Neighborhoods in Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena is an intriguing and inspiring destination. The beautiful city holds traditional Colombian charm alongside modern world-class sophistication. It offers everything to everyone, from the exciting to the romantic; whatever your desires, Cartagena can surely fulfill them. Below is a brief insight into some of the most popular areas of the city waiting to be explored! Cartagena is a city of diverse neighborhoods with its own character, history, and attractions.
El Centro - The Historic Center
El Centro is the heart of Cartagena's historic district, a walled city that dates back to the 16th century. Visitors can wander through its narrow streets, lined with colorful colonial houses and mansions, and marvel at the grand plazas, churches, and fortifications. Some of the most important buildings include the Cathedral of Cartagena, the Palace of the Inquisition, and the Clock Tower.
El Centro is located close to downtown, and most hotels are nearby, so it is very convenient to stay there. This is the historic heart of Cartagena and has endless intriguing places of interest. It is in the walled area of the city where many fascinating styles of architecture, from Colonial to Republican and Italian, stand proudly side by side. The main entrance to the Downtown area is via the Clock Gate, which leads into Carriage Square (Plaza de los coches) and the nearby Customs Square (Plaza de la Aduana). Nearby is the pretty San Pedro Claver Square, in which a church by the same name and a museum stand, both of which are worthy of a visit. Within the walled area, you will also find Bolivar's Square (Plaza Bolivar), arguably the most famous of the city's squares due to its best-preserved examples of Colonial architecture. The ancient overhanging balconies of the street-lined cafes make this the perfect place to rest for coffee and pastries during the day or to wine and dine in the warm, sultry evenings.
In the historical center you’ll also see the Office of Historical Archives, the Government Palace, and the magnificent Cathedral of Cartagena, which was constructed in the 16th century. A short walk from the downtown area is an impressive fortress built by the Spanish in 1639, then later extended in 1762. An extensive underground tunnel system was used within the fort, and part of this original system is open to the public.
Located just outside the walls of the historic center, San Diego is a charming neighborhood filled with quaint streets, trendy shops, and stylish restaurants. It's also home to some of Cartagena's most famous landmarks, such as the Plaza de San Diego and the Casa de Gabriel García Márquez. Visitors can explore the neighborhood on foot, taking in its colorful street art, beautiful architecture, and lively atmosphere. The visit takes about half a day, and it is recommended to stay in the area for its great boutique hotels and easy access to the historic center.
The original San Diego convent gave its name to this area, a beautiful building that is now the Beaux Arts School Building. Nearby is the last church built within the city's walled area, the church of Santo Toribio. There is also Fernández de Madrid Square, named after Cartagena's hero and whose statue proudly dominates the square. Finally, in this area are the famous 'Bóvedas' dungeons that form part of the walls of the Santa Catalina Fortress. These were initially built for military purposes but house gift shops and boutiques today.
Getsemaní is a bohemian neighborhood known for its hipster vibe, street art, and lively nightlife. Once a seedy area, it has transformed recently and is now a trendy hotspot for young travelers. Visitors can explore the neighborhood's narrow streets, lined with colorful houses and murals, and check out its many bars, cafes, and restaurants. The most important streets to visit include Calle del Arsenal and Plaza de la Trinidad, the main squire.
Getsemaní is also known for its lively nightlife. The neighborhood is home to some of Cartagena's best bars, clubs, and restaurants, which attract a young and hip crowd. Plaza de la Trinidad is a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike and is always bustling with activity, especially on weekends.
Getsemaní is a neighborhood of great historical significance as it was the area in which enslaved Africans who were brought to Cartagena settled. In 1911, in commemoration of the centenary of the date of independence (November 11th, 1811), Centenary Park was built in the heart of the neighborhood. There is also the Third Order Church, San Francisco Cloister, and Cartagena's Convention Centre in this area.
Getsemaní is located just outside the walls of the historic center of Cartagena. Once a rough and gritty area, it has transformed in recent years and is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city. One of the highlights of Getsemaní is its street art. The neighborhood is full of colorful murals and graffiti, many political or social. Visitors can explore the streets and alleyways of Getsemaní on foot, taking in the street art and admiring the beautiful colonial architecture of the houses and buildings.
In addition to its street art and nightlife, Getsemaní has several important landmarks worth visiting. One of the most famous is the Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad, a beautiful colonial church that dates back to the 17th century. Another important site is the Plaza de la Santísima Trinidad, which hosts a famous artisanal market on weekends.
Getremani is a great place to stay for its great boutique hotels and proximity to the historic center. Getsemaní is a must-visit neighborhood for anyone traveling to Cartagena. Its lively atmosphere, colorful street art, and trendy bars and restaurants make it one of the city's most exciting and dynamic parts.
Bocagrande is a modern neighborhood that's known for its high-end hotels, restaurants, and shops, as well as its beautiful beaches. It's located just south of the historic center, and visitors can quickly get there by taxi or bus. The most important buildings include the Torre del Reloj shopping center and the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro. Enjoy the neighborhood's lively nightlife, as you find some of Cartagena's most popular bars and clubs here.
Bocagrande is the most popular among those tourists who enjoy modern hotels and amenities. In the area you’ll see several beautiful beachfront hotels as it’s situated between Cartagena Bay in the east and the Caribbean Sea in the west. It stands mainly on reclaimed land and was originally developed for foreign workers in the oil trade. Today, Bocagrande is home to many impressive high-rise buildings and world-class hotels.
The principal street in this area is 'San Martin Avenue,' where many high-class shops, bars, and restaurants make this a great place to spend both your days and evenings. On the peninsular of Bocagrande, there is a fabulous walk along the bay with spectacular views across the Caribbean Sea and an impressive statue of the Virgin Mary.
Manga is a residential neighborhood known for its beautiful mansions, lush gardens, and quiet streets. It's located just west of the historic center, and visitors can easily get there by taxi or bus. Some of the most important buildings include the Casa de Rafael Núñez and the Castillo Grande mansion. In addition, you can enjoy the neighborhood's many parks, such as the Parque de la Marina, which offers beautiful bay views. The district is quiet and has an upscale atmosphere.
The Northern Area
If arriving in Cartagena by air, you will arrive at Rafael Núñez International Airport, which is located in the Crespo Neighborhood. This area is a short drive from 'Downtown 'and the modern area of the city. North of the airport is a prosperous business development area and home to several reputable educational institutions.
Overall, there are many neighborhoods in Cartagena, each with its own unique charms and attractions. So whether you're interested in history, art, nightlife, or just soaking up the Caribbean sun, a neighborhood in Cartagena will surely capture your heart.Read more: