Cartagena, Colombia

 out of 131  reviews
  • Northwest Coast of South America
  • Best Times to Visit: Jan-Apr

** CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA TOURS **

Read travel tips for Cartagena, Colombia from our amazing community of BLACK AND BROWN TRAVELERS that will help you find some of the best places to visit Cartagena, Colombia. Our variety of travel tips will definitely help you plan your next trip. Our tips range from best places to visit in Cartagena, Colombia, affordability, nightlife, local food, where to stay and even what it is like Traveling While Black. Lastly, we are working diligently to create a comprehensive city guide for Cartagena Tours . Stay tuned! But in the meantime, scroll down to read tips below!

 

Adventure-Seeker? Check out activities with a flame  (  [icon name=”fire” class=”red” unprefixed_class=””] ) for some extra thrills!!

 

Volcanic Mud Bath  ( [icon name=”fire” class=”red” unprefixed_class=””] Santa Catalina) – El Totumu is volcano that consist of mud instead of lava and stretches almost 2 miles down into the earth! The mud gives a unique type of buoyancy (you kinda feel like you’re in outer space) which prevents you from sinking so even if you tried to dive down you could not. Definitely one of my favorite moments when in Cartagena. [You can try viator.com but you can negotiate better once you get to Cartagena]

 

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Waveflow Clubhouse ( [icon name=”fire” class=”red” unprefixed_class=””] Boca Grande) – Judging that surfing is an acquired skill that most of us do not have it, watching your buddies attempt to surf on the only indoor surfing simulator in Latin America is bound to be loads of laughs. You will be welcomed by the awesome atmosphere, delicious food, and courteous staff. I recommend the ceviche and sushi and can duo as a night stop as well. (Pricing: 15Min=20MIL / 30Min= 30MIL) www.tripadvisor.com/wavehouseclub

 

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Rent a Private Boat – If you have 6 or more people with you then renting a private boat is the way to go!! Our group of 10 rented a mid-tier boat for $575 USD and it went to Playa Blanca, Cholon (private boats only), and Rosario Island. Lunch was awesome, we went jet skiing, had cheap massages, ate lobster and enjoyed the over water cabana. Oh the memories!! I talk more about boat pricing with Cartagena Connections in the Affordability section

 

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Free Walking Tour (Old City) – Discover Cartagena though a 2 hour tour covering the most important sites with the Walled City. Tours are from 10-12 or from 3-5 each day respectively. Booking in advance is necessary and it is “technically free” but make sure to leave a tip. Tell Edgar I said hey!!! http://freetourcartagena.com.co

 

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Scuba Diving (  [icon name=”fire” class=”red” unprefixed_class=””])– Delight in an underwater experience of the Isla Rosario Islands and see amazing coral and an underwater ship wreck. You can even dive at night!! There are few options to pick from but give Dolphing Diving School a try. Their main office is in old town. www.visitingcolombia.com/dive-cartagena.html




San Felipe de Barajas Castle – The enormous castle was the greatest fortress built in a Spanish colony and is composed of a maze of intricate, underground tunnels. An amazing source of history built in 1536, its incredible grand entrance will be sure to impress. Ensure to have an audio guide or actual tour guide to appreciate one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It will likely be hot and humid but the views are worth it. (Adult/Child COP$20,000/10,000 | Hours 8am-6pm)

 

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Kite Surfing (  [icon name=”fire” class=”red” unprefixed_class=””]) – Don’t be afraid, if you are an experienced kite surfer or if you are getting your kite surfing cherry popped, the instructors in Cartagena will walk you through every step and make you feel comfortable. The teachers love what they do, they have great equipment and you will love navigating thorough the Caribbean Sea with the wind at your back. www.encolombiakitesurf.com




The Mangroves Tour – Enjoy some of the natural beauty of Cartagena and learn some early history of the Amerindians by taking a canoe ride through calm waters of the mangroves. Normally done in conjunction with the Mud Volcano, the tour includes lunch and a secluded but underwhelming beach. You also visit an ancient erotic garden which is pretty unique but still would’ve skipped it in hindsight. www.ecotoursboquilla.com [Also can book once you arrive in Cartagena]

 

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HISTORY

 

General History – Cartagena’s earliest inhabitants were Amerindian people which date back as far as 4000 BC. Founded in 1553 by the Spanish, Cartagena started as a small village but gained popularity when precious gems, gold, and silver were discovered to be in possession by the Amerindian people (In particular the tombs of Sinus). After a fire, the village was essentially burned to the ground and the governor ordered that all new buildings be made out of stone, a major reason why you can still see this old architecture of Cartagena today.

 

cartagena_san_felipe_castle2

 

Surprisingly, at least to me, the Spanish did not enslave the indigenous people and actually made it illegal to enslave them. They mostly drove them away. However, once the African slave trade began, The Spanish eventually allowed Cartagena to be a rare African slave trade center for the Spanish which also brought great wealth to the city.




Cartagena and Pirates – More money more problems and this is what came to Cartagena. Pirates and other countries like France and England knew of this great wealth so there was a constant onslaught of attacks to steal these precious metals.

 

cartagena_ship

 

This is what caused for the wall to be built around Cartagena. It definitely helped protect the city to some degree, its best showing where 2500 troops fended off 25000 British troop and 186 ships but this success was rare and Cartagena was still usually the punching bag of other countries. Eventually Cartagena got its independence from Spain in 1821.

 

cartagena_san_felipe_castle

 

Modern History – In the 20th century, there have been a variety of civil wars that have plagued Cartagena and also drug trafficking and cocaine caused the city to be quite dangerous, in particular, Getsamani.

 

Cartagena_Street_Art

 

However, with the help of U.S., the Colombian government has been able to make significant progress in halting the drug cartel, in particular in Cartagena.  Bill Clinton gave 1.3 billion dollars to help fight against drug trafficking and the civil unrest. The decreased violence has significantly helped the political climate and the aid helps to ensure the continual exportation of oil, coffee, platinum and tobacco allowing the economy to continue to thrive.

 

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AFFORDABILITY

 

Cartagena, like most South American countries is really inexpensive when compared to the U.S. I did a Chiva Tour (check “Nightlife” section if you’re not sure what this is) for 35 mil and not only did I get unlimited drinks and empanadas, but the bus takes you around the city and gives you complimentary access to a nightclub. This is a great deal especially when nightclubs cost 15MIL-20 MIL to get in on their own.




If you go out to eat in old town, most meals will be around $40,000-$80,000 COP but could be a bit cheaper. A gin and tonic cost $22,000 COP and a serving of ceviche cost $25,000 COP when I ate at a few spots for a reference point. (May 2015)

 

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I was with a group of 10 in Cartagena so we also rented a boat from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $575 USD and it brought us to three different locations. This was one of the mid-tier boats but they can go as low as $200 USD for small speed boats and upwards of $3000+ USD for mini yachts. You can bring as much food and alcohol as you want on the boat as well (see the underlying theme here). Lunch was relatively inexpensive as we decided against paying the extra $100 USD and bought our items individually when we arrived at Cholon: ( Lobster 45 MIL, Shrimp 35 MIL, Chicken 30 MIL, Fish 25 MIL, Cocktail 15 MIL, Beer 5 MIL).


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  • Big Mac (Colombia): $9,900 Pesos or $3.34 USD [July 2017]
  • Big Mac (USA): $5.30 [July 2017]
  • Exchange Rate: $1 to 2,906 COP / 1 COP to $0.00034 USD (Note Exchange rates are constantly changing. Please use following link for must up to date chance rate http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/

RELAXATION

 

If not for the the pestering of locals to purchase things, relaxation would on an all time high with multitude of beaches but “C’est la vie” (don’t mind my french reference in a Spanish speaking country lol) 

Shopping – There is plenty of great shopping to do in Colombia while you are wandering through the old city so be sure to keep your eyes opens, especially for souvenirs. This is a great opportunity to buy Colombian styled bathing suits from brands such as Maaji or even the Colombian woven bags (“mochillas”) for yourself or for someone back home.

 

cartagena_city

 

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Isla Del Rosario – You can’t go to Cartagena without going to the islands. The beaches on the mainland are OK, but they get substantially better when you take that 1 hour boat ride into 27 island archipelago. Also, where else in the world will someone come up to your boat and offer to sell and cook you lobster? With no consolidated list of these islands online (at least none that I could find) here is my take at a fair chunk of them:

 

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Isla del Sol – A private island where you can beat the crowds and enjoy a bit of paradise. The boat ride is relatively quick and you will enjoy the pristine water and sunny playas.

 

Isla Encanto – Clean and calm ocean awaits you on this private island. Normally your tour will have the option to go to Isla Rosario for the aquarium but you can opt to spend all day on this little gem so you can enjoy its turquoise water and beautiful white sand.




 

Isla Grande – One of the largest islands in the archipelago (get it Grande??) with some magical beaches and internal lagoons. Consider staying at one of the hotels/guesthouses overnight so you can do some night swims and see some bioluminescent plankton,

 

Isla Rosario – Not much of beach here but main attraction is the aquarium ($17 USD), with its dolphin show, or snorkeling ($11 USD). Unfortunately the coral is not in good shape as well. Skip this island unless outdoor aquariums are your thing.

 

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Playa Dulce – A beautiful island where you can definitely recharge and have some true rest and relaxation. This island only allows 20 visitors a day so the palm trees, the white sand, and the crystal clear waters are all yours!!

 

Isla del Pirata – A secluded island that is great for snorkeling and seeing marine life. There will also be little to no harassers trying to convince you to buy something. However, there is no “beach”, it is rocky, and it is a bit more pricey to get there ($40,000 pesos round trip)




Words of Caution 1 – The smaller the group the better when traveling to the islands so try to look for tours of 20 or 30 instead of the cattle herder boat of 50 if you are not getting a private boat. Make sure you negotiate on price and try to be no more $75 Mil (including port tax and lunch). The speed boat you will be on will likely offer very little shade so bring sun-block and be prepared for at least an hour ride to the islands. Do not take the slower boats.

 

Word of Caution 2 –  Also, expect to be up-charged. You can do additional excursions like snorkeling, jet skis, etc but they all come at an additional cost (~$8 or $25,000 pesos for snorkel / $20 or $60,000 pesos for jet skis). Lunch should be provided and should include a fish, rice, plantain, coconut rice etc and most tours will allocate 2-3 hours of beach time but confirm with them. However, if you have a group of 6 or more¬ charter a private boat, you will have more control and it will be a better time. TRUST ME!!




Playa Bocagrande (Bocagrande) – With a Miami vibe, as high rise hotels and fancy restaurants are the background scene behind this long sandy stretch, “Big Mouth” is like the Ipanema beach of Rio. It is very crowded during the high season, especially around Hotel Caribe. Also, be ready for the vendors to narrow in on you like a heat seeking missile to sell you trinkets and massages. This beach is OK but the Rosario Islands are still far superior.

 

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El Laguito – Just as commercial as Bocagrande this beach is the hot spot for spring break students. The most pristine stretch of beachfront is in front of the Hilton where President Obama stayed in 2012.

 

LOCAL FOOD

 

Cafe Del Mar (Old City) – For a chill feel but with a phenomenal view, you have to go to Café Del Mar, which is actually located on top of the old walls. This open aired bar doesn’t have a large selection of food (like 4 items) but the drinks are pretty good and it is the perfect place to watch the sunset [ $$$ ]

 

 

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Carmen Cartagena (Old City) – The best restaurant in Cartagena hands down!! A menu based on diversity but with special focus on seafood. Dishes of exquisite tiradito, ceviche with coconut foam, or honey and lavender ice cream are just the tip of the iceberg. This incredible gastronomical experience of flavors is served in a set menu of 5 or 7 courses which range from 160-180MIL. A seat at this table is highly desired so make a reservation for dinner at least 3-4 weeks in advance. If not try your luck during lunch. [ $$$ ] www.carmencartagena.com

 

 

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La Paletteria (Old City) – While you are taking a walk through the old city be sure stop here and indulge in variety of and Latin American fruits in popsicle form. A welcome relief from the heat, enjoy flavors like Mango, Tamarind, Passion Fruit, Maracujo, Baileys, Coconut, Oreo Cheesecake, and Nutella. Did I just make your mouth water a little?? [ $ ] www.lapaletteria.co




Pulpito Gourmet (Old City) – Excellent service and a thoroughly enjoyed meal is what awaits at El Pulpito. Stumbled across this restaurant by accident and had some of the best ceviche, sea bass, and coconut rice of the trip. They also have 2×1 special for drinks. A very relaxing atmosphere at a fair price with most dishes ranging between 25 MIL – 45 MIL. [ $$ ]

 

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La Cevicheria (Old City) – The most popular place for Ceviche in Cartagena!! They have quite the variation of ceviche dishes, those being on specialty menu being a bit better. Try the Peruvian ceviche, lobster ceviche, the shrimp diablo, or the mellow lobster rice. It is a bit pricey for Cartagena standards and it wasn’t the greatest ceviche I’ve ever had but I would definitely go back again and try something new [ $$ ]

 

 

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La Perla (Old City) – With the feel of a swanky lounge, indulge in delightful array of food options whose presentation cannot be outdone by its flavor. With a creative list of cocktails that help round off the meal you are sure to have a well-balanced experience. This could be in the running for one of your faves in Cartagena. Of course try the ceviche but don’t miss out on the octopus or mashed yucca. [ $$ ]




Gelateria Paradiso – An excellent option to cool you down from the Cartagena heat, so take your pick of at some of the best gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet, or ice cream around town. They offer a variety of flavors and even some vegan options. Just try not to make this your lunch since the portions are large and it is only 7 MIL a serving. 

 

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ROMANCE

 

A Stroll Through Old Town – One of the most romantic things you can do in Cartagena is take a stroll with your mate through the cobblestone streets of this beautiful city.  Don’t have a plan, just walk and see where the next corner takes you.  

 

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Playa Blanca (Isla Baru) –  A long white beach lined with cabanas and some of the warmest waters your will every experience. This is the most well-known beach in Cartagena but also the most touristy. Boats will unload passengers here throughout the day and you may get annoyed by all the vendors but just take it all in stride. Enjoy the host of water activities offered, get a cheap message, or just sit back and enjoy a drink. It is pretty peaceful after all the boats leave (around 4pm). You can also take a bus or Uber here!!




Cholon (Isla Baru) –  This is an island you can only reach if you have a personal boat. Not much of a beach but if you are partying off the side of your boat, it doesn’t matter. You have a variety of water activities, opportunities for massages and to buy some jewelry. You also have a personal table where you enjoy lunch while standing in the sea under an over water bungalow.

 

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Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona – This beautiful park is about 4 hours outside of Cartagena, located right outside of Santa Marta. It is a bit of a trek but if you have some extra days to spare, do it. As Colombia’s most exotic national park it has stunning landscapes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and some of the most breathtaking beaches in the country. There are also some great hikes. Make sure to bring ID, lots of water, and cash to make purchases.




 

NIGHTLIFE

 

Chiva Tour (All Over)– This is an absolute must if you go to Cartagena!! Get on a Columbian party bus where you can mix and mingle with about 40+ other people while you sing, dance, and get unlimited rum and empanadas. The chiva buses will make stops throughout the city so you can take pictures and even dance in the street. You also get entrance into a discoteca (Leblon for me) and it was great. It isn’t too far from Mister Babilla.

 

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Mister Babilla (Getsamani) – A vibrant club that will have on your feet dancing all night to rumba, salsa, and other local jams. With a number of different room to accommodate your mood, and host of people dancing on tables, even if you don’t frequent clubs often make an exception for one of the best spots in Cartagena (Entrance $10-$15 MIL). www.misterbabilla.com

 

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Media Luna (Getsamani) – A night of rooftop bliss with awesome live music and a fiesta that goes until 4 a.m, Media Luna is the place to be on Wednesday night. Located in what I like to call “backpackers central”, Media Luna duos as a party hostel during the day and it is located in the “edgier” part of Getsamani. However, don’t freak out it is fine. There will be a ton of other bars/clubs in close proximity as well.




Café Havana (Getsamani) – If you want salsa then you want Café Havana. This mix between a bar and club became famous after Hillary Clinton came here for the turn up in 2012 (Hillary’s Turn Up Photos). Amazing live bands that normally start around 11 p.m., a festive atmosphere, and some great people watching are what awaits you. It can get quite crowded and it is one of the pricier spots but it’s worth it. (Entrance $20MIL COP) www.cafehavanacartagena.com  

 

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Bareke (Bocagrande) – Welcome to a real Colombian party with a terrace, great food, and a good atmosphere. This local secret opens at 5 p.m. and is a great bar to kick off the night or take it way past the midnight hours. They have a 2×1 special on margaritas on Thursdays.




Tu Candela (Old City) – Located inside the Walled City, nearby the clock tower, you will enjoy good vibes and an assortment of music playing reggaetone, salsa, merengue and some American music for good measure. Drinks are expensive (15,000 COP) and there are a lot of working girls. But you’re in a historic place, Obama’s secret service men loved this bar ;-).

 

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WHERE TO STAY

 

There are a variety of locations to really stay at when in Cartagena:

 

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Inside the Walled City – There are various bars, restaurants, museums, and hotels located inside the historic walled city of Cartagena. Built in the 16th century, its cobblestone streets and brightly colored building make this an amazing walking city. If you like being where most of the action is then this would be the place.

 

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Gethsemane – With a controversial past (more info in the “History section), Gethsamane has gone through quite a rebirth and is just a few minutes’ walks from the Old City if you are nearby the clock tower. It is party central for foreigners and locals alike. The higher end party areas are by the coast (Avenida de Arsenal) and then you also have “backpacker central”, with a variety of bars, hostels, and cheap eat restaurants. There are some dimly lit areas so just be safe and smart at night and you will have a great time!!  I have hear stories of people being robbed here, so again be careful.

 

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El Laguito – This small neighborhood is sometimes referred to as the Little Boca Grande and is mostly an area for upscale hotels like the Hilton. This hotel in particular is where many political officials like Obama (and his secret service) have staid. I spent about 5 days in El Laguito in an Air BNB that accommodated 10 people. Our lodging was excellent but the neighborhood itself was pretty dead. We had to take taxis often to get the Old City to get into some of the action.

 

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Bocagrande – Bocagrande used to be the hotspot back in the heyday but right now most activities are in the city center or Gethsemane. Cartagena’s version on South Beach you can walk up and down the strip (near by Hotel Capilla Del Mar) but it is a bit pricier over here. Accommodations are better here for larger groups but not a lot of action.

 

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Visa – Not required. Ensure passport is valid for 6 months and you have an available page for a passport stamp.

 

Airport Transport – You will fly into Rafael Nunez airport (CTG) and take a 15-20 minute taxi ride into the city. It should cost around 10,000-15,000 pesos to get to the old city and a bit more to get to Boca Grande. Taxis are pretty safe so you don’t have anything to worry about.

 

General Transport – If you stay in the Old City or Getsamani, just about everything is in walking distance but it will be hot, so keep that in mind. Taxis would be your next mode of transportation and are relatively cheap. There are no meters in taxis so make sure you negotiate (i.e. Old Town to Boca Grande 1.5-2MIL) or you could buy a Hop on / Hop off bus ticket and use that as your transport for a couple of days

MY EXPERIENCE

 

Pros – After writing this city guide I just want to go back to Cartagena!! It is a city full of culture that is affordable and has EXCELLENT food, a great nightlife, a variety of beaches to relax, and some really unique activities like El Totumo. What is not to love?!!

 

Cons –Oh wait, what is not to love are the onslaught of vendors that aggressively and constantly try to sell you things when you to the beaches.  If you can take that all in stride, Cartagena will be one of your favorite destinations.

 

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Interesting Fact – President Obama made a trip down to Cartagena for an anti-drug trafficking summit but his secret service men got a little too frisky with ladies of the night. You may remember this on the news….I mentioned the location of the club under the “Nightlife” section.



My Travel Tips – Get lost in the walled city. I gave some recommendations for places to eat but let your gut bet your guide. Just make sure you do not leave the city without trying ceviche, coconut rice, fresh fish, plantain and Colombian flavored ice cream. You will be pleasantly surprised. It is also pretty hot and humid so try to do thing earlier in the day or later in the evening.

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My Experience –  Cartagena is amazing! It is the perfect mix of Adventure, Food, Culture, and Nightlife all at an affordable cost. I went with my girlfriend and a group of business school students from Kellogg (you will start to notice that as a reoccurring theme with a lot of my trips). We stayed in El Laguito in a penthouse suite that fit 10 people. The accommodations were definitely on point but the only downside was that we had to take a taxi to go into the walled city every day because that is where all the great restaurants and bars were located. The upside was the taxi’s were very cheap at around $2 USD per ride.

When in the Walled City, we allowed ourselves to get lost and just went down the next cobblestone street that looked appealing. We wandered into a number of restaurants and really experienced the city spontaneously. I would highly suggest you do the same.

cartagena_cafe_del_mar

 

We found our way to Café Del Mar to watch the sunset and we also ate at La Cevecheria (it was just OK to me). One night, we also did a Chiva Tour which was absolutely amazing as it took you through different parts of the walled city blasting salsa music while supplying you with food and boos. Eventually the tour ended at club in Gethsemane where we continued to party into the early mornings hours.

 

Outside of the Walled City, El Totumo Volcano is a site that cannot be missed! It is such a unique experience. When you drive up, you just see this dusty hill and you think to yourself, this is a volcano? You go up these rickety steps to its peak of about 100 ft and then when you look down what awaits you is the greatest mud bath you will ever experience!! [ I am NOT naked in the below picture btw just we are clear lol]

cartagena_mud_volcano

As you submerge yourself into the mud, you will float as if there is no gravity. It’s so cool!! Then locals, also in the volcano, will come up to you and give you a mud massage. After spending about 10 minutes in there, then they direct you out of the volcano and have you wash off in the river. Let’s just say I wish I could have one of these in my backyard!

 

Apart from the Mud Volcano, I also had to get some much needed beach time. Boca Grande has some OK beaches but Isla Rosario Islands is where it’s at. I describe the cost and experience for renting a private boat in the “Affordability” section in detail but long story short, spending the day traversing through Cartagena’s archipelago was by far my best boating experience…EVER!!  Let’s just say the crew was lit so much so we added an addition to the group.

cartagena_mr_pineapple

We went to three different locations with our private driver, drinking and just having a good time. Then in one stop we had people coming up to our boat selling us $5 lobster, at another there were water sports , and then at another you have phenomenal, cheap lunch under a Cabana follow by a $3 massage while in the water.

Cartagena_water_ski

I am actually thinking of doing a reunion trip back there because it was just so much fun! EPIC!!

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 out of 131 reviews
Things To Do
Adventure
History
Affordability
Relaxation
Local Food
Romance
Nightlife
Traveling While Black

131 Reviews

  1. author
    Keisha_Stephenson
    06 Jan 2022
    Rating
    WhereToStay
    Things To Do
    Adventure
    History
    Affordability
    Relaxation
    Local Food
    Romance
    Nightlife
    Traveling While Black

    Cartagena is by far the most incredible Vacation spot if you want to get a taste of everything! From the food, the adventures, the history and the incredible people and culture, its THE place to visit in Colombia.
    If you are planning a trip to Cartagena I highly recommend staying in the walled city. There are so many unique and breathtaking boutique hotels to be found there. Theres awesome choices regardless of your budget.
    My personal favourites are:
    – Hotel San Augustin ($$$)
    -Casa Alba ($$$)
    -Hotel Ananda ($)
    -Casa Pombo ($$)
    -Hostel Movida ($)
    My one last tip for your trip to Cartagena is do not leave before heading to Cafe Epoca for breakfast! It was the best breakfast cafe, the food was incredible, do not miss out!!

  2. author
    DayDay
    26 Dec 2021
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    Cartagena was beautiful and I enjoyed the food. There’s so much history. I stayed in a villa in the Getsemani area. Definitely recommend.

  3. author
    NyasiaNonstop
    02 Aug 2021
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    I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Cartagena! We stayed at an Airbnb in Bocagrande with an amazing beach view. My favorite part of the entire trip was traveling 1hour away to the town of Palenque, which is the very first free town for Africans in the Americas. The awesome art, delicious food, black pride & rich history made it a win for me! The city of Cartagena was great as well, especially the “old city”. If you love cigars like I do visit Tobaco & Ron (that’s how they spelled it). They have live music and art for sell as well. There are plenty of rooftops, street vendors & entertainment in old city. They also have plenty of fancy restaurants to visit. There were so many people of color! Beware,local people(even children) will beg in old city. It does get a little annoying. But don’t stress. If you can, help. But, be careful. Overall, I did feel safe and will return.

  4. author
    shaniadb
    21 Apr 2021
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    Solo Trip Review:
    Cartagena was incredibly safe and welcoming. I went during Holy Week and Colombians from other cities flocked to Cartagena. For me, things were a bit crowded (especially for during the pandemic) but that only made the nightlife even more exciting. Speaking of nightlife, there are legal sex workers everywhere so be aware if someone seems too friendly. Also, during the pandemic, dancing in clubs/lounges is prohibited. They are still open and fun, just no dancing. The spas there are amazing and affordable. I visited the spa at the Hyatt Regency in Bocagrande and got the cocoa massage. It was like a cocoa scrub that made me smell amazing and feel even better. Also, the view there is unbeatable. Speaking of hotels, Bocagrande is definitely the Miami Beach of CTG, but there are vendors everywhere and the traffic is brutal. The culture spots are near where I stayed, in Getsemani. You’ll see everywhere that Getsemani is the place to be for a real CTG experience. Finally, my most important recommendation is to visit Palenque. Its the first free city in the Americas and was founded by Africans (the word “slaves” is not used there, which makes sense). I felt incredibly proud to be Black there and everyone was welcoming.
    Other Notes: I was told to avoid North Cartagena (mostly residential, closer to airport) by a Colombian. Try a Colombian cocktail class (found on AirBnB) with Romario. Cafe Del Mar doesn’t take reservations so if you want to take a sunset picture, plan to stand in line for a while. Cabs are very cheap and Ubers are even cheaper so don’t worry about “oh but we’d have to take cabs all day” + everything is really close. The restaurants are all beautiful, but the cuisine isn’t the best. A Colombian told me that Cartagena does not have very spicy food and that they prefer creamy dishes. There’s cream in everything, which I disliked, but the seafood is amazing and fresh. This would be a great destination for a girls trip and solo trip (especially if you want a “Stella Gets Her Groove Back” kind of trip. Because the men there admit that they are flirty, but they are also some of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen)

  5. author
    itsayana.denia
    08 Apr 2021
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    I explored the walled city of Cartagena after checking into my airbnb outside the city and on a beautiful local beach. My suggestion is to stay inside the beautiful beach region boarding the walled city of Old Town Cartagena, or inside the walled city.*
    With a tropical climate temperatures remaining in the low 80’s and a fairly dry, it’s really easy to walk to and around as long as you’re not too far from walled city. Staying in the city can be fun also but a bit pricy. The hotels could be a great place to stay as well, but I only spent on night in hotel Ibis and it was nice enough, be we liked our airbnb better.

  6. author
    JuaLee
    16 Nov 2020
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    I definitely want to come back. Though you don’t need a COVID-19 test to get out here any longer, the immigration questionaire still asks if you’ve been tested. They don’t ask for proof. As of November 16, 2020 the city is still in a semi lockdown so the bars stop serving alcohol after 8pm!!! BUT we lucked up on a rooftop bar called La Jugada(it’s downtown behind The Wall) that allowed us to drink on roof until 11pm. Our hotel still served liquor after 8pm. I’ll have a lil more Spanish under my belt before I come back!!

  7. author
    Wavydavybaby
    10 Nov 2020
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    Before traveling to Cartagena, I had no idea of the amount of Afro-Latino history that lives here. This city is amazing. So many black Colombians, ex-pats, and just black travelers are here year round. I was actually running into people I knew from the states on my trip! If you really want to see our people and get the real experience, visit San Basilio de Palenque, the first FREE African town in Americas!

  8. Camallen1600
    Camallen1600
    19 Oct 2020
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    Absolutely amazing trip to Cartagena. I did the city tours and boat tours. Both amazing experiences city tour included a bus ride throughout the city. With detailed explanations of the city and culture. They both provided lunch, pick up and drop off to your hotel. The boat tour took us to the most beautiful beaches providing lunch and in depth explanation of the different places you can reach by boat. If you haven’t been I definitely recommend you going to Colombia.

  9. author
    Ashley_J_Jackson
    13 Oct 2020
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    I visited Cartagena in August 2019 on a small girls trip. We came across an inexpensive flight deal with Spirit and chose a hostel option for 3 nights which resulted in us enjoying a trip for around 500 USD including tlurist attractions and meals. I recommend exchanging USD for Colombian pesos to have on hand for the can, restaurants, and tips. My friends and I chose to do a chocolate making workshop, visited a volcano, paragliding on the beach, a bus tour, and we were able to walk to the nightlife and shopping at the city center. We chose to take cabs when we could not walk to a destination. We felt this was safer than renting since the traffic is a little different than in America. The country is full of rich history and the Colombians with darker skin seem to appreciate seeing tourists with skin tones similar to theirs. I would definitely resist.

  10. brh07005
    brh07005
    15 Jul 2020
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    Cartagena is one of those cities where I can truly say there are plenty of things to do while visiting. While there I did a rum tasting tour, boat tour, Chiva bus tour, and historic street food tour. The highlight would definitely be the Chiva bus tour and the street food tour. Those 2 activities specifically provide you with an authentic cultural experience but also a genuine good time.

  11. author
    manaiza
    01 Jun 2020
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    Cartagena is definitely where you wanna go if you’re looking to party!! They have little party buses that take you all around for super cheap. I am a salsa dancer so I loved to go and listen to some live salsa and party with the locals at cafe Havana. I was on my own, so that was a little scary as you have to be a bit more on edge when you’re a small woman going out alone but I made friends with some randoms and they took me for a wild ride. Besides being offered random drugs on Every street, no one seemed to bother me too much. I did enjoy doing a city tour to learn about the history and culture before retiring on the beautiful beach that my Airbnb (https://abnb.me/h4yeu1bi16) was on. There are a lot of black carribean people there so I never felt out of place.

  12. author
    ImanC
    23 May 2020
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    I loved my visit to Cartagena. This coastal city combines the best of historic colonial architecture with lovely beaches. My visit was in January and coincided with the Hay Festival and the Festival del Frito, a festival celebrating fried food (think arepas and empanadas).

    Contacting Alex Rocha at Experience Real Cartagena is an absolute must. I went on two tours with him: one to Palenque, the first free black town in the Americas, and the Real Cartagena tour, which centers around a visit to Bazurto Market. Both tours are great and provide real insight into life for Colombians today.

    I recommend staying in the Walled City. It’s easy to navigate and there are so many delicious restaurants nearby. Restaurante Espíritu Santo was one of my favorites. Visit Getsemani to see tons of colorful street art and stick around Plaza de Trinidad in the evening to chill and drink with the locals. Definitely add on a Chiva party bus to your itinerary. A live band plays as the bus drives around the city at night; it’s a fun pre-game and cool way to meet other travelers.

  13. author
    Angel Rodriguez
    28 Apr 2020
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    If you want to party, then Cartagena is the spot, and you will have no issues finding a club/lounge in Cartagena, but that comes with a price.

    Prostitution is legal in Cartagena (I have no opinion on that), so you will see more women out in the streets once midnight hits in Cartagena. This leads to some uncomfortable situations if you do not how to proceed as a man.

    First and foremost, do not dance with someone that you think might be a prostitute, as I was told by a local (I speak Spanish and am Latino) that they even ask for money just by dancing with you.

    I laughed this off, but I noticed some ladies were pretty clingy if they felt they can get something out of you. It’s not a huge deal if you know how to proceed, but proceed with caution.

    All that being said, Colombians love to party and they played a mix of hip-hop, salsa, and reggaeton while I was there. Also, I walked back by myself to the hostel at 2AM. You will see some shady people, but I never felt unsafe.

    Enjoy!

  14. rhavenm
    rhavenm
    30 Mar 2020
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    The highlight of my trip was going on a tour with Alex Rocha where we got to experience “The Real Cartegena” During this tour we were able to immerse into the local culture and learned about the music food, people, customs and we also really got the delve into the Black history and African influence of Cartegena. My girls and I really enjoyed this tour.He also does other tours you can check out his site here: http://www.experiencerealcartegena.com We also felt very welcomed as black women in general. My visit was in 2018 and Cartegena was unfortunately going through a ton of construction & gentrification so the vibe may be a little different as locals are pushed out:(

  15. Alexis_Patterson
    28 Mar 2020
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    Colorful Cartagena!!!! Every Black Woman should travel here! I received so many compliments and the people expressed their love for me being there. The wall art is amazing!! This is a place you don’t have to spend much because walking around the city is like a free art museum! I stayed at a small beautiful villa named Casa Lola. The rooms are beautiful and the hotel breakfast was amazing. You wake up to a beautiful outdoor oasis and served the best Colombian coffee! (HERE is the link to the villa, cost starts around $114 a night https://casalola.com/) It’s HOT in Cartagena so don’t forget to stay hydrated and pack your cute bright summer outfits.

  16. Thetrinidrifter
    06 Mar 2020
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    Cartagena has a special place in my heart. i been there three times and it seems like i can never get enough. The first time i went it was for a solo trip. i stayed 5 days and i had no clue what to expect. i found out that they have great food and that they are full of culture. the beaches are beautiful as much as their people. if you want to go and fully enjoy yourself i say go for at least a week.the second and third time i went it was for a bachelor party. it was crazy. There were many clubs and night venues to enjoy. Well to sum it up take your ass to Colombia and experience what i did.

  17. muhammaamrlegend
    muhammaamrlegend
    03 Mar 2020
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    “Great city on the water!” Cartagena is a great city with amazing people, sites and food. … It is worth it to stay in the walled city, walk around during the day and take a day trip on a boat out to one of the islands. Ask one of the locals for help, they were all very accommodating.

  18. author
    Ambestt
    25 Feb 2020
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    I went to Cartagena for a girls trip during the end of summer and it did not disappoint. The city is so vibrant, the food was delicious and the culture was amazing. We stayed in Getsemani, right outside of the walled-city. I highly recommend this area! It’s a hipster part of town that has a great mixture of artsy locals and tourist. We stayed in this wonderful boutique hotel, which accommodated all of our needs, from bike rentals to free breakfast. In Gestsemani the night life gets started around 9/10 and goes on all night. The Plaza de Trinidad square has lots of performances, street food, and bars. You can also do Zumba in the plaza which is quite of an experience. After getting a drink or two, you can walk over to the walled city for clubs… or jazz. We wondered upon this awesome jazz speakeasy called Members Only, and the drinks were great. One of the best excursions we took was going to boca grande beach when we went to visit Bora Bora Island . We were greeted with pink mimosas, private cabanas, great hosts and Djs.

  19. Paola_Sands
    11 Feb 2020
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    Cartegena is a very tourist city in Colombia, where you can see plenty black travelers, also the local people are black, is a city with several color and with history, you guys need to walk around and fall in love while you see how the history has been carved in architecture. You need go to Castillo San Felipe, ciudad amurallada, Indian Catalina, and Bazurto local market (which is out the Center). Also is a city with good night life, everyday it doesn’t matter what day of the week you want to go out, it will be always good, also the street food you will find a Getsimani is very good, and please if you are in Cartagena you need to prove it, so you better take a pictures with those black beautiful women that sell Caribbean fruits and dress up those beautiful colorful dresses.

  20. jessica.troupe
    jessica.troupe
    20 Jan 2020
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    Prepare for the bells and whistles! Cartagena is a robust and vibrant city filled with some hustling locals. The people are so welcoming to people of melanin. In other words, they love them some Black people! The men are flirtatious and the women are charming. It is beautiful that this city embraces and celebrates melanin.

    They are extremely helpful and make it easy to navigate through the city even if you are not fluent in Spanish.

    They have beautiful Afro Latin art plastered everywhere! It is really a lovely city. Highly recommended.

  21. dami_isaac
    dami_isaac
    13 Jan 2020
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    My friends and I visited Cartagena for a bachelor party and my trip was thrilling and awesome! We stayed close to the old city at an Airbnb which was about $50pp/night. The trip was overall affordable. I’d say know some Spanish to be able to get better rates with the taxi driver and not get scammed; walking around is also safe as the city is friendly and everyone loves to have a good time. Food was ridiculously cheap, there are a ton of authentic local restaurants close to the beach or old city. We averaged $30/day on food. Also, remember it’s South America, you can bargain almost anything.

  22. KatKatTakesOff
    KatKatTakesOff
    07 Jan 2020
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    My friends and I went July 2k19 and it was AMAZING! Theres so many places to eat from and its inexpensive. We went to this restaurant, unfortunately I cannot remember the name at the moment, and order about 12 empanadas for under 20 USD and it was so delicious. Theres was another restaurant we went to that was super affordable, delicious food and strong drinks. 600 USD converts to about 1.5 Million their money so you would be set GOOD!! Think o want to retire there!

  23. MercedesB32
    MercedesB32
    06 Jan 2020
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    Cartagena is a lovely city and the people are lovely and so nice!! I stayed right on the beach in Bocagrande in a building called Morros City with the beach right across the street. The pool in this building is lovely as well! Highly suggested!

  24. author
    kwhite7786
    05 Jan 2020
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    You can literally walk around and enjoy the vibrant city of Cartagena from the street art with beautiful photos to amazing authentic food downtown. You can take salsa dancing classes at Crazy Salsa, visit the mud volcano, or go to the pink sea. Be sure to catch a picture with the women dressed up. Learn about the history of Afro-Colombians and the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the sixteenth century. You can also go on graffiti tours to learn about the art, music and customs of the country. Check out Viator for more things to do.

  25. lisa_missick01
    lisa_missick01
    24 Nov 2019
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    Cartagena is a pretty beautiful and amazing place. In terms of “must visit cities”, I would say that Bogota and Cartagena should be at the top of your list. The Caribbean coast is generally a bit more expensive than the interior. … Medellin is a pretty city, but it lacks the depth of Bogota and the history of Cartagena.

  26. author
    OhMsScarlette
    22 Nov 2019
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    My girlfriends and I really enjoyed Cartagena. This was a first time trip for everyone, so we wanted to try different things. One activity we did was take a chocolate tour at Museo Del Cacao (Choco Museo). Included in the tour was a chocolate workshop where we made our own chocolates with different fillings. The workshop is about 45 minutes and the location is in Centro Historico, so after you get your treats you can walk around the old city.

    The Museo is very colorful and is also a store so you can purchase authentic chocolates from white to dark. Our chocolate guide was really fun, he really broke down the history of chocolate, and how those in power centuries ago stole the chocolate from the original inhabitants. While we were making our chocolates, they had reggaeton, salsa, and reggae music playing, so the vibe is fun. It costs $17 USD to do this workshop.

  27. author
    Missdine
    16 Nov 2019
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    Visited Cartagena with my sister and friends and had an amazing time! I’m not a huge ‘party at night while traveling’ type of girl, but we took a ‘Chivas’ one night and boy were we in for a great time! It’s a party bus, not the same air conditioned party buses here in America. There were no windows or AC, the natural air was all we had. From 8-12am the bus drove around picking up passengers and eventually the conductor (Mr. Turn UP) found a way to get the party going. They serve local rum and coke and make a stop to serve food. It was a great experience! The night chiva tours includes entry to a club afterwards if you’re interested. All for the bargain price of 45,000 pesos which was roughly 13 USD! Can’t beat that!!!

  28. author
    Tracilex
    15 Nov 2019
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    Colombia overall is very cheap, the US dollar is pretty strong there so you can get the most for you money. I went in December 2018 and it was 3200 pecos to 1 usd, it may be more now. The highlight of my trip truly was seeing the town and taking pictures with the local fruit ladies. Make sure you TIP them! You cam tip them anything seeing it’s just a picture so use you conscience depending on how much pictures you are trying to take. I stayed at the hilton if o remember correctly and it was a 15 minutes drive to the town from there.

  29. author
    DaChea.Elle
    13 Nov 2019
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    Cartagena- the country that holds women at their highest standard. It’s a must visit to gain a deeper appreciation of your skin color, a deeper insight of black history and it’s culture. The city of vibrant colors, colorful buildings, graffiti and murals that tells stories deeper than you can imagine. It’s the city that makes your heart smile.
    My 6 day trip was a very memorable one.
    Ticket to Cartagena on Jetblue from FLL was $340 but initially $268 which is pretty reasonable. I stayed at Akel House which is located in the heart of Getsemani, close to nightlife, tons of restaurants, bars and activities. It was very close to Plaza de la Trinidad and walled city.
    The hotel room was very clean a bit small but it was livable. BTW It was $400 for 6 nights ( 2 persons). Breakfast was served across the street at another hotel and was very limited. The hotel decorated the room with balloons, flowers, wine and a cake for my friends birthday at an additional cost. They will also provide airport transfer for a cheaper rate than most tour companies.
    Tours include Palenque, mud volcano and pink sea, Rosario Islands, The Cartagena City tours and Chiva Party bus. All yours were organized by ERC (Alex and his son Chris the plug). The were very reasonable with prices, on time, professional, very informative and knowledgeable about their history. All of the tours included lunch which was a plus. I love how they stand by “ let black people tell you black history!”
    You cannot prepare yourself for the amount of hustlers that will try to sell you souvenirs, bracelets, hats etc. However, if you’d like to support the local economy by all means do so, if not please say no! If you rock to the music or even seem interested in hearing the street rappers they will expect a tip lol.
    I tried Marea by Rausch a very upscale restaurant with an amazing view. The ambiance was to die for, the food was good and prices were reasonable. Also, I’ve tried Lounges such Alquimico and Pink Flamingo at night. The atmosphere was beautiful and the music was great.
    The street food came in very handy at night and was pretty filling. I enjoyed their Arepas, empanadas, freshly squeezed orange juice, sliced mangoes seasoned with lime and salt.
    The city is very safe and the people are very accommodating and hospitable. ITS A MUST YOU TRY CARTAGENA.
    Please follow my IG page @Dachea.Elle to see how I explored Cartagena.

  30. author
    Ashleyloves2travel
    07 Nov 2019
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    I really enjoyed Cartagena I also went to Cali in Colombia but that was more local and Cartagena to me was way more touristic so it depends on what vibe your looking for. I went to Cartagena back in 2018 for Valentine’s Day week and stayed at the Hyatt regency hotel. This is located on the what I think is the main strip. Beautiful view in Cartegena. The pool at my hotel had one of the best views I’ve ever seen. The Food at the hotel was great as well. I took that trip with my cousin and we did the horse back ride in the old city of Cartagena. We also did a lot of walking. We are females and felt really safe. We stopped at local bars and restaurants and ate and the food was good. The have incredible street art so if your artsy this is definitely somewhere you want to visit. Overall we had a great time in cartegena and I would recommend going. Beach wise we went to Isla baru and boy that was a Great experience for us. We did this taxi boat ride and had so much fun. We also did the jet skis and got massages on the beach. The food was even good on the beach. They have hostels on the beach so if you’re interested you should look into it.

  31. author
    Edventures
    07 Nov 2019
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    Cartegena was a beautiful place! From local bar hopping in central historica, to walking all around the city to see the views, to walking to the beach and riding jet skis it was definitely a trip for the books. Theres even more adventure if you take an excursion out on the water. We did do an all day tour. If you look up Cartagena: 4 Rosario Islands Day Tour with Snorkel & Lunch, you’ll take a boat tour to a few different islands and get fed a delicious fish dinner on the top deck of this restaurant where you can order a tropical alcoholic beverage in a pineapple. This tour cost around $70 around the time we went back in april of 2018. Here is the link my friend booked the tour with https://www.getyourguide.com/cartagena-l362/cartagena-rosario-islands-hopping-tour-with-snorkel-t291745/ .My favorite stop on the excursion was stopping at Playa Blanca. We spent a lot of time here relaxing, swimming, eating, and drinking some more. The water is clear, the massages you can receive on the beach are relaxing. They are a little aggressive, it may take a few no’s for them to get off of you if you don’t want to but its still great when you do accept. && don’t accept anything from anyone without expecting to pay for it. Anytime someone hands you something, thinking its free, its not!

  32. author
    janielove
    07 Nov 2019
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    If you are going with a group of people (maybe 3 or more), I’d recommend staying in an Airbnb. Here is the link to the place we stayed in https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/13428696?source_impression_id=p3_1573102621_EZ%2F5vxQMhXUdEl2J
    The host was AMAZING and extremely communicative. We had a great view from our balcony, and the pool (though communal) felt very much like our own private pool most of the time.

    I also stayed in Cartegena on my own before my colleagues arrived. If you are a more frugal traveler (especially when on a tight solo travel budget), I’d recommend staying in a hostel. Here is a link to the hostel that I stayed at https://www.viajerohostels.com/en/destinos/cartagena/
    They also help you coordinate day trips if you’re interested, and even when you check out of the hostel, they will still help you navigate the city, and book excursions day trips.

    I had a BLAST in Cartagena, and personally can’t wait to go back!

  33. author
    CorrinaLovesToTravel
    04 Nov 2019
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    The local food in Cartagena was amazing! Great portions, inexpensive and very tasty! There famous dish is fried fish, fried plantain, coconut rice and lettuce / tomato. The best restaurant I went to and highly recommend is Kiosco El Bony! It is right on the beach and very delicious local food! I also had an amazing healthy breakfast at Ely Reposteria. I had avacado toast, quinoa, eggs, tomatoes , lettuce and salmon. So fresh! There smoothies there are phenomenal as well. I went to Donde Olano for dinner. Wonderful salmon, wine and great atmosphere. Le Cevicheria was a very popular restaurant. It was a line so come prepared to wait for a little bit. The ceviche there was the best I’ve ever had! So tasty and great portions! I love seafood so this was perfect for me!

  34. Ibey_a
    Ibey_a
    29 Oct 2019
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    We stayed in Hotel Caribe, Bocagrande, It had a pool and a gym with some wildlife just around for some reason (saw a Toucan bird, Parrot and some type of antelope) and the beach was just across the hotel. Breakfast was good with some of their Bakery on display and natural fruit juices with GREAT coffee. Cost about £300 for 9 nights including breakfast. The Hotel was a 40 min walk/ 12min taxi( if you get a local taxi, check the cost of the trip on Uber first so you can get a feel for how much you should pay) from the walled city which is pretty much where most things happen. For my holiday it made sense to stay in bocagrande as I wanted a relaxed holiday so I needed a Hotel with facilities like a pool, the beach and the gym but if you are looking to be where the action is, you should get a hostel in the city, the restaurants, clubs and bars are there.

  35. author
    Gravesbr
    28 Oct 2019
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    Cartagena to me was a mix between the french quarter in Nola & downtown Miami. Knowing spanish is def a bonus here, not a lot of locals speak english. When I visited, I stayed at an airbnb in old town Cartagena right across from an elementary school. It was located down a Corridor with vibrant doors. Adventure wise, I went on a Chivas party bus to a few local clubs, I went to the El tutumdo volcano where you take a mud bath, and took a day trip to Cholon island on a 45 min boat ride. That was a lot of fun, you get to meet a lot of tourists that had boats as well. All the boats lined up and it was a yacht party! I tried some of the local street food but I was not impressed at all. I also went to the La Cevichera restaurant, some of the best seafood ever. I got an entree with a variety of grilled seafood and they paired it with a lemon dijon butter sauce. It was so good. I went two nights in a row. Overall, it was a good experience. Just make sure you have get your liquor before hand if you plan to stay in old town Cartagena & exchange enough money because there are not many places around.

  36. author
    Basick216
    19 Oct 2019
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    I visited Cartagena, Colombia in August of 2019 and love every moment of it. I took a tour to visit an area called San Basilio de Palenque which is the first free slave town in the Americas. It was created by runaway slaves with big African roots. My tour guide was a man name Alex Rocha. He was very passionate about the tour. He showed me the real side of Colombia in his town. The day got started with us eating empanadas and drinking rice juice( Don’t let the name fool you, it’s actually tasty). While I was there he told me about the Afro- Colombian history as well as the San Basilio De Palenque . Not only did I learn about the culture, I was able to interact with the locals. I helped cooked coconut rice in a gigantic put using a stick. From there I met the artist who did all the famous murals in Palenque. His name was Andris Julio but is known as Afroneto. He is responsible for creating the majority of the murals in Palanque including the iconic “Black Lives matter” and “I love being Black.” I spent some time at his house looking at all the great artistic stuff he has done…Amazing! I watched a live show from the local kids who performed their african dances, drums and songs. It was interesting seeing how much impact african roots dances having on modern Hiphop dances that is out now. I ended up joining them in the dances. We left there and went to eat at a place called Loz Tizones. I had the Fried fish, coconut rice and green plantains. That fried fishing was soooooooooo good!

    The website for the tour is http://experiencerealcartagena.com.

    Cartagena has a rich history of black people as well. In the area of Getsemani, there are many african influenced graffiti murals all over. There is one mural that caught my eye. It was created called “Las Tres Guerreras” which means the three warriors. It paid tribute to three African women in Colombia. They represent the face of Cartagena. I loved being in Cartagena because so many locals are black, therefore as a traveler who is one, this was very important ,because I did not have to try to blend in at all.

    Go to Cafe Del Mar to catch the sunset.

    For nightlife I recommend contacting a local brother name Freddy Paz. He will tell you where you need to go based on your preference. He is also a tour guide.

    Facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/freddy.paz.543

    Instagram
    https://www.instagram.com/freddypaz_tourguide/?hl=en

    Speaking Spanish will get you by much further. However, some people Spanish is terrible, and by some people i’m referring to myself! I downloaded an app called Google translator. It not only translate texts but also translate your voice.
    https://support.google.com/translate/answer/6350850?co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid&hl=en

    If you have an Iphone, download the currency app to help you with international currencies. This saved me such a headache while I was there.
    https://www.xe.com/apps/ios/

  37. author
    ethyme123
    11 Oct 2019
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    I took a last minute 5 day solo trip to Cartagena and it was amazing!!. Cartagena is super cheap and super affordable. I decided to stay in a Airbnb/ hostel in getsemani (the tourist area) for $70 for 5 nights total! Cartagena is full of history. While out there, not only did I explore the beautiful city full of vibrant colorful houses and art work , I was able to visit palenque and boca chica (this made my day). During my visit to palenque I went to a school and watch the students danced and rapped and truly enjoyed what they were doing. I also ate fish and coconut rice at one of the palenque women house (it was soooooo good). Night life was great. I did a party bus one night with a few other black group travelers and solo travelers I met while on the trip. I felt completely comfortable & safe traveling solo while out in Colombia & would definitely go back!

    Link to Colombia stay:
    https://abnb.me/op9ngp23H0

    Palenque tour guide: IG @experiencerealcartagena

    City tour/party bus @freddypaz_tuor

  38. author
    ClutchQueen
    08 Oct 2019
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    I really enjoyed my girls trip to Cartagena and overall the trip was pretty inexpensive. However, it’s all in how you plan and what you choose to spend your money on while you’re there.

    Pros: The flight from DC was only around $550 roundtrip. We traveled in early April so the weather was beautiful. We stayed in a beautiful Air BnB in Bocagrande. It was less than $200 per person and it had two bedrooms and three full bathrooms. The view from the condo was amazing although the beach was not ideal for swimming/laying out. However it was perfect for morning meditation and coffee/tea.

    Cons: The currency conversion between Colombian Pesos and U.S. Dollars was not always easy and/or quick to figure out. This left some in my travel group feeling unsure about how much they were actually spending. Additionally, staying in Bocagrande increased our taxi expenses for the week as most stuff we wanted to do was outside of Bocagrande. Other than street food, most of the food was not as inexpensive as some other South American and Caribbean countries that I’ve visited. So if you’re a foodie just keep in mind that you might not eat as cheap as you may like. My favorite restaurant in Cartagena is El Arsenal: The Rum Box. The food was delicious and reasonably priced. Happy Travels!

  39. author
    Neilsa_Mark
    13 Sep 2019
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    My trip to Cartagena was pretty last minute but extremely affordable easy to book. I stayed in a condo on the beach called Morros Ultra, it was next door to a hotel and there was also a bodega next door. The security was good but no one spoke english. Transportation was easy to get. My favorite places to visit were the mud volcano and Cholon. When visiting the mud volcano walk with cash to tip the locals. They will wash the mud off of you and wash out your bathing suit in the lake behind the volcano. (You will need it) i also did the boat tour to rosario island and cholon we hung out with the other boats and partied in the water and got massages on the tables in the ocean. You cannot go and not visit the walled city, castle. I also hung out in Getsemane. I like to dance and I heard salsa was big in Cali but I didn’t have time to make it there.

  40. author
    Tracey_Bostic
    10 Sep 2019
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    Friends have asked how I travel so much. I don’t have a fancy job or a sugar zaddy. I’ve used Groupon to travel to 5 countries. People turn up their noses to this but I have seen some amazing places on a budget. Groupon is basically a broker for travel pages listing their deals. My trip to Cartagena was $314 for flight and hotel for 4 days 3 nights. If you’re interested I have listed tips for using Groupon travel.
    1. Filter search for all inclusive (flight/hotel not alcohol)
    2. READ EVERYTHING! Prices are based on double occupancy or pay an extra fee for solo travel. See what’s included. Grab a travel buddy.
    3. Google search the hotel for photos and reviews. Research the travel company. We bought a Gate 1 voucher. The trip was listed for $349 and we used a coupon for extra discount.
    4. Select option dates and departing city. Prices might be higher depending where you live. Check the weather for that time of year and any events that might be happening, festivals, or religious observances. The lower prices are generally off season. Which for me means shorter lines. It was cheaper for us to leave from Ft. Lauderdale so we added that as part of our destination.
    5. Put the money you saved on other expenses.
    I booked our tours through Experience Real Cartagena. The tour included transportation, mud bath, Pink Sea and a delicious lunch for $80. The locals from
    Lomita Arena give massages, take your pics, and rinse you in the lake like you’re a mf Boss! They ask that you tip 40,000 pesos (under $12 US). The village is very poor. There is no running water and they rely on the lake. Puts things in perspective.

    We also visited the village of Palenque. The community was founded by escaped slaves back in 1603. The people of Palenque have preserved their African culture. Alex was an amazing guide. Very knowledgable of Afro-Colombian history. The tour included transportation and lunch for $80.

  41. Hustle4goals
    23 Aug 2019
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    My trip in Cartagena Columbia was a nice experience. Visiting the old town and enjoying the art at the wall city was something to see.the only thing I didn’t like is that everywhere I went local merchants would try to force you to buy things . One thing I must say Everything is cheap and affordable to move around in taxis and it’s not hard to find one because taxis are everywhere .

  42. author
    tiffs55
    18 Aug 2019
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    when traveling alone or without a travel agency. Be careful with the people who want to take advantage of us for being a tourist and charge us different prices than they really are. I love Colombia and I know that most people are good and honest but there are always a few who want to damage the name of the city

  43. author
    Bee009
    17 Aug 2019
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    If you eat nowhere else, make sure you get a meal from “La Mulata” inside of the walled city. The logo for the restaurant is a woman rocking a beautiful afro. The decor inside is creative and welcoming. There are delicious dishes on the menu including amazing seafood. I recommend a seafood dish with coconut rice! The prices are very favorable vs. the USD. You HAVE to put this on your list when visiting Cartagena!

  44. Sabrina_G
    30 Jul 2019
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    First of let me start by saying this a great destination if you’re a solo traveler. I decided to pick cartegna as a destination for my first solo trip and it did not disappoint.

    My trip was intended to be 3 full days but i lost a day due flight cancelations so my cartegna experience ended being only two but it was the best 2 days.

    Day 1: i booked a boutique hotel in the wall city. Wall city was cool but I would have preferred in getsemani, where in my opinion had more of a vibe, wall city is definitely flooded with more tourists. I started my day with “ERC tours” . They picked me from my hotel and did the “Real Cartagena tour”. The tour was about 4 hours, went to visit all the neighborhoods with in the city and learned the black history of each neighborhood. They took us through the local markets and provided lunch. The tour was a great way to see the neighborhoods an ideal way to start Day 1 in cartegna to get yourself familiar. Now that i was familiar with the neighborhoods, I walked over getsemani after the tour and had drinks. Trinidad plaza becomes a scene in the evenings with street performers. Make sure you have money because they will ask you to tip. Its obvious that you cant tip everyone, I suggest you don’t make eye contact. Once you make eye contact its a wrap, especially the street rappers( god bless them..lol) they will randomly start rapping in your face and follow if they know they have your attention, just ignore them and keep it moving.

    After Trinidad plaza, i had dinner at an amazing Carribean Restaurant in the wall city “ la cocina de pepina” . It was recommended by a friend. Tons of white people when you walk in but the original chef, was black I’m not sure if its black owned or not. When i walked there was a waitlist. The food was really good, portions were huge definitely make a reservation and come hungry.

    “Experience Real Cartagena” offer tours by demand so definitely reach out to Alex early so you can plan your itinerary. I waited two days prior to arriving which was fine but perhaps if I reached out earlier they would’ve more available tours.

    I didn’t get to experience palenque tour with Alex. Other tour companies do offer it but i highly recommend that you let black person be the one to tell you about the black history. If Alex is unavailable, there is another tour guide name Marlon who owns “local cartegna tours” you will also get the black cartegna experience with him as well.

    Day 2: i went to one of rosario island , used a random tour company for that since Alex or Marlon wasn’t offering it the day I wanted to go. Its about a 45min boat ride to the islands.

    After the breach i went to cafe del mar for a cocktail. The views were beautiful nice ambiance, everyone was dressed to impress. After cafe del mar i got picked by Marlon for the party bus tour. (Wow so much fun) Alex came to visit along the route. After the party bus they end the night by taking you a really touristy club. I didn’t enjoy the club and asked ask the guys to take me to something more local, that night i went to two local club and i had a blast!! I got in at 4am.

    I felt like i did so much in two days but it wasn’t enough time. I plan on returning next month to experience palenque and more beaches. I recommended staying min 4 days to experience this magical city.

    For the black cartegna experience book your tours with Experience Real Cartegna (Alex) and or Local Cartegna Tours (Marlon)

    I also want to add that I exchanged $300 US into peseos and still came back with money. If you’re staying for 4-5days $500 is plenty money to ball out :)

  45. TipTopTori
    TipTopTori
    26 Jul 2019
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    Cartagena is definitely one of my favorite places to visit. One US dollar is worth two of their euros, so your money goes far. Haggle with everyone! Do not accept the first offer they give you everything is negotiable (taxis, souvenir shops, street food vendors).

    Cafe del Mar is inside of the walled city and has THE BEST sunset views. Club Havana inside the walled city was LIT!!! They have a live cuban band, the drinks are cheap, and its a sweaty good time! the place gets packed so make sure you get there early. we danced and drank away our worries here. Definitely go.

    My favorite restaurant was inside of the walled city called “la picua” absolutely the best (carbon= grilled) fish I’ve ever had!! No seriously you have to try it. We ate the inferno restaurant which is a low security women’s prison. the food is terrible/awful!!!! But if you want to donate clothes and toiletries please feel free because a lot of them are sleeping on concrete floors.

    We stayed in the Hyatt in bocagrande. I highly recommend paying a little extra and staying on a higher floor because then you have access to the lounge. In the lounge you have free all you can eat breakfast, lunch, snack, and happy hour every single day. The menu changes slightly everyday. It’s totally worth it.

    There is a guided tour of the walled city that was very interesting, but the highlight of our tour was with Alex. He is a local tour guide that shows you the African side of Colombia. We went to Palenque, which is the town where escaped slaves settled. We also took Alex’s party bus tour. Both tours include free rum and the Palenque tour includes food. Just beware that everyone is going to ask you for money wherever you go. Inside the walled city there are several groups of boys that run up to you and perform a song “they will call you rihanna or beyonce” and then basically demand money. The first time we thought it was cute, but the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time it was annoying we dodged them by going into a store and pretending to shop.

    The beach was super crowded and has lots of rocks near the shore so we optioned to swim in one of the hotel’s pools.

  46. CeeKoy0
    25 Jul 2019
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    Cartagena, Colombia

    Of all of the places I have been, I can definitely say my trip to Cartagena is in my top 3. The people, the ambiance, the history, the food! I planned this trip for my birthday celebration and it couldn’t be any less than amazing!

    THINGS WE DID/ EXCURSIONS:
    * Official Day 1 – I chartered a boat to Isla Cholon known as their Party Island and the vibe was great! Had amazing food, great music, and fun people. On the way to the island we stopped at other islands along the way and when we left we stopped at Boca Chica, which is where their historic stone fort is. (You might have also seen this place on an episode of MTV’s the challenge.)
    * Day 2 – We visited Salinas de Galerazamba (the formal name) which is where you see the Pink Sea. Contrary to popular belief at the time in June, the sea was still very pink and some parts were red. The reason for this is due to the salt loving microbes.
    – Volcan del Totumo (The mud volcano) was another sight to see. You are able to step into the volcano for a mud bath. It is definitely and experience as you automatically float once you step in.
    * Day 3 – The Rum Experience at El Baron in the walled city was great. We learned the whole process of making rum including the rum tasting. Trust me if you are rum connoisseur or not you would enjoy the experience.

    Modes of Transportation:
    * Cartagena taxis that are everywhere.
    * In-Driver an app in Cartagena sort of like Lyft.

    NIGHT LIFE:
    * Party Bus: The first night that we arrived we did the party bus which was really fun. It includes drinks, music, and a stop in a town to see traditional colombian dances, then they drop you off on a street filled with clubs.
    * Taboo Discoclub: This club was a vibe with a variety of music.
    * EIVISSA CARTAGENA: This club had two floors to party on (Inside and the rooftop). The inside portion played hip hop, reggaeton, dancehall, afro beats. The rooftop played more electronica, edm, dubstep type of vibe.

    Check out my Cartagena, Colombia vlog
    ‪https://youtu.be/MVJSeUghBq4‬

    Overall: I really enjoyed myself! I felt safe and I would visit again. Traveling while black here is also great as you see many black colombians as well.
    Quick tips: For certain excursions have tips for the people that help you wash off or take your pictures at the volcano. There are those that would hound you to buy something but as others have mentioned a simple “no gracias” will help or if they continue say “es gratis?” which means is it free lol.

  47. author
    jonrobert
    21 Jul 2019
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    I want to take my horse to the Old Town Road…Sorry I got a flashback of the time I was riding a Horse and Carriage in the Old Town of Cartagena. Old Town and Bocagrande are the two main tourist neighborhoods in Cartagena, but aside from being partially set beside the sea, they have little else in common. Within the weathered walls of Old Town, you’ll see Spanish-Colonial architecture that’s been either lovingly restored or left to crumble, and a few mom-and-pop places that are still mixed in with hip new restaurants, shops and boutique hotels. Immerse yourself in the 16th century for a few hours, then climb the northern ramparts to greet the sunset with a cocktail and lounge music at Café del Mar, an extremely popular open-air bar that looks out on the sea, the traffic on Avenida Santander and the modern skyline of Bocagrande.

    Designed as a mini-version of Rio’s Copacabana, Bocagrande is lined with a jumble of high-rises, chain hotels, often congested traffic, pockmarked sidewalks, gleaming shopping malls and casual beach-shack cafes. Its shore is dotted with umbrellas and lounge chairs (for hotel guests) as well as lawn chairs beneath canopies emblazoned with cell-service logos (for lower-income locals). Note that you’ll find a similar mix of new construction, scruffy local vendors and wealthy Colombians on the prettier beach at La Boquilla, a Miami-esque luxury condo and hotel district emerging from one of the oldest, poorest neighborhoods in the city.

    My friends and I elected to stay at the Hyatt Regency, It was the perfect half way point for us. Literally a 12-15 min walk to wall city. Underneath the hotel was a grocery store so we were able to stock up on the things we needed. Also the hotel is connected to a local mall, not a necessity but definitely
    and added convenience. The hotel has 3 all of which look over into the ocean, our favorite was the adult only pool no need for kids on this vacation.

    The Walled City also known as “Old Town” is filled with vividly-painted Spanish-Colonial houses. Which lend a little glamour to the gracefully decaying streets. On almost every street in Cartagena — in Old Town, Bocagrande and beyond — you’ll find Colombian-made bags, scarves, shoes and more in a slew of shades. In artisan shops and galleries, you’ll also find rainbow-hued beaded jewelry, leather goods, papier-mâché masks and miniature versions of local scenes. Also keep an eye out for fruit vendors in traditional yellow, blue and red dresses, as well as huge jars of shredded-coconut patties called cocadas, which are as cheap and delicious as they are colorful.

  48. author
    axelle_travels
    14 Jul 2019
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    A trip to Cartagena isn’t complete without a trip to Playa Blanca, a long, gorgeous white sand beach with gentle warm turquoise water.

    I got a secret tip from a local that the best way to enjoy Playa Blanca is to simply stay a night on the island! The beach is full of tourists during the day, but the day-tripping tourists usually empties out the beach by 3pm. Then the beach is all yours to enjoy! I stayed in this cute cabana- styled villa right on the beach, and enjoyed a delicious fish dinner while watching this amazing sunset. After dark, we took a boat ride out to swim with glow-in- the- dark, bio-luminescent phytoplankton! My only regret is that my phone died before I could get photos of that magnificent sight!

    In addition to traveling to Playa Blanca, you could enjoy a muddy adventure at El Totumo Volcano! About 45 mins outside of Cartagena is El Totumo, an active volcano known for its spiritual and cleansing mud bath. Legend has it that this natural volcano once spewed fire and lava until a local priest doused the volcano with holy water, transforming it’s fiery eruptions into viscous mud with healing powers! After a nice mud bath and a relaxing massage, you can walk to the nearby lagoon and wash the mud off with the help of local Colombian women. Check out my instagram: axelle_travels, for more photos and descriptions on what to do in Colombia on your travels!

  49. author
    TheFabNerd
    06 Jul 2019
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    Cartagena was really nice to explore. Friend and I went to a volcano to take a mud bath, rode horses on the beach, and explored some nightlife. Unfortunately we were there during their political elections which was referred to as “Seco” (or dry in Spanish) which didn’t allow us to actually turn up the way we would have hoped.

    One thing that I really couldn’t stand was the constant hustling for everyyyyyy L I T T L E T H I N G! I have been to plenty of places and we all love a good haggle, but the constant annoyance for selling things on the beach, charging for you to sit at the picnic table when its the only one in sight was too much. We did enjoy a private boat ride, jet skis, and all of the great local food.

  50. With.love.brina
    With.love.brina
    04 Jul 2019
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    Cartagena was beautiful and full of culture .List of things I did while I was there were the walking city tour ,pink sea ,isla baru and the mud bathe .These activities can be booked while your in Cartagena,it’s definitely more affordable that way . The walking city tour was amazing as the city is filled with beautiful streets and great people .Food was fantastic and fresh fish? you can’t beat that .I would suggest staying in the old city because it’s full of culture and you will have more things to do.

  51. keanaholton
    keanaholton
    03 Jul 2019
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    I’ve been to many countries, but Colombia is my favorite. Cartagena is filled with such beautiful culture and history. It was amazing to see how many people who looked like me! I took a taxi to the Old City and had so much fun. The Old City reminded me of a more colorful version of New Orleans. I wouldn’t suggest purchasing the walking tour excursion because it’s so much better to experience the Old City for yourself. I would suggest waiting until you get to Cartagena to get Pesos. I used the ATM to get my cash because it had the best exchange rate. If you want a nice, white sand and clear water beach you must go to Isla Barú. You will eat some of the best fish and drink some of the best mojitos ever!

  52. IamChevelle
    17 Jun 2019
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    Much like Havana, Cartagena has something for everyone. Who would have thought, that a mud volcano would be so oddly satisfying. I joined the Half-Day Tour to Totumo Mud Volcano from Cartagena with a company by the name of Backpackers for just $35USD per person.The way the ash lather and sooths your skin is indescribable. Not to mention, massages are offered while in the volcanic ash for a small fee. To die for! Immediately after this, you head down the seaside where you are assigned your personal bather to get you clean. My tour included lunch which consisted some of the best fish and coconut rice I have ever tasted.
    Day two of my tours comprised of a street food tour that involved a historic tour of the city, delicacies of the local people and a walk through Getsemani-a city covered in artistic expression. I had the pleasure of part-taking in this tour with Cartagena Connections for only $70,000 Pesos which is the equivalent to $30
    USD per person. After spending my day admiring the graffiti I the streets of Getsemani, I proceeded to Café Del Mar to sip on a cocktail while I watch the beautiful sunset-highly recommended. I ended my night dining in the court yard of Hotel Casa San Agustin. The food was remarkable and even better-under priced. The ambiance was upscale and the it appears that everyone was lost in the music. I would highly recommend these activities.

  53. Mmr209
    Mmr209
    17 Jun 2019
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    We loved our Colombian experience!

    What we loved:

    The Airbnb’s were very affordable so we had rooftop pools at every location. The #views were unbelievable.

    Here’s an example of one:

    https://abnb.me/7UmWSP6CCX

    The food in Colombia was more diverse that we thought. We even checked out a beer brewing bar in Medellin. Who knew you could get IPAs in Colombia?!

    Safety – I never once felt like my life was in danger. Like anywhere else, be smart. Enough said.

    Things to keep in mind:

    Cartagena in the summer can be pretty humid leaving you feeling sticky all day.

    Most people don’t speak English so google translate will be your best friend. I recommend downloading the “offline” version of the app since cell signal is somewhat spotty in Colombia (

    Enjoy!

  54. ShervanWyllie
    08 Jun 2019
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    Cartagena Colombia is packed with excitement, history, great food and lots of adventure!!! oh! before I forget to mention!!!! LOTS OF ADVENTURE!!! This amazing city really caught me by surprise, I honestly didn’t believe that I’d have as much fun as I did. There is a language barrier so ensure that you have google translate installed on your phone as well unless you’re fluent in espanol. so here’s a list of some of my fav adventures while visiting Cartagena:

    Volcan del Totumo — mud volcano
    Isla Cholon — eat fish under carrot sheds in the water
    Plaza de la Trinidad — umbrella street
    La torre del Reloj — shopping area, party at night also lots to see do and eat.. also women with fruit baskets are there as well
    Playa Blanca — Gorgeous local beach
    Galerazamba — Pink/ Red salt lake
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    Galerazamba — Pink/ Red salt lake.
    .Galerazamba is a small town that crowns the tip of Bolivar. It is a jewel worthy of admiration, especially for its main attraction that occurs naturally between the months of February and March in which the salinas that are about to explode dye the sea of ​​red which creates a spectacle that must be seen. This is By far one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen from all my travels .
    I visited Volcan del Totumo (mud volcano) and learned very quickly that this pink salt lake was only about a 20-30 minute drive away. Immediately my adventure seeking curiosity kicked in and I absolutely had to check it out. I asked my taxi driver to take my friends and I after the mud volcano, there were no entrance fees to get into galerazamba, however my driver charged each of us $30 for the day which included both sites. Once we arrived, the roads were very muddy so be prepared to pack some old sneakers since there’s about a 15 minute walk to the pink salt lake. The experience of seeing this for the first time was breathtaking. The color of the water really depends on how clear the sky is as well as the heat index. On a beautiful clear hot day you can expect the water to be blood red which transitions to pink as the day cools down toward the evening. Standing in the water for an excessive amount of time can really cause your skin to eventually burn or feel itchy because of the high concentration of salt. If you have any lacerations on your skin and its exposed to the water, it’ll actually burn you as well. When planning a day to the mud volcano, my best advice will be to add this attraction to your agenda since its soo close. Have fun! and if anyone needs anymore advice please feel free to DM me.

  55. author
    TwiLove
    21 May 2019
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    Cartagena was one of my most budget friendly trips to date. Taxis in the city are about $3usd to take you most places. The most I paid for a taxi during my stay was $6 and that was the trip from the airport. I stayed at a condo that was attached to Bocagrande Plaza which allowed us access to a large food court when we needed something quick to eat. A full meal with plantains, and a whole fish was about $10usd. The waffle restaurant is a must have. It was so delicious and ran around $5usd. Tours to playa Blanca can be booked for online for $55 and that covered lunch, fresh fruit, as well as bottled water and beverages. If you’re looking for street food fresh empanadas and a pop can run around $3. One last tip is to visit the market where the working class shop, you will be delighted with some of the freshest, juciest fruit that you’ve ever bitten into.

  56. author
    Wenny_Jones
    17 May 2019
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    This is a beautiful city of colors, people, history, and amazing food. This was amazing girl’s trip getaway to the city of Caratenga, Colombia in South America. This city is very familiar to the Miami and Cuba. It has rich Latina history such as Cuba but a more modern presence and infrastructure. It has the high skyscraper views and reputation such as the city of Miami. Caratenga is very accessible and short flight from Miami. Flight prices are pretty reasonable to go. There are plenty of hotel and Airbnb accommodations in Caratenga that are reasonable too. Navigating around this city is easy and even walking the beautiful colorful streets. Even though, knowing or speaking Spanish will be great tool to navigate this city, local Colombian are nice and taxi drivers are helpful as well.

  57. theerealcoop
    theerealcoop
    07 May 2019
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    Traveling and visiting Cartagena was probably one of the most fun trips I’ve been on. I traveled there for my 30th birthday along with my brother and about 8 more family members and friends. We all hopped on Spirit Airlines (YES SPIRIT!). We don’t care, just get us there! Soon as we got on board the plane, someone on there was passing out mini-bottles LOL. We were lit before we even got off the plane lol. But anyway once we got to Cartagena, going through customs was breezy! One of my older cousins planned this trip and man was it great! Upon receiving our bags, we got picked up on this open-air party bus. Instantly got offered free tequila shots! We finally arrived to our “mansion” in the famed walled city! It had a pool in the middle of the house with about 6 bedrooms with double beds in each. We even had our own personal chef and maid that cooked and cleaned daily for us. The Colombian food that was prepared was very delicious! Later we decided to branch out on our own as a group and man was that a good thing and a bad thing. It’s almost like we were celebrities the way the locals flocked to us. Some women even asked if we were a professional basketball team from the States lol. But it was all good! It was good interacting with the locals. Cartagena is very clean! There streets are constantly being swept and cleaned all day through the night. Behind my belief, there wasn’t a huge police presence. You’d see them here and there but nothing major. We always felt safe EXCEPT this one time we went to a nightclub and just felt like we were being watched the entire time. We still ended up having a fun time but ended up leaving the nightclub because of it. Overall, please visit Cartagena! So much history and fun!

    Things we did: Toured Palenque, went to the mud volcano, rented a boat and sailed out in the sea to a huge sand bar like island where more folks were partying and docked on boats, and partied. For an english speaking black tour guide, I HIGHLY recommend Experience Real Cartagena! We still have a good relationship with the owner’s son! Please book him for your touring needs!!

  58. Urbandan
    06 May 2019
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    Something that most South American cities can’t provide is Caribbean culture. Cartagena is a very vibrant city that is full of life. The one mistake I made was getting an Airbnb outside of the Walled City Getsamini. All the action is in the Walled city, and catching an uber from outside of that area can be quite the task. Cost of living was very minimal. You can eat at a really nice touristy restaurant for roughly around $10-15 per meal on the middle end of things. I would avoid most paid tours which can be the most expensive thing there in the city. Traveling while black is a non issue here in Cartagena. You will most likely blend in into the environment as long as you are being conservative with your dressing and appearance. I spent most of my nights here dancing the night away in Getsamini. Salsa is a great fun night activity and they have some world wide salsa clubs there. Although I loved the city, I much preferred Medellin Colombia since it filled my form of travel style more, with nature near by, and laid back vibes.

  59. C713
    C713
    28 Apr 2019
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    Cartagena will defiantly give you Miami vibes but VERY affordable,. $20 Jet Skis $10 full course meals, Amazing food, must try coconut rice. Night life is very fun, lots of clubs to party, music selection varies, have tourist clubs that plays American music and have Latin clubs, recommend taking a salsa class it’s very fun and easy! Only
    Thing I’ll say is if you don’t speak Spanish download your translate apps to work in offline mode because I didn’t have service in some spots was people can’t help you if they don’t understand what you’re saying. Overall, great city!

  60. author
    majorhit44
    24 Apr 2019
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    Colombia seemed like a movie. I went with seven of my friends for my 25th birthday. The hospitality of everyone in Cartagena was second to none, they made us all feel like we were at home . The Colombian people made sure to let us know our dark skin was beautiful and I don’t know if I liked that more or the crystal blue water we saw on our boat ride that we went on for only $60 dollars for 8 hours. The food is superb and fresh! I would honestly take another weekend trip here , I enjoyed it that much!

  61. Sublettcl
    24 Apr 2019
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    Cartagena is a very beautiful and historical city. There are free tours of the walled city that teach you about the history of Cartagena. These tours are advertised as free, but really they ask and expect you to give tips at the end of the tour. I took a day trip tour to Palenque, which is a town formed by African slaves in Colombia. I definitely recommend this tour; I really enjoyed learning about Afro-Colombian culture. You will feel like you’re in an African village but in Colombia! If you’re into watching beautiful sunsets over the ocean, Cafe Del Mar is a nice little bar on top of the wall that’s a popular place to watch the sunset. But, you could honestly stand/sit anywhere on the wall and have a nice view of the sunset. The Bocagrande beach in Cartagena isn’t that impressive. All of the beautiful beaches are not actually in Cartagena, you must take a boat (or yacht if you’re fancy) to nearby islands; the Rosario Islands are very pretty and definitely worth a trip. The islands can get very crowded so if you’re looking for something less crowded you could try booking a trip to a private island like Bora Bora; it’s basically a beach club that owns a private part of the island, which eliminates the crowds of people and vendors trying to sell you things. I wish that the beach was bigger, but Bora Bora was fun and having you’re own cabana was very relaxing. I enjoyed my time in Cartagena but my honest opinion is that it’s wayyyyy too touristy. People are trying to sell you souvenirs, food, excursions, and etc literally non-stop. Also, everyone expects tips, even if it’s advertised as free or you think they’re just being friendly. If you’re looking to have a more authentic experience of Colombia, try also visiting Medellín! I found no issue traveling while black in Cartagena as it is filled with Afro-Colombians that had the same skin complexion and features as me.

  62. author
    Mccraig
    22 Apr 2019
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    I honestly don’t even know where to begin! Cartagena is a city full of Afro-Colombian culture that’s magical yet familiar. During my 5 days, I felt a sense of comfort as if I’d been there before or more so that I belonged there. If you’re adventurous start in Walled City and get lost. There were so many alleys filled with shops, bars, etc to explore. If you want to explore the history of the people, take a trip to a small village called Palenque. The people of Palenque have lived in this community for generations without exposure to the modern Cartagena. It’s one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve had traveling the world.
    Overall I felt safe traveling throughout the city! It was easy to navigate by taxi but it’s important to know some Spanish! Lodging was also very easy and inexpensive! Our Airbnb was on the 24th floor of a hi-rise located next to the Hyatt hotel with spectacular views of the city and ocean. Here’s the link for the listing https://abnb.me/7iSqIfrOfW. I highly recommend staying here. I can honestly go on and on about Cartagena. It’s a place you HAVE to experience to appreciate!

  63. author
    19eightythree
    21 Apr 2019
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    From the Walled City, to Covento de la Popa with a convent and sweeping city views to Getsemani neighborhood with it’s murals (and that iconic umbrella street), you cannot go wrong in Cartagena. Affordable, beautiful weather and comfortable traveling while Black. Make sure you take a photo with the lovely Palenqueras (and tip them). Easy to navigate airport as well (just make sure you wear seatbelts in cab. because, WHEW chile. the driving).

    Ability to speak and understand Spanish is very helpful as this is a Spanish speaking nation. Duolingo can help if you prepare by studying in advance.

  64. rissam5
    rissam5
    09 Apr 2019
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    Where do I start…traveling as a group of 6 ladies, we decided to book a walking tour of Cartagena and a beach tour of Playa Blanca. Our tour guide Boris was absolutely amazing and informative. We really learned a lot about Cartagena’s history and culture. Both tours were very educational as we went and visited each community starting with level 6 all the way down to level 1. At all times we felt very safe, from the day time to the night time. Outside of the tour we also walked from the Walled City where we stayed to Castillo de San Filipe which is another amazing site and hike. Please be sure to bring plenty of water with you as the sun and the hike is no joke!! Here you can see 360 views of the city from mountains to skyscrapers. We also got on a party bus that drove us around the city, provided liquor and took us to a club…all for $13 USD. This city is very inexpensive and there is always something to do. If you would like to see pics and videos of the trip, go to @rissam5 on Instagram

  65. author
    loveandluggage
    07 Apr 2019
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    Columbia was such a colorful destination! My husband and I went for a quick weekend trip from Ft. Lauderdale which was about a two hour flight. We stayed for 3 nights in an Air BNB at Morros city condo and it was a very pleasant stay (link to Air BNB: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/20478999?s=51). This was our first time vacationing in an Air BNB and I would definitely do it again as it was nice to have the amenities of a home during our stay and the host was very accommodating. We had an amazing view over the ocean and watched the sunset every night. When we first arrived it was a little nerve racking trying to get to our condo since people speak very little English but we made it work! We learned about 5 phrases and we were good. “Quanto – How much?”, “Quanto tiempo – How long?”, “Donde esta – Where is?”, “Me llamo – My name is”, & “Soy de – I am from”… We also had to quickly understand the conversion of our money since the locals don’t like to take American money. There was an awesome conversion rate when we were there. Our money was worth ~3x the money in Cartegena so we did a lot with what we took with us. The Air BNB we had came with an awesome deal to take a boat ride to a private island for the day for ~$30 per person. We ate and drank really good and partied at the pool on the island with other vacationers. We went to old town during the sunset hour at Cafe Del Mar. It was so beautiful but also really packed so you have to get there early or make reservations ahead of time. We walked around in old town at night. It was so lively and so much to do. We literally could not see it all although we stayed up all night walking around. You definitely need at least a week to get around to see everything and that’s just in old town. During the day old town is really beautiful and there are photo opps everywhere. This place is seriously like candyland for your eyes. The locals were very friendly but also you could tell the people there have to hustle daily to get by because a lot of locals will try to sell you just about anything. We had to learn “No Gracias” quickly but you can’t knock their hustle. The locals there don’t beg for money but they do take a lot of pride in selling you whatever it is that they have to sell. Also a few times we connected with the locals they would say to us “you’re black like me”. It was such a term of endearment as they were very happy to see us and we shared a moment of pride as we recognized our similarities even though we couldn’t communicate via the language. It was all LOVE. We didn’t stay long enough that’s for sure but we did stay long enough to know we have to go back. If you want to see pics and our travel vlog of our time in Cartegena check out http://www.loveandluggageblog.com :)

  66. Dmcnaugh
    15 Mar 2019
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    There was tons to do when it came to water based activities. The first night we did a dining cruise around cartagenas bay which included a four course meal (two appetizers, main course and desert) and a bottle of wine. The food was decent but not Colombian local food. The cruise lasted about 2 hours and was a beautiful site with the waters and lights. The next day we did a volcanoes tour where you took a mud math which was very relaxing and after you can rinse off in the pond nearby, the people that massage you in the mud and rinse you off would charge 5,000 pesos which equals to about $2. After this destination we went to a private beach where lunch was included and we stayed there for about another 2 hours. I would recommend this tour but the extended version that comes with the visit to the pink sea and a museum. Going to the old city is a must there you will have a chance to see the old buildings and this is also where most of the nightlife took place. Most of the clubs played Spanish music while there and couldn’t find any with any American music but still overall a great time.

  67. author
    tracheri
    04 Mar 2019
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    Cartegena was amazing and full of culture! I was surprised by the amount of African culture there. Be prepared for a huge language barrier! It is not a sense of urgency for the locals to learn English as it shouldn’t be so don’t expect it! Just power through it respectfully. I think it is a little judgmental and entitled of us to think other countries know more than one language when they don’t have to and we should respect it just download the Translate app! Our Airbnb was cheap and the food was cheap. Inside the wall there is a lot of nightlife and full of life and laughs. There are lots of Tripadvisor boat/island tours and Airbnb experiences to enjoy!
    *Our Cartegena Airbnb https://abnb.me/bY3i1uqENU

  68. Abdulai8
    27 Feb 2019
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    Cartagena Colombia

    is my favorite place I’ve been to in the last couple of years. The people are very beautiful people with a lot of diversity. The place as a whole is so colorful and It has plenty of black history/roots particularly in this one area called San Basilio de Palenque. Its full of black history and beauties all around even although it’s poverty is very visible. I didn’t get a chance to visit but some friends I traveled with did and it’s something I highly highly recommend for black travelers.
    Spaniards introduced kidnapped African slaves in South America through the Magdalena River Valley. Its mouth is close to the important port of Cartagena de Indias where ships full of Africans arrived. Some Africans escaped and set up Palenque de San Basilio, a town close to Cartagena. They tried to free all African slaves arriving at Cartagena and were quite successful. So yeah this place is very enrich with African heritage. You can take even African dance course and plenty of other things. I will definitely be returning to Cartagena to do this and many other things I missed out on because I went for about 5 days.

    One thing I want to advice you on is anyone visiting Cartagena is get ready for the begging. I knew it was poor but I didn’t know it was this poor. A lot of families particularly young kids are out in the streets haggling you (but you have to keep in mind even though it gets annoying, this is there primary way to survive).

    Cartagena has various types of ethnicities, food, the music, and traditions. My overall experience was positive. It is a beautiful place that I highly encourage you to visit.

    I went with a group and we all stayed in this one Airbnb within the old walled city. Our host was a very nice lady who accommodated us nicely. She even let us bring in our luggage’s when we arrived way before check in time and had an English translator for when we weren’t able to understand her with the semi Spanish some of us spoke. There was a lady present every morning to evening. She prepped traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner for us whenever we wanted as long as we went and bought the groceries. There was a gate boy that stayed there from evening till morning to let us in and make sure to help us out to where to go at night, where to avoid and just whatever we needed. Very nice people and really took care of us very well.

    The food in Colombia is very good especially if you go to cantinas (hole in the wall type restaurants). The highly recommend Bandeja Paisa, Sancocho, Arepa, Tostones, Ajiaco, and of course their Empanadas. But everything I had was great. Especially the fresh seafood. The best restaurant I ate at is La Cevichería. Highly highly recommend it but honestly most places you eat at you’ll enjoy.

    The price in Colombia I thought was very inexpensive especially if you plan it ahead of time. But you can usually negotiate a lot of material prices down. Overall the Cartagena is always doable by anyone especially if you get a flight deal and you plan ahead. This is a city that will live in your hearts forever. Again 1 of my favorite places I’ve been to in the last couple of years, if not ever.

  69. author
    ashleyyadams
    16 Feb 2019
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    Travelled to Cartagena in July.

    We spent majority of our time at the hotel. We did go to the Choco Museo or Chocolate Museum and it was great! You actually learn the history of chocolate and then you get to make your own chocolate. Very fun & a great experience.

    We did the all day Isla Baru tour.Tour picks you up from hotel and take you to a doc. You have to pay the doc fees and then you get on a boat to start your tour. They show you a few sites on the way and the first stop is at the Aquarium. It’s really an ocean park but still beautiful. Its a small place but you get the see and touch the sea turtles up close and personal. Also the dolphin show and the nursing shark feeding is great to watch. After the aquarium they take you to Isla Baru or Playa Blanca. DO NOT recommend this place at all. Everything is overpriced and people harass you for money or to buy something every 3 minutes literally. The beach water itself is pretty but that is the only pro. Other than that there is nothing good I can say about this place. They know your a tourist and all they want is your money and they will literally harass you the ENTIRE time you are here. Least favorite place I’ve ever been in my entire life. The tour came with lunch. Not good and flies everywhere you can’t even enjoy your food. Had to eat when we got back to the hotel.

    Going to the plaza at night is a MUST. There are so many local shops and street vendors for souvenirs. The people are super nice and the area is safe. We also rode a horse & carriage which was nice to sit back, and relax while riding around the city.

  70. author
    cnm4real
    16 Feb 2019
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    I visited Cartagena in December 2018 and it was amazing! I highly recommend the following places below:

    Playa Blanca. It’s about 60-90 minutes from the Bocagrande area. The beach was amazing and very beautiful! The tour company I went with was “Guianza Express” and they were great. We took a short boat ride (3-5 min) to a section of the beach with very few people and vendors, which I appreciated so much! It felt like we had the beach to ourselves compared to the more crowded area. The guide offered water and a fruit bowl upon arriving to the beach. The lunch provided (red snapper) was delicious and well seasoned. This was the highlight of my vacation in Cartagena.

    Rumba in Chiva party bus. It was a great night out in Cartagena. From dancing/drinking on the party bus and mingling with other tourists to dancing in the streets with locals and enjoying street food, it was worth the money and time.

    San Felipe de Barajas Castle. Really nice castle to walk through although the initial climb can be a challenged due to the heat. However, the view from the top will provide you with the best views of the city of Cartagena.

    Walled City of Cartagena. Walking through this area to enjoy delicious foods from various restaurants, ice cream/chocolate shops, to purchasing souvenirs. Also, the best place to watch the sunset!

    Seafood. Eat the seafood, it is fresh and amazing! Highly recommend Kiosco El Bony. The red snapper is heavenly.

  71. author
    Meontheglobe
    07 Feb 2019
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    Cartagena Colombia, so taken care of with flavor and color, when I listened to Cartagena I always wanted to know it until I had the opportunity, it is full of a lot of history History of Cartagena de Indias
    Cartagena was founded in the sixteenth century and was one of the most important ports in the entire American continent. Cartagena achieved its independence in 1811 and has always retained a historical touch of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when it still belonged to Spain. Due to its location, on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, it receives a large amount of tourism both nationally and internationally. There are many that you can do at an affordable price and many of these are open to the public such as walking around the historic center and doing a free walking tour
    Undoubtedly the most important thing to do in Cartagena de Indias is to walk through its streets see buildings from the Spanish viceroyalty, and several museums with relics of the time also from the Plaza de los Coches Free Walking Tours that will teach you a little more about this beautiful place. They work with tips (€ 5 -10 € per person, depending on what you consider) and last about an hour and a half. See the sunset over the sea from the bastion Cartagena de Indias is a very romantic city. And undoubtedly one of the most beautiful sunsets you will find will be from the bastion, over the walls you can look for the “Café del Mar” and sit in the surroundings the place is very expensive From there you will have a tremendous view of the Caribbean Sea, and can see the sun set and dye the city of Cartagena with some reddish colors. Go up to San Felipe de Barajas Castle
    The Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is a fortification that we find right next to the walls of Cartagena, on the hill of San Lazaro. It was built in 1657 and suffered attacks by both French and English to such an extent that late From the seventeenth century the French commander Baron de Pointis took the castle. Visit the best beaches of Cartagena and Colombia the beaches of La Boquilla, Castillogrande, Bocagrande and El Laguito. It is also worth visiting the island near Tierra Bomba, where other of the best beaches in Cartagena such as Bocachica and Playa Linda stand out. The best part Where to eat in CartagenaQuero Arepa – In Calle del Quero with Carrera 10, right on the corner, there is a restaurant with some very good arepas. They have traditional food, and the place moves away from the international tourism that we find more in the squares of the center. We recommend both arepas and delicious patacones, enjoy Cartagena and its culture

  72. shaylac
    shaylac
    27 Jan 2019
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    This is not only one of my top 2 places to travel (tied with Iceland), but it’s also one of my top places to travel while black. There is a huge african influence in Colombia and it shows. Despite the fact that I am not Colombian, I felt right at home here and it was beautiful to see. Pro Tip: While Cartagena is BEAUTIFUL, if you have the time (i.e more than 3 days in Colombia), check out some of the otber parts of the country (I want to Medellin and the Cocora Valley/coffee country – I’d recommend the cheap/quick domestic flights if you’re short on time/don’t want to be on a bus for 8 hours). The food is bomb, the people are kind, the airbnbs and hostels are cute and cheap. I’d definitely return here again, there’s so much more of the country I need to see!

  73. qswatkin
    qswatkin
    24 Jan 2019
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    I thoroughly visited enjoyed my time in Cartagena. First off I do speak a moderate amount of Spanish which definitely helps when navigating the city and negotiating prices. It really is a beautiful city with alot to do, from visiting the walled city, to a day trip to the Rosario Islands, to doing the volcanic mud bath, along with taking salsa lessons in one of the bars at night. Everyone I encountered was pretty friendly and Colombia has strong ties to African culture so I always felt welcome when I was there. The hotels were pretty affordable, although there are nicer hotels available if you want a more luxurious experience.

  74. author
    MeetTheWards
    28 Dec 2018
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    There are plenty of things to do in Cartagena. We went Flyboarding and on a banana boat. The beach there isn’t the nicest but a short drive to Playa Blanca will find you with white sand and clear waters. Within the wall there are many shops and also a bar to look out on the beach. Very relaxed place and the food was good and cheap. You will find that because Cartagena is on the sea the people are darker than what you assume Colombians look like. Many are darker than a lot of blacks so I had no problems with the color of my skin or staring. They do speak a different type of Spanish so do not be alarmed if you think you speak well and the locals do not completely understand you.

  75. author
    Remstar
    17 Dec 2018
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    I went to Cartagena Colombia for my birthday trip and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Cartagena is full of so much history,everywhere you went you were learning something new,which I loved. We were staying acros from the beach but we had great people at our hotel who set us up for the Rumba in Chiva tour which was super fun. We went to Castillo San Felipe which had great architectural history,we also went to The Old City of Cartagena to see La Gorda Gertrudis (fat woman) by Fernando Botero, we were also blessed enough to take great pics at The Convento de Santa Domingo. These are all great places to take pics and learn a lot about Cartegenas rich history.

  76. Mariemichelle
    Mariemichelle
    29 Nov 2018
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    Cartagena is a city that lives with you for a long time both very affordable and friendly. It’s a great blend of New Orleans and Mykonos all in one. The heart of Catargena is the old city which is where a lot of the action is, so be sure to stay in the boutique hotels within the walled city. It’ll be a walk to most restaurants, bars and boutiques.

    Transportation wise there are a lot of cabs everywhere especially outside the walled city that you can take just be sure to agree on a price before heading to your destination. The language barrier is obvious but not bad. Most people speak broken English that together with hand signals is a whole language on it’s own ahhahaha.

    My favorite restaurants were El Burlador, the paella was worth every minute of the 45 minute wait and Porton de San Sebastian has exquisite fish soup and kebabs. These are all within the old city but I also did go to La colonia just across from Castillo san Felipe which has a very good el pollo stew. If you walk around enough you will definitely lots more gems to eat at. Old city has a lot of rooftop bars surprisingly but alquimico was my go to more than others and a few others I tried and loved as well were cafe del mar and el baron. There’s a lot to shop for just remember to always haggle prices in shop or not. Save a bit more coins lol! btw there are a lot of hookers at night like a whole lot but they don’t bother nobody or get in your way. And no they’re not at the bars and clubs just at the main plazas in the street.

    Besides taking pictures with the fabulous traditionally dressed banana sellers, there’s a very therapeutic mud bath at el totumo a good 2.5 hours away (I didn’t get to do this), the beaches are also best at the islands about an 1 hour away the best of them Rosario islands although there are more. Not to forget castillo san felipe and the famous los zapatos viejos statue.

    There is no racism whatsoever in Cartagena. the people are very welcoming are lovely and willing to give you good tips of what to see. Which reminds me, be sure to visit Getsemani another old city just as colorful and full of restaurants. The only con is the amount of hawkers, you drive one away and 10 more show up but please be patient as this is their way of making an income. Other than that , you will have a blast, enjoy your money’s worth and feel a true sense of community.

  77. author
    Ayesha
    11 Nov 2018
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    Stayed at El Arsenal Hostel and El Viajero Hostel. Enjoyed walking around the picturesque streets, buying fresh fruits, eating from street vendors, walking to the squares at night, and looking at graffiti.Took a day trip to Playa Blanca. The water is beautiful and I went jetskiing. There are restaurants. There are people selling things on the beach, which can take away from relaxation. Be sure to bring cash, because the fees for card use was high. Went to Barranquilla’s Carnaval for 2 days. I enjoyed seeing the different cultural dances, but I won’t go again. From there, I went to the Colombian Amazon in Leticia. The first night, I checked into Hostel Casa de las Palmas. It was a close walk to town. The next morning, I walked around town and bought boat tickets at the malecon to Reserva Natural Natura (a remote eco lodge). Along where the boats depart, there are people lined off selling different goods. Be sure to buy last minute supplies, because you won’t be able to get them anywhere else if you’re staying in a remote lodge. The grounds at the lodge is beautiful. The rooms have a bed with a mosquito net around it. No television, wifi, or good cell service. The water from the shower initially came out brown, but turned clear. They use rain water collected in a large bin. After I arrived, I rested for a bit. Then a native Ticuna guide took me on a nature walk through the forest. The next day, I went on a small wooden fishing boat. Water was slowly leaking into the boat, and we scooped it out with a soda bottle. With the makeshift fishing rod, I caught 1 catfish. Saw many different birds along the Amazon River and the changing of the colors of the water. Went to isla de los micos. One of the guides gives you a banana, and many small monkeys jump all over you. They were so cute. A curious baby monkey on it’s mother back gave me a kiss on the nose. The next day, we went on a larger boat to Puerto Narino. Had lunch there and walked around the town for a little while. From there, went to lagos tarapotos to spot pink dolphins. I did see the pink dolphin several times. The birds here were diverse and beautiful. The ride back was a little terrifying. It was dark, raining, and our boat did not have a light. We hit a few logs thaf I thought would topple the boat over. The sunset from the boat was beautiful. The next day, I went back to the city in Leticia. Stayed at Hotel Utüane. Went on a tuk tuk tour to Tabatinga, Brazil. Bought a few souvenirs, went to a zoo, saw one of Pablo Escobar’s old planes, and walked around the market. The next day, I bought boat tickets to Puerto Alegria, Peru. I went there primarily for the animal encounters. I took pictures with a sloth, parrot, anaconda, and prehistoric turtle. I walked around, observed daily life, shopped fir souvenirs, and spoke with a shop owner. Afterwards, one of the guides at the hotel took me on a day hike and I met some members of the Diablo tribe and toured their place. Once back in town, we ate a grilled piranha and went to the ethnographic museum. The people here are very nice and always willing to help a lost tourist. It does help to speak Spanish. I can’t wait to return to the Anazonas.

  78. KellyandShannon
    KellyandShannon
    09 Nov 2018
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    Cartagena is a vibrant fun city with a lot to do.  The locals are very friendly and although the language barrier was difficult we managed to navigate Cartagena successfully. Major shoutout to Google Translate, you were the real MVP while we were there.

    I definitely recommend going into the Old City to walk around, take pictures, and soak in the bright and beautiful architecture. The hop on hop off  tours are a must in Cartagena! My sister and I love hop on/off tours because you get a lot of bang for your buck!  Make sure you’re photoshoot fresh because there are great photo op’s. We spent a couple days exploring different beaches (Playa Blanca and Rosario Island). Playa Blanca is a public beach so you will definitely experience haggling from vendors but for 20 bucks and a delicious fish lunch it’s worth it! Plus the water is super clear and warm. 

     

    One of the highlights of our trip was going to El Totumo, which is a mud volcano is Colombia. I had to convince my germaphobe sister to partake in this unique activity because really who can say they’ve been in a MUD volcano?! It was definitely a YOLO moment and I highly recommend this to anyone visiting. It was by far one of the strangest experiences but I don’t regret it. Plus, they say that the volcano has active minerals for your skin and we’re all about that skincare life. 

    Pros-The affordability! Yes LAWD! Everything was EXTREMELY affordable. At times Kelly and I looked at each other like huh, we’re paying 40 dollars for a 5 hour excursion with lunch and transporation?! From the food, to the taxis, souvenirs, and excursions we did not spend a lot of money which is a win for us because we are the budget travel queens. 

    Cons- The language barrier was quite a struggle because very few Colombian’s speak English. We were literally on Google Translate all day everyday, which was tough especially when they thought we were Colombian/ Brazilian. 

    Also, never travel alone! We always felt safe but we heard some horror stories about sketchy taxis, but you’ll be fine!

    Let me know if you have any questions about Cartagena. If you see a good deal definitely book your flight and pack your bags!

  79. KellyandShannon
    KellyandShannon
    09 Nov 2018
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    The best part of the food in Colombia was the fried fish. I’m Jamaican and we loveeee fried fish (yes, with the head). The fish, rice, and platanos were very reminiscent of Jamaica and home cooked food. We literally had it every day and I didn’t get tired of it at all.  They are known for their fresh seafood as well.  

  80. author
    Marissag422
    09 Nov 2018
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    I enjoyed Cartagena – very cool atmosphere in the walled city/old town. I would suggest staying in a boutique hotel in old town, we stayed at the Intercontinental along the coast and just ended up going to old town every night. My favorite activity was a private boat tour to nearby islands (Tierra la bomba, Isla Cholon, Fenix Beach), that we booked with the hotel recommended boat company, which included lunch on the beach. Nightlife was also fun, Getsemani had a lot of cool late nights places with good drinks. I’d also recommend the bar Alchemico in Old Town for trendy drinks and good vibes.

  81. janellehowell
    janellehowell
    04 Nov 2018
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    Cartagena is the perfect place for a beach lover. You have the option of going to the beach that’s right on the water or you can go to a more Virgin and secluded beach like Isla Baru. The water is aqua blue and the weather is warm, but can get extremely hot depending on when you go. Choose a hotel that is near the city center and you’ll be able to walk to main streets and areas that you see plastered all across the media. It is one of the most colorful cities I’ve ever experienced and the beauty of it all can be taken in from just taking a stroll.

  82. Danielle.Romaine
    Danielle.Romaine
    26 Oct 2018
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    Movich boutique hotel is an awesome place to stay ! Great views and food , located right in the heart of the old city . Movich Hotel is a 4.5 star hotel , in my opinion it’s a 5 star hotel ! The cost to stay there may range from 199$ to 297$ /night depending the season you visit. It is well worth the money for its luxury, location and views!

  83. author
    PJ SweetMelanin
    20 Oct 2018
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    Girls Trip to Cartagena
    By Sweetmelanin2x on Instagram.

    I went with a group of 5 girls to Cartagena to celebrate my friend’s milestone birthday. We stayed for 4 day and 3 nights.

    We stayed at an Airbnb called Spanish Colonial Luxury Villa located in the Walled City. I fell in love with our villa. It was gorgeous!!! The Spanish style décor, the no-ceiling living room space, and the beautiful rooftop pool with a gorgeous view of the city… everything was just breathtaking. We had a 24hr staff that welcomed us with warm smiles and superb hospitality. The cook prepared breakfast every morning. Each of us had our own bedroom with a beautiful bathroom. I fell in love with our villa….never wanted to leave. Staying in the walled city was the best decision we could’ve made during our planning process. We met so many people steps away from our villa. Everything was walking distance including nightlife activities. If you’re looking to go on a trip filled with culture, adventure, music, gorgeous views, and pure unadulterated fun…. Cartagena is the place to go.

    I would highly recommend a group trip to the old city of Cartagena.

    Check out Sweetmelanin2x on Instagram for pics of our trip.

  84. author
    marcusmeetsworld
    18 Oct 2018
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    Cartagena Colombia may be my top 5 places I’ve been but this was also a guys trip. Me and 7 other fellas rented a home on Airbnb and had up and downstairs with a pool in the center very affordable we stayed about 5 days. Now I may skip a lot due to the fact to keep it PG but also there are a lot of things to visit with a lot of history. I suggest staying as close as you can to the old city. The clubs are all roof top and a must go. The local food… amazing and a top of the food for me was the coconut rice it’s just that good and limonada frio ?? must haves they are freshly made and also the margaritas are made from scratch you can just taste how organic it is compared to the states. We rented a boat and headed to an island called Isla Baru it’s about 30-45 mins from the main land and there you can get a massage jet ski and enjoy this beautiful beach excluded from tourist. Also for lunch you should try the lobster fresh caught and you pick out the one you like and they can cook it with there fish of the day. They had some of the best margaritas I’ve had in my life on this island no exaggeration. The next day we went to Isla Del Rosario this island is so dope we rented a big boat for this about $1000 total small yacht pretty much. Once there you’ll see other yachts just all parked around these water huts and everyone just relaxes on there boats. Someone will come on a boat and jet ski offering food to sell which was delicious fresh squid salads fish etc. this trip is almost a must. We didn’t do this part but on the way to this tour it’s a island with a home that everyone visits to see the dolphins you can ask locals about it or just google it it’s much more affordable than the Mexico dolphin tours. Lastly we did the volcano mud tour which is pretty unique we talked to our taxi driver cause we could smell it in the air (cocaine) lol and he confirmed all the smoke fields you see on the way to this tour mud bath called Vulcán Del Totumó and when your at the top you can more visibly see the fields. The mud bath was just something you have to add to your list get a massage if you please and then wash off down the hill. Overall my favorite trip!

  85. author
    TheTravelGuydes
    01 Sep 2018
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    My two favorite activities were easily the volcanic mudbath and our boat outing. The mudbath gets you out of your comfort zone, and it was honestly one of the most unique experiences in my travels. Additionally, it wasn’t expensive, which is always a pro for the cost-conscious traveler (i.e. ME! lol). Taking the yacht out was overall a fun experience that toed the line of turnup and relaxation. However, for me, it was a bit deeper because the first time that I had been in a large body of water since nearly drowning in Brazil. Diving off the edge of the yacht was so freeing and honestly amplified the whole experience. You should try it!

  86. WheresTheJohn
    WheresTheJohn
    27 Aug 2018
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    I visited the lovely city of Cartagena in May and immediately fell in love. The city’s vibrant colors, delicious food and energized spirit are well worth the trip. I spent about 4 days in Cartagena and felt like it was just the right amount of time- making it the perfect getaway for a quick trip. The food was beyond amazing and extremely affordable. My favorite restaurant would have to be Restaurante Interno. Hands down some of the best tasting food I have ever had. The night life can get a little crazy, but everyone is out for a good time and you meet a ton of great people along the way. I suggest visiting Alquimico Bar for some great vibes. Definitely on my list of places to go back and would recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable getaway.

  87. author
    Kayla Brynae
    26 Aug 2018
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    Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting and photogenic cities I’ve ever been. Cartagena is so full of life that it’s hard not to have a good time there. The people are energetic. The food is full of flavor. And the neighborhoods feel so homey. Trust me, this a great place to get lost in. • I don’t speak too much Spanish – just enough to get back home, if lost – but I still found it easy to make a connection with the people there. That being said, you have to find the Palenqueras selling fruit in Old Town. Just interacting with them makes you feel like you’ve found your long-lost Colombian aunties. • Also, don’t be afraid to try some of the tours here. The beaches are well worth while to explore and even the Volcano mud bath tour turned out to be pretty fun.

  88. smcknight
    18 Aug 2018
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    Rumba in Chiva was amazing. You ride on a party bus throughout the city and they make a few stops where you can buy musical instruments to play during the ride and food. They pass out rum and mixers for the ride and passengers do karaoke and challenge other groups to see who can make the most noise as they drive by. The final stop is a club located outside the city where your entry is included in the price of the tour.

  89. loveismyreligion91
    loveismyreligion91
    12 Aug 2018
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    Cartagena is definitely among my top 5 cities to stay. First and foremost, the cost of living is incredibly affordable, the food is fresh, and simply amazing. My girlfriend and I traveled there about 3 months ago and we stayed at an airbnb for about $30 the night. The wall city has amazing restaurants, clubs, and bars to go to for night life. And during the day its just spectacular. You can always book a tour and visit the differenr island including playa blanca. Be careful at the islands, everything is OVERPRICED. So before you order something, anything, make sure you ask for the price, always have cash, because they’ll charge you extra if you use your card. So be aware.
    Oh and it’s incredibly safe! Not for once did we feel in any kind of danger, just apply common sense and you’ll be fine

  90. theresepurcell
    theresepurcell
    24 Jul 2018
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    I have gone to Cartagena twice. Both times I had an amazing trip! It’s a relatively inexpensive trip when you book early and find a place to stay. We stayed within the city both times. However, I loved staying at Casa Canabal. It was inexpensive, breakfast was included every morning and the rooftop pool was often not packed with people. The food there was also delicious. I suggest the ceviche!

    There are so many restaurants to eat at just by walking around the city, and everything is reasonably priced. I was there a night alone and as a woman alone, I felt safe to walk around the city at night because there is always a lot of people in town.

    I really enjoyed going on a photo walk with the girls taking pictures of all the murals painted on sides of buildings. There is plenty to do! And if you get lucky you may be able to get a reasonably priced flight and hotel package via JetBlue!

    Cheers,
    Therese (@iamnursett)

  91. Ktriley21
    Ktriley21
    30 Jun 2018
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    One of the most wonderful and colorful places I have ever been. If u come to cartagena, you must to go to the old city. The street art and palenqueras(fruit sellers) are the best. Every street has a different colour and flower over the doors. So please adventure out as they have so much to offer. Also don’t worry about your Spanish. People are very helpful.

  92. Fullermi03
    Fullermi03
    25 Jun 2018
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    Cartagena, Colombia was absolutely beautiful!
    We stayed 6 days total; 5 days at the Hilton (approx $160/night) & the last day we stayed at an Airbnb. A taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was about 20,000 pesos which is about $7usd. All the staff the is extremely polite & helpful. There were 4 different pools, there’s even a bar in one of the pools where you can order food/ drinks.
    There’s a bunch of food & liquor within walking distance of the hotel. We felt safe walking around, but just be aware of your surroundings as always. They have typical (overpriced) Hilton pricing here. Be prepared for that if decide to grab food/ drinks at the hotel.
    Tip: For every taxi ride, confirm the amount before they pull off to ensure it’s an amount you’re okay paying/ they aren’t charging too much.

    We went on a girls trip (3 of us) & one friend was fluent in Spanish. I’d definitely suggest going with someone who is a native speaker.
    Tip: If you don’t know any Spanish it may be helpful to learn a few phrases; how much is../ please/ thank you/ where is the nearest../ how do I get to.. things like that.
    However, our friend helped us in SO many situations.. especially when it came time to translating during purchasing things & bargaining. That brings me to my next point.. bargain everythiiiiiing! They know we’re tourists, so they start high to see what they can get then will lower if you don’t accept their first offer.
    If I’m being honest, it did become a little overwhelming walking around because literally every person you walk by is aggressively trying to sell you something; food, fruit, massages, photo opportunities, souvenirs, excursions etc. We wanted to just peacefully enjoy the scenery, but you have 5 people walking up to you every step you take. If it’s not something you want, politely reply with “no gracias” & keep going. They’re very aggressive & persistent, but you really just have to be patient & understand that this is their way of living & source of income.

    We visited the walled city (old town) often for food, dancing, & good music. (Short taxi ride from hotel 10,000 pesos) It’s very bright & beautiful. There’s lots of street art/ murals/ graffiti down one of the streets which amazing to see & of course we got some awesome photos.

    Food: If you like seafood, you will LOVE Colombian food!! However, I don’t eat meat, so I struggled with finding “vegetarian friendly” dishes. I literally ate potatoes, pasta, & crepes the entire trip lol
    Tip: you MUST visit the restaurant Cafe Del Mar. The views are breathtaking! (We took a carriage ride there just to be extra & it was super cheap haha)

    Excursions: We used an app called viator to book our excursions. However, we later found out that it would have been cheaper to book it with one of the people selling them on the streets.
    We did an island tour that took us to 3 different islands for $95. (On the street, it was only 170,000 pesos which converts to about $60 usd) It’s an all day thing; you take a small speed boat to each island, snorkel, eat, drink, relax on the beaches, etc. I had a ball, but you’re definitely exhausted by the end of it.

    We also visited the active mud volcano for about $20 usd. It was fun, and an experience to remember.. but adjusting and getting used to the mud took a little time. The views at the top of the volcano were beautiful.
    Tip: be prepared to tip everyone; the person that takes the photo for you, massages you in the mud, and the ladies that help you clean off the mud.

    My overall experience was fantastic!! Colombia is very bright & beautiful & the people are extremely loving. Colombia has stolen my heart.. foreva *cardi voice*

    Feel free to reach out with any questions!
    – Melanie (@melanie.ife)

  93. LetsBCarey
    21 Jun 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    Cartagena is an amazing city! The juxtaposition between old and new throughout the city is breathtaking. Of course, it is a fabulously preserved colonial town with many interesting sites to see. Aside from the historical sites and delicious food, Cartagena (and Colombia) as a whole should be on every person who considers’s themselves part of the African diaspora bucket list. Even with a language barrier, you will feel right at home. The people are very receptive to other brown/black people and it’s easy to blend in the with locals. There is a certain kind of loving energy that is accompanied with traveling through a country where people who look like you are the majority, not a minority.

  94. author
    Jeeleighanne
    19 Jun 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    Catargena was the first stop in three city Colombian tour.Lots of history here.I did the Chivas ride around the city the first night there.Its a local music, food, and rum filled bus ride around the city.Lots off dancing and singing while local musicians played vibrant music. I didn’t get a chance to check out the many beaches there but i did take a 4 hour boat ride to Tulum Cholon. Colombia’s party islands, and boy oh boy was it a party.The boat was anchored and we took a motor boat to all the different little islands.The beaches were amazing.FOOD!! All types of Colombian food could be found on the different little islands.Lots of seafood.I mistakenly over indulge so the boat ride back was a bit messy.Although i didn’t spend much time in Catargena i did enjoy the city.I will definitely be back to take in its full essence.

  95. Sue_Monroe17
    Sue_Monroe17
    19 Jun 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    Cartagena was such an overall amazing experience! We took a girls trip to Cartagena and it was nothing short of awesome. We flew from Fort Lauderdale airport and unfortunately our flight was a little delayed getting to Cartagena. The flight however was very affordable. Once we got there however, we headed to our AirBnB where we had a spectacular view of the city. We then later went to lunch and I will say that Colombia has the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted. I would actually go back to Colombia just to eat because the food was that good. We then began our adventure of viewing this gorgeous city. Some of my favorite things that we did included: visiting the Great Wall, el totumo mud volcano, and the rumba party bus! We also explored Castillo San Felipe which was pretty cool too. Next, the food was by far the best I’ve ever had and it made no difference where we ate because each place had delicious food, especially the fish. Not to mention, the spending cost in Cartagena for both food and things that interest us was very affordable. I definitely recommend going to Cartagena whether as a girls trip or with a bae!

  96. author
    Dorcas
    16 Jun 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    I love everything about Cartagena! It was the most beautiful city. I really enjoyed all the adventures you can take. I loved the food, especially the Carbon de Palo, it had the best food, served on a hot skillet. So great. We did a private salsa class, wonderful instructor. The best day was the beach day Isla Baru, was beautiful, it took us about 45 minutes out of the city and the water was best. We got authentic souvenirs. I would love to go back, at any time :)

  97. Luwam.araya
    Luwam.araya
    10 Jun 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    I traveled to Cartagena with Urbn Trvl and had such an amazing time. I flew in through Avianca Airlines and received great service. Upon arrival, transportation was provided by Urbn Trvl which took us straight to the Villa (Villa Arte). Very beautiful villa with a pool, private room and bathroom. We toured the colorful city, visited nightclubs, bathed in a volcano mud bath, and did some island hopping on speedboats. One of my favorite moments was when we visited one of the islands and went for a ride on a banana boat. I had some of the best fish and ceviche from La Cevicheria and would highly recommend a visit. The hosts were very accommodating and professional. They went the extra mile and even went to everyones room to make sure they were on time for days events. I definitely plan on doing more trips with Urbn Trvl in the future.

  98. Kalaya_Veronika
    06 Jun 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    Cartagena is beautiful, and the people are wonderful! Regarding the food – delicious but if I can provide any insights it would be the following:

    1. I don’t eat red meat so brush up on your Spanish to communicate this when ordering.
    2. Lovely restaurant that I visited that I highly recommend: Cande (deliciousss food, they have (2) Colombian dancers around dinner time adding to the overall atmosphere, service is superior, they split checks, and the price point is great. It’s in the walled city.
    3. If possible, cook in the mornings or catch breakfast at your hotel. Its hard searching for light breakfast options in the a.m. that isn’t fruit or empanadas.

  99. Lonniesare
    Lonniesare
    05 Jun 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    Cartagena has been one of my most adventurous trips to date. I went on this trip with Urbntrvl who I’d highly recommend taking your next trip with. You have to venture away from The Walled City for adventure but it was definitely worth it. My crew and I went for a relaxing Mud Bath in an inactive volcano in Piojo. It was a bit unsettling at first because it’s not like a pool of water. Think of it like the Dead Sea, glide in and just relax as you float on over to a nice massage. The mud is also great for your skin so don’t be afraid to get it all over. Once done, a wonderful group of ladies will rinse it all away. Please be sure to tip and be prepared for a thorough cleansing ?.

    Dare to do something different!! I did exactly that and tried flyboarding which was only $40 USD. I’ve never had to pretend to be so tough in my entire life! Since we were a large group I didn’t wanna embarrass myself by being a chicken. So I took this adventure head on and it was so exhilarating. My flyboarding needs some work but I advise everyone to take on the challenge!

    If you go to Cartagena I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  100. Shanell5169
    Shanell5169
    04 Jun 2018
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    My recent trip to Cartagena was amazing, it was an relaxing mini vacation. My friends and I flew from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale and from there it was only a 2 hour flight on jetblue. We decided to stay at Hotel Dann Cartagena, while doing our research this was the hotel that was most recommended to us. This hotel offers free access to the beach, free breakfast, an outdoor pool and amazing balcony views, and to top it off the staff was very friendly and helpful! We stayed a total of three nights and only paid $286usd. During our time there a hotel representative helped us arrange our trip to the volcano mud bath ($25usd with dinner included) as well as help us setup a salsa dancing class($20usd) ! There were a few restaurants in walking distance near the hotel however I highly recommend going to their “city” called Old Town. Old town definitely have a lot more restaurants and this area is very touristy so you’ll find the ladies with the bright colors and fruit baskets and beautiful buildings, this is also were we went four our salsa dancing class. From our hotel it cost about $12usd to get a taxi to there. Taxi is also how you would mainly get around. As far as beaches go we just went to the one located next to our hotel not sure of the name however if you get a chance you definitely want to check out la playa Blanca, everyone that I heard who went there loved it! Some other things that I would recommend is try to bring only cash if you can most of the people here expect tips, also prepare to be harassed a bit in a friendly way if that makes since. You’ll constantly have people coming up to you asking you to buy certain products, giving massages on the beach, or coming up to you rapping and wanting a tip afterwards. For me I really didn’t have a problem with it, but sometimes you do just want to relax and absorb the scenery. Also for the mud bath we had a bus pick us up from our hotel and from there it was about an 1-1:30hr drive there and back, again this was arrange with the lady at our hotel so everything was already setup. They will take you to the mud bath first where they will have you change and lock up your belongings (bring a change of clothes!). If you want your pictures taken only the staff can do it and they charge $5usd per phone/camera, for the most part they took some pretty good photos! Afterwards they will take you to dinner on the beach (food was amazing) and then bring you back to your hotel!

  101. rocket156
    rocket156
    04 Jun 2018
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    Cartagena is a nice place to visit for a few days to see historic sites. One of the most popular tours are the volcano mud tour and going to the regatta with a local captain for the best price. I listed my itinerary of places I visited below, I suggest to stay in a place on the beach it is very central to everything.

    [Old town/San Diego]
    -Walled city neighborhoods
    -Historic walls
    -Architectural gems
    -Historic sites
    -Museums
    -Centuries Old churches
    -Plazas
    -Roving fruit vendors
    -Shops and restaurants tucked in colorful facades.

    [Getsemani]

    -Bazurto social club
    -Cafe Havana

    [Calle de la media Luna]

    -Charming Plaza

    [Bocagrande/Castillogrande]
    -High rises
    -Apartments/condos
    -Luxury hotels
    -Restaurants
    -Boutiques
    -Nightclubs [bocagrande]
    -Exclusive bars [bocagrande]
    -Beaches [castillogrande]

    [BARS & DISCOS]
    (non prost. only)
    **From these night clubs you can find just normal local and also some tourist girls. Sometimes there might be also semi-pros hanging around.
    Some of the places are open on Weekends only.

    -Bar Restaurante El Muelle (Dancing) ,
    Carrera 1 # 1A-23.
    Tel: 665-1975.
    Hours: 10:30pm after the CHIVA Rum Bus gets there.

    -La Luz Disco Club,
    Carrera 1 # 6-154, 1st. Piso, Hotel Cartagena Plaza.
    Tel: (57 5) 665 4000, 665 4104, 665 4300.

    -Bar Bareke,
    Calle 8 #2-24.
    Tel: 57-5-655 1956.

    -Joy Slava Club,
    Playa de La Artilleria # 36-86, across from the Wall, near Calle Baloco.
    Tel: 660-2164.
    Hours: Friday to Sunday. 9pm to 4am.

    -Babar,
    Calle San Juan de Dios and Calle Antonio Ricaurte.
    Prices: Cover 10k, Beer 8k.
    Tel: 57-5-664-4083.
    Hours: 8pm to 4am.

    -Tu Candela Bar,
    Carrera 7 # 32-25, piso 2, Portal de los Dulces.
    Prices: Cover on Weekends 10k, Beer 7k, Drinks 13k to 16k, Mostly for Locals, Chicas 100-150k.
    Tel: 57-5-664-8787.
    Hours: 8pm to 4am.

    -“Quiebra Canto Bar”,
    Salsa, Cafe Galleria, Carrera 8B # 25-110, Piso 2, L-201, Edificio Puerta Del Sol, overlooking the Parque del Centenario.
    Tel: 664-1372.
    Hours: 8pm to 4am.

    -Mister Babilla (disco) ,
    Calle 24 # 8B-137, near Calle del Arsenal.
    Prices: Cover 10k on weekends,
    Drinks around 14k.
    Tel: +57 5 664 8616, +57 5 664 7005.
    Hours: 11pm to 5am.

    -Qk-Yito Lounge (disco) ,
    Calle del Arsenal #10-13 (Calle de Rumba).
    Hours: 8pm to 4am.

    -Baluma,
    Calle de Arsenal # 10-39.
    Tel: 664-0607.

    -La Cabonera,
    Calle 24 # 9a-47, and Calle del Arsenal.
    Tel: 664-3720.

    -Maracaná,
    Calle del Arsenal.

    -Café Restuarante Havana,
    Calle Media Luna con Calle del Guerrero.
    Tel: 57 315 6902566.

    -Ritmo Minitk,
    Carrera 21A # 5-96 Cj Ferrer.

    -Karamba Bar-Disco
    (Chambacu Not a Safe Area!) , Avenida Pedro de Heredia # 62-30.
    Tel: (57 5) 663 1532 or 651-3912.

    -Salsoteca Siguaraya (Chambacu Not a Safe Area!),
    Avenida Pedro de Heredia # 65A 47, In front of the Villa Sandra.
    Tel: 663 1800.

    -Extreme Bar-Discoteca Restaurante,
    El Rubi, Calle 31 # 64-100 Piso 2 Level 248, C. C. Paseo de La Castellana.
    Tel: (57 5) 653 2781. 653 2651, Tel / Fax: 660 0011.

    -Bururum-Barara Cafe-Bar,
    San Pedro Manz 1 Lt 16. Tel: (57 5) 663 1518.

  102. author
    Ashlee
    02 Jun 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    Cartegna is a beautiful city with many things to see and do. Overall for food, tours, taxis, and souvenirs everything is afforadable. The city is a mix of the old and the new with the fort being the main standpoint. If you go, a must do is to go to the old city and see the beautiful colored doors, and the Afro-Colombian Women selling sweets. I think it was comfortable traveling to the city while being black, there are many black Colombians. But I did get many people wanting to take a picture with me and looking at my hair. Which is normally expected if I travel to Asia, but I was quite surprised to see that in Colombia. There is a great tour you can do which is visit the town of Palenque. This town is the first town for free and escaped slaves in Colombia. It is a culture enchanting experience definitely a must see.

  103. AshD
    AshD
    31 May 2018
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    The city is old and beautiful with a mix of things to do that leaves something for everyone. I went with my husband and we did everything from sampling local seafood and ceviche to taking a speedboat to the white sand beaches in Baru. You can easily find day tours and excursions or just hang around the walled city wandering in and out of shops and talking with the Palenque ladies you see selling fruit and juices. The views especially at sunset are great from the top of the wall and you can see locals as well as tourists taking the time to appreciate it. By night, you should definitely check out the clubs and scene that emerges. Even my husband who’s too cool and never dances couldn’t contain himself at Café Havana and the live music that you can hear from the streets. Definitely one of the most fun places I’ve been.

  104. author
    marthe_moise
    31 May 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    Love Love Cartagena!! My experience in Cartagena was extreamly inviting and welcoming! It gave me a Miami vibe, but 10x better. I went with a few of my female friends, and not once did we feel uncomfortable or unsafe. It was super easy to get around by taxi or even by walking. We stayed at an Airbnb located in Morros city- Boca grande. Our views from the apartment was amazing, and the city was walking distance. Food was hella affordable, along with liquor stores being open 24hrs! There is always something to do, from historical landscapes, beaches, and nightclubs. One of my friends spoke Spanish, so it is very helpful if you know the language it makes communicating with vendors and taxi drivers much easier.

    Overall, I loved everything about Cartagena and would definitely visit in the near future.

  105. author
    Zuskillz
    31 May 2018
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    Traveled to Cartagena, Colombia with URBN TRVL. They really provided the group with an outstanding, unparalleled travel experience! The URBN TRVL itinerary for Cartagena included island hopping on a speed boat, salsa dancing, guided tours of the city, party bus/ clubs, a therapeutic mud bath in an inactive volcano, and random fine dining experiences. The Walled city of Cartagena had a lot to offer, and URBN TRAVL made sure we did it all! When traveling to Cartagena remember to dress appropriately for the season and check the weather before you leave. You will need to convert your money to the Colombian pesos (I did $300 for four days). Also, try to learn a couple of Spanish key words/ phrases to make it easier to get around the city, especially if you are traveling solo.

  106. raraya
    raraya
    30 May 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    10 out of 10, would recommend. If you don’t want to live your best life, avoid Cartagena! This was my first trip with UrbnTrvl. I flew from Miami on Avianca , this was my first time flying them and I would definitely recommend this airline. The flight wasn’t anything special but they fed us and that’s a big deal to me because food is the key to my heart. We had transportation provided through UrbnTrvl and they picked us up and took us on our way to Villa Arte, A beautiful villa within the heart of the city and a lovely pool. We went salsa dancing which I would say was the highlight of my trip, we also went to the volcano mud bath which was a ways out but the transportation was quick and easy through UrbnTrvl. Some of the restaurant we went to were La Cevicheria (very well known and worth the wait) and Quebracho steak house, they had live music and delicious food. But the most memorable part of the trip was the boat ride to the nearby island. I HAD THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE. Other travelers are there on you all join together to drink, eat fresh fish/seafood, ride jet skis and well.. live it up! I felt very safe in the city and the only regret I have is not taking enough photos. I was too busy having the time of my life.

  107. author
    Kat_Thrash
    30 May 2018
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    Cartagena was such an amazing experience! I didn’t know what to expect going into the trip. But, Urbn Trvl planned such an action packed itinerary for our group of 30! We stayed for 4 days. I would suggest staying for at least a week to explore both inside the Walled City and outside of it. We stayed within the Walled City. I coincidentally had friends staying in the city, so I had the opportunity to explore outside the Walled City.

    Urbn Trvl made sure to have our transportation set up for each of our arrivals. TIP 1: Watch out for the taxi hustlers! They are persistent and will try to help with your bags and overcharge you for a ride to your destination. They are about their money. Good advice to have transportation already set up upon arrival (Thanks Urbn Trvl!!)
    Day 1: Urbn Trvl surprised us with a FUN party bus for our group! We hooked up our aux cord and took over the city as we traveled throughout the city of Cartagena. We made a stop and indulged in street empanadas, We ended the night going to a club within the walled city.

    As far as lodging, Urbn Trvl booked 2 villas for our group. I stayed in “Casa Milat – Hotel Boutique”. There were 2 to a room and each room had their own restroom. TIP: We were instructed NOT to flush the toilet paper down the toilet. Place in the trash can. Toilets were easily backed up.
    Each Villa also had a pool. I would highly suggest doing the same or using Air BNB for lodging. It was comfortable and safe. There were in house security and house keeping to clean up each night. TIP: The police do shakedowns in the Walled City. If they get suspicious and hear loud music, they are liable to raid the place and will ask for $100 USD to pay them off. BE CAREFUL!

    Day 2: We enjoyed Salsa lessons at the “Crazy Salsa” dance studio. It was SUCH a fun time, although it was super hot! They did provide us with bottled water. We enjoyed a steak dinner at afterwards and later explored the city. We went to a bar to explore more of the nightlife.

    Day 3: We traveled to the famed “Volcan de Lodo El Totumo”, an all natural therapeutic mud bath! It was such a dope experience, as soon as you climbed down into it, you automatically floated! We got massages while floating. The locals took us into the river afterwards and washed us off. Afterwards, lunch was provided at the beach. We had amazing fresh fish and chicken! TIP: Always drink from bottled water.

    Day 4: This was BY far my favorite day! We were whisked away in 2 private speed boats 45 min away to private islands in Rosario. Once we arrived, we enjoyed the bar in the water. There were activities to do including jet skiis, banana boat, and flyboards (water Jet skiis on the feet)! TIP: The activities did cost extra. The Jet skiis were 100 Colombian Pesos. We stayed out on the water from about 10am-5pm.

    Departures were simple. Urbn Trvl made sure they set us up with a ride back to the airport. We stayed only 15 minutes away. The airport process was easy and the lines were short.

    Other Tips:
    You really don’t need too much money on this trip. Things are relatively cheap. I only spent $300 USD for my food, souvenirs, drinks, and activities.

    You can negotiate for things on the street.

    Be careful of street hustlers and lady street walkers.

    To sum it up: URBN TRVL took care of us and made sure we had the time of our lives!!! TRAVEL WITH THEM ON YOUR NEXT TRIP!! #OKKKUUURRRRR #LittyInTheCity #UrbnTrvl

  108. Asia_Harris
    30 May 2018
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    Traveling While Black

    The most amazing trip I’ve ever been on…. Well planned activities and sightseeing…. but I have to give my award to Yisak aka Colombia (hope I spelled your name correct) The best hostess…… life of all parties, and still made sure everyone was picked up and made it to there plan on time…..?

  109. author
    RokiaG
    30 May 2018
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    Im not going to lie, Colombia was not my favorite place ive been to. People are in your face all the time trying to sell you things. It gets annoying after awhile. You can relax on the beach, go jet skiing, take a tour of the fort or get a mud bath at a volcano. The volcano bath is a little drive but its fun. What they didnt warn me was the bath is very deep and your feet dont touch the bottom but you wont sink.

  110. Christian-Nicole_Griffin
    28 May 2018
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    I would highly recommend taking a quick trip to Cartagena. The city is beautiful and it isn’t too big so it’s easy to hit all the go to spots in a couple days. I love the food! They do tend to have a lot of seafood on the menu because Cartagena is on the coast but it is really fresh and nicely seasoned. The beaches were solid, to get to the nicer beaches you have to take a 30-40 minute boat ride and they have food, drinks, water activities, massages and souvenirs that you can get right on the beach.

  111. heatherdoyle1
    20 May 2018
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    Cartegena is absolutely amazing!! This cobblestone Columbian city brings history, architecture, and beautiful beaches all in one trip! I’m a history lover so I enjoyed the back story or the wars and battles that occurred in the area!! The historic district is full of great food mostly fresh local cuisine and shops. I was recommended La Mullata by a local and the food was great! The city has tours available and they can be booked either through your hotel or while walking around the city! A must visit is the Totumo Mud Volcano, get ready to be amazed and get dirty! The country side is good for hiking and it’s a about an hour ride through the country to the beaches. The best part is snorkeling and diving at the Rosario Islands and if you happen to go to Playa Blanca beach there are women who offer drinks, souvenirs, and massages while you’re relaxing in the white sand!!! I enjoyed this city and can’t wait to return in the near future!

  112. djohnson2284
    djohnson2284
    15 May 2018
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    Cartagena is a city of beautiful and culture.
    Some places of note to visit are the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. It’s a castle that shows the Spanish history of the city and provides some of the best views of the city. Perfect place to view the sunset over the city.
    Another thing that is a must is to take a tour to San Basilio de Palenque which is the first free city in the Americas. Learning about the preserved and active African culture is an incredible experience.
    Cafe del Mar is an overrated tourist experience so I’d suggest just bringing your own drinks and snacks to other places along the wall to view the sunset over the water.
    Fill up your instagram with beautiful pictures of Getsemani’s murals and colourful buildings.
    Walking around the walled city both during the day and (much cooler) night is a great to be around the people and statues in the many plazas.
    Cartagena is both a trip meant for couples and solo travelers alike.
    Don’t forget to do a Chiva Rumba!

  113. Barbiej0
    Barbiej0
    25 Apr 2018
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    Taking a trip to Cartagena, Colombia?? Ifyou’re into seafood, warm weather, Afro Carribean culture and art, this might be the place for you. I made a visit to this vibrant city last October. During my stay there I dined out at some amazing restaurant like La Cevicheria, Alma, and La Casa de Socorro. Spent a day exploring the trendy and artsy neighborhood of Getsamani. Enjoyed a beach day at Playa Blanca sun bathing while eating fresh fried fish and plaintains. Other activities include mud bathing in El Totumo, walking city tour, or getting loose at night on a chiva (night time party bus).

  114. author
    majorblackpacker
    24 Apr 2018
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    Cartagena is a beautiful city! Colombia, of course, has had a reputation for being a dangerous city for tourists because of Mr. Escobar, but the government has done a great job of turning things around and making Colombia a great tourist destination. During my time in Cartagena, I stayed in Manga which is a residential area. I liked it because it was only a mile away from the Old Town and the views from my AirBnB were great. Old Town is more of a touristy area with plenty of hostels and hotels. Bocagrande is a business district with a touristy vibe due to the close proximity of the beach. If money is no object, I recommend staying in Bocagrande. But, if you are staying in Cartagena for longer than a week, I recommend Manga.

  115. author
    Jodi
    13 Apr 2018
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    Im a Flight Attendant with a major Airline, so i traveled pretty cheap to get into Cartagena. But typically prices to Colombia ranges from $400-$700 depending on the season.
    95% of the time my travels are done solo, i know I know I’m crazy but if I ever waited for people I’d never go anyway and it’s apart of my job benefits so I’m taking full advantage.
    Cartagena was the 1st country I’ve tried a hostel in, I was a little scared & skepital at 1st. It was really cheap I stayed at El Valero, paid 10 bucks a night for a share sleeping space,It turned out to be a huge slumber party, and I was fascinated to see and mingle with other solo travelers. Medina Luna is another fun & lively night life hostel, both about a 30 minutes ride from the airport.
    The weather is amazing, the food is great, people warm and welcoming. The mud volcano tour is a must try when in Cartagena, it’s about 40 mins outside the city but all the tours do pick up & drop off price was about $40 I believe.
    But there is so much to do walking tours of the old city, museums, beaches & if your a night person the city comes alive.
    And do stop by Cafe Del Mar for a drink & a view of Cartagena❤️

  116. author
    Miss_crys2u
    06 Apr 2018
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    One of my favorite cities in Colombia. We spent 4 days during their Independence last November. It was so much fun! They had a carnival parade with lots of floats, dancers and costumes. I’m a Caribbean girl so this definitely reminded me of our carnival back home.

    The food here…..impeccable! There wasn’t a place we went to that we didn’t love the food. My favorite restaurant was Candè. Fresh seafood galore & a great wine selection. The prawns OMG yummy!

    If you want to see some lovely Colombian beaches….please do a day trip to Isla Baru. Playa Blanca was my fav. The only thing I didn’t care for was the constant local hagglers trying to sell you something or give you a massage. Their hustle game is strong! But we still had a lovely relaxing beach day.

  117. Tsunami11
    02 Apr 2018
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    I had the opportunity to visit Cartagena for a short trip just to relax. While i was there i stayed at the Hilton Cartagena with great views of the water and friendly staff. I also tried the local fish of baby beef with plaintains and salad. Alllll so good. When in Cartagena I recommend trying the coconut lemonade as great refresher. The tres leche from the hotel was also good. Uber is super cheap to get around. To get to the airport it cost only $6. Enjoy!

  118. briana93574
    19 Mar 2018
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    One of the most amazing country I have ever been to. My favorite dish from there was coconut rice. My mouth still waters from the thought of it. I ate at the La Perla and La Mulata in Cartagena. The city is super safe with military almost every corner and they even scrub the streets with actually soap, they don’t even do that in the USA. I would highly recommend going to Colombia.

  119. AMY_Travels
    AMY_Travels
    06 Mar 2018
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    There are several beautiful islands just a ferry ride away that are perfect for a get away from the city for a day or two of relaxation (Rosairo Islands). I personally visited Isla Grande. I wish I had time to explore other islands as well. There was an option to island hop but only visiting one allowed for more time to enjoy. The resort we visited had the most amazing food. Although it’s a perfect place to just lay on the beach and relax, there were still plenty of activities (snorkel, scuba, paddle boarding, bike riding…).

  120. author
    Papabecks
    27 Feb 2018
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    Guys! If you like fish! This is the place to guy know as the fishing town of Colombia you have fishermen go out daily to catch fresh fish which can be cooked for you in front of your very eyes. If you do try a restaurant called “La Mulata” great for fish and amazing shrimps!!

  121. samiya
    samiya
    21 Dec 2017
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    Taking a boat to isla Baru and the street food in cartagena were my top memories on the Caribbean coast. After a few days of photo shoots every third minute we made our way to Tayrona National park for a full nature experience. Have to rent a donkey to carry your luggage up the mountain hike tho so pack light!!

  122. Ashley.nicole
    Ashley.nicole
    19 Dec 2017
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    Cartagena is a magical city. I have been to every major city in Colombia – Bogota, Cali, Medellin, and Santa Marta and by far don’t waste time with the other cities if you have limited time just go to Cartagena.

    Colombia is cheap in general so you can do the best of the best stuff for the low- I rented a jet ski for an hour on playa Blanca for $20. They have a lot of different city tours which are really interesting because Cartagena was the gateway to Colombia by the sea so it’s a lot of history. There are two different beaches you can have day trips to- playa Blanca and isla de Rosario. At night you can do a “Chiva tour” which is basically a fun party bus where u drink listen to music and they drive you around the city while giving you a tour. And the club scene is really great. All the clubs are in one square and easy and safe to get too.

    If possible and if your budget allows stay in Old town. It’s a glimpse of old Colombia and everything is walking distance so you don’t have to deal with cabs.

  123. Keiana_h
    Keiana_h
    12 Dec 2017
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    Awesome experience the food is amazing they have beautiful beaches and excellent night life

  124. author
    Chinara_12
    04 Dec 2017
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    Visited Cartagena twice, both via a cruise and both was a different experience!! Firstly the Cartagena port has a lil wildlife area which I absolutely loved! Two spider monkeys followed and played withme before shortly run of to someone else. Outside the port there are several tour guides awaiting to convince you to hire them! First time we did a group tour a more historical one ! We visited top of Mount Popa (there is a black Mary and a golden chapel ) Las Bovedas (the dungeons) shopping area we also found a cool lil bar to taste a Colombian beer, The Castillo San Felipe de Barajas ,Plaza de Santo Domingo and fort wall. Second time again we booked a tour guide from outside the port this time it was privately and it was to the mud volcano! In my county (Trinidad and Tobago ??) we also have a mud volcano but I was interested to see another one!! We reached and we were the only visitors which was a plus ! The area is run locally which is evident and the facility is not to glamorous especially the restroom ?.But am always up for anything!! The dip in was ok wasn’t that fascinating to me I must say but it is an experience for those who haven’t seen was. Oh there is a beautiful river where you go to wash off the mud and you are accompanied by old women who throw water and help with wash off the mud? and expect a tip although we didn’t request the help and awkwardly follow you around till you pay!!

  125. author
    mchung88
    27 Nov 2017
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    Following my very first trip to Cartagena, Colombia, I must say this was one of my favorite trips. The history that has formed the city is quite interesting, especially with the portion of the city that resides within a wall. For things to do, I would recommmed spending at least 2-3 full days exploring different areas of the walled city. It is filled with awesome shops, restaurants and museums. There are tons to do outside the city walls as well like the San Andres islands, not the clearest ever but pretty cool to see. Also, there are several military forts that are very cool to learn about. Not many folks speak English, try brushing up on some of the basics and numbers to get you around the city.

  126. author
    Katrice
    21 Nov 2017
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    I was warned about Colombia many times before I visited. Family members and friends jokingly said “don’t get kidnapped by the Cartel” This statements made it a little uneasy for me but still ventured out to the country anyway. I didn’t fear for my life not once while I was there. Cartagena’s Vibe and overall experience to me was very welcoming. Cartagena’s Afro-Colombian culture made me feel right at home being half Bahamian.

  127. simonedolores
    simonedolores
    15 Nov 2017
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    Cartagena is so beautiful! I stayed for about 4 days and I would say that’s the perfect amount of time! My favorite thing to do was spend the day at one of the islands you have to take a water taxi too… the waters were unbelievably clear and blue, simply breathtaking. I debated going to another island while in Cartagena but I am so happy that I did because it was the highlight of my trip. Cartagena is also very cool because there is a lot of history around Afro-Colombians.

  128. BrunchBelle
    BrunchBelle
    28 Oct 2017
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    Cartagena is such an enchanting city and a great mix of the modern with the old. Whatever your fancy— there is something for everyone. If you are a lover of old cities and colonial architecture, then you will love Cartagena. It has one of the prettiest walled cities I’ve ever explored. So many beautiful streets bursting with color. And if the modern/urban feel is more your style, there’s the city life of Boca Grande right outside the old city.
    Places of Interests/Things to Do include: La Popa (highest spot in Cartagena with amazing views of the city); Castillo San Felipe de Barajas (old fort); Carriage Ride through the walled city at night (pure magic); Plaza Bolivar (great square for a rest stop from walking around the old city which sometimes has great entertainment); Café Havana for nightlife (live music); Islas de Rosario and/or Isa de Baru (day trip for some beach fun). Also worth mentioning… the street food in Cartagena is pretty amazing! You can save some money by getting some cheap eats on the street. Two must-eats are definitely Bollo (boiled corn rolls) and Enyucado (cassava cake). So yum!
    You can check out my IG: @thebrunchbelle or my website http://www.BrunchBelle.com for more of my travel adventures.

  129. Angenie_Preval
    27 Oct 2017
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    Everything was done in 3 Days. 4 Days would have been perfect. A great place that embraces their African roots. Things to do include the totumo volcano mud bath, beautiful beach playa Blanca in Isla Baru, and take a guided tour of the city. If you like graffiti, getsamani is the place to go. The chivas bus is a night time party bus with small tour of the city that makes a stop at a small club. As far as food goes, delicioso and the prices are amazing!! Be sure to visit the restaurant Cande and the restaurant club de besca has a wonderful view.

  130. curiouscata
    curiouscata
    20 Oct 2017
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    Cartagena is one of my favorite places of all time! There’s so much to do there, I would say you need at least 3 days to hit everything. You must check out La Ciudad Amurallada ( old town) which has cobblestone streets and delicious local food, I would get the pescado frito with arroz con coco, it’s delicious! Also check out Bocagrande and take a party boat to Islas del Rosario and Baru, you will get all the beach time you need there. Lastly, Cartageneros are very friendly so hello and try to join in the culture when possible!

  131. author
    Lawrence
    19 Sep 2017
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    Cartagena surprised me when it came to having some adventurous activities to do. I remember hearing about the mud volcano, El Totumo, but never giving it much thought and also thinking it wouldn’t even be all that. When I arrived my thoughts were confirmed because it is definitely does not look like your average volcano. However, once you climb up those steps and hop into the mud, it is definitely an experience to remember. I wish I just could have been in it longer. I am guessing this is what Neil Armstrong felt like when he was on the moon lol. Definitely a must-do when you come to Cartagena.

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