Nightlife in Cartagena: Nigthclubs, Dance Clubs and More
There are definitely three aspects to point out when one talks about the vibrant nightlife in Cartagena de Indias. The first is the bohemian feel and the upbeat energy that you can find in the bars of this beautiful walled city. The second (and not any less fun for that reason) is the colorful "Chiva Rumbera" which travels along the Bocagrande as well as the modern avenues of the hotel zone. This unique bus catches the attentions of all, drawing people to be a part of the contagious party atmosphere that's going on, on board. The third and final point to mention is the Calle del Arsenal (Arsenal Street), which has become, in the last couple of decades, a place that you can't pass up when you're visiting Cartagena, especially for those who like a little nighttime fun.
Bars in Corralito de Piedra
The nighttime fun in the walled city starts before the sun sets. It can even start from the after-dinner conversations of an excellent meal, accompanied by a nice "tinto" (pure Colombian coffee that's brewed stronger than normal). Have a tinto and stay charged so that you can last the night, well into the early hours of the morning. Or have a drink of chicha (a fermented corn beverage, normally slightly alcoholic) and aguardiente (literally "firewater", it is a fermented alcoholic beverage made with a vegetable, grain or fruit base), national alcoholic spirits from Colombia which also help digestion and injects a dose of rumba into the drinker. If all that wasn't enough, the hot weather, the warmth of the people, the relaxing, non-pressure environment so that you can fully enjoy a wonderful vacation in Cartagena and the wide variety of bars in this beautiful walled city all come together to make this a true paradise for party animals. Similar to the bar hopping that takes place in Madrid, Spain, locals and tourists alike go from bar to bar, having a drink or two here, another two or three there, visiting a long line of excellent establishments in old Cartagena. These fun nights normally end in hordes of happy people singing in the moonlight with the grandeur of the wall in the background, in solitary nighttime walks or accompanied by their significant other.
La Chiva Rumbera
La Chiva Rumbera is a replica of the buses that used to be part of the bus routes of Colombia, back in the day. Normally, they're stuffed to the hilt with people, with all sorts of items stacked on the racks above. These chivas are very dear and near to the heart of the Colombian people and so much so that the typical handicraft of the country is a chiva in a smaller, ceramic version. They are normally decorated with an assortment of animals, fruits, baggage and many other items made of clay and painted in a range of bright colors. La Chiva Rumbera, in this case, is the club version of this very traditional bus. It is decorated with lights and bright colors, with the volume way up and drinks to last the whole night. There is a dance floor for those who feel they can dance in a moving vehicle. It stops in one or many clubs, depending on the chiva that you take and the service provider that you hire in Cartagena. They pass around the walled city, but the route usually follows the modern hotel zone of Cartagena, where they pick up the majority of their clients.
Old Arsenal Street is located in front of the Bay of Cartagena and has a wonderful view from the skyscrapers on the modern hotel zone as well as of the reflection of the city skyline on the romantic waters of the Caribbean Sea. This street can be found in the Getsemani area, one of the colonial areas of Cartagena. Some parts are still paved with cobblestones and maintain the original fascade of those times. Many of these old buildings are occupied by street cafes, modern lounges, smoker's terrace bars and various nightclubs that welcome their clients with tropical beats, like vallenato and cumbia. Arsenal Street is the main attraction for nighttime weekend fun for all those rumbas dancers of Cartagena, even though there are bars and clubs that are also open during the week to satiate the need for the fun that tourists visiting the city are looking for.
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