Finca Carpe Diem Hostel in Minca – What You Need to Know

Finca Carpe Diem Hostel in Minca – What You Need to Know

Finca Carpe Diem is a breathtaking paradise hidden in the Paso del Mango forest near Minca.

Finca Carpe Diem

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

This family-owned hostel focuses on remote living, employing locals, and sustainability.

Here’s everything you need to know about staying at Finca Carpe Diem Hostel in the North of Colombia.

How to Get to Finca Carpe Diem

Getting to this hostel can be a little tricky, but once you know how to navigate the North of Colombia, you can learn to get anywhere.

You will likely book a combo of buses, taxis, and motorbikes.

I personally came from Cartagena and took a bus to Santa Marta and arranged a car through the hostel that picked me up at the bus drop-off point.

The mini-bus I took from Cartagena to Santa Marta was Berlinastur . This service is an air-conditioned budget-friendly option for under $13 USD (or 60,000 COP).

Where to Book Finca Carpe Diem Hostel

Typically I prefer to book hostels on Hostelworld. Occasionally, if I have points for savings or I’m booking a private room, I use

Both these booking platforms are simple to use, have upfront cancellation & refund terms, and offer a level of protection that other websites may not offer.

My Hostel Essentials


What to Expect

Finca Carpe Diem Ecolodge offers both shared and private dorms throughout the property.

Many travelers expect to party at hostels in Colombia, but at Finca Carpe Diem you come to relax.

Most of your days will be occupied by eating at the hostel restaurant, lounging by the pool, and booking some of their daily excursions.

WiFi did not work during most of my stay, so bring a book or a deck of cards – you’ll need it!

Daily Excursions Offered

Finca Carpe Diem Waterfall Tour

Many activities and tours are offered from the hostel.

Waterfall tours, yoga, cacao farms, and bird watching are just a handful of the excursions offered at Finca Carpe Diem.

I booked the waterfall tour and would highly recommend it.

Hostel Restaurant

The hostel restaurant was very impressive. Their farm-to-table ethics blend the owner’s Belgian culture with Colombian specialties.

My only problem was not running out of things to order, but getting to try everything I wanted before I left! Overall the menu has lots of options and gladly accommodates vegetarians and vegans.

Rooms & Facilities

I booked an all-female dorm and it was equipped with everything you’d hope for at a good hostel. The rooms themselves are relatively bare bones but ideally, you’ll be spending most of your time out exploring the hostel rather than in your dorm.

Our dorm’s private bathroom was huge and very nice.

All beds had mosquito nets!


Bear in mind that this is a remote ecolodge, so you will be at the hostel or in the surrounding nature of it the entire duration of your stay.

Also, it is not technically in Minca town. While the hostel is near Minca (about an hour drive) it is actually located in a more remote area – Paso Del Mango.

Social Life

As I mentioned before, this is not a party hostel and many people come here to relax.

Most of the visitors were couples on a romantic getaway. This was the only aspect I disliked about the hostel, yet it’s not really anything anyone can control.

Thankfully I came with a friend but I feel I would’ve had a poor experience if I came alone. I would not recommend this hostel to solo travelers hoping to make friends.

However, at the end of our stay, my friend and I did meet a group of female solo travelers and we mingled and played games. So, it is definitely possible to make some friends – especially at the pool.


Finca Carpe Diem hostel & ecoldoge is a secret getaway in northern colombia. #hostelworld #backpackinglife #colombia #minca #travelbucketlist

♬ Little Things – Tiqta

The Best Part of the Hostel is the Furry Friends!

I hope this post gives you a more well-rounded idea of what to expect at Finca Carpe Diem Hostel!

Planning a Trip to Cartagena?

Don’t forget to print this FREE Cartagena Checklist for your trip!

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Best Value Rosario Island Day Trip from Cartagena

Best Value Rosario Island Day Trip from Cartagena

Looking for the best value Rosario Island Day trip from Cartagena? Here’s everything you need to know about booking your relaxing catamaran voyage.

rosario island day trip

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

If you’re researching the best Rosario island day trip, I’m specifically viewing a tour I booked on GetYourGuide.

After researching the depths of the web and searching for any insight on the best day trips from Cartagena – I kept seeing this Rosario island boat tour come highly recommended.

I was very hesitant about booking this excursion because, well, it’s not exactly cheap (especially if you’re on a backpacker’s budget).

At nearly $80 USD in a country where prices are usually affordable, I was skeptical. However, I can confidently say I am SO happy I booked it and it was one of my favorite days in Cartagena.

Here’s everything you need to know about booking the tour Cartagena: Rosario Islands Catamaran with Lunch and Snorkel.

What You Should Know About the Rosario Island Day Trip

Perhaps a common misconception on this tour is that you actually get to explore the islands. This is not true! You simply spend the day from a boat admiring the islands from nearby in the water.

Granted I knew this ahead of time before booking the tour, but I can easily see how someone could be disappointed if they have different expectations.

Basic Tour Outline

rosario island day trip

While your boat itinerary could change, here’s a rough idea on what to expect:

8:00-8:30 am – Depart from Muelle de la Bodeguita pier.

10:30 – Swim at Isla Granda for 1h30

12:30 – Lunch is served on board.

1:30 – Stop near the island of Baru.

4 pm -Arrive back in Cartagena

This Rosario Island Day Trip Catamaran Tour is approximately 7.5 hours, so plan for it to take up most of your day.

Detailed Tour Itinerary

rosario island day trip

You’ll start your morning around 8-8:30 am boarding the catamaran that departs from the Muelle de la Bodeguita pier.

As you step on board, you will be greeted with fresh juice as a welcome treat.

There are plenty of seats for everyone to spread out in the shade or the toasty Colombian sun!

Shortly after the catamaran departs, you’ll receive a bag of delicious empanadas to snack on until lunch.

About 2 hours into your journey, you’ll arrive at your first stop – the waters of Isla Grande.

You’ll have lots of options on how to spend the hour and a half you’ll have in the turquoise Isla Grande waters. Whether you want to snorkel, grab an inflatable noodle, or sip on a margarita and lounge on the boat – the time is yours!

Next up will be a journey to the waters of Baru Island.

On your way, you’ll stop for a prepared lunch on board which will include loads of options like salad, pasta, and seafood or veggie rice. The lunch was actually so delicious, I was stuffed!

After spending another 2 hours enjoying the scenery of Baru, you’ll finally make your way back to Cartagena.

Expect to arrive back at the dock around 4 pm.

Where to Book

You can book this tour on GetYourGuide or Viator.

Both platforms feature a detailed look at the tour in addition to reviews written by real participants.

What to Bring

Lots of sunscreen.

A hat.

Protective Sunglasses.

Bathing Suit.


Credit Card & Cash.

Optional: a book & earbuds (there’s lots of relaxing time).

Rosario Island Day Trip Essentials


What this tour includes

rosario island day trip

Welcome drink
Non-alcoholic beverages (soft drinks, juices, lemonade, water)
Mid-morning snack
Prepared onboard lunch (seafood or vegetables with rice, a salad buffet, and dessert)
Snorkeling equipment
Noodle floaties

Alcoholic drinks are not included but are available for purchase (and they are actually SO good!)

Transportation to the catamaran is not provided, it is up to you to arrive at the meeting point on time.

Is the tour worth it?

Yes, I would completely recommend this Rosario island boat tour to anyone visiting Cartagena! It was one of the highlights of my Colombia trip.

Still planning your itinerary? Check out my post, the best things to do in Cartagena, and my favorite hostel to stay at in the city.

rosario island day trip

Don’t forget to print this FREE Cartagena Checklist for your trip!

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Life is Good Cartagena Hostel – Rating My Experience

Life is Good Cartagena Hostel – Rating My Experience

Are you looking to stay at Life is Good Cartagena Hostel?

If you’re planning your trip to Colombia and reading up on the best hostels to stay in Cartagena, you’ll definitely want to consider Life is Good Cartagena Hostel as it is truly a top-quality accommodation for backpackers.

Life is good cartagena hostel

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

Colombia is a hostel haven and there are many good options, it’s hard to choose where to stay.

In this post, I’m sharing my 1-week stay at Life is Good Cartagena Hostel. Additionally, I will share with you the best hostels in Cartagena that are worth booking.

Life is Good Cartagena Hostel

Life is Good Cartagena Hostel is located in the vibrant Getsemani neighborhood.

While I may be biased, I think this is the best neighborhood to stay in because it hands down has the best restaurants in the area.

To be honest, Life is Good Cartagena Hostel is one of the more expensive hostels in Cartagena.

I chose to stay here because I wasn’t on a tight budget and wanted to kick off my 1-month Colombia trip with a clean and comfortable start. After only a few days, I extended my stay.

Where to book Life is Good Cartagena Hostel

My favorite website/app to book hostels on is hostelworld . Occasionally, if I have points for savings or I’m booking a private room, I use

I find these booking platforms are easy to use, have simple cancellation & refund policies, and offer a level of protection that other websites may not have.

My Hostel Essentials



Life is good cartagena hostel

Life is Good Cartagena Hostel is located in the Getsemani neighborhood.

There are many amazing restaurants and bars nearby the hostel. It’s also just a short 10-minute walk to Old Town and a 5-minute walk to the Muelle de los Pegasos pier.

This location is perfect because it’s not in the busiest part of the city, but within walking distance of everything you would want to do in Cartagena.

Don’t forget to print this FREE Cartagena Checklist for your trip!

The Rooms

One of the few cons about this hostel is it doesn’t offer all-female dorms or 6-8 bed dorms. This hostel only offers a 4-bed mixed dorm, a 10-bed mixed dorm, and a few private suites.

I stayed in the 10-bed mixed dorm and was very happy with my experience. It is quite spacious and the beds are broken up by multiple nooks in the room, so it doesn’t feel like 10 beds.

Additionally, every bed has a curtain and its own light.


Life is good cartagena hostel

Small details are what really make a hostel stand out from all the others.

Life is Good Cartagena focuses on the little luxuries that backpackers don’t have at normal hostels.

Breakfast here is so tasty! When entering the hostel cafe, you’ll be presented with options such as scrambled eggs, pancakes, daily specials, and fresh juice selections. With this big breakfast included, I feel like the “expensive” price of the hostel is worth it because an entire hot meal is included.

Don’t miss the enchanting rooftop equipped with a jacuzzi, loungers, and a great view of the city.

With all the amazing amenities, the lovely and informative receptionists were by far the best part of the hostel!

One of the most important features of this hostel is the air conditioning which you will certainly need in the hot Colombian heat.

Social Life

Life is good cartagena hostel

Life is Good Cartagena is not a party hostel.

Although, I did end up meeting many new friends on the rooftop – which is a great opportunity to meet other travelers who are also staying at the hostel.

This hostel focuses on comfort and hospitality rather than an intense social scene. However, I feel like it’s easy to make friends at any type of hostel if you set your mind to it!

Another common area the hostel offers is a cafe/study space which is in a room connected to the lobby.

I personally didn’t book any tours through the hostel, but I did sign up for a free walking tour they recommended (also a great way to meet other travelers).

Best Hostels in Cartagena

Life is good cartagena hostel

In my opinion, I do think Life is Good Cartagena Hostel is the best hostel in Cartagena.

It’s a great option for any type of traveler, but especially so if you are a digital nomad, new to hostels, or a mature backpacker.

If you’re coming to Cartagena just to party (which is totally ok!) then I would suggest staying elsewhere.

Not to worry if this hostel isn’t for you, there are plenty of other great hostels in Cartagena to stay at.

Viajero is best for people who like to party.

República is best for solo travelers.

Casa del Pozo Boutique Hostel is best for solo female travelers

Clock Hostel is best for budget travelers.

Overall, Life is Good Cartagena Hostel is a hostel that impressed me so much, I stayed twice. I would highly recommend this accommodation to budget travelers looking to explore Cartagena.

Life is good cartagena hostel
Life is good cartagena hostel

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The Ultimate Colombia Packing List (54+ Things You Need for Colombia)

The Ultimate Colombia Packing List (54+ Things You Need for Colombia)

Looking for the BEST Colombia packing list!?

This post is all about what to pack for Colombia.

Updated on February 14, 2023
colombia packing list

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

Packing for Colombia was a daunting task. For years I’ve backpacked across Europe and the Middle East, but never South America.

I felt like I was entering a new arena in the hunger games – totally unprepared with blurry expectations.

We’re talking mosquitos, hiking, extreme heat, and remote destinations.

Even after loads of research and personal recommendations from seasoned Colombia backpackers, I still felt like there were some things I needed, and some I didn’t.

My experience backpacking 1-month through Colombia helped me create the most perfect Colombia packing list for your trip.

Still, planning your Colombia itinerary? Check out my post on Cartagena.

Don’t forget your FREE Colombia Packing List printable so you don’t forget a single thing!

colombia packing list

Here is the Ultimate Colombia Packing List

While this was my personal Colombia packing list for a 30-day backpacking trip, your list might look a little different from mine.

I hope these recommendations will help you successfully pack for your Colombia trip.

Basic Essentials

1. Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack

The holy grail of all backpacks. This magical bag will hold everything you need and passes as a carry-on size on most airlines.

I’ve had this bag for years and wouldn’t dare look at anything else!


2. Travelon Anti-Theft Day Pack

My new travel product obsession!

I noticed this backpack on the backs of some fellow travelers and instantly fell in love.

While it may look tiny, this pack is mighty. I use it as my “electronics bag” and it fits my laptop, large drone & remote, DSLR, journal, kindle, passport, wallet, and so much more.


3. Compression Packing Cubes

I’ve always been anti-packing cubes until I ran across the compression kind! These cubes will help you stay organized without taking up any extra space.


4. Lifestraw Water Bottle

Whether it’s Lifestraw or a different brand, I highly recommend getting some kind of filtered water bottle for your Colombia travels.


5. Foldable Bag

I know what you’re thinking.. yet another backpack!? Yes!

This foldable backpack is so tiny that it takes up NO room. It’s worth packing even if you never use it. I use it specifically for hiking when I don’t want to get my nicer bags dirty.


6. Travel Toiletry Bag

Finding a hanging toiletry bag is essential, especially if you are staying in hostels. This bag is compact and has loads of room.

I use it to hold all my toiletries and medicine.


Toiletries / Shower Essentials

7. Microfiber Travel Towel

My personal favorite travel towel. The sizes do run very small so size up (1 or even 2)! I personally have an XL to use as a shower towel and beach towel.


8. Facial Microfiber Towel

A small microfiber towel is handy just to wash your face.


9. Laundry bag

A bag to keep your dirty laundry in is essential! This is something I refuse to travel without.

Most of the time compression cube packs come with these bags, but if not you’ll want to grab one of these!


10. Laundry detergent

At times in remote destinations, it can be tricky to get your laundry done. These Laundry strips help me in between proper washes.


11. Hairbrush

This dainty hairbrush will keep your hair looking fresh without taking up much space in your bag.


12. Manicure Set

Keep groomed while on the road. You won’t want to leave for Colombia without these often overlooked essentials.


13. Small Comb

This is my “nights out” comb. It’s so small it fits perfectly in a purse or fanny pack for evenings out at the club (or a jungle party!)


14. Contacts & Solution / Glasses

Like so many of us, if you aren’t one of the lucky ones with 20/20 vision, pack extra contacts & glasses for the duration of your trip.

You can buy more contact solution at the pharmacies, but it’s best to bring a small pack to last you until you get to one.


15. Friction Stick

This was such a common problem among so many women I was hiking with. I was so thankful that I brought a friction rub! I used it on days I wore dresses and went on long walking tours or hikes.

I’ve used both the Arm & Hammer brand and the body glide, and the Arm & Hammer works much better.


16. Makeup Remover Wipes

These are the only makeup remover wipes that don’t sting my skin. Also, I love how they aren’t liquid-based, perfect for traveling!


17. Facial Cleanser & Moisturizer

My favorite travel cleanser & moisturizer is The Ordinary. Their products come in small sizes and are super affordable.


18. Dental Hygiene Products

Keep your teeth healthy with my go-to dental products.


19. Sunscreen

Believe me, that Colombia sun is meant to BURN! I like to be prepared with just a little bit of sunscreen for when I arrive and buy more when I get to a pharmacy.

If your first destination is a city, sunscreen will be easy to find. However, if you’re heading to more remote destinations in the North or the South, stores are not always accessible.


20. Hair Accessories

As I’ve mentioned. that Colombia heat will get to you. If you have long hair, you’ll need plenty of options to pull your hair back.


21. Chapstick

This is the chapstick I swear by! While it may seem a bit expensive for lip balm, I am a total chapstick junkie and need the very best.


22. Soap + Soap Holder

A bar is my preferred soap to travel with while backpacking. It cuts down on my liquids and lasts longer. One bar of soap lasted me exactly one month.


23. Shampoo & Conditioner

Again, shampoo and conditioner are products you can totally buy when you get to Colombia. I just prefer to have some on hand so I’m not scrambling to find it first thing when I land to my destination.


24. Razor

If you usually have a razor at home, you’ll need one on the road! This razor is my favorite and doesn’t irritate my skin.


25. Small Jars/Bottles

These small containers are great if you want to take your favorite products from home.


26. Medications

Ibuprofen and Imodium are two essentials you must take with you to Colombia.

Be sure to take any contraceptives or vitamins that you take regularly as well.


27. Feminine Care

This is truly one of the most underrated things that should be packed in your bag! What some women don’t know is that feminine care products are different in every country.

Meaning – different chemicals, applicators, and materials.

It’s best to bring some of your own that you’re comfortable with.


28. Health Misc.

Don’t forget these handy items like bandaids and cotton swabs.


29. Germ-X + Lysol Wipes

Don’t you dare leave to travel without some Germ-X and disinfecting wipes!

My personal favorite germ-x is the mini bath & bodyworks scented bottles because they just smell SO good! I also love these scented lemon Lysol wipes to wipe down anything that might be icky.

Your luggage may also need more frequent wipe-downs than usual in Colombia’s dewy climate.


30. Lotion

Lotion may be considered essential for only a select few, but for my insanely dry skin, it’s a must!


31. Small Makeup Bag

I am obsessed with these small pouch bags. I typically end up bringing two of them on my travels. They can really help you keep organized.

One for makeup and one for feminine care products.


32. Condoms

Always best to be safe and prepared!



Shoes are probably the most important thing that will be in your luggage.

You can easily buy anything you’ll need abroad, except for your favorite shoes.

I’ve made the mistake of buying a brand new pair of shoes before leaving for a trip and it’s such a mistake! Make sure you purchase shoes with plenty of time to break them in before your departure.

When you’re walking over 10 miles a day, it’s essential that you have comfortable and versatile shoes in your bag.

33. Hiking Shoes / Tennis Shoes

If you’re planning on doing the Lost City hike, then you might want to bring your hiking shoes over tennis. Otherwise, you should be good with just a pair of tennis shoes! I went on four hikes and was happy I didn’t bring my bulky hiking shoes.


34. Comfy Sandals

Birkenstocks fit my style and comfort, but any reputable walking sandal will work.


35. Cute and Comfy Sandals

These Steve Madden sandals are my favorite go-to travel sandal. They are so comfortable and look perfect with sundresses. They also take up hardly any room.


36. Shower / Beach Flip Flops

If you’re planning on staying in hostels or visiting any beaches, you’ll need to pack some cheap flip-flops. Thin classic flip-flops are perfect for taking up the least amount of space in your bag.



This portion of the list will vary greatly depending on what kind of traveler you are.

As I am someone who works remotely, I obviously needed my camera and laptop. If you can live without these things, the less you pack is always better.

37. Unlocked Phone

If you are looking to get a sim card so your phone will work, contact your phone company to ensure you won’t have any issues.

For iPhone users, your phone should be unlocked, which can only happen after you’ve had your phone for six months.


38. Microsoft Surface Laptop

A Laptop might not be essential on everyone’s Colombia packing list but as a digital creator, it was for me.

Microsoft Surface Laptop is what I use. I LOVE how light it is!


39. Travel Adapter

Colombia uses A, B type outlets, which are the same as in the United States. So if you’re coming from a country that uses different outlets, be sure to take this international adapter with you.


40. Kindle

I can’t go anywhere without my kindle! It’s the perfect alternative to packing heavy books.

Even if you aren’t a reader, if you are traveling to more remote parts of Colombia (like the North) you will want to bring something to do that doesn’t require WiFi. I was without stable internet about half the time I was in Colombia.


41. Headphones

Of course, you can’t leave for a trip without a solid pair of headphones.


42. Portable Charger

Being without a phone in a foreign country can be scary. I always keep a portable charger on me.


43. Extra Phone Chargers

I feel like my chargers always break when I’m on a long trip. It’s best to keep just a couple on you.


44. Camera (optional)

As I mentioned, your packing list might look slightly different from mine.

I travel with this DSLR camera and take most of my blog photos with it.



45. Passport Holder

A Passport holder is a must for me. I keep my paper covid-vaccine inside along with a piece of paper containing my contact info so that if someone finds it, they can contact me.


46. Personal Alarm

One of the biggest complaints I hear of solo female travelers is that they wish they could travel with pepper spray or a knife to help them feel a little safer.

While most safety tools are not permitted on airlines, personal alarms are! I carry this with me when I’m traveling or going out at home. It helps me feel just a little more secure, especially if I’m walking home alone.

This device works by quickly detaching the top handle if you feel in danger and a VERY loud siren goes off, drawing attention to you.


47. Luggage Tags

Keeping your luggage labeled with your information is essential if it ends up being misplaced or stolen.


48. Light Rain Gear

Whether you’re an umbrella gal or rain-jacket cat – take your pick (or pack both)

Rainy season in Colombia is April to May and October to November, And when it rains, it pours!


49. Writing Utensils

I like to have a pen, pencil, and sharpie when I’m traveling to write in my journal or label things.

50. Journal

Be sure to bring a travel journal to document your exciting trip to Colombia!


51. Travel Insurance

I never leave for a trip without buying travel insurance. My preferred choice is Allianz. However, World Nomads is fine as well.

52. Personal Bag

Having the right bag can make or break your chances of getting your belongings stolen as an everyday tourist.

If you opt for a purse, make sure it has a zipper or clasp that would be tricky to swipe items out of.

Bum bags are also very popular and a great way to keep your phone and money close to your body.


53. Sunglasses

Sunglasses should be at the top of everyone’s Colombia packing list! Protect your eyes from that intense sun with a pair of sunglasses.



Every suitcase will look different when it comes to packing clothes for a trip.

I personally hate shorts so I opt for more dresses and skirts, but you might have a totally different style.

54. Here’s a breakdown of what clothes I packed for Colombia.

4 dresses

3 skirts

2 cropped tanks

2 cropped tops

1 pair of loose pants

2 pairs of pajamas

1 long-sleeved top

2 bras

1 t-shirt

4 pairs of socks

1 pair of jeans

10 pairs of underwear

1 workout/hiking outfit

2 swimsuits

Planning your trip to Colombia? Check out my post 13 things to do in Cartagena.

Book The Best Colombia Excursions Below

colombia packing list
13 Bucket List Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia

13 Bucket List Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia

This post is all about things to do in Cartagena.

best things to do in Cartagena

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

Colorful colonial buildings line the streets as a whiff of empanada greets your nose and music echoes all around you. Welcome to Cartagena.

Cartagena is undoubtedly the most beautiful city in Colombia.

With its picturesque buildings, nearby islands, and ample exquisite culinary options, it’s no wonder why Cartagena is the most popular city in the country.

I’ve compiled a list of 13 things to do in Cartagena that you can’t miss.

Don’t forget to print this FREE Cartagena Checklist for your trip!

Packing for your trip to Colombia? Click here for my Colombia packing guide.

Where to Stay in Cartagena

There are so many beautiful and affordable accommodation options in Cartagena. I personally stayed at Life is Good Hostel, and would definitely recommend it for backpackers or budget travelers.

Life is Good Hostel

Here are a few more options if you’re looking for a hotel experience:

$ – Casa Movida Hostel or Life is Good Hostel (read my review here)

$$ – Sophia Hotel

$$$ – Movich Hotel

My Cartagena Essentials

When I traveled to Cartagena at the end of April and it was BLAZING hot.

My essentials were light dresses, lots of sunscreen, and my favorite anti-theft travel backpack.

Check out my Ultimate Colombia Packing list for more essentials for your trip.


Best Things to do in Cartagena

One can enjoy Cartagena by doing all the touristy things or by just simply walking around admiring the architecture and feasting on spinach and cheese empanadas (my fav!)

Here are 13 bucket-list things to do in Cartagena, Colombia.

1. Explore the Old Town

Waltz through the streets of Cartagena’s historic old city. Closed in with walls and decked out with colonial architecture, the old town is visually stunning.

2. Monumento Torre del Reloj “Clock Tower”

The original main entrance to the historic city is certainly a statement piece. You can find the famous clock tower between Plaza de Independencia and Plaza de Los Coches.

things to do in Cartagena

3. Plaza de la Aduana

After you’ve passed through under the clock tower, turn left to be greeted by the largest open space in Cartagena; Plaza de la Aduana.

While there are several plazas and parks in Cartagena, I thought this one was the most beautiful.

Also, it’s worth mentioning the bank of Colombia is located here, so it’s a secure spot to use the ATMs located inside.

things to do in Cartagena

4. Take a Free Walking Tour

Free walking tours are my favorite way of getting to know a city.

I signed up the day before my tour here.

Of course, with walking tours, you’re always expected to tip at the end of the tour. In Colombia, it’s customary to tip around $10 for a 2-3 hour tour (40,000 COP cash only).

5. Book a Boat Excursion

I was skeptical about booking this boat excursion because it was quite pricey, but it was highly recommended to me.

So, I decided to try it out and it ended up being one of my favorite days in Cartagena! This boat excursion is well worth the price.

6. Eat at La Cocina de Pepina

Recommended by the locals in the neighborhood of Getsemani, this little restaurant is a must-try.

I had the Posta dish, which is a traditional dish that Cartagena is famous for. During my 1-month in Cartagena, this restaurant was the best. I still catch myself drooling over the rich and saucy Posta.

things to do in Cartagena

7. Party at Alquimico Bar

Rated one of the best clubs in South America, partying at Alquimico is a must!

Featuring 3-levels, including a swanky rooftop, you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic night out.

Try to arrive before 10 pm on weekends to avoid the line (you’ll be waiting for hours!)

8. Visit the Getsemani Neighborhood

Venture outside the old city walls to the more authentic (and artistic) side of Cartagena.

In the neighborhood of Getsemani, you’ll see streets lined with food vendors, music, and art murals.

I personally think that the food is better on this side of town!

best things to do in Cartagena

9. Abaco Library Cafe

For a tasty cup of coffee and a studious scene, check out Abaco Library.

There isn’t any wifi at this cafe so prepare!

things to do in Cartagena

10. Visit a Nearby Island

The Rosario Islands make for a great escape from the city. I visited Isla Grande and the beaches were spectacular. Other island getaways close to Cartagena include San Andres or Baru,

best things to do in Cartagena

11. San Felipe Castle

San Felipe Castle was built in 1536 and has been an iconic Cartagena landmark ever since. Seeing this fortress is one of the top things to do in the city.

12. Visit a Rooftop

Cartagena is famous for its rooftop views.

Cafe Del Mar offers one of the best views in the city. However, if you can’t score a spot at the famous cafe, there are many other rooftop options.

Movich Hotel, Sophia Hotel, and Townhouse Boutique Hotel rooftops all offer gorgeous city views.

I took this photo at Sophia Hotel.

things to do in Cartagena

13. Eat Street Food

The street food scene in Cartagena is seriously tasty. Try an empanada or an arepa from a food stall in Getsemani or inside the old city.

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