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Gay Cartagena: travel guide to the best gay hotels, bars, clubs & more

Stefan Arestis
Gay Cartagena: travel guide to the best gay hotels, bars, clubs & more

Our detailed gay travel guide to Cartagena to help you plan a fun and safe trip, including the best places to stay, things to do, eat, and more.

Lonely Planet calls Cartagena the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coastwell that was before these two queens sashayed their way into Colombia's most touristic city!

The fifth-largest city in Colombia, Cartagena's old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We adored the city's mix of old and new architectural design. A sprawling maze of cobblestone alleys, colorful colonial-style buildings, and vines of shrubs climbing down the sides of ancient walls could be found on one side. Towering silver skyscrapers and industrial catwalks can be seen on the other.

“Rich in history, Cartagena still harbours the shadows of multiple pirate attacks from its days of being a port city.”

Gay couple travel book Nomadic Boys Out in the World

Rich in appearance, and rich in history, Cartagena still harbors the shadows of multiple pirate attacks from its days of being a port city. Having shipped out boatloads of gold to places like Spain, the city made itself vulnerable to all sorts of invasion. Luckily, it was well equipped to withstand such a thing, and the protective forts can still be seen today.

Yet, it's going to take more than a fort to keep us away – for when we touched down in the city, we were prepared to take over by any means necessary.

We found the gay scene to be rather small, but worth checking out. There were lots of great spots to eat and drink with incredibly romantic sunset views. The hotel staff were more than accommodating and made our stay super comfy.

With fantastic sites and incredible nightlife, we've put down all our discoveries into this travel guide to gay Cartagena!

Heads up: We just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links. That means if you book something through one of those links, we'll get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep our blog going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥

Explore the country of Colombia with other gay travellers by joining a tour by Out Adventures

Explore Colombia on a gay tour

Out Adventures' brand new Colombia tour is hotter than Maluma! Beginning in Bogotá, the carefree escape will have you shaking your arepa at the largest LGBTQ club in the Americas, hiking humid jungles in Tayrona National Park, and soaking up the country's sand, sun, and sea in coastal Cartagena. The optional gay salsa class, food tour, and snorkeling excursion make this adventure muy caliente!

Find out more

Is Cartagena safe for gay travelers?

As a country, Colombia is remarkably gay-friendly. Homosexuality has been legal since 1981, gay marriage passed in 2016, and a very comprehensive set of anti-discrimination laws was introduced in 2011. Plus, with increased visibility and more tolerant attitudes within the bigger cities, it has had a knock-on effect on tourism, attracting more LGBTQ travelers.

Cartagena, in particular, is a popular coastal destination with a small, but thriving LGBTQ community. In early August, the city has its official Pride Festival, which takes place alongside the more Circuit-style annual Rumours Festival (see more in the Events section below).

During our time in Cartagena, we felt very welcomed as a gay couple and never encountered any nastiness at all at the places we stayed. We found hotel staff were used to welcoming LGBTQ travelers. The only anguish we had to suffer through was the long wait between meals when Seby threw one of his hangry fits!

However, we would advise you to be vigilant in public: the coastal region of Colombia is generally regarded as the least gay-friendly. Whilst Cartagena itself is gay-friendly due to it being so touristy and international, if you do venture beyond to rural areas around the coast, then be aware of local attitudes and if need be minimize public displays of affection.

Arriving in Cartagena soon?

Traffic between Cartagena's airport and the downtown area can be pretty crazy, taking up to an hour to navigate. There aren't great public transport options and it's also entirely possible to be scammed if you don't choose a trustworthy taxi. We prefer to book a private transfer from the airport to our accommodation so we know we won't have to deal with any hassle on arrival and can just relax with a reputable driver taking care of us.

We loved relaxing on the beach of Playa Blanca during our time in Cartagena
Out and proud on Cartagena's beaches!

The gay area of Cartagena

The gay scene of Cartagena is spread out across the whole city. As such it is difficult to define a “gay area”. The main gay bars and clubs in Cartagena are The City Club (located at the western edge of the old town), and Gabanna (located outside the old town).

Our favorite area to hang out is in the hip and Bohemian Plaza Trinidad in the “Getsemani” area, which is just next door to Centro. Here it's full of street art, cafes, outdoor events, and people dancing/drinking in the streets. It's got a chilled, relaxed vibe…oh and look out for the infamous SHAKIRO performing proudly in the streets:

Getsemani is a vibrant, hip and happening neighbourhood in Cartagena with a growing gay scene.
Meeting Shakiro at Plaza Trinidad in Getsemani

Gay hotels in Cartagena

Cartagena is very touristy, so most hotels will be used to hosting LGBTQ travelers. The places we recommend below, are gay friendly hotels that we tried and welcomed us as a gay couple. If you decide to book a hotel that is not listed here, we recommend emailing or calling in advance just to be sure that they're OK to host you as a gay couple and that you will get the double bed you initially booked. Here are the hotels that we tried and loved in the beautiful Cartagena:


Hotel Quadrifolio

One of our favourite parts of the gay friendly Hotel Quadrifolio was the Jacuzzi and pool we usually had all to ourselves!

Why we love it

  • Small and exclusive
  • Located right in the heart of the Old Town
  • Gay friendly and hospitable staff
  • Rooftop pool, Jacuzzi and sun loungers

Hotel Quadrifolio is one of our favourite gay friendly hotels to stay in Cartagena. It is very popular with gay honeymooners and is rated as one of the best hotels in Cartagena by Tripadvisor, for good reason.

Located right in the heart of the Old Town in the Centro neighborhood, this luxurious boutique hotel is housed in a beautiful historic Spanish colonial residence. It's also very exclusive with just 8 suites, so we recommend booking well in advance to avoid disappointment.

The building from the outside is quite unassuming, but once inside you quickly realize why it's so highly regarded: it's so chic and stylishly decorated. The service is flawless, the staff is very professional, speaks fluent English, and is used to dealing with LGBTQ travelers.

Our favourite thing about Hotel Quadrifolio is their gorgeous rooftop which has sun loungers as well as a hot tub. They also have a pool on the ground level and as there are only 8 rooms here, you almost always have the pool and hot tub all to yourself. We honestly felt like celebrities, tucked away in a secret hideaway during our time here. Always feeling pampered, yet given total privacy when we needed it!

Check availability


Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, voiding any nasty surprises when you check-in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off our first booking.


Arsenal Hotel

Hotel Chocolat is a gay friendly hotel with stunning views from the rooftop infinity pool and bar

Why we love it

  • Outdoor infinity pool with great views
  • Free delicious breakfast
  • Located in the hip Getsemani neighborhood
  • Cozy rooms with beautiful decor

The five-star Arsenal Hotel is located in the vibrant Getsemani neighborhood, overlooking the ocean.

The staff are lovely and very gay-friendly. They go out of their way to make recommendations or help you organize activities, tours, and excursions.

Although a large hotel, it still has an element of charm, particularly in the reception area and the restaurant. We loved the daily breakfast of cereal, fresh fruit, and Colombian coffee. There's also a small on-site fitness center, a restaurant, and a wine-bar.

The main highlight is the rooftop infinity pool and bar, overlooking the ocean. This is a reason alone to stay at Arsenal Hotel, it was our favorite rooftop hangout area from all the places we stayed at, although it can get a bit busy at weekends.

Check availability


Les Lezards Guesthouse

Les Lezards is a lovely gay guesthouse in Cartagena with a Jacuzzi surrounded by plants that makes you feel like you're in the jungle!

Why we love it

  • Beautiful intimate guesthouse
  • Incredible breakfast included
  • Affordable
  • A gorgeous rooftop terrace and Jacuzzi

Les Lezards is a cute gay friendly bed and breakfast in the Getsemani neighborhood of Cartagena. It's the former family home of local guy Marcus, who converted it into an intimate guesthouse with 6 rooms.

Marcus and his staff run it and offer a very personable service. They will pick you up from the airport, show you around the neighborhood, and make you feel like you're at home.

The daily breakfast is spectacular, with fresh tropical fruits, scrambled eggs, arepas, toast with jam, peanut butter or Nutella, and delicious fruit shakes. We never wanted to leave, but our waistlines thanked us for it! We also enjoyed making friends with the resident cat and two turtles that wander around.

Les Lezards has a rooftop terrace area to chill in as well as a beautiful Jacuzzi area, hidden within a mini jungle of plants. We highly recommend booking the Up in the Sky room, which also has a private plunge pool. Once we got our spot secured, we could barely bring ourselves to leave. The bubbles felt like we were receiving a deep and luxurious massage, which helped relieve us of all the stress. Being fabulous 24/7 is darn exhausting.

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The most romantic thing we did in Cartagena was go on a sunset cruise!

Go on a romantic sunset cruise

One of the most romantic things we experienced while in Cartagena was our sunset cruise in the Bay of Cartagena. It's an interesting way to see the city and, of course, enjoy a stunning sunset with some wine!

Find out more


Hotel Casa Lola

Hotel Casa Lola is a gay owned and run establishment with beautiful rooftop pools

Why we love it

  • Swimming pool and spa
  • Gay owned and very friendly staff
  • Also pet-friendly!
  • Yummy breakfast included

Hotel Casa Lola is a lovely four-star establishment set in two historical 17th and 19th-century colonial buildings in the heart of Getsemani.

You'll be within walking distance from the best gay bars and restaurants, as well as being able to relax inside the hotel as much as you wish.

What's more, it's a gay owned and managed hotel that's very welcoming to all guests, pets included!

We love the mix of antiques and modern decor throughout the hotel, as well as the very comfortable beds in the spacious rooms. There are a couple of small but gorgeous rooftop pools offering the perfect spot to relax and look out over stunning views. With palm tree plants and a wooden decked-out patio, the rustic charm of the place made us feel at ease.

There's also an in-house spa that offers wellness services like massages, facials and hairstyling. Every morning a yummy breakfast is served in the delightful interior courtyard and you can enjoy sunset drinks on the rooftop bar – which of course, we took full advantage of!

Check availability


Life is Good Cartagena Hostel

Life is Good Hostel in Cartagena is a great budget option for gay travellers

Why we love it

  • Excellent budget accommodation
  • Rooftop Jacuzzi and sunbeds
  • Onsite bar and restaurant
  • Cosy bunks or lovely private rooms

For gay travelers on a budget, check out the Life is Good Cartagena Hostel.

This is one fancy-schmancy hostel, so it's perfect if you want to have a lovely experience with lots of amenities, but not pay an arm and a leg for things you don't need.

Even the dorm rooms are gorgeous, with very comfy bunks that feature curtains for privacy. Or you can stay in a beautiful private room with a big double bed.

Our favorite part of this gay friendly hostel (as with most places) is the rooftop Jacuzzi! There are also plenty of seats, sunbeds, and a barbecue up on the roof, so it's a great spot to socialize or just relax. There's a cozy bar and restaurant on-site as well, although you can also cook for yourself in the shared kitchen.

For a small cost, you can get lots of extras at Life is Good, such as a shuttle service from the airport, continental breakfast, or bike hire for exploring the city. The staff is welcoming and used to dealing with LGBTQ travelers. It felt like they would go the extra mile to make your stay more comfortable and help you book things to do in the area.

Check availability

Gay bars in Cartagena

The gay scene changes quite frequently in Cartagema, but there are a handful of gay friendly bars to check out, mainly based outside of the Old Town area with a few inside it. Since the iconic Le Petit bar closed its doors for good in 2023 there are no official gay bars left in Cartagena at present, just two gay clubs (see below).

Avatar Disco Bar

Pulsating Cuban rumba beats and a mesmerising light show, we loved the vibe at Avatar. We only came here for drinks and didn't stay late as we had to catch a flight the next day, but friends we met told us that it gets pretty wild here on weekend evenings. The Avatar gay bar in Cartagena is open only Thursday to Sunday from 7pm until 3am on weekends, and around midnight on other nights. It is located at La Heroica, southeast of the old town. It takes around 20 minutes by Uber (with traffic), 10 minutes without.

Video Bar Geminis

Geminis is a great little gay bar in Cartagena that has some hot shows to watch. It's close to Avatar, so we suggest heading here first beforehand. It's a handy place to hook up with locals…failing that the staff are super hot and only too happy to (ahem!) lend a hand where necessary! This is more of a cruising bar and everything is geared towards having healthy fun! There's even a few private cabins and a darkroom at the back. The Video Bar Geminis gay bar is open daily from 11am and closes at 11pm but on Thursday to Saturday evenings it goes on until 3am.

Solar Bar & Food

Solar is a gay-friendly bar located in the hip Getsemani neighborhood, overlooking the vibrant Plaza de la Trinidad, so it's perfect for people-watching! They serve delicious food and cocktails with regular live music. Located at Calle de la Sierpe 9A-32, Solar is open daily until around 1.30 am.

Gay clubs in Cartagena

Be warned: just like the gay scene in Buenos Aires, the Colombians also like to party late. Going to a club before midnight, you'll likely be solo for most of the time! These are the main gay clubs in Cartagena right now to check out:

The City Club

The City Club is the main gay club in Cartagena serving the best LGBTQ rumba! They have two separate dance areas, one is called the Elektro Zone and the other the CrossOver Zone. They're only open Thursday to Sunday nights from 8 pm till around(!) 3 am. The City Club is located at Calle 8b #24-16 at the western edge of the old town.

Roma Club

Roma gay club is split into two areas each pumping out the latest Latino pop hits. We left this place dripping in sweat, having just mastered our Salsa moves. Our style was no match for the locals, yet we had a ball! When we went the cover charge was 15,000 pesos ($5), which gets you into both areas of the club. Roma Club is located at Avenida Santander on the 2nd floor of Mega Tiendas. It is open every day until the early hours of the next day, but we recommend going on either a Friday or Saturday night.

Gabanna Club

The Gabanna gay club is located across the bridge outside the old town towards the east of the city. Being outside the tourist area it's more local here and we were living for it! Gabanna has several dance floor areas and even a dark room and an xxx movie room for a bit of playtime! The best parties happen on weekend evenings, though we loved the karaoke night on Thursday. Our one tip, they do like to play the music pretty loud, so take some earplugs with you…trust us, you'll thank us later! The exact address of Gabanna Club is “Calle 32 #18 B 108 Local 1A, Pie Del Cerro, Cartagena de Indias”, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia”. It is open most evenings, but check their socials for the latest parties and opening hours as these change frequently.

Taboo Disco Club

Taboo is the best queer club in Cartagena and conveniently located in the old town. It's a very mixed crowd of everyone in our LGBTQ+ family along with a couple of straight allies. The music is a mix of everything – they proudly call themselves a ‘crossover' club. Heads up, it can get pretty busy on weekend evenings. The Taboo Disco gay club of Cartagena is located at Calle 24 #10-55 in Getsemani. It is open every evening from 8 pm until it gets empty but usually around 3 am (especially on weekends, earlier on other nights).

Seby with a large cocktail in the gay bars of Cartagena.
Seby with one a dangerous giant beer and rum pitchers!

Gay events in Cartagena

Apart from Pride, Cartagena doesn't have a whole lot of gay events. It's definitely worth timing your visit for the August Pride and Rumours Festival period though, or for one of the other great gay-friendly events we've listed here.

  • Cartagena Pride (August): the official gay Pride of Cartagena takes place every August, making this an exciting time to visit. As well as the parade, Cartagena Pride is a 6-day event featuring a variety of cultural, sports, tourism, food, and entertainment activities. There'll be speakers, parties, film screenings, and even football tournaments to enjoy, so don't miss out!
  • Rumours Festival (August): Rumours is a Circuit-style gay festival that takes place during the Cartagena pride season in August. For 5 full days, visitors and locals alike flock to the many parties to get their groove on, with more than 29 DJs from around the world. The festival is huge, attracting more than 2,000 visitors to the city, so definitely not to be missed if you enjoy dancing with thousands of sexy topless guys.
  • Carnaval in Barranquilla (February/March): about two hours from Cartagena is the town of Barranquilla, which holds the second-largest carnival event in the world! Barranquilla is also the home of Shakira and Sofia Vergara just sayin'…! The four-day event features a plethora of parades, great music and fantastic costumes, as well as one day dedicated to the LGBTQ community.
  • Festival del Dulce (April): Cartagena is home to one of the sweetest festivals ever: el Festival del Dulce or ‘candy festival'! In Colombia, it is traditional to make and share sweet treats at Eastertime, so in the week leading up to Easter Sunday, you will be able to find lots of sweet treats available throughout the city. This festival is a celebration of local traditions and culture, so you can feel good knowing you are supporting the locals, while you stuff your face at the same time!
Gay travellers with a sweet tooth will love visiting Cartagena during the candy festival!
A sweet taste of the treats on offer in Cartagena during Festival del Dulce

Gay beaches in Cartagena

Whilst Cartagena doesn't have an official gay beach, there are quite a few nice beaches in and around the city. The beaches right by the Old Town of Cartagena are not the nicest in the area. You need to head further out to find idyllic beaches. The closest beach to the city is in the Bocagrande area, however for the best beaches, we recommend heading out to the islands.

  • Hollywood Beach: No movie stars here! Looks like we'll need to be the shining stars. Playa Hollywood in Bocagrande is the closest thing to a beach in Cartagena, which has proven popular with both LGBTQ locals and tourists. Hollywood Beach is located in front of the Hotel Caribe in El Laguito. The busiest time to visit is on the weekends.
  • Playa Blanca: Located on the Isla Baru about an hour out of Cartagena is the gorgeous white sandy beach of Playa Blanca. This spot is a must-visit for a day of beach fun! It's particularly busy on weekends when the locals come here in high numbers. If you want some quiet time here, then we suggest coming on weekdays.

Our favorite things to do in Cartagena

The main highlight of Cartagena is the ancient UNESCO listed Old Town. Although it is very touristy, it still retains a great deal of old-world Colonial charm rich with history dating back to the 1500s. Cartagena is also a great base for exploring the nearby Rosario Islands. Here are some of our favourite activities for gay travellers to do in Cartagena based on our personal experience during our time there:

Sunset Cruise

For a truly romantic experience, go for a sunset cruise (with cocktails) in the bay of Cartagena!

An amazing way to explore Cartagena is from the sea, with a sunset cruise through the Bay of Cartagena de Indias. We found it incredibly romantic to watch the sun setting over the ocean with a glass of cava, and it was also interesting to see different parts of the city from the water. The sunset cruise we went on gave us lovely views of the Manga and Bocagrande neighbourhoods, as well as going all the way out to Tierrabomba Island. This breathtaking evening cruise is definitely a must-do for gay couples visiting Cartagena!

Discover the Old Town of Cartagena

Exploring Cartagena's old town and history is a must for gay travellers

The walled Old Town area of Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beautiful area to explore. We really enjoyed wandering among the gorgeous colonial buildings and discovering the best attractions, like the Palace of the Inquisition. The Palacio de la Inquisición is one of the finest buildings in Cartagena but was historically the place where inquisitions took place during the colonial era. Today it's a museum with quite graphic exhibitions, such as the instruments of torture used during the inquisitions. Even though it's quite a harrowing experience, we definitely think it's a must-see when exploring Cartagena's Old Town.

Sample Colombian coffee at Cafe del Mural

Gay guide to Cartagena - sample the best Colombian coffee in Cartagena at Cafe Mural

Cafe del Mural is a cafe that deserves it's own entry because it's quite possibly the best coffee we've ever tasted! Tucked into a little side street in the Getsemani neighbourhood they serve incredible coffee varieties (obviously), as well as delicious baked treats such as banana bread or brownies and a mouthwatering Colombian take on an affogato with homemade ice-cream! They even do coffee roasting workshops for the hardcore coffee buffs out there who want to learn the traditional Colombian method of roasting. However, they're only open from 3-8pm so make sure you plan your visit in advance to avoid disappointment (this happened to us twice!).

Learn about Cartagena's history

Gay Cartagena - for the best views over the city visit the San Felipe Castle in Cartagena

As well as the historic walled Old Town area, Cartagena has a lot of other historic spots that are definitely worth visiting. For example, the Castillo de San Felipe is a 16th-century fortress built on a hill overlooking Cartagena that still stands proud today. Not only is it really interesting to visit the castle, but the views over the city and bay are also jaw-droppingly stunning! The Convento de la Popa is a monastery on top of another hill that also features gorgeous views over Cartagena. If you don't want to try and organise transport you can easily join a tour to visit these locations and learn about their history.

Explore pristine Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca is one of Cartagena's best beaches, only about an hour out of the city

The most popular beach near Cartagena is Playa Blanca, which is actually located a fair way out of the city on the Isla Baru. You can reach this ‘island' and its stunning beach by bus, car or by boat. It's possible to get there yourself but we found the most relaxing way was by booking a full day trip to the beach. We loved frolicking in the turquoise waters, sunbathing and just relaxing. There are local salespeople who walk along the beach selling yummy treats as well as lots of nice cafes and restaurants if you want a more fancy meal.

Snorkel in the mangroves

The waters around Cartagena are perfect for lovers of snorkelling

It's not all about the beaches on Isla Baru, gay travellers can also go snorkelling and explore the local mangrove eco-system here! We love going snorkelling whenever we travel somewhere near the ocean so we jumped at the chance to snorkel in the mangroves on Isla Baru. We saw lots of beautiful fish and coral while snorkelling, then during our boat ride we also spotted many different species of birds and even some iguanas. If you like your beach time with a dash of wildlife and exciting underwater adventures, definitely make sure you go snorkelling when in Cartagena.

Cartagena Cocktail Tour

Cartagena gay city guide - discover some of the best bars and sample delicious cocktails on a cocktail tour!

We are certainly not averse to having a cocktail or two (or three or four!) on a night out. Joining a cocktail tour of Cartagena is a fun way to both explore the historic area of the city and get to sample some delicious cocktails at the best bars. Having a local guide means you'll find the best secret spots and you won't have to worry about getting lost in a haze if you've had one too many of those boozy bad boys. Our favourite parts were the rooftop gem that gave us a very romantic sunset view over Cartagena, and the opportunity to make our own yummy cocktail. Shaken, not stirred!

Learn to cook Colombian food

In Cartafgena you can learn to cook traditional Colombian food in a local chef's house, yummy!

Another one of our favourite activities to do in a new place is to learn how to make the local delicacies. Cartagena was no exception, we love traditional Colombian food so we joined a cooking class with a local chef so we could recreate our favourite foods from Cartagena. We enjoyed learning how to make traditional dishes like arepas and bandeja paisa…but, in particular, loved getting to eat them while overlooking the beach of La Baquilla even more! Joining a cooking class at chef Jose's home is also a wonderful way to support local businesses while getting an insider's glimpse into the homes of people who live in Cartagena.

Visit the Rosario Islands

Gay travellers to Cartagena will definitely want to take a boat trip to explore the beautiful Rosario Islands

Cartagena is also surrounded by the small Rosario coral islands, where you can find secluded beaches, do water sports and go snorkelling. Our favourites were Agua Azul beach on Baru island and lunch at the super cool Blue Apple on Tierra Bomba island, which offers a shuttle service for guests. You can also join a full-day sailing excursion to explore the San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park in comfort with a full bar and delicious lunch! Read more about our boat tour of the Cartagena islands when we came to celebrate Seby's birthday.

Experience the real Cartagena

For a taste of the 'real' Cartagena, get out of the city centre and mingle with locals at Bazurto Markets.

Most visitors to Cartagena will be spending their time in the touristy parts of the city, the historic walled area or hip neighbourhoods of Getsemani and Boca Grande. But if you'd like to discover the authentic local side of the city, then you need to head to the areas of La Esperanza and Chino. One of the most exciting spots here is the Mercado de Bazurto, a huge labyrinth of market stalls selling everything from vegetables, meat and fish to clothing and art. The easiest way to get to the Bazurto Market is with a tour since it's a bit far out of the main city. Make sure you also have lunch at the market cafeteria and get to know the locals.

Gay-friendly restaurants in Cartagena

Cartagena's tourism boom has attracted many world-class chefs to local hotels and restaurants. Its location means LGBTQ travellers will be able to sample some of the best, freshest seafood, as well as other delicious dishes. These are some of our favourite restaurants in Cartagena, which we tried and loved.


Carmen is a gorgeous, romantic and gay friendly restaurant in Cartagena which we will never forget since it's where we got engaged!

We will always remember Carmen Restaurant as one of the highlights of our time in Cartagena as this is where Stefan proposed! The restaurant also knew it was for Seby's birthday so they made a special little dessert, which makes the photo for remembering this night even more unique! Carmen is a gorgeous, romantic restaurant in an elegant old colonial house. The food is contemporary cuisine with Colombian flavours and is just delicious. Mouthwatering dishes like crab, lobster and pork belly are on the menu but make sure you leave room for one of their sumptuous desserts as well.

Cafe del Mar

Cafe del Mar is the best place for dinner with a side of stunning sunset views over the water from Cartagena

Cafe del Mar is strategically located on top of the ancient walls in the Old Town, facing the ocean and making it one of the best places in Cartagena for a sunset cocktail. Every evening we were rewarded with absolutely stunning sunsets while we dined on delicious seafood and drank our incredible cocktails. They regularly have live music to listen to while dining. Since you're on the ramparts of the old walls, there are even some original cannons to add to your photos, back from the days when Cartagena needed to be protected from pirates.


For the best vegan food in Cartagena, head to Saumdra Govindas!

If you're looking for some excellent vegetarian or vegan food in the walled part of Cartagena, make sure you stop by HabiVegan This hostel and yoga studio offers up vegan breakfasts, lunches, dinners, fast foods and natural juices for low prices. They also have gluten-free meals available. You can get a delicious set menu of soup, main and juice for just $4! It's also sometimes referred to as Mar y Hojas Cocina Vegana, so don't get confused. Try and get a table on the pretty balcony so you can look out over the city while you eat.

Di Silvio Trattoria

If you're craving some Italian while in Cartagena, head to Di Silvio Trattoria for some of the best pizza you'll ever taste!

If you're craving pizza, head to Di Silvio Trattoria! Seriously, this little spot around the corner from Plaza de la Trinidad does the best pizzas we tried in all of Colombia. They are delicious mouthwatering flat-bread beauties, made to perfection! Also, this is the perfect spot to nurse that coco loco hangover, especially when you're craving carbs! The atmosphere is relaxed, although it can get quite busy due to how popular it is: we found it on Tripadvisor and went here because of the many excellent reviews, which we totally agree with.

Cebiches & Ceviches

For the freshest and most delicious ceviche in Cartagena, make sure you visit the gay friendly restaurant Cebiches & Ceviches

Ok, we don't want to be known for exaggerating and saying everything is the best, but once again we found the best place in Cartagena, this time for ceviche! Cebiches & Ceviches is a little gem right by the main gate entrance of the walled Old Town. They have a menu with the biggest variety of different delicious ceviches we've ever seen. It's quite daunting at first. Best advice is to ask the waiter and just go for it. It's all good! And don't forget to grab a few cocktails – they're pretty damn good!

La Cocina de Pepina

La Cocina de Pepina serves delicious homestyle Colombian cuisine in their cosy restaurant

La Cocina de Pepina is a little restaurant tucked away in the Getsemani neighbourhood. They do traditional, family-style Colombian food which is absolutely delicious. The restaurant space is small and cosy, they don't accept bookings so you can only walk in and hope for the best. It's worth it if you can get a table, as their dishes such as ceviche, sopa caribe and gallina are very tasty. There are also a few vegetarian options. The waiters are very friendly and attentive while the prices are also very low, especially considering how good the food is!

Interno (permanently closed – updated 26/01/2021)

Have a yummy meal and support a worthwhile initiative at Interno, a restaurant staffed by female inmates

Restaurante Interno is one of the most unique restaurant experiences we've ever had. We were particularly touched and inspired by its wonderful mission: the restaurant is housed within the local women's prison with its inmates cooking and serving the food to the guests! This programme means that female inmates are learning valuable skills so that they can more easily reintegrate back into society after completing their sentences. What a terrific initiative! The restaurant is small, with beautiful colourful murals on the walls and the food is quite delicious Colombian-style fusion. Interno is a very popular restaurant, so make sure to book your table ahead of time.

Before you go

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Cartagena. Read on to find out everything LGBTQ travellers should know before they go.

Travel insurance: Accidents happen when you're travelling, and the last thing you want is to be stranded after a cancelled flight or sick and unable to see a doctor. We always travel with a travel insurance so that we're protected in case something unforeseen happens. We love Heymondo because they offer very extensive cover for travel and it's easy to make a claim online when needed.

How to get there: If you're flying to Cartagena you will arrive at Rafael Nuñez International Airport. To get from the airport to your hotel you can catch a taxi or Uber, although the local porters can be quite aggressive and try to scam you. We usually like to book a private transfer from the airport to our accommodation so we can relax and get ready for exploring.

Visa requirements: If you're travelling to Cartagena from the EU, US or Australia then you won't need a visa to enter Colombia as a tourist, and can stay for up to 90 days. If you're travelling from a different country, or just want to make absolutely sure, check your visa requirements.

Getting around: The main area of Cartagena is quite small, so you can easily see all the best sights by walking. If you want to explore further afield then your best bet is to hail a taxi, collectivo (like a bigger taxi which holds more people), bus or an Uber. Here is a more detailed guide to public transport in Cartagena you can also check out.

Vaccinations: If you're travelling to Cartagena then you should make sure you are up to date with all routine vaccines (especially measles). The CDC also recommends travellers to Colombia get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Typhoid. You should always check the most recent information on the CDC website though.

Currency: The currency used in Cartagena and the rest of Colombia is the Colombian peso, which is abbreviated to COP. The regular dollar symbol is used with Colombian pesos, or sometimes COL$ to distinguish it from other currencies. $1 USD converts to around COL$3,100, £1 to roughly COL$4,000 and €1 to around COL$3,600.

Tipping culture: Tipping is not generally expected in places in Colombia but travellers often tip a few thousand pesos (50 cents to a dollar in USD) to hotel housekeeping, especially in more touristy areas like Cartagena. In restaurants and spas, a 10% optional service charge is usually added to your bill which you can choose to pay or not.

Online privacy: The Colombian government does not place any restrictions on internet usage, so you won't need to worry about keeping your online activities a secret. If you just personally prefer to use a virtual private network then we recommend ExpressVPN. Their VPN service is a very reliable and affordable way to keep your information private.

Accommodation: If you want more accommodation options for Cartagena then make sure you check out We love using their online system because they have all the best hotels for great prices, which often includes free cancellation. Their customer service is very good as well, and it's so easy to book online.

Sightseeing and adventure: When searching for fun activities to do in Cartagena we like to use GetYourGuide. They always have lots of exciting options, the booking process is really simple and their 24/7 online support is excellent.

When to visit: The best time to visit Cartagena is during the region's dry season, between December – April, when the heat is high but the humidity is low. If you really want to avoid the tourists in the busy summer season you can travel at other times, but be aware that it will probably rain a lot more and be very humid. Cartagena is one place where it's kind of best to visit during the popular period.

Gay map of Cartagena

We've put together this gay map of Cartagena showing where all the gay friendly places we've mentioned in this guide. We hope you find it helpful when planning your own gay trip to Cartagena.

Find out all our favourite gay clubs and bars as well as places to stay and things to do in Cartagena, Colombia with this handy map

Read more travel adventures like this in our book!

We've published our very own gay travel book called, ‘Out in the World'. It has all our practical safety tips, first-hand advice, and travel stories from some of our favorite destinations.

We hope it inspires you to have a fun and safe trip!

Click on the book to order:

Gay couple travel book Nomadic Boys Out in the World

For more inspiration:

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Find out all our favourite gay clubs and bars as well as places to stay and things to do in Cartagena, Colombia with our full guide
Stefan Arestis

Hey everyone, I'm Stefan, the curly-haired Greek flavor behind the gay travel blog Nomadic Boys. Together with my other half, I have explored more than 90 countries across 5 continents. What I love most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, learning new cultures. I've written about LGBTQ travel in numerous online publications such as Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times and Pink News as well as for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Check my full bio here.

William Phillips

Wednesday 4th of March 2020

Thank you so much this was very informative and helpful for a gay man in the US to reference God bless you all and continue the life of love

Stefan Arestis

Wednesday 4th of March 2020

Our pleasure :)

Chao Deng

Tuesday 10th of December 2019

Is there any new year eve gay party? or better LGBT new year eve party?

Stefan Arestis

Wednesday 11th of December 2019

Always parties happening at NYE, but nothing gay specific sadly.

Rodolfo M Bugarin Jr

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

thank you for the map and tips!

Stefan Arestis

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

Our pleasure :)

Romeo Griffith

Sunday 18th of August 2019

¡Hola Chicos!!!!! I work for a US airline and I cannot believe that, as much as I travel, I have not had the opportunity to view your website and postings before. Can I just say that you guys are awesome! Your presentation is so very professional, warm and welcoming. Your choice of information to include is well thought out with helpful suggestions, details and insights. It is extremely convenient to use all of the links you've provided and I am finding it to be quite addicting! I am so glad to have discovered this wonderful gift you are providing to the LGBTQ community of world travelers. I look forward to reading more about your adventures and travel advice in the future and wish you both the best. May your days be filled with many unexpected moments of joy, happiness, laughter and most of all love. Congratulations on your engagement! ¡Felicidades, Amigos! Romeo

Stefan Arestis

Monday 19th of August 2019

Thanks so much Romeeo :)


Thursday 25th of July 2019

Guys, thanks for the tips. I’m in Cartagena right now but couldn’t find Roma club on google map. Does it still exist? On the contrary, le petit bar now has a disco on the 1st floor.

Stefan Arestis

Thursday 25th of July 2019

Hi Jason, thanks a lot for this! Updating our article now and noted everything you say :) Did you manage to locate Roma at Avenida Santander on the 2nd floor of Mega Tiendas...? We think it's still there, but note their Facebook page hasn't been updated in a while.