7 Things To Know Before You Go To Cartagena, Colombia
By Parker Diakite
Filled with eye-popping images, vibrant colors and a unique charm, Cartagena is one of South America’s most beautiful cities.
Located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena offers a wide variety of things to do like exploring the city’s architecture, history, culture, and nightlife.
One highlight when visiting is the historic and famed Walled City in Old Cartagena.
The stone fortresses and massive walls were built by Spaniards in the early 1500s. Today, the colonial streets are bursting with vibrant colors and charm.
Planning a trip? Here are seven things to know before you go:
IT CAN GET A LITTLE PRICEY
The Walled City is a historical center and probably the most charming place in Cartagena for lodging and entertainment. With that said, this lovely neighborhood is one of the most expensive.
Getsemaní, located on the outside of the walled town, is where you want to stay if you’re on a budget. The neighborhood consists of reasonably priced hotels, restaurants, and cafes.
SPEAKING OF PRICE…A PHOTO WITH A PALENQUERA IS NOT FREE
Known as “fruit basket ladies” who wear the beautiful bright-colored dresses, a basket of fruit on top of their heads, and a beautiful smile to match, those famous pictures that you see floating around on social media come with a price. The price tag involves buying fruit or tipping the ladies a few pesos.
YOU CAN BARGAIN
Like many touristy destinations, local vendors try to take advantage of tourists by hiking up the prices. Make sure you travel to Cartagena with the attitude to negotiate and don’t be afraid to speak up if you think the prices are unreasonable.
BEACHES IN CARTAGENA
If you don’t mind large crowds, Bocagrande and Laguito beaches are the most popular. Want something more secluded? Castillogrande beaches are where you want to go.
You can get around in Cartagena with Uber, which tends to be cheaper than taxis.
Taxis are affordable and trips average between $4 and $5 USD.
VISA AND PASSPORT INFORMATION
If you’re traveling to Colombia as a tourist from the United States, you do not need a visa. You will, however, need adequate unused pages in your passport. Customs recommend at least two free pages.
There are no vaccinations required, but if you have plans to visit the Amazon, La Guajira, La Sierra Nevada or Llanos Orientales, health officials recommend the yellow fever shot at least two weeks before your trip. Be sure to bring your certificate.