A Local's Guide to Where to Stay in Cartagena (for 2023!)

Deciding where to stay in a new place can be tough. Safety, convenience, and nearby attractions are all factors you’ll need to take into account when deciding where to stay in Cartagena. As a local who has lived in Cartagena for over a decade, I’m here to use my knowledge of the city to give you my suggestions of the best places to stay in Cartagena.

The Best Areas to Stay in Cartagena

In Cartagena, each neighborhood has its unique charm and character. Below, you’ll find a brief description of each of the best areas to stay in Cartagena, including the pros and cons of each. Then I’ll give some recommendations for where to stay in each area. For each area, I’ll give you 2 high-end hotel picks, 2 mid-range picks, 2 budget picks, and where possible 2 hostel and 2 apartment options for accommodation in Cartagena, so you can decide what’s best for you.

Quick Tips for Where to Stay in Cartagena

If you just want some quick recommendations for where to stay in Cartagena, I suggest the following:

  • Casa San Agustín – finest luxury hotel in Cartagena
  • Casona del Colegio – best luxury value
  • Hyatt Regency – best chain hotel in Cartagena
  • Hotel Capellán – best midrange Cartagena hotel
  • Casa India Catalina – best budget hotel

The Best Beaches in Cartagena

Beaches within Cartagena

While the beaches within the city, such as Boca Grande and La Boquilla, offer convenience, they are often crowded and surrounded by skyscrapers. For a more serene experience, consider heading to Laguito or Manzanillo.

Tierra Bomba

Just a short boat ride from the city, Tierra Bomba is an island that offers some fantastic beach clubs. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a quick escape from the city.

Rosario Islands

The Rosario Islands are a beautiful national park near Cartagena where you’ll find your dreamy white-sand beach. Depending on the season, they can be crowded, so consider staying overnight if you can.

Isla Barú

Isla Barú is famous for its beautiful beach, Playa Blanca. However, it can be crowded with locals and tourists. The south of the island is wilder, surrounded by mangroves and some small hidden beaches. This is where you’ll find the most luxurious hotels like Las Islas or Isla del Encanto.

Isla Grande

With its postcard setting and relaxed atmosphere, Isla Grande has quickly become my favorite island. There are many beach resorts hotels but few that stand out from the crowd – except my two favorites which are Coralina Island and Islabela.

Isla Cholon

Isla Cholon is a famous party place on the weekend that you can only reach by boat. It’s a great option if you’re looking to mix beach relaxation with some fun socializing.

Cartagena’s beaches offer something for everyone, from secluded spots for relaxation to vibrant party scenes. As a local, I can assure you that exploring these beaches will only enhance your Cartagena experience. So pack your beach bag and get ready to soak up the sun on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world!