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DISCOVERING
CARTAGENA
Resources
by Mark Chesnut


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

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

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. http://www.bantuhotel.com

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. http://www.hotelcaribe.com

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. http://www.hotelcartagenadeindias.com

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. http://www.casapestagua.com

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. http://www.hotelcharlestonsantateresa.com

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. http://www.deliriohotel.com

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. http://www.hilton.com

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. http://www.hotelepetitcartagena.com

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

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. http://www.tcherassihotels.com


RESTAURANTS
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.


SHOPPING
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. http://www.abacolibros.com

Caribe Plaza, Pié de La Popa, Cll. 29D No. 22-108. The city’s largest shopping mall. http://www.cccaribeplaza.com

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. http://www.joyeriacaribe.com


GAY LIFE
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. http://www.colombiadiversa.org

Guia Gay Colombia: Listings of gay bars and clubs in Cartagena and elsewhere in the nation. http://www.guiagaycolombia.com

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. http://www.vamoscolombiatour.com

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


GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION
For more information about Cartagena, visit the city’s official tourism website at http://www.turismocartagenadeindias.com or checkout Proexport Colombia, the nation’s tourism organization, online at http://www.colombia.travel

Continued

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