Bocagrande is an upscale area of Cartagena full of tall white high-rises, upscale and budget hotels, shopping, and restaurants. It’s a soulless strip of land that runs for several blocks from the historic walled city to a quieter area called El Laguito.
The city’s main beaches are located at Bocagrande, and they aren’t anything to write home about. They’re nothing like what you’d expect from the Caribbean. I see an overcrowded and dirty beach with brown sand and murky water. You’re better off taking a day trip to Playa Blanca or a resort on Isla Grande.
The southern end of Bocagrande, El Laguito, curves around a polluted lagoon and is a bit quieter. The Hilton Cartagena is located at the very end.
Not My Kind of Place
Bocagrande is not a place I like to stick around at when I’m in Cartagena. Of course there are some nice upscale hotels and good restaurants, but it lacks culture. I prefer staying in the old city or Getesmaní (partly to avoid the taxi rides). I also feel like I spend way too much time dodging aggressive street vendors and waving off annoying taxi drivers that run along the main streets.