There is no other city like Cartagena. The moment you step into the old town, you feel like you are traveling back in time; the whole urban landscape makes you reminisce about the colonial times. Houses with balconies painted in bright colors, big churches with stone facades, and different town squares, are the evidence of a well-preserved past inside the guarded walled city of Cartagena.
Nowadays, locals and tourists can also find an amazing food scene with restaurants of all kinds. Tradition runs almost every single place; but when it comes to gastronomy, the walled city of Cartagena has become the second most popular hub of international cuisine in Colombia.
There are spots like Donde Magola, where you can find the most famous arepa de huevo in town. There are also high-end restaurants that use local ingredients to create world-class dishes. So, this Caribbean city proves that it is more than just its beaches; although we must say, they are close to the best beaches in Colombia!
If you are tired of the people and buildings of Cartagena city then you should definitely take ta trip the to Rosario islands and enjoy relaxing on the beach, or for nature and jungle lovers, go to Minca afterwards!
Places like Collete Bistro, Agua de León, Juan del Mar, La Enoteca, La Cevichería, among others, belong to a big list of amazing spots to eat. Colombian, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, and a lot of signature cuisine, create the food scene in La Heróica. Here is a small selection of places we know will please even the most demanding diners.
Calle 38 n.° 8-19, Calle del Santísimo, Cartagena
This restaurant is a perfect example of taking traditional cuisine to the next level. They have a menu full of all the Colombian flavors, but with a unique approach that is constantly changing. Have a look at their website here.
Centro Comercial La Serrezuela, Cartagena
This new spot has a state-of-the-art food market located in La Serrezuela shopping mall. With a fast-casual culinary concept, this is a perfect place for families with kids, who are on the lookout for a wide variety of options for all members of their crew.
Centro, Calle del Colegio No. 34-60, Cartagena
This restaurant has the ambiance of a bistro, but with a very strong Caribbean soul. 11 years after they opened its doors, Don Juan has become a must for visitors, and it never disappoints. Have a look at their website here.
The walled city of Cartagena is also the heart of commercial activities. Fashion is becoming more and more relevant in the culture; hence all the designer stores around the old city.
The all-time favorite, Silvia Tcherassi, and the local talent, Ketty Tinoco, have been leading fashion trends for years.
But there is one piece of clothing that makes the Caribbean look something unique: the guayabera. This is a men’s shirt that is distinguished by its four front pockets and two vertical stripes of pleating and/or embroidery.
It is an icon associated with Latin American culture, and great leaders of the world have worn it.
Edgar Gómez Estévez has been the chosen to design guayaberas for Prince Charles, Gabriel García Márquez, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Armando Manzanero, and Bill Gates, among others.
His store is located in the neighborhood of San Diego, inside the walled city of Cartagena.
But if you are more into jewelry, stones, and hand-made crafts, there are two stores we strongly recommend. Emerald Center is a family business established 43 years ago. Now it is well recognized by both locals and tourists. They make pieces of jewelry in gold and silver with high-quality Colombian natural emeralds and other gemstones such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.
For something a little different, Artesanías de Colombia is a boutique where you can find hand-made items, made by indigenous people from all over the country. You could buy a mochila from the Arhuaco tribe, a hammock from San Jacinto, and some pottery from Ráquira.
As you can see, a stop in Cartagena is almost a must if you are a foodie or hunting for some beautiful souvenirs or designer products made by local Colombians.
Make your Colombian vacation the best cultural experience ever and include Cartagena on your trip!
If you need help or guidance with the planning process of your trip to Colombia, don´t hesitate to contact us. We have a team of travel experts looking forward to help you have the best holiday of your life.