Decide Where to Stay in Cartagena De Indias: 9 Best Areas

A comprehensive pros & cons analysis of the city’s best areas to quickly and easily decide where to stay in Cartagena De Indias.

🛑 Stop doubting your choice of accommodation in Cartagena. Start understanding the advantages and drawbacks of each Cartagena neighborhood to find the ideal place to stay—insider tips guaranteed.

Expertly navigating Cartagena’s neighborhoods, I’ve spent months uncovering their unique charms. Here’s a concise, insightful guide to help you choose the perfect area for your stay, tailored from firsthand experiences.

Whether you want to have a romantic trip with your girlfriend or a wild adventure with your friends, no worries, I got you covered.

Here’s what you’ll get if you read my guide c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y:

  • Learn the main differences between the Walled City, Getsemani, and Bocagrande.
  • Get my favorite places to eat and drink for each neighborhood.
  • Discover the best district to have fun and where to stay if you want to save money.
  • Noisy streets to avoid.

Who are we đź‘‹

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.


Pick your area in 2 minutes

Are you in a rush? Here is a quick summary to quickly find the right Cartagena district.

Romantic trip? Stay in Cartagena’s historic center

Main square Cartagena de Indias Aleja

The old town is the most famous area of Cartagena. Here, you will find beautiful colonial buildings transformed into luxury hotels. I love staying here if I’m with Alejandra to celebrate a special event, where the best restaurants are just a short walk away. On the other hand, you’ll pay a high price, and your hotel can be noisy. You can choose between El Centro or San Diego (a little quieter).

My best places to stay are Casa San AgustĂ­n ($$$$), Casa Coliseo ($$$), Las Carretas ($$), and Casa Movida ($).

a fun trip? Stay in Getsemani

Getsemani nightlife - Cartagena

GetsemanĂ­ is a trendy neighborhood with streets covered with beautiful street art. There are many hostels, boutique hotels, bars, and restaurants to enjoy the festive side of Cartagena de Indias. I like to stay there if I want to enjoy the lively atmosphere (there’s always a fiesta going on) while being close to the historic center. Prices are more attractive there, but you’ll have a hard time finding a quiet hotel.

My best places to stay are La 10B ($), Posada La Fe ($$), Casa Isabel ($$$), and Casa Jaguar ($$$).

Modern amenities nearby the beach? Stay in Bocagrande

Bocagrande sunset

Bocagrande, Laguito & Castillogrande look like a little Miami. You will find large new hotels lined up along not-so-great beaches that can accommodate hundreds of tourists. You won’t get the magical Cartagena vibe, but the price/quality ratio is often better. Personally, I’m never tempted by this area for a short visit. But I know Aleja’s Colombian family loves it.

My best places to stay are Sotavento Suites ($), San Martin Cartagena ($$), Oz Hotel Luxury ($$$), Hyatt Regency Cartagena ($$$$).

Affordable and quiet area? Stay in Manga

Muelle-de-Manga-Cartagena-1

Manga is a residential area with a few nice and affordable hotels and apartments. Due to rising prices in Cartagena, this authentic neighborhood is becoming increasingly popular. Ideal for travelers who don’t want to see people taking selfies 24/7. There are a few good restaurants, and you will be close to GetsemanĂ­. This is where I’ll be staying if I have to live in Cartagena for a few months.

My best places to stay are San Jacinto hostal ($), Le Marie B&B ($$), Casa del Puerto ($$).

My favorite places to stay

Luxurious hotel boutique
  • 4.7
  • Where:
    El Centro
  • From 417 USD
  • Description:

    I adore Amarla Boutique Hotel for its unique mix of luxury and history in Cartagena's Walled City. Its intimate setting ensures personalized service and the vintage charm is simply enchanting. Plus, the location is perfect for exploring the city's iconic sites!

Upscale hotel—good value
  • 4.6
  • Where:
    San Diego
  • From 195 USD
  • Description:

    Casa La Fe stands out for its charming character, excellent location, and outstanding service. It's a great pick if you're looking for a cozy and convenient spot right in the center of Cartagena. However, if you're after really spacious rooms or lots of amenities right at the hotel, you might want to consider other options.

Affordable for the center
  • 4.8
  • Where:
    El Centro
  • From 102 USD
  • Description:

    In my opinion, Hotel Carretas is a mixed bag. It's fantastic for its location, staff, and breakfast, making it a convenient choice for those who want to be in the heart of Cartagena without breaking the bank. However, if you're a light sleeper or prefer a quiet environment, this might not be the best fit. 

Upscale Hotel Boutique
  • 4.8
  • Where:
    Getsemani
  • From 158 USD
  • Description:

    In my opinion, Casa Jaguar nearly hits the mark of perfection for a boutique hotel experience in Cartagena. Its elegant design, outstanding staff, delectable food, and prime location stand out. It's a prime pick if you're okay with a small pool and seek an intimate, upscale stay over larger resorts. The hotel excels at ensuring a unique, comfortable, and unforgettable experience for each guest.

Modern and Affordable
  • 4.6
  • Where:
    Bocagrande
  • From 94 USD
  • Description:

    In my view, Hotel Oz Luxury is a fair choice, particularly for its commendable staff service and comfortable rooms. However, the amenity issues and the single elevator might be drawbacks for you. It's suitable if you're after basic comfort and a good location near the beach, but it may fall short for those seeking a high-end luxury experience.

Luxurious and modern
  • 4.6
  • Where:
    Bocagrande
  • From 225 USD
  • Description:

    Hotel Hyatt Regency stands out for its luxurious accommodations, exceptional staff service, and excellent pool facilities. It's a great choice if you seek comfort and quality in Bocagrande. The hotel caters to leisure and business travelers.

Cheap
  • 4.6
  • Where:
    Manga
  • From 50 USD
  • Description:

    In my opinion, Le Marie B&B offers a delightful stay, especially for those who value personal attention and a peaceful environment. The staff’s dedication to guest satisfaction stands out. It’s a charming choice for travelers who prefer a homely, quiet place close to the city’s attractions.

Luxurious hotel boutique
4.7
Where:
El Centro
From 417 USD
Description:

I adore Amarla Boutique Hotel for its unique mix of luxury and history in Cartagena's Walled City. Its intimate setting ensures personalized service and the vintage charm is simply enchanting. Plus, the location is perfect for exploring the city's iconic sites!

Upscale hotel—good value
4.6
Where:
San Diego
From 195 USD
Description:

Casa La Fe stands out for its charming character, excellent location, and outstanding service. It's a great pick if you're looking for a cozy and convenient spot right in the center of Cartagena. However, if you're after really spacious rooms or lots of amenities right at the hotel, you might want to consider other options.

Affordable for the center
4.8
Where:
El Centro
From 102 USD
Description:

In my opinion, Hotel Carretas is a mixed bag. It's fantastic for its location, staff, and breakfast, making it a convenient choice for those who want to be in the heart of Cartagena without breaking the bank. However, if you're a light sleeper or prefer a quiet environment, this might not be the best fit. 

Upscale Hotel Boutique
4.8
Where:
Getsemani
From 158 USD
Description:

In my opinion, Casa Jaguar nearly hits the mark of perfection for a boutique hotel experience in Cartagena. Its elegant design, outstanding staff, delectable food, and prime location stand out. It's a prime pick if you're okay with a small pool and seek an intimate, upscale stay over larger resorts. The hotel excels at ensuring a unique, comfortable, and unforgettable experience for each guest.

Modern and Affordable
4.6
Where:
Bocagrande
From 94 USD
Description:

In my view, Hotel Oz Luxury is a fair choice, particularly for its commendable staff service and comfortable rooms. However, the amenity issues and the single elevator might be drawbacks for you. It's suitable if you're after basic comfort and a good location near the beach, but it may fall short for those seeking a high-end luxury experience.

Luxurious and modern
4.6
Where:
Bocagrande
From 225 USD
Description:

Hotel Hyatt Regency stands out for its luxurious accommodations, exceptional staff service, and excellent pool facilities. It's a great choice if you seek comfort and quality in Bocagrande. The hotel caters to leisure and business travelers.

Cheap
4.6
Where:
Manga
From 50 USD
Description:

In my opinion, Le Marie B&B offers a delightful stay, especially for those who value personal attention and a peaceful environment. The staff’s dedication to guest satisfaction stands out. It’s a charming choice for travelers who prefer a homely, quiet place close to the city’s attractions.

👉 Want to know everything about Cartagena? To learn where are the best places, and avoid tourist traps and beginner’s mistakes? Nothing could be easier. I put it all together in our guide to Cartagena de Indias.

More than 10,000 travelers have already used our Colombia travel guide

I’ve been exploring Colombia since 2015 and put all my knowledge into one E-book. It’s free and accessible now. 👇

Best areas to stay in Cartagena de Indias: The MAP

Where to stay in Cartagena MAP

The city of Cartagena de Indias is easily visited. The tourist sites are mainly in the Walled City.

It’s always a pain to take a 30-minute cab ride to get a coffee or eat in a good restaurant.

To enjoy Cartagena, you have to be close to the action! I recommend you stay in one of the 9 following neighborhoods.

Cartagena Historic center San Diego

In this section, you’ll find the pros and cons of the best Cartagena neighborhoods, as well as my tips for getting the most out of them.

1# El Centro neighborhood

Centro historico Cartagena

Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

El Centro is part of the historical center where thousands of tourists and street vendors gather daily. The narrow streets are lined with colorful buildings with carved wooden balconies and fragrant flowers.

El Centro is among the best places to stay in Cartagena if you want to enjoy the romantic atmosphere present in the walled city. Have a good breakfast in your boutique hotel, and then stroll through the squares and the majestic baroque churches. In the evening, find a rooftop bar to enjoy the cool breeze or sit on the ramparts to watch the sunset.

Here is an analysis of my favorite hotels in the Walled City.

Pros: Why should you stay in El Centro, Cartagena

  • It’s a central location. Most tourist sites are within the walled city: The Naval Museum, the Plaza de Santo Domingo, the Palace of the Inquisition, and the church San Pedro Claver.
  • Best 5-star hotels. The colonial architecture is sumptuous.
  • Perfect for first-time visitors to Cartagena.
  • It’s a UNESCO world heritage site.

Cons: Downsides of staying in el Centro, Cartagena

  • It is noisy early in the morning, and there are only a handful of hotels with adequate soundproofing.
  • The value for money isn’t great. Most of the hotels, bars & restaurants are expensive.
  • You swim among sweaty tourists and wearisome street vendors all day long.

Best places to stay in Cartagena: El Centro

Luxurious
  • Where:
    Historic center
  • 5.0
  • From 695 USD
  • Pros:
    • Beautiful colonial building with top-notch facilities: Pool, Spa, Restaurant.
    • Excellent experiences.
  • Cons:
    • Expensive
High-end
  • Where:
    Historic center
  • 5.0
  • From 370 USD
  • Pros:
    • Only 7 rooms, perfectly decorated
    • The rooftop/pool view is spectacular
  • Cons:
    • Don't pick the classic room
Upscale loft
  • Where:
    Historic center
  • 4.5
  • From 247 USD
  • Pros:
    • Fantastic rooftop + 2 pools
    • Quiet street
  • Cons:
    • Don't pick the room on the 1rst floor
Mid-range
  • Where:
    El Centro
  • 5.0
  • From 102 USD
  • Pros:
    • Rooftop with pool
    • Great staff
  • Cons:
    • Noisy street. Ask for a room at the back
Hostal
  • Where:
    El Centro
  • 4.0
  • From 99 USD
  • Pros:
    • Well-designed dorms
    • Restaurant & rooftop bar
  • Cons:
    • The social vibe could be improved
Luxurious
Where:
Historic center
5.0
From 695 USD
Pros:
  • Beautiful colonial building with top-notch facilities: Pool, Spa, Restaurant.
  • Excellent experiences.
Cons:
  • Expensive
High-end
Where:
Historic center
5.0
From 370 USD
Pros:
  • Only 7 rooms, perfectly decorated
  • The rooftop/pool view is spectacular
Cons:
  • Don't pick the classic room
Upscale loft
Where:
Historic center
4.5
From 247 USD
Pros:
  • Fantastic rooftop + 2 pools
  • Quiet street
Cons:
  • Don't pick the room on the 1rst floor
Mid-range
Where:
El Centro
5.0
From 102 USD
Pros:
  • Rooftop with pool
  • Great staff
Cons:
  • Noisy street. Ask for a room at the back
Hostal
Where:
El Centro
4.0
From 99 USD
Pros:
  • Well-designed dorms
  • Restaurant & rooftop bar
Cons:
  • The social vibe could be improved

Best tips to enjoy your stay in Cartagena

  • Visit the old town in the early hours of the day. There are few tourists, and the light is spectacular.
  • Look on Google Maps that your hotel isn’t near a club.
  • Watch the sunset from Cafe del Mar, Mirador Gastro Bar, or Movitch.
  • Have dinner at Ana, Montesacro, and Benitto.
  • Have breakfast at Al Alma.
  • Have lunch at Kero and Espiritu Santo.
  • Go party at La Jugada or Casa Cruxada.

My opinion: El Centro is the ideal area to spend your honeymoon and stay in the city’s most luxurious hotels. But, if I had to choose, I’d prefer San Diego, which is right next door.

2# San Diego Neighborhood

Centro historico Cartagena

Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

San Diego is the neighborhood that is adjacent to El Centro. It is still part of the old city. The colonial architecture of the buildings will seem less impressive at first glance.

Then, if you pay more attention to the details, you will realize that this district is more authentic. The colorful houses are home to families, not just stores and restaurants.

The small winding streets are less used by tourists and have just as much charm. As you walk along, rest in the small square of San Diego and look for the house of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

If you are not interested in staying in the most luxurious hotels in Cartagena, then San Diego is an excellent alternative to El Centro.

Pros: Why should you stay in San Diego, Cartagena

  • You’ll meet fewer tourists when you wake up.
  • You’ll still be soaked by the romantic vibe of Cartagena’s historic walled city.
  • I love the bright colors used to paint the walls.
  • You’ll find some of the best Cartagena hotels.
  • It’s quieter than El Centro.

Cons: Downsides of staying in San Diego, Cartagena

  • As for El Centro, it’s expensive. You won’t find the best hotel deals.
  • There are still many tourists.

Best places to stay in Cartagena: San Diego

Luxurious
  • Where:
    San Diego
  • 4.5
  • From 400 USD
  • Pros:
    • You'll sleep like a baby.
    • Pool and spa are fantastic.
  • Cons:
    • a bit overpriced.
Exceptional service
  • Where:
    San Diego
  • 4.5
  • From 175 USD
  • Pros:
    • Charming architecture & quite ambience
    • Rooftop pool & bar for relaxation
  • Cons:
    • Breakfast is a tad repetitive & basic
Mid-range
  • Where:
    San Diego
  • 5.0
  • From 257 USD
  • Pros:
    • Former convent with 7 rooms
    • Good value for the area
  • Cons:
    • Breakfast could be better
Hostel
  • Where:
    San Diego
  • 4.1
  • From 70 USD
  • Pros:
    • Easy to meet other travelers
    • "Party" events
  • Cons:
    • Big & disorganized
Budget Apartment
  • Where:
    San Diego
  • 4.0
  • From 125 USD
Luxurious
Where:
San Diego
4.5
From 400 USD
Pros:
  • You'll sleep like a baby.
  • Pool and spa are fantastic.
Cons:
  • a bit overpriced.
Exceptional service
Where:
San Diego
4.5
From 175 USD
Pros:
  • Charming architecture & quite ambience
  • Rooftop pool & bar for relaxation
Cons:
  • Breakfast is a tad repetitive & basic
Mid-range
Where:
San Diego
5.0
From 257 USD
Pros:
  • Former convent with 7 rooms
  • Good value for the area
Cons:
  • Breakfast could be better
Hostel
Where:
San Diego
4.1
From 70 USD
Pros:
  • Easy to meet other travelers
  • "Party" events
Cons:
  • Big & disorganized
Budget Apartment
Where:
San Diego
4.0
From 125 USD
Pros:
  • Well-furnished apartment
  • Reactive owners
Cons:
  • A bit old-fashioned

Best tips to enjoy your stay in Cartagena

  • Book a table at Carmen and ask for their CHEF’S SEVEN-COURSE tasting menu.
  • Take several pictures with different poses with the colorful walls of the houses in the background. It makes a perfect photo montage.
  • Enjoy the rooftop of the Town House Hotel: Pool and cocktails. Excellent brunch, too, on the weekend.
  • Have lunch at La Mulata or Montmartre.
  • Celebrate a birthday at Santa Clara’s restaurant (Jardin).
  • Grab some drinks at El Coro Lounge Bar, Botika, or La Juma.
  • Don’t hesitate to try the various street food.

My opinion: I find in San Diego some of the magical atmosphere described in Garcia Marquez’s books. If I want to stay in a quiet little boutique hotel, with sublime architecture and decoration, that’s where I’ll look for.

3# Getsemani Neighborhood

Getsemani Cartagena

Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Getsemani is a neighborhood mainly known for its street art and the cool bohemian/party atmosphere.

I like its location. You’ll be a 15-minute walk from the walled city. And you can easily take a cab to the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas and the Convento de la Popa.

You will find many small cafes and restaurants, perfect for lunch.

The streets of GetsemanĂ­ can be quite noisy if your hotel is located near Plaza Trinidad. For a quiet stay, choose your accommodation near the city walls.

Pros: Why should you stay in GetsemanĂ­, Cartagena

  • Ideal for enjoying Cartagena’s nightlife without breaking the bank.
  • All the tourist sites are within walking distance. You’re just a 10-minute walk from the walled city.
  • Neighborhood life is more authentic and pleasant (even if there are still many tourists)
  • Hotels in GetsemanĂ­ offer better value for money.

Cons: Downsides of staying in GetsemanĂ­, Cartagena

  • There are parties every night, especially in the following streets: CallejĂłn Ancho & Calle de las Sombrillas.
  • Streets get dodgy in the late hours of the night. Avoid isolated alleys.
  • Not many hotels with a swimming pool or a cool rooftop.

Best places to stay in Cartagena: GetsemaĂ­

Good deal
  • Where:
    GetsemanĂ­
  • 5.0
  • From 181 USD
  • Pros:
    • Delicious breakfast on the terrace
    • Well-decorated rooms
  • Cons:
    • Don't pick the cheapest room
Upscale
  • Where:
    GetsemanĂ­
  • 5.0
  • From 153 USD
  • Pros:
    • Great staff & room service
    • A serene sanctuary
  • Cons:
    • Pool is small
Mid-range
  • Where:
    GetsemanĂ­
  • 4.5
  • From 125 USD
  • Pros:
    • Delicious breakfast
    • Modern room. Excellent value
  • Cons:
    • Lively street. You could hear a few noises
Affordable
  • Where:
    GetsemanĂ­
  • 4.0
  • From 48 USD
  • Pros:
    • Pleasant terrace
    • Excellent location
  • Cons:
    • Small rooms. No windows.
Good deal
Where:
GetsemanĂ­
5.0
From 181 USD
Pros:
  • Delicious breakfast on the terrace
  • Well-decorated rooms
Cons:
  • Don't pick the cheapest room
Upscale
Where:
GetsemanĂ­
5.0
From 153 USD
Pros:
  • Great staff & room service
  • A serene sanctuary
Cons:
  • Pool is small
Mid-range
Where:
GetsemanĂ­
4.5
From 125 USD
Pros:
  • Delicious breakfast
  • Modern room. Excellent value
Cons:
  • Lively street. You could hear a few noises
Affordable
Where:
GetsemanĂ­
4.0
From 48 USD
Pros:
  • Pleasant terrace
  • Excellent location
Cons:
  • Small rooms. No windows.

Best tips to enjoy your stay in Cartagena

  • Head to the Plaza de la Trinidad around 7 pm. There are always street performances.
  • Have dinner at Celele, Sambal, or Lunatico.
  • Order lunch at Casa del Tunnel.
  • Grab breakfast at Beiyu.
  • Get a nice cup of coffee at Cafe Mural or Libertario.
  • Listen to salsa at La Tertulia or Cafe Havana.
  • Watch the sunset from Terraza Municipal.

My opinion: I’ve slept in Getsemani many times, and its alleyways are getting more and more festive. It’s fun, noisy, chaotic. In short, it smells like vacation.

4# Bocagrande Neighborhood

Bocagrande at night Espeute family

Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Bocagrande is composed of modern hotels with rooftop pools and resorts built along the beach. This narrow strip of land (3-4 streets) is located south of the historic Walled City.

Bocagrande lacks romance and authenticity. Instead of lovely 18th-century buildings and flowered balconies, you will find packs of tourists heading to the beach with their bath towels. Unfortunately, this long beach is not very sexy, with its army of street vendors and colorful plastic chairs.

Still, Bocagrande has its advantages. The hotel rooms are comfortable, with air conditioning, and for a better quality/price ratio than in GetsemanĂ­ or the historic old town.

Pros: Why should you stay in Bocagrande, Cartagena

  • You’ll find modern apartments and hotels.
  • This is a good option for families and groups of friends who plan to stay a week in Cartagena. You will save on the price of the rooms.
  • Beachfront hotels with outdoor pools.

Cons: Downsides of staying in Bocagrande, Cartagena

  • Don’t go if you are only staying 2 nights in Cartagena. You’ll miss all the fun.
  • There are many tourists and lots of cars.
  • You won’t find lovely boutique hotels.
  • You’ll have to take many taxi.
  • I don’t like the atmosphere—only tall buildings.
  • Beaches are crowded and unpleasant.

Best places to stay in Cartagena: Bocagrande

Upscale & modern
  • Where:
    Bocagrande
  • 4.5
  • From 265 USD
  • Pros:
    • 3 pools & a fitness center
    • Views are fantastic
  • Cons:
    • Service is a bit slow
Mid-range
  • Where:
    Bocagrande
  • 4.5
  • From 78 USD
  • Pros:
    • Terrace with a great view
    • The staff is kind and efficient,
  • Cons:
    • Rooms are a bit small (but comfy)
Good value
  • Where:
    Bocagrande
  • 4.0
  • From 102 USD
  • Pros:
    • The staff is fantastic. Good breakfast.
    • Great location in Bocagrande
  • Cons:
    • Wifi
Upscale & modern
Where:
Bocagrande
4.5
From 265 USD
Pros:
  • 3 pools & a fitness center
  • Views are fantastic
Cons:
  • Service is a bit slow
Mid-range
Where:
Bocagrande
4.5
From 78 USD
Pros:
  • Terrace with a great view
  • The staff is kind and efficient,
Cons:
  • Rooms are a bit small (but comfy)
Good value
Where:
Bocagrande
4.0
From 102 USD
Pros:
  • The staff is fantastic. Good breakfast.
  • Great location in Bocagrande
Cons:
  • Wifi

Best tips to enjoy your stay in Cartagena

  • Choose a hotel with a rooftop pool. The view is fantastic.
  • The beach is at the end of Boca Grande, towards Laguito.
  • Go to the Rooftop terrace of 7 Cielos.
  • Eat local on the beach at the Kiosko El Bonny.
  • Go shopping at the commercial center El Bocagrande Plaza. There is a nice terrace where you can watch the sunset.
  • Grab a drink at 51 Sky Bar, the highest bar in Cartagena.

My opinion: I spent a month in Bocagrande to save money. These long streets surrounded by skyscrapers and crowded beaches do not appeal to me. If you come here, it’s just to find a comfortable and affordable hotel.

5# Laguito Neighborhood

Laguito hotel Hilton
Credit: Hilton

Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Laguito is a tiny neighborhood in Cartagena composed of about 40 buildings. It is located at the peninsula’s tip (just after the Bocagrande neighborhood). Some major hotel chains are established there (including the Hilton).

From the top of the hotel’s rooms, travelers will have a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea and the lake, occupying 50% of the area.

Like Bocagrande, Laguito is not of tourist interest. On the other hand, you have several beaches nearby. They’re the most “acceptable” in Cartagena.

Pros: Why should you stay in Laguito, Cartagena

  • The view from the hotel’s rooms for sunset is great.
  • Thanks to the presence of the lake, the area is a little less oppressive than Bocagrande.
  • You’ll find many apartments with air conditioning to rent.

Cons: Downsides of staying in Laguito, Cartagena

  • You’ll have to take a taxi to head to the historic walled city or GetsemanĂ­.
  • I prefer the vibe in the old town.

Best places to stay in Cartagena: Laguito

Resort
  • Where:
    Laguito
  • 4.0
  • From 220 USD
  • Pros:
    • Family hotel with pools & kids club
    • Beach is pleasant (semi-private)
  • Cons:
    • You can't open the windows
Big apartment
  • Where:
    Laguito
  • 5.0
  • From 460 USD
  • Pros:
    • 5 bedrooms and great view (21 floor)
    • Host is reactive
  • Cons:
    • Slow and old elevator
Budget Apartment
  • Where:
    Laguito
  • 4.0
  • From 76 USD
Resort
Where:
Laguito
4.0
From 220 USD
Pros:
  • Family hotel with pools & kids club
  • Beach is pleasant (semi-private)
Cons:
  • You can't open the windows
Big apartment
Where:
Laguito
5.0
From 460 USD
Pros:
  • 5 bedrooms and great view (21 floor)
  • Host is reactive
Cons:
  • Slow and old elevator
Budget Apartment
Where:
Laguito
4.0
From 76 USD
Pros:
  • Cool views
  • Close to the beach
Cons:
  • A bit old-fashioned

Best tips to enjoy your stay in Cartagena

  • The view at night is magnificent. Choose an apartment or a room on the top floor, facing the lagoon and Bocagrande.
  • You’ll be in front of Isla Tierra Bomba. Take a boat and head to a beach club for the day.
  • Eat at the beach restaurant Punta las Velas.

My opinion: I find the Laguito area calmer and more pleasant than Bocagrande, as are the beaches—even if I won’t waste a day over there. It could be an interesting option if you’re thinking of spending a short week in Cartagena and would like a resort-type hotel to spend part of your vacation in—without being too far from the old center.

6# Castillogrande Neighborhood

Castillogrande is an upscale residential area with few lodging options. If you want to stay in a modern hotel with a swimming pool and air conditioning, focus on Laguito and Bocagrande.

7# Manga Neighborhood

Manga street

Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Manga is a residential area with a handful of old mansions converted into shopping centers and hotels. The district spreads out along the bay of the city. Bocagrande is on the opposite side. It is pretty when the night falls, and the buildings light up.

You won’t find any bars in the area at night. However, there are a few good restaurants scattered around.

Manga is close to GetsemanĂ­. You’ll have to cross a bridge to get there. Depending on where you are based, count 10-20 min of walking.

The prices of hotels and restaurants are more affordable. Therefore, it is a good option for travelers with a small budget who do not want to stay in the recent areas of Bocagrande and Laguito.

Pros: Why should you stay in Manga, Cartagena

  • It’s usually a quiet residential district—but stay away from the main roads.
  • You will be close to GetsemanĂ­. It’s ideal if you want to enjoy the nightlife of this Cartagena neighborhood.
  • There are cheaper hotels.

Cons: Downsides of staying in Manga, Cartagena

  • Few hotel options.
  • I did not feel unsafe, but the streets were empty early at night.
  • You won’t find a cute little coffee to grab a snack.

Best places to stay in Cartagena: Manga

Hostal/Apartment
  • Where:
    Manga
  • 4.0
  • From 91 USD
  • Pros:
    • Social hotel with a cool pool
    • Friendly/fun staff
  • Cons:
    • Slow water pressure & bad wifi
Great value
  • Where:
    Manga
  • 4.5
  • From 59 USD
  • Pros:
    • Cool house with pool & terrace
    • Good location
  • Cons:
    • Small rooms. No hot water.
Budget hotel
  • Where:
    Manga
  • 4.5
  • From 36 USD
  • Pros:
    • Quiet. Local district.
    • Excellent value
  • Cons:
    • a bit far from the historic center
Hostal/Apartment
Where:
Manga
4.0
From 91 USD
Pros:
  • Social hotel with a cool pool
  • Friendly/fun staff
Cons:
  • Slow water pressure & bad wifi
Great value
Where:
Manga
4.5
From 59 USD
Pros:
  • Cool house with pool & terrace
  • Good location
Cons:
  • Small rooms. No hot water.
Budget hotel
Where:
Manga
4.5
From 36 USD
Pros:
  • Quiet. Local district.
  • Excellent value
Cons:
  • a bit far from the historic center

Best tips to enjoy your stay in Cartagena

  • Eat at the Club de Pesca, one of the best seafood restaurants in Cartagena.
  • Enjoy the view (and the food) at Mabare and Sr. Miyagi.
  • Watch the sunset from the Fuerte San Sebastián del Pastelillo.
  • My favorite area is along the Club Nautico.

My opinion: Manga doesn’t have much charm, but I find it less unappealing than Bocagrande. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind walking 20-30 minutes to the historic center, then it’s perfect.

8# Cabrero Neighborhood

Cabrero Cartagena
Credit: Braithner

Where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Cabrero is a district just outside the historic center, towards the airport.

It is a residential area close to the beach, which is of interest to travelers who want to save money. The old city is within walking distance. However, I would recommend you take a cab at night.

Pros: Why should you stay in el Cabrero, Cartagena

  • Affordable hotels and a lot of apartments.
  • You can walk to the beach or the historical center.
  • You’re close to the airport.

Cons: Downsides of staying in el Cabrero, Cartagena

  • It’s not as safe as other parts of the city (mentioned in this article).
  • No luxury accommodation.
  • The district is not appealing.

Best places to stay in Cartagena: Cabrero

High-end
  • Where:
    Cabrero
  • 4.0
  • From 187 USD
  • Pros:
    • Helpful, friendly & bilingual staff
    • Cool rooftop pool
  • Cons:
    • Get a room far away from the bar
Good deal
  • Where:
    Cabrero
  • 4.0
  • From 78 USD
High-end
Where:
Cabrero
4.0
From 187 USD
Pros:
  • Helpful, friendly & bilingual staff
  • Cool rooftop pool
Cons:
  • Get a room far away from the bar
Good deal
Where:
Cabrero
4.0
From 78 USD
Pros:
  • Lovely historic building & decoration
  • 5-10 min walk from the old center
Cons:
  • Some rooms need to be renovated

Best tips to enjoy your stay in Cartagena

  • Book your hotel on Avenida Santander if you get there for the day of the independence of Cartagena. You’ll see the parade from your balcony.
  • Visit the museum Casa Rafael Núñez. Free entrance.

My opinion: I don’t like the atmosphere in Cabrero. The only advantage is that the beaches are closest to the historic center. In short, I don’t see the point of staying there.

9# Marbella & Crespo Neighborhood

Marbella & Crespo are similar to the Cabrero district. It is the area around the airport. They’ve no particular charm, but you will be able to find cheap accommodation.

Budget B&B
  • Where:
    Barrio Crespo
  • 4.5
  • From 46 USD
  • Pros:
    • Friendly owner
    • 2 blocks from the airport
  • Cons:
Budget B&B
Where:
Barrio Crespo
4.5
From 46 USD
Pros:
  • Friendly owner
  • 2 blocks from the airport
Cons:

How to decide where to stay in Cartagena?

Wall city cartagena sunset

Depending on your expectations, itinerary, and budget, some areas of Cartagena will be more convenient for you.

1# Where to stay in Cartagena to plan a bachelor party

You decided to organize a trip to Cartagena for your buddy’s stag party.

It’s a great idea.

I bet you want to be close to the bars and nightclubs. The coolest areas of Cartagena at night are GetsemanĂ­ or the Walled City.

But, as you know, they’re pretty expensive, and it will be complicated to find accommodation with a nice swimming pool —except if you rent a private villas.

2# Where to stay in Cartagena to party and meet people

There is nothing better than hostels to meet other travelers. The atmosphere of GetsemanĂ­, with its street art and unpretentious bars, appealed to me right away.

👉 Read our article Best hostels in Cartagena.

Head to Trinidad Square to watch street performers and buy cheap beers at the local store. Then, watch Colombians dancing salsa in Quiebra Canto or Café Havana.

The Walled City Clubs and bars are much more selective and expensive.

For those reasons, I think the best hotels for you are in GetsemanĂ­.

3# Where to stay in Cartagena for your honeymoon

The historic city center has everything you need to stir up your passions.

Put your bags down in a boutique hotel with 18th-century colonial architecture, then discover the colorful streets on board a horse-drawn carriage. In the evening, admire the sunset from a sailboat and have dinner in the courtyard of a gourmet restaurant.

This trip to Cartagena will be pricey. I hope your friends gave you enough money at your wedding.

Stay in San Diego to enjoy the romantic setting of the old city and wake up in an alleyway less overrun by tourists.

4# Where to stay in Cartagena to enjoy the beach

It’s a tricky question.

Do you want a beach paradise or a beach of any kind?

The city of Cartagena does not have lovely beaches. These large stretches of gray sand in the shade of the skyscrapers are not my cup of tea. Moreover, they are always full of tourists and vendors.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that the seawater is murky (and probably polluted).

But if you plan to spend a short week in Cartagena and you love the beach, then you should stay in Laguito and Castillogrande. The beaches there are correct and not too crowded. And you can take a boat to Tierra Bomba.

👉 Read our analysis of the best beach resorts in Cartagena.

5# Where to stay in Cartagena to feel safe

Laguito and Castillogrande are among the safest neighborhoods, along with the Walled City.

The other neighborhoods are safe during the day, but you should avoid hanging out alone at night.

As a rule of thumb for large Colombian cities:

  • Never leave your stuff unattended.
  • After 9-10 pm, call a cab if the streets are empty.

6# Where to stay in Cartagena if you have little time

It’s a no-brainer.

You should stay in GetsemanĂ­, el Centro or San Diego.

All the sights, bars, and restaurants are within walking distance. Allow at least one full day to visit the city.

Bonus: Where to stay in the Rosario Islands

Isla Grande Rosario
Isla Grande Rosario

Lovers of paradisiacal beaches will be disappointed in Cartagena.

Do not give up. There is a solution.

The Rosario Islands are 1 hour away from the city. In this idyllic environment, you will find fantastic eco-hotels, white sand beaches, turquoise water, and cocktails under the palm trees.

Many agencies offer one-day tours. I don’t recommend it. Due to the time spent on transportation, you won’t get to enjoy the islands as much as you should.

To do it right, you should stay 1 or 2 nights in the Rosario Islands. Choose between Isla BarĂş, Isla Grande, or a little private island. Each one has a different atmosphere, with its advantages and drawbacks.

The bottom line

The interest in Cartagena lies in the romantic atmosphere of the walled city and the festive vibe of GetsemanĂ­. If you plan to spend a short time in the city, find a place to stay close by so you can enjoy all the sights without taking a cab.

The problem is that the hotels in the historic city center are expensive. If this is not in your budget, adjacent neighborhoods such as Manga or Cabrero will be a good alternative.

Finally, travelers who want a terrace with a swimming pool without breaking the bank will have to choose an apartment in Boca Grande or Laguito.

What to read next

Here are some popular articles about Cartagena:

INFORMATION: PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME LINKS ARE AFFILIATE S AND AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU, I EARN A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU MAKE A BOOKING. IT’S A NICE GESTURE TO THANK US FOR THE MANY HOURS WE DEDICATE TO TOMPLANMYTRIP 🙂

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

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.