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 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 funds
- 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 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 funds 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 may also 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 a little bit 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 evening. The metropolis can also be stuffed with luxurious lodges, and costs are at the moment round 650,000 COP (150 USD) per evening.
Food: Some of Cartagena’s high avenue meals like meat skewers and empanadas solely value a couple of greenback or two (increased 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 will be discovered for cheaper, and plan to spend lower than $4 on a plate of eggs, arepa, and low (or chocolate completo, 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 the event 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 sure to have actual change in pesos, although!).
If you need to get one of the best 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 the whole lot from ebook a non-public boat tour of the bay, constitution a yacht to some close by islands (a couple 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 pretty 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 the 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 listing can be a little bit totally 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 consider:
- 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 understood in Colombia as “offering up papaya”.
- Don’t stroll round alone at evening. Old Town can 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 be sure you’re in a gaggle and use a trip share app (a lot better than a taxi at evening) to get from the place you’re 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 discuss him in any respect. The nation is working laborious to change its status, so assist them out a little bit by not citing the previous and be glad that you just’ve been welcomed of their stunning nation.
- Don’t say you may’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 float.
This is in no way an exhaustive listing 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 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 personal tour information manage a strolling tour of Cartagena’s most picturesque spots on the town. Enjoy some snacks, drinks, take one of the best footage for golden hour, all earlier than ending the day by town wall to watch one of the wonderful sunsets within the Caribbean.
- Walking excursions: Traveling on a funds? There are a couple of 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 a success with vacationers for over eight years now. Another widespread tour is a strolling tour of Getsemani and San Diego neighborhoods, the place you may 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 pay attention to whenever you go to Cartagena.
Pickpockets will be frequent, particularly in touristy areas and in the event you’re visibly carrying useful gadgets (notice 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 situations have even been identified to happen in broad daylight, so be sure to maintain your wits about you.
And in the event you’re an LGBTQ+ traveler, you’ll be glad 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 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 in some unspecified time in the future throughout your travels to Cartagena.
Local Eats and Drink in Cartagena, Colombia
With mouth-watering arepas and low for breakfast, recent tropical fruits all through the day, and all types of native dishes to pattern for dinner, you’ll eat properly in Cartagena. Here are the highlights:
- Cazuela de Mariscos: Cartagena is by the ocean, in any case, so among 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 without doubt one of the metropolis’s most beloved meals, which consists of beef eye rounds roasted in the whole lot from Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and even coca-cola.
Cartagena additionally has a formidable quantity of worldwide meals, so if you’d like to ease into issues in the beginning 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 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 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 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 first rate. Most lodges do have WiFi for visitors 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 stuffed with 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 transferring and shaking like an area. A real cultural encounter!
- Food tour: Are you a foodie who additionally occurs to be a ebook nerd? This tour can be good for you! Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one among 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 a couple of local cafes in Getsemani that provide 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 on your first go to.
If you need to keep in Colombia longer, you may 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 an incredible 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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