Lodging in Cartagena, Colombia

I’ve stayed in three places in Cartagena, at three wildly different budgets, and I can recommend them all.

My first apartment, inside the walls of the Old Town.

For the first week, I was in a delightful apartment in the Old City. That building had air conditioning, a doorman, an elevator, a pool, and terraces. The apartment was cute, comfy, secure and just steps away from Santo Domingo Square, in a perfect location. That apartment rents for $89 a night, or $623 per week for one or two people, making it a really affordable alternative to a hotel for visitors who don’t mind taking care of their own daily needs and want a kitchen. My post about that apartment, with pics, is here, and you can contact the owner, Claudia, to arrange a rental through AirBnB. This is the perfect budget-friendly option for a short-term visit. If you’ve never vacationed in an apartment rather than a hotel before, you’ll be amazed how much you’ll save by having a kitchen!

My primary apartment, with a balcony overlooking the Caribbean at sunset.

I’ve spent most of my two months here renting a room in a penthouse by the beach. It’s secure (doorman, locked gate), peaceful, friendly (I shared common rooms with 4 or 5 other people, and I really liked them!) and convenient. I had kitchen and laundry privileges, a stunning view of the sunsets from the balcony, affordable restaurants not far away, and a public beach literally across the street. My landlord was friendly and helpful. And it rented for just $35/night or $420/month for one person. What’s the downside? It’s an older building, no air conditioning, no hot water (not that I’ve wanted any), and no elevator (we’re on the fifth floor). The apartment is pretty solidly booked these days, so this link may not work, but you can contact Walter through AirBnB to inquire, see my post with pics, or check out his modern condo in Bocagrande.

Right now, Craig is treating me to a bit of respite care from the heat. We’re at the Hotel Casa Bustamante, right up the street from our apartment. It’s a charming boutique hotel, no more than six rooms. King-size bed with fluffy, unlumpy pillows. Hot water. A sweet little pool all to ourselves for refreshing dips in the evening (we brought wine). And lovely breakfasts, served poolside, with fresh fruit, coffee, eggs, and fresh-squeezed juices. Heavenly. Here are my pics of Casa Bustamante.

Mural by the small pool in the courtyard.
Mural by the small pool in the courtyard.
A desk by the window, and in the corner, a mirror in an unusual handworked frame.
A desk by the window, and in the corner, a mirror in an unusual handworked frame.
Big, comfy bed.
Big, comfy bed.
Yes, there's an open skylight and a garden in our bathroom!
Yes, there’s an open skylight and a garden in our bathroom!
Front door of the hotel.
Front door of the hotel.

Published by Lauren

I'm a nomadic freelance writer, out enjoying the world!


  • Nicole Shanks

    July 10, 2013 at 3:54 am Reply

    All of the places so far have been awesome. I think the hotel mural by the pool is awesome. The front door of the hotel is amazing and inviting, but my favorite so far is the view from your first apartment of the people making candy. Can’t wait to see where you go next 🙂

  • Patricia

    July 11, 2013 at 12:05 am Reply

    Great pictures Lauren, I feel like I’m there! Love the openness of the bathroom! LOL!

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