Cartagena, Colombia: 10 Things Travelers Need to Know Before Visiting
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 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 belongings 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 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 a substitute of a 2 as a result of it’s one of many pricier locations for vacationers in Colombia. If you reside like an area in Bogota or Medellin, and even Santa Marta, you’ll discover that costs there are less expensive. Also, notice that the native foreign money is COP (Colombian pesos). Here’s somewhat 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 also be full of luxurious inns, and costs are presently round 650,000 COP (150 USD) per night time.
Food: Some of Cartagena’s prime avenue meals like meat skewers and empanadas solely value a few greenback or two (larger in case you’re in Old Town). Lunch or dinner at a non-touristy restaurant will set you again about 13,000 COP per individual (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 low (or chocolate completo, most 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 in case you’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 – be certain to have precise change in pesos, although!).
If you need to get the perfect worth on a tour, our suggestion is to head to a lodge or hostel in Getsemani and ask all about them at their info deck. You can do every part from e book a personal 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 individual (in case you’re in a bunch of 4 folks) to constitution a ship.
Are the Locals Friendly?
Colombians are pretty and welcoming, and with some information of Spanish you’ll in all probability 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 good distance.
Basic Dos and Don’ts
Each metropolis in Colombia is exclusive, so your dos and don’ts checklist will likely be somewhat totally different relying on whether or not you’re in Bogota or a Caribbean space like Cartagena. Especially in case you’re visiting Cartagena for the primary time, right here’s some issues to consider:
- 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 will likely be somewhat 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 be sure you’re in a bunch and use a trip share app (a lot better than a taxi at night time) 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 laborious to change its status, so assist them out somewhat by not citing the previous and be comfortable that you simply’ve been welcomed of their lovely nation.
- Don’t say you’ll be able to’t dance. In Colombia, not dancing is basically not an choice. A metropolis like Cartagena is full of tradition and dance is on the coronary heart of it, so it’s greatest simply to really feel the rhythm and float.
This is in no way an exhaustive checklist 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 might be 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 personal tour information manage a strolling tour of Cartagena’s most picturesque spots on the town. Enjoy some snacks, drinks, take the perfect photos for golden hour, all earlier than ending the day by town wall to watch one of the crucial superb sunsets within the Caribbean.
- Walking excursions: Traveling on a price range? There are a number 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 a success 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 greatest avenue artwork.
How Safe Is It?
Cartagena has a a lot larger 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 pay attention to while you go to Cartagena.
Pickpockets will be frequent, particularly in touristy areas and in case you’re visibly carrying precious objects (notice the “don’t offer papaya” rule).
Watch out in case 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 situations have even been identified to happen in broad daylight, so be certain to hold your wits about you.
And in case you’re an LGBTQ+ traveler, you’ll be comfortable to know that Colombia recognizes same-sex relationships.
Travel Insurance Tips for Your Trip:
Travel insurance coverage is all the time a good suggestion when occurring any sort of journey. Get your self coated (and, at a brilliant 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 low for breakfast, contemporary tropical fruits all through the day, and all types 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 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 fashion, which is served with coconut milk and bitter cream.
- Posta Negra: This uber-local dish is among the metropolis’s most beloved meals, which consists of beef eye rounds roasted in every part from Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and even coca-cola.
Cartagena additionally has a formidable quantity of worldwide meals, so in order for you 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.
What Are the Best Apps to Use in Cartagena?
It is likely to be useful to obtain these apps to your cellphone earlier than your journey to Cartagena:
- Tappsi: Colombia’s different to Uber. This native taxi app that may permit you to safely hail a trip utilizing your cellphone.
- WhatsApp: This is the primary messenger app most popular throughout Latin America, so obtain it in case you haven’t already.
- Google Translate: If you need assistance with translation when taking a trip share or checking into your lodge.
- Babbel: An awesome 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 inns do have WiFi for friends and you should buy an affordable native SIM card to use information and even hotspot your self. The common velocity 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 selection 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 shifting and shaking like an area. A real cultural encounter!
- Food tour: Are you a foodie who additionally occurs to be a e book nerd? This tour will likely 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 wonderful 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 supply espresso experiences which might 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 yr.
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 choice to journey is in the end your accountability. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to verify your nationality’s entry and/or any modifications to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring in opposition to authorities advisories