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by Mark Chesnut

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When calling from the United States, first dial 011-57-5.

Anandá, Calle del Cuartel No. 36-77, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-4452. Extreme luxury in the historic city center. About $340 and up.

Bantú, Calle de la Tablada 7-62, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-3362. Mid-priced, gay-friendly option with an attractive rooftop deck (they’ve even hosted gay weddings). About $178 and up.

Caribe, Cra 1era No. 2-87, Boca Grande; Tel: 650-1160. The first luxury hotel on the beach, Caribe sits adjacent to the gay beach called Hollywood.

Hotel Cartagena de Indias, Calle Vélez Danies No. 4-39, Centro Histórico. Tel: 660-0133. New luxury hotel with a nice rooftop deck and small pool. About $310 and up.

Casa Pestagua, Calle de Santo Domilngo #33-63, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-9510. Old-fashioned elegance at this historic former residence. About $290 and up, including a ten-minute welcome massage and breakfast.

Charleston Santa Teresa, Centro Plaza de Santa Teresa Cra 31-23, Centro. Tel: 664-9494. Set in a former convent, this is one of the classic larger hotels in the historic center. $346 and up.

Delirio, Calle de la Iglesia 35-27, Centro Histórico. Tel: 660-2404. Clean lines, contemporary décor, and good amenities characterize this new hotel. About $142.50 and up.

Hilton Cartagena, Avenida Almirante Brion, El Laguito. Tel: 665-0660. This resort-style hotel is located in the modern Boca Grande area, and features three swimming pools and a 5,000-square-foot gym and spa. About $183 and up.

Hotel L’Petit, Calle del Candilejo No. 32-34, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-3643. This new, gay-owned and straight-friendly, small hotel, is well located in the historic center, and sits atop the city’s newest gay bar. About $110 and up.

Sofitel Santa Clara, Calle del Torno No. 29-39, Centro Histórico. Tel: 650-4700. Classic elegance in a former monastery. About $271 and up.

Tcherassi Hotel + Spa, Calle del Sargento Mayor No. 6-21, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-4445. A local Colombian opened this new hotel in 2009, with great style. About $300 and up.

As de Copas, Playa de la Artillería 36-86, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-1693. A cozy restaurant and wine bar that specializes in local variations on Italian cuisine and seafood. The front area is a comfy lounge where wine is the name of the game, but we took a table in the back, where brick arches soar overhead.

Juan del Mar, Plaza de San Diego 8-12, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-3182. Tasty seafood in a casual atmosphere. Part of a group of restaurants owned by Juan del Mar, a famed local actor/bullfighter/chef/singer.

Mila, Calle de la Iglesia No. 35-76, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-1347. A stylish, small restaurant with sandwiches, wraps, and desserts.

Plaza de Armas, Calle de la Artillería No. 36-86, Centro Histórico. Tel: 660-1889. Italian, Colombian, and international cuisine are among the specialties here.

Santa Lucia, Calle Santo Domingo 3-30, 2nd floor, Plaza Santo Domingo, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-7215. Colombian cuisine and seafood are featured; take a seat on the balcony for a nice view of the bustling town square below.

Ábaco, Calles de la Iglesia & Mantilla No. 3-86; Tel: 664-8338. This café sells a variety of books, including beautiful photobooks and English-language travel, fiction, and magazines.

Caribe Plaza, Pié de La Popa, Cll. 29D No. 22-108. The city’s largest shopping mall.

Sociedad Joyería Caribe, Bocagrande Calle 5 #2-51; Tel: 665-4625. This jewel shop offers guided tours of the process it uses to creat emeralds.

Café del Mar, Baluarte Santo Domingo; Tel: 664-6513. Set atop the historic fortress walls of the historic city center, Café del Mar attracts a mixed crowd of straight and gay revelers, who enjoy the open-air breezes, pleasant views, and hip DJ music.

Colombia Diversa: Spanish-language website run by non-profit, national LGBT rights organization.

Guia Gay Colombia: Listings of gay bars and clubs in Cartagena and elsewhere in the nation.

Ibiza Club Cartagena, Calle del Porvenir, Centro Histórico No. 25-18, 2nd floor; Tel: 664-5006. This pleasant, mostly gay dance club (formerly called Lincoln Road) is decorated in sleek white.

Studio 54, Calle Larga de Getsemaní No. 88-98, Centro Histórico. Tel: 664-3642. Plenty of electronica and dance pop music in English and Spanish fills the air at this lively bar/club, which features an outdoor courtyard with shows and a small dance area in the front lounge area.

Vamos Colombia Tour, 19 Norwich Street, San Francisco CA 94110; Tel: 415-637-2660 or +57-1-804-3528 in Bogotá.

Via Libre, Calle de la Soledad #9-52. Centro Histórico. Small gay bar in the historic district.

For more information about Cartagena, visit the city’s official tourism website at or checkout Proexport Colombia, the nation’s tourism organization, online at


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2012 Gay Event Calendars

International Gay Pride Calendar 2012
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