The city is full of life, color, culture and amazing food – here’s why you need to visit Cartagena!
This little city will surprise you with its vibrant energy, friendly locals and naturally stunning streets. If you haven’t visited Cartagena, Colombia, now is the time! I don’t like going to places that are super touristy and I feel like Cartagena isn’t quite there yet, which is GREAT.
We arrived on a Wednesday morning and left Sunday afternoon, which was the perfect amount of time. Keep in mind we only went to Cartagena though, except one day we did spend it on a nearby island. We also broke up our stay between two different hotels located in two different areas and I think that made our trip 10x better.
For the first two nights we stayed at Selina, which is located right in the center of old town. It’s a fun little community of fellow travelers who are either there for the weekend or have been there 3+ months working remote from their rooftop pool. Speaking of their rooftop pool… it’s so cute and they serve food, which is actually really really good! Gotta get a smoothie bowl or guac & plantains!! Selina can definitely be a party spot if you want it to.
We stayed at the Hyatt for the last two nights and it was seriously so nice. It’s a relatively new hotel (we went in Dec 2018) so everything is basically brand new. One recommendation I have for ya when staying here is to not eat there… even if you’re hanging at the pool and really hungry. The food is very much typical hotel food and SO overpriced. Cartagena isn’t pricey by any means but I got a salad with fish and it was about $30USD and the fish was incredibly small and not good. HOWEVER, you have to get pineapple while laying by the pool.
The fruit in Colombia is out of this world. It’s also everywhere – when walking the colorful cobbled streets you’ll find vendors with carts of fresh cut fruit. You have to get something at least once and do not be afraid to bargain the price… I know it’s cheap as it is but that goes for everything you buy from a vendor. I really don’t think I bought anything full priced, which means you definitely need pesos while on your trip. You will also want pesos to tip while you’re out to eat or grabbing drinks. It’s not like the states where you leave 18-20% but you should leave at least a little something. The locals are truly so grateful and really do love tourists because it brings them business so they’ll cater to you.
Now for the restaurants…
Ceviche, ceviche, ceviche!! It’s so popular and flavorful. This city is basically a seafood and fruit lovers paradise. Here is a list of restaurants we went to:
Cebiches & Seviches
Cuzco Cocina Peruana - unreal grilled octopus
Cafe del Mar - for the sunset!!
Daisy on the Rooftop - rooftop bar
Townhouse Boutique Hotel & Rooftop - rooftop bar