Find out why investors are turning their attention to this quiet, long-overlooked neighborhood in Cartagena.
Romantic, colorful, and a 2.5-hour flight from Miami, the tropical town of Cartagena de Indias has managed to draw a steady stream of travelers — even as tourism rates in Bogotá and Medellín plummeted during the days of drug violence.
Today, the jewel of Colombia’s Caribbean coast draws hundreds of thousands of overseas vacationers, expats, backpackers, and digital nomads every year, and is second only to Bogotá in numbers of international visitors.
But while travelers tend to crowd the touristy neighborhoods of Old Town and Getsemani, we’ve got our eye on an up-and-coming spot: Cartagena’s Manga neighborhood.
A quick stroll south of the Getsemani, Manga is a lush residential area ringed by bright blue waters. Until now, the quiet neighborhood has remained largely ignored by visitors making a beeline for the attractions, restaurants, and nightlife of neighborhoring barrios. But at Lifeafar, our team sees enormous real estate potential in this overlooked spot.
Here’s why our real estate experts are confident Manga is set to be the next big real estate growth neighborhood in Cartagena:
Manga neighbors two of Cartagena’s biggest tourist draws: the historic old town and Getsemaní. Steps away from these heavily trafficked spots, Manga comes with the benefit of being just a 20-minute walk from virtually every popular attraction.
At the same time, the neighborhood is tucked away from the hustle and bustle and shielded from the boom of Catagena’s hopping nightlife. With two marinas and a harbor, Manga is blessed with enchanting views of docking sailboats and yachts.
Considering its proximity to attractions and nightlife, Manga remains remarkably affordable. By comparison, Cartagena’s Old Town and Getsemani see some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Meanwhile, comparable property in neighboring Manga can be purchased for 50 percent to 60 percent less per square foot.
We predict Manga will see a steady rise as visitors seek to escape inflated accomodation rates, particularly during the holiday season when prices at hotels and Airbnbs in Cartagena will skyrocket. During this busy time, rates for accomodation within Manga can be found for as little as one-third of the price of Old Town and Getsemani hotels of similar ratings.
Below you can take a tour of Manga as our vLogger Sam Miller has created a unique insight into this little known tourist and investment destination.
3. Burgeoning restaurant scene.
Colombia’s culinary capital, Cartagena is home to a thriving restaurant scene that draws talented chefs from around the world. With its access to ultra-fresh seafood, Manga is rapidly becoming a top foodie destination. The neighborhood hosts the famous Club de Pesca, arguably one of the finest seafood eateries in all of the city. The restaurant is set in an elegant 18th-century fortress with a waterfront terrace boasting dazzling views of the marina. Amid live jazz, flamenco, and bossa nova performances, the sophisticated eatery serves up creative caribbean plates made from impossibly fresh lobster, shrimp, and more.
Beyond the upscale Club de Pesca, there are a variety of traditional and international eateries catering to all budgets. Top picks include the veggie pizza and limonada de coco at the elegant Verona Pizzeria Gourmet and the pulpo en salsa amarillo at the unassuming Aguazul Terraza & Bistro.
4. Historic architecture.
From 16th-century stone walls to colorful Spanish colonial homes, the architecture of Cartagena plays a major role in capturing the heart of so many visitors. Nestled within the Manga neighborhood are some of the city’s last remaining Republican-style mansions.
Republican architecture, or arquitectura republicana, sprouted up when Colombia gained its independence from Spain in the early 1800’s and began looking to other countries for architectural inspiration, including England and France.
Stately, stunning Republican-style homes with tall pillars and flowery balconies still loom over the streets of Manga, drawing sightseers and history buffs. Many of these regal mansions have been restored and preserved, while some have been turned into boutique hotels.
5. Bahia de Manga.
The neighborhood is home to the Bahia de Manga, a tranquil bay speckled with yachts and sailboats. The water is lined by a breezy pedestrian pathway where locals come to jog, ride bikes, and exercise.
From its promenade, you can admire the sun setting over Bocagrande, the modern city across the bay. The increasingly popular destination is clean, safe, and located near restaurants and shops.
6. Local flair.
While Cartagena’s popular neighborhoods are overrun with tourists, Manga remains home to local Cartagena families, couples, and professionals. Its local flair gives travelers a chance to explore another side of Cartagena and appeals to those seeking respite from packed streets and shouting vendors.
Manga’s status as a residential neighborhood means it’s highly liveable, with modern, upscale supermarkets like Carulla, local grocery stores, gyms, cafes, and parks.
As noted, Cartagena remained largely unscathed by the drug conflicts that hit fellow Colombian cities Medellín and Cali. Increased focus on tourism and security measures have resulted in massive declines in crime rates, and violence against tourists is virtually non-existent. Among the city’s safest neighborhoods, Manga receives praise from tourists and locals for the safety and cleanliness of its streets and public spaces.
A hidden gem in one of Colombia’s most renowned tourist destinations, Manga is unlikely to remain unnoticed by tourists for long. The neighborhood’s excellent location, affordable accommodation rates, and historic charm make Manga poised to take off within the next few years.
Charming, close to the action, and safe, Manga also represents an unparalleled opportunity for investors seeking to invest in Cartagena. Low real estate prices for quality properties mean investors can offer attractive accomodation in the heart of the action, driving occupancy and resulting in large returns.
To learn more about real estate opportunities in Manga, we encourage you to download our Cartagena Bayside Suites Investor Package. Our latest project, Cartagena Bayside Suites, is a 13 unit, newly upgraded luxury property located in this fast-growing area.
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