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Photo of Cartagena

About Cartagena

If Cartagena is on your bucket list and you've been planning your trip for a while go straight to our guru's list of hotel recommendations. If not here are some of her charms, and some of the best places to stay in Cartagena to enjoy them!

Cartagena de Indias feels like it belongs to a different era. Once an important (read rich) port on the silver and gold trade route, this city was wealthy and fortified, the impressive remnants of which are why it's:

  • UNESCO world heritage listed,
  • why it has so many visitors,
  • and why it's beauty is so 'fairytale'.

This is not the Columbia where danger is easily encountered, in Cartagena the most dangerous things are probably the horse drawn carriages which carry tourists around the narrow streets of the pristine Old Town. In fact while it feels like an exotic destination, Cartagena is also a good place to go if you want to relax - one of the best things to do here is stroll the sea wall of an evening, followed by some mojitos in a cafe/ bar and some people watching.

This may make it sound small though - it's not, it's the fifth largest city in Colombia.

The Fortifications

Because of the rich trading, Cartagena is also the Caribbean port most associated with pirates. So it makes sense that Cartagena's famous fortifications are slightly set off from today's city - focussed around the bay. The best of the forts are the Castillo de San Felipe of Barajas, the Battery of San Ángel in Tierrabomba, the Castillo Fuerte of San Fernando and the Battery of San José in Bocachica. These were all major artillery sites as well, set up to return fire - against Sir Francis Drake at one point

The Old Town

The other highlight of Cartagena is the walled Old Town - everything you'd expect a Spanish Colonial settlement to look like. This is one of the best places to stay in Cartagena if you're 'hanging the expense' and want to really be in the beautiful heart of things. Despite being ravaged numerous times (Drake destroyed about a quarter of it before ransoming it back to the Spanish for about $200million), this area is full of beautiful buildings. Some of the places worth visiting are the cathedral and the Palace of the Inquisition.

San Diego

Built for the middle classes, San Diego is where you'll find many of Cartagena's most beautiful old colonial homes. Some of which have been converted into boutique hotels, which makes it one of the best places to stay in Cartagena. These hotels don't always have a lot of rooms but the charm of staying in this area is worth the effort.

For central location

  • If you want to stay in the heart of town, a good option is Casa Pestagua. Right by Santo Domingo Square, this palace of a hotel was built for an 18th Century Count, and it's often referred to as 'the most beautiful house in Cartagena'. It also has gorgeous views over the walled city. And a luxurious spa, with hot-tubs-with-a-view.
  • La Passion is also in a great central location. This beautiful 18th century palace has been converted into an eight bedroomed hotel with stylish rooms and fabulous roof top swimming pool and cocktail bar.
  • Quadrifolio offers sophisticated accommodation bang in the centre of the Old Town. The byword here is understated elegance, plus there's a lovely pool, spa and restaurant.
  • The Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is one of the best places to stay in Cartagena to experience San Diego. It's got a grandiose beauty that fits in with the carefully restored houses the area is best known for. It used to be a convent, but with four bars and the largest pool in the walled city it's anything but staid now.

For luxury

  • Tcherassi Hotel and Spa is one of the trendiest addresses in town. Come here for sleek interiors, contemporary art and an award winning restaurant.
  • Casa San Agustin is easliy one of the best places to stay in Cartagena if luxury is your thing. The large rooms and suites feature four poster beds and marble bathrooms as standard. Plus there's a coutyard pool and much, much more.

Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Cartagena, or feel free to call or email one of our gurus for advice

Best Hotels in Cartagena

  • Hotel la Artilleria 23 rooms from $87


    This hotel is centrally located in Cartagena de Indias. It features incredibly spacious and simple white rooms and even has its own rooftop pool as well as a terrace. Make the most out of the fabulous location to explore every inch of this historic city. A great value stay with very friendly staff.

    Sights nearby  -  Go explore Bolivar House, Santo Domingo Square or the city walls-all of which are just a short walk away
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
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  • San Lazaro Art Lifestyle Hotel 36 rooms from $107


    A chic contemporary hotel with located just outside the historical walled city. Cleanly designed rooms feature floor to ceiling windows, crisp white linen and large terraces. A rooftop pool is the perfect spot to sip a cocktail and a hip restaurant serves international and Caribbean fare. Fabulous.

    Local exploring  -  Well located within walking distance of many of the city's main attractions.
    City Style  -  A chic city pad with contemporary design and a trendy restaurant.
    Great walks  -  Take a wander around the picture perfect 'walled city'.
    Sights nearby  -  Located right opposite San Felipe de Barajas Castle.
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  • Alfiz Hotel 10 rooms from $165

    Cartagena (Centrohistori)

    Alfiz Hotel is great value and perfectly located near Cartagena de Indias' historic Old Town. It features traditional & elegant rooms decorated in a typically colonial manner with plenty of antique furniture. Relax in their reading room with a book or head off to explore the gorgeous city.

    Sights nearby  -  Head over to see Bolivar House, Santo Domingo Square or Centenary Park-all of which are located just a short walk away
    Local markets  -  You've got to check out Las Bóvedas market which takes place in an arcade originally built as a dungeon!
    Great walks  -  Wander over to the beach and take a beautiful walk up the Caribbean coastline
    Restrictions on children  -  Not suitable for children under 12 yrs of age
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  • Bantu Boutique Hotel 26 rooms from $146


    Elegant 5* hotel in 18th century building. Characterful rooms have exposed bricks, traditional mosaic tiles and light marble bathrooms. Outdoor pool on roof terrace, inner plant-filled courtyard, solarium, hot tub and massages. Caribbean and Colombian fare in romantic restaurant. An authentic stay.

    Writing a novel  -  Take inspiration from this 18th century building and old city, read upon the roof terrace lounge or the bricked courtyard
    Great walks  -  Through the cobbled Old Town
    Sights nearby  -  Santo Toribio Church
    Barefoot Luxury  -  For total relaxation.
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  • La Passion 8 rooms from $170

    Cartagena (Bolivar)

    A beautiful 18th century palace with traditional facades and classical suites to match. Chequered stone floors, romantic balconies, four poster beds, pastel walls, gilt mirrors and winding staircases. Stunning roof top swimming pool and cocktail bar. Very ethereal.

    Romantic Break
    Sights nearby  -  Situated in the heart of the historical centre of Cartagena
    Restrictions on children  -  Over 14s welcome.
    Swimming Pool  -  Rooftop Pool
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, CN Traveller
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  • Casa La Cartujita 7 rooms from $214


    Casa La Cartujita is situated in central Cartagena. This stylish property features 16th century colonial architecture with modernist and chic rooms as well as a small indoor pool. Head up to the solarium and work on your tan or go off exploring the area. An incredibly upmarket and elegant city spot!

    Sights nearby  -  Go visit Cartagena's Walls, Bolivar Park, the Palace of the Inquisition or a number of other local sights
    Cooking classes  -  Opt for cooking classes in this modern kitchen.
    Restrictions on children  -  children over 12 yrs are welcome
    Swimming Pool  -  small pool on the first floor
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  • Hotel LM 7 rooms from $219


    A small luxury hotel in Cartagena's most exclusive district. Housing just seven individually styled rooms that beautifully mix colonial charm with contemporary style. A picture pretty courtyard complete with pool is the perfect hang out and the kitchen serves up excellent regional fare. Fabulous.

    Local exploring  -  Just a short walk from the city's historical and cultural sites.
    City Style  -  A chic hotel in one of the city's most exclusive districts.
    Sights nearby  -  Admire the colonial charm of the ‘walled city’.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool.
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  • Sofitel Legend Santa Clara 122 rooms from $287

    Cartagena (Barrio San Diego)

    A Former convent in the heart of Cartagena with four bars and the biggest swimming pool in the city. Fun, fun, fun - the original occupants would not approve...

    Sights nearby  -  lots or just walk around the walled city
    Diving  -  Snorkelling and Scuba diving centre
    Swimming Pool  -  Large Outdoor Pool
    Spa  -  Hammam
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Fodors, Kiwi Collection
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  • Casa Don Sancho 6 rooms from $229

    Cartagena (Centro Histórico)

    A luxury hotel located in the historic walled city and just a short walk from the beach. Beautifully renovated throughout the house keeps its colonial charm mixed with a clean contemporary feel. Large rooms feature private terraces, wooden fans and high ceilings. A chic choice.

    Local exploring  -  Located in Cartagena’s historic Walled City. Step out the door and get exploring!
    Sights nearby  -  Wander through the narrow flower filled streets of the historic walled city and admire the pretty colonial architecture.
    Local markets  -  Make a trip to the bustling food market Mercado de Bazurto for cheap authentic eats.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool.
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  • Casablanca B&B 11 rooms from $260


    Contemporary B&B in colonial house. Elegant rooms are awash with white furnishings, antique furniture and granite bathrooms; some with open air showers. Two outdoor pool, rooftop bar with superb views and shady courtyard. Spa treatments available. Chic and romantic with lots of personable touches.

    Romantic Break  -  Rooftop pool with chic white loungers, palm tree shaded courtyard, enormous white beds and cobbled city outside to explore
    Great walks  -  Walk the narrow streets and discover the corners and squares of the old quarter
    Sights nearby  -  The palace of the Inquisition
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
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  • Casa del Coliseo 11 rooms from $266

    Cartagena (Calle del Coliseo #35-23)

    A beautifully renovated colonial house in the heart of the historic centre. Enormous rooms feature beamed ceilings, white washed walls and a mix of contemporary and antique furniture. Boasting a rooftop pool and BBQ area. Rent the whole house or just a room. Fabulous.

    Local exploring  -  A chic base right in the historic centre.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the grand palace Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
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  • Quadrifolio 8 rooms from $267


    A romantic manor house in the old town of Cartagena. Traditional understated elegance throughout suites. Stone floors, wooden furnishings, all the mod cons. Lovely pool, spa and restaurant. Calm, simple, sophisticated.

    Romantic Break
    Sights nearby  -  Located in the historical centre of Cartagena
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
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  • Bovedas de Santa Clara 18 rooms from $298


    A boutique property in the heart of Cartagena de Indias. White on white throughout with beamed ceilings and natural objects as artwork. Rooms are well proportioned and have a whimsical, romantic air. Well located for city exploring or for heading out into the surrounding mountain range. Very chic.

    Local exploring  -  Located in the historical centre of Cartagena de Indias and within easy reach of the city's attractions.
    Birdwatching  -  Spend a morning birdwatching at Cienaga de la Virgen.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
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  • Casa San Agustin 30 rooms from $422

    Cartagena (Bolivar)

    Romantic and grand traditional Cartagenese house in the old town. White washed colonial buildings have frescoed ceilings, hand painted tiles, and coral stone walls. Enormous rooms and suites have high ceilings, four poster beds, and marble bathrooms. Lovely courtyard pool, restaurant and terraces.

    Romantic Break
    Private Hot Tub  -  If you book the Del Virrey Suite
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  • Casa Pestagua 11 rooms from $395


    An absolute gem of laid-back style in a historic location with enormous bedrooms and bathrooms and a fabulous spa offering exotic luxurious treatments.

    Hot Tub  -  On the rooftop with amazing views over the city
    Swimming Pool  -  Large Outdoor Pool
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
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  • Tcherassi Hotel & Spa 7 rooms from $735

    Cartagena (Calle 38)

    One of the trendiest hotels in Cartagena. Sleek interior design makes use of original elements in contemporary formats. White washed archways framed by modern art, contemporary furnishings against exposed stone work etc. Award-winning restaurant, pool, and fresh suites.

    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Situated in the heart of the old Town
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor Pools
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Kiwi Collection, CN Traveller
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