Everyone in Cartagena loves to dance. So if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the local vibe, you’d better oil those rusty hips and get shaking. Knowing how to boogaloo is a sure fire way to endear yourself to the locals, so don’t sit on the side lines captivated by the spinning feet in front of you, knock back a slug of aguardiente and get stuck in.
Address: Centro, Calle de las Carretas, (2nd floor) No. 34-23, Cartagena, Colombia
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For those who want to get stuck in without an introduction, Cafe Havana is king for Salsa fanatics.
The band comes on around 23:00. After being energized by the first set, you'll have just enough time to pause for breath and charge your glasses before they beat out more pulsating baselines until a disrespectable 3am.
Having established itself as one of Cartagena’s hottest hangouts, it’s not the cheapest spot in the city.
Those on a backpacker budget may prefer to check into Donde Fidel for a more spontaneous grass-roots dancing session.
If you need your wooden hips replacing then get yourself a set of Shakira’s installed with an introductory dance class at Crazy Salsa.
Cartagena’s undisputed Latin dance experts, with many dance teachers hailing from Colombia’s salsa mecca, Cali, are on hand to fast-track you onto the dance floor later at one of their legendary salsa and Latin jazz sessions (Thursday-Saturday).
Once you’ve learned the difference between bachata and boogaloo, then check out our weekly guide to the hottest happenings to know where to strut your stuff. It’s full of pop-up parties like Champetu, the hottest Champeta rave in town.
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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