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.

  • This Is What We Love

    • Old school Salsa in a nostalgic setting. You really feel like you’re in a bar of the ‘good old days’ here
    • A night that makes you feel you’re standing on the shoulders of giants. Anyone who is anyone has given a twirl on these hardwood floors
    • The mojitos hit the spot!
    • Arriving early to bag a table and having a haven to relieve those legs. Click on the link to reserve the best table
  • What You Need To Know

    • This place gets packed to the rafters every night so we strongly advise you arrive before midnight
    • This place isn’t exactly under the radar anymore. The word is out, but the bar is still as unchanged and as authentic since it first opened its doors
    • Cafe Havana is open from Wednesdays—Saturday nights. Accept for high-season (Dec-Jan) when it’s open every night
  • The Details

    Hours and Days: Wed-Sat: 20:00-03:30 ?

    Address: Calle Media Luna with Calle Guerrero, Cartagena, Colombia

    Rating: TIC User Rating

    Rating: Trip Advisor

  • THE LOWDOWN

    Our Full Review

    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.

LOCATION & MAP

  • Getsemaní

    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. 

    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. 

    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, Viceroy and the Four Seasons have plans to kick the barrio into the stratosphere with stellar openings in 2017 / 2018.


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