If your New Year resolution was to get out more, Cartagena's booming party scene will help you clock up those clubbing hours like there's no tomorrow.
While Cartagena's compact size can't compete with mega clubs of Las Vegas or New York or even the nightlife offering in the Colombian capital of Bogota, it makes up for any cosmopolitan shortcomings with a sexier style and spirit to dancing the night away.
Music here is serious business and the salsa beats, booty bass and hipster house make for a heady cocktail of going out options to try out whilst you're passing through.
Read on to get an insider peek to the best of Cartagena’s party map, or if you want to skip waiting in line and go VIP, give our expert travel team a nudge and we'll hook you up with the hottest plans to make you feel like a true local.
You only live once, you might as well get dressed up and paint the town red…
…orange, blue, green, pink, purple…
You get the picture!
Serving up a sensational mix of sensory delights in a beautiful old shoe store, Alquímico, brings some serious style to Cartagena's burgeoning nightlife scene.
This long-forgotten Republican ruin was given a new lease of life by owner, Jean Trinh, who converted it into the city's nocturnal epicentre.
For years, Colombians have been using their amazing fruits almost exclusively for their fruit juices, and drinking their liquor straight. It took Trinh to ask what happens if you let local fruits to mix with rum for a few months? Why, fabulous cocktails of course.
Don't come here if you simply want to down aguardiente shots and formulaic cocktails until the early hours of the morning, because Alquímico turns drinking into a fine art.Alquimico Plan a Party Weekend
Sofia Vegara's been here, so what other reason do you need to the fanciest bar in Cartagena.
With a winning cocktail list, a great sound system that rips through the whoops and screams of the jubilant crowd and a glittery dose the opulence Latinos love so much and do so well, La Jugada is a well-accomplished starlet on the Cartagena nightclub circuit.
The terrace is a particular triumph, when you want to escape the salsa scrum below and do a little stargazing with your new found friends.
Like all VIP hotspots, it pays to think ahead of the pack and book a table well in advance so you can slink to the front of the queue with the swagger of Jagger - who would undoubtedly make La Jugada his second home if he was ever in town.La Jugada Plan a Party Weekend
Mojitos and Salsa are all you need to have a roaring good time at Cafe Havana, a born-and-bred Getsemani joint that was here before everyone else piled in.
If hot, sweaty salsa is what you're looking for, the world famous Café Havana is where you'll get it.
Join the crowds and climb aboard a rhythmic bandwagon that includes former heavyweight patrons, Hilary and Bill Clinton,
A seriously salsalicious live band comes on around 23:00 which gives you just enough time to get some dangerously potent Mojitos down your gullet before you even think about hitting the dance floor.
The music keeps coming until 03:00. Your hangover will linger until 15:00 the next day. SALUD!Cafe Havana Plan a Party Weekend
Wet your whiskers and line your stomach in Getsemani’s tapas and bar palace - well, crumbling colonial house—in the city’s coolest barrio.
With amazingly hipster, ‘just got out of bed’ interiors this place is, quite literally, the drinking hole (the bar has no roof) to be seen in any night of the week.
We can’t get enough of the sour green mango margaritas, stone baked oven pizzas and cultured soundtrack, all best enjoyed under the stars of the hidden outdoor terrace out back.Demente
All the cool cats know Thursdays are the new Fridays, and it doesn't get groovier than Crazy Salsa's weekly jazz sessions.
Every Thursday night the salsa kings at Crazy Salsa don their jazz hats and host a fabulous night filled with music, dancing and good times with the spirited Zarabanda orchestra. Proving popular with locals and foreigners alike, these guys have upped the ante on their line up, inviting some renowned international guests over for the fun.
The dressed up venue also hosts a healthy turnover of themed nights, from reggae to rock and jazz. Check their Facebook page for an up-to-date event line up on what's on throughout the week.
If you want to cut the rug like a local, consider signing up to private dance class beforehand.Learn to Dance Salsa
Los Carpinteros is full of Cartagena color and characters and a brilliant place to throw a good, old-fashioned Getsemani street party.
Found on the loudest street in Cartagena, Callejon Ancho, this authentic Getsemani bar was created for thirsty Getsemanisenses to provide them with a place to celebrate their street baseball victories.
Owner, Davinson Gaviria, is something of a local legend with his hands. He set up the bar on what used to be his carpentry workshop (hence the name), so he and his friends had a place to drink and play music on his kickass sound system, el Castigaodor (the punisher).
He lives next door with his family who have been the go-to woodworkers in Getsemani for three generations.
Spinning a lively soundtrack of Salsa, Champeta and Colombian Reggaeton to accompany the well-priced cold beers and rum, this bar is a throwback to what Getsemani used to be like before the hostels and trendy bars and restaurants moved into this fast changing part of town.Los Carpinteros Plan a Party Weekend
Bonche really comes into own thanks to its unique atmosphere that's rooted in Caribbean vibrancy and charm. Located in a stunning converted colonial house on the sleepier side of Getsemaní, you bypass the been-there-done-it section of Plaza de La Trinidad and get plugged right into the authentic barrio swing.
Music is god here. From the pop art style music posters on the walls to the funky soundtrack that will get you locked in a Shazam whirlwind, it's impossible to stay seated for long. Especially on the weekends when DJ's take over the back room and get the whole place pumping.
The bar offers a truly eclectic mix of booze options to get you in the groove. Highlights include the cleverly named Gin Pa Ti (Gin for You in Costeño speak). A heady combination of watermelon, lemon and peppermint that’s almost too easy to chug down your gullet, and the generous jugs of sangría, infused with rum as well as red wine and Forrest fruits to really push the units off the scale.Bonche Bar Plan a Party Weekend
The Cartagena Cocktail Tour is a unique experience for thirsty visitors who want to learn about unique cocktails and how to make them.
A great kick start to your evening, you'll sample plenty of weird and wonderful rums and fruits as well as pick up some insider going out tips along the way.
You'll also have the chance to learn all about what's hot this weekend from one of our in-the-know guides.
They'll be able to give you the lowdown on where to go and what to do to make the most of your weekend in Cartagena.Cartagena Cocktail Tour Top Events in Cartagena
The oh-so-glam IT crowd of Colombia descend on La Movida every weekend, for a classy knees up with the city's high-rollers.
This is where you will find the city's beau monde and hooked up out-of-towners quenching the early evening thirst with a truly fruity Hendrick's G&T or moving into fourth gear with a couple of shots of Don Julio.
The music vibe is breezy beach house music, and the DJ is often accompanied by a popular trumpet playing sidekick. The back end has a restaurant and more local reggaeton vibe while the front has a more international finish.
Rammed to the rafters on Fridays and Saturdays the only way to skip the queues is to book a table and dress sharp. Colombians would never dream of donning a shorts and flip flops combo on a big night out!
NOTE: La Movida has been closed since March. They have a sister property open, La Jugada, which serves up a similar recipe for a winning night on the tiles in CartagenaLa Jugada Plan a Party Weekend
Cartagena's best events are often the most spontaneous. The city has an itinerant population of people passing through for festivals and cultural happenings so each week has a different crowd and a different vibe.
The organisers of these festivals are always looking for hip venues to throw and impromptu party for their friends in an old ruin, or other open air venues like the historic walls of Cartagena or a block party on one of the narrow streets of Getsemani.
One week it's Colombian celebs lured to town by the Film Festival throwing parties on the walls, the next it's high-brow visitors from the UK or enthusiastic Spring Breakers from New York.
Then there's our favourite pop-up party, the sizzling Champetú, that brings together an electric mix of locals and out-of-towners that like to get hot and sweaty to Cartagena's champeta rhythms.
There's usually something going on that you need to know about.
Get yourself hooked up to the hottest pop-up parties and cultural events through This Is Cartagena's What's Happening section, our Weekly Guide to the hottest happenings or simply email to one of our team of talented insiders to ensure you don't miss a beat.Cartagena Events Calendar Contact Us
If you're looking for help planning the perfect party weekend in Cartagena, our talented travel team is on hand to help make the most of your evenings, as well as introducing you to the city's best hangover cures.
We're talking island recovery sessions, spa days and wellness escapes to balance out your hedonistic impulses. Contact our team to plan the perfect party weekend in Cartagena.
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