Cartagena Travel Guide: Things You Need To Know


In the Spanish colonial era, Cartagena was a crucial base of the Spanish empire in Colombia and South America. The walls that surrounded the city's coast (which were first constructed in 1586) protected against pirates who were attracted by Cartagena's position as a major economic centre. The walls were declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. They are today one of Cartagena's most famous attractions, drawing people from all over the globe.

The city is home to an impressive variety of historical sites as well as its famed walls. Visitors can walk around through the streets admiring the architectural style, or decide to enjoy a cool day within one of the numerous museums in Cartagena. In addition there is Cartagena's Caribbean Sea to the west and Cartagena Bay to the south. Cartagena is a South American city that provides a variety of beaches for the most discriminating sun-lovers.

Best Months to Visit

The ideal time to go to Cartagena is between December and April. Cartagena's tropical climate means that, even though temperatures tend to remain in the mid-80s throughout the year, the amount of rainfall every season is different. Dry season from December to April, is the time of Cartagena's summer, and it is when the city is hospitable to the largest number of visitors. Amidst the masses of tourists proves to be worth it though, since the winter season is characterised by near-continuous rain, and a hefty humidity that makes it hard to enjoy the benefits of the outdoor activities.

How to Save Money in Cartagena

Take a bite of street food and food stands on every corner, visitors will be able to taste a wide variety of food options without entering an establishment. In addition, street food tends to be less expensive than traditional restaurants.

Do not use public transportation The Cartagena buses are a hassle and difficult to navigate. Additionally there are many areas that can be walked around with a little planning, and taking a taxi will only cost an additional fee.

Budget for purchases that are small. While accommodations, flights and other excursions should be planned in advance. Set aside a small sum of money for purchases from street sellers and other such.

What to Eat

Cartagena's street food offers an affordable and tasty option for meals that are full or snacks. Visitors can purchase a selection of tropical fruits from the palenqueras or local women selling fruits from bowls that are carefully balanced placed on top of their heads. It is easy to recognize them by their vibrant outfits. In addition, Colombians and tourists alike are able to enjoy breakfast every day with arepa de huevo which is an incredibly deep-fried breakfast consisting of cornmeal and eggs.

The city's perch on the coast means the freshest seafood available is plentiful. Ceviche is a mix consisting of freshly caught seafood as well as other vegetables attracts people from all over the globe. La Cevicheria is the most famous restaurant serving ceviche and this is in no small measure since Anthony Bourdain once visited and highly praised the eatery. Other popular choices for travellers include La Pescaderia Ceviches y Piqueo, Mangata and Porton de San Sebastian.

A trip to the kitchen in Colombia can't be complete without Sancocho. It's the local soup that blends ingredients such as seafood plantains, yucca, corn, and cilantro. Soup isn't the only one to try, however. various bars, such as El Arsenal: The Rum Box and Sinko Bar, wowed recent customers with their extensive menu of cocktails that are custom-made.

Getting Around

The most effective method to travel around Cartagena is to take a taxi. Taxis allow you to move between different locations within the city, such as Cartagena's Rafael Nunez International Airport (CTG) as well as short excursions that are best done by walking. According to hotels in the area taxis that take you from airports to central tourist areas are about $10. Rental cars are readily available at Cartagena (an International driving licence is required) however, it is advised by the U.S. State Department advises against driving in Colombia due to the lax traffic laws and a poor infrastructure.

The same reason is why travellers should stay clear of taking buses from cities nearby to Cartagena. Instead, they should choose to flights to cartagena from miami by  air as this is the most popular method to arrive in Cartagena. Local buses are available at the airport, and stop all throughout Cartagena; however public transport can be difficult to navigate and not recommended for visitors.

On Foot

The warm weather and the compact area filled with attractions allow walking the colourful streets of Cartagena an absolute pleasure. If they plan their trip well, travelers can arrange an easy stroll through the city's iconic landmarks, beach, shopping malls and beaches.


Tourist towns abound, and taxis are plentiful and secure However, taxi drivers won't hesitate to overcharge unwary tourists. Tourists should be prepared to negotiate an amount prior to entering the vehicle in order to avoid paying more. Keep in mind that taxi rides typically start at $7,700 (about 2 dollars) and the additional costs can be negotiated by the driver, since there aren't any metres. Tipping taxi drivers around 10% or by rounded up to the next 1,000 pesos is a good gesture for friendly and honest drivers.


Cartagena is spread throughout the Colombian Caribbean coast. With the exception of their planes that land on the northern coast, the majority of the time is spent in the east region of Cartagena. The coastal part in Cartagena was the first city that is renowned for its stunning architecture and tourist places. Since its beginning, Cartagena has expanded inland. Residential and business areas are further to the inland side, but the majority of visitors will opt to linger within the historic city.


In the wake of the Colombian government's peace accord in 2016 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia The number of violent crimes in Cartagena has decreased dramatically. But, Cartagena is still plagued with the same crimes that can be found in other large cities. Since street crime is the biggest risk to tourists, travellers should be aware of the following precautions. Travel with your friends, keep track of your possessions always and remain vigilant for petty thieves and other frauds.

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