Undoubtedly one of the most picturesque destinations in South America, Cartagena (pronounced Car-tuh-hen-uh), is high on many a traveler’s bucket list. There are SO many dreamy locations around this coastal city to explore. To make your photography adventure a little easier, I’ve decided to list my favorite photo locations in Cartagena in this post. I’ve even included a map at the end of this article that you can use for reference. So, if you’re planning to visit Cartagena soon, make sure to keep reading for the exact locations of the best colorful photo spots! The great news is that all of these places are relatively close together. With this in mind, even if you’re short on time, you’ll still be able to snap some great photos.
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Calle de Don Sancho/Calle de la Iglesia
This view of Calle de Don Sancho with the yellow Cartagena Cathedral as a backdrop is probably the most popular photo spot in Cartagena. The only problem: this is quite a busy street! Plus, even though Calle de Don Sancho has “no parking” signs all down it, we still saw lots of delivery vans and trucks park on the side of the road. These big vans became huge eyesores in the picture! Between taxis, cars, and pedestrians, your best shot at capturing this photo without a busy background is in the early morning.
Another recommendation is to take the photo from farther down the road. Although the church will appear to be smaller in your picture, it’s easier to shift your body to block cars in the distance! Fun fact: the names of the streets in Cartagena seem to change every few blocks. From where I took the picture, this road is Calle de Don Sancho, but as you move closer to the Cartagena Cathedral, it becomes Calle de la Iglesia.
Ábaco Libros y Café
My favorite venues for photoshoots are bookstores! That’s why I was super excited to come across Ábaco Libros y Café in Cartagena. During the afternoon, the walled city streets can become bustling and chaotic. Thankfully, this bookstore was the ideal tranquil escape away from the crowds! We popped in and had a latte and a delightful piece of chocolate cake. Before taking photos in stores, I always ask for permission. Different owners have different rules, so it never hurts to ask– it’s just polite. To capture the entire interior of Ábaco, I used my wide-angle lens. I shot the first photo above with my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II Digital Zoom Lens; my husband took the second photo on his Oneplus 7 Pro phone.
The rooftop at Hotel Movich is another of the most popular photo spots that I noticed on Instagram. The hotel offers drinks and food for purchase, and you can even buy a day pass if you want to swim in the terrace pool. While I agree that the panoramic view of Cartagena is unparalleled at sunset, I would recommend visiting at a quieter time during the day. It may even be worth investing in the day pass! Due to this location’s explosion on Instagram, there were no places left to sit when we arrived about 20 minutes before sunset. Since the restaurant and bar seating area was so busy, I chose to take the photo facing down the stairs towards the pool. Even though the rooftop can become a little overcrowded, it’s worth visiting for at least a drink.
Pink House (Calle 38)
While Cartagena has its fair share of charming historic homes, this one is by far my favorite. Between the coral/turquoise combination and the purple petals on the ground, how could it not be?! I had noticed photos of this home on Instagram before my trip. However, I hadn’t been able to find the precise location of this coral-colored residence. After about half an hour of googling “pink house in Cartagena”, I had it! To save you all the process of finding the address, you can see this home on Calle 38. Check out the map I’ve included at the bottom of this post for the exact pinpointed location. As in the case of my photo at Ábaco, I shot this photo with my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II Digital Zoom Lens. That’s how I was able to capture so much of the façade of this pink beauty!
Carrera 9 has to be one of the most photogenic streets I’ve ever seen. It seemed like I was stopping to snap a photo of a beautiful home every two seconds! This road runs perpendicular to Calle 38. So, you can see my favorite pink house and then turn onto Carrera 9 for a continuing parade of rainbow homes. To take your photos without harsh lighting and shadows, I recommend shooting an hour before sunset. We spent about thirty minutes before dinner wandering this neighborhood and taking as many pictures as we could! It was the perfect place to watch the sunset among all of the colorful homes. Furthermore, this area had loads of trendy and tasty restaurants. Don’t miss La Cevichería on Calle Stuart for some fresh seafood!
Umbrella streets are just the best, aren’t they? For all of you fans of color out there, you’re going to love Cartagena! It has two umbrella streets in different areas of the city: one on Callejón Angosto and the other on Calle de la Magdalena. Both of these streets are in Cartagena’s artsy Getsemaní neighborhood. I found the umbrella street on Callejón Angosto to be slightly prettier, although they are both very photo-worthy! I visited Callejón Angosto around three o’clock in the afternoon, so the lighting was intense, and the shadows were a little harsh. To avoid this in your photos, I’d suggest visiting either early in the morning or right before sunset. After seeing this umbrella street, make sure to take a stroll through the neighborhood. Especially if you like street art, there are lots of photo opportunities in Getsemaní.
Calle de la Magdalena
Another umbrella street? Yes, please! Calle de la Magdalena has a mixture of hanging umbrellas and flags. Due to the number of restaurants and stores on this road, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic. I visited during the evening, but I think it would’ve been easier to take photos early in the morning! I would say that this umbrella street is more popular and known among tourists than the one on Callejón Angosto. Still, walking this street is a fun experience. Plus, at the end of the road towards the Parque del Centenario, you can currently find a bright tropical mural (second picture above). After walking Calle de la Magdalena, take a stroll through the park. We saw little monkeys in the trees during our visit to Parque del Centenario!
Café de la Mañana
For anyone seeking both a delicious and photo-worthy breakfast, you have to stop by Café de la Mañana. Located on Calle Estanco del Aguardiente, this locale has a trendy vibe and adorable decor. The fresh fruit, juice, and typical Colombian arepas on top of the great coffee make this the perfect breakfast spot. We enjoyed our meal at Café de la Mañana so much that we ate here three times during our week in Cartagena! I recommend going for the “brunch” option on the menu. This choice includes eggs, bacon, sausage, arepas with jam and butter, fresh fruit and juice, guacamole, and coffee. Make sure to remember to snap your photo before digging in! Oh, and they have mimosas too!
Check out my favorite Cartagena guidebooks below! Click the cover to see more.
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