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 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.
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 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 dearer than the close by neighborhood of Getsemani. Sit-down eating places within the Old Town will even be way 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 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 night time. The metropolis can also be crammed with luxurious inns, and costs are at present 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 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, almost definitely). 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 for those who’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 sure that to have actual change in pesos, although!).
If you need to get the very best worth 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 every thing from e-book a non-public 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 individuals) 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 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 might 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 have in mind:
- Don’t drink the faucet water.
- Don’t go away 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, all the time just remember to’re in a gaggle and use a experience share app (a lot better than a taxi at night time) 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 onerous to change its popularity, so assist them out a bit of by not citing the previous and be pleased 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 admittedly 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 glide.
This is in no way an exhaustive checklist of the cultural etiquette for vacationers to Cartagena, nevertheless 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 skilled tour information to discover some islands within the Caribbean which can 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 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 photos 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 finances? 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 successful with vacationers for over eight years now. Another widespread tour is a strolling tour of Getsemani and San Diego neighborhoods, the place you’ll be able to take a look at 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 if you go to Cartagena.
Pickpockets will be widespread, particularly in touristy areas and for those who’re visibly carrying useful 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 usually the goal, and cases have even been identified to happen in broad daylight, so be sure that to preserve your wits about you.
And for those who’re an LGBTQ+ traveler, you’ll be pleased 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 happening any sort of journey. Get your self lined (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 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, recent tropical fruits all through the day, and every kind 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 spite of everything, 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 among 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 powerful quantity of worldwide meals, so if you need 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 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 may permit 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 for those who haven’t already.
- Google Translate: If you need assistance with translation when taking a experience share or checking into your resort.
- Babbel: An ideal 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 respectable. Most inns do have WiFi for friends and you should purchase an affordable 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.
What Are the Top Cultural Experiences in Cartagena?
Cartagena is a metropolis crammed with 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 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 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 residence to some superb 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 undoubtedly value trying out.
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 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 modifications to journey necessities earlier than touring. Travel Off Path doesn’t endorse touring towards authorities advisories