails. Not to mention it has a great ambiance and a beautiful outdoor space with live music at dinner.

  • La Cevichería - A MUST for ceviche lovers! It opens at 1pm and people start arriving before to put their names on the waitlist. I would recommend getting there by or before 1pm to get your name on the list.

  • El Boliche Cevicheria - An amazing ceviche alternative if the wait at La Cevichería is too long. A little less of an authentic feel, but a nicer sit-down option compared to La Cevichería.

  • Gelateria Tramonti - The best gelato in the old city. They offer everything from fruit flavors to all of the usual favorites.

  • DOÑA LOLA - A great place for lunch in Getsemani for traditional Cartagena and Caribbean-inspired dishes.

  • La Palettería - Delicious handmade popsicles.

  • La Esquina del Pandebono - Bakery in the old city, across the street from Casa San Agustin. Definitely try the pan de bono.

  • Mila Pasteleria - Great desserts, snacks and coffee.

  • La Vitrola - A Cartagena staple with a fun Cuban style band that plays every night.

  • Juan del Mar - A super casual, tasty restaurant serving tapas, seafood meat dishes and desserts.

  • Restaurante Donjuan - Really good food and a fun vibe, perfect for dinner.

  • Carmen Restaurante - Beautifully designed and one of the most popular restaurants in Cartagena, Carmen has contemporary cuisine inspired by local flavors.

  • Restaurante Marea - Seafood restaurant using Mediterranean and Caribbean flavors.

  • Cuzco - A Peruvian restaurant with great food and live music.

  • Celele - This colorful restaurant located in Getsemani has quickly become known as "the jewel in the crown of Cartagena's culinary scene". It is an intimate restaurant with an innovative take on traditional Colombian dishes.

  • Townhouse & Members Only - Townhouse is a great rooftop bar with fun and delicious cocktails, perfect for sunset or after-dinner drinks. Members Only is a tiny jazz bar located on the ground floor of Townhouse.

  • La Movida is really fun and has great music, more of a younger crowd than Cafe Havana. They have this crazy saxophonist some nights.

  • El Coro Bar at the Santa Clara Hotel - A nice spot for pre-dinner drinks.

  • Movich Hotel Rooftop - The best place to watch the sunset over the water. It gets crowded and they stop letting people up so it's best to get there early.

  • Cafe Del Mar & El Baluarte - Cafe Del Mar is a famous spot for sunset drinks. It’s an iconic spot on every tourist's to-do list, but I find that the service isn't great and the drinks are watery. The view is better from Cafe Del Mar than El Baluarte, but El Baluarte is a more local spot (just a 3-minute walk from Cafe Del Mar for sunset drinks).

  • El Baron - A small bar with arguably the best cocktails in the city.

  • Demente & Cartagena Craft Beer - Great spot for cocktails in Getsemani. They have a spacious outdoor area with picnic tables.

  • Cafe Havana - Authentic and the most famous bar for salsa dancing. Known for their classic Cuban cocktails, live salsa music and old-world digs.

  • Quiebra Canto - Small fun salsa bar.

  • Alquimico - A three-level bar, housed in a two-story 1910 mansion with great cocktails and a fun rooftop with a live DJ.

Advisor - Kyra Goodman

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Kyra Goodman

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