5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia
The colorful streets of Cartagena are a beautiful place. Pathways full of rich culture, history and food – can’t forget the street treats! This amazing ambience paired with the warm hearted residents of Cartagena make this growing city a wonderful spot for a quick trip. Plus, it’s a 2 1/2 hour direct flight from Florida! Having spent many years in South FL, I love that Cartagena is an easily accessible destination. One that’s a little different then the go-to Bahamas or Mexico getaway.

Five Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia:

  1. WHERE to STAY | As an American female traveling to Cartagena for the first time, I would highly recommend finding a hotel or Airbnb located within the ‘walled city’ of Cartagena. Locals and visitors alike will say the same. Not that it feels like a dangerous city, but once the sun goes down, within the wall is where you’ll typically want to be for walking purposes and overall safety/comfort, unless you’re being guided by a local. Full review of where I stayed coming soon!
  2. SAFETY | The #1 concern for most people when they hear Cartagena {or Colombia in general} is ‘is it safe’. Short answer – yes! I never once felt like my life or wellbeing was being threatened. I’ve had multiple friends also travel to the city who have said the same. It’s a friendly city! Gone are the days of Pueblo Escobar and drug lords running wild around Colombia. Sure, Colombia’s not perfect, but from a foreigner perspective over the course of 4 nights on vacation, it’s not something to steer clear of.
  3. TAXIS | Totally fine in Cartagena. They’re nice, friendly, and don’t price gauge tourists. No surprise they’re cash only, but easily accessible on the street or callable via your hotel. The city also has Uber, although we didn’t try them on this specific trip. Taxis are everywhere, so that just seemed easier with the language barrier.
  4. MONEY | Most brick and mortar restaurants, shops and hotels will accept credit cards for purchases. Do bring a decent amount of cash if you plan to try any street food {highly recommend} or vendor/market shopping {also recommend}. You’ll also need cash for taxis. Remember – you can typically pre-order money from your US based bank 2 weeks ahead of time for the best exchange rate. If that’s not possible, I’d suggest just waiting to withdrawal from an ATM upon arrival for the best exchange rate.
  5. LANGUAGE | Keep in mind Cartagena, while an old city, has just recently become a hot tourist destination for foreigners {US specifically} in the last 5-ish years. If you’re a frequent international traveler, you may be a little surprised by the lack of English speakers. You may also find a few restaurant menus in Spanish-only. Brush up on conversational words ahead of time, and keep Google translate handy!

5 Things to Know Before Visiting Cartagena, Colombia

For Perspective

I’m a 30-year-old, married woman who traveled with a girlfriend for a first time visit to Cartagena in December 2018. Would totally go back for another girl’s trip or romantic getaway! These are just a few, quick snippets of advice to consider as you think of, or plan, your trip to. Full workup of our itinerary and a more in-depth breakdown of what we did can be found here!

If you’ve traveled to this beautifully colorful city, please share your tips/experiences in the comments below! Love when the travel community comes together – your experience may help someone else planning their first time visit to Cartagena!

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