People watching is the name of the game at Donde Fidel, a go-to beer and rum joint in Cartagena's Old Town.
Address: Plaza de los Coches, Cartagena, Colombia
Rating: TIC User Rating
Rating: Trip Advisor
The perfect refuge for newcomers trying to get their bearings, the bar is tucked between the Clock Tower and the Plaza de la Aduana and dishes up a regular serving of salsa beneath the city's historic walls.
There may be few thrills on the bar menu but it won't break the bank either, so order a beer or a bottle of rum, sit back and plot the evening ahead beside one of 'Gabo' Marquez's favourite contemplative spots.
The city's nocturnal nature changes from week to week depending on the crowd in town. An hour or so in this open-air bellweather will give you a sense of whether Cartagena's itinerant population is made up of students, soap stars or businessmen. Get a feel for which direction your crowd is heading and follow them to the place to be.
Inside, the regulars come armed with broad smiles and those signature hypnotic hips. Enrolling in a Cartagena salsa class or two will become almost obligatory after a visit.
Cartagena's nerve centre serves up breathtaking colonial architecture, the city's top attractions, finest hotels, eateries and drinking dens as well as being the administrative and cultural heart of the city.
Constructed on one of three islands that are now connected to the Colombian mainland, the historic walled city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Ever since UNESCO made the announcement the money has poured into restoring the incredible architecture contained inside its historic walls. Wandering aimlessly through Cartagena's historic center is without question it's one of the highlights of any trip to Colombia.
Centro has lost none of its importance over the last three centuries, thanks to the universal allure of its colonial pomp and the concentration of government buildings, hotels, tourist attractions, bars and restaurants in the area.
While the riches of the region no longer flow through Cartagena on their way from Colombia, Peru and Ecuador to Spain, the city has maintained its position as the colonial gem in Colombia's Caribbean crown.
Cartagena's best hotels and restaurants have taken over the uber-casas built by slave traders and Spanish plunderers in the 17th century.
The richest residents knocked up stunning two and three-storey mansions by the westernmost tip of the walled city, where they bagged the sea breeze, added security, papal pardons and the chance to get an early first whiff of pirates.
While it was home to the slave traders of yesteryear, today not much has changed with only those at the very top of Colombia's rich list able to afford to maintain these opulent houses in their original residential state.
As well as hosting the most opulent churches and principal tourist landmarks, Centro is home to the best bars and restaurants in Cartagena.
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