I spent 4 days in Cartagena, and had the time of my life. Below is everything to see, eat and do in Colombia's walled beach town of Cartagena.
Best Time to Visit:
You can travel year-round to the coast since the weather rarely changes
Cartagena is highly walkable, but bonus points for having Uber.
Weather + SUNBURN:
Temps range from low 80s to 100s at the hottest time of day. High chance of getting burnt, plan indoor/shaded activities between 12-3pm
US type/110-volt, no need to pack a converter
Where to Stay
Bastion Luxury Hotel
Luxury hotel with a great rooftop pool. The rooms have high ceilings, shuttered windows, and powerful A/C that will keep you cool during the hot nights. The concierge is helpful and will change your money for you. The breakfast is fantastic.
Hotel Casa San Agustin
The hotel boasts private pools with suites, great concierge service, great location near shops and a rooftop massages. There is a great restaurant and bar in the hotel. Concierge will be able to book you a boat for the day, and that isn't easy!
Where to Eat
La Cevicheria + El Boliche Cebichería
The freshest seafood I have had is here, so eat as much ceviche as you can. I had lunch and dinner at these two restaurants.
La Vitrola, Juan del Mar, and Socorro's
Locals suggested to eat at these places as well
Where to Drink
Drinks on top of El Balcon
The balcony overlooks a market, great people watching and interesting decor
Drinks and Dancing Cafe Havana
Live music, salsa, cheap drinks and good company. Walk here in a group
what to see and do
Islas de Rosario
Take a boat to see the Islas del Rosario, also referred to as Corales Islas del Rosario. It is an archipelago located off the coast of Colombia. If you are lucky, your boat man will know a guy who will come take your lunch order, and you can have freshly cooked lobster on the boat. Make sure to settle on the price before you get on the boat and have enough cash in advance.
Dance with Locals at Bazurto Social Club
Around the corner from Cafe Havana, you can dance to reggae with the locals and enjoy live music
Rooftop Massage at Hotel Casa San Agustin
A rooftop massage at sunset was under $40 with a healthy tip
What to Wear
Neutrals and Textures
Cartagena is full of wonderful colors, so wear muted colors and textures so you don't clash with the backgrounds
What to Buy
Barter for a few in the market. They are hand woven in mass by local women.
the market has wonderful sandals
You can buy amazing local coffee but the best coffee to bring back comes from the Cafe San Alberto
don't pack one, buy one from one of the many local men selling hats. Some of them inspired your favorite designers
Where to take a Picture
The local quarters of Getsemani are littered with street art and murals
Cartagena's residential streets walk around the streets toward the wall, and snap pictures on the street with roads of colorful houses and flowers to match