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 coated all of the fundamentals for touring to Cartagena on this put up, 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 on what sort of excursions you need to do and the place you need to keep.
For starters, staying in the course 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 rather 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, notice that the native foreign money is COP (Colombian pesos). Here’s just a little 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 be stuffed with luxurious accommodations, and costs are at present round 650,000 COP (150 USD) per night time.
Food: Some of Cartagena’s high road meals like meat skewers and empanadas solely value a couple of greenback or two (greater when 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 could be discovered for cheaper, and plan to spend lower than $4 on a plate of eggs, arepa, and low (or chocolate completo, almost certainly). 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 when you’re sticking to the town. The airport can be tremendous shut to city, and a taxi journey there’ll set you again about 13,000 COP (about $3 USD – make sure that to have actual change in pesos, although!).
If you need to get the perfect value on a tour, our advice 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 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 (when you’re in a bunch of 4 folks) 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 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 might be just a little completely different relying on whether or not you’re in Bogota or a Caribbean space like Cartagena. Especially when you’re visiting Cartagena for the primary time, right here’s some issues to take into account:
- 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 night time. Old Town might be just a little 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 bunch and use a journey 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 repute, so assist them out just a little by not citing the previous and be comfortable 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 absolutely not an possibility. A metropolis like Cartagena is stuffed with tradition and dance is on the coronary heart of it, so it’s finest simply to really feel the rhythm and drift.
This is not at all 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 knowledgeable 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 arrange 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 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’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 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 finest 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 pay attention to once you go to Cartagena.
Pickpockets could be widespread, particularly in touristy areas and when you’re visibly carrying useful gadgets (notice the “don’t offer papaya” rule).
Watch out when 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 usually the goal, and cases have even been identified to happen in broad daylight, so make sure that to preserve your wits about you.
And when 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 at all times a good suggestion when occurring any kind of journey. Get your self coated (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 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 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 type, 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 powerful quantity of worldwide meals, so if you’d like 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 perhaps useful to obtain these apps to your cellphone earlier than your journey to Cartagena:
- Tappsi: Colombia’s various to Uber. This native taxi app that can enable you to safely hail a journey utilizing your cellphone.
- WhatsApp: This is the primary messenger app most popular throughout Latin America, so obtain it when you haven’t already.
- Google Translate: If you need assistance with translation when taking a journey share or checking into your lodge.
- Babbel: A fantastic 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 respectable. Most accommodations do have WiFi for visitors and you should buy an affordable 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 stuffed with 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 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 might be excellent for you! Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one in all 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 an effective way to get to know Colombia’s iconic brew. There are just a few local cafes in Getsemani that supply espresso experiences which can be positively price 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 on 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 excitement 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 finally your duty. Contact your consulate and/or native authorities to verify 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