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 among 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 price range
- 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 stuff you want to know earlier than visiting Cartagena, Colombia.
How Hard Is It on the Wallet?
Cartagena, Colombia ranks proper within the center when it comes to budget-friendly cities for vacationers. Setting your journey price range 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 may 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, 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 evening. The metropolis can also be full of luxurious motels, and costs are presently round 650,000 COP (150 USD) per evening.
Food: Some of Cartagena’s high avenue meals like meat skewers and empanadas solely value a couple of greenback or two (increased 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 will be discovered for cheaper, and plan to spend lower than $4 on a plate of eggs, arepa, and occasional (or chocolate completo, probably). 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 town. The airport can also be tremendous shut to city, and a taxi trip there’ll set you again about 13,000 COP (about $3 USD – ensure that to have actual change in pesos, although!).
If you need to get one of the best value on a tour, our advice is to head to a lodge or hostel in Getsemani and ask all about them at their data deck. You can do every little thing from guide a personal boat tour of the bay, constitution a yacht to some close by islands (just a few 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.
Are the Locals Friendly?
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 the direction of foreigners. As with any vacation spot, some information of the tradition and language (full with an enormous smile) can go a great distance.
Basic Dos and Don’ts
Each metropolis in Colombia is exclusive, so your dos and don’ts record will probably be a bit of totally 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 remember:
- Don’t drink the faucet water.
- Don’t go away your baggage unattended in touristy areas or flash your valuables whereas wandering the streets. This is understood in Colombia as “offering up papaya”.
- Don’t stroll round alone at evening. Old Town will probably 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 trip share app (significantly better than a taxi at evening) to get from the place you’re to your lodge.
- 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 discuss him in any respect. The nation is working exhausting to change its status, so assist them out a bit of by not mentioning the previous and be joyful that you just’ve been welcomed of their lovely nation.
- Don’t say you’ll be able to’t dance. In Colombia, not dancing is admittedly not an possibility. A metropolis like Cartagena is full of tradition and dance is on the coronary heart of it, so it’s finest simply to really feel the rhythm and drift.
This is in no way an exhaustive record 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.
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 can be a day journey away from the shores of Cartagena. Top picks embody the Rosario Islands and Isla Grande.
- Sunset tour: You can have your very personal personal tour information manage a strolling tour of Cartagena’s most picturesque spots on the town. Enjoy some snacks, drinks, take one of the best footage for golden hour, all earlier than ending the day by town wall to watch some of the superb sunsets within the Caribbean.
- Walking excursions: Traveling on a price range? There are just a few 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 a success with vacationers for over eight years now. Another in style 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?
Cartagena has a a lot increased 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 whenever you go to Cartagena.
Pickpockets will be frequent, particularly in touristy areas and for those who’re visibly carrying beneficial gadgets (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 ensure that to maintain your wits about you.
And for those who’re an LGBTQ+ traveler, you’ll be joyful to know that Colombia recognizes same-sex relationships.
Travel Insurance Tips for Your Trip:
Travel insurance coverage is at all times a good suggestion when happening 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 every kind of native dishes to pattern for dinner, you’ll eat properly in Cartagena. Here are the highlights:
- Cazuela de Mariscos: Cartagena is by the ocean, in any case, so among 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 fashion, 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 little thing from Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and even coca-cola.
Cartagena additionally has a powerful quantity of worldwide meals, so if you’d like to ease into issues at the beginning 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.
What Are the Best Apps to Use in Cartagena?
It could be useful to obtain these apps to your telephone earlier than your journey to Cartagena:
- Tappsi: Colombia’s various to Uber. This native taxi app that may enable you to safely hail a trip utilizing your telephone.
- WhatsApp: This is the primary 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 trip share or checking into your lodge.
- Babbel: A terrific language app for studying Spanish!
How’s the WiFi?
The WiFi sign doesn’t run tremendous fast contained in the walled metropolis of Cartagena, however it’s first rate. Most motels do have WiFi for visitors and you should purchase an inexpensive native SIM card to use knowledge 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.
What Are the Top Cultural Experiences in Cartagena?
Cartagena is a metropolis full of 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 transferring and shaking like a neighborhood. A real cultural encounter!
- Food tour: Are you a foodie who additionally occurs to be a guide nerd? This tour will probably be good 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 dwelling to some wonderful espresso homes and they’re a good way to get to know Colombia’s iconic brew. There are just a few local cafes in Getsemani that provide espresso experiences which can be positively price testing.
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 sometimes keep for up to 90 days in 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 thrill is about and why Cartagena is an incredible 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!
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Disclaimer: Current journey guidelines and restrictions can change with out discover. The resolution to journey is in the end your accountability. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to affirm your nationality’s entry and/or any adjustments to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring in opposition to authorities advisories