Best Areas to Stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Americas, Cartagena, Colombia  /   /  By bestdistricts

Where to stay in Cartagena – A guide to the colonial Caribbean city

Cartagena is the capital of the department of Bolívar, located in the north of Colombia and on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.

Its foundation dates back to 1533, making it one of the oldest European-founded cities in the Americas. During the colonial era, the city of Cartagena served as the main port through which the riches of the continent were sent over to Spain.

Cartagena de Indias, or just Cartagena, as it is known by most Colombians, was one of the most important ports in America, most of its artistic and cultural heritage dates back to colonial times.

Cartagena is undoubtedly the most beautiful city on the Colombian Caribbean coast, an ancient town, full of legends and a magnificently preserved beauty located within an impressive historical center and surrounded by some 13 km of colonial stone walls.

The city of Cartagena has a warm semi-arid climate and an average temperature of 29°C. The city is humid, hot and sunny practically all year round. It is important to protect yourself from the sun to avoid sunburn.

From the weather point of view, any time is good to visit Cartagena. However, it is recommended to avoid holiday periods in Colombia, December and Easter, when the city is crowded with visitors.

Bocagrande, a luxury area in the southern part of Cartagena, has the highest concentration of accommodations, restaurants and nightlife. (See accommodation in Bocagrande).

Below is a guide with the best areas to stay in Cartagena.

The best areas to stay in Cartagena

1. Our recommended area: Bocagrande

The neighborhood of Bocagrande is located south of the historic center of Cartagena.

This area is considered one of the best upper and upper-middle-class areas in Cartagena. It also has the added attraction of being close to the main urban beaches in the city and being the starting point for many boat tours to nearby islands and beaches.

Bocagrande is crossed by Santander Avenue or Carrera 1 and has wide sidewalks, parks, recreational places, beaches, and hotels.

This neighborhood is the most modern area of Cartagena, full of residential skyscrapers, shopping centers and offices. The Estelar Hotel, is the tallest hotel in Colombia.

It also has two shopping centers, Nao Shopping Center, and Bocagrande Plaza; The latter being one of the most exclusive shopping centers in Colombia.

This area also concentrates an infinite number of leisure and food options. Some of the best pubs and clubs in the city can be found here.

Most of Cartagena’s international hotels are in this area.

Bocagrande is also one of the safest areas to stay in Cartagena.

Best area to stay in Cartagena Cartagena - Bocagrande

Best area to stay in Cartagena Cartagena – Bocagrande

Accommodation in Bocagrande - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Bocagrande – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Cartagena:

  • Great nightlife
  • Bocagrande Beach
  • Safest area to stay in Cartagena

Accommodation in this area

Our Top Pick

Hotel Almirante Cartagena Colombia

This accommodation is 1 minute walk from the beach. This luxury hotel is located on the beach of Bocagrande, the most important tourist and commercial area of Cartagena, and offers 4 places to eat, casino, swimming pool with sea views and free WiFi.

from US$99
Budget

Azuán Suites Hotel

The modern Azuán Suites Hotel is located Cartagena and offers a shuttle service to the airport for a fee and free Wi-Fi.

from US$27
Luxury

Intercontinental Cartagena

The Intercontinental is a luxury hotel located on the beach of Bocagrande, one of the best known areas of Cartagena. The property has a restaurant, a modern rooftop bar and a spa and wellness center.

from US$149
 

 

 

2. Casco Histórico (Old Town)

The Old Town of Cartagena is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

It consists of a grid of cobblestone streets, balconies covered with bougainvillea and huge churches that project their shadows on the leafy squares.

The Historic Center of Cartagena is a place to wander.

Full of history, the Old City is extremely photogenic, its colorful buildings are an assault on the senses. This is where most of Cartagena’s tourism activity is concentrated.

The many squares of the Old City are the best way to locate yourself between its network of cobbled streets, as well as acting as a refuge from the inclement heat of Cartagena.

The Walled City is the best area to stay in Cartagena for history and colonial architecture lovers.

However, this area can be somewhat unsafe at night.

Where to stay in Cartagena - Centro Histórico

Where to stay in Cartagena – Centro Histórico

Accommodation in Centro Histórico - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Centro Histórico – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Cartagena:

  • Colonial architecture
  • Refined atmosphere
  • Most central area to stay

Accommodation in this area

Our Top Pick

Casa Milat Hotel Boutique By HMC

Casa Milat Hotel Boutique By HMC offers a free bicycle rental service, an outdoor pool and a terrace in Cartagena, 400 meters from Cartagena’s Gold Museum. There is free WiFi.

from US$59
Budget

Donde Ingrid

Donde Ingrid is located in Cartagena, 500 meters from Cartagena’s Gold Museum. It offers a shared lounge and free WiFi. The establishment is close to Bolivar Park, the Palace of the Inquisition and the walls of Cartagena.

from US$34
Luxury

La Passion Hotel Boutique

Featuring a pool and hot tub, La Passion Hotel Lounge offers elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi and plasma TVs just 300 meters from the beach. There is a lounge terrace.

from US$141
 

 

 

3. Getsemaní

Getsemaní is part of the center of Cartagena, although it is located outside its walls, about 10 minutes walk south of the Historic Center.

Getsemaní is where most of the backpackers who visit Cartagena choose to stay. It is an area full of good bars and restaurants.

The streets of Getsemaní are an explosion of color, their narrow streets are full of elaborate graffiti and street vendors have the most colorful fruits.

This neighborhood, which was once a sleazy area of town, is now a cool and emerging area and an alternative to the expensive Historic Center.

Here, luxury boutique hotels coexist door to door with backpacker hostels and gourmet dining establishments with greasy spoons.

Getsemaní is one of the best areas to stay in Cartagena for backpackers or those who seek to be close to the walled city without paying a fortune.

Best area to stay in Cartagena Cartagena, Colombia - Getsemaní

Best area to stay in Cartagena Cartagena, Colombia – Getsemaní

Accommodation in Getsemaní - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Getsemaní – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Cartagena:

  • Colonial architecture
  • Cheap accommodation
  • Best area for backpackers

Accommodation in this area

Our Top Pick

Hotel Boutique La Artilleria

Offering an outdoor pool, Hotel Boutique La Artilleria is located in Cartagena. This accommodation offers a sun terrace, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

from US$69
Budget

Hostal Piano House Getsemani

Hostal Piano House Getsemani is located in Cartagena, 700 meters from Cartagena’s Gold Museum and offers a variety of amenities, such as a garden, a shared lounge and free WiFi.

from US$19
Luxury

Hotel Monaguillo de Getsemaní

Hotel Monaguillo de Getsemaní has an outdoor pool and a terrace in Cartagena. The hotel is 600 meters from Cartagena’s Gold Museum and Bolivar Park. There is a tour desk and free Wi-Fi.

from US$89
 

 

 

4. El Laguito – Castillogrande

El Laguito is located south of the historic center of Cartagena, at the end of the peninsula where Bocagrande is also located.

El Laguito starts from the famous Caribe Hotel and ends in a land stretch entering Castillogrande Bay. It houses the Santa Cruz Fortress, now in ruins.

El Laguito is a very popular tourist area of Cartagena, thanks to its modern infrastructure and its shiny skyscrapers around a lake.

In El Laguito there are several restaurants, as well as quieter beaches than those in Bocagrande, with fewer crowds and street vendors, and much calmer waters.

El Laguito is a less hectic alternative to Bocagrande and a recommended area to stay in Cartagena.

Being an upper-class area, El Laguito and its neighbor Castillogrande are also two of the safest neighborhoods to stay in Cartagena.

Safest area to stay in Cartagena - El Laguito

Safest area to stay in Cartagena – El Laguito

Accommodation in El Laguito - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in El Laguito – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why is this a recommended area to stay in Cartagena:

  • Upmarket area
  • Good restaurants
  • Safest area to stay

Accommodation in this area

Our Top Pick

Apartamento El Laguito By Parceros Group

Located in the district of Laguito in Cartagena, Apartamento El Laguito By Parceros Group features air conditioning, a terrace and sea views. The apartment is 3.2 km from Palace of the Inquisition.

from US$79
Budget

Edificio Atlantis

Edificio Atlantis offers accommodation in Cartagena, 3.3 km from Palace of the Inquisition. The air-conditioned unit is 3.4 km from Cartagena’s Gold Museum. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.

from US$49
Luxury

Hilton Cartagena

The Hilton Cartagena offers private access to an exclusive beach and panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. It has large outdoor pools, gym, wellness center and water sports facilities.

from US$149
 

 

 

5. La Boquilla

La Boquilla is an old fishing village located 20 minutes from downtown Cartagena.

It is a less touristy area than Bocagrande, with a beach area where hotels and apartments are concentrated and a more popular area inland.

The beaches in La Boquilla are also less busy than those in the south of the city, in part because they are far from the tourist area. The good side of this is that you will not find as many insufferable street vendors, but the bad side is that there are not many services such as restaurants or sunbeds for rent.

A taxi between La Boquilla and the city center can cost between 8,000 and 10,000 Colombian pesos (about US$3).

Although La Boquilla is an emerging neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying, it can be a bit rough and definitely not the safest area to stay in Cartagena.

La Boquilla - Recommended areas to stay in Cartagena

La Boquilla – Recommended areas to stay in Cartagena

Accommodation in La Boquilla - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in La Boquilla – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in this area

Our Top Pick

Casa VelaMar

Offering an outdoor pool and free WiFi, Casa VelaMar is located in Cartagena, 7 km from the steps to Monte La Popa. In addition, there is a terrace, barbecue area and shared lounge.

from US$46
Budget

Sico’s Beach House

Located in Cartagena, 6 km from Pie de la Popa, Sico’s Beach House offers rooms with air conditioning and free WiFi. This property has a private beach area, a garden and a 24-hour reception.

from US$20
Luxury

Radisson Cartagena Ocean Pavillon Hotel

The Radisson Cartagena Ocean Pavillon Hotel is located on La Boquilla beach and offers a swimming pool, as well as the Palenques restaurant serving gourmet dishes. There is a boutique and free Wi-Fi.

from US$108
 

 

 

Read in Spanish.

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