CARTAGENA DE INDIA: Travel Guide

Cartagena is a bustling city on Colombia's Caribbean coast, known for its beautiful architecture and sandy beaches.

 
 
 
 

Table of content

CUSTOMIZED ITINERARY FOR COLOMBIA

Are you looking to use a travel agency to plan your trip to Colombia?
Compare the offers from our partners.

General information

Cartagena de Indias is a coastal city located in northern Colombia, on the Caribbean Sea. It is famous for its Spanish colonial architecture, its cobbled streets, its fortified walls and its bright colors. The city is also renowned for its arts scene, music festivals and white sand beaches

POPULATION

The population of Cartagena de Indias, also known as Cartagena, is approximately 1 million. It is the fifth most populated city in Colombia after Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Barranquilla.

CLIMATE

The climate of Cartagena de Indias is humid tropical, with high temperatures all year round and high humidity. Average temperatures hover around 28 to 30 degrees Celsius, with little seasonal variation.

CURRENCY

The official currency is the Colombian peso (COP).

LANGUAGE

The official language of Colombia is Spanish, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

A bit of history

Cartagena de Indias, also simply called Cartagena, is a port city located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Founded in 1533 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Heredia, the city quickly acquired strategic importance due to its geographical position and its natural port.

In the centuries since its founding, Cartagena de Indias has had a tumultuous history. The city was repeatedly attacked by pirates and privateers, including Francis Drake in 1586 and Edward Vernon in 1741. In the 17th century, Cartagena de Indias became a major center of the slave trade, with thousands of African slaves disembarking every year in the port of the city.

In the 19th century, Cartagena de Indias was one of the main strongholds of Colombia's struggle for independence from Spanish rule. The city was the scene of several decisive battles, including the Battle of Bocachica in 1815.

In the 20th century, Cartagena de Indias became an important tourist center, attracting visitors from all over the world thanks to its well-preserved colonial architecture, its sandy beaches and its rich cultural history.

Today, Cartagena de Indias is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city that harmoniously combines the past and the present. The historic old town, with its cobbled streets and colorful buildings, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the city's modern quarters offer a wide range of tourist attractions, restaurants, shops and bars.

cartagena de india

What to visit in Cartagena de Indias

If you are looking for ideas to discover the best places in Cartagena de Indias, you have come to the right place! In this section, we present the main attractions and activities that you cannot miss during your visit to this tourist city in Colombia.

THE HISTORIC CENTER

SAN FELIPE CASTLE

THE GOLD MUSEUM

BOCAGRANDE BEACH

When to visit Cartagena de Indias

The best time to visit Cartagena de Indias is from December to April, when the temperatures are pleasant and there is less rain. However, this is also peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices.

cartagena climate
sunshine cartagena

What to do around Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias offers a multitude of activities and excursions to do in the surrounding area. You can enjoy the magnificent beaches of the region, explore the neighboring paradise islands, discover the rich culture and history of the region by visiting archaeological sites and museums, or go hiking in the nearby natural parks. Whether you are interested in water activities, nature, culture or adventure, you will certainly find something to enjoy in and around Cartagena de Indias.

ROSARIO ISLANDS

THE CASA IN EL AGUA

BARU ISLAND

TIERRA BOMBA ISLAND

Our selection of accommodation in Cartagena de Indias

Booking.com

CUSTOMIZED ITINERARY FOR COLOMBIA

Are you looking to use a travel agency to plan your trip to Colombia?
Compare the offers from our partners.

Our selection of Restaurant in Cartagena de Indias

We have selected for you the best restaurants in Cartagena de Indias, offering a wide variety of cuisines, from traditional Colombian dishes to the most refined international dishes. Guests can savor freshly caught seafood, grilled meats, vegetarian dishes and more, in ambiances ranging from elegant restaurants to alfresco restaurants by the beach. Whether you are looking for new flavors or simply want to taste the local culinary delights, our selection of restaurants will surely satisfy you,

ℹ Do you want to highlight your restaurant on this page? Contact us

Unmissable events in Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena is a lively city all year round, offering a multitude of events and festivities not to be missed. Among the most popular events are the Carnaval de Barranquilla, one of the biggest carnivals in Latin America, which takes place every year in February, or the Cartagena International Music Festival, which attracts artists from worldwide for outdoor concerts in magnificent settings.

international music festival

The Cartagena Music Festival is one of the most popular events in the city, attracting internationally renowned artists as well as music fans from all over the world. It takes place every year in January and presents a variety of musical genres, ranging from classical to jazz and traditional Colombian music.

Film festival

film festival

The Cartagena International Film Festival is an annual event that takes place in the city of Cartagena in March. It is one of the most important film festivals in Latin America and attracts filmmakers, actors and film critics from all over the world every year.

Transportation in Cartagena de Indias

Bus

Public transport in Cartagena de Indias is mainly provided by buses. The city has an urban bus system that covers most neighborhoods, as well as intercity buses that connect Cartagena to other cities and towns in the region.

Taxi

Taxis are another popular mode of transport in Cartagena de Indias, especially for travelers who want more comfort and flexibility than public transport. Taxis can be easily found in most areas of the city, and fares are generally reasonable.

Boat

Boating is another popular mode of transportation in Cartagena de Indias, especially for traveling to neighboring islands or for sightseeing tours of the Bay of Cartagena de Indias. Boats can be rented in advance or on site, and prices vary depending on the duration and type of boat.

Lancha

The lanchas, small public transport boats, are also commonly used to travel to the surrounding islands, such as Isla Barú or the Islas del Rosario. Lanchas can be easily found on the city's docks and offer an affordable option for travelers on a budget.

The cost of living in Cartagena de Indias

0
Average Salary in Morocco.
Average cost of living 50%

Cartagena de Indias is more expensive than most other cities in Colombia due to its status as a popular tourist destination. Prices for accommodation, restaurants and activities can vary widely, but in general the costs are relatively high compared to the rest of the country.

Accommodation

Accommodation costs in Cartagena de Indias vary depending on the type of accommodation and location. High-end hotels in the historic center can cost several hundred euros per night, while hostels or bed and breakfasts in more remote areas can be much cheaper, starting from around twenty euros. euros per night.

Food

Food costs in Cartagena de Indias vary depending on the type of restaurant and level of luxury. High-end restaurants in the historic center can cost several tens of euros per person for a full meal, while street restaurants or food stalls can cost much less, from a few euros for a simple meal.

Transportation

Transport costs in Cartagena de Indias vary depending on the mode of transport and the distance travelled. Local buses are the most economical means of transport, with fares from a few euro cents each way. Taxis are more expensive, with fares varying by distance traveled and time of day, but still affordable for budget travelers.

Boats and lanchas are also affordable for sea trips to nearby islands or sightseeing in the bay of Cartagena de Indias. Fares may vary depending on duration and boat type, but are generally competitive with similar tour offerings in other destinations.

Activities

Entertainment costs in Cartagena de Indias vary depending on the type of activity and level of luxury. Guided tours, boat trips, disco nights or cultural events can cost several tens of euros per person. However, there are also many free or inexpensive activities in Cartagena de Indias, such as visiting local museums, walking the city walls, or swimming at public beaches.

Practical information

It is recommended to research safe areas of the city and consult with local authorities' advice and recommendations before going on excursions or traveling outside the city. Additionally, it is advised to stay informed about the latest updates on the city's security situation by checking local and international media.

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR Cartagena de Indias

Travel insurance is especially important if you plan to travel to Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

Although the city is relatively safe for tourists, it is still possible to encounter unexpected situations such as health issues, lost or stolen luggage, or transportation delays.

In such cases, travel insurance can help you resolve the issues quickly and efficiently, without having to bear high costs or additional complications. 

MONEY / BANKS

When traveling to Cartagena de Indias, it is important to take into account several practical aspects to better manage your money. First of all, it is recommended to use ATMs to withdraw cash in Colombian pesos. However, be sure to withdraw cash from safe and well-lit places, such as shopping malls or banks. Avoid changing money on the streets or in unofficial places, as it can be risky and you could get scammed.

It is also important to travel with international credit or debit cards, such as Visa or Mastercard. Check with your bank for transaction fees that may apply to using these cards abroad. It is also recommended to notify your bank of your international travel to avoid any blockage of your card due to suspicious activity.

Finally, it is recommended to use online payment apps such as Revolut to avoid transaction fees and benefit from competitive exchange rates. Make sure to download the app and set it up before your trip to Colombia.

en_US