Cartagena is one of the most beautiful and best preserved colonial cities in Latin America, it is the most popular tourist destination in Colombia and a must on any tourist route of the country Before visiting it is advisable to know the best areas where to stay in Cartagena de Indias
The neighborhoods of the city are very different from each other and offer a unique and differentiated experience.It is advisable to know what each neighborhood has to offer so that you can make the right choice when you book your accommodation in Cartagena de Indias .
Cartagena is a colonial city from the 16th century which has preserved its entire historical center and the walls that surround it perfectly well preserved. The Walled City is the most touristic part .Outside its walls, the city has grown over the years and has formed neighbourhoods that are also of tourist interest.
The city has a hotel zone and a very modern residential area and skyscraper at a short distance from the walled city.This is composed of the neighbourhoods of Bocagrande, Laguito, and Castillogrande .
Between the walled city and the hotel zone is located Getsemaní , a humble neighborhood but with tourist and cultural attraction, and with a lively nightlife.The neighbourhoods to the east of the walled city, especially from Monte Popa, are quite poor and dangerous for tourists, especially for foreigners.
Following the coast from the walls of Cartagena to the north are the neighbourhoods of Crespo and La Boquilla .These are residential areas where some hotels and a good number of tourist apartments are located.
As the first tourist destination in the country the offer of accommodation in Cartagena de Indias is enormous There is a great variety of types of accommodation in all ranges and for all budgets, however the prices are very affected depending on the neighborhood where you decide to stay.
In general Cartagena de Indias is one of the most expensive places in Colombia Accommodation is not an exception, especially if you are looking to stay in the more touristic and safer neighborhoods
In the more humble neighborhoods you can find real bargains but they are not recommended options for a foreigner for safety reasons Security should always be a priority when choosing where to book your hotel.
In addition to the typical hotels and hostels, in Cartagena de Indias it is very popular to stay in private houses or in tourist rentals .
The best areas to stay in Cartagena de Indias
The most recommended areas for to stay in Cartagena de Indias are Ciudad Amurallada and Bocagrande (also Laguito and Castillogrande).Gethsemane is also gaining a lot of popularity and is especially appreciated by backpackers and travelers with tight budgets.
1.The Walled City, the best area to stay in Cartagena de Indias
The Walled City is the best area to stay in Cartagena de Indias without a doubt.Inside its walls are most of the tourist attractions of the city, divided into two neighborhoods: Centro and San Diego
The two neighborhoods that make up the Walled City contain much of the colonial architectural jewels of Cartagena In its cobblestone streets you can enjoy its historic buildings, colonial houses with colorful balconies with flowers, museums, ancient churches, and squares full of life and atmosphere.
The interior of the walled city transports you to another era and allows you to enjoy a magical experience walking through its streets and the fantastic atmosphere of this wonderful city that is sure to hook you.
The walled city is the most sought after area for to stay in Cartagena de Indias It is also the most expensive, its prices are quite high by the standards of the rest of the country, and more expensive than other areas of the city like Gethsemane or Bocagrande.
2.Downtown, tourist attractions, restaurants, nightlife
Downtown is the neighborhood that occupies the southern part of the walled city, characterized by its spectacular colonial architecture , its luxury hotels, restaurants and lively nightlife, and also for being the administrative and cultural center of the city.
The Clock Gate is one of the most famous and photographed images of Cartagena.In this area you will find attractions such as the Cathedral, the Baluarte, the Convent of San Pedro Claver, the Church of Santo Domingo, the Plaza de los Coches, the Plaza de Bolívar, the Zenú Gold Museum, the Palace of the Inquisition, and many more.
In addition to hosting the main tourist attractions is also the most opulent area.Its streets are formed by very spectacular and elegant colonial mansions, many of which have been converted into hotels, restaurants, boutiques or even nightclubs.
is the best area to stay in Cartagena de Indias but also is the most expensive There is such a demand that it is difficult to find accommodation in it and most of its hotels are luxury hotels with prices significantly higher than the rest of the city.
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN THE CENTER
Tcherassi Hotel + Spa : The first option to stay in Cartagena de Indias is in a colonial mansion, a few meters away from Santo Domingo and San Diego squares.Facilities include a restaurant, bar, terrace with swimming pool and a first class spa
Mid range accommodation
La Passion Hotel Boutique : Its location, just 300 meters from the beach, makes this four star hotel one of your best options for sleeping in Cartagena de Indias.If you want to relax, the swimming pool and the hydromassage bath are the ideal place, and you can also sign up for some of the excursions that will take you to the islands of Baru and Rosario.
Hotel Portal De San Diego
Hotel Portal De San Diego : Half a kilometer from the Palace of the Inquisition and the Portal de San Diego, is one of the most economical hotels in Cartagena de Indias, ideal for lovers of architecture and local cuisine.The rooms are equipped with extra large beds, satellite TV, air conditioning and internet connection. In the executive mode, you will have access to a minibar.
3.San Diego, sleep in Cartagena de Indias in the Walled City
San Diego is the other part of the city that is located in the inside the walls .It is much quieter and a little less touristy than its neighbour, but it also has an undeniable charm
San Diego revolves around the beautiful little square of San Diego, which is formed by the area situated to the north of Calle de la Universidad de Cartagena and to the west of Calle San Agustín and Calle de la Moneda, and extends to the Baluarte de Santa Catalina and the walls that defend the city to the north.
Architecturally, it is characterized by smaller houses painted with intense colors and balconies with many flowers. These houses were built for the army, the clergy, the artisans, and in general for classes less wealthy than the mansions of the center.
Although it is quieter than the bustling Center, in its narrow streets you also find excellent restaurants and bars with lots of atmosphere .The Universidad de Bellas Artes y Ciencias de Bolívar is located in this neighborhood in the building that used to be the Convento de San Diego.
Its location within the walled city, and the fact that it is somewhat quieter than Centro make it an excellent option for sleeping in Cartagena de Indias.In addition, there is more variety in the type of accommodation.
Although there are super luxury options like the famous Hotel Sofitel in the converted Monastery of Santa Clara, in the San Diego neighborhood it is easier to find hotels with better prices and some option of cheap accommodation .
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN SAN DIEGO
Hotel Casa Quero : This hotel is just a few meters from the Cartagena Wall and the Las Bóvedas handicraft market.It has an outdoor pool, whirlpool and spa area spa : The sound of home cinema and the iPod holder are another reason to stay in Cartagena de Indias, from some of them you can enjoy a panoramic view of the old part of the city.
Mid range accommodation
Hotel Don Pedro De Heredia : If you like rustic decoration, this hotel is an excellent choice for sleeping in Cartagena de Indias. The ceiling beams, marble floor and antique style furniture create a cozy atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the comforts of modern life.
Hotel Cartagena Royal Inn
Hotel Cartagena Royal Inn : Being close to the best attractions in the city doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money on your accommodation.Gethsemane, nightlife and cheap accommodation in Cartagena de Indias
Gethsemane is the favorite neighborhood for backpackers and travelers looking for cheap accommodation in Cartagena de Indias .It is a neighborhood with a good number of hostels and small hotels with better prices than those of the walled city.
The neighborhood is located just outside the walls between the Puerta del Reloj and the sea Once a very depressed neighborhood, today is one of the areas that are becoming more fashionable.It is undergoing a process of deep change that is making it one of the most interesting and potential neighborhoods in Colombia.
Gethsemane is a very humble and popular neighborhood, but very dynamic and with a lot of energy. Its small and narrow streets are full of small local shops and craftsmen, good restaurants that serve very cheap food, and a lively nightlife.
If you like , go out for a drink and dance , you will surely end up in Gethsemane, the nightlife of this neighbourhood is one of the best in the city, with a large number of nightlife establishments, including well-known names such as Café Havana and Bazurto Social Club.
The immediate proximity to the walled city, its most popular and local atmosphere, its lively nightlife, some reasonable security levels , and the possibility of finding cheap accommodation make it a very popular option for many travelers to sleep in Cartagena de Indias .
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN GETSEMANÍ
Hotel Casa Lola Deluxe Gallery : This accommodation consists of two buildings from the 17th and 19th centuries.Its main attributes are its location in the lively Gethsemane district, its spacious rooms of up to forty square metres and the three outdoor swimming pools on its terrace.The rooftop bar with a panoramic view of the city and its well equipped spa are another reason to stay in Cartagena de Indias.
Mid range accommodation
Casa Isabel Boutique Hotel : The main attraction of the Gethsemane district is the Plaza de la Santísima Trinidad, and this accommodation is less than five minutes walk away, while the San Felipe de Barajas Castle is 600 metres away and the Cartagena Gold Museum is 800 metres away.The facilities include a whirlpool bath, bar and spa area .
Hotel Boutique La Artilleria
Hotel Boutique La Artilleria : An excellent economic option among hotels in Cartagena de Indias is the Hotel Boutique La Artilleria . its most important features are the outdoor pool, the wellness center and the solarium .You can choose to stay in a double room or a suite with minibar and balcony. Throughout the hotel, you will have access to the internet.
In addition to this article on where to stay in Cartagena de Indias we recommend that you also read: Where to stay in Medellin, where to stay in Bogota, where to stay in Cali, where to stay in Santa Marta
4.Bocagrande and Laguito, modern area with many hotels
South of the walled city there is a narrow peninsula where you can find skyscrapers, big hotels, boutiques, shopping centers, travel agencies, bars, restaurants, casinos, spas, and beaches.
In this area the hotels of the big hotel chains such as Hyatt, the Sheraton, or the Radisson hotels are mixed with big apartment towers where residents and tourists who stay in one of its many flats for tourist rentals live together.
In Bocagrande and the Laguito, the end of the peninsula where a small lake is situated, the accommodation offers a quality/price ratio much better than in the Walled City .there is also accommodation of all types and for all budgets.
It is a very modern and safe located only 5-10 minutes by taxi or public transport from the old town.This next to its beaches, which although not very nice fulfill their function perfectly, and the variety and prices of their accommodation make Bocagrande one of the most popular options for to stay in Cartagena de Indias .
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN BOCAGRANDE
Hyatt Regency Cartagena : Without a doubt, this is one of the best places to stay in Cartagena de Indias.Located in the luxury area of the city, in front of the beach, it is a model of sophistication and good taste. The rooms are spacious (between 38 and 114 square meters), soundproofed and offer spectacular views of the sea. Other outstanding features are its infinity pool, gym, spa area and its two restaurants.
Mid range accommodation
Oz Hotel Cartagena : If you want to be just 200 meters from the sea and very close to the best gastronomic scene in the city, this hotel is what you need to sleep in Cartagena de Indias.
Hotel Pueblito Playa
Hotel Pueblito Playa : Between the bay and the Caribbean Sea, there is one of the most economical and charming hotels in Cartagena de Indias, the ideal alternative to enjoy the beach during the day and the most emblematic bars of the city at night.Before going out for a walk, you can enjoy a delicious American breakfast in the restaurant
5.Castillogrande, exclusive and residential
Castillogrande is the continuation of the Bocagrande peninsula that extends from the Laguito and is also characterized by its skyscrapers and for being the most exclusive area of the city.
Unlike Bocagrande it is eminently residential and there is very little accommodation available There are only a few flats for tourist rent, but there are a good number of tourist establishments in Laguito, just where this exclusive neighbourhood starts.
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN CASTILLOGRANDE
Travelers Orange Cartagena : The experience of staying in Cartagena de Indias will be unforgettable in this complex.It is situated in front of the Castillo Grande beach, whose soft waves make it a suitable place for families with small children. From here, boats leave for the island of Tierra Bomba. The apartments are spacious, have modern furniture, a balcony with a living area and a kitchen equipped with a fridge and microwave.
Mid range accommodation
Caribbean Sunrise : A Castillogrande apartment is the ideal choice for those who want to sleep in Cartagena de Indias, it has three separate bedrooms, living room, two bathrooms, kitchen with microwave, stove and fridge, flat screen TV, and air conditioning.
Castillogrande house : The sun, sea and sand are enjoyed to the fullest in Castillogrande, the rooms are cheap and come with everything you need to feel at home, such as wardrobe, dressing room, cable TV and internet connection, and you will have access to a shared pool and a solarium .
6.La Boquilla, to stay in Cartagena de Indias on the beach
On the other hand, La Boquilla is on the coast north of the airport exclusive area where there is some luxury hotel and many high standard condominiums with apartments for tourist rent.
It is an ideal place for families as it is a quiet place with better beaches than Bocagrande It is also very popular with kitesurf and windsurf lovers The only problem is that is a bit far from the Walled City By car it is about 20 minutes to the center.
Recommended Hotels in the ticket office
Varanasi Hotel Boutique Airport : Whoever chooses this hotel to stay in Cartagena de Indias, will be close to the main natural attractions of the city and the Rafael Núñez International Airport will be just three minutes away.Its services include an open air swimming pool, business center, meeting room and a restaurant where breakfast and lunch are served, all rooms are soundproofed and have a minibar.
Mid range accommodation
Morros Summer VIP Apartment : If you stay in this apartment, the comfort of sleeping in Cartagena de Indias will be a similar experience to staying in a four star hotel.The kitchen has a fridge, coffee maker, microwave, oven and stove, the facilities also include a washing machine, dining room and swimming pool.
Hotel Casa Cano :
One of the most economical and best located hotels in Cartagena de Indias.It is located in front of La Boquilla and Crespo beaches, five minutes by car from the Historical Center, and only two streets from the airport. The rooms are simple, but comfortable. They have air conditioning, cable TV and shared kitchen.