Girls Weekend In Cartagena: The Perfect Town

by | Mar 16, 2017

Two of my besties from the US came to visit Colombia, so of course we planned a girls weekend in Cartagena. The logistics were super simple, and after comparing flight prices on Skyscanner we found a one hour flight from Medellin to Colombia that only set us back $60 each on VivaColombia. We went in early March and the weather was amazing… 90 degrees and sunny every day. Perfect for bumming on the beach and sipping mojitos in the Old Town.

Once we landed, we took a quick 10 minute taxi to our hostel in the hipster neighborhood of Getsemani. For only $17 a night, we got a 4 bunk room and breakfast right on the main square. I definitely recommend the friendly faces at Papaya Hostel.



On Friday afternoon, we spent the day exploring the Getsemani neighborhood and wandering the colorful streets of the walled in Old Town. Street vendors, shops, and vibrant cascading flowers make this town come to life in a way that I haven’t seen before in Colombia – it emanated a Southern charm similar to Savannah or Charleston.



You can easily spend a day popping in and out of the cafes and eating your way through the never ending seafood platters. I enjoyed the best meal I have had in Colombia so far at La Cevicheria … you absolutely CANNOT miss it.

Fresh ceviche and lobster and seafood paella washed down with Coco Locos in the sun. Even Anthony Bourdain raved about his visit. We finished our night in a blur hitting all the little bars, enjoying the lively squares, and dancing til sunrise in the salsa clubs.



After our hangover was cured with a home cooked breakfast at Papaya in Getsemani, we were ready to set off to Playa Blanca on Isla Barú. We walked to the port (fighting off hawkers the whole way) and bought a seat on one of the boats heading out for the day. The cost is $17 for a round trip, or $22 including lunch.

The ride out takes about 45 minutes and was uneventful. Eventually, we were dropped on a gorgeous white sand beach with strict instructions to be back to the boat at 3:30 pm (a little early, but we were sunburned enough by then that it was for the best).

If you’d rather spend more time on the beaches and less in the city, there are plenty of super cheap hostels on the islands to choose from, or you can even grab a hammock for a night for as little as $5.


Girl on a beach with hat


Ugh, what a perfect way to spend a girls weekend in Cartagena, laying in the sun and enjoying the views. On top of that, our lunch was absolutely amazing. I know nothing else to tell you except look for the octopus painting and get the fish. You can thank me later.



The boat ride home against the current is a bit wet and bumpy to say the least (if you get seasickness this may not be for you) but to me, the trip was totally worth it. The Cartagena heat demands a beach escape, and Playa Blanca is definitely the place to be when it does.



Our Last full day in Cartagena started with the graffiti tour through Getsemani (10am err’day) and a lazy lunch and ice cream run. Then, we decided we had to try out the Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. It’s… interesting.

Basically a small hot spring in a hill with a mud pit in it? We got massaged in the warm mud and enjoyed the weirdest floating sensation ever. They wash you off in the nearby river and all in all its a strange experience.

To be honest, I’d rather spend a day at the beach than hit this site, but to each their own.


girl in front of graffiti



My friends got up and took a mini bus to Santa Marta ($16 each), but unfortunately I had to head back to Medellin to work (booooo). After a quick breakfast, a walk through the parks and squares of the Old Town, and of course a quick Nutella ice cream cone later, and I was ready to head home.

The security at the airports here is suuuuper lax, so it wasn’t necessary to arrive much more than an hour or even 45 minutes early for my flight.


girl chilling in a hammock


All in all, it was a perfect girls weekend in Cartagena. The colorful town, vibrant nightlife, and pristine beaches make it a must visit destination for anyone traveling to Colombia.


girl in front of colorful wall on stoop


Have you been? Comment below, and let me know what you think is a must see in the city!

All my love,


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  1. Fabiola

    Thank you so much for your post! I am going this summer and cannot wait to try out everything you mentioned! Beautiful pictures!!

    • Slight North by Dianne Minardi

      Thank you! You’re going to have an amazing time. Are you visiting anywhere else in Colombia on your trip?

  2. Christina

    What are some good nightlife spots? Maybe places that play live music and maybe have some dancing?

    • Slight North by Dianne Minardi

      Cafe Havana is probably the most popular jazz club in Cartagena. It’s in the Getsemani neighborhood and has live music. I didn’t actually go (because I didn’t want to pay the cover charge haha) but I’ve heard good things. I also like El Arsenal bar in the old town. It serves craft cocktails and has a really unique ambiance – not to mention a great rooftop bar!


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