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Guide to Cartagena

The City of Cartagena is as impressive today as it was when the Spanish Empire used it to funnel gold and emeralds from The New World. Its massive wall took 208 years to complete and is a reminder of when pirates and privateers prowled the Caribbean looking for gold-laden prizes. The massive “mega-fort” (Castillo San Felipe de Barajas) that dominates the Hill of San Lázaro has seen the city transform over the centuries from a central colonial outpost to a jewel of the Caribbean offering travelers a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Best Locations to Stay in Cartagena

There are two main places to stay if you are coming for a short vacation.

The number one option without question is the old city. The old city is compact and can be walked from one end to the other at a leisurely pace in about 20-25 minutes. There you will see the rich history and colorful architecture as well as an abundance of fine dining and authentic restaurants. A good selection of our luxury homes for rent are situated in the old city.

The second place is just across the bridge in Getsemani. The Getsemani district until recently was a rundown part of city. Now it is active and a vibrant trendy district with many bars, clubs and restaurants where people go to party the night away. Getsemani is less than 10 minutes’ walk into the heart of the old city of Cartagena.

San Pedro Dome
Cathedral in Cartagena

Wishing to get Married in Cartagena?

Cartagena as a place to get married must be one of the most romantic destinations. Combining the service and reception in the Old City and then the option of heading by boat (90 mins) to the Rosario Islands for a honeymoon break or a trip together with family and friends.

San Pedro Claver Cartagena

Restaurants in Cartagena

The old city has many restaurants catering to all tastes from local and simple to A la Carte International cuisines. In the evenings a longstanding favorite amongst the Bogota jetsetters that come down at weekends is the La Vitrola Restaurant with its live music.

Another firm favorite being the Restaurant Don Juan with its talented proprietor Chef Juan Felipe. The second picture to the right in this section is showing one of Don Juan’s dishes.

A notable restaurant is Vera at the Silvia Tcherassi Hotel with it’s signature dessert Giardino Di Cioccolato.

For a cozy romantic quite dining evening in a small setting there is Andante Allegro Vivace which is an authentic Italian creation by Juan David Urrea.

More Recommendations:

Fine Dining
Fine Dining Restaurant

Getting Around The Old City

The old city is very compact and can be walked around quite easily at a leisurely pace. Walking in any direction, North to South or, West to East can be done in 15 minutes at a decent pace although it would be unimaginable not to take your time and wonder at the delights of the spectacular Old Colonial Houses and the bright painted colors of the houses.
We would suggest combining a walk with a horse drawn carriage ride to see, hear and absorb this historic Old City.

Horse and Carriage at Night

Bars & Clubs

It is very easy to stay in the old city of Cartagena with its many vibrant restaurants and bars but it is definitely worth venturing over to the Getsemani district which is an up-and coming “Barrio” in Cartagena where you can find street artisans, unique restaurants and small boutique hotels. Already well known for its clubs and bars catering to party goers into the very early hours of the morning it is now attracting many trendy restaurants and this at its present rate is likely to only continue getting better. The area has call the attention of bigger players and “rumor has it” that five star International Hotel Chain Four Seasons is planning to set down its famous Flag in this hot spot. The Viceroy has already conquered the neighborhood and is expected to open in the near future.

Cafe Havanna Cartagena
La Vitrola Restaurant Cartagena

Islas del Rosario (Islas del Rosario)

Which number over 40 islands have been declared a Natural National Park since 1977 to preserve and protect the coral reefs, sea grass and mangroves as well as numerous animals that inhabit the area.
Crystal clear water and private vacation homes truly are private with what seems at times, the entire world to yourself. We can arrange private boat trips, including lunch for a ‘must do’ day trip or a stopover night (or two) in a private home.

Rosario Islands
Rosario Islands

Private Boat trips to the Rosario Islands

The Rosario Islands located in the Caribbean some 90 minutes by speedboat away from Cartagena. We can provide a private boat including a fully trained skipper and his first mate for a day of fun in the sun island hopping in the Rosario Islands. Our private boats can typically accommodate up to 14 people. Lunch and drinks can be provided throughout the day. Why not compliment the trip with a stop off on the beach for lunch or at a private home. Your skipper is at your disposal and will work around what you wish to do throughout the day. Rosario Islands

Private Boats for Hire

Rosario Islands

Why not walk around on top of the Wall?

There is no reason why not to. It is 4km’s around and many people do. Including locals that can be seen in the evening sunset hand in hand walking around on top of the wall. Make sure you head to the west side to see the sunset with the golden colored evenings that provide beautiful silhouettes of the people on the wall

Walking on Cartagena Old City Wall

Mochila Bags

The Mochila is a famous artisan bag from Colombia. Made famous by the indigenous Arhuaco tribe that are from the North of Colombia in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta which is about 3 to 3-1/2 hrs North of Cartagena.
The Mochila has become famous around the world for their bright and multi colored designs. Originally they were woven with natural fibers such as agave and cotton. Although overtime Mochilas have come to be made with industrial fiber

Mochila Bags

Colombian Emerald

Colombian Emeralds are among the best and most valuable of all jewels. They are precious stones of a green color mined from the ground. Emeralds have been mined in Colombia for many years and Colombia has the highest production of the World’s market.

Colombian Emerald

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Articles, Blogs and general what’s hot and happening in Cartagena.

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