When researching things to do in Cartagena, Colombia almost every list is going to tell you to visit Getsemani. The once seedy neighborhood is now a vibrant, cool, hip part of town that everyone should check out!
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This neighborhood is vibrant, full of colors, and smiling faces. Its authenticity and welcoming spirit can be seen everywhere you look in the true Caribbean spirit. So, talk to the people, walk the colorful streets, order a cerveza, and grab some street food. Explore shops, get to know the local history and come across some talented street artist’s work.
Things to do in Getsemani Cartagena
Wander around and take it all in
First things first, I think Getsemani Cartagena is seen best when you walk around and just wander around. You’ll get to see the vibrant heartbeat of this neighborhood and as a traveler, I always feel that getting to see somewhere through the eyes of a local gives you the best experience.
As you wander the brightly painted portones (gates) that line residential streets, you’ll probably come across some pieces of street art. Getsemani’s walls, like many cities’s around the world, express what artists have to say. The neighborhood is embracing the growing culture of street artists (much to my excitement because, #muralchasers) and hosted its first-ever Urband Art Festival in 2013.
Pro Tip: I suggest looking at booking an Airbnb experience where you can see the city and neighborhood through the eyes of a local as they show you the parts of their hometown they love most! In Cartagena, you can find historic walking tours, culinary experiences, and unique things to do for great vacation memories.
Where to eat in Getsemani
When it comes to the food in Getsemani, the best restaurants are a little more on the trendy side. Here are some places to check out while you explore.
- Malagana Cafe Bar: A great place with a small rooftop to grab a drink.
- Demente Tapas Bar: This tapas spot near Plaza Trinidad has a little bit of everything. It is worth the splurge for a nice night out.
- Saint Roque Cafe Pub Restaurante: Serves delicious and budget-friendly Indonesian food.
- Cháchara: With a selection from hamburger to chicken wings this place has something for everyone.
- Cafe Stepping Stone: You know that Tim and I love a good place that does good too. Enter Cafe Stepping Stone. This cafe has really good food AND is helping some of Cartagena’s impoverished populations. They teach them important life skills by providing jobs and training.
- Di Silvio Trattoria: One of Getsemani and Cartagena’s best restaurants, Di Silvio Trattoria serves up amazing Italian food.
- Cafe del Mural: This cafe is everything Tim and I live for. It has good coffee, street art, and offers a tasting!
Street food galore
If you are really on a budget, keep an eye out for local street food vendors. The main square in Getsemani Cartagena always has a great selection. You can easily get a big meal for less than $6 USD.
Nightlife in Getsemani
Getsemani knows how to get down when the sun does! You’ll find dance parties and live music in the streets where everyone is having the time of their life! The neighborhood is pretty safe at night so you can spend the evening listening to music and enjoying a drink. If you want a more formal setting for drinks and dancing, head to Cafe Havana. This legendary spot delivers mojitos, live performances, and dancing to sunrise!
One last thing…
Getsemani Cartagena is a place you don’t want to miss. Even just spending a few hours in this tiny but full of life neighborhood will have you falling in love with the beats of salsa before you know it!
Here are some books I recommend to check out before your trip. And even though researching ahead of your trip is always the goal we definitely suggest bringing a guidebook along with you.