If you go

For a deeper understanding of the past, pres­ent and future of Getsemani, consider the three-hour Explore Getsemani Tour (ticartagena.rezdy.com/8467/explore-getsemani; $35 per person), which includes lots of local history, drop-ins with locals, visits to shops and art studios, cocktails on Plaza Trinidad and a donation to a local charity built into your tour fee.

Even amateur photographers will appreciate the insights and technical tips provided during the four-hour Foto Tour (fototour.co; $80 per person for groups of two to six people) through Getsemani and the La Matuna, San Diego and Central neighborhoods of Cartagena.

Getting there

Jet Blue flies direct from New York to Cartagena three times a week. Avianca flies direct from Miami seven times a week. Spirit flies direct from Fort Lauderdale four times a week.

Where to Stay

Hotel Villa Colonial (www.hotelvillacolonial.com) is the best midrange pick in Getsemani, with spotless rooms with air conditioning from $50 double occupancy.

Petite Casa el Carretero (www.casaelcarretero.com; from $150 double occupancy including breakfast) offers a rooftop pool and touches of Indonesian decor, plus Bose sound systems and iPods and laptops for guest use.

Modern decor, antiques and a great art collection (all for sale) mingle in the two buildings that make up Casa Lola (www.casalola.com.co/en; from $180 double occupancy including breakfast). Two swimming pools help you keep the Caribbean heat at bay.

Where to Eat

Demente Tapas Bar (www.facebook.com/www.demente.com.co), on Plaza Trinidad, is the sexiest newcomer to Getsemani. Pull up a rocking chair on the sidewalk or under the retractable roof and enjoy artful Spanish tapas, a great wine selection, cocktails, Cuban cigars and hard-to-find beer on tap.

Meat lovers should head to Gaucha (Calle del Espiritu Santo #29-207) for an Argentinian celebration of carne. Karen Catchpole