Headed to Colombia and not sure what to do, where to stay, or what to eat? Look no further as I give the best recommendations on what to do in Cartagena.
Trip Duration: 6 Days and 5 Nights
Where we stayed
I traveled with a group of 5 other people so looking for accommodations (within our budget of $100 per person) in the walled city was a bit difficult. Most places comfortably fit 1-4 people not 6. The two guys who stayed with us were also leaving 3 days earlier than the rest of us, so this became an additional challenge when looking for airbnbs. Eventually I figured it would be best to stay in two different places. The first airbnb fit the 6 of us comfortably and was located on the beach trip of Cartagena. The second airbnb fit the 4 of us within the walled city.
First Airbnb here:
This airbnb was in the Bocagrande neighborhood, which was beautiful! They had an amazing pool and the sunsets and sunrises were to die for. While we stayed here, we focused more on the beach side of the city. Whenever we wanted to hang in the walled city, we had to take taxis to get there.
Second Airbnb here:
We stayed here during the second part of our trip and it was so clean and cute! This airbnb is within the walled city so no more taxis. We could walk anywhere we wanted which was perfect.
Use my link here to get $35 off of your FIRST booking with airbnb!
Activities/Places to go (with pricing & review)
Castillo de San Felipe
You can tour this beautiful castle with or without a tour guide. We chose to not have a tour guide and enjoyed it just as much. Plus we ran into many tours and could still hear the cool history.
Price: 25.000 pesos , 10.500 pesos with school ID !!
TIPS: bring water, go when the sun is not at its highest peak, and wear comfortable shoes!
Conclusion: It was very interesting going through the tunnels and seeing the intricacies of the castle! The view of the city is also breathtaking.
Tour of The Walled City
Where all the action is, but be sure to take an actual tour which is FREE between certain times.
You can find updated info on it here.
Conclusion: A lot of rich history to take in. I enjoyed the tour offered.
La Isla de Tierra Bomba (day trip to a private cabana at Namaste Beach Club)
This company was hosted on Instagram and you communicate with them through WhatsApp. They now have a website here.
We chose the “Namaste Relax” option
Price: 95.000 pesos per person which was roughly $26 USD
Services included: transportation to the island (there and back), a glass of wine or refreshment of your choice, towel service, massage for 10 minutes (back or feet), 25.000 pesos in credits to redeem for snacks and drinks from their menu.
Conclusion: 100% worth the money!! We had a relaxing and wonderful time in our own private cabana space.
Museo de Cocoa
This small museum is packed with the history of how cocoa is made in the city.
Price: FREE (for the museum entry), they also offer workshops in making chocolate bars (find more here)
Conclusion: With short interactive activities and silly photo-ops, visiting the museum was a nice break in our day to relax and (for my friends) enjoy chocolate! (P.S. if you don’t know, I hate chocolate lol)
The umbrella street in Getsmani neighborhood (La calle en Getsmani barrio)
The familiar long alley with colorful umbrellas. You’ve probably recognized it on instagram or various travel blogs!
Location: Calle de la Magdalena in Getsmani Neighborhood
Conclusion: Such a fun time walking around to find this street. We took so many cute photos and found hidden gems (restaurants, photo ops, & cool people) along the way.
Food & Drinks
Spending Sunset at Cafe del Mar
- Cafe del Mar: Overlooks the gorgeous sunset and you can enjoy some delicious (but overpriced) cocktails. It gets super crowded and we even had to share a table, however, I enjoyed this aspect because we met people to link up with later on in our trip.
- Juan del Mar: so so so so good, we went like 4 times in our last 3 days. Highley recommend trying their pastas or specialty pizzas. Unique item on the menu? Pizza Buffalo New York (Mozzarella, spicy chicken fillet, celery, carrot, tomato, blue cheese Crazy right!!
- Crepes y Waffles: Yummy + cute place to grab a quick bite
- Chachara Resturante: such a fun dinning experience! They have live music and the food is delicioso as well as affordable.
- Ely cafe: such a tasty and aesthetically pleasing cafe. If you’re looking for a traditional english breakfast? This is it.
- La Brioche: English breakfast place, soooo good!!!
- Epoca Espresso Bar: Amazing breakfast dishes + coffee here!!
- Cafe Havana: Popular Cuban club with live music, dancing, and cuban cocktails!!
Overall Travel Tips
Bring cash to exchange in the town – you can find cheaper exchange rates than in the airport.
If you have a credit card that doesn’t have international fees, USE THAT. It was very helpful and I could use my points while traveling. (I have an American Express Platinum Delta Credit card.) Use this in addition to having cash for street markets or places that don’t accept credit cards.
Stay within the walled city if you’re looking to experience the culture more and be in the midst of all the city has to offer. You also will avoid taxis and can walk because most of the activities are near the walled city.
Staying further down the coast is also fun if you’re looking to enjoy the beaches and islands.
If you are a woman traveling alone / or even in a group of just women, be aware that catcalling is real and prevalent. So, be on high alert and avoid walking alone in areas where there aren’t many people.
Check out my vlog from this trip on my youtube channel here!