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 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 finances
- 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 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 rely on 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 also 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 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 foreign money is COP (Colombian pesos). Here’s a little bit 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 be full of luxurious motels, and costs are at present round 650,000 COP (150 USD) per night time.
Food: Some of Cartagena’s high avenue meals like meat skewers and empanadas solely price a couple of greenback or two (greater 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 could be discovered for cheaper, and plan to spend lower than $4 on a plate of eggs, arepa, and occasional (or chocolate completo, almost certainly). 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 case you’re sticking to the town. The airport can be tremendous shut to city, and a taxi experience 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 resort or hostel in Getsemani and ask all about them at their info deck. You can do all the things 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 individual (in case you’re in a gaggle of 4 individuals) to constitution a ship.
Are the Locals Friendly?
Colombians are beautiful and welcoming, and with some data 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 data 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 will likely be a little bit completely 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 take into accout:
- Don’t drink the faucet water.
- Don’t depart 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 night time. Old Town will likely be a little bit 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 might be 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 discuss him in any respect. The nation is working exhausting to change its status, so assist them out a little bit by not mentioning the previous and be joyful that you simply’ve been welcomed of their lovely nation.
- Don’t say you may’t dance. In Colombia, not dancing is de facto not an possibility. 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 drift.
This is on no account an exhaustive checklist of the cultural etiquette for vacationers to Cartagena, however 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 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 photos for golden hour, all earlier than ending the day by the town wall to watch probably the most wonderful sunsets within the Caribbean.
- Walking excursions: Traveling on a finances? There are just a few free or low-cost strolling excursions you may 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 may try funky murals and a few of Cartagena’s greatest avenue 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 pay attention to if you go to Cartagena.
Pickpockets could be frequent, particularly in touristy areas and in case you’re visibly carrying priceless gadgets (be aware 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 make certain to maintain your wits about you.
And in case you’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 all the time a good suggestion when occurring any sort 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 occasional for breakfast, recent tropical fruits all through the day, and all types 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 among 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 likely 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 formidable quantity of worldwide meals, so if you would 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 may be helpful to obtain these apps to your telephone earlier than your journey to Cartagena:
- Tappsi: Colombia’s various 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 popular throughout Latin America, so obtain it in case you haven’t already.
- Google Translate: If you need assistance with translation when taking a experience share or checking into your resort.
- 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 friends and you should purchase an inexpensive native SIM card to use knowledge 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 may loads of selection 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 guide 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 dwelling 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 supply espresso experiences which are positively value 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 to your first go to.
If you need to keep in Colombia longer, you may request to lengthen 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 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!
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Disclaimer: Current journey guidelines and restrictions can change with out discover. The determination to journey is in the end your duty. 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