Lifestyle in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena is an enchanting city that walks a tightrope between ancient Spanish culture and the vibrant Caribbean. From ladies with giant trays of fruit balanced on their heads to the colorful buildings that fill its streets, this magical city has something for everyone.

Living in the upscale Getsemani and Walled City neighborhoods can be costly, but it’s still possible to live comfortably here.

  1. Natural Beauty

Cartagena is a city that’s overflowing with gorgeous streets, beaches, and artisanal shops. The locals here are incredibly friendly and welcoming. Even if they don’t speak English, they will greet you with a smile and a warm heart. The artisanal shops are full of jewelry, home decor and accessories, and clothing designed by local artists.

A trip to the Convento de la Popa will give you a bird’s eye view of the historic Walled City and the ocean. Afterwards, be sure to check out the Cathedral and Palace of the Inquisition. The bronze statue of “La Gorda Gertrudis” created by Fernando Botero is also a must-see. Rubbing her ample bosom is said to bring good luck and fortune.

If you love to shop, then a visit to the local Mercado de Bazurto is a must-see. This massive market offers an overwhelming array of sights, smells and sounds that you won’t find anywhere else.

  1. Nightlife

If you love to dance, the Cartagena nightlife is not to be missed. Cartagena’s salsa scene is world class, and you will find some of Colombia’s hottest men here. Check out the famous Cafe Havana or Donde Fidel for a night of dancing to live music. Cartagena also hosts the annual Gay Circuit Party in conjunction with Cartagena Pride.

It can get hot and crowded at the clubs, so dark jeans and a button down are ideal. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes that can handle walking between venues. A good pair of sneakers would do well, like these Rockports.

Barrio Getsemani is home to many murals and street art that reflect the city’s history and culture. Don’t miss a visit to the colorful plaza in front of Iglesia de la Trinidad. Here you will find locals and tourists enjoying music, street performances, and outdoor cafes.

  1. Health Care

Cartagena is a vibrant city with lots of live music and dancing. It’s a favorite party destination among hordes of backpackers and packaged tour groups, but locals love to get rowdy as well. The Getsemani neighborhood, for instance, fills up at night with a mixture of tourists and locals enjoying the finer things in life – street food and cheap booze.

You can try fried whole fish (Mojarra or Pargo Frito), coconut rice, and golden fried patacones or arepa de huevo (a pita bread that’s fried, opened, filled with an egg, and spiced mince, then re-fried). Colombia is famous for its coffee, so don’t miss out on a cup of the good stuff.

Living in Cartagena can be relatively expensive, especially if you choose to live in the walled city or the upscale beachfront neighborhood of Bocagrande. However, you can find more affordable options like Manga or El Cabrero, or inland neighborhoods with low-rise apartments or garden homes.

  1. Retirees

Cartagena is a popular destination for retirees. It offers a tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and rich history. It also offers a lower cost of living than the United States or many countries in Western Europe.

One of the most popular things to do in Cartagena is to enjoy the sunsets. The city has several rooftop bars where you can sip your favorite cocktail and take in the gorgeous view of the colorful colonial architecture and Caribbean Sea.

Another option is to explore the city’s naval history at Museo Naval Del Caribe. This museum has a great collection of model ships, maritime art, and other artifacts.

As with any tourist destination, Cartagena can be crowded during peak travel times. It can also be difficult to navigate if you don’t speak the language. But if you’re willing to practice your Spanish and be patient with vendors, this can be a very enjoyable place to live. The Plaza de Bolivar is a gorgeous public square surrounded by many of the city’s historic buildings.Lifestyle in Cartagena

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