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 few of the adventures to be had in Cartagena, Colombia.

A stunning 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 funds
  • Top cultural experiences in Cartagena
  • How quick is the WiFi?
  • Best native eats and drink

Ready to prep and plan to your journey to Latin America? Here are the highest 10 stuff 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 funds will rely 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 dearer than the close by neighborhood of Getsemani. Sit-down eating places within the Old Town can even be far more on par with U.S. and Western Europe costs than different areas of 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, be aware that the native forex is COP (Colombian pesos). Here’s just a little breakdown of what to anticipate 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 evening. The metropolis can also be crammed with luxurious resorts, and costs are at present round 650,000 COP (150 USD) per evening.

Food: Some of Cartagena’s high avenue meals like meat skewers and empanadas solely price a few greenback or two (greater in the event you’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 might be discovered for cheaper, and plan to spend lower than $4 on a plate of eggs, arepa, and low (or chocolate completo, most probably). If you need to be fancy, anticipate 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 in the event you’re sticking to town. The airport can also be tremendous shut to city, and a taxi experience there’ll set you again about 13,000 COP (about $3 USD – be certain to have actual change in pesos, although!).

If you need to get the very best value on a tour, our advice is to head to a resort or hostel in Getsemani and ask all about them at their info deck. You can do all the pieces from e book a non-public boat tour of the bay, constitution a yacht to some close by islands (a couple of hours off the coast), and a lot extra. Expect to pay about $100 per particular person (in the event you’re in a gaggle of 4 individuals) 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 information 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 information of the tradition and language (full with a giant smile) can go a great 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 will likely be just a little totally different relying on whether or not you’re in Bogota or a Caribbean space like Cartagena. Especially in the event you’re visiting Cartagena for the primary time, right here’s some issues to take note:

  • 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 evening. Old Town will likely be just a little 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, all the time just remember to’re in a gaggle and use a experience share app (significantly better than a taxi at evening) to get from the place you’re 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 popularity, so assist them out just a little by not citing the previous and be completely happy that you simply’ve been welcomed of their stunning nation.
  • Don’t say you’ll be able to’t dance. In Colombia, not dancing is absolutely not an possibility. 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, but it surely’s a begin. Make certain 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 knowledgeable 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 set up a strolling tour of Cartagena’s most picturesque spots on the town. Enjoy some snacks, drinks, take the very best footage for golden hour, all earlier than ending the day by town wall to watch probably the most superb sunsets within the Caribbean.
  • Walking excursions: Traveling on a funds? There are a couple of free or low-cost strolling excursions you’ll be able to take part Cartagena. Take benefit of the free walking tour of Cartagena’s beautiful Old Town that’s been successful with vacationers for over eight years now. Another well-liked tour is a strolling tour of Getsemani and San Diego neighborhoods, the place you’ll be able to 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 greater security index in contrast to different cities in Colombia. Currently, 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 concentrate on once you go to Cartagena.

Pickpockets might be widespread, particularly in touristy areas and in the event you’re visibly carrying invaluable gadgets (be aware the “don’t offer papaya” rule).

Watch out in the event you 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 usually the goal, and cases have even been identified to happen in broad daylight, so be certain to hold your wits about you.

And in the event you’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 all the time a good suggestion when occurring any kind of journey. Get your self lined (and, at an excellent low price!) with the proper health insurance simply in case you get sick or in case your journey stuff will get stolen or misplaced in some unspecified time in the future throughout your travels to Cartagena.

Local Eats and Drink in Cartagena, Colombia

With mouth-watering arepas and low for breakfast, recent tropical fruits all through the day, and every kind of native dishes to pattern for dinner, you’ll eat effectively in Cartagena. Here are the highlights:

  • Cazuela de Mariscos: Cartagena is by the ocean, in any case, so a few 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 all the pieces from Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and even coca-cola.

Cartagena additionally has a powerful quantity of worldwide meals, so in order for you to ease into issues firstly 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 telephone earlier than your journey to Cartagena:

  • Tappsi: Colombia’s different to Uber. This native taxi app that can enable you to safely hail a experience utilizing your telephone.
  • WhatsApp: This is the primary messenger app most well-liked throughout Latin America, so obtain it in the event you haven’t already.
  • Google Translate: If you need assistance with translation when taking a experience share or checking into your resort.
  • Babbel: An incredible 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, but it surely’s respectable. Most resorts do have WiFi for friends and you should buy an inexpensive native SIM card to use information and even hotspot your self. The common pace in Cartagena 5 Mbps. If you want an web break for the afternoon, listed below 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’ll be able to loads of alternative 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 will likely be good for you! Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one in every 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 dwelling to some wonderful espresso homes and they’re an effective way to get to know Colombia’s iconic brew. There are a couple of local cafes in Getsemani that supply 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.Okay., and extra can go to Colombia for leisure with out making use of for a vacationer visa beforehand. You can usually keep for up to 90 days to your first go to.

If you need to keep in Colombia longer, you’ll be able to 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 excitement is about and why Cartagena is an incredible vacation spot in Colombia to 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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