The epicenter for the San Diego neighborhood, this lovely square retains an authentic vibe and remains somehow immune to the heavy tourist traffic. The setting for the legendary hotel Santa Clara, the 16th-century convent that provided the inspiration for Márquez’s novel Of Love and Other Demons, Plaza de San Diego and the quiet streets that surround it fulfill the dream of Cartagena for many travelers. There’s a pulsating energy and creative zeal courtesy of the students at the Escuela de Bellas Artes (another converted convent) on the east side of the square; on any given night you can drop in and watch a performance, rehearsal, or impromptu celebration. If you stroll south, east, or several blocks west of the square, you can escape the hustle and bustle of the old town’s main arteries.
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