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.
There are no direct flight from India to Cartagena. Flights can be taken from major cities such as Delhi and Mumbai to New York or Fort Lauderdale and then to Cartagena. Airlines such as Air India, Emirates, Air France etc. have flights connecting to Cartagena with no less than two stops in different countries. Thus, it is advised to check the flight and visa policies for the country of interchange with your travel agent.
Located in northern Cartagena, the city is served by Rafael Nunez International airport. The airport is served by international flights connecting to Panama City, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York and Atlanta. There are several domestic carriers offering non stop flights to Medellin, Cali, Bogota and other Colombian cities as well. If you are travelling on a budget, you can choose VivoColombia, which is Colombia's new low cost airline.
Takin a cab or car is not the most preferred way to get into the city as the journey is time taking and expensive. However, if you are travelling from Medellin, the fastest route is Route 25 to Cartagena which takes 12 hours approximately. Similarly, Bogota to Cartagena takes around 16 hours via route 45.
There is no rail service connecting Cartagena.
Cartagena's bus terminal is located 11 kilometres east of the old city, with Green and white metrocar buses frequently operating to Old City. Buses connect to the neighbouring city of Barranquilla, taking two hours to reach and further two hours to reach Santa Marta. There are buses to Medellin from two main bus companies - Expreso Braslilia and Rapido Ochoa, buses usually takes 12-15 hours to reach Medellin. If you are short on time, then air transport should be preferred to save time on road.
Sailboats connect Panama City to Cartagena, various boat trips are available usually taking 4 -5 days. Tourists should be aware of captains trying to lure them to their boats and should inquire at a tourist office prior to boarding. Before boarding, it is a good idea to inspect the boat and personally meet the captain.
Getting around Cartagena is easy and inexpensive. There are Metrocar buses plying to various parts of the city from the bus terminal, locals can help you get on the bus headed to your destination. Taxis are readily available everywhere. However, fare must be negotiated in advance as the taxis here are not metered and rates can go quite high during the peak season, even though there are defined fares. Adding to the colonial charm of the city, you can also choose horse carriages for getting around Old Town. The best way to explore Old City is on foot as everything is fairly within walkable distance.