The Best 5 Neighborhoods to Stay in Cartagena, Colombia
When traveling to a foreign land or even just a new city, knowing where to stay is always important. With many factors to take into account, such as the proximity to attractions, transportation, budget, and your safety just to name a few. For this reason, we have created this list to make choosing your ideal location for your Cartagena vacation that much easier.
Read our Safety Advice for Travel in Colombia article here.
The Historic City Center
Often times referred to in Spanish as simply Centro or called the Walled City or Old Town, Cartagena’s historic city center is hands down the best neighborhood to stay in Cartagena. The main advantage of staying here is it puts you as close as you can get to all of the city’s best dining and many of its top attractions.
You’ll be able to walk just about anywhere, and you’ll love the charming architecture and flower-draped balconies as you stroll through the historic center. Many of Cartagena’s top hotels are also located here. It is undoubtedly the best area to stay in Cartagena.
Located just outside the Walled City, Getsemaní is also historic and was the home of many of the artisans who helped to build Cartagena during the colonial area. It is also considered to be the birthplace of Cartagena’s culture. You will find charming architecture here as well as many of the city’s newest and trendiest cafés and restaurants.
You’ll find everything from backpacker hostels, to bed and breakfasts, to luxury hotels in Getsemaní as well. That makes this top neighborhood in Cartagena, just a 5-minute walk from the historic center, a great second choice for the best areas to stay in Cartagena.
Bocagrande is located on a long, narrow peninsula outside the Walled City. Developed in more recent times, it houses many of the city’s tall hotel and apartment skyscrapers, and many of the city’s well to do live here. It is also where the most popular beaches in the city are located. It is like the South Beach of Colombia.
That makes it the top option for the best neighborhood to stay in Cartagena for those who want to spend lots of time at the beach. There are also plenty of restaurants and great shopping in Bocagrande, and you only a 10 minute or less taxi ride from the historic city center.
For those willing to be a bit farther away from the wall and wanting a more exclusive beach area to enjoy, Zona Norte (translated as the North Side) may make a good choice for the best area to stay in Cartagena. Some of the city’s newest and finest beach resorts are located here, and the beach generally is much less crowded than those of Bocagrande.
The only downside is it is a bit further from downtown. It is about a 15-20 minute taxi ride. There also aren’t many restaurants outside of the hotels in this area. However, for those looking for a relaxing escape where they can be beach bums but still go and see some of the attractions during the day, Zona Norte is a great neighborhood to stay in Cartagena.
Beach bums will also want to spend some time in the beautiful Rosario Islands off the coast of Cartagena. Be sure to read our post on the best Rosario Islands resorts to stay in or do a day trip.
El Cabrero is located just outside the Walled City along the waterfront to the north. It only takes a 5-10 minute walk from here to the heart of downtown, and accommodations tend to be more budget-friendly than in the Centro or in Getsemaní. While not as pretty as Bocagrande or Zona Norte, there are also beaches here.
There aren’t a lot of restaurants in this area, but its proximity to Centro still makes it a very convenient location. Therefore, for those on a tighter budget, El Cabrero makes for a good option and concludes this list of the best neighborhoods to stay in Cartagena.
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