We ventured outside the fabled Walled City and explored the other district of Old Cartagena – Getsemani.  While it does not possess the grandeur of the Walled City, Getsamani offers a more authentic Old Cartagena experience as it is a neighborhood where local families still live and where Colombian hospitality is still very much alive. It is also where artistry thrives.

It is also interesting to note that Getsamani, an old working class colonial neighborhood, is now emerging as a hotspot for dining and nightlife.  So you’ll get both the authenticity and fun.  But just how much longer may this authenticity last?

See Colors 

Colorful Houses in Getsemani, Cartagena, Colombia

The homes in Getsemani may not be as grand as the ones in the Walled City but you will find that they are just as colorful and the details are just as fascinating.

Colorful Houses in Getsemani, Cartagena, Colombia

Colorful facade of Houses in Getsemani, Cartagena, Colombia

A Church in Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaThe colorful Plaza Santisma Trinidad is a popular gathering place for locals.

See Creativity

Street Art in Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaGetsamani is filled with expressions of artistry.  You will be delighted by many beautiful murals as you meander its narrow streets.

Street Art in Getsemani, Cartagena, Colombia

Street Art in Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaA man sitting next to a painting of his likeness.

Street Art in Getsemani, Cartagena, Colombia

Street Art in Getsemani, Cartagena, Colombia

Meet Friendly Locals

Food vendor in Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaYou will find many food vendors in the street of Getsamani selling local delicacies like arepa con huevo, a corn pancake filled with eggs.

Locals on the street of Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaAnd where there is arepa, you will meet laid back locals just hanging around and enjoying the delicacy.

Friendly locals in Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaKeith sitting with friendly locals while devouring his arepa.

Locals playing cards on the street in Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaWe came across some residents who were enjoying their Sunday morning by playing cards in the middle of a narrow street.

Locals playing games on the street in Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaMore street games and good natured competition.

Experience the Gentrification

A guesthouse in Getsemani, Cartagena, ColombiaThis once poor and seedy neighborhood is fast emerging as a trendy spot offering variety of dining, nightlife and lodging options.

Many locals have been selling their homes to foreigners who convert them to guesthouses or boutique hotels.  We learned that a home here that a local paid for US$50,0000 few years ago was recently recently bought by a foreign investor for US$400,000. Who wouldn’t be lured?

Will it suffer the same fate as the Walled City where almost all residents took advantage of the skyrocketing property value, cashed in and moved out of the neighborhood?

We just hope that Getsamani retains its charming and soulful vibe amidst the imminent gentrification. And we hope you hurry up and visit this neighborhood soon.


Linking to Travel Photo ThursdayPhoto Friday and Weekend Travel Inspiration.

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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

37 responses to “Getsemani: Old Cartagena’s Real Neighborhood

  1. Oh lord I am a sucker for the colorful Spanish colonial architecture and this place is right up my alley. Thank you for taking me to a different place every time.
    Photo Cache recently posted..Malaga in Pictures Part 2My Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Maria, our pleasure. I’m sure you will enjoy a visit to Old Cartagena if you love Spanish colonial places.

  2. Love the card table and games photos, but my favourite is keith eating Arepa with the gang. Great photos!

    • Marisol

      Thanks Jan. He really enjoyed hanging out with the gang.

  3. I am one of those who prefer to see locals benefiting from tourism dollars. So bad, the city government do not provide mediums to create local businesses or promote local arts and culture. To me, an area like that is more attractive that more of the same we can find in big cities. This is a beautiful area. Hope it continues to retain that unique local flavor.
    Ruth – Tanama Tales recently posted..Walking the Historic and Modern Areas of TucsonMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Ruth, I agree. It;s nice to see a place progress if locals benefit from it. A support from the government to create local business would be ideal, but as it is most of the new businesses opening are owned by non-locals.

    • Marisol

      Hi Matthew, that’s great. Interaction with locals is one of the most rewarding travel experience.

  4. I do love the very small town feel of it. I do hope it won’t suffer the same fate as the Walled City though. :-/

    • Marisol

      Hi Noemi, I hope so too,

  5. I just took a lot of mural photos in Casco Veijo, Panama. I really enjoyed yours as well.

    • Hi Sharon, thanks. I’d like to check out your Casco Viejo images.

  6. Jackie

    It’s been years since we’ve been to Cartagena but I would love to see these murals.

    • Hi Jackie, Cartagena is fast a changing. I hope you can visit again soon.

  7. The painted buildings are just lovely to see, with each part a different color! Definitely a laid-back place. Love your photos.
    bettyl-NZ recently posted..Historic OphirMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Betty, yes they were really lovely. Thanks.

    • Jorja

      Canillg all cars, calling all cars, we’re ready to make a deal.

  8. Molly

    I LOVE the street art, amazing stuff.


    • Marisol

      Thanks for stopping by, Molly.

  9. Nancie

    Love all the color, and what an interesting area. The locals look to be happy and very friendly. Great shot of Keith and the “gang”. :) Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

    • Marisol

      Hi Nancie, the locals were truly wonderful. They made our visit more memorable.

  10. Marisol, Everything about this post has me drooling to go. From the street art to the arepa to the friendly locals. What fun!

    • Marisol

      Hi Corinne, I’m sure you and Jim will enjoy a visit to Cartagena.

  11. Bama

    As tourism industry grows, authenticity is indeed becoming a commodity because, to be honest, we all look for it when we travel, don’t we? However I do hope that places like Getsemani won’t be overrun by overcommercialization and able to retain its charm, the very reason for people to come.

    • Marisol

      Hi Bama, I guess for true “travelers” like us authenticity does matter a lot. Sadly, “tourists” feeds into overcommercialization and you know what happens…..

  12. Hi Marisol! We went to Cartagena and visited Gestemani last fall as well as part of a food tour. It was one of our most memorable experiences during our trip. I have yet to write about it on the blog. Like you, I hope that gentrification doesn’t ruin the neighborhood’s authentic charm. As always, your pictures are beautiful. :-)

    • Marisol

      Hi Dana, thanks. We also did the food tour and it was a lot of fun.

  13. So soulful, colorful and vibrant too bad it may all be lost in the gentrification. Great pics too

  14. Love those paintings on the wall, those are really fantastic..!!!

  15. Aparna

    What a fabulous art there, truly fantastic
    and yeah the people look quite cool and calm :-)
    Keep Posting :-)

  16. This article is incredible with much information on this subject. I have not seen photos of this city in such a high resolution, very incredible and amazing this city is.

  17. Alvin

    Hello. I like this post. I am scheduled to travel to Cartagena between late November and December. I am a photo enthusiast, and thus love capturing the entirety of any place, and its people, that I visit. Do you have any tips for me? And, since I will be there for one full week, I plan to only visit Cartagena and closely surrounding areas. Any tips with that regard? Also, can you recommend a local guide who can alert me to points of interests from a local’s perspective? I like having locals help me because they can benefit financially from helping tourists. Thanks. Alvin

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