Photo Credit: Parker Diakite
How To Spend 48 Hours In Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena is a beautiful city that has so much to offer from its food, history, and stunning scenery. With so much beauty and rich culture, it can be a lot to take in at once. That’s why we created the ultimate guide to spending two days in Cartagena.
Where To Stay
If you’re on a budget, then book your stay at the Hyatt Regency. It’s everything you could want in a hotel from its amenities, breath-taking ocean and city views, and most importantly, the location.
If you want to ball out on your accommodation, Casa San Agustín is what you want. It’s a charming boutique hotel that’s top-notch with amenities offered, including an outdoor pool and spa. It’s also the perfect location as it’s situated in the center of Old City Cartagena.
Breakfast at Café de la Mañana:
Located in Getsemani, Café de la Mañana serves some of the best breakfast and brunch in Cartagena. What’s great about this charming café is that it offers something for everyone, including vegetarians and vegans.
Explore the city on a bike tour
For just $35, you can explore the city on wheels through Bike Tours GN Cartagena. You can choose a two to three-hour experience and visit the walled city where you will be amazed by the architecture, ride along on the beach, and more. Stop to take a picture in front of the large, and colorful doors.
Bring your sunglasses! The sand and wind by the beach show no mercy and the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable on a tour with sand in your eye.
Lunch at Restaurante Candé
Trust this piece of advice: if you’re a seafood lover, you don’t want to leave Cartagena without trying Restaurante Candé! It’s simply the best hands down. The ceviche and black coconut rice are a must. Even better than the food? The amazing pictures you will get inside of this charming restaurant. There’s even a tree in the middle.
Relax at Tcherassi Hotel & Spa
After lunch, get a signature facial and a hot stone massage at Tcherassi Hotel & Spa. It’s been a long day afterall and it can get you prepared for the next day.
Dinner at Malagana Café & Bar
End your night in the neighborhood where you began by having dinner at Malagana Café & Bar. It’s tiny but offers one of the best rooftops in the city located in the coolest neighborhood. It’s a total vibe, and you can’t go wrong with anything off the drink and food menu.
Your Day 2 should be all about excursions and getting last-minute shopping done as most of your day will be taken up by your outings.
Start your day with breakfast at Epoca Espresso Bar
Colombia is known for its coffee which is regarded as some of the highest quality in the world. Have a cup and indulge in some breakfast goodies at Epoca Espresso Bar, including an açai bowl, steak and eggs, buttermilk pancakes, and more.
Travel to the “first free town” for Africans in America
Located about an hour away from Cartagena is San Basilio de Palenque: one of many walled communities that were founded by escaped enslaved people as a refuge in the seventeenth century.
Book your tour with Alex Rocha, founder of The Real Cartagena Travel Agency. His agency will pick you up at your accommodation and will drive you about an hour away to experience what is known as the first free African town in the Americas. In 2005, it was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Keep in mind that that is about a 4-5 hour excursion, so it will take up most of your day. Alex will take you through the town to learn more about the music, dance, food, and culture.
Shopping under Torre del Reloj
Torre del Reloj translates to ‘the clock tower’ in English. The clock is the main city gate of the historic center of Cartagena de Indias where you will find some interesting vendors and souvenirs to take home.
It’s busy and there will be a lot of heckling. Try to silence the noise and focus on the things you want to buy. There are a ton of small shops to visit.
End your night with dinner from a street vendor
You will probably pass a ton of good restaurants in Cartagena but don’t sleep on the food carts. Head back over to Getsemani and indulge in an arepa, fresh juices, and some gelato.
Got an extra day?
Consider spending your day on a boat with Bona Vida. The ride is about $90 per person and is an all-day excursion. Food and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks are included in your day visiting two islands about an hour away from Cartagena. You can go snorkeling, swim in the ocean, or take it all in on a hammock on the boat.