Cartagena: Café del Mar and Other Outdoor Bars and Cafés
There is nothing like having a drink outside in Cartagena, Colombia | © Roger Cracknell 01/classic / Alamy Stock Photo
With balmy tropical breezes blowing in off the Caribbean and an epic historical setting, grabbing a drink outdoors is always a good idea in Cartagena. From chic rooftops to oceanfront coffee spots and shady colonial-style courtyards, here are some of the city’s most stunning open-air bars and cafés.
Café del Mar
Bar, Cafe, South American, $$$
It’s easy to see why this hotspot is hugely popular – it has one of the best views in town. Located right along the old city wall and overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Café del Mar is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon drink with uninterrupted views of the sea and Cartagena’s skyline. After sunset, which is particularly spectacular here, it shifts from chill-out café to a late-night party place.
Bar, South American, $$$
Known as the coolest old-school salsa spot in town, Donde Fidel is also home to four rows of outside seating right on the Plaza de Los Coches. The cheap beers served here combined with excellent people-watching is a mix that’s hard to beat, and the salsa rhythms pumping out of the bar keep things lively. While the outside action is irresistible, don’t skip a chance to dance inside Donde Fidel before you go.
Bar, Cocktails, $$$
A bundle of outside tables facing pleasant Plaza de San Diego makes Cuba 1940 a great place to enjoy a mojito, especially on a warm Cartagena night. Styled after a retro bar from Havana’s golden age, this friendly hangout also hosts live salsa and Latin jazz music nightly. The gastro bar serves a variety of light plates and specializes in top-quality rums.
Casa de la Cerveza
Bar, South American, $$$
Grab an artisan beer on tap and relax on the sofa beds at this Getsemani area hotspot, located just outside the old city in the official “backpackers’ quarters.” Built into the ancient walls overlooking the bay, with the lit-up skyline of Bocagrande in the distance, Casa de la Cerveza is a mellower version of the always-packed Café del Mar. The bar plays a mix of pop and salsa music and provides a relaxing escape from the crowded streets nearby.
Mirador Gastro Bar
Bar, Cafe, Snacks, $$$
Mirador Gastro Bar greets visitors with epic views of the Torre del Reloj, the Bocagrande skyline and the Plaza de Los Coches below. Occupying the fourth-floor rooftop terrace of a historic colonial-era building, this spacious lounge is a fun place to start an evening out in Cartagena. Flat-screen televisions play Latin hits, while on weekends, a live DJ turns up the energy.
Cafe del Mural
Cafe, South American, $$$
Hidden down the mural-lined Calle de San Juan in Getsemani, Cafe del Mural is a gourmet coffee lover’s dream come true. Coffee tastings and roasting classes happen frequently, and the artsy and eclectic café has a pleasant outside patio out front, under some colorful street art. It’s a true embodiment of the hip side of the area.
Galería Libro Café
Bar, Nightclub, Coffee, Beer
Nestled into the ancient walls just below Café del Mar, the Galería Libro Café has a large area of outdoor seating area where inexpensive beer and coffee are served. Inside the little nook-like indoor area, books and board games are available to customers free of charge. Nicely situated under some gigantic trees, this is a great place to cool off in the afternoon and escape the hot sun.
La Caponera Café Bar
Bar, Cafe, Beer
Popular with Cartagena’s hip crowd, La Caponera Café Bar is a bohemian dive located just across from the Centro de Convenciones Cartagena de Indias. The cluster of outside tables creates a great spot for catching the breeze off the nearby bay, and the sidewalk itself often becomes an impromptu dance floor as the night goes on and beverages start to take effect. It attracts a mix of people, and the combination of artsy neighborhood and hot weather means you can dress as casual as you like.
Santa Isabel Food Trucks
Food Truck, Cocktails, Wine, $$$
Sitting on Getsemani’s waterfront across from Calle del Arsenal, where many discos in Cartagena are located, is the picturesque and peaceful Terraza Santa Isabel and its food truck park. Eight different independent businesses share a large outside seating area with glorious views of the old city and the calm waters of the bay. Grab a cocktail or a glass of wine from one of the trucks, and get ready for the free sunset show.
The fifth floor of the Townhouse Boutique Hotel is party central for those who want to get wild under Cartagena’s starry sky. Featuring several mini-pools and a garden with a seating area, this stylish bar brings in a live DJ every night. Grab a craft cocktail at the bar or share a bottle poolside, and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
Market, Beer, $$$
With outside seating on leafy Parque Férnandez de Madrid, a decidedly European-style outdoor plaza drinking experience awaits you at Plaza Majagua. Both local and imported beers are always on tap, and it also has nightly happy-hour specials. But the deals don’t end there – two-for-one burgers after 10pm are great for a late-night meal.
This article is an updated version of a story originally created by Jessica Vincent.
These recommendations were updated on May 28, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.