The very reason Cartagena was on my bucket list was cos of its colorful old colonial town. There is no surprise why this city thats so rich in culture and history is designated to be a UNESCO world heritage site. Visiting this vibrant city really feels like you stepped back into a different era! Every street is lined with the most beautiful colorful colonial buildings, packed with churches, plazas, palaces and mansions that have overhanging bougainvillea balconies. It was such a pleasure getting lost in this maze of quaint alleys of the old town.
This city is perfect to drop a specific sightseeing route and really get lost exploring one magical alley and plaza after another. The energy in the city is amazing – bustling, lively and sensual ; a totally charming experience by itself whether you walk around in the day or night.
PHOTO Tip : If you are looking for the best photo opps in town one thing to note explore in the wee hours of the morning; You ll have the streets all to yourself (no other tourists, vendors, etc) and you can see how the city wakes up and comes to life. Its also best in terms of lighting since by midday the light can be pretty harsh. Also if you are traveling in summer – the afternoon gets super hot and humid, so exploring in the cool morning time is way more pleasurable.
Old Town Cartagena is known to be one of the most picturesque towns in the world. While every alley, plaza and building was utterly gorgeous, there were few that stood out to be my absolute faves. So here are my picks for the Best Photo Spots in the Magical Old Town of Cartagena :
1 ) Fave alley to get the shot of the cathedral :
The perfect spot to get the shot of the Cartegena Cathedral (the quintessential icon of the city) in the backdrop is Calle 36 (right outside Abacos libros y cafe).
Customized hat : Original Marrakech
2 ) Colorful buildings and doorways :
Its so overwhelming cos literally every single corner is instagram heaven and so picture perfect – I wanted a shot at every colorful house haha! Some of my fave streets which had the best colorful buildings :
- Calle 38 (near Carrera 9) – found the most picture perfect pink house with turquoise windows here.
Also found this baby pink house and light turquoise house on an adjacent street ( didnt take note of the exact address 🙁 )
- Carrera 8 between Calle 38 and Calle 39. Probably my fave street! It had the prettiest brights and pastels and bougainvillea in the background.
- Calle 37 from Carrera 7 towards Carrera 10
But really you cant go wrong with any alley and doorways here in Cartagena, here are some more photo opps from around town :
3 ) Catch the sunset from a rooftop bar :
The best place to catch the sunset in Cartagena is undoubtedly from a rooftop! With a birds eye sweeping view of the old city and cathedral towers, it is utterly magical.
Here are some of the best rooftops to catch the sunset from :
- La Movich Hotel Cartagena – the best view of the city is from the rooftop bar here! Unfortunately the days we were in Cartagena they were closed to public cos of a private event.
- Sophia Hotel : Since we couldnt do La Movich we settled for the rooftop bar of Sophia hotel (photo above). It is literally right opposite La Movich, so really you get the same view! The only advantage La Movich has is that its 2 storeys higher.
- Rooftop at Townhouse Boutique Hotel : We stayed here on the last night and loved the rooftop bar here. It is pretty small and can get super crowded, but the views are ahmazing!
- Cafe Del Mar : Not really a rooftop bar but its right by the wall near the ocean side and is a super popular spot to catch a spectacular sunset and have dinner/drinks.
4 ) Las Palenqueras or the Fruit ladies :
I had so much fun dancing and taking selfies with the beautiful Las Palenqueras of Cartagena. And even though we were lost in translation – I hardly speak any Spanish and they were fluent in Spanish mostly we still bonded over the universal language of love. We exchanged smiles, hugs and instantly bonded over our matchy colorful outfits and fun selfies. Also just to note – they are usually around Plaza Santo Domingo and alleys around there. Keep in mind it is customary to tip them if you take a photo from them.
5 ) Fruit vendors and carts :
The fresh fruit in Colombia is so delicious – I could’t stop eating all the yummy mango, granadilla (sweeter version of passionfruit) and Uchuva ( a south american cherry). There are fruit vendors everywhere in the old city and nothing beats fresh fruit or some tender coco water to refresh yourself on a hot summer day.
6 ) Cute cafes :
Cartagena is filled with tons of amazing cafes and restaurants – some of my faves that are not only a must try for Colombian Coffee but also aesthetically gorgeous for a photo opp are Epoca cafe (below) and Abacos Libros cafe (cafe instead a library!).
7 ) Boutique Hotels :
Staying at a boutique hotel will give you an experience of staying in an authentic Colombian colonial style home. Check out this post about the stunning Casa San Agustin where we stayed; it was undoubtedly the best boutique hotel in town. Infact its pool happens to be Cartagena’s most photographed and insta famous pool :), makes for the best photo opp!
My Cartagena Travel Guide will be up soon for other details if you are planning a trip to this beautiful city. Thanks for stopping by! xoxo