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Among the city's most authentic and coolest nightspots is Café Havana located outside the walled city, in the Getsemani district, far from fancy new restaurants and bars. One night I went there with my Canadian friend Kathy. It was actually her last night in Cartagena before taking an early morning flight back to Canada, one more reason to celebrate in style.
If you would like to experience the Cuban night with salsa beats you won't want to miss Café Havana. The atmosphere is pure Old Havana, touched with amber lights, the walls are covered with black and white pictures of legendary Cuban singers, rum flows while salsa band swings. The place was buzzing with a mixed crowd of locals and tourists, drinkers, dancers and musicians. We came early enough to snag a table. Later two Colombian couples joined us and we had great fun together.
Have a look at the video.
The place is open only Thursday through Saturday. The band starts around 11:30pm and the party goes on until the wee hours. The Cuban mojito was excellent to start with though later we opted for a bottle of Colombian rum which was served with slices of lime and ice.
Café Havana is not far from the old city though the area is a bit sketchy at night. Keeping on the main street Calle de la Media Luna which was well lit and still busy at that hour, we decided to walk. But you should absolutely take a taxi after you leave the place. It's only a few minutes ride to the old city but much safer.
more pics in the travelogue
Updated Jul 23, 2011
Phone: +57 5 664 7568
Saying we're not night owls is a real understatement. Well, when you wake up at dawn, being one would not be the best of moves, would it? Getting out for great shots in the morning means sacrifices but really for me, it's not an option. I'm an early bird by nature so going to bed early comes naturally. Besides, in a place many people are afraid to visit, most bad things are likely to happen late at night and by not being out then, we totally avoid even the remote chance of something happening. Out at sunrise for great shots of empty streets in great light and back out at dusk for amber hues was our motto here and elsewhere in Colombia and we have no regrets.
We did like hanging out at the juice stand, eating cerviche and mixing rum with our guanabana/papaya smoothies but that rarely lasted past eight. Besides, every time we walked by the Havana club it was empty. Ok, it was only about 8 at night and it's likely the party people were just getting themselves ready for the action. ;)
Updated Nov 11, 2010
a horsecabride in Cartagena is fun, relaxing and experiencing and not overpriced
expect to pay around 50000 pesos for half an hour horsecabride in old town..the horsecabriders bring you out also to more far distanced places and are very experienced with cartagena history
Dress Code: comfortable
Written Oct 31, 2010
Address: everywhere to find in historic old town
Café del Mar is a great place to end a long day of sight-seeing at, or to begin the night. Café del Mar is a bar located on the old city walls, which surrounds the Old Town. From here you will have a great view of the sea and the sunset (so come before it gets dark). Try to get one of the tall tables and chairs nearest to the sea where you have the best view (if you don‘t prefer to sit in a comfortable sofa). There is a large selection of cocktails and drinks on the menu and it is easy to stay long here. Both nights I came here my drink was 17 500 pesos (August 2008).
Café del Mar is open between 4pm - 2am.
Written Feb 13, 2009
Address: Baluarte de Santo Domingo
Phone: 5 - 664 6513
If you want to see some local girls that are on fuego...head down to Boca Granda..Cartagena's version on South Beach. This place has all the nice disco's with working and no-working girls. A friend who has been down here 5-6 times swears by some place called.....Americana. While I am happy and home and not tempted easily I thought about heading over here but in the end did not want to spend the money getting drunk for nothing.
You can either walk here or take a cab for a couple of bucks...take the cab if you are going to drink.
Dress Code: If you want to have some fun and dance a bit you'll need shirt, pants and shoes...shorts and a t-shirt might not impress your objective much in these places
Written Jan 6, 2009
If you are looking for a quick drink and want to go to bar instead of your hostel/hotel which may sell beer..you can head down Calle San Andres a few steps from Casa Viena. There are really no girls her asside from some fugly hookers that may or may not be there but it is a cool place to have a drink if Boca Grande is not your scene. Getsemani has a mixed reputation amongst travelers. Some people call it dangerous.....I guess if you were drunk off your butt it could get interesting but to me it was tame....there are a few stupid kids around that may try and act tough with you but they will go away if you are direct with them
Dress Code: There is none that I saw.
Written Jan 6, 2009
on our last, upon a local recommendation, we ended up going to Cafe Havana. We were dreaming of wonderful mojitos and excellent live music... music-wise we were not disappointed, the band which was playing was superb, the mojito a simple let down... it had very little of everything: ron, yerbabuena, lime, what it definitely had was sugar and fizzy water.
I also should add that we found the place a bit too touristy for us, meaning that it was 50/50 locals and foreigners, with a good proportion of male foreigners with a local young "fiancee".
The usual cover charge is 5000 COP per person
Dress Code: No dres code
Updated Aug 13, 2008
Address: Calle de la Media Luna - Calle del Guerriero
Phone: 315 6902566
Cafe del Mar ended up being my favourite pre and post dinner hangout in Cartagena... an open-air cocktail bar located on Baluarte Santo Domingo, one of the towns bastions overlooking the sea. It is open every day from 4 PM to 2 AM and it's very scenic. At sunset, it's magical.
There are plenty of tables and comfy chairs, and some soft sofas, too - and a light breeze coming in tfrom the sea. Cocktails are excellent, in particular their mojito con ron negro. Best tasted with some olives, but you should reember to ask for them... theny don't normally come with your cocktail.
Dress Code: There's no dress code.
Written Aug 12, 2008
Address: Baluarte Santo Domingo
Phone: (+57 5) 6646513
Traditional tourist night-entertainment, the rumbeda (party) on a chiva (traditional Colombian bus with seats replaced by benches and doors and windows removed) for a price of $20 is worth doing if you are in the mood of partying. It is better if you speak some Spanish because the animation is in Spanish but you can have good time even if you don't speak any Spanish at all.
The tour will take you through the city accompanied by a band playing local traditional music, with the crowd singing out loud and the staff serving lousy rum-and-coke to fuel the party. The city-tour takes about a couple of hours including a stop for a snack (Colombian fried snacks such as arepa de huevo and other similar snacks - in the price), and eventually they drop you to a disco in Bocagrande to finish the night.
You shall live with some discomfort: among others, there is no strict timetable and the chivas depart more or less when they want, meaning when they get packed through the last seat available, thing that can be quite a hassle in the hot Cartagena's nights.
You shall like the "let's get loud" kind of party to enjoy the chiva for it is all about drinking, singing and getting loud. Nothing memorable, but still a way to have a taste of the local party-life.
Dress Code: No dress code specific requirements. Do wear light clothing because it can be very hot.
Updated Jun 22, 2008
To pass an unforgettable time at night in Cartagena there are bars, cafes, casinos and discos. The best places for “rumbear” are Corralito de Piedra, Arsenal Street, and Bocagrande, since romantic and pleasant atmospheres for happy “rumbeaderos”, places where you will have the opportunity to see artists and fun loving people that visit Cartagena de Indies.
You can also enjoy a ride in a horse drawn coach or a walk for the Old City and admire its splendid view by the romantic colonial streetlights.
Going by “chiva” is an interesting way to travel in the night around Cartagena. Colorful and picturesque busses where it serves rum, accompanied for the rhythm of Caribbean airs.
A three hour great tour that starts in Cartagena Bay, where you can appreciate in the distance The Poop, the insignia ship Gloria with its illuminated mast and The Illustrious Guest House nailed in the Manzanillo Island, on one side of the port.
When leaving Bocagrande you can glimpse the Jetty of the Pegasos, the Tower of the Clock and the Center of Conventions, hall of the Arsenal, the street of the rumba. In the crossing of the Bridge Roman toward the Island of Manga is appreciated in all its dimension the magnificence of San Felipe's Castle.
For taste the typical fried food as the traditional empanada with egg, the chiva stops at the wall from where one can admire the architecture of the Santa Clara Hotel, then continue toward the Escollera de Bocagrande where the walk concludes, with an invitation to follow the “rumba” there.
The value of the rumba in chiva, includes liquor and fried food from Cartagena and you can reserve tickets at travel agencies that operate in the hotels.
Dress Code: Jeans, and confortable wear
Updated May 7, 2006
7 Reviews and 267 Opinions This is a beautiful hotel but not worth the money to stay here...especially not worth having your...