Cartagena has a small, but growing LGBTQ community. From August 5th-11th, 2019, the city will host their first official Pride Festival, with the support of the local authorities, which coincides with their annual Rumours Festival, which occurs each January and July. The Cartagena Pride Festival offers activities ranging from exercise classes, conversations and a Pride Expo to Drag brunches and Drag Sunset. Rumours Festival offers pool parties, boat parties, concerts and more, whether you're gay, an ally, or just looking for a great time.
Here is a list of the best places for gay and straight travelers alike to visit in Cartagena.
Places to stay
Casa Lola is a gay-owned and -operated hotel located in the Getsemani neighborhood, Calle del Guerrero No. 29-108/118. Casa Lola is stunning and its charm comes from its respect to the original architecture and design of its buildings. Casa Lola offers a calm and inviting environment for its guests. The hotel offers airport pickup, room service, wake up calls, a rooftop terrace and pool, a rooftop lounge, and a delicious tapas menu. Rooms start about $125 USD/night and includes breakfast.
Allure Chocolat is a hotel located near the Convention Center in the heart of Cartagena. It is located in the Getsemani neighborhood, Calle del Arsenal No. 8B-58. They offer five styles of rooms, a pool bar, relaxation terrace, and the Red Knife Restaurant. Although it is not a beachfront hotel, they offer bay view hotel rooms. Rooms start at about $120 USD/ night.
San Lazaro Art Lifestyle Hotel:
San Lazaro Art Lifestyle Hotel is located across the street from the historic Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, and within walking distance to the beautiful walled Historic Center. The hotel offers comfortable rooms, a terrace with swimming pool and an in-hotel restaurant. Rooms start at about $100 USD/night.
Hyatt Regency Cartagena:
Hyatt Regency Cartagena is located beachfront in the Bocagrande District of Cartagena. The Hyatt offers comfortable guestrooms, several in-hotel restaurants, a spa, an elaborate pool area, fitness center with steam rooms, and more. The Hyatt is also located within walking distance of Plaza Bocagrande, a large mall filled with shopping and dining options, and the beaches of Bocagrande. Rooms start at about $120 USD/night.
There are also many options through Airbnb. If you are interested in renting a room, apartment or even a house, there are great options all over the city. If you are looking for something beachfront, check out Marbella, Bocagrande or Laguito neighborhoods. Other great neighborhoods include Getsemani, Historic Center, Manga and Crespo.
D8 is a club located in the Getsemani neighborhood, Calle del Arsenal. It is a gay club known for great dancing, featuring reggaeton, electronic, and pop music. D8 was designed with the LGBTQ community in mind and reflects an inclusive and respectful environment. They even offer a rooftop terrace to enjoy the Caribbean night breezes. D8 is open Thursday-Sunday from 9PM-6AM.
Le Petit is a gay club located within the historic walls of the center of Cartagena, Calle del Candilejo. Le Petit offers a mix of local music and electronic hits. They have a delicious cocktail menu. Is open everyday, by day as a restaurant and by night as a club.
Alquimico is a restaurant and bar located in the historic center of Cartagena, Calle del Colegio. Alquimico offers delicious bar food, house-made cocktails, and a unique ambiance. Sometimes they host events in their beautiful rooftop terrace as well. Whether you are looking for a place to take a date or go out as a group, Alquimico is a great option for your next night out. Alquimico is open everyday starting at 5PM.
La Movida is a tapas bar located in the center of Cartagena, Calle Baloco No. 2-14, open every Wednesday-Saturday from 7PM on. La Movida offers an inclusive environment with great dancing and exquisite cocktails. There are two vibes in the bar, inside they offer a Reggaeton-heavy playlist and on their outside patio they host a DJ. This place is busy each night, and offers the option of reserving a table, which is highly recommended. Come check out one of Cartagena’s hippest and favorite hangouts.
Things to do
Hollywood beach is located in front of Hotel Caribe in el Laguito. Hollywood beach is an LGBTQ-friendly beach in Cartagena and is easily accessible and popular, especially on Sundays. This is a great place to meet people and spend time enjoying the sand and sea of Cartagena.
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas:
Castillo de San Felipe is located just outside the historic center, about A 5-minute drive or a 15-minute walk away from the center’s edge. Here you can check out the historic fortress of Cartagena, which is over 400 years old. Castillo de San Felipe is open everyday from 8AM-6PM and the cost is about $9 USD to enter.
Chiva Party Bus:
The Chiva Party Bus gives you a different experience of the beautiful sights you can view walking around historic Cartagena by day. The Chiva drives you through the central neighborhoods of Cartagena while offering unlimited rum while a local band plays on the bus. This is a way to experience Cartagena unlike any other. The Chiva includes hotel pickup and drop off, unlimited rum and soda, an on-board live band, a beautiful nighttime view of the city and finishes with free admission to one of Cartagena’s disco clubs where you can dance the night away. To book the Chiva Party bus click here.
If you’re looking for a simple way to get out and enjoy the Cartagena nights, check out Plaza de la Trinidad, located in the Getsemani neighborhood. It’s a great place to people watch, drink a beer, and try some delicious street food as well. Plaza Trinidad is busy every night of the week, with a great mix of locals and backpackers and tourists. There are several great bars and restaurants in the area like Demente Bar de Tapas, Confussion or Malagana two blocks away from the main square. You always have the option of picking up a beer from the local tienda to sit out in the plaza and enjoy! On Sunday nights, there is also a free Zumba class in the plaza beginning around 8PM.
BLUE APPLE BEACH
There are several close getaways near Cartagena, from Isla Baru and Isla Tierra Bomba to the beautiful Islas del Rosario in day trip or renting a private boat for island hopping.
A day trip getaway
Hidden away on the southern shore of the island of Tierra Bomba, Blue Apple is an independently owned boutique hotel and beach restaurant with a strong focus on fun and also on sustainable tourism. They have a DJ every weekend and special events once or twice a month. Also known for their fabulous LGBTQI+ bi-monthly Spread Your Wings event. Be sure to check out if anything special is happening when booking.
Stop by for lunch or spend a few nights. Escape the real world and dive into the magical island life.
Playa Blanca is located on Isla Baru, about 45 minutes by land from Cartagena. The water is clear and the beaches are a glimmering white. The beach is filled with restaurants and beachfront bars, but you will receive a delicious typical lunch included in this day trip. This is an easy getaway from the city and will leave you relaxed and refreshed. To book this trip click here.
Isla Tierra Bomba:
Bomba Beach Club and Namaste two cool Beach clubs in Punta Arena beach located on the island Tierra Bomba, only a 10 minute boat trip from Cartagena but offers a relaxing experience different from anything you will be able to find in Cartagena’s local beaches. You can spend the day enjoying the beach and water, relaxing in a hammock or beach bed, or cooling off in the pool with a cocktail.
Islas del Rosario - Gente de Mar:
This day trip to Gente de Mar in the Rosario Islands is perfect for those looking to swim, check out the tropical mangroves, enjoy a delicious lunch, and participate in kayaking, stand up paddle, snorkeling or diving through the coral reefs located nearby. Gente de Mar is located on Isla Grande about 45 minutes from Cartagena by speedboat. This is a perfect way to get away from the city and take in the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
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Islas del Rosario - Pedro Majagua:
If you are looking for something a bit more private, check out Hotel Pedro Majagua in the Rosario Islands. Is located about 50 minutes by speedboat from the Cartagena neighborhood of Manga, and offers a tranquil and relaxing day on the beautiful beaches of the Rosario Islands. During your excursion you can snorkel in the beautiful coral reefs, relax on the white sand beaches or take an ecological walk around the island and enjoy a delicious typical fish or chicken lunch under the shade of the Island’s Majagua trees. To book this trip for only $69 USD, more info click here.
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