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Cartagena

Photo © Davelanky

Travel Guide South America Colombia Cartagena

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Introduction

Cartagena 4

Cartagena 4

© All Rights Reserved Flav-Greg

Cartagena, it's historical centre being a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a popular destination in Colombia. It was founded by the Spanish conquerors and used for years as one of the main ports to ship goods and people between Europe and South America and the Caribbean. Cartagena has a great nightlife with several good discotheques like Babar, Joy Slava, Mr. Babilla and a myriad of hot spots to dance the night away.

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Sights and Activities

There are many points of interest including historic sites, churches, and squares: Plaza Santo Domingo, Plaza Fernández de Madrid, Plaza San Diego, Plaza de La Aduana, Plaza de Bolívar, among others. There are also many restaurants, bars, and cafes. There is a string of beaches in the city, but the beautiful "Islas del Rosario' are a mere 30'-boat ride away.

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Events and Festivals

  • Hay Festival - This annual literary festival is held in late January every year. During the event, Latin American authors and poets come to Cartagena to do readings and talks. This international event attracts large audiences each year, and it takes place at a number of venues around the city. Also available for viewing during this festival, are exhibits on art and science.
  • Independence of Cartagena (11 Nov 2013) - On November 11th of every year, the city of Cartagena remembers the day in when it became the first province to declare independence from the Spanish Crown in 1811. This event is widely celebrated all over the city's capitol, with "November feasts" including parades, dancing, decorations, and fireworks. Cartagena's independence from the Spanish Crown is celebrated as being especially meaningful because of the influence it had on the eventual liberation of the whole country of Columbia.
  • Concurso Nacional de Belleza (13 Nov 2013 - 16 Nov 2013) - During the "November Feasts" of the independence day celebrations, a very popular National Beautify Pageant is held in Cartagena. Beautiful women of the area compete to be crowed, by dazzling the judges and the audience in their ability to wear beautiful gowns and impressive swimsuits. The pageant is also known for it's social causes and ability to raise a great deal of money for needy children, elderly, and disaster victims.
  • Cartagena Film Festival - The Cartagena Film Festival is the longest running film festival in Latin America. This festival draws an international audience, but focuses primarily on promoting Colombian television programs, Latin American films, and videos.
  • Cartagena La Habana Son Cultural Festival - This cultural festival annually throughout the month of September in Cartagena. The event celebrates the strong connection that has always existed between the cities of Havana (in Cuba) and Cartagena (in Colombia). Visitors attending the event can expect to see a variety of culturally-inspired events, including dance and music performances, workshops for performers to fine-tune their craft, art exhibitions, and parades.

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Weather

Cartagena has a tropical climate with hot and humid conditions year round. Temperatures vary slightly between the different months and seaons, but rainfall is another matter. The average annual amount of precipitation is just over 1,000 mm but October alone counts for about a quarter of that alone and most rain in general falls from June to November. From December to April is the dry period with hardly any rain in February and March. Temperatures, as mentioned, vary extremely little, with just 0.7 °C between the highest and lowest average maximum temperatures which are around 31-32 °C. Lows are between 23 °C and 25 °C, with the highest lows in the wettest months, so it gets rather sticky during those times. December to April is by far the best time for a visit if you want to avoid the most sticky conditions therefore.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max30.5 °C30.6 °C30.8 °C31.1 °C31.3 °C31.6 °C31.6 °C31.5 °C31.3 °C30.9 °C30.9 °C30.7 °C
Avg Min23.6 °C24 °C24.5 °C25.2 °C25.6 °C25.7 °C25.3 °C25.4 °C25.4 °C25.1 °C25.1 °C24.2 °C
Rainfall4 mm1 mm2 mm24 mm115 mm100 mm108 mm127 mm135 mm235 mm131 mm35 mm
Rain Days0013101310131416113

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Getting There

By Plane

Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG) is located near Cartagena and offers both domestic and international flights. International destinations include Cancun, Milan, Aruba, Curacao, Maracaibo, Panama City, Miami, Montreal, Toronto, Caracas, Lima and Fort Lauderdale. Domestic services go to Bogota, Medellin, San Andres, Barranquilla, Pereira, Cali and Bucaramanga.

By Bus

The bus terminal is 11 kilometres east of the old city. Frequent White and Green metrocar buses with air conditioner go to the old city and cost COP$ 1,700. Buses leave every hour for Barranquilla, and from there frequent buses connect to Santa Marta. The asking price for buses to Medellin is $50 USD, but it is normal to barter the price down to $30. All long distance bus tickets are expected to be bartered down. If you are coming overland from Panama your first bus will be from Turbo. Turbo to Monteria is COP$ 25,000, 4 hours, Monteria to Cartagena COP$ 35,000, 4 hours.

By Boat

Cartagena is an important port for charter boats between Colombia and Panama. There are several private boats doing that trip. Fare varies between US$375 and US$500 depending on size of the boat and on-board services. The trip usually takes 4 nights and 5 days and includes a 2 or 3 day stopover in San Blas Islands. At the Panama end, the boats either leave from the Portobelo Area or from Carti Islands Kuna Yala rather than Colón. Reliable information about departure dates and captains can be found at the hotel Casa Viena, at Zulys Backpackers Hostel[8], Mamallena Hostel or Luna's Castle Hostel in Panama City, at Hostel Wunderbar in Puerto Lindo, Hostel Portobelo [12], or the Darien Gapster in Panama.

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Getting Around

By Car

You can take taxis but try avoided driving yourself.

By Public Transport

Buses are a good way for longer distances in the city.

By Foot

The old town in particular is best explored by foot. Most places in Bocagrande which have up-market and all-inclusive hotels are also within walking distance.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel BahiaCarrera 4' calle4' BocagrandeHotel-
Hotel da Pietrocr. 3 4-101 BocagrandeHotel-
Buenos diasAvenida 1 malecon 9-62Apartment-
Hotel ToledoAv San martin No 6- 40 BocagrandeHotel68
Hotel Astra Suite 427El Cabrero Santander AvHotel-
Hostal Arrecifes CartagenaCarrera 4 Calle de las flores # 52-18Hostel75
Hotel MarlinCalle de la Media Luna No. 10 - 35 GetsemaniHotel72
Media Luna HostelCentro, cll Media LunaHOSTEL76
Hotel Las AmericasAnillo Vial Sector Cielo MarHOTEL-
Capilla Del MarCarrera 1 # 8-12Hotel-
Hotel RegattaCarrera 1 # 5- 82Hotel-
Costa Del Sol CartagenaAve 1 a Calle 9 esquinaHotel75
The Chill House Backpackers hostelCalle de la Tablada # 7 - 12 CentroHOSTEL79
Casa SweetyCalle del Guerrero No 29B-119 GetsemaniGUESTHOUSE79
Hotel Patio de San DiegoSan Pedro Martir 10- 65Hotel75
El Viajero Cartagena HostelCalle 7 InfantesHostel86
Casa de la Chicheria38-34 Calle de la Chicheria CentroHOSTEL-
Hotel Dorado PlazaAv. San Martin No 4-41Hotel-
Hotel CaribeCra 1 N 2-87Hotel-
BANTU HOTEL BOUTIQUECentro, Calle de la Tablada No. 7-62Hotel-
Ananda Hotel BoutiqueCalle del Cuartel # 36-77HOTEL-
Makako Chill Out HostelCalle Quero # 9 54HOSTEL83
Casa TatisCalle del guerrero No 29-89HOTEL-
Cartagena PlazaCarrera 1 6 - 154Hotel-
Hotel Villa ColonialGetsemani cll Maravillas #30-60Hotel79
Hotel San Roque CartagenaCalle de la Media luna # 10c 48 Centro Barrio GetsemaniHOTEL74
El Candil de los Santos - Optimal Hotels SelectionCalle Campo Santo 9-36 (Barrio San Diego)Hotel-
Hotel Stil CartagenaCalle 34 11-15Hotel-
Amber Hostel CartagenaCalle de la Magdalena N° 10-103 Getsemani Cartagena de las IndiasHOSTEL-
Casa Morales ColonialCalle 38 5 09 Centro HistoricoAPARTMENT-
Hotel Puertas de CartagenaCalle del Sargento Mayor 6 - 05HOTEL-
Hotel BocagrandeAvenida San Martin, 7- 159Hotel-
Hotel Casa RealCalle Del Cuartel 36 - 122Hotel-
Casa Nativa HostelCalle Tumbamuertos 38 - 65 Barrio San DiegoHOSTEL79
Hostal la casona de getsemaniGetsemani, Calle Tripita y media Cra 10 # 31-32Guesthouse-
Hotel Santa Cruz CartagenaCentro Calle de la moneda # 7 - 54Hotel-
Akel House HostelGetsemani Calel San Andres 30-28 2nd floorHostel-
Hotel Real Almirante PadillaCentro, Calle de la Moneda No. 7 - 134HOTEL-
Hostal Real1a de la Magdalena Street, number 9-33. GetsemaniHostel75
Iguana's HouseCalle de la Media Luna # 9-27HOSTEL76
Hotel Patio de La CruzCalle de La Cruz No 9 - 41HOTEL76
Hotel Patio de GetsemaniCalle El Pedregal 26A - 79 GetsemaniHOTEL-
APARTAMENTO EDIFICIO CENTRO TURISTICO DEL CARIBEBocagrande calle 4 con Carrera 5Apartment-
Apartamento Santo ToriboCentro historico, Calle 38 No. 7 - 27, sector san diegoApartment-
Hostal San DiegoSan Diego Calle de las Bovedas # 39-120Hostel-
Hotel Casa MaraGetsemaní Calle del Espiritu Santo #29-139Hotel-
Hotel Casa Villa ColonialMedia Luna Street 10-89HOTEL76
Cartagena Apartments OneCra. 1 No. 6-130APARTMENT-
Hotel Casa EdenCentro Histórico, Calle cochera del Hobo Número 38 – 71Hotel-
Hostel Boutique Blue HouseBarrio San Diego Parque Fernandez Madrid Casa Numero 38-08HOSTEL-
Hostel Mamallena10-47 Calle Media Luna GetsemaniHOSTEL-
Amazing Apartment in the heart of the old cityConjunto Residencial Santo Domingo, fourth floor AAPARTMENT-
Cartagena RealAvenida El Malecon # 10 - 150HOTEL-
Hostal Casa BaluarteGetsemani Calle Media Luna, 10-81GUESTHOUSE-
Kohsamui Hotel De MarTranv 2 No 3-51 Manzanillo del marHOTEL-
Hostel Green House Coffee BarCalle de la Tablada N° 7.46HOSTEL75
Albergue Las ChancletasCalle de las Chancletas 10B - 39 Barrio Getsemaní, Centro - Cartagena de IndiasHOSTEL-
Karmairi Hotel SpaKm 3 Via Manzanillo del MarHotel-
Casa BustamanteCabrero Callé Real #42-67HOTEL-
Casa CarmenGetsemani Calle del Espiritu Santo # 29-117GUESTHOUSE77
Hostal 25^5925 -59 Calle de las palmas GetsemaniHOSTEL-
Hostal Casa VictoriaGetsemani, C/Tripita y medio No 31 - 08HOTEL77
Private Room in CartagenaCalle 1 # 1B 19 EdIficio El mirador, El laguito.APARTMENT-
Portal De GetsemaniCalle Lomba 2801. Barrio Getsemani.GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel Boutique Santo DomingoCalle Santo Domingo N°3-47 Cartagena de Indiass - ColombiaGUESTHOUSE75
Casa Hotel GaleonesCarrera 9, number 35-1011HOTEL-
Calamari Hostel BoutiqueCarrera 3 Calle Ricaute No. 31 - 38 Centro HistoriHOSTEL78
Hostel Mirador de Cartagenacalle 47 # 46-120 , apartmento 21B Edificio Marbella realHOSTEL-
Jamrock hostelcalle 5A 10-86HOSTEL-
Hostel The RoofCentro, Avenida Venezuela #9-63 , apt 3HOSTEL-
Hotel Casa MaryCarrera 10 29-89 Calle Media Luna #29 89HOTEL-

Upscale

  • Cartagena apartments - One-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments in safe and luxurious areas facing the beach in Cartagena. Phone: +57-5-665-5642, Price: from $90 a night

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are easy to find in any city or town. Expect rates to run about $1,250-2,500 (around $US 0.50-1.00) per hour, depending on how much competition there is (i.e., cheap in Bogotá, expensive in the middle of nowhere). Quality of connections varies enormous and tends to better in populated places and tourist areas. Wifi is getting more and more popular in some hotels, restaurants and bars, but don't count on it and be careful regarding your privacy.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Colombia is: 57. To make an international call from Colombia, the code is: 005.

Using your own phone and SIM card is expensive so if you are planning to do quite a few calls, buy a phone or just a SIM card. It's simple enough to get a SIM card and even an unlocked phone at the international airport in Bogotá, although there is, of course, a price hike. They're not hard to find in any city either, just ask your hotel or hostel staff where to go. Topping up is also easy, and can be done pretty much on any street corner. The carriers you'll most likely see are Claro, Tigo, and Movistar. Claro is the most expensive (by a little bit), but has the widest coverage in the country, if you expect to get off the beaten path.

Post

4-72 is the unusual name of Colombia's postal service. They have post offices throughout the country, which are open usually from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday and sometimes on Saturday mornings as well. That doesn't apply to all offices though, only the larger ones in the big cities. But for example along the Caribbean coast, offices tend to close between noon and 2:00pm. But even at the ones that are officially open all day long, it might be difficult to get anything done during those hours. For domestic services, sending letters and postcards is mostly reliable but takes days, for international services don't hold your breath. Eventually, a postcard or letter might arrive in the country of destination but it's almost not worth it. For parcels, you are better off using companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 10.414252
  • Longitude: -75.526329

Contributors

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This is version 37. Last edited at 8:11 on Jun 10, 14 by Utrecht. 18 articles link to this page.

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