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 coated all of the fundamentals for touring to Cartagena on this submit, together with:
- Travel finances
- Top cultural experiences in Cartagena
- How quick is the WiFi?
- Best native eats and drink
Ready to prep and plan on 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 finances 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 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 a substitute 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 foreign money is COP (Colombian pesos). Here’s a bit of 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 be crammed with luxurious lodges, and costs are at the moment round 650,000 COP (150 USD) per evening.
Food: Some of Cartagena’s prime road meals like meat skewers and empanadas solely price a couple of 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 occasional (or chocolate completo, 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 the town. The airport can be tremendous shut to city, and a taxi trip there’ll set you again about 13,000 COP (about $3 USD – make certain to have actual change in pesos, although!).
If you need to get the very best value on a tour, our suggestion is to head to a lodge or hostel in Getsemani and ask all about them at their data deck. You can do all the things 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 (in the event you’re in a gaggle of 4 individuals) to constitution a ship.
Are the Locals Friendly?
Colombians are beautiful 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.
Basic Dos and Don’ts
Each metropolis in Colombia is exclusive, so your dos and don’ts checklist can be a bit of completely 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 remember:
- 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 can 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 (a lot better than a taxi at evening) to get from the place you might be 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 speak about him in any respect. The nation is working exhausting to change its status, so assist them out a bit of by not citing the previous and be completely satisfied that you just’ve been welcomed of their lovely nation.
- Don’t say you possibly can’t dance. In Colombia, not dancing is basically not an possibility. A metropolis like Cartagena is crammed with tradition and dance is on the coronary heart of it, so it’s greatest simply to really feel the rhythm and waft.
This is under no circumstances an exhaustive checklist of the cultural etiquette for vacationers to Cartagena, nevertheless it’s a begin. Make certain 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 knowledgeable tour information to discover some islands within the Caribbean which might 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 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 the town wall to watch one of the vital wonderful sunsets within the Caribbean.
- Walking excursions: Traveling on a finances? There are a number of free or low-cost strolling excursions you possibly can 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 possibly can take a look at funky murals and a few of Cartagena’s greatest road artwork.
How Safe Is It?
Cartagena has a a lot greater 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 concentrate on while you go to Cartagena.
Pickpockets might be frequent, particularly in touristy areas and in the event you’re visibly carrying beneficial objects (observe 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 sometimes the goal, and cases have even been recognized to happen in broad daylight, so make certain to preserve your wits about you.
And in the event you’re an LGBTQ+ traveler, you’ll be completely satisfied 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 coated (and, at a brilliant 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 occasional for breakfast, contemporary 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 spite of everything, so a number of the metropolis’s greatest 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 without doubt one of the metropolis’s most beloved meals, which consists of beef eye rounds roasted in all the things 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 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.
What Are the Best Apps to Use in Cartagena?
It is likely to 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 trip utilizing your telephone.
- WhatsApp: This is the principle 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 trip share or checking into your lodge.
- Babbel: An important language app for studying Spanish!
How’s the WiFi?
The WiFi sign doesn’t run tremendous fast contained in the walled metropolis of Cartagena, nevertheless it’s first rate. Most lodges 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 here are some cafes in Cartagena with good WiFi.
What Are the Top Cultural Experiences in Cartagena?
Cartagena is a metropolis crammed with tradition so you possibly can loads of alternative when it comes to unforgettable experiences. Here are some prime 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 e book nerd? This tour can be excellent for you! Gabriel Garcia Marquez is considered 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 superb espresso homes and they’re an effective way to get to know Colombia’s iconic brew. There are a number of local cafes in Getsemani that provide espresso experiences which might be positively value trying out.
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 on your first go to.
If you need to keep in Colombia longer, you possibly can 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 on 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 duty. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to affirm your nationality’s entry and/or any modifications to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring towards authorities advisories