The sea breeze and the sunset that transform the colors of 400-year-old houses enchant visitors in Cartagena. A World Heritage Site, this city was founded by Pedro de Heredia in 1533; the colonial architecture of its buildings is protected by the most complete set of fortifications in South America. This city is an open air museum, but has much more than just culture and history. Cartagena is also a destination for sun and beach, water sports and crafts, among other options for travellers.
Unique experiences Known for the 6.8 miles of walls built around it by the Spanish, Cartagena has a historic center that should be explored slowly and without a care in the world. A number of festivals devoted to film and classical music are held here. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, Cartagena is ideal for honeymoons, scuba diving, and cruises, among other activities.
At First, Visa Citizens of the following countries require a visa to enter the country. The consular posts of the Republic of Colombia do not require any authorization for issuance: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lesotho, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Thailand, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Timor Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
When planning your day, it’s good to keep as mind that Cartagena is hot. Some of the best ways to avoid the hottest hours are to spend them inside an air-conditioned museum, within the cool interior of a church, or in the shady Plaza de Bolivar park. My favorite way to beat the heat is by having a leisurely lunch at one of the many elegant restaurants within the walled city.The historic center enclosed by the walls of CCartagena is the soul of the city that inspired Gabriel García Márquez, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. In addition to taking in the history of centuries-old cobblestone streets, you can explore the Castle of San Felipe, experience the wonder of the city’s many churches, and even enjoy a leisurely swim in a nearby mud volcano.
Within Cartagena’s historical walled city there’s no need for transportation, since it’s small (unless you want to take an evening carriage ride, which is recommended). It’s easy to walk around, since you’ll find everything within a few blocks.
Can´t miss: Visit Centennial Park, The Dique Canal, San Pedro Claver Square, Bartolomé Calvo Library and Pegasus Wharf.
For some of the sights outside the walled city, it can be better to take a taxi, since the heat mixed with a long walk can take their toll. Also, some areas aren’t that safe for tourists to walk around. If you go over to the Getsemaní area to try some of the fantastic restaurants or nightlife, take a taxi after dark, and follow basic safety precautions.
Health and vaccination It is important to be aware of potential risks when travelling. The most common illnesses in Colombia are acute altitude sickness, stomach problems, and in jungle areas malaria and yellow fever. This information corresponds to current information from the ministry of health of the Republic of Colombia. www.minsalud.gov.co
Cartagena’s Beaches Unfortunately, the beaches right on the coast of Cartagena are not the white sand-turquoise water type. The good news is that some of the islands nearby have fantastic white sand beaches and gorgeous water. The boat ride over to the islands can be rough, and some of the so-called “luxury” trips are just a rip off, so check out the company before booking a trip.
The lack of beautiful beaches close by means you might want to make sure that your hotel has a swimming pool to help you escape the heat.
Beware of Prices Taxi drivers will usually try to charge too much, so ask at your hotel or with some local residents to find out what a taxi ride should cost, and set the price with the driver before getting in. Local vendors in places such as Las Bóvedas expect a bit of haggling, so don’t be afraid to work to get a lower price. Also, some items like Colombian coffee and candies are cheaper to buy in the large Exito supermarket within the walled city.
Tipping Generally, tips aren’t expected in Colombia as they are in other countries. There’s no need to tip taxi drivers. At restaurants, a 10 percent service charge will be added to your bill (they’re supposed to ask before adding it), and you can feel free to add extra as the service warrants.
Electricity Domestic power is 110 volts AC at 60 Hz (110V AC, 60Hz). For industrial facilities it is 220 volts AC at 60 Hz (220V AC, 60Hz). Electrical connectors or plugs are used with two flat input pins or with a third round pin and it easy to buy adapters and voltage regulators. It is advisable to check the technical specifications of the devices that will be used in Colombia.
About money in Colombia The currency in Colombia is the peso. There are $ 1,000, $ 2,000, $ 5,000, $ 10,000, $ 20,000 and $50.00 bills and $50 $ 100, $ 200, $ 500 and $ 1,000 coins. Then you can convert other currencies.
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