Why go? You’ll get the best value for nightlife within a three-hour flight of U.S. borders. Party like you’re in Vegas for one-tenth of the price, surrounded by arguably the most beautiful women in the world.
Best ideas: Hire a yacht for a Cholon Regatta Party off Cartagena, whitewater-raft the Suarez River in San Gil, and club it up with bottle service in Parque Lleras, Medellín.
Good to know: Colombia can be one helluva party. While the days of “Narcos” are over, making it relatively safe for tourists, it’s not hard to have a little too much fun (just ask President Barack Obama’s former Secret Service officers).
In This Article
Travel & Essentials for a Colombia Bachelor Party
If you’re planning to hit multiple spots in Colombia, you’ll want to fly — Colombia is twice the size of Texas and intra-Colombia flights can be pretty cheap. VivaAir is the main low-cost carrier, while Avianca is the biggest full-service airline, followed by LATAM. If booking these, be sure to use the Colombian version of the site with your currency set to Colombian pesos to potentially save over 50 percent on your airfare.
Delta, American, United, JetBlue, Spirit, Avianca, LATAM, and VivaAir all fly to direct to Colombia from the U.S., and flights are often significantly cheaper and shorter than to other places farther south in South America. A weekend in Cartagena is completely doable, with flights under three hours from Miami. Round-trip options from all over the U.S. with prices in the $300-to-$400 range are completely common.
Within the cities, Uber is cheapest and easiest way to get around. While it’s technically unlicensed and therefore illegal, everyone still uses it, and there’s virtually no risk to you. Go with UberENGLISH if that high-school Spanish investment didn’t pan out.
Dry season (and high season) is December to January and July to August, while the rainy season happens April to June and September to October. For the best combination of weather and prices, plan your bachelor party during the shoulder season months of February, March, or November. Home rental prices during the rainy season can be half that of high season and the same goes for midweek during the high season. Shoulder season costs will be somewhere in between.
Colombian cities are much safer than during the cocaine wars of the ‘90s and tourism is now a booming industry. Petty crime, though, is still common, so normal common-sense rules apply. Don’t get separated from the group or walk alone at night. Being noticeably drunk makes you a target. As with most big cities, some areas should be avoided so talk to your Airbnb host or hotel concierge to find out what neighborhoods are safest.
A little bit of real talk here: Both hookers and blow are widespread on the party scene. And at your bachelor party, you’ll be deep in the party scene. Prostitution is legal in much of Colombia, and sex workers line the streets and squares in tourist zones. Many taxi drivers and candy vendors also connect inquiring tourists with women, for a commission. While cocaine is actually very illegal, foreign demand has fueled a decades-long bloody industry. Most of the product departs Colombia on unlit motor boats late at night or customized private aircraft, but enough giddy Australian backpackers have passed through to create an easy market within its borders (statistically, cocaine usage among Colombians is far lower than in Western countries). You won’t make it three blocks walking a tourist zone at night without a local man joining you, speaking perfect English, and eventually making an offer for the lowest-priced, highest-quality blow you’ve ever encountered. Our advice? Party hard, but steer clear of these vices. You can still order cheap VIP bottle service and party until sunrise with Red Bull to power you through.
Pros and Cons of a Bachelor Party in Colombia
- Arguably the most beautiful women in the world. (Yes, I know you’re getting married, but do your single friends a favor. Either way, easy on the eyes is easy in the eyes).
- It’s cheap. Get the VIP bottle service you could never afford in Las Vegas or Miami.
- As little as a three-hour flight from the U.S.
- Beautiful landscapes and lots of opportunities for adventure.
- It’s really easy to get yourself in trouble down there.
- Muggings and pickpockets are common, especially late at night around drunk tourists.
Best Attractions and Activities in Colombia
Cartagena is your most logical base of operations — it’s easy and cheap to get to with parties that rival anywhere in a beautiful, historic Caribbean town. But that’s not the only option. Medellín has turned into an expat haven. San Gil is Colombia’s adventure-sports hub. Tayrona National Park is half jungle, half Caribbean, and all chill. Cali has real authentic Colombian vibes. You can even explore the Amazon from Leticia. A lot happens in the capital of Bogotá, but for a bachelor party, other cities are better.
With Colombia’s size, the country has a bit of everything: Caribbean tropics, Andean mountains, and Amazon jungle. Tour operators across the country turn the local nature into adventure. Party activities are mainly centered in Cartagena and Medellín. There are many full-service operations that will plan out your entire bachelor party, if you wish.
Cholón Boat Party (Cartagena)Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Hi Cartagena)
This is the quintessential Caribbean party experience. Hire a boat from Cartagena and ride 45 minutes to the crystal-clear waters of Cholón, where vendors serve up lobster, plantains, and rum drinks in waist-deep water. Boats blast reggaeton music, and riders seem to actually enjoy it. Hire a private speedboat for your bachelor party from about $200 per person. That’ll get you six hours on the water with unlimited booze and a grilled seafood lunch. You can even rent Jet Skis to cruise around the island.
Chiva Party Bus (Cartagena)Parque Fernandez de Madrid Calle 7 No.36-147, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Cartagenatouresy)
You won’t be in Cartagena long before a tricked-out yellow school bus passes you blasting music and flashing LEDs. No, you’re not at Burning Man — that’s one of Cartagena’s famous party buses, called chivas. For $20 a man, chivas will herd your bachelor party from bars to plazas to sites to clubs. You could book a private chiva, but half the fun of these is mingling with other passengers. The drivers and tour guides have as much fun jabbing and racing other chivas as they do riling up the crowd on theirs. Three hours later, when the chiva dance party meet-ups in the squares have ended and the rum bottles have run dry, the final stop is invariably the club.
Whitewater rafting (San Gil)Cra. 10 ## 8-27, San Gil, Santander, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Colombia Rafting Expeditions)
This isn’t your average tubing adventure from an amusement park back home — Rio Suarez in San Gil boasts Class IV and Class V rapids. The Fonce and Chicamocha rivers are also options, but with no Class V, what fun is that?
Is your bachelor party full of the boys you would trust your life with? Time to put that to the test. When riding rapids of this scale, it’s not merely “paddle and hold on.” Guides will yell directions in an ultrahigh-stress environment, and if your raft doesn’t execute as instructed, you’ll all likely end up in the river. And while there is very little chance you’ll drown, you won’t believe that for the seconds that feel like minutes of getting tossed around in a hole.
All this can be yours for $140 a man. Note that the water level can vary drastically in the rainy season, making the river much faster and occasionally unsafe. Tours can also be canceled for days. If so, look into a hidrospeed tour, which is essentially riding the river on your own boogie board and is somehow deemed safer. This is also a good option if you answered “no” to the trust question above.
Pablo Escobar tour (Medellín)Cl. 10b #28 - 90, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Brian Biros)
The reality is Colombians are generally tired of their country’s association with its most famous domestic terrorist. So don’t go bringing him up to every or even any Colombian you meet. While his life has been glamorized in movies and on ESPN and Netflix, Colombia is still full of family members and friends of Escobar’s innocent victims.
But I also know a “Narcos”-fueled fascination isn’t going to be deterred by one paragraph of righteousness. So if you feel compelled to get your Escobar fix, take the Medellín Pablo Escobar Tour. You’ll see Escobar’s grave and museum and maybe even meet Roberto Escobar, Pablo’s brother and accountant for the cartel who served 14 years in prison. Pablo is portrayed as a Robin Hood of sorts. Putting his ruthless murders aside (if you can do such a thing), he did give plenty of his fortune to the poor, making him a hero among many who believe they were abandoned by the government.
Critics say the $50 per person tour is still essentially supporting a man who terrorized his country. In his defense, Roberto Escobar says his fees support the neighborhoods Pablo built for the poor and support AIDS research. You guys can decide. If you were hoping to visit his famous Hacienda Napoles estate, though, that home has been torn down, and the grounds are now a family-friendly theme park.
Hang Gliding (Guatapé)Kilómetro 8,5, vía Penol a, Guatape, Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Brian Biros)
Ninety minutes outside Medellín, you’ll find the mountainous lake retreat town of Guatapé. The vibes are quieter than you’d normally want for a bachelor party, but the awesome views are what you come here for. In the middle of town, an enormous rock called El Peñol towers over above — similar to Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro — which you can climb for some of the best views you’ll find in Colombia.
Better yet, mix in some adrenaline with those views and go hang gliding over the lakes and town. Hang Glide Colombia runs a solid operation out of Guatapé. For $110, they’ll pull you behind a speed boat until you reach takeoff speed, and you’ll ascend to a soaring altitude where you can navigate the clouds and fly like a bird with views that include El Peñol (which you don’t get while standing on it). It’s a small-team operation, so it may take some time to get through your entire bachelor party, but you’ll be back in Medellín by dinner time.
Sailing trip to Panama (Cartagena)Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Brian Biros)
Does five days, completely unplugged, sailing the Caribbean Sea with just your boys sound like the ideal bachelor party? Look into a sailing trip then, from Cartagena to Panama City. You’ll spend two days on the open sea before arriving in the pristine, undeveloped San Blas Islands for snorkeling, spearfishing, and all-around chillaxing. You’ll find tiny islands in turquoise lagoons with a dozen palm trees that you could walk the circumference of in five minutes. A native tribe still owns the islands, which has saved them from turning into the next St. Regis. The only development may be one shack for cooking seafood and another for sleeping (but you’ll sleep on the boat). There aren’t many places left like this.
Are you able to pull of a bachelor party longer than five days? (If so, you were smart to lock that woman down). Try the trip in reverse. Fly into Panama City and head straight for the sea, ending in Cartagena in time to kick off Bachelor Party Part 2.
Sailboats and catamarans run these tours, holding between six and 20 people from about $500 per person. Book far enough in advance and reserve an entire boat for your bachelor party. It’s a pretty bare-bones operation, catering to backpackers, but $500 full board for five days of Caribbean sailing is a steal.
The Best Hotels, Resorts & Airbnbs in Colombia
Like everything else, hotels and Airbnbs are cheaper in Colombia than you’d find in the states. The best value is in home rentals, where you can have a private pool and chef and private room and bathroom for each man for less than $100 a night. You can find mid-week and last-minute steals, too, particularly on Airbnb.
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara CartagenaBest Bachelor Party Retreat Calle del Tomo 39-29, Barrio San Diego, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena)
Vibe: Still bitter about all that repression from your Catholic school upbringing? Then host your bachelor party in a former convent. Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is among Caratagena’s most luxurious properties and may have you wondering about that whole poverty vow nuns take. You’ll have a pool, wine bar, spa, and restaurants that serve tiny dishes of food that look too pretty to eat. And despite the five stars under the hotel’s name, prices can be found at a Colombian discount. While this is far from a party hotel, you have the rest of Cartagena for that. Get your fix out on the town, then retire here for some comfort and quiet.
Price: Rooms start at $200 per night and suites from double that — some of them include a butler.
Media Luna Hostel (Cartagena)Best Value Calle Media Luna # 10 - 46, Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Getsemaní, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Media Luna Hostel)
Vibe: If party and budget are your two priorities, this is your spot. You’ll be roughing it (it is a hostel), but the accommodations are above average. The rooms in this old colonial house all surround an open air courtyard with a tiny, artificial body of water that they generously refer to as a “pool.” Be sure to stay here on a Wednesday when the international party crowd from the entire city visits for their weekly Visa Para Un Sueno party.
Price: Rent out an entire six- or eight-person dorm for your crew from $14 per man.
Airbnb: Three Steps From Havana (Cartagena)Best Upscale Vacation Rental Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Vibe: How bougie you want to get? The images of this place are plastered with accolades from GQ, Airbnb Magazine, Wallpaper Magazine and a handful of Latin magazines. The feel is Roman bathhouse meets contemporary decor. Really, your bachelor party doesn’t belong here. But why not stay anyway? You’ll have a private pool and rooftop terrace and are in the heart of the action next to Café Havana.
If there’s a possibility you’ll be breaking stuff, or you have plans for tomfoolery the staff wouldn’t approve of, maybe this isn’t the best property for your group. But if you’re looking for a classy, upscale bachelor party, this home rental is the best in Cartagena.
Price: From $1,250 per night for nine beds in six bedrooms, the price is doable. Plus, you’ll have a butler and/or cook on site at all times and can even hire their sailboat.
The Charlee (Medellín)Best Boutique Hotel Cl. 9a ###37-16, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of The Charlee)
Vibe: While it’s technically categorized as a boutique hotel, this is the stylish party hotel in Medellín. The rooftop bar is either throwing a party or setting up for one, and the aquarium-style pool with swim-up bar has the best views — many of them out of picture windows and many from within the pool itself. Rooms are decorated with chandeliers and have large terraces, some with wet bars or hot tubs.
Price: Rooms start at $150 per night or $235 with a hot tub.
Airbnb: Eight-Bedroom Bachelor Party Villa (Medellín)Best for Large Groups Medellín, Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Vibe: This property is managed by Legendary Living, a bachelor-party service company, if you’re looking for a one-stop shop. This eight-bedroom villa near Parque Lleras features two spacious living areas and a large Jacuzzi pool with a retractable roof. They also seem intent on making sure you know the villa is next door to Hooters by mentioning it several times in the description.
Price: Weekend nights cost $1,000, but mid-week prices drop as low as $150.
Best Restaurants in Colombia
Typical Colombian food is beef or chicken with rice, beans, fried plantains, and salad — closer to the Caribbean, you’ll see much more fish on the menu. The best part: kiosks all serve these foods at super affordable prices. However, enough internationals come through cities like Cartagena, Medellín and Bogotá that foreign cuisine and fine dining can also be found. While prices may be high at these establishments for a typical Colombian, they are still comparably low for an American bachelor party.
Restaurante D'Res (Cartagena)Best Steakhouse Cra. 17 ##24-90, Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Restaurante D’Res)
It’s not the flashiest steakhouse in Cartagena, but it is the best. Located outside the walled city, it sees mostly Colombian clientele. Eat all the steak and patacon (plantain appetizers) and drink all the wine you can, and you’ll still have trouble spending $40. They don’t take reservations and their English is so-so. Come early if your bachelor party has numbers, otherwise you’ll wait for a table.
Kiosco El Bony (Cartagena)Best Seafood Cra. 1, Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Kiosco El Bony)
It’s all about the fish lunches at this beachfront shack. Get it however you like — fried, grilled, in a stew, or raw in ceviche — you can’t go wrong. The full fish meals come with the typical Colombian sides of fried plantains, rice, and what they call salad (lettuce, tomato, and onion).
From the outside, El Bony doesn’t look much different than a traditional Colombian fish joint, but inside the vibe is all about boxing. The owner is a former professional boxer with accolades and pictures proudly displayed. He’s often doing the rounds and will be happy to pose for a picture knocking out the member of your bachelor party who deserves it most. Prices are slightly higher than local fish shops, as can be expected on the beach, but still cheaper than most options in the tourist zone. An entire fried snapper (head, tail, and all) with a few afternoon beers will run you less than $15.
Donde Magola (Cartagena)Best Colombian Street Food Cl. 38 #10-91, Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Donde Magola)
Arepas de huevo are the staple street food in Cartagena. Late at night, when half the gang is already home passed out and the other half is still chasing Colombian women who may or may not be prostitutes, walk to the nearest square for your drunk food fix. Street vendors will be frying up arepas de huevo, maize pastries stuffed with ground beef and egg. Get your fill for what would be the equivalent of grabbing a handful from your change jar.
If you’re not brave enough for street vendors — really, they’re fine — and you need bricks and mortar to trust food, come to Donde Magola. They venture beyond beef and egg with options for chicken, shrimp and chorizo. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. but tends to run out of options as the day goes on.
Carmen (Medellin)Best Upscale Dining Cra. 36 #10a-27, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Carmen)
Tell the boys to shower and run a comb through their hair. This classy Colombian-French bistro whips up original cocktails and stylish dishes you can make fun of your friend for Instagramming. This is Colombian fine dining, which means short sleeves and jungle vibes, and you may shell out a Grant. Be sure to book a reservation. After dinner, you’re already in Parque Lleras, so you can continue on foot to wherever you’re kicking off the night.
Crepes and WafflesBest Hangover Cure Transversal 39B, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Crepes and Waffles)
Crepes and Waffles is a Colombian chain offering sweet and savory — you guessed it — crepes and waffles for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert (but unfortunately not during drunk food hours). You have dozens of delicious options with everything costing between $2 and $8. Drop in here for a quick, reliable meal when you’ve got bigger plans for the day. Odds are, you’ll be back. There are more than 100 locations in Colombia, including everywhere you will be visiting, as well as locations elsewhere in South America. If only they’d open up shops in the U.S.
Best Bars and Clubs in Colombia
Like in much of the Latin world, people go out late. Show up to a club at 10 p.m. and it’ll be empty. Crowds filter in at midnight, and places will stay open until 4 a.m. or later. When that place closes, another is always open. The party never has to stop in Colombia if you don’t want it to.
Alquimico (Cartagena)Best Creative Cocktails Calle del Colegio ###34-24, Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Alquimico)
Friendly, unpretentious staff serve inventive cocktails, giving it a feel of a small, trendy lounge instead of the massive bar that it is. The first floor is an Art Deco cocktail bar and the upstairs, an open-air roof deck. Get here early to grab seats at the bar and get recommendations from the mixologists firsthand. This is a great spot to kick off a bachelor party night and may be so great you decide not to leave. The cocktails will rival anything you’d find in Manhattan, and the most you’ll pay for one is $7.
Tu Candela Bar (Cartagena)Best Place to Party Alongside the Locals centro Portal de los Dulces Plaza de los Coches Carrera 7 #32-25, Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Tu Candela Bar)
A longstanding member of the Cartagena nightlife scene, reasonable prices make Tu Candela Bar a good spot to mingle with locals and let them show you a thing or two about reggaeton and salsa dancing. Prepare to sweat and get sweat on, but if you’re looking for a party, you’ll always find it here.
KGB CartagenaBest Themed Bar #38- a, Cra. 7 #38152, Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of KGB Cartagena)
Cartagena isn’t the first place you’d expect to find a bar with Soviet memorabilia covering nearly every square inch, but here we are. At a time in history when communism seems to be getting driven out from everywhere, it has found a home across from the Plaza Fernandez de Madrid in Cartagena. One room is even made to look like the inside of a submarine, but I don’t think they made them this roomy. The staff are dressed in Soviet gear, and as a final salute to communism, the service is lackluster and apathetic. The decor alone makes the KGB Cartagena an entertaining stop on your bar crawl but don’t bother with the food or spend all night here. Have a couple of drinks and move along when the novelty has worn off.
The Blue Bar (Medellín)Best Rock and Roll Bar Cl. 10 #40-20, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of The Blue Bar)
When you need a break from reggaeton and Latin music, The Blue Bar in Parque Lleras is one of the most popular discos in the area and plays a solid assortment of rock songs you actually know. This place has everything you’d want in a bachelor party bar: great crowds and vibes, good music, a reasonable cover, and drinks.
A word about strip clubs in Colombia: There is one tiny difference between strip clubs in the U.S. and Colombia — prostitution is legal here. Therefore, the very firm line that you (usually) cannot cross in American strip clubs can be negotiated, for a price. Don’t be surprised if during a private dance you are propositioned for something more. But let’s be honest, usually it’s the customers doing the propositioning.
Pley Club (Cartagena)Best Strip Club Tv. 48 #Diag 21 - 48 # 04, Cartagena, Provincia de Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Pley Club)
Come see the place that a bunch of U.S. Secret Service officers once decided was good enough to throw away their careers for. Colombian women are among the most beautiful women in the world, so why wouldn’t Colombian strippers hold similar titles? Let the fellas decide for themselves. The now infamous club is actually pretty small and tacky, but the women inside make up for it. Whatever you do, don’t take one of the girls back to your hotel room and get into a huge argument over payment. That shit will come back to get you.
Luna Lunera (Medellín)Best Gentlemen's Club Av. 33 #63b-215, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
(Photo courtesy of Luna Lunera)
This high-end gentlemen’s club in El Centro (the red-light district) has been around for 35 years — longer than pretty much any of their dancers. It stays open 24 hours to satisfy your bachelor party’s primal desires no matter where the sun or moon is in the sky and even advertises an exclusive bachelor-party package. $265 covers 10 entries, four bottles of liquor, seven table dances, one “special” dance for the bachelor, and “15 minutes of pleasure.” Hmmm.
You can’t go wrong with a Colombia bachelor party, unless you ask locals about Pablo Escobar, spell it “Columbia,” or recreate a former Secret Service agent’s big night out. With a bit of common sense and restraint, you can survive a bachelor party more epic than anywhere in the U.S. and still have some money left over for the honeymoon.