On the Cartagena Coffee Trail

I had some concerns.  In tourist hotspots there often tends to be a lack of fresh, quality coffee.  I knew there probably would be some Juan Valdez outlets, due to their stranglehold on the coffee business in Colombia.  However I was hoping for some “outliers” as well.

I did find some good ones.  Not quite as good as Medellin and Bogota, and definitely more expensive, but worth trying if you are in Cartagena looking for a good brew.

San Alberto

In the centre of the Old Town, this was my first stop.

After the price shock of COP$7,000 (AUD$3.50 – Sydney prices…) for a cappuccino, I found the coffee to be pretty good.

It wasn’t so good I would go back though. Not at that price.  It had a nice view out to the Old Town.

They also provide a leaflet with their back story.

Cafe del Mural

This was one of my favourite coffee places. The main downside is that they only open at 3pm.  So if you are a fan of morning coffee you cannot visit.

They have the full range of hipster coffees and alcoholic coffees.

There cinnamon coffee is strong and full of dark chocolate flavour.

It was COP$6,400 for a cappuccino, which was quite pricey for Colombia, but it was nearly worth it.

Their iced mocha frappucino is amazing in the hot weather, but at COP$9,900 I only had one.

Juan Valdez

Yes, this is the Starbucks of Colombia, but slightly better. Also you can get a nice cappuccino from around COP$5,000 – COP$5,400. I visited 4 of their locations in Cartagena:

 – Juan Valdez Old Town

A huge space with plenty of tables for remote working.

– Juan Valdez Caribe Plaza

A little booth in the shopping centre, with WIFI that never worked.

– Juan Valdez Convention Centre

A lovely spot close to the water.

– Juan Valdez Bocagrande

This was my favourite Juan Valdez.  It was spacious and had the most comfortable seats I had found for a while.

It also had the most “harassment” of all the places – locals trying to sell crappy souvenirs.

Still, it had a great vibe and was close to the beach (1 block).  I would go there again.


Also published on Medium.

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