Cartagena de Indias, more commonly known as the “Walled City”, is one of the great architectural and cultural treasures of Colombia; a city of dazzling colors, filled with colonial-style buildings and surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean coast. Every year during December and January, Cartagena becomes jam-packed with locals and visitors alike, all looking for an unforgettable summer vacation. Plus, with a wide variety of restaurants, a colonial castle made from stone, and a beachside paradise of white sand, Cartagena offers visitors much to see, taste and explore. With all this and much more, you cannot miss the chance start a new year in Cartagena.
Sun, sand and sea in Playa Blanca
One of the most highly recommended ventures to enjoy Cartagena and its surroundings is the walk to Playa Blanca, one of the most picturesque beaches in the region. This delightful white sand paradise sports a diverse array of marine wildlife and caters to a large audience during the high season, yet regardless there will always be a place waiting for you to enjoy the sun, waves and tropical fruit drinks. Yet to properly enjoy this beachside paradise, it is imperative to wake up very early, since the boats that take you out of the Tourist Pier leave between 7-8 in the morning. You can do the tour in a single day, leaving in the morning and returning in the evening to the city, or make a pit stop at any of the other top-notch Caribbean beaches such as Islas del Rosario. In Playa Blanca you can also practice water sports such as sailing, sport fishing, diving and swimming. Plus, the mangrove areas offer a perfect scene for diving and snorkeling.
To be in Cartagena during the New Year holiday (or any other time of the year) and not enjoy the excellent array of seafood that the city has to offer would be a crime. One of the most popular choices for an authentic taste the Caribbean would be the ceviche, and definitely in this city if they know how to prepare it… with a great deal of flavor and lemon juice! This traditional dish is served as input to a lunch or snack at any time of day; is why we find everywhere ceviche small carts along the beach or in any corner. If on the other hand you prefer to experience the comfort of a table, accompanying your dish with a delicious glass of white wine, do not stop going to the Cevichería The Bowling, a popular informal restaurant specializing in ceviche; La Perla, of Peruvian origin is another excellent choice and the Cevichería, refuge of renowned chef Anthony Bourdain, will fulfill all your expectations.
El Paseo Shopping Spree
Shopping in Cartagena can be one of the most diverse and fun experiences, and an opportunity to learn more of this city, its people and its culture. If you are looking for something different, a little more traditional and urban, we recommend a stroll through the city center where every sidewalk you will find a local seller of hats, accessories, artwork, decorative objects and endless Articles full of color and creativity. Moreover you can visit the different high-end boutiques that will show the essence of the Colombian design at its best; clothing, handicrafts and jewelry made in emeralds (among other things) can be an excellent gift for the new year begins premiering. Some of our favorites: the boutique Colombian fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi , and shops Onda de Mar and Agua Bendita that specialize in beachwear and swimwear.
Son Cubano, Mojitos and more!
The nightlife here begins late at night and the entertainment options are made for all tastes and personalities. To give the start to the New Year’s Eve in Cartagena you can enjoy a romantic dinner or friends in upscale bistro style restaurant La Victrola, which at midnight becomes a festive atmosphere accompanied by live band live Cuban son. If you still have energy and are in the mood for a drink after dinner, the perfect place is Sibaris Wine Bar; quietly enjoying a glass of wine and then go straight into the arms of Morpheus.
If instead you can not wait to dive into the dance floor, put on your most comfortable shoes and get ready for a night of salsa in one of the most popular clubs in town: Café Habana or Quiebracanto, located in the traditional district Gethsemane , will give one of the best holidays of your life. For a different style of music take a tour of Bazurto Social Club, a place full of nightlife you will dance to the rhythm of cumbia and champeta two own musical genres of Caribbean culture.
New Year’s greatest pleasures
The best way to welcome the new year is enjoying with all your senses. Surrender to indulgence and all the culinary delights you’ll find Mila , one of the most famous bakeries across the country, located at the corner of the Cathedral of Cartagena. Much like the French bakeries, this place has to offer all kinds of sandwiches made with freshly baked bread and maybe the best brownies you’ve had in your whole life. Do not miss the opportunity to have breakfast like a king or share a brunch with friends to the last bite.
After this great feast of flavors, we recommend you take a bike ride around Cartagena … what better way to explore the city and burn all those calories! Discover the city in the morning, before the sun reaches its highest point and heat becomes difficult to control; You can learn a little about the history and architecture of this destination visiting one of its museums inside the Walled City or giving a tour of the Castle of San Felipe, an old Spanish fort made of stone.
Take a Chariot ride
One of the most traditional activities to do during your stay in Cartagena is the Chariot ride pulled by horses along the cobbled streets of the Old City. If you have not yet had the opportunity to tour the city properly, delight with its colorful and stunning sunsets, do not hesitate to embark on this horse drawn experience. This is another way to discover the city, its most popular tourist spots and some of the history that surrounds it. Normally these rides are done in the afternoon and late into the night, leaving near the clock tower and have a duration of 30 minutes; They are ideal to go with friends or share with a group of friends.
For exclusive eateries
Before ending your holiday in this wonderful destination, try not to let all the delights that offers the cuisine of the Caribbean region. Since opening its doors in 2009, Don Juan , the bistro chef renowned Colombian Juan Felipe Camacho has become one of the most popular of La Heroica. This luxurious restaurant serving European essence is highlighted by the Basque influence of their dishes with a touch of Colombian ingredients; It is the perfect place for a drink before dinner, accompanied by delicious tapas and desserts instead. To savor the end of your stay go to Café del Mar, one of the hottest spots in Cartagena throughout the years, where you can enjoy Caribbean sounds and landscapes of the city from the top of the walls. And of course, don’t forget to order a mojito or two and enjoy your glory days, as this city will always have it’s doors open.
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