You'll arrive hypnotised by the swimming pool, sensual beats of the salsa band and promises of the of the 'best Mojito in Cartagena.
Address: Plaza San Diego 38-125, Cartagena, Colombia
Rating: TIC User Rating
Rating: Trip Advisor
These guys know what a mojito is, you can just feel it. The bar dedicates a whole page of their menu to Cuba's signature cocktail, and you can choose any fruit combination from lychee to passion fruit. At USD$7 a pop, it’s almost too easy to work your way through all of them.
Ernest Hemingway types that can knock down liquor like milk might prefer something stronger, like the Brujeria, a wickedly potent potion of tangerine rum, pistachio and chilli. Whereas pool-heads should hit the Tropicana, a fruity and feminine rum number with a lick of basil, best drunk whilst dangling your toes in the water.
Don't forget that Cubans love to dance just as much, if not more, than the Colombians. The stage sits above the pool and a Cuban salsa band belt out tunes Wednesdays through to Saturdays from 20.00.
After filling your boots with cocktail classics, puff on a cigar (you can buy them at the bar and smoke them inside) and wash down some house rum. If that's not giving Hunter S. Thompson a run for his money we don't know what is.
A healthy mix of sub-cultures makes San Diego one of the most interesting and varied districts in Cartagena and Colombia, something reflected in its diverse gastronomic offering and the rich cultural output coming out of one of the city's most cultured barrios.
The University of Bellas Artes, the most creative educational institution in Cartagena, sits in the heart of the barrio, backing onto the women's prison.
San Diego is formed by 16 blocks north of Calle de la Universidad de Cartagena and west of Calle San Agustin and Calle de la Moneda and stretches to the Baluarte de Santa Catalina and the walls that once protected Cartagena from raids from pirates.
Architecturally the houses are smaller and were built principally for the military, artisans and clergy. There are fewer of the two-or three-storey holiday homes for the ultra-rich that characterize the centre and you will still find traditional families living in some of the more modest houses in this part of town.
After Cartagena's moneyed classes swapped the claustrophobic centre for expansive mansions in Manga and later Bocagrande and Castillogrande in the mid-19th century it took the renovation of the former Santa Clara Monastery, converted for the hotel chain Sofitel into the city's pre-eminent hotel in 1995, to put this barrio back on the map.
Colombia's farandula, or celebrity set, has since colonized San Diego including John Leguizamo who bought a place here after filming Mike Nichols' Love in the Time of Cholera.
In recent years landmarks like La Serrezuela, a former bull ring have been converted into luxury shopping mall, which points to the way this typical Cartagena neighborhood is going.
There are some great restaurants, including Carmen Cartagena, Moshi and El Boliche clustered around the Parque de Fernandez de Madrid as well as Juan del Mar, Malanga and 1621 close to Plaza San Diego.
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