Cartagena in three words: Charming, lively, two-faced.
Chance of Hooking up: 3.75 / 5
Quality of Girls: 4 / 5 (dat azz)
Nightlife: 3.5 / 5
Smoking tolerance: 4 / 5
Livability: 3.5 /5 (#16 on NomadList for South America)
Bachelor’s budget: $60 per day.
Beer: 3000 Pesos ($1) for a street beer, 8000 pesos ($3) for a bottle in a higher-end place.
Bed: $35 for an AirBnB near old town.
Bud: Cheap. $1 a gram. 10,000 pesos for 5 grams.
Food: $5-10 for a meal in a nice restaurant.
Other: Expect pay around 15,000 pesos ($5) for club entry fees.
Cartagena is considered the most beautiful city in Colombia, and for good reason. The old town is a maze of colorful colonial buildings, with balconies overflowing with flowers, and several pretty plazas and churches. In contrast, the skyline of Bocagrande looks like Miami. It’s more expensive than other cities in Colombia, but with the girls, the nightlife, the beaches, and the overall good vibes here, Cartagena gets the Naughty Nomad seal of excellence. It puts the likes of DR and Cuba to shame.
Here’s a 3 minute video I made of the city.
Demographics: Population is estimated at around one million. 57% are Mestizo (European mixed with indigenous), 20% white, 14 % mulatto (mixed black and white), 4% black, and 5% other.
Appearance: Cartagena was my first stop-off in Colombia, and although I found their faces below average, on several occasions I saw boner-inducing bodies.
Girls on the coast (Costeñas as they’re known locally), are darker than those in other parts of the country due to the large amount of Mestizos and Mullatos.
The average height of Colombian women is 158.7 cm (5 ft 2 1⁄2 in), but in Cartagena they are slightly smaller. Most girls in Colombia carry a few extra pounds too, but this isn’t considered a bad thing. If you think fat women in America have confidence, wait until you get to Colombia!
In sum, as somebody who likes darker skin and big booties, I put Cartagena on a par with Medellín, but this goes against the consensus from other travelers. In my opinion the average is better in Cartagena, but Medellín has a greater number of top-tier women. You don’t get nearly as many girls with plastic surgery compared with other Colombian cities.
Attitudes: Costeñas are considered the friendliest in the country, and are known for having the best personalities. Like other Caribbean cities you’ll find people here are more relaxed, fun, and sensual. They love to dance too, and Caribbean styles like reggaeton, reggae, salsa, and Afro beats reign supreme.
In my experience, they are also more feminine than other Colombianas. (My little Costena is one the best cooks in the world.)
This article by Masculine Profiles does a good job comparing the various girls from each region.
Getting laid is not as easy as you may think. This is not Southeast Asia.
The gringo factor is not what it used to be. Cartagena is swarmed with tourists these days. You also have to sift through a barrage of prostitutes, and when you do find a normal girl, she usually can’t speak much English and lives with her parents. Night venues are also not very conducive for pick up and quite “cliquey”, with a lot of mixed seated sets.
All that said, girls here are quite open and direct. They are not afraid of eye contact and if they like you they will let you know. Even grandmothers will eye fuck you, and I had one bartender make a move on me even when I was on a date with another girl. If you’re a night game guy, with a little Spanish, machismo, and some basic dance moves, you should do well.
Otherwise day game is the way to go. For this I recommend a walk around old town or Bocagrande.
For online game, Tinder is supposedly full of hookers, but I’ve heard Colombian Cupid is the way to go.
This How-to-get-laid guide by Jesse Charger does a great job of breaking down the game further.
Accommodation: I think the best place is in and around old town, preferably just outside the clock tower monument. That said, a lot of others prefer Bocagrande.
Gym: Bodytech in Bocagrande in the nearest good gym.
Other recommendations: I highly recommend a day trip to Baru Island. It hosts the national aviary (excellent) and a great beach with several shack bars and restaurants. It’s a nice place for day game too.
If you have a little more time and can do and overnight somewhere, consider Tayrona National Park. It’s about a three hour ride away.
Jake from Nomadic Hustler also adds:
Staying in Bocagrande seems to be ideal in Cartagena. The area seems to be viewed as upper class by the locals, it’s safe, has an ok beach, and it easily accessible from the old city
….talk to girls during the day, invite them to the beach, and enjoy some of the great tourism the city has to offer.
Favorite Nightlife Spot: Bazurto Social Club.
The nightlife is Cartagena is fun, but you generally pay entrance fees to good venues, making it kind of a bummer for those who like to pub crawl.
In the video at the start of this article there were several places featured. Nearly all of these venues were around old town. However, my local sources tell me that Bocagrande is increasingly popular for well-heeled Colombianas. You’ll probably find the best quality here. Mr. Drink (top choice), Bareke and Piso 21 were recommended.
If you’re looking to drunk on the cheap, within the old city walls there is Donde Fidel’s Salsa Club, but in my opinion a better spot is Caponera outside the main gate. Here you have a party vibe and a good mix of locals and tourists standing outside the bar mingling.
My favorite bar was Café Havana. It’s relatively pricey and the crowd here is older (30+), but the atmosphere was incredible. They do Cuba better than Cuba. They had live bang-band salsa, great mojitos, and the whole place was dancing. For picking up, however, Bazurto Social Club is probably a better choice because it has a younger crowd. It’s tiny so you may luck out, but like Havana they also have live music and a great atmosphere.
Several other male travelers strongly recommend Mister Babilla Club (link is a pick-up guide to the venue), but from what I’ve heard the crowd have aged along with the venue, and the cool kids would now rather go to Bocagrande. See for yourself.
Green moon is another spot outside of the center where the “real” Costenas go, but from I hear it can be a little ghetto.
Why not check out more cheeky City Guides?
For more info on Tunis or if you have any questions, check out the links below or leave a comment.
Check out the Colombia thread on the forum.
Cartagena Data Sheet by Dash
Cartagena City Guide by MyLatinLover
Bang Colombia Book by Roosh v
The 5 Socioeconomic Tiers of Colombian Women by Fausk, ROK
Cartagena Archives by SwoopTheWorld