The digital nomad trend has exploded in the past couple of years, and with so many people travelling around the world with their laptops in search of their next inspirational destination, the rest of the world has had to adjust accordingly; now, there is a higher demand for free, fast WiFi in cafés, trendy co-working spaces, and expat meet-ups are popping up all over the place for those looking for like-minded nomads with whom they can share travel tips and woes.
Cartagena, with its laid-back, mañana mañana attitude, is often a few steps behind on the latest trends in comparison to its big brothers Bogotá and Medellín. But there are still some gems to be found in La Fantástica, and the list is ever-growing!
I come so often to Folklore, they recognize me and know my favorite (cappuccino and Mediterranean sandwich – yes, I am basic but its the best!). The staff are super friendly and the internet is fast and reliable – 40mb is actually double what we have in our apartment! There are enough tables for you to not feel guilty about occupying one for a couple of hours while you work and they have a cheerful Colombian playlist going on to keep you motivated. The coffee is strong and delicious, and there are great options for non-coffee drinkers too, such as matcha and fruity iced tea.
Monday – Thursday: 7:30am – 8pm
Friday: 7:30am – 7pm
Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays: 9am – 5pm
Café Stepping Stone
Café Stepping Stone has become known in Cartagena for being the “socially conscious café”. Owned by Australians, this hipster café employs and trains locals and teaches them English amongst many other benefits. They host after-hours events for local charities and do a mean iced mocha. The food is also delicious – a comforting mix of Colombian and European / Aussie grub. They have lots of space and spare wall plugs so you can work from your laptop.
Sunday – Wednesday 7:30am – 4:30pm
Thursday – Saturday 7:30am – 10pm
Ábaco is a well-frequented bookshop-cum-café and a popular Instagram destination thanks to its floor-to-ceiling books with sliding ladder (a childhood dream of mine was to have a house with a Book-ladder in its library). This place is a wonderful refuge from the hot, sticky streets of Cartagena and the smooth jazz music will soothe you while you sip your coffee (or beer – they also have a bar). The only caveat is there aren’t any plug sockets and the place is pretty small, so come with your notebook rather than your laptop, or dip into one of the books around you to inspire yourself with local knowledge and culture.
Monday – Saturday: 9am – 9pm
Sunday: 3pm – 9pm
Beiyú is a cute spot in Getsemaní, where you can get great coffee, or treat yourself to an açaí bowl to get your creative juices flowing. Vegan friendly and highly photogenic, Beiyú also has strong WiFi and is a great spot to spend a couple of hours
procrastinating working, whilst you watch the fruit sellers walk by with carts piled high with mangoes.
Monday – Saturday: 7am – 9pm
Sunday: 9am- 6pm
If a coffee shop wont cut the mustard and you have (ahem) real work to do, you should check out some local co-working spaces. Hipster (in a good way) hostel chain Selina is taking Latin America by storm! Selina hostels have been popping up all over, and they are a first choice for many travellers due to guaranteed cute decoration and great service. Selina also has a co-working space which is well-prepared with everything you could need in a “sociable office”, well-lit, colourful and also a great place to meet other like-minded travellers. Another great perk? Aside from free coffee and tea (!), you can also grab a cocktail on the rooftop to help “inspire” your freelance work! 😉
Prices start from $33.000 COP a day. More info here.
Coworking Cartagena boldly went where no entrepreneurial nomad had gone before and started up the co-working trend in Cartagena. Boasting privileged views over the walled city and Caribbean sea (my favourite thing to stare wistfully at), here, you can be sociable, but also productive (isn’t that what we came for?)
Prices start from $40.000 COP a day. Check it out here.
Monday – Friday: 8am – 7pm
I couldn’t write this article without mentioning my dear old pal Juan Valdez. Although not an independent coffee shop (Juan Valdez is the Starbucks of Colombia, but with waaay better coffee), Juan V has seen me though many hours of work until after dark. With lots of dark corners to hide in as you sip one coffee over the space of four hours, reliable(ish) Internet, and super powerful air-conditioning, you can count on this coffee giant to see you through any work that needs doing until you’re ready to face the world again.
Monday – Saturday: 7am – 9pm
Sunday: 8am – 8pm
So there you have it. Now, you have absolutely no excuse not to finish that project/ assignment/ blog/ erotica novel (whatever floats your boat). Do you have a particular favourite? Did I miss anywhere else out? Let me know in the comments section!