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Where to Stay in Cartagena: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels

Where to Stay in Cartagena: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Discover the best neighborhoods, hotels, and lodgings to help you plan where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia.

Cartagena, Colombia is a city that will captivate you with its charming architecture, colorful streets, and vibrant culture. As I mentioned in the hotel guide to Medellin, if you’re planning a trip to Cartagena city, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is where to stay since you’ll want to be close to the main attractions and day trip departure points.

Luckily, Cartagena offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and travel preferences across its 4 main neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for a luxury 5-star hotel or a budget-friendly boutique hotel nestled within the Old Town walls, this guide will have you covered.

Cartagena street art, colombia

4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Cartagena

Below is a basic neighborhood guide covering the top places to stay in Cartagena, suitable to return travelers or first time visitors.

  • El Centro: Inside the walled city surrounded by historical buildings dating back to the 16th century.
  • Getsemaní: Just outside the old walled city with amazing street art and restaurants.
  • Bocagrande: A more upper-class area that boasts large skyrise buildings and beaches.
  • El Laguito: Located away from the center with modern buildings with incredible views over the ocean.

While there are other neighborhoods like other areas including Manga, Zona Norte, El Cabrero, and Marbella that can be popular with ex-pats and budget-conscious travelers, the above are my top four for first-time visitors, based on my extensive travels in Cartagena.

This guide will break down the top 4 neighborhoods in Cartagena, and offer the top 4 accommodation picks in each, based on my own travel experience, reviews, and the latest hotel deals.

Infographic for areas to stay in cartagena
Exploring the streets of cartagena, colombia

El Centro - Stay in the Walled City of Cartagena

The Old City of Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and vibrant atmosphere. This is the main tourist beat of the city, housing many popular attractions like Plaza de Bolivar and the Cartagena Cathedral.

Many of the hotels in Cartagena's Walled City are located within historic buildings that have now been restored and converted into boutique hotels. These properties typically offer modern amenities such as swimming pools, rooftop terraces, and on-site restaurants.

While these are typically pricier, there are also some budget hostels and guest houses available as well.

Walled city of cartagena

Pros of Staying in El Centro

  1. A range of restaurants, cafes, and bars to walk to with delicious food and drinks
  2. Walking distance to all of the attractions within the old town
  3. Easy to get to other parts of the city using taxi or bus services
  4. A beautifully decorated old town with a range of art and graffiti work

Cons of Staying in El Centro

  1. Lots of people and cars on the roads which are quite narrow
  2. Louder due to the hotels and roads being very close together
  3. Lots of people trying to sell things to you along the roads
  4. Restaurant prices are higher

Best Hotels in Cartagena Old City (El Centro)

Bastión luxury hotel cartagenaBastión Luxury Hotel$$$$
Charleston santa teresa cartagenaCharleston Santa Teresa$$$$
Hotel boutique casona del colegio 1Hotel Boutique Casona del Colegio$$$
República hostel cartagenaRepública Hostel $

1. Bastión Luxury Hotel

If you love treating yourself to luxury accommodation, Bastión Luxury Hotel is one of the best 5-star hotels in Cartagena to stay.

Located in the heart of the city, this hotel is a 16th-century remodeled building featuring elegant interiors and modern amenities.

Bastión Luxury Hotel boasts a rooftop pool and terrace, a shared lounge, and a gourmet restaurant, El Gobernador. Other dining options are a short walk from the property.

Guests are treated to luxury rooms and suites with contemporary decor that showcases the city's colonial past. Each hotel room features a flat-screen TV, a large wardrobe, free Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom.

The nearest airport to the hotel is Rafael Núñez International Airport, which is a 15-minute drive away.

2. Charleston Santa Teresa

Do you want to stay at one of the best hotels in Cartagena? Charleston Santa Teresa is one of the best places to stay!

As one of the most luxurious hotels in the Old City, when guests stay at Charleston Santa Teresa they can expect elegant decor with marble floors and stone pillars. Only two blocks from the sea, this hotel is located in the best area.

This high-end hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, spa facilities, and free Wi-Fi. Each hotel room is equipped with air conditioning, a minibar, cable TV, and full bathrooms with bathtubs.

Since the hotel is located so close to the sea, guests can book snorkeling and scuba diving trips to see the incredible marine life. Tours of the bay can also be booked.

After a long day of exploring the area or scuba diving, guests can dine at the on-site restaurant that serves fantastic international cuisine.

3. Hotel Boutique Casona del Colegio

If boutique hotels are more your thing, then you must book a stay at Hotel Boutique Casona del Colegio, one of the best boutique hotels in Cartagena.

Located in the historic center of Cartagena, this 5-star hotel beautifully combines the colonial architecture and sustainable Colombian design of the 21st century. Boasting stunning patterns and light colors, the design of the hotel is definitely one of the reasons to stay.

The hotel rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom. Some rooms also have a balcony. Guests can enjoy the fantastic amenities on-site, including a garden, a terrace, an infinity pool, and a bar. The hotel is also surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.

As one of the best hotels in the Old City, some of the best things to see near the property include Cartagena's Gold Museum, Bolivar Park, Palace of the Inquisition, Cartagena's Walls, and San Felipe de Barajas Castle.

4. República Hostel

As one of the best hostels in Cartagena, República Hostel is worth staying at.

Located in the heart of Cartagena de Indias, this hostel is the best place to stay in Cartagena if you're looking for affordability close to the main attractions.

Offering private rooms and dorm rooms with free wi-fi, this hostel features an outdoor pool and terrace for guests to enjoy. There is also an on-site bar.

Some of the best things to see in the Old Town near the hostel include Cartagena's Gold Museum and Bolivar Park, both of which are within walking distance from the hostel.

Rafael Núñez International Airport is 4 km from the hostel.

Getsemaní - Find Amazing Cartagena Hotels

Getsemaní is a spirited neighborhood located just outside the walled city of Cartagena. It has become increasingly popular with tourists looking to save money while still being very close to the main attractions.

However, that's not to say that Getsemaní isn't a great place to explore as well! This bohemian neighborhood is known for its colorful street art, trendy cafes, and lively nightlife. As a result, this Getsemaní is one of the best places to stay in Cartagena for a fun, unique and authentic experience.

Getsemani neighborhood
Hotel in cartagena, colombia

Pros of Staying in Getsemaní Neighborhood

  1. A very short walk to the walled city
  2. Incredible street art and places to take pictures
  3. Street food vendors and lots of cafes to choose from

Cons of Staying in Getsemaní Neighborhood

  1. Busy area
  2. It can be loud at night

Where to Stay in Getsemaní, Cartagena

Outdoor swimming pool at the hotel casa lola deluxe galleryHotel Casa Lola Deluxe Gallery$$$$
Ghl arsenal hotel bedroom with large bedGHL Arsenal Hotel$$$
Bedroom at the casa moraira with bohemian designCasa Moraira$$
Casa del pozo boutique hostel bedroom with bunksCasa Del Pozo Boutique Hostel$$

5. Arsenal Hotel

Located in a great neighborhood, Arsenal Hotel is one of the best 5-star hotels in Cartagena.

As one of the most outstanding luxury hotels in Cartagena, Arsenal Hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, free wifi, and chic decor.

All of the hotel's large rooms come equipped with air conditioning, minibars, private bathrooms, and cable TV. Depending on the room you choose, you will either have a garden or a city view.

Guests can start each day with a free breakfast of cereal, tropical fruits, and delicious Colombian coffee. The on-site restaurant offers local and international dishes. It is also renowned for its fantastic cocktails.

The historic walled city is only a three-minute walk from the hotel. If you need tips on the best things to do and see, the tour desk is there to help.

If you're looking for the best place to stay in Cartagena, Hotel Casa Lola Deluxe Gallery may be the choice for you!

As one of the best hotels in the city, Hotel Casa Lola Deluxe Gallery is set in two historical colonial buildings, so you can expect the architecture and decor to be amazing.

This 5-star hotel features well-decorated and spacious rooms, free Wi-Fi, and three outdoor swimming pools set on the terrace. There is also a rooftop bar for guests to enjoy with stunning panoramic views.

Relaxation is the top priority at this hotel, so guests can spend their days by the pool or enjoying a world-class spa treatment.

Casa Lola Hotel Deluxe Gallery is only 1 km from the beach sector and 6 km to Rafael Núñez International Airport.

7. Casa Moraira

If you want to be close to the main attractions but not too close that you're in a noisy area, then Casa Moraira is one of the best hotels in Cartagena for you to stay.

Located 1.8 km from Marbella Beach, this 4-star accommodation features a garden, air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi, a shared kitchen, room service, and a tour desk.

Each morning before going off to explore the city walls, historic buildings, and shopping malls, guests can enjoy a continental breakfast.

Great places to visit near the hotel include San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the Palace of the Inquisition, and Cartagena's Walls.

8. Casa Del Pozo Boutique Hostel

When you think of South America, do you picture bright colors, happy faces, and friendly people? That's exactly what you can expect when you stay at Casa Del Pozo Boutique Hostel!

Featuring an outdoor swimming pool, a shared lounge, free Wi-Fi, and a bar and restaurant, this hostel is close to many popular destinations.

All guest rooms are fitted with bed linen and a coffee machine. Each morning, before setting off to wander the narrow streets of Cartagena, guests can enjoy a continental breakfast.

Popular tourist attractions near the hostel include Marbella Beach, Bocagrande Beach, San Felipe de Barajas Castle, Bolivar Park, and Cartagena's Walls.

Bocagrande - The Best Beach Neighborhood in Cartagena

Situated to the south on a large Caribbean sea-facing peninsula, Bocagrande is a popular neighborhood known for its modern high-rise buildings, white sandy beaches, and vibrant nightlife.

Accommodation options in Cartagena's Bocagrande neighborhood range from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels, many of which offer stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Travelers can choose from all-inclusive resorts, beachfront hotels, and apartment-style stays here, while still being quite close to the Walled City.

Bocogrande skyscrapers in cartagena, colombia

Pros of Staying at Bocogrande

  1. An excellent shopping area
  2. Beautiful views over the ocean and surrounding beaches
  3. The streets are filled with many restaurants, bars, and cafes

Cons of Staying at Bocogrande

  1. This area is more expensive to stay
  2. Further distance from Cartagena Center

Where to Stay in Bocogrande, Cartagena

Bedroom with sea views at the hyatt regency cartagenaHyatt Regency Cartagena$$$$
Bedroom with incredible city views at the oz hotel luxuryOz Hotel Luxury$$$
Bedroom with stunning views estelar cartagenaEstelar Cartagena$$$
Bedroom with single beds at san martin cartagenaSan Martin Cartagena$$

9. Hyatt Regency Cartagena

Located in the beach neighborhood of Bocagrande, Hyatt Regency Cartagena is the best hotel choice to stay right near the beach for luxury travelers!

Situated a few steps from Bocagrande Beach, this hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, a bar and restaurant, and free parking.

Guests can wake up overlooking the Caribbean Sea every morning and enjoy an à la carte breakfast. Whether you choose to spend your day relaxing by the pool or exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is so much to do in Cartagena.

10. Oz Hotel Luxury

Located 150 m from the nearest beach, Oz Hotel Luxury is one of the best boutique hotels in Cartagena.

As a 4-star hotel, guests can expect quality when they stay here. Featuring air-conditioned accommodation, a restaurant and bar, room service, and free Wi-Fi, Oz Hotel Luxury has everything you need for an unforgettable stay.

Boasting two terraces with stunning views of the sea, this hotel is a good option to stay if you want to be right near the beach. Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast with a view each morning.

Whether you spend your day on a tour exploring the nearby Rosario Islands or shop the day away at El Centro, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Cartagena.

11. Estelar Cartagena

As one of the most beautiful 5-star high-rise hotels in the area, Estelar Cartagena is where you can experience world-class service.

This hotel features a range of different rooms to suit each budget. All guest rooms come equipped with air conditioning, a minibar, free Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom.

There is also an outdoor swimming pool and on-site restaurant for guests to enjoy.

Popular points of interest near the hotel include the Palace of the Inquisition, Bolivar Park, and Plaza de San Diego.

12. San Martin Cartagena

Located only 100 m from the sea, San Martin Cartagena is the perfect place for you to stay for a beach holiday.

This accommodation features rooms with air conditioning, a mini bar, free Wi-Fi, and satellite TV. There is also a balcony and seating area for guests to enjoy.

Being located only 100 m from the ocean, guests can spend their days at the beach or head to the old walled city to see the colonial buildings and other main attractions.

El Laguito - Upperclass Beach Neighborhood in Cartagena

El Laguito is a neighborhood in Cartagena popular with ex-pats and tourists alike. You'll find it located on the peninsula at the end of Bocogrande, wedged between the Caribbean Sea and a tranquil lagoon.

This area is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, and easy access to a variety of restaurants, bars, and nightlife, with a more local feel than Bocogrande.

El laguito neighborhood in cartagena

Pros of Staying in El Laguito

  1. A quiet area that is good for families or large groups
  2. High-rise hotels with magnificent ocean views
  3. Lots of shopping centers within walking distance

Cons of Staying in El Laguito

  1. It is further from the main attractions and Cartagena Center
  2. More expensive to stay in this area

Where to Stay in El Laguito, Cartagena

Bedroom with city views and large tv at the hilton cartagenaHilton Cartagena$$$$
Hotel caribe bedroom with large bed and deskHotel Caribe$$$
Hotel dann cartagena incredible bedroom views over the oceanHotel Dann Cartagena$$
Wala beach club bedroom with window overlooking the oceanWala beach club$$

13. Hilton Cartagena

Experience world-class service at Hilton Cartagena, one of the most popular beach resorts in the area.

If you're looking to have an epic beach holiday, El Laguito is one of the best neighborhoods for first-time visitors. Situated just steps from the ocean, this hotel features outdoor swimming pools, a garden, a terrace, and stunning sea views.

Guests can spend their days by the pool, on the beach, or head to the historic center for a day trip to see the best of what Cartagena has to offer.

14. Hotel Caribe

Spoil yourself by staying at Hotel Caribe, one of the best 5-star hotels in Cartagena.

Located right on the beach, Hotel Caribe is the best place to stay for the ultimate beach holiday.

Surrounded by tropical gardens and featuring an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, a spa, and three restaurants, and boasting elegant colonial architecture, you won't be disappointed by Hotel Caribe.

Each of the luxurious guest rooms features free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and white polished floors. Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast with tropical fruits and Colombian coffee each morning.

Rafael Núñez International Airport is ten minutes from the hotel, and shuttles can be arranged.

15. Hotel Dann Cartagena

Want to spend your days laying by the pool with stunning Caribbean Sea views? Look no further than Hotel Dann Cartagena!

Set right on the ocean with easy access to the beach and a swimming pool, this hotel boasts rooms with balconies overlooking the sea.

A buffet breakfast is served daily and exotic drinks and cocktails can be enjoyed at Dann's Bar.

Guests can spend their days by the pool, sunbathing on the beach, or enjoying rejuvenating massages.

This 4-star hotel is only a five-minute drive to the center of the beautiful city.

16. Wala Beach Club

For the ultimate beach experience, Wala beach club is the best place for you to stay in Cartagena.

Featuring an outdoor swimming pool, evening entertainment, a restaurant and bar, and room service, Wala beach club has everything you need for a fantastic stay.

Each minimalist modern room features free WiFi, a private bathroom, air conditioning, and a pool or sea view. Each morning guests can enjoy an à la carte breakfast.

Some of the best beaches near the accommodation include Laguito Beach, Bocagrande Beach, and Castillogrande Beach.

More Colombia Travel & Accommodation Guides

I hope that you've enjoyed this comprehensive accommodation guide to where to stay in Cartagena, Colombia. For more hotel, travel, and adventure blogs, check out the list below.

If you're looking for amazing places to visit in Colombia, check out San Andrés island, an incredible Caribbean Island with flights direct from Cartagena!

  • Medellín Travel Guide: Discover fun activities and top highlights in Medellín
  • San Andrés Island: Guide to Colombia's best Caribbean Island
  • Minca Travel Guide: Discover incredible hikes, beautiful fincas, epic jungle waterfalls, and all-around relaxing vibes.
  • Things to do in Guatapé: Travel to Colombia's most scenic Antioquian town, known for its vibrant streets, traditional street art, and the famous Piedra del Peñol.
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I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

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