I'm fairly certain it is impossible to not have a perfect night in Cartagena! Each and every moment I spent in this lovely city was filled to the brim with love, joy, and exploration.
Finding the perfect place to stay in Cart may just be one of the most difficult things to do! There are so many wonderful options, from cute apartments to chic mini boutique hotels, the choices are endless. I've always found that I enjoy renting apartments while in a new city for the first time, it gives me a chance to get to know the city as if I was a local. I cannot wait to come back and experience some of the amazing hotels in the walled city, even though I have a feeling in my heart that I will end up with renting a cute apartment in the Getsemani neighborhood.
My favorite way to celebrate my arrival in a new city is with dinner and cocktails! I'm a HUGE fan of food, but I was told prior to my trip that Cartagena is the capital of five star dining and service and that I should not miss out. Like this girl would ever pass up a chance to eat?!
Little did I realize that those five star experiences come at a two star prices! Once I figure it out, I made it my goal to eat at every amazing restaurant I could fit into my five days!
At Maria, a super hip and trendy spot in the Walled City , I enjoyed the most amazing Beet Risotto of my life, along with a to-die-for Blackened Pulpo (octopus) dish. Le Cevicharia for lunch was a unique and wonderful experience; the seafood here is so fresh they don't even use electricity for their lunch service - THEY ONLY SERVE FRESH CEVICHE DURING THE DAY - IT IS NOT TO BE MISSED!
Favorite Places to Eat:
La Cevicheria - cute, easy, fun and the perfect spot for an alfresco lunch! I cannot wait to go back for another meal here to try the amazing dishes from their dinner menu. It is constantly busy, so be ready to wait but know that it's well worth it. The only 'downside' to eating outside is the amount of hustling from the street performers and people selling their wares. With the nod of a head and a simple "no gracias" you'll be left alone, just be ready to be entertained by some hip hop artists while you devour the best Ceviche of your life!
Maria - hip, trendy, sexy for the young jetset type. This is the perfect spot to check out the younger scene in Cart while enjoying a beautifully prepared meal paired with a funky and playful cocktail. I instantly fell in love with the decor - the wall paper is what I would call Lisa Frank inspired chic, beautiful and bold white pineapple chandeliers hang from the ceiling and the bar comes to life with the beautiful and lush greenery that lines that walls behind. Come on the later side, dinner kicks off here around 930pm or later. It's the perfect place to grab a bite out before you hit the town for a night of dancing. I suggest a reservation, but we were able to walk right in for a party of two on the earlier side (830pm) on a Thursday.
There is no better way to work off a fantastic meal than a night of exploring and dancing. I've always been of the mindset that the best thing to do after a long, multiple course meal is spend the evening wandering and hopefully finding my way to some dancing. For me there is no better way to explore your surroundings than on foot with your ears and heart open!
After a perfect meal at Maria, we found ourselves wandering towards Getsemani listening for the beats of music thumping around every corner. We stopped in for drinks at a few awesome spots along the way, but it wasn't until we stumbled upon a tiny hole in the wall bar, that we found the perfect place to strike up a conversation with a few locals and a group of fancy Brits. The lovely group of British doctors were on holiday and heading to Cafe Havana for some salsa dancing and we wouldn't dare pass up the opportunity to tag along!
We spent the rest of the evening dancing and sweating our way through the hot Cartagena night. Cafe Havana is a beautiful space and super hard to miss as it takes over an entire corner in Getsemani. Within the walls of Cafe Havana you find a perfect mix of locals, expats, and tourists of all ages, colors, shapes and sizes. I will never forget the sound of the 10 piece band, the heat created by the bodies on the dance floor, my amazing dance partner and our quick runs outside to breathe between each song or the smile that moved from my heart, down into my soul and all the way back up to my face.
My first night in Cart was absolutely wonderful, filled to the brim with divine food, simulating conversation, new friends, heart pumping local music, and dancing the night away. When it's all said and done, my first night in Cartagena was yet another perfect night out exploring the amazing world that we live in.
What are you waiting for? Make Cartagena yours! I know I can't wait to get back!