Cartagena celebrates food gluttony. The last time we checked, there were just over 400 restaurants in the city's most popular zones! Talk about 'too many restaurants, not enough time'. That's an overwhelming abundance of meal options for anybody, least of all the foodie traveller who only has a few days in Cartagena to try them all.
The city's crown culinary jewels naturally gravitate towards the sea, with fresh fish and seafood forming the nuts and bolts of most menus. Standouts include, scintillating ceviches, basque-inspired grilled octopus and fresh sautéed lobster in browned butter.
Colombia is also considered one of the world's richest countries in bio-diversity, which explains all those ripe fruit stands, fresh fish venders and street food stoops causing all that tasty food traffic.
If you can’t find what trying them all—without your stomach imploding— would be virtually impossible. Lucky for you our "Eat, Pray, Love" awakening flourished in this very city, and we've worked our way through the town, dish by dish, ranking our flavourful favourites.
If you’re a fussy eater and need some help organising your perfect foodie weekend in Cartagena then contact us and we’ll help you create the perfectly gluttonous itinerary.
As the locals say Buen Provecho!
Cartagena Secret Suppers showcase the hidden culinary treasures of the Caribbean coast in a luxurious, top-secret setting.
Built around innovative, extravagant dishes brought from the mercado a la mesa (market to table), Game-changing chefs, Jaime Camacho and Sebastian Giraldo offer locals and foreigners delicious encounters with Colombian cuisine in a hush-hush location.
Guests are treated to a stunning 7-course tasting menu that’s big on unusual ingredients, with a welcome cocktail and wine throughout.
Your unique menu is unveiled upon arrival by two chefs that have learned their trade in the best restaurants of Cartagena. Expect exquisite local specialities and typical treats from the Caribbean coast.
Please note, this special event is available on Thursdays only and needs to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
If you want to experience this on another night and have a group of 12 or more we can help organise a private meal in the venue of your choice.Cartagena Secret Suppers
Top table service and an elaborate, elegant menu in a spectacular setting, Carmen Cartagena ticks all the gourmet boxes. Don't miss.
Occupying two al fresco areas and one air conditioned salon in Hotel Ananda, Carmen Cartagena, may be set back from the city's gourmet trail but it's worth the effort if you are in search of a superior dining experience.
Culinary couple, Rob Pevitts and his muse, Carmen Angel, have created a clever menu of knowing dishes picked up on their travels.
Start with the slow-cooked octopus or a smoking tiradito - thin strips of marinaded fish - prepared with carbonized coconut or the invigorating tacos.
Follow up with the duck confit glazed in wild blackberries served with duck sausages served on carrot and arracacha mash with black truffle vinaigrette or a tender pork medley glazed in tangy tamarind sauce.
Save room for five, 5-star artisan ice cream combos for dessert.
Discover the coastal interpretations of Peru's national dish on this flavoursome tour with a bilingual food connoisseur.
This unique tour has been designed for those curious to take their ceviche appreciation to the next level. You'll get to talk to chefs, take home special recipes and try out the signature dishes of all of our favourite off-the-map ceviche destinations.Cartagena Ceviche Tour
If you've got the cojones to wake up at dawn, there is nothing more refreshing than going to the beach to see the fishermen in action.
With fresh consumed on a daily basis, the Caribbean is unofficially Cartagena's biggest supermarket.
La Boquilla is Cartagena's fiercely proud fishing village with the majority of its inhabitants living from the sea. Head there before the sun rises and you'll see hordes of fishermen on the shore and heading out in canoes to catch fresh fish and seafood that will later be sold at Bazurto Market or directly to the local beach shacks serving up fishy fare to their neighbours.
If you're interested in going fishing with a local, send an email to email@example.com and we'll hook you up with a personal pescador to show you the ropes.
Club de Pesca has been spoiling us with glitering views of Cartagena's modern skyline for years now, sixty to be exact.
It's the oldest restaurant in Cartagena but don't fob it off as a has been. Club de Pesca restaurant is right up there with the 'young ones' when it comes to culinary knockouts for the seasoned gourmand.
Renowned head-chef, Felipe González, has travelled all over Europe and the States working in some of the worlds best restaurants, including the michelin-starred Santé in California. Now he's back in Cartagena even the fish are whooping for joy.
Go with an empty stomach, open mind and sample our favourites. The Octopus Carpaccio is bound to swim right up there with the best carpacios you have ever tried. As well as the seafood stews and delectable stuffed yuka prawns.Club de Pesca
French blood runs through the veins of CoCo, a stunning French-Colombian fusion high-end restaurant with a truly inspiring menu and space.
CoCo is serious about it's food. Owner Karen Loewy’s travelled all over the world in true Eat,Pray,Love mode on the hunt for foodspiration for renowned restaurant.
Amazing food begins with high-quality ingredients, and CoCo’s kitchen is heaving with goodies. The menu is crammed with succulent dates, aromatic cheeses, the smokiest of bacon shavings, rich meats and lip-smacking marinades.
Feast on the slow-cooked goodness of Coco's amazing duck and pork belly dishes before toasting your night with an in-house cocktail.CoCo Restaurant
Don Juan is without question one of Cartagena's best restaurants, where illustrious chef Juan Felipe Camacho serves up Basque-influenced gastronomic delights fit for the president of Colombia when he comes to Cartagena.
While his celebrated mentors made their names creating a new breed of Basque cuisine that's evolutionary, investigatory, and avant-garde, Camacho built this special restaurant celebrating natural flavours served as they should be in a designer setting that stands toe-to-toe with the elegance of the food.
His exquisite menu includes seven starters, thirteen mains and four desserts, with the chef's insistence on using only the very best quality ingredients reflected in the punchy prices.
Musts on the menu—there are plenty—but if you're losing your Don Juan virginity start with the grilled octopus, follow it up with the crayfish and lobster risotto and finish off with a chocolate mousse made with dark chocolate and black truffles.
If you overdid it on lobster in the islands then his grilled lamb chops with artichokes and new potatoes provide a welcome break from the seafood routine.Don Juan Restaurant
This contemporary Peruvian specialist has established itself as one of the first stops for gourmands in Cartagena's Old City, with a menu as piquant and fresh as it's ceviche.
Famed for its tiraditos- thin strips of fresh tuna or sea bass cured intiger milk (Peruvian marinades with a Capiscum or yellow chilli kick) or Nikkei variations that incorporate Peru's strong Asian gastronomic ties - La Perla has managed to stay one step ahead of the Andean pack by freshening up its menu at least once a year.
There's no shifting the stars of the show though with neither the classic Ceviche Corvina (sea bass ceviche) or the Lomo La Perla, a sirloin steak served with a Roquefort-laced sauce served on a bed of creamy mushroom rice, showing any signs of going out of fashion any time soon.
The owner's passion for cocktails comes through in La Perla's impressive selection of Caribbean creations with the bar staff making the most of Colombia's rich variety of fresh fruits to add a new twist to some staple South American tipples.
Stand out tragos worthy of an evening to remember include the Mojito Mango Biche made with green mango or a Pisco Sour Maracuya, given a little extra zip with lashings of Passion Fruit citric goodness.La Perla
As the newest contender for the best seafood restaurant in Cartagena, Marea By Rausch boasts a sensational sea view and inspired fare shaped by Colombia's most famous culinary double-act, Jorge and Mark Rausch.
Top of the Rausch Brothers' list little box of surprises is Marea by Rausch's signature dish, the Mojarra Frita, a main that at first glance appears to be a simple, well-executed version of the fried fish Cartagena staple.
A plate of Caribbean perfection: a whole golden fried fish, presented in swimming position accompanied bypatacones, coconut-flecked rice and tangy hogao sauce. But the best thing about this delicious dish? It's been de-boned and re-packaged perfectly into its original form, taking all the hassle out of one of the quintessential Cartagena experiences.
Other highlights from the menu include a Peruvian-style seafood rice infused with turmeric, an amazing Entrecote and pretty much everything on the dessert menu will satisfy sweet-toothed visitors.Marea by Rausch
If we needed any more proof that Getsemani was soaking up the hot restaurant talent then Red Knife, a finger lickin' good gourmet steak house, definitely seals the area's reputation as Cartagena's ultimate gastro destination.
Although Red Knife is officially a world-class steakhouse specialising in superior cow cuts, it’s a true all-rounder that also serves stellar seafood dishes as well as a winning wine and desert menu that brings down the house.
It's no as cheap as other options in the area, but a very reasonable lunch menu is a fantastic deal for cash strapped tourists that still want to treat themselves to a little something special.
Hungry troupers here for business at the Cartagena Convention Center will be delighted to gorge on satisfying meat treats—the kobe beef rules the roost—that will set you up until dinner time.Red Knife
Don't just buy sweets for the family, do-it-yourself with this organic chocolate making masterclass that's fun for all the family.
This seriously sweet and tasty two-hour chocolate making session, using fair-trade, locally sourced coco beans, is the best way to sample Colombia's hard-to-reach top end of the chocolate spectrum. Learn how to cook and decorate a delicious chocolate selection with your very own bilingual Willy-Wonka to show you the ropes.Chocolate Making Class
Create Colombian culinary classics, with a deliciously comforting hecho en casa feel, in a 3-hour cooking class at Oh La La Bistrot.
Under the expert tutelage of French chef, Gill Dupart, and a team of strong-willed Caribbean women, you’ll be cooking, tasting, feeling (and even singing) the restaurant’s unique approach to local cooking, which artfully combines fresh local produce and ‘grandmother recipes’ with a refined French spin.
As well as making three delicious dishes from scratch, you’ll also pay homage to Colombia’s fabulous fruit culture by making a tropical fruit juice or mojito.Colombian Cooking Class
Owners, Rob Pevitts and Carmen Angel, are the undisputed king and queen of fusion cuisine in Cartagena, and if you’ve eaten in Carmen (Moshi's sister restaurant), then you'll have an idea of the level of WOW you can expect from Moshi.
First timers should surrender themselves to Moshi's higher powers by ordering the resplendent tasting menu, which takes you on a seriously tasty journey. Choose between a 7 or 11 course menu with an innovative beverage pairing that includes Sakes and a fabulous range of signature cocktails.
If you are choosing off the menu, then we suggest ordering a few round of small plates and starters before hitting the main course.
The Sake Zuke is the perfect introduction to the concept of Moshi. Consisting of 5 mini portions it allows you to dip your toes into the restaurant's sea of foodie delights without commiting to anything in particular.
For mains you’ve got a hefty selection of rice and ramen dishes to choose from. The Bibimbap, made up of coconut rice, oxtail, mushrooms, spinach and egg yolk wrapped in a light duvet of black truffles and foie gras sauce, is sublime. Rich and comforting as a grandmothers hug, but surprising too, thanks to the myriad of textures and aromatic flavours.
This is Cartagena takes pride in portfolio of authentic tours and experiences.
Everything you see on here has been fully designed by us and created with you, the adventurous modern traveller, in mind.
If you would like to personalize any of the tours you see on here to fit with your particular desires, please let our concierge team know.
Guides to Cartagena
Cartagena is where it’s at to see in 2020 in style. Better start planning though, it’s going to be p…
Comb through our hand-picked selection of alluring Caribbean swathes with the ultimate beach bum gui…
If you and your crew want to make the most of your stay in Cartagena, you need to spend at least one…
Cartagena is so much more than its rich colonial history and stunning Caribbean beaches. This vibran…
When it comes to truly authentic experiences in Cartagena it’s time to take the tour out of tourist …
You’re going to love this guide to Cartagena. Long before Cartagena became a celebrated destination …
Cartagena celebrates food gluttony. The last time we checked, there were just over 400 restaurants i…
Colombia's Spanish conquerors certainly knew how to build beautiful and the 16th century colonial ar…
If your New Year resolution was to get out more, Cartagena's booming party scene will help you clock…
Keeping the kids happy in Cartagena can be hassle-free, especially with a little help from This is C…
This is the low-down on the neighbourhoods, or barrios to use the local expression, that make up Car…
Cocktail hour is a happy hour anywhere in the world, but if your budget is on the backpacker side in…
There are some wonderful gourmet spreads being planned by the best chefs in town. Our favourite rest…
If you're looking for an incredible way to celebrate New Year in Cartagena? Follow the birds south f…
Originally built on a series of islands, Cartagena’s relationship with the sea stretches back almost…
A trip to Cartagena isn't complete without a nautical foray to the Rosario Islands, 45 minutes south…
Known as Colombia’s northern queen, Cartagena attracts holidaymakers with her colorful cobbled stree…
If you’re looking for the best beach stays in Cartagena, you’ve hit gold. A short hop by boat the wo…
If you want to make the most of your stay in Cartagena, you need to spend at least one day sailing t…
Give our on the ground team a little more information about what you are looking for and when you are looking to do it. Our travel team will take care of the rest.