Cartagena is a beautiful city full of history and beauty.
From inside the Ciudad Amurallada to the beautiful islands just a boat ride away, you will be in awe of Cartagena’s beauty at all times.
In between the beauty you won’t go hungry.
There is definitely a way to find food everywhere. The food even comes to you and let’s be real that’s the way I like it!
One of the many things I love about traveling is leaving la dieta at home! Bye boo!
So, here is a little rundown of some dishes, snacks and drinks you definitely have to try.
On the street
Arepa de Huevo – this is a staple dish and one I was hearing about for weeks before my trip and it did not disappoint! Yes, it is an Arepa with a whole egg inside! Yummmm! Let me explain. It is a whole egg, sealed inside two rounds of cornmeal dough and then deep-fried. The result is a full breakfast in one bite. Colombians are known for the many ways they make arepas, but this one is special… I have no idea how they get the egg to stay inside and cook it to perfection with the dough… but to be honest it doesn’t even matter, I just want to eat it.
Arepa de Queso – didn’t I just say arepas are infamous in Colombia? Here is another one which is actually my favorite. White cornmeal dough and lots of cheese. That’s it. I mean nothing can be bad if it has cheese in it. This arepa is SO CHEESY! (okay enough about cheese). Of course, there is no better arepa de queso that the one you buy from the street carts – yes, it’s a little cart with a fryer parked on a sidewalk. So, if you’re picky about where your food is cooked… you’re going to miss out on the best arepa ever!
Algodon de Azucar – this is not just your typical cotton candy – okay maybe it is but for some reason, it tastes so much better in Colombia. This is a sweet, super sugary treat that reminds me of my childhood. I was so excited to eat it again and then halfway through it hit me… I am not a kid anymore and all that sugar gives me a headache. A headache was so worth it!
Raspado – this is another childhood memory that you can find in other places but in Cartagena, it just tastes better! It is shaved ice, with flavored syrup and condensed milk. Simple, delicious and super refreshing!
On the beach
Coco Loco – This is the perfect beach drink. Just sit on the beach, relax and the coco loco will come to you! It is fresh coconut water and rum served inside the coconut. Be careful the locals will just keep bringing them and you can drink a few of them with no problem – and end up loco.
Mango Biche – In Colombia, you don’t need to wait for a mango to ripe so you can eat it. Mango Biche is a green mango, served with lime juice and salt. The greener the mango the better it is. The locals will sit next to you, let you pick the mango you want to eat and cut it right there in front of you.
Pargo Rojo – okay so this is a hard one for me because I don’t eat seafood… BUT if you go to Cartagena you definitely have to get a Pargo Rojo on the beach. This is fried red snapper, served whole accompanied with sides like coconut rice, salad, tostones or fries. If you like seafood, this is the freshest red snapper you will find.
In the city
Homemande with Love – While you are in the city make sure to eat at El Porton de San Sebastian. This hidden gem is a small restaurant in the Ciudad Amurallada but you can’t miss it. The food is amazing! We went there twice! Everything was super fresh, made to order and delicious. I even had a fish dish here and I couldn’t stop eating it. They also make a delicious fresh squeezed mandarin juice. The prices are very good and the servings are huge! The servers are super nice, they will make suggestions on what to eat based on your likes. You will see the owner, Dubis, walking around sharing her amazing personality and smile with everyone; they make you feel at home.
Ensalada de Fruta – I am always craving fruit so I had to get a Colombian fruit salad. Yes, they are different than your regular fruit salad… and maybe not as healthy. Go to the El Palacio de las Frutas in Bocagrande and order a fruit salad. This baby comes with at least 8 different fruits, cream, ice cream, and cheese!! It is huge!!
Paletas Artesanales – almost in every corner of the Ciudad Amurallada you are going to find an ice cream shop that sells paleta artesanales. These are handmade popsicles made out of all the flavors you can imagine. Some of these paletas have pieces of fruit in them and others have a flavored filling. My favorite was the dulce de leche flavor – and yes… it had a dulce de leche filling!
Pizza and Pasta – you can’t leave Cartagena without eating pizza, but not any pizza. Make sure you go to Restaurante India Catalina inside the historic Hotel Caribe in El Laguito, Bocagrande. You will enjoy the most delicious wood oven pizza there is in a beautiful environment. This 5-star hotel is absolutely stunning and it is full of history as it was built in 1941 and it is a national monument. After dinner, take some time to walk around and enjoy the architecture, gardens, and Spanish style corridors.
Sunset with Drinks– Sunsets in Cartagena are gorgeous! Make sure you go watch it from Café del Mar. This amazing outdoor restaurant and bar on top of the walls surrounding the city have the most amazing view. You can enjoy live music and drinks while watching the sky change color right in front of you. Make sure to take a picture by the Colombian flag with the skyline in the background!
Have you visited Cartagena? Recommend a restaurant or dish in the comments!