Cartagena, Colombia.

April 14, 2020

 

What is there to do In Cartagena?

  • “The pink sea” El Salar de Galerazamba is about an hour away & only visible during the months of February & March when the water levels are low causing high concentration of microbes. 

  • Bathe in a mud volcano at “Volcan de Lodo El Totumo” it’s actually close to the pink sea so most tours will take you to both! 

  • Take a picture with the beautiful “Palenqueras” women- The "fruit sellers" come from a small village about an hour away from the city by bus to take pictures and sell fruit to tourist! Tipping is essential if you plan to take a picture with them. 5,000 COP ($1USD) per girl & another 5,000 COP if you accept or just want a bowl of fruit. Feel free to tip more but keep in mind the minimum is 5,000 COP & this is how they make their living. Normally, these women tend to hang out by the clock tower(Puerta del Reloj) or the Cartagena sign! You can also find them stationed on a block within the wall city but you’ll have to search walking around!

  • Puerta del Reloj-  Is the landmark 19th-century gate & clocktower.

  • FREE biking tour Cartagena. You rent the bike, they add the guide! Whatsapp +573017825595

  • Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

  • Palace of Inquisition

  • Plaza Santo Domingo

  • Holy Trinity Square - At night this plaza turns into the life of the party with food trucks, performers, and more. Bring the kids because they'll love the action & it will give them a chance to run around the plaza! You'll also find many painted murals along the way to the square. 

  • Las Bóvedas- Former dungeon housing souvenir shops

  • Iglesia de San Pedro Claver-  A church from the1580s with a museum.

  • Visit the Walled city where you'll find all the coloring colonial buildings surrounded by walls.

  • Museo del Oro Zenu- Museum with ancient gold & pottery

  • Museo Del Cacao (Choco Museo)- Hands on chocolate workshop.

  • Callejon Angosto- Is where you'll be able to walk through the street with hanging flags and umbrellas from above. 

  • Flores Park- Not so much of a park but a market full of flowers.

  • Cartagena Cathedral- Historic Catholic basilica & monument

  • Experience The Real Cartagena- offers many tours you'll want to do while in Cartagena. We toured with them and they were amazing hosts and also offered volunteer services.

Parks

 

Beaches

  • Rosario Islands- If you're looking for the clear waters in Cartagena, then you're going to want to take a day trip to Rosario Islands. Its about an hour boat ride to get to the island.

  • Beach Costa Azul - playa restaurante- Clean beach thats on the quite end.

  • Playa De Bocagrande beach is the most popular beach and a favorite for the locals. 

  • Tayrona National Park- You'll find some of the most phenomenal beaches here but is about 4.5 hours away. To get to Tayrona park, you'll first have to get to Santa Marta, the largest city near the national park. There are no direct flights from Cartagena to Santa Marta or Barranquilla, so going by private transfer is the best option as it is the most direct. You can also take a group shuttle or a public bus, but you'll have to take an additional 40-minute boat ride to the park entrance.

 

Where I stayed? 

I stayed in an Airbnb in Cartagena, check out where I stayed!

 

Never tried AirBnB before? You can get $55 off your stay through my link.​

 

Where to stay in Cartagena? 

 

Bocagrande

is a popular area to stay in for sandy beaches & family friendly. This area is now called the “new city” and a great area for the beach bums.

 

The historical wall city

Everything you need you'll find in the wall city. This is the top area where most people tend to stay. Here you’ll find the best night life and local shops & restaurants! 

 

Getsemani

Is the best area to stay for young travelers and backpackers. Its a hip neighborhood with street art, cafes, nightlife, and restaurants.  

 

El Cabrero and Marbella

Is a great area for budget travelers with affordable accommodations. 

 

 

How to get to your destination from the airport?

 

Taxi

A taxi to the old town is a short ride away(About 7-15 minutes). The ride should cost about 13,500- 20,000COP($3.50 to 5.12 USD) to your destination. 

 

Private Shuttle

If its your first time in Colombia and you don't speak Spanish take advantage of the private shuttle service in Cartagena.

 

Uber

Uber is available in Cartagena, but its legal status is in jeopardy. When you call a rideshare, you'll be asked to sit in the front of the car as if you we're the taxi drivers "friend" for this reason. We used Uber most of the time while visiting Cartagena. Although, Uber was way cheaper than the city taxis, we did have longer wait times to get an Uber. For this reason we would just canceled the ride and take a city taxi because not many Ubers are available in this city.

New with Uber?  

Sign up and use my code for a discount(link):jessica43008ui

 

How to get around Cartagena?

On Foot

The city and its main attractions are all very walkable, and that’s how we’d recommend primarily exploring Cartagena. If you're staying in the Wall City or exploring it walking is your best option.

 

Taxi

Taxis are one of the most reliable ways to get around Cartagena. Before getting in a taxi you want to settle on a rate to avoid overpaying. Taxi drivers tend to make unsuspecting travelers pay extra. Just keep in mind that rides generally start at COL$7,000 (about $2) and additional fees are at the discretion of the driver, as there are no meters.

 

Bus

Busses are best left for traveling between Cartagena and nearby cities. Rides on TransCaribe buses cost COL$2,300 (about $0.75), and must be paid via cards, which can be purchased at each station for COL$4,000 (about $1.30). Because of the complexity of the bus system, most visitors stick to taxis for getting around.

 

Uber

Uber is available in Cartagena, but its legal status is in jeopardy. When you call a rideshare, you'll be asked to sit in the front of the car as if you we're the taxi drivers "friend" for this reason. We used Uber most of the time while visiting Cartagena. Although, Uber was way cheaper than the city taxis, we did have longer wait times to get an Uber. For this reason we would just canceled the ride and take a city taxi because not many Ubers are available in this city.

New with Uber?  

Sign up and use my code for a discount(link):jessica43008ui

 

When to travel to Cartagena? 

 

The best time to visit Cartagena is December to April. The temperatures in Cartagena tend to stay in the mid-80s(Fahrenheit) but dry during theses months with little to no rain. Even though theses are the best times to visit Cartagena, the dry season is the high tourism season. December to January are the most expensive months. In January, Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias takes place so expect to see an increase in prices.

 

If you're visiting outside these months, you'll experience the same weather temperature but you just might get the odd rain showers here and there. Your stay during these month will be much cheaper and still pleasurable.

 

 

 Where to eat in Cartagena?

 

 

What language is spoken in Cartagena?

 

Spanish 

 

Currency?

 

Colombian Peso

 

Check out the Currency Converter for current rates.

 

Learn basic Spanish. 

 

Buenos días — Good morning

Buenas tardes — Good afternoon

Buenas noches — Good evening / Good night

¿Cómo estás? — How are you? (informal)

Muy bien — Very well

Mi nombre es — My name is

¡Muchas gracias! — Thank you very much!

¡De nada! — You’re welcome! / No problem!

Por favor — Please (generally used at the end of a sentence)

¡Perdon! — Excuse me!

¡Disculpe! — Excuse me! (to apologize in advance for being a bit of a bother)

¡Lo siento! — Sorry! (to apologize for a mistake)

 

Things you should know when traveling to Cartagena?

 

  • The beaches in Cartagena are more local and brown sanded beaches. If you’re looking for more clearer water with soft sand you have to travel an hour away by boat to Playa Blanca, the Islas del Rosario or the Islas del Encanto. All are reachable by tour & I recommend booking one in advance!

  • Colombia neighborhoods are based off the levels that are numbered 1-7. 1 being the poorest and 7 being the wealthiest. 

  • The wall city goes for 21 miles long!

  • Cartagena is a safe city & very touristy! Unlike other cities in Colombia, you’ll find a lot more English speaking people here!

  • Cartagena can get pretty hot with 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Pack light clothes and sunblock!

  • Cartagena is one of the most expensive cities in Colombia you'll travel to. If you're coming from the US or Europe the costs will be manageable but for backpackers, you may want to budget while visiting. 

Is Cartagena kid friendly? Things to do with kids?

 

​Colombians love children and you will be looked after! Cartagena is a hot tourist spot with safe neighbors to stay in. 

There are many things to do in Cartagena and parks for the kids to run around to explore. 

 

"Like molding in your hand, you can definitely turn your mind whichever way you want."

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