Offbeat Places in Cartagena


Cartagena, a city brimming with history and stunning architecture, is a popular destination in Colombia. While the well-known attractions like the historic walled city and the beautiful beaches of Bocagrande are undoubtedly worth a visit, there’s a whole other side to Cartagena waiting to be explored – its offbeat and less crowded gems. These hidden treasures offer an authentic and unique experience that will make your trip to Cartagena truly unforgettable.

Historic Neighborhoods


Getsemaní is a neighborhood that boasts both historical significance and vibrant street art. Once considered a rough area, it’s now a hub of creativity and culture. Wander through its colorful streets adorned with graffiti and murals that tell the stories of the neighborhood’s past and present. Don’t forget to check out the local markets, where you can savor delicious street food and discover unique crafts created by local artisans.


Manga is a quiet and less-visited neighborhood in Cartagena with charming colonial architecture. Take a leisurely stroll through its streets, and you’ll find hidden gems like cozy cafes and boutique shops. It’s an excellent place to escape the tourist crowds and soak in the city’s colonial charm.

I Natural Escapes

La Boquilla

For a taste of authentic coastal life, head to La Boquilla. This coastal village offers mangrove swamp tours where you can paddle through the serene waters and observe the local flora and fauna. Afterward, indulge in some of the freshest seafood cuisine in town at one of the local eateries.

Totumo Volcano

Unconventional wellness awaits at Totumo Volcano. This unique geological formation is filled with warm mud that’s believed to have therapeutic properties. Take a mud bath and float in the dense, mineral-rich mud for a memorable experience that you won’t find in many travel brochures.

Cultural Experiences

Bazurto Market

Bazurto Market is a bustling hub of local culture. This market offers an authentic glimpse into everyday life in Cartagena. Stroll through the chaotic but fascinating marketplace, sample traditional Colombian street food, and shop for handcrafted goods and fresh produce. It’s a sensory adventure that will immerse you in the heart of Cartagena’s culture.

Ciudad Móvil

For a creative and interactive experience, visit Ciudad Movil, an arts space that hosts workshops, exhibitions, and cultural events. Engage with local artists, learn traditional crafts, and gain insights into Cartagena’s contemporary art scene. It’s an offbeat and immersive way to connect with the local culture.

Hidden Beaches

Playa Blanca

While Cartagena’s beaches are no secret, Playa Blanca remains a somewhat secluded paradise. Located on the nearby Barú Island, this pristine stretch of sand is perfect for water sports and relaxation. Unwind in a hammock, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoy the tranquility away from the bustling city.

Punta Arena

Punta Arena is another hidden gem, offering untouched natural beauty and a chance to spot local wildlife. It’s a serene escape for nature lovers and those seeking a more secluded beach experience.

Under-the-Radar Eateries

La Mulata

La Mulata is a charming restaurant that offers authentic Caribbean flavors. With a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to savor local dishes prepared with love and care.

La Casa de Socorro

This family-owned restaurant, La Casa de Socorro, serves up traditional Colombian dishes that are not to be missed. The warm hospitality and rich flavors of their cuisine will leave you with a deep appreciation for the local gastronomy.

Local Festivals

Fiestas de Independencia

Experience Cartagena’s vibrant culture by joining the Fiestas de Independencia, a celebration of the city’s independence. Enjoy traditional parades, music, and dance performances that showcase the spirit and history of Cartagena.

Festival Internacional de Jazz

For a more artistic and musical experience, attend the Festival International de Jazz. This event brings together international and local jazz artists to perform in unique settings throughout the city, adding a touch of sophistication to your Cartagena visit.

Practical Tips for Exploring Offbeat Cartagena

  • Consider public transportation or walking to navigate the city efficiently.
  • Visit during the shoulder seasons to avoid the crowds and enjoy pleasant weather.
  • Show respect for local customs and traditions, and interact with the locals to gain a deeper understanding of their way of life.

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