Cartagena, Colombia: 10 Things Travelers Need to Know Before Visiting

Cartagena, Colombia: 10 Things Travelers Need to Know Before Visiting

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Get misplaced in Old Town, pattern streetside empanadas in Getsemani, and dance cumbia til daybreak earlier than heading off on a ship tour to discover the bay and close by islands…these are simply a number of the adventures to be had in Cartagena, Colombia.

A beautiful and historic coastal metropolis alongside Colombia’s Caribbean coast, in Cartagena you’ll be at a crossroads between the Caribbean and South America. Many vacationers use it as an introduction to South America earlier than heading east alongside the coast or down to the bustling destinations of Medellin or Bogota (or maybe a fast jaunt to Ecuador or Peru?).

We’ve lined all of the fundamentals for touring to Cartagena on this publish, together with:

  • Travel finances
  • Top cultural experiences in Cartagena
  • How quick is the WiFi?
  • Best native eats and drink

Ready to prep and plan in your journey to Latin America? Here are the highest 10 belongings you want to know earlier than visiting Cartagena, Colombia.

street with colorful murals in Getsemani, Cartagena Colombia

How Hard Is It on the Wallet?


























Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Cartagena, Colombia ranks proper within the center when it comes to budget-friendly cities for vacationers. Setting your journey finances will depend upon what sort of excursions you need to do and the place you need to keep.

For starters, staying in the midst of the historic Old Town is costlier than the close by neighborhood of Getsemani. Sit-down eating places within the Old Town can even be way more on par with U.S. and Western Europe costs than different areas of the town.

Cartagena additionally will get a 2.5 as an alternative of a 2 as a result of it’s one of many pricier locations for vacationers in Colombia. If you reside like a neighborhood in Bogota or Medellin, and even Santa Marta, you’ll discover that costs there are less expensive. Also, observe that the native forex is COP (Colombian pesos). Here’s a bit of breakdown of what to count on for prices in Cartagena, Colombia:

Accommodation: Hostels in Cartagena can nonetheless be discovered on a budget for lower than 50,000 COP (11 USD) per night time. The metropolis can be crammed with luxurious accommodations, and costs are presently round 650,000 COP (150 USD) per night time.

Food: Some of Cartagena’s high avenue meals like meat skewers and empanadas solely value a few greenback or two (larger for those who’re in Old Town). Lunch or dinner at a non-touristy restaurant will set you again about 13,000 COP per particular person (3-4 USD). Breakfast in Cartagena could be discovered for cheaper, and plan to spend lower than $4 on a plate of eggs, arepa, and occasional (or chocolate completo, almost certainly). If you need to be fancy, count on to pay about 100,000 COP for a two or three-course dinner for 2.

Transportation and excursions: Cartagena is fairly walkable so that you don’t want to fear a lot about transportation prices for those who’re sticking to the town. The airport can be tremendous shut to city, and a taxi journey there’ll set you again about 13,000 COP (about $3 USD – be sure to have precise change in pesos, although!).

If you need to get the perfect value on a tour, our suggestion is to head to a resort or hostel in Getsemani and ask all about them at their data deck. You can do every thing from e book a non-public boat tour of the bay, constitution a yacht to some close by islands (a number of hours off the coast), and a lot extra. Expect to pay about $100 per particular person (for those who’re in a gaggle of 4 folks) to constitution a ship.

two travelers sitting on the city wall for sunset in Cartagena, the Colombian national flag waving in the background

Are the Locals Friendly?


























Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Colombians are pretty and welcoming, and with some data of Spanish you’ll most likely end up chatting away with nearly everybody you meet throughout your journey.

For reference, the web site Nomadlist charges Cartagena as “great” when it comes to friendliness in direction of foreigners. As with any vacation spot, some data of the tradition and language (full with an enormous smile) can go a good distance.

Happy Palenquera selling fruits in Cartagena with yellow colonial building in the background

Basic Dos and Don’ts

Each metropolis in Colombia is exclusive, so your dos and don’ts listing might be a bit of completely different relying on whether or not you’re in Bogota or a Caribbean space like Cartagena. Especially for those who’re visiting Cartagena for the primary time, right here’s some issues to bear in mind:

  • Don’t drink the faucet water.
  • Don’t depart your luggage unattended in touristy areas or flash your valuables whereas wandering the streets. This is thought in Colombia as “offering up papaya”.
  • Don’t stroll round alone at night time. Old Town might be a bit of safer for vacationers as a result of most areas are well-lit and there’s loads of bars and nightclubs open in any respect hours. If you do enterprise off, at all times just remember to’re in a gaggle and use a journey share app (significantly better than a taxi at night time) to get from the place you might be to your resort. 
  • Don’t simply casually ask locals about Pablo Escobar. This one goes from an enormous pet peeve to an outright no-no: Colombians don’t need to hear about what you consider Pablo Escobar or speak about him in any respect. The nation is working arduous to change its status, so assist them out a bit of by not citing the previous and be completely happy that you just’ve been welcomed of their lovely nation.
  • Don’t say you may’t dance. In Colombia, not dancing is actually not an choice. A metropolis like Cartagena is crammed with tradition and dance is on the coronary heart of it, so it’s finest simply to really feel the rhythm and waft.

This is certainly not an exhaustive listing of the cultural etiquette for vacationers to Cartagena, however it’s a begin. Make positive to learn up on extra dos and don’ts earlier than your journey.

colonial architecture and sea in the background on a sunny day in Cartagena Colombia

Top Trending Things to Do in Cartagena

Landed in Cartagena and prepared to discover? Here are the highest issues to do in 2022.

  • Charter a yacht to close by islands: Book a ship and an professional tour information to discover some islands within the Caribbean which are a day journey away from the shores of Cartagena. Top picks embrace the Rosario Islands and Isla Grande.
  • Sunset tour: You can have your very personal non-public tour information arrange a strolling tour of Cartagena’s most picturesque spots on the town. Enjoy some snacks, drinks, take the perfect footage for golden hour, all earlier than ending the day by the town wall to watch some of the superb sunsets within the Caribbean.
  • Walking excursions: Traveling on a finances? There are a number of free or low-cost strolling excursions you may take part Cartagena. Take benefit of the free walking tour of Cartagena’s beautiful Old Town that’s been a success with vacationers for over eight years now. Another fashionable tour is a strolling tour of Getsemani and San Diego neighborhoods, the place you may try funky murals and a few of Cartagena’s finest avenue artwork.

How Safe Is It?


























Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Cartagena has a a lot larger security index in contrast to different cities in Colombia. Currently, the town charges at a 82 whereas Bogota is at a 46, close by Barranquilla at 47, and Medellin at 46. But, there are nonetheless some issues to pay attention to whenever you go to Cartagena.

Pickpockets could be frequent, particularly in touristy areas and for those who’re visibly carrying invaluable objects (observe the “don’t offer papaya” rule).

Watch out for those who exit clubbing, as a result of there are tales of individuals being drugged after which mugged. Western males between the ages of 30-45 are sometimes the goal, and situations have even been identified to happen in broad daylight, so be sure to maintain your wits about you.

And for those who’re an LGBTQ+ traveler, you’ll be completely happy to know that Colombia recognizes same-sex relationships.

(*10*)

Travel Insurance Tips for Your Trip:

Travel insurance coverage is at all times a good suggestion when occurring any kind of journey. Get your self lined (and, at an excellent low value!) with the proper health insurance simply in case you get sick or in case your journey stuff will get stolen or misplaced sooner or later throughout your travels to Cartagena.

Local Eats and Drink in Cartagena, Colombia

With mouth-watering arepas and occasional for breakfast, contemporary tropical fruits all through the day, and all types of native dishes to pattern for dinner, you’ll eat nicely in Cartagena. Here are the highlights:

  • Cazuela de Mariscos: Cartagena is by the ocean, in any case, so a number of the metropolis’s finest dishes are seafood-related. This native dish is a seafood stew brewed in coconut milk.
  • Ceviche: Try this native favourite Cartagena model, which is served with coconut milk and bitter cream.
  • Posta Negra: This uber-local dish is likely one of the metropolis’s most beloved meals, which consists of beef eye rounds roasted in every thing from Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and even coca-cola.

Cartagena additionally has a formidable quantity of worldwide meals, so if you’d like to ease into issues at first of your journey (or splurge on a meal), there are many cute cafes and eating places within the metropolis that serve pastas, sandwiches, pizzas, and different consolation meals.

local food: plate of cooked fish with plantains, tomatoes and onions in Cartagena

What Are the Best Apps to Use in Cartagena?

It may be helpful to obtain these apps to your cellphone earlier than your journey to Cartagena:

  • Tappsi: Colombia’s various to Uber. This native taxi app that may enable you to safely hail a journey utilizing your cellphone.
  • WhatsApp: This is the principle messenger app most popular throughout Latin America, so obtain it for those who haven’t already.
  • Google Translate: If you need assistance with translation when taking a journey share or checking into your resort.
  • Babbel: A fantastic language app for studying Spanish!
View on paradies beach of Playa Blanca on Island Baru by Cartagena in Colombia

How’s the WiFi?


























Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The WiFi sign doesn’t run tremendous fast contained in the walled metropolis of Cartagena, however it’s first rate. Most accommodations do have WiFi for visitors and you should buy an affordable native SIM card to use knowledge and even hotspot your self. The common velocity in Cartagena 5 Mbps. If you want an web break for the afternoon, listed here are some cafes in Cartagena with good WiFi.

Cruise ship, cranes and containers at the pier of the Port Of Cartagena, Colombia

What Are the Top Cultural Experiences in Cartagena?

Cartagena is a metropolis crammed with tradition so you may loads of selection when it comes to unforgettable experiences. Here are some high picks:

  • Salsa classes (with a view, to boot): This amazing experience in Cartagena will get you shifting and shaking like a neighborhood. A real cultural encounter!
  • Food tour: Are you a foodie who additionally occurs to be a e book nerd? This tour might be excellent for you! Gabriel Garcia Marquez is certainly one of Colombia’s most beloved writers, and this food tour integrates some native dishes loved by the characters in his books.
  • Coffee tour: Cartagena is house to some superb espresso homes and they’re a good way to get to know Colombia’s iconic brew. There are a number of local cafes in Getsemani that provide espresso experiences which are undoubtedly value testing.
Street in walled city in Cartagena, Colombia

How Long Can I Stay?

Travelers from the U.S., Canada, the U.Ok., and extra can go to Colombia for leisure with out making use of for a vacationer visa beforehand. You can sometimes keep for up to 90 days in your first go to.

If you need to keep in Colombia longer, you may request to prolong your keep on the local immigration authority. The present coverage permits for up to 180 days in a single calendar 12 months.

See what all the thrill is about and why Cartagena is a tremendous vacation spot in Colombia in your journey radar. With a lot magnificence to uncover, you’ll be questioning why you didn’t plan a go to to Cartagena sooner!

tourist with long hair and white dress walking in the middle the colorful streets of the colonial walled city of Cartagena

Read More:

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Colombia Continues to Grow in Popularity With US American Travelers

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