Since Cafe Havana opened its doors in Cartagena's unfashionable Getsemani in 2006, it has transformed perceptions of the area, luring a ritzy crowd off the beaten track with the joys of a live salsa band and seriously potent mojitos.
Address: Calle Media Luna with Calle Guerrero, Cartagena, Colombia
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Even Hilary Clinton slipped in for an Aguila or two to let her hair down after concluding the Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena in 2012.
The live music bar's nomadic Spanish owner turned what was a run-down warehouse into the city's hottest bar on a minimal budget, leaving much of the de-constructed interior untouched whilst covering the tobacco-stained walls with evocative black and white photographs of salsa legends, Compay Segundo, Celia Cruz and 'Michi' Sarmiento in their pomp
If the interiors and the Havana Club mojitos don't summon up sympathetic feelings for Castro's Cuba, the rhythms of the house band certainly will. With air conditioning the only notable change since it opened, the live music and old school ambiance remain the big draw.
The band comes on around 11pm. After being energized by the first set you get just long enough to charge your glasses and catch your breath before they return for a second hit. The music keeps coming until 3 am. Despite Brazilian-style hyper-inflation in the bar's pricing over its short five-year stint on the Media Luna, Café Havana remains one of the most democratic spots in the city.
If you're not tripping the light fantastic, sit back and enjoy the Austrian backpackers tripping over themselves as they try to dazzle the city's Hoi Polloi with the precarious, toe-mangling result of two weeks' intensive salsa class.
Cartagena's second historic walled city has gone from no-go to must-go in less than five years thanks to some of the city's hippest new bars and restaurants.
If Centro is Manhattan, Getsemani is more Brooklyn – an up-and-coming hipster hangout trying desperately to cling to its roots. It's regularly referred to as the coolest neighborhood in Colombia and has featured in some exalted lists as one of the world's most interesting places to visit.
A little rougher around the edges than the already gentrified districts of Centro and San Diego and the lofty ambitions of the beach districts, Getsemaní offers a glimpse into the more unruly historic centre of the past.
A fiercely traditional barrio offering a heady mix of bars, dancing, affordable diners, hostels and hotels for backpackers and bohemian colonists looking to mix it up with the carefree locals.
Historically populated by merchants, smugglers and freed slaves thriving from activity in the port and main marketplace, Getsemaní has always been more raucous than the hoity centre with all its regal airs and graces.
Much of the district's newest bars, follow in the city's loudest traditions.
The fantastic mix of roots and laid-back bohemia has attracted the attention of a string of leading travel publications including Conde Nast Traveler, Wallpaper* and the New York Times.
While much of the area's carefree population are direct descendants of the hell-raisers of yesteryear it is no longer the terrifying place that rich Cartageneros used to scare their children into staying at home.
Backpackers, never averse to roughing it for a cheap place to stay have braved the bogeyman with few problems for decades and a growing number of boutique hotels and hostels have followed their lead setting up shop in some of the bigger properties on Calle Guerrero and Calle del Carretero.
Uber-hotel chains like the Four Seasons have plans to kick the barrio into the stratosphere with stellar openings in 2021.
Some of the best restaurants in the city have now set up shop in the counter-cultural epicenter of Cartagena. Celele and La Cocina de Pepina are two standout options for foodies and Cafe Stepping Stone serves up the city's most popular brunch.
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