Where to stay in Cartagena

Best area to stay in Cartagena

The city of Cartagena is one that likes to surprise many tourists by its sheer stunning beauty that surrounds wherever you go. It blows away most people’s expectations with its delightful old Spanish colonial architecture and in fact was the first Spanish colony on the continent and therefore was one of the first places of freed African slaves in the Americas. The city faces the Caribbean Sea and has some gorgeous beaches, historical attractions, museums and plenty of outstanding restaurants, bars, hotels and shops, which have all made this place one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.


The best area to stay in Cartagena is the El Centro neighbourhood as it is one of the most central neighbourhoods in the city, which means it is close to everything that you will want to do and see. Centro is found in the old town, which is surrounded by the city wall and it is a particularly tourist friendly area, which is home to some of the city’s top attractions as well as the finest hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. This area is where the heart and soul of the city comes from and is one that is sure to impress.

Hotel   Avg price
Casa Heredia Boutique By GB Collection
Calle 7 Infantes Casa # 9-73
77€ - 92$
Hotel   Avg price
Eurostars Marqués de Villalta
Carrera 6, 36-112 Calle de La Universidad
137€ - 163$
Hotel   Avg price
Anandá Hotel Boutique
Calle del Cuartel 77
224€ - 267$
Casa Pestagua Relais Châteaux
Calle de Santo Domingo 33 - 63
238€ - 283$
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena
Calle del Torno 38-29
369€ - 439$
Hotel Casa San Agustin
Centro Calle de la Universidad No.36 - 44, Cartagena 1300
454€ - 540$


If you are interested in where to stay in Cartagena, you may also be interested in where to stay in Bogota and where to stay in Medellin.

El Centro, the best area to stay in Cartagena

el centro CartagenaEl Centro is easily the most appealing neighbourhood in the city with the universal lure of its colonial attractions as well as having the highest concentration of tourist amenities. This is one of the safest areas to stay in the city and has recently been given a multi-million dollar facelift and now the district explodes with a variety of coloured buildings, upscale hotels and luxury apartments and is home to some of the richest people in Colombia. This area is well served by buses and taxis, which can get you around the city to see some of the other major attractions and there is plenty of public transportation that links up with the Rafael Nunez International Airport. The area itself is best explored on foot, which provides an entertaining walk with most of the other neighbourhoods in the old part of the city within walking distance.


The heartbeat of the city is found in the square at Plaza de Bolivar, which is a great place to start your journey as there are various government buildings and shops that are located here as well as different statues that represent personnel from the colonial times and more recent eras. This square is also one of the hot spots at night time as there are heaps of restaurants, bars and clubs in the area.


Another major reason to come to this part of the neighbourhood is because the Palace of Inquisition can be found here, which is where the Spanish inquisition judged, convicted and tortured men that were accused of crimes against their religion. This magnificent colonial building is one of the finest bits of architecture and even though the museum focuses more on what happened outside the city, it is definitely worth visiting. There are an abundance of churches in the historic centre with the majority worth seeing, though some of the most impressive ones are Iglesia de San Pedro Claver, the Cathedral and the Iglesia de Santo Domingo.


Plaza Santo Domingo is another excellent square as it has one of the best patios to sit and relax and take in the beautiful views of the city and the sea as well as being home to the Co-operacion de Cultura Espanol, which is a brilliant art gallery that showcases art from the colonial era. There are tonnes of shops in the area and there are some local markets that generally happen on the weekend with the main streets being Carrera 2 and Calle 30.


At night time head to either Plaza Santo Domingo or Plaza de Bolivar as they both have a vast array of international cuisines, top notch bars and some of the most well-known hotels in the country.



Hotels in El Centro


Other neighbourhoods to stay in


bocagrande CartagenaBocagrande is the city’s answer to Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and is one of the busiest beach areas in the city. It is a great place to stay in due to the amount of hotels, restaurants, shops, bars and cafes as well as being a safe area. The area is also well connected to other parts of the city and the same goes for the airport too. The beach is great for sunbathing on and the waters are fine to swim in and there are many beach-orientated activities that you can participate in. You are not too far from the historical districts either and the main streets in the area are Avenida San Martin, Cra 3 and the Bay promenade, which all have an excellent choice of shops, restaurants, bars and hotels.



Hotels in Bocagrande




getsemani CartagenaThis district is also part of the old city and is famed for its nightlife entertainment with a huge amount of bars, dancing restaurants and generally cheaper hotels and hostels to stay in. Getsemani is another superb neighbourhood to stay in due to its close proximity to the rest of the city and again is safe. Music is the strongest theme in the area and you are sure to hear traditional Colombian and Caribbean songs blasted out onto the streets as you walk along one of its many cobblestone streets. The main centre of Getsemani is Plaza de la Santisima Trinidad and happens to be the oldest part of the city and there is much colonial architecture, mansions, bars, restaurants, shops and hotels to explore.



Hotels in Getsemani



San Diego

san diego CartagenaThis is one of the most interesting and varied areas in the city, which is also found in the old city and is surrounded by the old walls, which makes for an excellent area to stay in. The neighbourhood is safe and most streets are lined with traditional houses, shops, bars, street food stalls and restaurants. There are also markets and art galleries to check out and there are some informative museums that reflect on the city’s past and present. Another thing to check out is the La Popa hill as it offers excellent vista over the city and at night time head to Plaza San Diego as it is where the main nightlife happens.



Hotels in San Diego






Laguito, CartagenaThe modern tourist infrastructure of Laguito has led to its position as one of Cartagena’s most popular beaches. Families will enjoy its lovely waters while there is plenty for those interested in water sports. A small inland lake surrounded by a paved path is used by cyclists, skaters and joggers and everyone enjoying a casual atmosphere will find that Laguito ticks all the boxes. Beachside bars and fast food eateries are a feature of Laguito, but quality restaurants and fresh seafood are also available for a special evening. You can book accommodation with a lovely sea view and most hotels offer airport transfers to the nearby airport. Rafael Nuñez Airport is Colombia’s largest located just 10 kilometres away with Cartagena's interesting historic centre half that distance. It all adds up to Laguito being a great place to stay close to all the things that will guarantee a good holiday.



Hotels in Laguito






Manga, CartagenaManga is close to Cartagena’s centre yet its lovely promenade looking out on to the bay with its yachts and its lovely blue waters seems miles away. You should take a trip out to sea while there. It is a largely residential area, a nice neighbourhood to stay with good hotel options readily available and a vibrant nightlife to enjoy. The Marine Park is definitely worth a visit while at one end of the promenade you will find Pastelillo Park and the fort with its red cannons that was built centuries ago for defence purposes. While on the promenade, try the lovely seafood for which the Club de Pesca became famous decades ago. Caribe Plaza is a shopping mall in Manga where you will find plenty of international brands on sale. The Rafael Nunez InternationalAirport is just minutes away with transfer to and from your accommodation a regular service on offer.



Hotels in Manga