cartagena photos cartagena photos cartagena photos
View 55+ photos

Cartagena

4.2 /5 23 votes

Weather:

Best Time: December - March Read More

Ideal duration: 2 days

Nearest Airport: Cartagena Check Flights

"In its on rhythm "

Cartagena Tourism

Cartagena or Cartagena de Indias, capital of Bolivar department is the fifth largest city in Colombia. Located on the Carribean coast, the city is known for its grand colonial mansions, plazas, beautiful beaches and a vibrant lifestyle, making it Colombia's top tourist destination.

Cartagena is reminiscent of the days gone by. One of Colombia's favourite destination, Cartagena once used to be the most important bastion of Spanish overseas empire. The main highlight of Cartagena is an old walled city with colonial walls stretching over 13 kilometres. The old city houses numerous mansions, majestic churches, plazas, museums, all painted in bright pastel shades. The city was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1984. Being a cultural hub, lots of festivals and events take place throughout the year. Cartagena leaves its visitors bewitched with its colonial charm, a stroll through the cobbled alleys will definitely give you an escape to the medieval past. On the other side of the city, you will see the modern day Bocagrande with a skyline filled with skyscrapers, luxury hotels and restaurants. The fast pace of the outer town leaves its visitors surprised as they get a glimpse into the life of today's carteganos.

Download Cartagena PDF Guide

Free . Works Offline . Share Anywhere

Download Now

More on Cartagena

Currency in Cartagena

Only Colombian Pesos are accepted in Cartagena, places like hotels and big restaurants accept card payments as well. It is advised to carry currency in small dominations due to two main reasons- one, locals refrain from breaking big bills and second, counterfeit bills are a problem in Colombia and tourists are often targeted.

Exchanging Money in Cartagena

There are specific exchange banks for currency exchange and not all banks do that. You can find money changers on the street, but it is usually not recommended. ATMs known as Cajeros are available almost everywhere and are the best way to get cash with withdrawal rates varying from bank to bank.

Daily Budget for Cartagena

Cartagena is an expensive city. An average low budget would be COP 40,000 per day which includes local drinks, public transport and little bit of souvenir shopping. A typical mid range budget would be just twice whereas high end luxury budget can go as high as COP 270,000

Religion of Cartagena

Christianity is the major religion in Cartagena like the rest of Colombia with Roman Catholics comprising ninety percent of the population.

Cartagena Customs

Colombians are courteous people, men shake hands whereas women grasp forearms while greeting. Usually, people use Spanish greetings for the time of the day such as "Buenos dias" for good day or "Buenos nochas" for good evening/night. There are no specific dress codes to be followed as such, dress in comfortable clothing which suits you and avoid fancy jewellery. The tipping practice in Colombia is not that strict as compared to other American countries. People generally tip around COP 1000 - 2000 in small restaurants, some of the restaurants have tip included as service charge upto 15 percent of the total order value. Most people generally tip for room service.

Language of Cartagena

Spanish is the main language in Cartagena, and knowing a few Spanish words will definitely make your trip more interesting. Greet people with Bueno dias for Good Morning or Bueno noches for Good Evening. Thank people using "Gracias" and use "Por Favor" when requesting.

History of Cartagena

A backstory filled with sieges, violence and heroics of its inhabitants has shaped Cartagena in becoming Colombia's most prominent tourist destination today. Initially, the area around Cartagena was inhabited by Kalamari, Carex and Yurbaco tribes. In 1533, a Spanish commander Pedro de Heredia established the city of Cartagena de Indias at the site of Carribean Calamari village. Starting with just two thousands inhabitants, the city grew quickly in wealth and proportion as an important port on the Carribean coast. This exponential rise in wealth and prosperity of Cartagena caught the fancy of pirates and privateers. In the sixteenth century, the city faced numerous sieges and was pillaged several times, most notorious of them being Sir Francis Drake who was given a huge ransom for not levelling the city to ground. Aftermath of this event saw Spaniards investing millions into city's fortification and defence. The city flourished as an indispensable site of Spanish empire. Cartagena also played a crucial part in Colombia's independence movement and suffered during 1815-1821 witnessing death and starvation of more than 6000 inhabitants. The city was finally liberated in 1821 and has recovered to prosperity ever since.

Nightlife in Cartagena

Cartagena is mostly quiet during the week. Its nightlife might not be as active and lavish as Bogotˆ or Cali, but it will not disappoint you either. If in Old Town or El Centro, head to Donde Fidel and Caf_ del Mar for drinks and cocktails. Caf_ Havana is a favorite among locals as well as tourists. If you are planning to go clubbing then Tu Candela is your place to be.

Shopping in Cartagena

Delve into the colonial streets of El Centro to satisfy the shopaholic in you. With numerous boutiques, souvenir stores, fashion houses and art shops, the Old Town has lots to offer- Wooden masks, Colombian hats, tribal bag 'Mochilas' and much more. Look out for St Dom, and Silvia Tcherassi at Carrera 3 for premium fashionwear. Colombia is famous for its Emeralds and Lucy Jewellery located at Calle Santo Domingo is reputed for its authenticity. Apart from these big shops, do not miss out on the street vendors, who are sure to leave you in a dilemma with an incredible variety of products at insanely cheap prices.

Restaurants and Local Food in Cartagena

Cartagena is undoubtedly Colombia's culinary paradise. Owing to its rich history, the cuisine here is a blend of Spanish, African and local cultures. Known for its seafood and tropical fruits, Cartagena boasts of its incredibly talented chefs who offer you a culinary experience to be cherished forever. One cannot miss Creviche, a local seafood dish made with lemon at Le Cevicheria. Other local dishes which one must try include Sanocho, Arepa con Huevo and Pargo Rojo Frito. Most famous restaurants are located in and around Old Town, La Vitrola and Maris being the prominent ones.
View Top Restaurants in Cartagena

Cartagena Photos

+ 52
photos

Top Hotels In Cartagena

How To Reach Cartagena

Cartagena is served by an international airport, and is well connected to neighbouring cities via road. Being a port town, Cartagena can be reached by a sailboat from Panama.

Ask a Question

Ask a question from the travellers who have experience.

Cartagena Reviews

Your rating
Book Customized Package