Cartagena: The Essential Travel Guide

Cartagena also known as Cartagena de Indias is a port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. By the sea is the walled Old Town, founded in the 16th century, with squares, cobblestone streets, and colorful colonial architecture.

Cartagena’s Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage site – a maze of alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and massive churches that cast their shadows across leafy plazas.

However, with gentrification, you will see the new city which will remind you of Downtown Miami or any metropolitan city in the United States.

By the way, one of the nicknames of Cartagena is “The Magic City” same as Miami. 👀😳

Lastly, it is also one of the safest places in the country.

Now, here is your guide to falling in love with Cartagena.

Getting There

My airline of choice is JetBlue. I can’t believe that I am saying this as I am a Delta girl 😉

Anywho, from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Cartagena (CTG) is a 2.5-hour flight. JetBlue only has only two flights in and out. You can fly other airlines such as Spirit, American, Delta, or Avianca. However, you can find some killer deals on JetBlue.

General info
  1. Country: Colombia
  2. Language: Spanish
  3. Plug: 110 Volt
  4. Population: 971,592 as of 2016 with 70.6% of the population is black
  5. Weather: Temperatures tend to be between 70°F to 85°F (20°C to 30°C). It is pretty warm, but the city has a nice Ocean breeze.
  6. The locals do not speak a lot of English.
  7. The Wifi tends to be weak in the restaurants. Don’t bother asking. They want you to interact with each other rather than your smartphone.

The currency is Colombian pesos. The current conversion is One US Dollar = 2,791 Colombian Pesos.

Easy math is to divide by 3 the Colombian Pesos to find out how much you are paying in U.S. dollars.

Getting Around Cartagena

I think the cab outnumbered the people lol. They are all over! From the airport, the average cost is about 15 million pesos which is about $4 USD.

They do have Uber but I didn’t use them as the cabs were readily available.

Also, you can take the bus or metro to get around the city.


I stayed at the Holiday Inn Moros which is in the area of Boquilla. The area is pretty quiet with its own private beach. However, it is about 5 miles outside the Walled City.

If you want to be in thick of things, I would recommend staying inside the Walled City (only has boutique hotels) or Bocagrande which has a combination of Chain and Boutique hotels.

The area of Getsemani has the hostels if on a budget.

Lastly, the Airbnb. The apartments are renovated to meet the taste of the tourists.

Where to Eat?

Okay, I ate a lot during my weekend getaway and I only remember three spots because the food was phenomenal.

La Perla Negra Boquilla

This is a local restaurant on the beach. I had the best dinner

La Cevichería

This is a touristy spot and is across from the Sofitel hotel. However, it has the best lobster paella. I remembered after I started to take a picture.

Juan Del Mar Restaurant

This restaurant is in the San Diego area which I had the best ceviche with tostones.

Make sure to check out my blog on how I ate my way through Cartagena

What to Do?

There is so much to do in Cartagena which includes eating, drinking lemonade de coco, people watching, graffiti tour, mud bath in a volcano, the Chiva Tour (party bus), and learning the history of the city. Below is just a taste of what you can do and see.

Make sure to check out the following blogs about my adventure in Cartagena.

Lastly, you cannot leave Cartagena without visiting Cafe Del Mar to see one of the best sunsets in the northern hemisphere. Oh, and make sure to have a cocktail.

Now if you want to experience the Real Cartagena, make sure to send me message on Facebook – @internationalcaty, Instagram – @internationalcaty, Twitter – @internatlcaty or just email me at Nathalie Caty and I can arrange the entire trip.

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