Being the most popular destination in all of Colombia, Cartagena can be confusing when making
a decision on which neighborhood is “best” to purchase property in. We’re here to tell you – there really is no “best”, there’s just different. While most gravitate towards the Historic Center, there are many
different areas to consider. Let’s go through them one by one.
EL CENTRO (Historic Center or "walled city")
With its historic culture, preserved colonial architecture, amazing restaurants, and vibrant
nightlife, this area remains the #1 choice for many travelers when selecting an area to stay
in while visiting this beautiful city. El Centro, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the city's main attraction and tourism is driving up the demand (and prices) for vacation properties in the area. With the exception of having beachfront options, Centro offers just about everything you could want from a destination and promises a consistent passive income for owners of vacation rentals. With proper management, vacation rentals can expect occupancy rates as high as 98 percent. However, when investing within the
iconic walls of El Centro, expect to pay a premium as the neighborhood is the most expensive land per square meter in the entire country. But it’s worth it!
This hipster hot spot with ever-changing mural-filled walls, fancy boutique hotels, funky
restaurants, and local culture will forever give a super unique vibe. This remains the #1 choice
for many backpackers, artists, and musicians. There was a time when even locals were warned to stay clear of Getsemani, but nowadays the neighborhood is safe and offers tourists a chance to experience more local culture. While it may still seem a bit rough around the edges, with new upscale boutique hotels and restaurants, Getsemani remains a great choice of location to stay even for families. Many houses have already been converted into hostels, boutique hotels, and stylish Airbnbs, and rental prices are comparable to those of El Centro. With the second-highest price tag per square meter in Colombia, don’t expect anything cheap here as investors are scooping up properties to build at an incredible rate but Getsemani still offers unique investment opportunities as the neighborhood continues to develop.
Described as the “little Miami”, Bocagrande stretches along the peninsula just south of the historic walled center (1 mile to be exact) and will likely forever remain a top choice for buyers and beach-lovers. Many of the major hotels are located along the main strip, as well as countless restaurant options, plenty of shopping, supermarkets, gyms, and bars. Bocagrande is both residential and commercial and one of the most secure neighborhoods to stay and live in.
Featuring modern high-rise buildings- both oceanfront, along the bay, and the few streets
in between- Bocagrande offers the best of modern and beachfront living. You’ll find lower price tags for fixer-uppers in older buildings, or higher tags for brand-new luxury – the choice is yours. The main strip, which runs along the beachfront is the area's draw card and features some of the most sought-out real estate in Cartagena. Modern beachfront apartments are exceptionally attractive to buyers looking to relocate and visitors to the always sunny Cartagena. These properties pencil out very well as investment properties and promise high occupancy rates for rental when managed properly.
As the “tail” of Bocagrande, Laguito is a beach lovers' destination as well. The area has a slightly more local feel, with lots of smaller restaurants and businesses, and is a popular tourist destination thanks to its modern infrastructure and proximity to the beach. Laguito is the neighborhood of choice for national tourism year-round and some of the older apartment buildings featuring direct access to the beach are something not found elsewhere in this city. With a mix of both touristic and residential buildings and one of the largest hotels in Cartagena, Laguito offers a more laid-back setting for tourists to the city while being a short taxi ride to the main commercial areas, restaurants, and nightlife. With a lower price tag than Bocagrande, this is a budget-friendly area for buyers that don't want to spend too much or are willing to do some renovations. Beachfront properties in Laguito can sell for less than half of those in Bocagrande and with minor renovations and proper management, can be incredibly profitable as vacation rentals and promise a high return on investment.
Prestigious mansions and high-rise luxury are what you’ll find in this exclusive peninsula. Castillo Grande is
residential in nature, and with virtually no shops or restaurants, it remains the go-to spot for
those who want a more quiet, neighborhood feeling. With close proximately to less-populated beaches and the bay, the family-friendly neighborhood is a great location for those looking to live in Cartagena long-term. If you crave exclusivity, you will find a price tag to match it here. Most of the buildings in Castillo Grande are non-touristic, meaning they are not suitable as short-term vacation rental properties but provide a more relaxed and quiet neighborhood for residents and long-term renters.
Being previously mostly residential, Cabrero has increasingly become more and more tourist-friendly over recent years. Located on the “other side” of El Centro, but equally close to all of
the main attractions and near the airport, it's a great option for those preferring a quieter setting. There aren’t many restaurant options or shops to browse in, however, the proximity to the walled city and
oceanfront allure leaves it an ideal location either for living or as a vacation rental property. New developments continue to pop up in Cabrero as the area expands and with the beaches here being cleaner and less touristic, many ex-pats in Cartagena are choosing this neighborhood over others. There are various options in different price ranges from less expensive, older buildings; to brand new high-rise apartments. Many buildings in Cabrero are still mainly residential, which can be attractive to long term renters.
This neighborhood sits just a touch farther north, the next-door neighbor of Cabrero. With
plentiful options in brand new touristic buildings, Marbella is now becoming the new hot spot for
tourists who want to escape the densely populated and heavily vendor-saturated Bocagrande.
With beautiful ocean-front apartments and new modern developments just a couple of blocks from the beach, Marbella offers some luxurious apartments with a smaller price tag and is definitely a great place to consider exploring for investment opportunities. The price tags are a bit lower here because it's still considered an "up-and-coming" area; so if you have a limited budget, you may want to consider exploring this area as appreciation can work in your favor.
Neighboring Getsemani to the south, this residential area has a laid-back atmosphere.
Overlooking the bay, you’ll have an endless eyeful of yachts coming and going from the various
marinas located here. With a beautiful promenade to enjoy a brisk walk or group workout and
many budget-friendly restaurants, this is a location for you if you want to relocate to Cartagena
and want a more quiet, non-touristic, local feel. There is a great range of options from new
high-rise buildings, to smaller homes, in many price ranges. If you're looking for something not so touristic, or prefer to invest in residential rentals, Manga could be a great option for you.
We can feed you lots of information, but there is nothing like exploring on your own. Each neighborhood has a very unique feel to it and we at Double Double recommend taking a day or two to explore each area that you're interested in before thinking about properties. There’s nothing quite like personal experience; and simply taking a quick walk through each area, you’ll feel the words you have read above. And once you feel which areas are right for you, speak to a property concierge, like ourselves to help you find the properties that best suit your needs.