Cartagena, Colombia Nightlife – A Guide for Night Owls

Situated on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena has a distinctive Caribbean feel. It’s also well-known for colonial buildings, palm-fringed beaches, and museums that provide insight, understanding, and inspiration. And thanks to the many salsa bars, nightclubs, and boozy venues, in Cartagena, Colombia, the nightlife does not disappoint. 

Here are the best bars and clubs of this Colombian port city, plus a few things to know before a wild night out.

Things to consider about nightlife in Cartagena

Many clubs worldwide are empty before midnight, and Cartagena’s nightclubs are no different. There’s no point going to a club before 11 pm as most people simply don’t show up until after midnight. But, of course, it’s a different story if party animals can get free dance lessons or when a club offers drink specials—then they are packed a little earlier.

The best nightclubs in Cartagena have a dress code, so spruce yourself up like the Colombians. Flip flops won’t cut it, nor will singlets, no matter how sweltering and humid it is. 

A word of warning for men: Cartagena is renowned for ladies of the evening who mix with the party crowd, keeping their job a secret until it’s time to pay. The only way to find out is by bombarding your new flame with qualifying questions about her job. If she’s stumped for an answer, you’ll have yours. 

Are you not too keen to be surrounded by gringos every step of your way? If so, give the Old Town a miss and join the Cartagena nightlife in Manga instead. 

As an aside, knowing a smattering of Spanish does wonders when you mingle with locals.

Check out the best bars in Cartagena

Cartagena has no shortage of cool bars. Here’s a selection of those that we like.

Alquimico Bar Rooftop de Ouf

brunette woman having drink in Cartagena, Colombia

Whether you sit on the rooftop or the ground floor enjoying 360-degree views of the walled city, Alquimico is the place to get in a pre-Cartagena party mood. 

Set in a colonial mansion, Alquimico is all about sipping inventive cocktails in a relaxed setting. Alquimico also has local food. And DJs play less dance-oriented, electronic sounds, funk, hip-hop, and jazz to jazz up your bar experience.

Cafe Havana

couple salsa dancing in Cartegena's nightlife

Are you into salsa? 

Look no further. 

Cafe Havana is where you can dance with locals, proving that gringos have an arsenal of decent moves, too. 

Situated in the Getsemani district, the Cartagena, Colombia, nightlife capital, this salsa bar is open to the wee hours of the night. 

Aside from salsa beats and Latin tunes, this cafe is well-known for authentic Cuban cocktails and hot dishes. In short, you’ll get a taste of Havana here. Luckily, all the ceiling fans ensure you don’t become a perspiring gringo mess dripping with sweat. 

El Arsenal: The Rum Box

two beautifully made cocktails in colorful glasses

The promising name of this bar hints at the tasty rums you can get here—aside from signature cocktails and other irresistible concoctions. 

The bearded, super-friendly owner Abe, regularly comes up with new recipes. So put your drink in his hands and ask him to surprise you. He’ll come up with something unique and catered to your palate.

Café del Mar

Cafe del Mar the best nightlife in Cartagena

True to the world-famous brand from Ibiza, Café del Mar offers guests a classy experience with city and Caribbean views. It’s housed in the Baluarte Santo Domingo, a 17th-century fortification. 

To cater to the dancing Cartagena crowd, Café del Mar regularly hosts chic parties and high society regional events. Open 365 days a year from 4:30 pm to 2 am, Café del Mar is for you if you’re after a lounge experience with DJs playing live. 

Sip cocktails, enjoy groovy beats, and tickle your senses with delicious local cuisine, with views of the Caribbean washing ashore.

Dance the night away at Cartagena’s clubs

Looking for a fun dance club in Cartagena? Blimey—there are so many. So here are a couple clubs to get your Caribbean juices flowing.


salsa dancers on stage

A top Getsemani club besides Bazurto and Café Havana, Quiebra-Canto first opened in 1979. While it’s another salsa club, it caters to more advanced salsa dancers. 

Even if you’re not eager to defy some of the city’s best salsa dancers, watching from the second-floor balcony and sipping tasty cocktails is just as fun.

Mister Babilla

Overview of DJ spinning

A list of Cartagena’s best nightclubs wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Mister Babilla. Open seven nights a week till late. And once the clock strikes midnight, Mister Babilla gets wild. 

Always crowded, this is another spot to hit if clubbing is on your list.

Diving into Cartagena’s nightlife, you’re practically guaranteed to have a blast. You can mingle with both locals and gringos, enjoying wild nights. Just remember: the bars and clubs roar to life after midnight, making for another memorable night in this chaotic Colombian city.

Not sure where to head next? These are all Bookaway’s routes in Colombia


Is Cartagena safe for travelers?

While we can’t say there’s no crime, it’s one of the relatively safe Colombian cities. The police have a good presence, and due to the vibrant nightlife, there are always plenty of people around. Watch out for pickpockets, though. 

Is Cartagena expensive?

While cabs can be a bit pricey, you can find many budget-friendly restaurants and hotels across the city, starting at $10 per night.

How can I get around the city?

The easiest way to get around Cartagena is by taxi. You can also ride the bus on the TransCaribe network if you speak a little Spanish.

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