Cartagena is beloved by tourists in Colombia for many reasons – beautiful architecture, an incredible Caribbean location, some of the best restaurants and bars in Colombia. Another thing Cartagena has to offer is an excellent selection of cafes – from world-class boutique coffee houses serving the best Colombian coffee to beautifully located cafes enjoying the city’s most gorgeous views, here are the best cafes in Cartagena’s Old City.
Folklore Colombian Cafe is perhaps the best “proper” coffee shop in the city, in the sense that they serve quality Colombian coffee prepared by knowledgeable baristas and in a variety of distinct styles. They are also open nice and early, making Folklore the ideal cafe for those in need of their early-morning caffeine fix, or digital nomads looking for somewhere to work. With a modern, chic interior and some of the best coffee around, Folklore should be the No. 1 stop for coffee-lovers in Cartagena.
This excellent little cafe in the Getsemani neighbourhood of Cartagena’s Old City, Café Del Mural is another great choice for coffee-lovers in Cartagena. Located in a lovely, unassuming little building just off the bustling Calle Larga, this cafe is like a laboratory of world-class coffee, with their coffee brewing station literally featuring equipment straight out of a science lab! But for all the complex gear, essentially this place just serves an astoundingly great cup of Colombian coffee.
If you want a cup of coffee with the best views in town, then Café del Mar is the place. Located on the Old City walls overlooking the Caribbean Sea, this little bar/café overlooks the best sunset views in the city. If you arrive around 6 pm you can enjoy your coffee as the sun sets right into the blue waters of the Caribbean and the sea breeze cools you off after a long day in the sun. Café del Mar may not serve the very best coffee in town, but the view more than makes up for it.
At Café San Alberto coffee is a science. From their odd and intricate apparatus to their knowledgeable baristas, this cafe does a cup of coffee like you have never experienced before. Their ‘Coffee Baptism’ takes customers on a journey through their bean selection process, exclusively from the Quindío region of Colombia, down to the complex machinery that is used to brew the perfect espresso. It’s not the cheapest coffee in Cartagena, but it could well be the best.
With tables facing Getsemani’s buzzing Plaza Trinidad, colourful Café La Trinidad is the perfect spot for people-watching. On busy days, the tables sprawl right out onto the road. Grab a strong tinto and get stuck in! They also serve delicious breakfasts and light lunches for as little as COP7,000 (US$2.45). This spot doesn’t serve as good a cup of coffee as nearby Cafe del Mural, but if your priority is atmosphere then Cafe de La Trinidad is the clear winner.
This beautiful bookshop is a not-so-hidden gem in the centre of the old walled city of Cartagena de Indias. Abaco Libros y Café is covered wall-to-wall with books in both Spanish and English and is the perfect oasis in which to relax and regroup after walking through the busy shopping streets that surround it. The beautiful brick walls create an ideal ambience to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing coffee in the heart of Cartagena’s busiest area.
Another bar/cafe sitting atop Cartagena’s old city walls, El Baluarte San Francisco Javier is located on one of the oldest structures in the city. A good afternoon coffee here comes with epic views of the Caribbean sea and the lovely Santa Teresa square below. Make sure you stick around for a while to watch the sunset. It’s also less well-known than the more famous Cafe del Mar, but arguably a nicer and more relaxing option for enjoying the sunset with a coffee.