Dreaming of endless salsa nights, we headed to the immaculately preserved 16th-century city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast. We are very well-travelled and savvy, so getting that ‘wow!’ from us is hard. However, this coastal gem left us in awe from the very beginning.
With its ice cream-colored colonial mansions, sultry nightlife and lovely balconies erupting in cascades of amazing bougainvillea, the “Jewel of the Indies” is without a doubt one of the most glamurous getaways around the world.
The enchanting cobbled streets, palm fringed plazas and elegant promenades are practically made for Instagram. Reading is a big passion of mine. If you have read the renowned Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, you will find the ambiance of steamy Cartagena utterly familiar.
As soon as we checked in at our intimate boutique hotel, we went to buy a Panama hat in a lovely boutique nearby, and got ready to explore the most beautiful Spanish colonial city in the Americas.
There is a real sense of romance here. The first thing that caught our attention was the feeling of old-fashioned Caribbean glamour. Imagine the colours of exotic fruits mingling with the aroma of freshly made coffee. In a place where warm and inviting cafés have their doors flung open to the street, it was impossible not to stop every now and then for a good cup.
Although the old walled town is absolutely delightful, the energy at Getsemaní is beyond imagination. Every corner in this picturesque neighborhood hides wonderful treasures waiting to be discovered.
We found stunning street art adorning the walls and friendly locals whiling away the hours playing domino and chess games. With the cooling evening, the music starts to play and salsa clubs serve up mojitos that blowed our mind!
If you’re seeking inspiration for your next trip, here’s how Javi and I tackled the Caribbean’s most alluring city on our last visit.
During our trip, we stayed at La Passion Hotel Boutique right in the heart of the historic center. The property offers such a relaxed experience in the fairy-tale city of Cartagena. Tradition and modernity in the same place.
Meals to Remember
Cartagena is known for its excellent bars and restaurants. The city’s stylish restaurants truly amazed us with their sophisticated Caribbean cuisine and splendid decor.
Ready to be refueled, we collapsed into our seats at the infamous La Cevichería. With only a few wooden tables, the tiny restaurant was the first cevicheria in Cartagena. Although we came here for the best ceviche in the city, we also tasted their delicious rice.
Época Espresso Bar
Caffeine connoisseurs will adore this place! We always started our days at Epoca Espresso for a creamy cappuccino and delicious dishes. The art of making coffee is fully experienced here.
The Hidden Gem: Hotel Casa la Factoría
This was certainly one of the highlights of our trip. We found it by pure chance and left us speechless! Can you imagine having the most instagrammable restaurant all to yourself? We couldn´t believe our luck!!
Mar Y Zielo
This stunning restaurant transported us to a tropical paradise!
Café Havana is the salsa bar we have always dreamt of. Here is where we immersed ourselves in the Cuban vibes alongside locals and visitors with a mojito in hand. It feels as if you’re in Cuba in the 1940s, absolutely magical!