4 Amazing Restaurants Worth Visiting In Cartagena!

One benefit of visiting Cartagena as a tourist is that you can go to the best restaurants in the city and still find them relatively affordable. All of the meals cost me a fraction of what they would have cost for the same experience in the United States or Canada!

Here are some restaurants which offer not only delicious food but also a great vibe –

Mar De Las Antillas Restaurant

Address: Cl. 25 #8B-26, Cartagena de Indias, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
Business website: https://mardelasantillas.co/

Seafood rice at Mar De Las Antillas Restaurant

Mar De Las Antillas is an aquarium themed Colombian restaurant and offers a completely unique experience. The restaurant looks very nice as soon as you enter it and their food is absolutely delicious as well. As the name translates to Antillea sea restaurant, if you end up going to this one, make sure to order sea food. I also ended up trying their coconut lemonade which was great!

  • Aquarium themed restaurant
  • Great seafood and lemonades
  • Colombian Cuisine
  • Casual upscale dining

Quebracho Parrilla Argentina Restaurant Bar

Address: Calle Baloco, Cl. 33 #2-69, Cartagena de Indias, Bolívar, Colombia
Business website: https://restaurantequebracho.com/

Tiger prawns at Quebracho resto bar

Quebracho is a fine-dining Argentinian restaurant. At night time the restaurant features live music where they play a wide variety of Latin music. Even though there is limited standing space, you might see a few people dancing to salsa or bachata music! I had the opportunity to try out Tiger Prawns at this restaurant and I must say that those were the biggest prawns I have ever seen and had in my life! I would recommend you to visit this one during a night out!

  • Argentinian Cuisine
  • Fine dining experience
  • Live music

San Valentin Restaurant and Bar

Address: # 10, Cl. 37 #2886, Cartagena de Indias, Bolívar, Colombia
Business website: https://www.sanvalentinrestaurantebar.com/

Carribean Bass Filet at San Valentin Restaurant

San Valentin Restaurant is another Colombian Restaurant known for its meat and seafood meals. The restaurant is full of plants and has a very chic vibe, also it’s located in a very central location within the walled city. The portion size was nice and the food was great! I think my meal even had Snails which is the first time I was trying them out. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the cherry lemonade which I think was a bit too sour for my taste. My recommendation would be that you go for coconut lemonade instead.

  • Colombian Cuisine
  • Garden themed restaurant
  • Casual Upscale Dining

Cuzco Cocina Peruana

Address: Calle Santo Domingo #33-48, Cartagena de Indias, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
Business website: https://cartagena.restaurantecuzco.com/

Ceviches and Cocktails at Cuzco Cocina Peruana

If you are looking for Peruvian Cuisine then you should try out Cuzco Cocina Peruana. Cuzco Cocina offers a nice fine dining experience and is perfect to visit during the night when they have live music. Not familiar with the food menu? Try out their Ceviche, which is an authentic Peruvian dish made from fish cured in lime or lemon.

  • Peruvian Cuisine
  • Fine dining restaurant
  • Live musical performances

Restaurants in Cartagena are tourist friendly and do have their menu items available in English if you don’t understand Spanish. Also servers at restaurants might be able to converse with you in English.

How Safe Is Cartagena Colombia?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first trip to Cartagena! After all, the only thing I had heard before my visit was the Colombian Drug Cartels that operate in the country. However I was actually quite surprised with my visit. Here is what I actually experienced during my short stay in Cartagena –

No beggars in Cartagena!
Yes there is poverty in Cartagena and you will see it when you visit the place however there wasn’t a single incident of someone coming to me and asking for money! There will be people approaching to you selling touristic services or goods however they are not going to be pushy either! There are a lot of other countries where you end up going and people will chase you for miles trying to sell things to you! But this doesn’t happen in Cartagena!

Cartagena Sign

Make sure to negotiate prices in advance
If you are going to get any services like massage, make sure that the prices are negotiated in advance. Also make sure that the prices are in Pesos and not in Dollars. A lot of times, tourists think that the prices being mentioned are in Pesos but later are told that they were quoted in Dollars.

Short stay rentals have security
Whether you are doing hotels or short stay rental using vacation rental company like AirBnB, all of them will have additional security at the gate to prevent authorized entry of people into your rental.

There are policemen everywhere!
You will see a lot of police officers around the city whether you are walking during the daytime or night. Not of all them are armed but some of them are. Also, I noticed that there was significant military personnel on the streets during night time. In case anything goes wrong you are only a walking distance from them and can run in case you need help.

Be Careful of what’s being handed to you
If some person tries to give you things, don’t try to hold it in your hand. They might try to say that the item is now sold and try to ask you for money that way. This did not happen with me but the locals mentioned that it’s a trick that happens often.

Petty crime does exist
You will notice crime less within the walled city as there is a lot of police however you will need to be cautious. Make sure that you are not carrying anything too expensive with you when you are on the streets. Also once you are outside the walled city, the chances of crime increase.

Avoid free drinks
It is possible that the drink being offered to you by a random stranger is laced with drugs. So you need to be extremely cautious as such incidents can happen.

Be careful of drug dealers
In some areas of the city, it is possible that dealers will approach you trying to sell you drugs. It only happened once during my stay and they don’t try to pursue you if you tell them no.

Overall I felt relatively safe within the city and nothing bad happened to me. Cartagena is the country’s major tourist destination and the government has made effort to make sure that it’s safe. If you are planning to go, as long as you are a bit cautious, you should be fine!

Chivas Rumberas – Party Bus Experience In Cartagena!

If you are coming to party in Cartagena, then you must do the Party Bus Experience that the city has to offer. It’s called Chivas Rumberas (literally translates to Traditional Party Bus) and you will often see these party buses around the Walled City of Cartagena with disco lights and loud music! Just wave your hand if you are interested in hopping onto the party bus.

Price for the party bus can be around USD $10-20 per person depending on the kind of bus, how long the party bus goes on and other stuff included in the package.

Chivas Rumberas – Artistic Party Buses!

Chivas Rumberas is for everyone!
It doesn’t matter if you are alone, in a group, young (18+) or old! You will see people from different demographics on the bus. While there are a lot of people from Latin America, you will end up seeing people from North America and Europe to experience the Colombian party experience!

Sightseeing on Cartagena’s Party Bus!

Alcohol is available on the bus!
If you pay a bit more, you can have alcohol on the bus. You will be handed a bottle of alcohol and cups to fill in your drink. Ice is available as well. You have the option to bring in your own alcohol or buy it when the bus stops on it’s routes.

A single alcohol bottle might be enough for 2-3 lightweight people! It’s really a lot of alcohol. A lot of people prefer to get alcohol on the stops which can be cheaper.

Colombian Lager

Party on the bus!
That is the main thing about Chiva Rumbera! There will be music and the party gets rolling! It’s absolute hours of fun and does get crazy on the bus! Music genre can depend on the party bus but it’s usually Latin Music (Latin Pop, Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton) and a little bit of English Music as well.

Party on the Bus!

Make new friends
While on the Party Bus, you actually end up interacting with a lot of people and it can be an opportunity to make new friends! The Party Buses have a host who does a quick orientation of all the people on the bus!

Take pictures at popular Cartagena’s popular attractions
Depending on the Party Bus that you have signed up for, the buses will cover a number of popular locations within Cartagena. The buses stop on multiple places during the ride, and you have ample opportunity to take pictures.

Cartagena Sign

An opportunity to tryout Cartagena’s street food!
As the bus goes through different parts of the city, you can also end up grabbing a meal through the street vendors. Try out something new that you haven’t had before, you might be surprised 🙂

Cartagena street vendor

After party at a night club!
The last destination for the Party Buses is going to be one of the popular nightclubs in the City. There won’t be a cover charge as it’s included in the package. Parties at the nightclub usually ends up around 3-4 am.

Taboo night club

Whether you have been on a party bus before or not, it’s absolutely worth signing up for! There are tons of party buses throughout the city and they are packed on the weekdays as well! Just like Vegas, they have a saying – “What happens in Cartagena, Stays in Cartagena!”.

Rating: 9/10

What Does Housing In Cartagena Colombia Look Like?

When I arrived at the apartment building in the Old Town of Cartagena, I was thinking that I had made a mistake getting that unit. The building looked quite old and the floor looked a bit dirty.

I had gotten the place using Airbnb for my short term stay and it had really good ratings, so I was a bit disappointed as the entrance looked a bit different than what I expected. The layout of the pathway for the apartments also reminded me like I was in a dorm.

Apartment Entrance

However once I entered my unit I was quite pleased. The unit wasn’t too big but was clean and looked nice! There were 2 bedrooms each with a closet and television.

There was air conditioning installed as well to cool the whole unit. I had been told that usually houses in Colombia don’t have air conditioning as the temperature usually hovers around room temperature but this day was a bit hot so it was good to have air conditioning. The unit also had a small living area and dining area sufficient for a family of four or a group of friends.

Bedroom, Living Area and Dining

There was enough space in the bathroom however I felt the kitchen was quite tiny. It was only possible for one person to fit in. Luckily, I was going to be eating out all the time so it wasn’t much of a concern with limited space in the Kitchen.

Bathroom and Kitchen

Even though Cartagena has tried to preserve the architecture and it’s old buildings, you will not have any issues finding modern housing in the city. It might look a bit dated from the outside but you can expect luxury inside.

Rent in Cartagena can vary but you can expect anywhere between 400 USD to 1000 USD per month depending on the area, number of rooms, and amenities. Apartments in the city center can cost more as it attracts tourists.