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Sip a Coco Loco featuring white rum and coconut milk (21,000 Colombian pesos; £5.30) to a backdrop of funky beats and watch the Caribbean day draw to a close. It’s standing room only at the unofficial Café de al Lado (22) next door: quench your thirst with a can of Club Colombia lager (COL$4,000; £1) from a hawker.
Cultural afternoon Less polished than the walled city, Getsemaní (4) is just as vibrant thanks to cool street art and plenty of colonial and republican architecture; this neighbourhood offers a more real, horse-and-carriage-free snapshot of Cartagena.But if you want to explore, hail a yellow taxi in the street.Ubers are common, though you should sit directly in the front seat as the service is frowned upon by cabbies.Take a hike Start at Parque de Bolívar (7), a former bullfighting ring turned leafy urban jungle, which houses a monument honouring liberator Simón Bolívar.You can also stop by Zenú Gold Museum (8), open Tuesday to Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-3pm; opposite is Palacio de la Inquisición (9), a former jail and torture chamber with a grisly past.Head to Plaza Fernandez de Madrid (10), dropping in at Santo Toribio church (11), to see the enormous entrances and their iconic knockers; maritime shapes indicate they were once a sea merchant’s abode.
Colombia’s most famous literary son resided on the corner of Del Curato street (12) and wandering the balmy narrow lanes gives a sense of Gabriel García Márquez’s fictitious Macondo.Come late afternoon, Trinity Square fills up with residents hanging out, sipping coconut water from transparent bags and taking outdoor dance classes – a true slice of Cartagena life.KLM flies from Heathrow via Amsterdam, from £643 return.Live bands play until the early hours at this hotspot; Thursdays to Sundays 7pm-3am.A walk in the park Given Cartagena’s year-round 80 per cent humidity, it’s good to build up your brunch appetite by visiting formidable Spanish-built Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas (2) before the sun gets too strong.Cartagena Bay, one of the Caribbean's hot spots of pollution, is an estuarine system connected to the Caribbean Sea by two straits.