Ultimate Guide to Getsemani the Authentic Neighborhood in Cartagena
Getsemani is beautiful, magic, unique and I want to protect it. If you go, her don’t be a stranger. Be respectful, listen and observe this magical place on earth. Don’t leave marks only memories in your heart!
Getsemani must you never change!
I love your soul & spirit!
Break out of being a stranger and enter Getsemani the true neighborhood of Cartagena de Indias. Only 10 minutes stroll outside the city walls, and you can discover one of the most sparkling areas in Colombia. Getsemani is the neighborhood where everyone is welcome. Poor or wealthy, tourist or local? Nobody cares who you are which is an incredible feeling! In Getsemani we are all being together in the neighborhood. There is no difference between you and me. We are in Getsemani together as one big family with a blend of the world. Europeans, Americans, Colombians, Australians, Venezuelans, and Italians — Getsemani doesn’t discriminate.
Everything in Getsemani is vibrant
From the colorful houses to Plaza Trinidad and the humidity from the sweltering Caribbean sun. In Getsemani every street corner has history and art, making it a unique neighborhood.
Mostly your best memories will come from Plaza Trinidad, talking to the people, buying Cerveza Costeñita in the corner and eating the street food. Some memories will come from aimlessly wandering the streets of Getsemani and discovering the talented graffiti and taking it all in.
Plaza de la Trinidad
Man of Getsemani and man of the Street. Talking about what we need in our life.
I only need dance and love! Maybe some Aquila to cool down in the heat.
Why is Getsemani Authentic?
Getsemani is the neighborhood for the people. Back in the days, it was the dense neighborhood. It was the neighborhood for prostitution, drug and violence. We know that winter can be long, but in Getsemani spring has arrived. It has all changed.
Getsemani is Thriving
It is the place where you still have the proud locals in the street with tourists, language students, police, bohemian artists, homeless, enigmatic street vendors, Plaza Trinidad and street performance. The best part is the warmth of the smiles that greet you in every corner in true Caribbean spirit. Everybody huddle up in Getsemani! It is kinda like Wynwood Art District in Miami but in a different way. Getsemani is authentically charming and easy to fall in love with.
Sparkling information about Getsemani
A unique place in Getsemani is Plaza Trinidad. You should spend a day and a night at Plaza Trinidad. Or at least couple of hours. Plaza Trinidad gives you the most lively plaza in Cartagena de Indias and the heart of Getsemani. Everything is going on, and everyone is on the Plaza Trinidad.
Getsemani is all about the life on the street
It is the perfect spot for people watching and eating Arepa de huevos. The most important part is to be on the street in Getsemani. Look at the street performance. If you go to Plaza Trinidad by night, don’t miss out on Shakira! The old chubby guy playing Shakira has a great sense of humor and give his soul when performing Whenever and Wherever – We’re meant to be together.
Street Performance – Warriors en la Calle!
If you want to see something remarkable and maybe more talented? Then wait for the dancing group: Warriors en La Calle, they have escaped from Venezuela. Because of the violence and the number of people killed during the last wave of political unrest. They perform their dance routine with a whopping energy and passion for a lifetime of a 5 minutes performance.
They are dancing for their lives, for their family, and for the future! Their performance is five liberating minutes where they only focus on the dance, not yesterday and neither today or tomorrow. The most beautiful part of watching is their freedom and the fun they have in their dance.
Getsemani & Street Art
Street art is a form of expression and Getsemani has many things to say. The different morals represent new issues that are plaguing Getsemani, such as racial segregation, gentrification, and increasing tourism. December 2013 was the first ever International Festival of Urban Art. The festival was held on the Streets of Getsemani with 11 Artists from Cartagena de Indias, 24 Colombians, and 3 international Artist. Together they gathered and created stories all over Getsemani. Here’s what I found in February 2017:
Street artist Yurika mdc took inspiration from a traditional story told to her by an old lady living close to the plaza. As the story goes, in olden times, the neighborhood was populated not only by humankind but by exotic animals too, like the vivid bird named Maria Mulata. The exotic multi-coloured birds with melodious song came to the rescue when the town was enveloped in flames and helped carry the local people to the city limits in their beaks. But flying back and forth through the smoke and soot the Maria Mulatas lost their colorful feathers and were blackened after that. The villagers were saved and forever grateful to Maria Mulata. On bright days, locals can still see the brilliant colors in the bird’s black plumage. To see how it was made, go to the artist’s page here.
You can find the Morals when you walk on Calle de la Sierpe
Artist Fin DAC
Las Tres Guerreras
Artist FIN DAC teaming up with his old friends. He undertook an ambitious project to find an authentic ‘Face of Cartagena’ by reaching out to locals. Through social media channels, and asking them to submit personal photos: the idea being to find an indigenous person that represented the mix of ethnicities and cultures in the cultural coastal hotspot.
The Irish artist presented a canvas work of the winner, Ana Luisa Muñoz, to the Museo Histórico Cartagena de Indias, which will become a permanent part of their collection. He then set about painting a large mural, featuring the winner, on the facade of Quintal Distrito Gourmet in the Getsemani neighborhood where he has painted many times over the last few years.
‘Las Tres Guerreras’ is the end result: a vibrant and powerful depiction of Cartagenan indigene that looks out over the walls of the old city. –“Las Tres Guerreras” by Fin DAC in Cartagena, Colombia
Looking for cool tours in Cartagena? I recommend checking out:
Places to spend the night
Wednesday in Getsemani is Media Luna day! In the Media Luna (Half Moon) Street, there is the Media Luna Hostel, that host a great party. The Party is on the rooftop terrace, which is magical feeling when the humidity is around 73 % – This is the place where you finally feel the air all the way from your hair to the back of your dress. Yes, honey, you will still be sticky at one point, if not you are not dancing! That is not real Latino!
Nightlife in Getsemani
In the second floor at Media Luna they have a live performance from Cartagena which is sometimes amazing! The truth to be told. Media Luna is the perfect spot to meet up with other foreigners. There are some locals, but for them, it is mostly to expensive to go to Media Luna. If you are looking for the local touch, this is not the place to be.
If you want the local feel, go straight for Bazurto Social Club! This where you will find the Costeños and even Bogotanos visiting for the weekend. The Caribbean coast is the place for more fun. In Baszurto they play everything! It involves some sultry dancing with Afro-Latino music and everything from salsa, bayenato, bugaloo, folklor, cumbia from Colombia and Champeta. The energy is on another level; it is crazy fun with an unbeatable atmosphere where everybody is smiling.
If you want to pay the expensive entrance tickets for the famous hotspot Cafe Havana, then do it! If you are only one time in Cartagena, maybe you should. Cafe Havana delivers salsa and mojitos, live performance and more salsa dancing to sunrise. Yes, this is where Hillary Clinton had a night out in Cartagena de Indias.
Hot spot for eating
If you have money to splurge I would recommend eating at Demente Tapas Bar at Plaza Trinidad. Demente gets a bit of everything right. My personal favorite is to hang out in the back garden with the wood-fired pizza oven and the big fan that makes you escape the humidity of Cartagena while having dinner.
Get a group of friends for Demente!
Because you would like to eat Tapas and share a bit of everything together! Maybe you will be lucky narrowing down the 14 plates, or maybe you go all in and have them all! Order the Argentinean parrilla meat with perfect balanced chimichurri and the fried chili peppers with plenty of flavor to snack on. Do not miss out on the Pizza! Order the pizza! It is the best: Fried Artichoke Pesto Pizza. Is worth booking a return ticket for Colombia.
If you are in the beer garden, go local go exploring the different beers in Colombia. Enjoy Demente’s full selection of Colombian beers.
Another great place for eating is Cháchara on the other corner of Plaza Trinidad. Cháchara has a selection from hamburger to chicken wings and more, it is always fully booked.
Maria Bonita Taqueria Cantina delivers an extensive list of delicious bite-size tacos to choose from including, prawn, chorizo and pulled pork. It serves up some one of the best slushy frozen Margaritas in town. You will pretty much get the party mood.
The budget spots for eating
We all love to splurge on food experience, but sometimes you have to get back to the budget. That requires more pocket-friendly places to eat. Getsemani has many of them, of course, you have to use your eyes. Budget friendly places don’t pop up on Facebook or Google. Use your eyes when being on the street and find the places with Menu el día. Or the Food Vendors with a lot of people waiting to eat. In one of the corner at Plaza Trinidad you can find deliciously chicken barbecue on the charcoal grill with coconut rice, salad for 12 000 COP which is 4 US dollars. The barbequed chiken is great food with an authentic smoky Caribbean flour.
My favorite place for lunch in Getsemani
My best lunch option is at Carrera 10 B – Enter the street on left side of the church (Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad) in Plaza Trinidad. Walk down the street until you have this yellow building with a small sign on the top of the door: Restaurant Mama-Nilma Pizzeria. Her you will find a smiling Maria, waiting to serve you the best Menu el día.
Maria serves up great portions of food. First the local soup with a bit of everything. Probably leftovers from yesterday, but plenty of flavor and pieces of tasty vegetables, meat and corn. This is my favorite soup. Sometimes I just order the soup with rice for around 8 000 COP which is maybe 2 US dollars, then I had a good lunch.
The Colombian way
If I’m going all Colombian, I tend to do the entire Menu el día, starting with the soup then choose between chicken, fish or vegetarian. My favorite is the fish with coconut rice and avocado salad; it is so big and tasty that you will not need to eat before 22.00 at night. Of course with glass of juice included. All of that for around 18 000 COP / 6 US dollars. If you don’t finish the meal get a doggie bag and have it for dinner. There are cheaper places to eat menu el día, but not as tasty! That’s why Maria wins my food heart any my money. In the night at the same place but with different waiters, there will be a Mojito bar! With great prices!
Breakfast either healthy or with Heart Attack – Arepa de Huevos
When it comes to Breakfast eat on the street! Colombia has the best Papaya in the world seriously. Have a mix of Papaya, Pineapple, and Watermelon with a glass of fresh orange juice ( 7 000 COP / 2 US dollars) and you’re ready for your Spanish Class. Of course, if you want to be naughty eat Arepa de Huevos and then die of a heart attack for lunch.
The best School for studying Spanish
Cartagena is maybe one of the easiest places to start your travel in Colombia. First of all flying in from Miami is cheap, and the Second it is safe. Cartagena is a huge tourist destination which means many of the Colombians speak English and a lot of police. That makes everything a bit smoother for the beginning.
Study Spanish at Nueva Lengua
Brushing up with some Spanish phrases to escape tourist scams is always great. If you want to get into Spanish – Why not get back at school for a week or four? Truly emerge yourself into Spanish and the Colombian culture. I had a great experience with Nueva Lengua, great teachers explaining everything in easy Spanish with a large amount of passion for you as a student. Every day you are becoming better in the Spanish language. The best part of this school is that you can continue to study Spanish in Medellin and Bogota.
Where to stay in Getsemani
Without a doubt, you should book your accommodation at Casa Venita. Because it has the perfect location with the authentic Colombian style, the best breakfast and of course Julian (speaks English and Spanish) the owner and receptionist that answer all your questions in an informative way and with an excellent patient, when you have even more questions.
The location is everything!
Casa Venita is only 200 meter from Plaza de la Trinidad where everything happens and only a 10 minutes walk to the old city. Casa Venita was my home away from home in Cartagena. I could not have loved it anymore. I was in the only dorm; it contains no more than 4-beds which is great when you’re traveling solo but tired of being in a party hostel. Casa Venita Hostal Boutique has a restaurant, bar, free WiFi and excellent breakfast. It was perfect for 1-month stay in Cartagena.
Other things that I loved about the Casa Venita was the safety, it is in the street of the Police station, and as a solo female traveler, it was a bonus. I was not afraid of walking home at night; everything was safe and secure.
Getsemani Don’t You Ever Change!
Getsemani is the neighborhood where my heart belongs to and this is the place where I always find a smile around the corner. Let me know where else I should put my heart? Because Getsemani is truly the place to be when visiting Colombia and Cartagena de Indias. Getsemani is an authentic, charming neighborhood with soul. You will wonder why should I ever leave? If there is one reason to leave it is for the reason that you want to discover Costeño Beach the Rare & Hidden Paradise in Colombia. Only for a couple of days and then you are back sitting in Plaza Trinidad watching the life in Getsemani.
You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave 😉