Worth the trip?
Yes! With colonial homes, Spanish forts, great cuisine and much more, Cartagena is one of those cities that seems to have it all. This charming city is a perfect introduction to Colombia and also has some of the best food in the country. The allure of the city is not found in museums or landmarks, but rather the shady plazas, al fresco drinks, and flowers cascading from balconies. To truly appreciate the city, get lost in the moment and leave your guide book behind.
Where to sleep:
I enjoyed my stay at Hotel Don Pedro de Heredia. The boutique hotel has a lovely courtyard, all of the basic comforts, and best of all, it has a great locale within the historic center. I would recommend this hotel to my friends who are looking for comfort and convenience, and don’t necessarily need a luxury hotel.
In my opinion, it’s hard to go wrong with restaurants in Cartagena, and you definitely have a lot to choose from. Hands down, the best breakfast is at Mila. They serve fluffy corn pancakes with a sinful dulce de leche. La Cevicheria is another spot you’ll probably hear a lot about, and it completely lives up to the hype! Don’t be afraid to try the spicy shrimp appetizer, as it really isn’t that spicy. This restaurant with outdoor seating is also one of the few that opens for early lunch on Sundays. Agua de Mar Gourmet Bar is great for pre-dinner drinks, serving refreshing cocktails and a pretty good baby lobster appetizer. For a fancy white-tablecolth dinner, El Santisimo has a 3 course dinner special- the glazed duck with creamy rice is one of their most well-known dishes.
Don’t leave without:
Spending some time outside of the old town. While some areas might not be as touristy as the historic center, the real beat of the city is outside the walls. Venture out for some epic shopping or dining in Bocagrande, dance the night away in Getsemani, or soak up the sun at Playa Blanca.