Smile – good advice for everyone these days!
Cartagena, Colombia is renowned for its street art.

Stunning murals can be found all over Cartagena, but the most well-known neighborhoods for visitors are the Getsemani and La Matuna neighborhoods near Cartagena’s historic walled quarter. On our recent trip to Cartagena, we spent a whole morning  followed the self-guided walking tour laid out by the excellent travel blog Career Break Adventures.

A few words about the barrios.

Once considered too dangerous for tourists, Getsemani has had a resurgence in recent years and has been transformed by hip eateries, backpacker hostels, and some of the most vibrant street art we’ve ever seen. Unlike the walled city, kept pristine by its status a UNESCO World Heritage site, Getsemani has the gritty feel of a true urban barrio. At any time during the day or night, you’ll find legendary street food, lots of live music, and local families hanging out enjoying each other’s company.

At least, in normal times. In November, we found Getsemani almost deserted, thanks to the global pandemic.

Plaza Trinidad in Getsemani, December 2017. The vibrant street life is much quieter now, at least for the moment.
Another pic from our 2017 trip. At any time of the day or night you’d see folks out in front of their homes playing dominoes or parcheesi over a few bottles of Cerveza Aquila. (Who would have thought parcheesi was so popular in Colombia!) I love the little nativity scene in the window.
A deserted street in Getsemani, normally teeming with tourists.
Getsemani bike repair shop

La Matuna is another barrio that we discovered on our most recent trip. Sandwiched between the walled historic district and Getsemani, La Matuna has not been discovered by the tourists hordes. But it has its own charms and plenty of fantastic street art.

La Matuna’s pretty main plaza
La Matuna side street
The street art in these two districts captures the people, past and present, who have shaped Cartagena’s vibrant culture.
Photos are in a gallery – just click on the first to click through all.
Guna mural Bogota
A famous mural in Bogota

In summary, our walking tour of Cartagena street art was a big highlight of our recent trip there – and another good way to avoid crowds and socially distance in these crazy COVID times. The Cartagena street art scene ranks right up there with our favorite, Bogota. Here’s our blog post from the outstanding Graffiti Tour we took in Bogota in 2017. And right here in Medellín, there’s the world-renowned Comuna 13 neighborhood.


We hope you enjoyed this walking tour of two colorful Cartagena neighborhoods. What city holds your favorite street art?



    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks so much, Donna! This one was really fun to put together. Have a lovely day!

  1. Beautiful stuff. We must have stayed close to Getsemani when we were there prior to our cruise. I remember the metallic dog Vs kid sculpture. Great pix!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Did you stay in Posada La Fey? I seem to recall recommending it – that’s where we stayed on our first trip. Gracias, amigo!

  2. Beautiful street art! Such vibrant streets. I love that people are out front playing dominos or parcheesi- great sense of community vibe and a place for people to chit chat.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks so much! Getsemani is really a special place.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks for reading, Henry!

  3. Thanks for sharing the colourful street art in Cartagena. Valparaiso and Santiago in Chile also have beautiful street art. In Toronto we have Graffiti Alley and murals of various sizes in the downtown core.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Natalie! We’ve heard about the Chilean street art – hoping to do a Patagonia trip within the next couple of years. Street art seems to be a global phenomenon now, although Colombia is the only country where we’ve really explored it. So looking forward to getting back to world travel soon! Hope you and yours have a lovely holiday. 🙂

  4. These are fabulous! I would love to go exploring both neighbourhoods, especially Getsemani. I love that street art is becoming a big thing around the world. We’ve spent a little time in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and they have a whole barrio there devoted to it. And I’ve seen some of the Santiago, Chile ones. It really adds interest to urban neighbourhoods. They have an annual festival here now in Vancouver, and there are some good ones, but IMO nothing matches the Latin American ones. Thanks for the tour!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it, Alison! We’re looking forward to exploring the street art in other parts of the world. Hope you and Don have a lovely holiday!

  5. I echo Alison’s sentiment about the proliferation of street art across the globe. The ones captured in your photos from Cartagena are really beautiful. I love the combination of modern and traditional aspects in those murals. Have you been to George Town in Penang, Malaysia? This heritage city has some interesting street art as well.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Hi Bama – no, we’ve yet to explore Asia! But we’re so looking forward to experiencing the street art in other parts of the world. Here’s hoping we all get our travel wings back soon! Best wishes.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Indeed! The level of talent is mind-blowing. Have a lovely holiday!

  6. Lovely photos of such amazing street art. We didn’t see as much of La Mutano as you so we’ll have to make an effort to go there on our next visit. In addition to Comuna 13 in Medellin, we also loved the street art in Valparaiso, Chile.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      I like the sound of that – “our next visit.” We’ll welcome you back to Colombia with open arms! Hoping to get to Valparaiso when we’re finally able to make that caravan trip south, for which you two have given us great advice. Big hugs and holiday greetings to you and Nicky!

  7. I love street art and would love to visit Cartagena, in fact Colombia has been on my travel wish list for sometime. Your photos are gorgeous 🙂 Merry Christmas to you both and I hope 2021 will be filled with exciting travelling.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Gilda, we hope you can come to Colombia and we can finally meet in person! Merry Christmas back, and here’s to new travel vistas for all of us, before too long! 🙂

  8. Once again I loved going along with you on this tour. I love old structures and was almost surprised (why, I’ll never know) to see the high modern, square building near the city square. Unfair of me…
    Stay well. Keep inviting me along. Happy New Year.
    PS: We’ve got some nice murals in Vancouver, but there is a small town on Vancouver Island that is known far and wide for theirs. Maybe you’ll come this way some day.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      We hear you about the modern buildings intruding on historical spaces. It’s a problem in just about every city with a long and storied history, I think. Just the other day, I read a news article about a big, ugly high rise that the city of Cartagena is considering tearing down, because it’s encroaching on the historical district. Apparently they might lose their UNESCO status if they don’t tear it down. So I guess there’s some progress there.

      You had me at “small town on Vancouver island.” We love that part of the world and hope to visit again someday! Take care and have a lovely holiday, Muriel 🙂

  9. Cartagena, Colombia is an amazing place for street art. The murals and street art shares a great knowledge about culture and tradition. Fantastic pictures

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks for your comment! Glad you enjoyed the post. Cartagena’s street art really is something not to miss. Have a great day!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      That metal art really is so whimsical! Glad you like the post and thanks for visiting 🙂

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