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4 Best Bars in Cartagena, Colombia to Dance the Night Away

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1 month ago

After enough big nights out in Medellin and Bogota, you’ll soon realize that Colombians know how to party. As you plan your Cartagena itinerary, you’ll want to ensure you allocate time to experience the best of Cartagena’s nightlife.

How busy these bars are really depends on when you visit Cartagena. The high season tends to be between December and February, when North American tourists (and party-seekers) descend on Cartagena. During the summer months (June – September), bars tends to be comparatively quiet. But don’t worry, Cartagena is truly a year-round destination with enough party energy for a lifetime.

If you’re traveling alone or super keen to experience the best of Cartagena’s nightlife, your best bet is to join a Cartagena pub crawl, or better yet, a cocktail tour. However, if you prefer to drink in your own pace, we’ve got you covered, too.

In this curated list, we share a unique list of bars which cover a diverse range of experiences. As always, our objective is to ensure you have the best Cartagena experience possible. Expert mixology, sunset viewpoints and local secrets: here are the 4 best bars in Cartagena to dance the night away.

Getting around Cartagena

As with any night out, it’s important to make sure you know how to get home. If you’re staying in the Old Town or Getsemani, you should be within walking distance to your Cartagena hotel. Depending on how late your evening finishes, ask the bar’s opinion if its safe to walk home.

Always try to walk down busier streets, which usually have some degree of police or security presence.   

Local cabs can be found at various street corners around Cartagena’s Old Town. If you find yourself out alone after dark, I always recommend calling an Uber. Despite being extremely popular, Cartagena is one of the friendliest towns in Colombia and any bartender or waiter will gladly help you out.

4 Best Bars in Cartagena, Colombia

Alquimico

The flagship cocktail bar of Cartagena regularly features on the prestigious Best 50 Cocktail Bars in the world (currently ranked number 9). With three storeys, a nightly DJ and reggaeton classics on repeat, Alquimico is designed to be the ultimate night out.

To earn a stellar reputation like theirs, it’s no surprise that Alquimico’s cocktail menu is a mixologist’s dream.

Alquimico does not take reservations, but with such a huge space you’ll often be able to get a table. In saying that, the bar does tend to get very busy after 10 pm. Alquimico technically maintains a dress code. However, you’ll find lots of people wearing summer attire (shorts, t-shirts) and I recommend simply avoiding swimwear or flip-flops.

My go-to cocktail at Alquimico is the ‘Chagra’ which draws from Colombia’s roots, with a vodka base, corn infusion, aperol and pineapple extract. With a decent food menu, Alquimico also makes for a great dinner or late night snack option in Cartagena. The yuca dumplings are a crowd favorite and the perfect accompaniment to a few rounds of drinks.

Café del Mar

Caribbean sunsets are the sunsets of legends. It’s one thing to enjoy a beautiful sunset, and a totally different thing to locate the accompanying atmosphere and vibes for the ultimate sunset experience. And this is precisely where Café del Mar shines.

Café del Mar offers a quintessential Cartagena experience: watching the sunset over the Caribbean with a cocktail in hand, with fresh reggaeton tunes in the background.

Perched on the walls of Cartagena’s Old Town, tables at Café del Mar literally lean against colonial-era cannons. For the best tables in the house (overlooking the ocean), make sure you reserve more than one day in advance.

cafe del mar rooftop sunset bar

The drinks menu at Café del Mar is simple and straightforward. If you’re struggling to decide, the Café del Mar special vodka pineapple is the perfect thirst quencher in the Cartagena sun. And if you’re not staying for the dinner, the plantain chips are an ideal Colombian-style sundowner snack.

El Baron

This little cocktail bar offers that rare combination of high-quality mixology with a completely down-to-earth and welcoming atmosphere. I particularly love the user-friendly cocktail menu at El Baron. Each drink is given a clear cocktail profile (for example, ‘citric + nutty’), a list of flavors and most importantly, and an indication of strength.

El Baron is famed for their environmental focus, including reusing bottles and growing their own herbs (which feature in your cocktails!). You’ll notice certain drinks on the menu have a small apple next to them. This indicates that proceeds from your drink are going towards an environmental NGO.

51 Sky Bar

Away from the tourist hubs of the Old Town and Getsemani, 51 Sky Bar is located in the ‘Mini Miami’ strip of Cartagena beach. The name is a slight giveaway, but 51 Sky Bar sits in the Estelar Cartagena Hotel and one of Cartagena’s tallest towers.

After a few days in Cartagena, this is the ideal bar to get away from the tourist hubs and sit among the who’s who of Cartagena society.

It’s worth noting a few (slightly painful) logistical notes, including a strict dress code (mainly for men: no short, sandals). You’ll also have to pay a fairly hefty cover charge, which changes depending on what time of the afternoon or evening you arrive. For the most up to date cover charges, your best bet is to call the Estelar.

Beyond bars

My favorite thing about Cartagena is simply exploring the extremely photogenic streets and soaking in the contagious Carnival-esque atmosphere of the Old Town. In saying that, one of the best ways to experience Cartagena is through its vibrant dining and drinking scene.

To help you make the most of your stay, don’t miss our guide to the best 4 cafes in Cartagena for the ultimate cup of Colombian coffee. If you enjoy planning a big night, you’ll want to visit one of Cartagena’s star restaurants before hitting the bars. We’ve got you covered with our curated list of Cartagena’s best restaurants – for all budgets.


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