I was so excited to find out JetBlue has vacation packages to Cartagena! You can get affordable flights from NYC, Ft. Lauderdale, and a few other popular cities making Cartagena an easy trip to take. Before you do anything else, sign up for JetBlue’s TRUE BLUE POINTS PROGRAM! JetBlue is the KING of bargain flights to beautiful, culturally rich island destinations and I don’t want you to miss out on their deals. The True Blue Points Program allows you to accumulate points on all your hotel and flight bookings and save money on your vacation packages. It’s a win-win situation and trust me, as an avid fan of point systems, they really and truly add up!
Where To Stay?
It’s so easy to get around in Cartagena. The taxis are surprisingly really affordable but staying central is still a great idea! We stayed at the upscale Intercontinental Cartagena. The hotel is located across the street from the beach and offers incredible views of the city! It’s also walking distance to restaurants, bars, and a local port where you can easily catch a boat to near by islands.
I was able to use their wifi to get work done, got a few workouts in at their gym facilities, and enjoyed all the fresh fruits, avocados on toast, and cappuccinos my lil heart desired at their breakfast buffet. I definitely would recommend staying at this hotel! It is not within the “walls” of Cartagena’s old town, but it is so close you won’t have any issues making your way back and forth.
Where To Eat, Drink, + be Merry?
Oh my goodness… the food in Cartagena? Where do I begin! I hope you love seafood because this is definitely a seafood town. And its all freshly caught, deliciously prepared, and so affordable you wont think twice.
So this is my favourite restaurant of the three I am recommending here! The service is incredible and the live performances in the evening make this a dinner time hot spot. The food was AMAZING! I recommend their fish entrees as the options are fresh, local, flavour packed, and affordable!
We had a lunch time FEAST here. We snagged a balcony seat and took in the hustle and bustle of old town Cartagena while enjoying a glass of wine. I recommend the octopus and the lobster for an exceptional culinary experience.
We went to La Cevicheria based on recommendations from my audience on social media and I am so glad we did! The ceviche here lives up to its name completely. They also have a variety of other seafood dishes that you should definitely explore. Go on an empty stomach because your will power is definitely going to be tested!
Things To Do in Cartagena
There are actually lots of different things you can do in Cartagena! As we only had a short weekend, here were our favourite activities:
Beach Day at Playa Blanca- Paddle Board, Kayak, Water Sports
Ok so here is the scoop. If you are looking for clear blue waters near Cartagena, your best bet is to head over to Playa Blanca BUT keep in mind, this beach is extremely popular and very touristy/ packed. Beach chairs are crammed in as tight as possible.
It is not going to feel like a secluded beach experience whatsoever but the food we had there was so good and we definitely enjoyed the water! They have alllll the different water sports/ adventure activities you can think of.
Tierra Bomba Island- Beach House
Schedule your visit to Tierra Bomba on a day when you just want to relax while soaking up the Colombian sunshine with bomb food, a poppin DJ, and a groovy crowd. Me and Jess LOVED this place! They got that NYC/ LA/ MIA daytime pool party vibe down to a T. You can catch a quick boat over for the day and then leave in the evening with plenty of time to explore Cartagena nightlife.
We enjoyed a bottle of Rosé by the pool and a few delicious options from their lunch menu!
Explore Cartagena by Foot
The architecture in Cartagena makes it a perfect city to stroll and explore all the little cathedrals, old alleyways, and market squares. You can either walk around by your own accord or take a free walking tour- https://freetourcartagena.com.co/.
Visit Felipe Castle
I loved this castle! It offers some beautiful views of the city and is really easy to access. You should definitely check it out on your walking day.
I wish I had a photo to go here but I don’t because we didn’t actually get to go! I found out about the Mud Baths too late so we did not have time to visit BUT if you do, please do!! If you have already been, please send me a photo and a little blurb about your experience and I will add it here!
Sunset + Mojitos at Cafe Del Mar
The mojitos here are SO GOOD! But please arrive before sunset, maybe around 5pm depending on the time of year because their tables fill up FAST. Also don’t expect quick service. We waited 30 minutes for our drinks but the view and ambiance was totally worth it!!
Salsa Night Out
Colombia is an amazing destination to experience Salsa period but the best city for it is Cali- or so I have heard anyway! Cartagena has some really awesome spots for you to visit for live music and a good salsa dance though. Don’t be shy! Even if you don’t know how to Salsa you will still have an awesome time! Here were the two we had a chance to visit!