Getsemani, Cartagena: Epic Guide With My Best Secrets [2024]

During your stay in Cartagena, you will inevitably discover the vibrant neighborhood of Getsemaní, famous for its artistic atmosphere and wild parties.

Is it better to stay in Getsemaní than in the expensive and fancy part of the historical center? Where are the good and tasty restaurants? Where can you enjoy local experiences?

I’ve been to Cartagena more than a dozen times since 2015 and am a huge Getsemaní fan. Reading this guide will help you answer all the above questions and more! 

Grab your camera, and let’s go.

Can’t miss: Our exciting series on where to stay in Cartagena—the best neighborhoods. Read it to find out all our little exciting secrets.


Who are we 👋

Since 2015, Adrien, Alejandra, and I (Tom) have been helping travelers explore Colombia. Here, you will find everything you need to fall in love with this beautiful country easily.

Getsemaní: Takeaways & Local Map

Getsemani cartagena (3)
  • Getsemaní is only a few minutes walk from the historic center and is an excellent alternative to enjoy a more “real” and less expensive Colombian experience.
  • The strong points of Getsemaní are its alleys covered with street art and the famous evening that always starts from Trinidad Square.
  • You will find beautiful and charming hotels at reasonable prices. It’s best to stray away from bars and clubs (for the noise). Casa Jaguar and Casa Isabel are two excellent choices.
  • You will find many types of restaurants, from the exciting and gourmet Celele to the more traditional Cocina de Pepina or Espiritu Santo.
  • It has become a safe neighborhood, but keep an eye on your surroundings to avoid petty theft, and don’t venture into a deserted alley at night.

Getsemani has a lively atmosphere

Why visiting Getsemaní

The neighborhood of Getsemaní can best be described as “up and coming”. Many people feel that upscale neighborhoods in Cartagena often have a very “sterile” feel to them. This will not be the case with Getsemaní. 

One of the nicest parts about being in Getsemaní is that the barrio itself, while appealing to tourists, still has plenty of locals living in it. 

This means that you will see people opening their doors of their colorful houses in the evenings to let the breeze in. You will see art everywhere, murals, street art, local art for sale, etc. 

People will be hanging out outside, playing cards and dominos, and so. Different sound systems will compete with each other, blasting vallenato or champeta music. 

The locals are almost always more than willing to mingle with you, the tourist, or with anybody, really. 

Because of this, you could say that Getsemaní has a “best-of-both-worlds” vibe. It’s not some plastic tourist area, but it’s still welcoming to visitors. Forbes magazine even described it as being among the world’s top-10 “coolest” neighborhoods. 

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Best things to do in Getsemaní, Cartagena 

Getsemani Plaza trinidad (2)

What to do in Getsemaní

I think that most people, if they go to this neighborhood, will fall in love with it. 

Getsemaní is especially suited to:

  • Tourists who like interacting with locals
  • People who like colorful places and art, especially street art
  • People who come to Cartagena to experience its authentic culture
  • People who love colonial architecture
  • Any tourist who is just plain bored of overpriced and soulless tourist traps

Here are just a few of the things I would do if I were in Getsemaní Cartagena right now:

Look for the amazing street art

Things to do in Getsemani

One of the big draws of this colorful barrio is the art that you will find everywhere, especially the murals on the sides of local houses. 

Getsemaní’s street art serves many purposes. Of course, the murals help to make what was once an ugly place beautiful. Additionally, the art also has a strong social commentary aspect to it

Here are some of the authors of the place’s most celebrated and recognized pieces of street art:

  • Yurika (the maker of the famous “Maria Mulata” piece, a must-see!)
  • Marión VE (renowned for his “literary”-style pieces, which he says he makes to spread positive messages to his spectators)
  • DEXS
  • Juegasiempre
  • Fin DAC
  • Erre

Where are my favorite streets/places?

Things to do in Getsemani

Getsemaní is an old neighborhood by Western Hemisphere standards. As such, it’s full of winding streets and can feel like a maze at first! 

I recommend you use Google Maps or another similar app to get around this place. You can also contact our local partner for a guided walking tour to simplify things. Or pre-book this cool tour online.

Here are some highlights of don’t-miss places in the area:

Watch skilled street performers

Things to do in Getsemani

Trinidad Square Getsemaní

Once you’ve walked around all day and the sun has set, it’s time to go back to Plaza de la Trinidad, the center of the neighborhood. This is because the street performers will start to come out and do their thing. 

I recommend having lots of small (2000 and 5000-peso) bills to give these talented people. Basically, if you see something you like, don’t hesitate to support the performer by dropping a small bit of money! 

You are likely to see a wide variety of performers on any given evening. Some to look out for are the “ugly Shakira,” the Michael Jackson impersonator, and professional dancers doing stunning salsa dancing routines. 

You can also see groups performing there, including groups performing traditional dance music such as cumbias and porros. There is even an excellent breakdance group that regularly performs in Plaza de la Trinidad.

Exciting Walking tour 

Things to do in Getsemani

The neighborhood of Getsemaní, however, has a lot of dimensions to it. Besides the rich and colorful street art, the area has an equally fascinating history.

Cartagena, in general, has a rich past and is an integral part of the history of Colombia. It was one of Latin America’s first places to declare independence. Significantly, Getsemaní figures heavily in the stories of the region’s struggle against the Spanish colonial yoke. 

In fact, one of the first active military units in the resistance against Spain was called the “Lanceros de Getsemaní.” They were formed by a man by the name of Pedro Romero and were active from the very beginning of the War of Independence in 1811 and continued to fight until the colonies won the war a decade later. 

In those days, the place was known as a sort of “people’s neighborhood.” It was, at the time, home to a mix of artisans and merchants. Some had come over from Europe, and others were newly-freed Africans who had been brought over as slaves. 

In the present, Getsemaní maintains its street sense and pro-people spirit. However, the Lanceros have naturally been replaced by a new mix, one of the visual artists, poets, musicians, etc. In other words, the spirit of freedom and struggle still remains; it has just changed in form. 

Exploring the surrounding area, here are some cool spots to visit:

  • The Church of the Holy Trinity (Santa Trinidad) that dominates Plaza de la Trinidad at the center of the neighborhood.
  • Statues in Pedro Romero‘s honor.
  • The city walls, where you can climb up and walk on top of them, catching a view of the imposing San Felipe Castle. 
  • The Puente Román, which leads to Manga island. Manga itself is worth a quick look because of the many colonial buildings there. Some people may find it a little too busy, but Casa del Puerto and its nearby buildings are pretty nice.
  • Parque del Centenario was built in 1911 to celebrate 100 years of Colombia’s independence. The best thing to do here is animal-watching since sloths and different kinds of monkeys are known to flock to the park. 
  • The Plazuela del Pozo. Here, the main feature is a set of sculptures by Cartagena native Edgardo Carmona.

I recommend you talk to our local guide Cathy to set up a suitable walking tour. You could join a group tour or, if you want something more custom, arrange for a private tour. It’s also possible to join a free walking tour if you so desire.

Art shopping

Things to do in Getsemani

The city of Cartagena has always been known for its artistic talent. For those of you who want to acquire new pieces, you will have no problem being able to discover great options on the streets of Getsemaní. 

The best place for this is Calle San Juan. In this street’s open-air art gallery, you will find the best of Cartagena’s local artists with their latest and greatest on display for the discerning art buyer.   

Taking amazing pictures

Things to do in Getsemani

You may just be taking photos for your own private enjoyment. Or, you may want great material for your social media accounts. You may even be a professional photographer. In any case, Getsemaní will deliver for you in a big way! 

Whatever type of photo addict you may be, you will love the seemingly-endless display of colorful backgrounds and gorgeous colonial architecture. 

My best recommendations for the streets to go to for taking phenomenal photos are Calle Paco – famous for its flags – and Callejón Ancho. You can also go to Calle 31, the famous “umbrella street”, or other “umbrella streets” scattered throughout Getsemaní.

The neighborhood also has ladies dressed in bright Caribbean colors wandering around. These women are called “Palenqueras” and are actually making a living by selling photo ops. You will typically pay 20,000 to 40,000 COP for a picture with one of them. 

The best time for photos is in the mornings, usually around 8 to 8:30 am. At this time, the sun has reached the magical 30 degrees in the sky, eliminating any potential weird shadows. Also, most neighborhood shops will not have opened yet, so foot traffic in the area will be minimal. 

If, on the other hand, you want crowd shots, 4-6pm is the best time for you.

Learn a bit more about coffee

Things to do in Getsemani

Cafe del mural

Coffee lovers will love visiting Getsemaní’s, Café del MuralThese people take coffee seriously and take every step of the coffee-making process to new levels. In fact, people sometimes say that this place is part café and part laboratory! 

Pro tip: the owner happily will exchange a bag of his premium blend for any decent bag of coffee from where you live, in the interest of science. Therefore, pack a bag of local coffee to take advantage of this! 

The place even has planned coffee-testing sessions. These usually go from 9 am to 12 pm and must be reserved in advance, as this is outside their regular opening hours.

Learn to dance like a Costeño

Things to do in Getsemani

Cartagena Photography tour (1)

I highly recommend this experience for dancers with any level of experience. As long as you love dancing, you will love these classes. 

You will go to a 3rd-story rooftop of a local house in Getesmaní. This rooftop is actually grassy, so you can feel free to dance barefoot in total comfort. 

The total cost per class per person is about USD 30, or just under 150,000 COP. This sounds steep for a dance class at first glance, but consider that it lasts for 3 hours. Also, free drinks, including alcoholic beverages, are included in the price. 

The class focuses on Champeta, Cartagena’s most emblematic style of music and dancing. However, they also touch on other popular Latin American styles, such as merengue, salsa, and bachata. 

Learn a bit of Spanish

Things to do in Getsemani

Honestly, I can say that Colombia gets better and better the more proficient you become in Spanish. This is definitely true even for tourist-friendly Cartagena/Getsemaní. 

Of course, this can be difficult during a short stay. If you can, try to spend at least a month to really make some progress. 

My best recommendation for high-quality Spanish classes is located in Getsemaní. The people at Nueva Lengua are experts at getting foreigners up and running quickly with their Spanish. They have worked over the years to establish an excellent reputation in their industry.

How to enjoy Getsemaní nightlife

Getsemani (3)

Bars & clubs in Getsemaní

Cartagena has many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other places to have fun at night. This is how I usually do it, however. 

A typical night of mine in Getsemaní

On a typical evening going into nighttime in Getsemaní, you can probably find me doing something like the following: 

As the sun sinks below the horizon, I typically will be hanging out at Terraza Municipal, which is right on the water and is a perfect spot to see the old city’s walls. I might have some beers here or similar. 

From here, I will pick where to go for dinner or explore options. Lately, I have been visiting Arrabal GastroBar on Calle de San Juan. It’s a great place to have pulpo a la brasa (grilled octopus)—it’s truly amazing. 

Almost always, I head straight to Plaza de la Trinidad to a fun little street stand that makes delicious cocktails. I sip leisurely on these and hopefully check out one or more of the street performers I previously mentioned.

From there, the next stop would typically be somewhere on Callejón Ancho. More cocktails are available all around here. If I’m lucky, I will be able to find one of the numerous plastic chairs to sit on. They are numerous but almost always taken. 

After the cocktailing, it’s time for dancing, so at this point, I will continue to either Quiebra Canto or Tertulia de Getsemaní to whittle away the remaining hours doing some salsa dancing or similar and having more fun.  

Best bars in Getsemaní

Cafe havana getsemani bar in Cartagena
Credit: Cafe Havana

In past years, Getsemaní was considered by the locals to be a fun place to go but also quite dangerous. It was not recommended for tourists at all. Fortunately for all of us, the neighborhood has vastly improved in almost every way in the past decade or so.  

Nowadays, Getsemaní is, all around, an incredible place to vibe. As we alluded to previously, the area has a strong local flavor but still is 100 percent tourist-friendly, even in the midst of increasing tourism. Here are some top spots to party in the Getsemaní neighborhood: 

Tertulia de Getsemaní – open Tue-Sun 3pm-3am (or maybe a bit later)

If you go to one bar in Getsemaní, even in all of Cartagena, this should be the spot to go to!

The place has excellent live performances, a great and relaxed atmosphere, amazing people, and, to top it off, top-notch drinks. Do not miss out on Tertulia de Getsemaní if you come to Cartagena!

Quiebra Canto – open Wed-Sat 7pm-3am  

Unfortunately, the original Quiebra Canto in Bogotá didn’t survive the pandemic, but the Getsemaní branch is alive and kicking. 

This place also specializes in salsa, but the vibe here is a little more upscale and formal, and the music tends more towards classic salsa, which Colombians call “salsa brava.” 

Another perk to partying at Quiebra Canto is the amazing views of Cartagena’s famous walled city. 

Café Havana – open Tue-Thu 8pm-1pm, Fri-Sat 8pm-3am

This is another salsa bar and is actually the longest-standing salsa bar in Cartagena. It’s also the most well-known (still) among people living in the area.

There are also live bands here, and they are also excellent. Here, however, you will have to pay 50,000 COP just to get yourself inside. After that, drinks will also be costly. It can also get very crowded at this place, especially during the weekends and mainly after midnight. 

León de Baviera – open Mon, Tue, Thu 4pm-12am, Wed 1pm-12am, Fri-Sat 4pm-2am, Sun 1pm-11pm 

This place has been the best rock bar in Cartagena de Indias for two decades now. It was opened up by a German immigrant who loves Colombia as much as I do. 

You will find the area’s best rock bands playing live on the weekends. You can also come here to get authentic Bavarian sausages and sauerkraut, and other German fares, including world-class German beers otherwise hard to find on this side of the Atlantic.

Wednesdays and Sundays, as noted above, they open a little earlier for people who want to have lunch there. 

Terraza Municipal – open 7 days a week, 5pm-1am

This is the “sunset spot” I referred to above and is, in my opinion, the best spot in Cartagena to watch the sun dip below the horizon. 

Terraza Municipal is an al-fresco open terrace that serves drinks. You can also order street food from any one of the nearby food trucks, and they will deliver it to your seat for you. 

Beer Lover – open 7 days a week, 10am-2am

Cartagena’s hot spots tend to be more open-air. Beer Lover, however, is enclosed and has the AC on blast, which you may be craving after walking around for a while in Cartagena’s sun and heat. 

Of course, you won’t go to Beer Lover only for the air conditioning. The real draw here is the fantastic selection of craft beers worldwide. 

For me, the only drawback is that the music here is often too loud to have a comfortable conversation.

El Patio – open 7 days a week, 5pm-1am

El Patio has something for everybody. It’s a restaurant serving tasty local cuisine. It has good and reasonably-priced drinks. It has a dance floor, although the music is at a much more moderate level than that of Beer Lover. It has a beautiful courtyard with great views of the surrounding colonial buildings.

You can use El Patio as a launching point to set the base for a night of partying with a good meal. While you’re munching away, you can plan the rest of the night’s activities with the rest of your group. 

Best nightclubs in Getsemaní

Seven 7 times getsemani nightclub in Cartagena

Getsemaní is the go-to neighborhood in Cartagena de Indias, not only for bars and restaurants but also for nightclubs. If you stay in Getsemaní, you have everything within walking distance. 

The nightclub vibe in Getsemani is not very different from the bars; everything is generally laid-back and relaxed here. 

Mister Babilla – open Wed-Sat from 9pm-3am 

This club was Colombia’s most popular spot to party some years ago. However, it has met increasingly stiff competition over the years. Also, it has recently changed hands, and many savvy people who used to frequent this place are no longer recommending the spot. They often say that the new Mister Babilla is not even a shadow of its former self. 

The place also doubles as a restaurant, serving local dishes. 

If you want to come here to mingle with people, remember that the place is usually empty until after midnight.

Seven 7 Times – open Wed-Sat from 6pm-2am 

This place is located on Calle Media Luna. It’s an excellent choice for groups of people with varied tastes. Inside the place, you have five different spaces to choose from, all playing different styles of music. 

You will also pay a 50,000 COP cover charge to get in here.

Taboo – open 7 days a week, 8pm-4am

This is the nightclub in Getsemaní that most resemble a traditional nightclub experience, meaning it’s more oriented toward bottle service. For that reason, you can go here alone, but it’s probably better to hit this spot with a group and get a bottle. If you do this, this place is actually very reasonably priced. 

Taboo is also the No. 1 destination for Cartagena’s party buses, so it can get jam-packed here. 

Group Tour
Nightlife Walking Tour in Cartagena
4.5
Pros:
  • Enjoy the nightlife of Getsemaní with other travelers
  • Salsa or Champeta group class
Cons:
  • Wednesdays and Fridays only
See on Viator

Where to eat in Getsemaní, Cartagena

Getsemani Cartagena Nightlife

Restaurants in Getsemaní

Cartagena de Indias is a world-class gastronomic destination, and Getsemaní is ground zero for Cartagena’s top dining spots. 

The local cuisine is Caribbean-influenced, of course, but it’s different from what you’d expect from Anglo-Caribbean food, like Jamaican food. It’s less spicy and less focused on cooking in big pots. 

These days, however, you can discover food from all over the planet on offer in Getsemaní. 

Angelina Ristorante Italiano (wine)

This is an authentic Italian restaurant located right in the heart of Getsemaní. 

One nice touch about eating here is that the menu is full of excellent wine pairings, so this place is excellent for wine lovers. 

Lunático (Tapas)

Delicious tapas can be had in this spot. Also, check out the great views from this rooftop. 

You could best describe the food here as a fusion between traditional tapas and tapas with a unique Colombian flavor. 

Lunático is also famous for its guided tours of the nearby market and frequent craft beer tastings. 

Pascal (Brunch)

If you’re looking for a great brunch in Getsemaní, Pascal is definitely your best bet. 

Especially recommended are the pancakes and the fried chicken, which we devoured so quickly, we forgot even to take a photo of it!

Celele (Fusion) 

For people who like innovative dishes, and fresh new food creations, Celele is your place in Getsemaní. 

Not only does it have a unique menu, but it also has a sense of history. Each menu item describes precisely what it is and how and why it is prepared the way it is. Staff are amicable and knowledgeable and are glad to help explain and help you navigate through the menu. 

Getting a reservation for this place is recommended. Also, allow plenty of time for your dining experience, as the excellent food at Celele takes some time to prepare appropriately. 

Arrabal GastroBar (octopus)

This is the place I keep coming back to all the time. 

The main reason is their grilled octopus dish. 

Go there. Get the octopus. It will probably change your life. Enough said.

El Bololó (“healthy” food)

I have gone to this place multiple times, and it has been stellar each time. 

El Bololó specializes in healthy options for dining. My favorite among these are the bowls, especially the fish bowl and the veg bowl. 

Also, the place is famous for its spectacular service, always with a smile. 

La Cocina de Pepina (best for local delicacies)

People looking for the authentic Cartagena de Indias cuisine experience should look no further than La Cocina de Pepina, a favorite among the local people. 

I’m thrilled to bring this place to your attention. The traditional dishes of the Colombian Caribbean coast are underrated, and finding an excellent place to get them is challenging, even right in Cartagena! 

Especially recommended is the Posta a la Cartagenera, a cut of beef heavily seared and then braised. This is the flagship dish of traditional Cartagena food. 

Also, try the mote de queso, a white cheese cut up and stewed slowly with ñame criollo (a local root vegetable), sweet red pepper, spices, and bledo, a herb only found in this part of the world. It’s as delicious as it sounds. 

Bar San Nicolás (restaurant with live music) 

Once again, Getsemaní blurs the lines between a restaurant, a bar, and a club. Bar San Nicolás is really a bit of all three, although it is primarily a restaurant.

The place is famous for its live music and upbeat and lively atmosphere. However, it should be noted that, lately, the food has been getting mixed reviews online. 

Laguna Azúl

Laguna Azúl is well-known for its signature dish, the ceviche. It’s also one of the more economical options on this list; you can have some fine dining here without breaking the bank. 

The place is a little hard to find, so use the Google Maps link the first time you go there.

Colombitalia (the arepa stand) 

This street food stand sells arepas—a vast variety of arepas, something for every taste out there. 

Grabbing a quick and tasty arepa at this popular street food locale can sometimes be the perfect option. You could be walking around Getsemaní and not want to waste time on a sit-down meal. Also, these arepas are as dirt-cheap as they are delicious. 

Restaurante Espíritu Santo (lunch only)

Like the arepa joint mentioned above, this place is a great budget option. In fact, this place is probably the least touristy out of any of the options mentioned here. They are open for lunch only and have a limited menu of cheap and simple but delicious local fare, focusing mostly on fish, rice, yuca (cassava in English), plantains, etc. 

This is a good option for people who want to get the real, local Cartagena experience. 

Where to stay in Getsemaní, Cartagena

Credit: Hotel Capellán de Getsemaní

Hotels in Getsemaní

I stayed many times in Cartagena, and I know pretty well all the tourist districts of the city. Here are my recommendations for Getsemani.

The different areas 

Getsemaní may be one small neighborhood, but there are still a lot of nuances to it. It’s essential to keep in mind the differences between the various parts of the neighborhood. 

The first thing to remember is that as you go north, you are getting nearer to downtown. This can make a difference at night. North of Calle 30 or so, things do get a bit sketchier. 

I do believe that the streets of Getsemaní and Cartagena are generally safe (see the appropriate section below), but there is still a noticeable difference here. 

Staying right on the Plaza de la Trinidad is safer than the northern streets, but the noise will still be problematic because of the ultra-high concentration of night spots there. If you stay right on Callejón Ancho, you will have the same problem. 

If this is an issue for you, I recommend getting one of the hotels on Carrera 11. This is a much quieter street, but still close enough to the action, where walking home will never be a problem.

Upscale stays in Getsemaní 

Here are my favorites upscale hotels in Getsemaní.

Hotel Capellán de Getsemaní

Capellan Hotel
Credit: Hotel Capellán de Getsemaní

I am putting this hotel first because it represents the apex of the Getsemaní hotel experience. People reviewing the place tend to agree, with the overwhelming majority being positive.

The hotel staff is famous at this place for going way above and beyond what is usually expected to make guests’ experiences the absolute best possible. 

Another great part of staying at the Capellán is the rooms themselves. They are incredibly comfortable and spacious. There is, of course, a gorgeous rooftop with a pool, etc. 

For people with no problem paying, staying at the most expensive place in Getsemaní certainly has its perks. But you’ll have to spend an average price of nearly 1,100,000 COP per night.

GHL Arsenal Hotel

GHL Arsenal hotel Cartagena
Credit: GHL Arsenal Hotel

The GHL Arsenal is slightly less expensive than the Capellán, with rooms usually costing between 700,000 and 800,000 COP per night.

This place has a breathtaking rooftop with a vast pool, bar, and stunning city views. 

As with other GHL hotels in other cities, the hotel is a magnet for foreigners and well-to-do locals. This means that if you’re feeling lazy, you can just hang out at the hotel, and all the action just comes to you.

Mid-range stays in Getsemaní

Here are 3 options with excellent value for money.

Casa Jaguar Hotel Boutique

Casa Jaguar Cartagena
Credit: Casa Jaguar Hotel Boutique

The Casa Jaguar is recommended for people who want to be close to all of Getsemaní’s action but don’t want to sleep in a noisy environment. It perfectly fits the bill for being a little oasis of tranquility in the middle of this bustling neighborhood. 

It also has a terrace with a pool—quite small; you won’t be doing your laps in it or anything like that!

This well-appointed boutique hotel also is well-known for its excellent staff and room service. 

Casa Isabel 

Hotel boutique Casa Isabel
Credit: Casa Isabel 

Located right on Carrera 11, the Casa Isabel also fits the bill for being close to the action but far away from any potential noise. 

The best part of this hotel is its breakfast. Besides the mouth-watering flavors, you also get to experience it on the rooftop terrace, with a fantastic view of the neighborhood and the city. 

The rooms are also very nice, but be careful not to pick the cheapest option, as this will give you a tiny room with no windows. So, unless that’s what you are looking for, spend a little extra for a higher room category.

Casa Morales Cartagena by Soho

Casa Morales Cartagena by Soho
Credit: Casa Morales Cartagena by Soho

This option is great for small groups or people who like apartment-style stays. You can get 1-3 bedroom apartments here. This also means that there are way fewer units to share the pool. 

My only minor complaint is that the rooms’ decor is a bit outdated, especially the walls. 

Budget stays in Getsemaní

For those of you who aren’t great for money but want to come to Getsemaní anyway, some perfectly acceptable options are also available. 

Remember that all three of the stays described below have tiny rooms. Also, they either have no windows or they have windows you can’t open. 

La 10B

This bohemian spot to stay has been hosting people in Cartagena for decades and is a go-to destination for budget travelers. 

It couldn’t be better located, and the terrace is very nice, especially for a budget hotel. 

Keep in mind, though, that because of its high profile, they are often full. I recommend booking this place well in advance if you plan to stay here. 

Hotel Casa Cielo Cartagena

Hotel casa cielo cartagena
Credit: Hotel Casa Cielo Cartagena

The Casa Cielo is an economical option where they treat you like you are staying in a fancy place. People rave about the customer service here, especially mentioning the kind and attentive hotel owner. 

Like the 10B, this place also has a small but lovely rooftop.

Scalea di Mare Hotel

Scalea di Mare Hotel
Credit: Scalea di Mare Hotel

This place is great and cheap and actually has a very nice complimentary breakfast too. This place is spotless, as with almost any Colombian hotel—even the cheapest ones.

For the extremely budget-conscious, there are also dorm-style options available here. 

Moving around in Getsemaní

Transportation in Getsemaní

Getsemaní is a highly walkable neighborhood. You can get anywhere on foot quickly. 

Even if you wish to explore outside the neighborhood, you can generally get there on foot. Specifically, crossing the bridge to Manga or going the other way to the walled city are both very easy on foot. Taxis or other public transportation are not necessary.

In my honest opinion, Getsemaní, Manga, and the walled city are the three best places in Cartagena, so you can feel free to stick to these areas if you wish. 

For longer trips, both yellow taxis and Uber are widely available. Bear in mind that taxis in Cartagena are not metered, so be sure to negotiate the price beforehand!

A typical taxi trip to the airport should be around 15,000 COP, and it costs about 20,000 COP to get to the bus terminal from Getsemaní.

Is Getsemaní safe?

Terraza municipal sunset getsemani

Is Getsemaní dangerous?

In general, the answer is: yes, Getsemaní is a safe place. 

Of course, Getsemaní is still an area full of visitors and, as such, attracts criminal elements, especially pickpockets and similar. 

I recommend not walking around too late at night on Calle 30 or north of there, but generally, Getsemaní is pretty walkable otherwise. As always, if the streets are devoid of people, it’s better to take a taxi or an Uber to be safe, just like anywhere else. 

Also, you don’t want to be wandering around alone outside after a night of heavy drinking or have cash falling out of your pocket, and it’s a good idea to keep a tight watch on your cell phone, camera, etc. 

Getsemani vs. the walled city

The walled city (“la amurallada” in Spanish) is a UNESCO World Heritage neighborhood. It is also Cartagena’s other famous colonial neighborhood. 

It does have even more impressive architecture than Getsemaní. But, in my opinion, that’s the only advantage it has. 

La amurallada is 200-percent for people from outside the city these days. Nobody lives there anymore. The only friendly locals you will see are those working in the area. 

It’s lovely, and if you want the ultimate luxury vacation, la amurallada is a perfect fit. Also, the nights in la amurallada can be really romantic, especially if you eat at one of the many restaurants there.

But, I feel that la amurallada has none of Getsemaní’s charm and style. You won’t find any graffiti art or street art scene there, and very few street food vendors – although there will be plenty of street vendors selling overpriced trinkets. There will be no locals hanging out on the streets.

Learn more about Cartagena

Here are some cool articles you should read about Cartagena:

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I have been traveling around Colombia and Mexico since 2015 to discover new experiences and help travelers make the right choices.

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