Art, Culture & Food in Cartagena, Colombia
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
“La Fantástica,” sings Carlos Vives. He sings about the Walled Spanish and African city Cartagena located on the northern coast of Colombia. It is a magical city full of colors, rich in history, food, and culture, featuring quite a few historic figures, international musicians and plenty of folktales. From the horse-drawn carriages to the local ladies dressed in colorful outfits balancing fruit on their heads, it is a city that walks a tightrope between colonial and Indigenous culture. And away from its land-location, it is dotted with idyllic islands like Isla Baru and Isla del Rosario. It is undoubtedly one of the most colorful and happy cities that I’ve come across.
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Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia
Casa San Agustín
If you are looking for luxury, Cartagena has no better hotel than Casa San Agustin to unwind and pamper yourself.
$100 USD resort / hotel credit.
Complimentary full breakfast for two.
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
This colonial-style hotel offers the perfect stay for travelers interested in learning more about Cartagena's rich Afro-Latino heritage.
Casa Lola Deluxe Gallery
Restored to its original colonial beauty, the hotel is an oasis in the middle of the Walled City.
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Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena is at the heart of Afro-Colombian culture. Travelers, especially those interested in Afro-Latino heritage tourism, will find that you can discover much of Cartagena's culture on foot.
Cartagena Beach trips
For a day outside of the city, take a trip to Islas del Rosario to experience some of the most pristine Caribbean waters on the Colombian coast. Perhaps you might want to indulge in scuba diving or snorkeling in the region as well.
Experience Cartagena nightlife
Explore the Old City, especially by night. The city comes alive in the evening with dancing in the street, shows and a beautiful breeze from the seaside.
Of note: Cartagena has become a popular destination wedding location. Some of the old homes open up at night to host lavish wedding parties which can go on until 2 am. You might be able to sneak a peek.
Wind your evening down by dancing the night away at Cafe Havana, known to locals and tourists alike for its salsa music and late closing hours. Even if you don't dance to salsa music, you will have a great time listening to some of the best salsa music in the industry and soaking up Cartagena's one-of-a-kind culture.
You cannot experience Cartagena at night without boarding a Chiva Party Bus. Beware, these buses have an open bar on board.
Places to eat & drink in Cartagena, Colombia
Eat out. Fruit market, small hole in the wall, or even upscale. The food in Cartagena, Colombia is unparalleled and always tastes better in the region. Some of our favorite recommendations include:
Food in Cartagena
La Cevicheria: A local restaurant made famous by the legendary Anthony Bourdain when he visited in 2008. If you love seafood (and ceviche), this restaurant is an absolute must.
Demente: A laid-back restaurant featuring delicious Spanish tapas with Caribbean touches, wood-fired pizzas, cocktails and craft beers. A bit of everything to get the evening going.
Sierpe Cocina Caribe: Located in the hip and artsy neighborhood of Getsemani, this joint offers a beautiful contemporary interpretation of Colombian cuisine.
Montesacro: A two-story bar and restaurant traditional cuisine enhanced by fresh local ingredients.
La Tapería: Gather with your friends and family over drinks and tapas (small bites) at this cozy joint.
Restaurante El Gobernador: Chef’s kitchen imbued with the character and culture of the city of Cartagena.
Drinks in Cartagena
Alma Bar: This bar in Casa San Agustin is perfect for a nightcap before heading out to walk or dance the night away.
Alquimico: An upscale bar for craft cocktails and specialty drinks which turns into a lounge party as the night unveils.
Carmen: A fashionable contemporary cuisine restaurant set in a colonial house in downtown Cartagena.
El Barón: Located in one of the main plazas of the walled city, this bar offers local distillations and some of the best spirits in the city.
Townhouse Boutique Hotel and Rooftop: Cheers to the skyline of Cartagena and its beautiful sunsets with a cocktail in hand.
Need to Know
Cartagena is located on the Caribbean coast and offers pleasant weather year-round. December through April are the best months to visit due to the dry season, but any month is sure to fill your trip with lots of color, joy and dancing.
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