Quick Tips for Where to Stay and Eat in Cartagena

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The Getsemani neighborhood in Cartagena (photo: David Lee)
The Getsemani neighborhood in Cartagena (photo: David Lee)
The Getsemani neighborhood in Cartagena  (photo: David Lee)
The Getsemani neighborhood in Cartagena (photo: David Lee)

Colombia is soon set to become the new in place for the savvy traveller. Long gone are the days of Colombia’s questionable reputation. Today it’s a country that wants you to come and say “Hola!”

Colombia is on the equator, which means it has that perfect tropical weather for a winter escape. Blessed with two coastlines, one on the Pacific and the other on the Caribbean, there are plenty of choices when it comes to choosing a beach vacation.

The city that seems to have it all going on is Cartagena, where old colonial buildings have been restored to their former glory. Walking around in the old town is like being in a Moroccan Medina, and the restored buildings that have been made into boutique hotels resemble the Riads of Essaouria.

To get a feel for the place, hire a horse and cart to guide you through the town as there are none of the usual hop-on-hop-off bus tours in Cartagena, just the clip clop of the horses hooves as they pass over the cobblestones of the old town, designated a UNESCO World heritage site in 1984.

The 15 minute tour among the deep blue, and burnt orange building will set you back about $17, but it is a great way to find what you would like to see more of on foot.

Where to Stay in Cartagena

La Passion Hotel

La Passion Hotel is one of the new boutique hotels that are springing up in the colonial old town.

“The paintwork, the doors, the floors and the Windows are original, nothing was restored. The house now reflects the architecture and culture of the city”, says Liliana Acosta, Manager of La Passion Hotel. With only eight rooms, each one is unique in helping to make this quirky hotel the perfect romantic escape.

La Passion does not have a restaurant, but it does have a really cool pool on the roof with views that will leave you wanting for words. This is the place to chill-out and read a novel by the Nobel Prize winning Colombian author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Do not worry about the hotel not having a restaurant as they still serve a Continental breakfast, and no matter which way you turn, there are plenty of places to have dinner, or get a quick bite to eat.

La Cevicheria (photo: David Lee)
La Cevicheria (photo: David Lee)

Where to Eat

La Cevicheria and Quebracho

Anthony Bourdain of “No Reservations” fame says that Cartagena is the perfect melting pot with people of every color, and it is from this melange of people you get some of the most unique food in the world. His place to eat was La Cevicheria (Calle Stuart #7-14, barrio San Diego, Tel: 664-5255) where he had one the restaurants unique ceviche’s of shrimp with mango, and passion fruit.

If seafood is not your thing, go to Quebracho (Calle Baloco #2-69, Centro Historico Amurallado, Tel: 664-1190) where you can have a steak that will melt in your mouth.

Cartagena has a jumping bar scene, making the night-time come alive to the sounds of salsa. Just walk the streets until you find a place you like.

You can enquire further about tailor-made holidays and travel with Exsus luxury holidays.

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This post was written by Dave, and brought to you by Exsus.

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