Where to Stay in Cartagena Colombia 2023 | Best Areas & Hotels

Brimming with lots of colonial charm, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife, Cartagena is a popular tourist destination in Colombia.

If you’re planning to visit here, but don’t know where to stay in Cartagena, you’ve come to the right place.

This article is all about the best neighborhoods and hotels in Cartagena! But before we get into that, let’s talk a little bit about the city itself first.

Cartagena is a city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It is a popular tourist destination because of its well-preserved colonial architecture, historic landmarks, charming nightlife, and beautiful beaches.

There are many must-see areas in Cartagena, including the Old City, Bocagrande, and Castillo San Felipe de Barajas.

There are also lots of different places to stay in Cartagena, and the lodging options there range from luxury hotels to budget hostels. But if you’re looking for a place to stay in Cartagena, there are a few things to consider.

Cartagena - where to stay in Cartagena
Cartagena street – photo from Canva

First, you’ll want to decide if you want to stay in the city or on the beach. The city is a great place to experience the culture and history of Cartagena, while the beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the weather.

Don’t worry if you don’t know much about the Cartagena neighborhoods, we’ll explore them together in this post.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know exactly which one is ideal to stay in for the kind of vacation you want in Cartagena. So let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Where to Stay in Cartagena Colombia: Best Neighborhoods

► There are many great neighborhoods for a stay in Cartagena, including the historic walled city, the colorful Getsemani, and El Cabrero.

► Then there are beach areas like Bocagrande and Laguito as well as the Zona Norte if you’re looking for an upscale stay in Cartagena.

► The Old City is the historical center of Cartagena and is full of colonial buildings and plazas. It is a great place to walk around and take in the atmosphere of the city.

► Bocagrande is Cartagena’s modern beach district, full of high-rise hotels and restaurants. It is the perfect place to relax on the beach or enjoy some nightlife.

► Getsemani is one of the coolest areas in Cartagena. It’s got a great vibe with lots of street art.  If you’re looking for a place to stay in Cartagena that’s cool and hip, Getsemani is the place for you.

► When it comes to finding budget places to stay in Cartagena, El Cabrero is a great option. This area is located just outside of the city center and is close to many of the city’s attractions.

Cartagena Colombia Baranquilla
Where to stay in Cartagena – beach side – photo from Canva

Where to stay in Cartagena for overall the best of town – The walled city – historical center

When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay in Cartagena, there is no better option than the walled city. This historic area is full of charm and character, and its many hotels offer guests a chance to experience true Colombian hospitality.

From luxury accommodations to more budget-friendly options, there is something for everyone in the walled city.

1. Casa San Agustin | luxury hotel

Casa San Agustin - Where to stay in Cartagena -
Hotel Casa San Agustin – photo © Expedia

Casa San Agustin is a luxury hotel located inside several colonial houses of the walled city joined together.

This hotel is one of the finest luxury hotels in the entire city. In fact, it’s considered the best in town.

So, if you’re looking for the best place to stay in the best area of Cartagena, this is most definitely it.

The amenities of the hotel are 5-star, including a world-class onsite restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, and a terrace lounge.

The Colonial-style decor of the rooms is really attractive, and guests have access to free wifi, LCD TVs, the solarium, and a pool bar as well.

Free Continental breakfast and the impressive staff are one of the things you will like a lot about this hotel.

Additionally, massage service is available here as well. All you need to do is request a session (and the same goes for bike and car rentals).

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

2. Hotel Boutique Bovedas de Santa Clara | mid-range hotel

Hotel boutique Boveda de Santa Clara Cartagena
Hotel boutique Boveda de Santa Clara Cartagena – photo © Expedia

Located on the backside of Sofitel Luxury Hotel, Bovedas de Santa Clara is a mid-range lodging option with lots of value for money.

With the beaches just 4km away, the location of this hotel is ideal. And guests also have access to Sofitel, which means your stay will be luxurious despite being light on the pocket!

When it comes to amenities, Bovedas has pretty much everything you can desire from a mid-range hotel and more.

All the rooms feature private bathrooms, kitchenettes, and minibars, and some also have sea view balconies. The hotel also has a hot tub, terrace, and spa center.

The access to its sister hotel, Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, is a cherry on top; which means you will also have a swimming pool and breathtaking surroundings to make your stay even better.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

3. Hotel 3 Banderas | budget hotel

Despite being one of the best areas for staying in Cartagena, the Centro also has lots of budget lodging options that you can choose from.

The Hotel 3 Banderas is one of the most reputable among them, with a long history of satisfied guests, so I highly recommend it if you’re on a tight budget.

Rooms of the Hotel 3 Banderas feature a rich decor complementing the lively vibes of the hotel. Some of the second-floor rooms also feature balconies with great views.

The prices of Hotel Tres Banderas are very reasonable, and the amenities include air-conditioning, wifi, and cable TVs. The property features a beautiful garden, two patios, and a terrace offering views of the city.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

Best things to do in the walled city

Stroll Around Plaza Bolivar – This central square is a great place to start exploring Centro. It’s surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings, including the Cathedral of Santa Catalina de Alejandria. Also, make sure to explore the museums here to make the most of your Centro stroll.

Visit las Bovedas These former dungeons have been turned into an arts and crafts market, so Las Bovedas is a great place to go shopping for souvenirs, jewelry, and paintings. But the stalls hide the actual history of the building, so make sure to read about it first to fully enjoy your visit.

Take a guided walled city tour: If you really want to discover the walled city, a guided tour of all its historic places is the best way to do it. What’s more, you get to visit the famous San Felipe Castle and other popular attractions with tickets included. Definitely worth it if you want a memorable day in the Centro.

Read more things to do in Cartagena walled city

Walled City + San Felipe Castle + Optional Popa Convent Cartagena City Tour

5 to 7-hour tour (optional Popa Convent)

Full-day tour across the city to discover the best sights of Cartagena

Your guide will take you to historical locations throughout the walled city, as well as stop by La Popa to get panoramic views of the sights you visited from above.

You will also taste some authentic local food.

Where to stay in Cartagena for a luxurious beach vacation – Bocagrande and Laguito

The best areas to stay in Cartagena for a beach vacation are hands down Bocagrande and Laguito, so these make the second spot on my list.

Bocagrande is one of the most popular beach areas in Cartagena. It is a modern area with high-rise hotels, restaurants, and nightlife. The beaches here are some of the best in the city and there is plenty to do for tourists.

Right beside Bocagrande, Laguito is a more relaxed beach area with a beautiful beach and upscale hotels. It is quieter than Bocagrande but still has plenty of activities and dining options for visitors.

Overall, both Bocagrande and Laguito are great choices for where to stay in Cartagena when looking for a beach vacation.

4. Hyatt Regency Cartagena | luxury hotel

Hyatt Regency- Cartagena
Hyatt Regency Cartagena – photo © Expedia

Hyatt hotels are known for their luxuriousness all around the world, so the Hyatt Regency in Bocagrande is where you can find a deluxe stay overlooking the Caribbean.

Think of a la carte breakfast in your ocean-view rooms, 5- star amenities, and much more.

The hotel has the best rooftop pools in town, offering breathtaking views of the endless ocean as well as the city, and then there is the stunning beach itself.

Free wifi, parking, and a 24-hour front desk are also part of the hotel facilities.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

5. Intercontinental Cartagena | mid-range hotel

Intercontinental Cartagena de India
Intercontinental Cartagena de India – photo © Expedia

The Intercontinental is another luxury hotel in Bocagrande that comes with pretty much all the facilities you will find in Hyatt Regency, except it’s cheaper (and has fewer swimming pools). This is a great mid-range option for a beach stay.

The rooms are definitely spacious despite featuring a variety of amenities, including a seating area. Air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and free wifi are provided as well.

There is also an outdoor swimming pool and a rooftop terrace with a bar in the Intercontinental Cartagena.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

6. Oz Hotel | budget hotel

OZ Hotel Cartagena
Oz Hotel Cartagena – Photo © Expedia

The Oz Hotel is one of the best budget options in not only Bocagrande, but possibly the entire town. The hotel isn’t beachfront, but the Bocagrande beach is just a short walk from the property, and the value provided here is amazing.

Your stay here will include air-conditioned rooms, free wifi, flat-screen TVs, and a minibar. The rooms are comfy and well-designed.

The terrace bar is another great aspect of a stay in Oz Hotel. There is also a tour desk that helps guests organize great tours around the city.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

Best things to do in Bocagrande and Laguito

Enjoy some watersports – The best part about a beach stay in Bocagrande and Laguito is the variety of watersport activities offered here. So, if you’re staying in one of these two areas, missing out on the adventure is not a good idea.

Try the famous colombian coffe from one of the rooftop terraces overlooking the ocean – Coffee is a great excuse to check out all the cool cafes and terraces in the Bocagrande area, but the coffee itself is really good too. You can try La Brioche and Juan Valdez among others.

Go on a Sunset cruise – Sunset Cruises are quite popular in Cartagena. These usually include a dinner on the waters of the Caribbean as well. Overall, it’s a great experience if you’re looking to make some unforgettable memories.

Dinner cruise on Cartagena's bay with Sibarita Master

In this 2-hour cruise along the tranquil waters of Cartagena Bay, you will appreciate the views of the city's colorful colonial architecture from the boat while enjoying a 4-course dinner with a choice of international cuisine or sushi and a drink or bottle of wine.

If you don't want to eat, you can simply book the cruise alone.

Where to stay in Cartagena for hip vibes, nightlife, and colorful streets | Getsemani

If you’re looking for a more lively experience in Cartagena, then head to the Getsemani neighborhood. This is where you’ll find most of the city’s colorful architecture, as well as some great luxury and budget-friendly hotels. You’ll also be within walking distance of some of the best restaurants and bars in town.

The area is located just outside the walled city, so you will be close to all the main attractions of Cartagena. It has a reputation for backpackers and the party crowd, but it’s definitely a good place to stay in town for any kind of tourist.

7. Hotel Capellan | luxury hotel

Cappellan hotel cartagena pool l
Hotel Capella – photo © Expedia

Hotel Capellan is a 5-star lodging option in one of the best locations of Getsemani. The rooms of this hotel are really comfy and home-like despite being modern and elegant, and it also has a great terrace and pool.

If you want to enjoy the chic vibes and lively nightlife of Getsemani without compromising on the luxury of your stay,  Hotel Capellan is just the place for you. Other amenities include wifi, a 24-hour front desk, and an onsite restaurant.

👉 Check availability and Rates on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

8. Hotel Boutique Casa Isabel | mid range hotel Cartagena

Hotel Boutique Casa Isabel Cartagena – Photo © Expedia

With a wide range of amenities and bright, lively decor, Casa Isabel is a great mid-range option to stay in Getsemani.

The hotel is within walking distance of many of the city’s attractions, including the colonial-era Old Town.

Casa Isabel’s rooms are spacious and airy, and the property also has a hot tub and terrace with terrific views of Castillo San Felipe.

The hotel also has an onsite restaurant serving traditional Colombian cuisine, as well as a bar and lounge area.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

9. Hotel Monterrey | budget hotel in Cartagena

Hotel Monterrey Cartagena de India
Hotel Monterrey Cartagena de India – Photo © Expedia

Hotel Monterrey is the go-to place for a budget stay in Getsemani. Located just a short walk from the convention center, this colonial-style hotel is famous for its excellent location and 4-star facilities for pocket-friendly prices.

The hotel offers guests a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a rooftop bar, and an onsite restaurant.

And it’s also conveniently located near many of the city’s best restaurants and attractions.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

Best things to do in Getsemani

Sample delicious seafood: The seafood scene in Cartagena is one of the best, so I highly recommend trying out a few restaurants in the Bocagrande and Laguito areas, especially for the traditional fried fish plate.

Private Street Food Tour of Cartagena
  • 2-hour tour
  • Sample typical foods while walking around the street of the historical city of Cartagena
  • A knowledgeable guide will share interesting stories about Cartagena’s history and culture as you walk
  • Plenty of food samples included on the tour

Take a tour to Rosario and Baru Islands -This day trip from Los Pegasos will take you on a grand tour of the stunning Rosario and Baru islands, and it also includes water sports like swimming and snorkeling. Highly recommended if you’re looking for an adventurous day.

Enjoy the nightlife – Getsemani is one of the most popular areas for nightlife in Cartagena, so if you are looking for a party then this is the place to be. When staying here, spending an evening enjoying the vibrant nightlife is a must.

Drumming and Dancing in Cartagena/La Boquilla

Departing from Cartagena, this 3 hrs tour will take you to the fishing village of La Boquilla. Here you will participate in beginners' drumming and dancing workshops that teach you the traditions of the Caribbean Coast of Colombia.

Finish your day with a dip in the sea before returning to Cartagena.

Where to stay in Cartagena for a relaxing vacation – Zona Norte

Zona Norte is a neighborhood in Cartagena, Colombia that is known for its relaxing atmosphere and tourist-friendly environment.

This area is home to many hotels, restaurants, and bars, making it a great place to stay for those who want to escape the noise and crowds of the more touristy areas in Cartagena like the Old Town and Bocagrande, but also be close to all the attractions.

There are also some great beaches in Zona Norte, and since they’re less touristy than the ones in the city proper, these beaches are a better choice to just kick back and enjoy an evening by the sea.

However, I wouldn’t advise staying in Zona Norte if you’re visiting Cartagena for the first time and want to explore it fully.

The area is great for a relaxing vacation, but you will have to taxi to and from most of the main attractions, which isn’t convenient.

10. Hotel Casa de Playa | luxury hotel

Hotel Casa de Playa – Photo © Expedia

Casa de Playa is one of the two Las Americas all-inclusive resorts in Zona Norte.

This is a great lodging option for families as well as solo, couple, and group tourists because of its location and the option to choose either an all-inclusive stay or not.

The hotel features all the amenities common with 5-stars, and there is also an entertainment center for children. Guests have access to the three outdoor pools of Casa de Playa, one of which has a bar as well.

Other facilities include wifi connectivity throughout the hotel, a 24-hour front desk, 3 onsite restaurants, and a private parking area for guests.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

11. Hotel Radisson Cartagena Ocean Pavillion | Mid-range hotel

Raddison-Ocean Pavillon Hotel Cartagena
Raddison-Ocean Pavillon Hotel Cartagena – Photo © Expedia

If you don’t want to spend tons on an all-inclusive beachfront stay, but still want one, Radisson Cartagena Ocean Pavillion is where you can find it.

The hotel offers resort-like oceanfront accommodations in Zona Norte without the high all-inclusive prices!

Radisson Cartagena Ocean Pavillion is located in a beautiful area overlooking the ocean. The rooms are spacious and well-designed, and the staff is friendly and helpful.

The hotel has two outdoor pools, a fitness center, and a bar, and guests can use free wifi throughout the property.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

12. Hotel Summer Frente Al Mar | budget hotel

Hotel Summer Frente al Mar
Hotel Summer Frente al Mar – Photo © Expedia

Summer Frente Al Mar is one of the best options to stay in Zona Norte when you’re on a budget.

The hotel is on the other side of the road from the beach, but you still get great views of the waters and the room prices are the best bang for your buck.

The amenities include elegant furnishings, air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, safety deposit boxes, and minibars. The hotel also has an outdoor pool, a bar, private parking, and wifi access throughout the property.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

Best things to do in Zona Norte

Relax on the beach – The beaches in Zona Norte are great to spend a day just kicking back and soaking in the sun. These aren’t as crowded as the ones in Bocagrande, so the chill vibe is particularly great here.

Go on a City tour – Zone Norte is a relaxing area for beach bums, but you will also find many full-day tours of the Centro and Bocagrande from here. These are great if you want to add some adventure to your Cartagena trip.

Take a picture of the colorful Cartagena Sign – Playa Marbella sports the famous Cartagena sign that many tourists love taking a picture beside.

Since it’s close by when you’re staying in Zona Norte, don’t miss the chance to get your memorable picture taken in front of it!

Where to stay in Cartagena for a budget vacation – El Cabrero,

El Cabrero - Cartagena de India
El Cabrero – Cartagena de India

Within an easy walk from the walled city, El Cabrero is arguably the best area to stay in when you’re looking for budget stays.

The area used to be mostly residential, but now there are hotels and restaurants as well, making the area a great choice for cheap accommodations.

You will find plenty of luxury, mid-range, and budget options in El Cabrero, but it’s best if you’re looking for cheaper prices and closer proximity to the main attractions of the town.

The area is also great to enjoy the traditional festivities of Cartagena.

13. Hotel Ermita Cartagena | luxury hotel

Hotel Ermita Cartagena
Hotel Ermita Cartagena – Photo ©  Expedia

Despite being a luxury hotel, the prices of Ermita Cartagena are comparable to the mid-range options in the more expensive areas like the Centro and Bocagrande.

This is pretty good as the location of the hotel is just outside the walled city, the less-crowded beaches like Crespo and Marbella are also nearby, and the amenities are 5-star.

The rooms here feature air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, desks, seating areas, and some also have private balconies.

The property also has a garden, swimming pool, and restaurant on site. Guests can also use the free bikes to go for a ride around town, or just relax on the sun terrace.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

14. Hotel Aixo Suites by GH Suites | mid-range hotel

Hotel Aixo Suites Cartagena Colombia
Hotel Aixo Suites Cartagena Colombia – Photo © Expedia

GH Suites are a popular hotel chain around the world, and quite popular for their facilities as well as comfortable accommodations.

Their suites in El Cabrero definitely live up to the reputation, but what’s even better is that they’re quite affordable!

The rooms are a lovely blend of comfort and elegance, and the amenities offered here are also on par with international standards. Rooms feature air-conditioning, TVs, and safety deposits.

The property has a terrace and rooftop pool that you can use, and the location of the hotel is convenient across from a great beach area as well.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

15. Hotel Boutique del Mar | budget hotel

Hotel Boutique Del Mar is a small but intimate hotel in El Cabrero. It has a lot of features that make it a great option to stay in Cartagena if you’re on a budget.

The hotel is relatively new, so the furnishings and facilities are excellent, the beachfront location is stunning, and then there is the home-like atmosphere of the hotel despite the upscale amenities.

Despite the affordable prices, you will get access to lots of facilities here.

These include a great location close to the beach, a wonderful terrace with good views, a bar, a shared kitchen, lounge, and concierge service. What’s more, you can also rent the entire hotel all to yourself if you’re a large group.

👉 Check rates and availability on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com

Best things to do in El Cabrero

Hit the beach: The beaches in Cabrero aren’t touristy, but they’re worth checking out if you want to experience the local vibe of Cartagena beaches. These are also great to avoid the crowds of the more touristy beaches like Bocagrande.

Visit the unique church Iglesia de nuestra Señora de las Mercedes: Located in the Parque Apolo, this 19th-century chapel features a white exterior, bell towers, and an overall fascinating design. It’s worth seeing along with the rest of the park if you’re staying in Cabrero.

Explore the “Centro” – The downtown of Cartagena is close to Cabrero, which makes exploring the most popular attractions in town really easy. Be sure to make full use of the opportunity!

El Cabrero - Cartagena de India Mercedes Church
El Cabrero – Cartagena de India Mercedes Church – photo from Canva

Where to stay in Cartagena Colombia FAQs

What part of Cartagena is best to stay in?

There is no part of Cartagena that can be objectively better than the rest for everyone. Each area has its pros and cons, so the answer to this question is not as simple. However, there’s something for everyone in Cartagena, so you can find the best place to stay based on what you’re looking for.

If you prefer a calmer atmosphere and want to be closer to some of the city’s historical landmarks, then staying in the Old City is a better option for you.

On the other hand, the Bocagrande area is perfect for a resort stay. You will find the top hotels in this area and it’s also home to some of the best beaches in Cartagena.

If you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere with plenty of nightlife options, then staying in the Getsemani neighborhood is probably your best bet.

These are the more touristy areas, but there are also places like Zona Norte and El Cabrero, where you will find plenty of budget lodging options, fewer crowds, and a relaxing vacation atmosphere in Cartagena.

Cartagena Colombia Sunset
Cartagena Colombia Sunset – photo from Canva

Should I stay in the walled city in Cartagena?

The walled city is one of the best places to stay in Cartagena. In fact, it’s considered overall the best part of town for a vacation stay.

Many of the top hotels and attractions are also inside the walled city, so staying in it makes exploring the traditional charm of Cartagena easier.

But you should also keep in mind that the walled city gets a bit touristy, which means crowds during peak season, and the prices are also on the higher end here.

Is it safe to stay in Getsemani Cartagena?

Yes. Getsemani is a safe and popular area for tourists with many hotels, apartments, and hostels as accommodation options.

But it’s not just Getsemani, the city of Cartagena is generally quite safe for tourists. Just make sure to follow the common sense rules that apply everywhere else in the world and you’ll be alright.

Also read: Is Colombia safe to travel?

Are there nice beaches in Cartagena, Colombia?

Cartagena sits on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, so there definitely are some really nice beaches that you can hit during your visit here. These include the touristy Bocagrande beaches as well as the laid-back Zona Norte beaches.

Additionally, some more stunning beaches like Playa Blanca are also just a short boat ride away from Cartagena.

How many days do you need in Cartagena?

Cartagena isn’t a huge city, but the attractions and exploration opportunities here are definitely endless. That said, you still don’t need to spend a very long time here to fully enjoy your trip.

Anywhere from a week to two weeks will suffice if you want to explore the history, tradition, and beaches of Cartagena.

But you can also plan a longer vacation, or make a 3- to a 4-day itinerary if you want a short trip.

Cartagena Colombia city
Cartagena Colombia walled city

Where to stay in Cartagena Colombia – final thoughts

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of where to stay in Cartagena, as the best area for you will depend on your individual travel needs and preferences.

However, I hope that this article has given you a good starting point for finding the perfect place to stay during your trip to this beautiful Colombian city. Have a wonderful vacation!