The Cost of Visiting Cartagena, Colombia: A Budget Breakdown
Cartagena is the Most Expensive city in Colombia. The beautiful and historic city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast is a popular tourist destination known for its charming streets, colonial architecture, and vibrant culture. The cost to visit Cartagena can vary depending on factors like your travel style, accommodation preferences, and the activities you plan to do. Today I will provide a general overview of the expenses you can expect when visiting Cartagena.
1. Flights to Cartagena Colombia
The cost of flights to Cartagena depends on your departure location, the time of year, and how far in advance you book your tickets. Generally, flights from the United States to Cartagena can range from $300 to $800 round trip. To get the best deals on flights, consider booking during the low season (April to June and September to November) and monitoring fare prices with tools like Google Flights or Skyscanner. The main US Airline carriers that fly to Cartagena include American Airlines, Spirt, and Jetblue. Book Your Flight here for Best rates
2. Accommodations in Cartagena
Cartagena offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences. When booking hotels I recommend using Hotels website for the best rates. Here’s a rough estimate of nightly prices for different types of accommodations:
- Budget (hostels, guesthouses): $10 – $30 per night
- Mid-range (standard hotels, boutique hotels): $50 – $150 per night
- Luxury (high-end hotels, resorts): $200 and up per night
To save money on accommodations, consider booking in advance, traveling during the low season, or staying in less touristy neighborhoods.
AirBnB prices are usually $30- $1000 a night. You can choose to stay in a shared room, beachfront property, or a Historical mansion.
Best Areas to stay in Cartagena
There are 4 or 5 Neighbors That I can suggest to look for your accommodations. These Barrios are safer than staying deep down in the Center of Cartagena. Find out more about where to stay in Cartagena.
The Walled City is the most popular place to stay for tourists. One thing that you should know about staying in the walled city is that most of the places will not be modern on the inside and lack Hot water. You will also hear a lot of noise throughout the night when you choose to stay in the walled city. The streets are constantly packed but there are plenty of police around the area and stores and gift shops. There is also a park that you can take advantage of.
Barrio Getsemani is right next to the walled city. The neighborhood is colorful and has a vibrant nightlife. There are a lot of different tourists walking around throughout the day. Here is where you will find Umbrella Street which is a popular place to take pictures and explore. There are a lot of different local food options in this area.
The Barrio Bocagrande is more modern and some of the apartments and hotels may have Hot water. There is a Beach in Bocagrande and lots of restaurants to try out. If you want to enjoy the nightlife then expect to catch a taxi back to the walled city.
Finally, at the end of the street comes Laguito. If you venture all the way to the end you will see the Hilton Hotel. Like Bocagrande Laguito also has a beach that is basically connected. There are some local restaurants that you can eat at and you will see a lot of other tourists walking around throughout the day. The taxi rides from Laguito will be more expensive since you are the furthest away from the walled city.
3. Food and Drink Prices in Cartagena
Cartagena boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering both local Colombian cuisine and international dishes. Dining costs can vary based on the type of restaurant and your personal preferences. Here’s a rough estimate of food and drink expenses:
- Budget (street food, local markets): $3 – $7 per meal
- Mid-range (casual restaurants, cafes): $10 – $25 per meal
- High-end (fine dining, upscale restaurants): $30 and up per meal
To cut down on food expenses, consider eating at local markets or street food stalls, where you can find delicious and affordable meals.
4. Transportation in Cartagena
Transportation costs in Cartagena are generally quite affordable. Here’s an overview of the approximate costs for various modes of transportation:
- Bus: $0.50 – $1 per ride
- Taxi: $3 – $15 per ride, depending on distance
- Bicycle rental: $5 – $15 per day
Remember that many attractions within Cartagena’s historic center are within walking distance, making it easy to explore the city on foot without spending much on transportation. The Price of the Current airport rate can be found by scanning a QR code posted outside the airport. The last Taxi price was 23,000 pesos from The Rafael Núñez International Airport to Barrio Laguito.
Taxi vs Uber in Cartagena
The cost of using Uber is usually a little bit cheaper than using a taxi in Cartagena, especially at night. Taxi tend to overcharge during the night hours. The price from Bocagrande to Old Wall City should be about 7000 pesos. At night it is impossible to get a taxi returning to Bocagrande for less than 12,000 pesos but most will tell you 15,000.
Although Cartagena is usually safe using Uber provides better security because all the trips are documented just in case something goes wrong.
5. Activities and Sightseeing in Cartagena
The cost of activities and sightseeing in Cartagena can vary widely based on your interests. Some popular attractions and their approximate entrance fees include:
- Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas: $10
- Palacio de la Inquisición: $8
- Convento de la Popa: $5
- Palenque Tour: $30 to $100
- Volcan de Lodo El Totumo $30+ not including tips
- Bora Bora Beach Club: $80+
- Rosario Islands: $50+
- Cartagena Nightlife $50+
Many of Cartagena’s attractions, such as the historic city walls, colorful streets, and plazas, can be enjoyed for free. However, if you plan to take guided tours, participate in water sports, or visit nearby islands, expect to pay additional fees ranging from $20 to $100 or more, depending on the activity. Bora Bora Beach Club is one of my favorite Beach Clubs in Cartagena, but I also Like visiting Playa Blanca because of the pristine clear blue water. Also, make sure you get the VIP tickets at Bora Bora.
The Palenque tour usually has a Group tour every Monday that starts at $30. If you miss that opportunity then you will need to pay for an Uber also which can make the price close to $100. If you are planning to party at night clubs drinks can get expensive. You can choose to just walk around the walled city which is free but any of the famous bars expect to spend a lot. Learn more about Cartagena Nightlife.
How To Budget In Cartagena
Budgeting for a trip to Cartagena, a gem on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, requires careful planning and consideration. The city, known for its vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and delectable cuisine, offers many attractions that cater to different budgets. Here are some tips on how to plan a budget-friendly trip to this beautiful city.
Firstly, accommodation is one of the biggest expenses when traveling. In Cartagena, there’s a wide range of options to choose from, including luxury hotels, mid-range inns, and budget hostels. By choosing a hostel or a budget hotel located in less touristy areas, you can significantly cut down your accommodation costs. Opting for accommodations with kitchen facilities can also help save money as it allows you to prepare some meals instead of dining out all the time.
Next, consider your food budget. Cartagena is a food lover’s paradise, offering a variety of local and international cuisines. While dining at upscale restaurants can be pricey, you can save money by eating at local eateries, street food stalls, or markets. These places serve delicious and authentic Colombian food at a fraction of the cost.
Transportation is another area where you can control your spending. Cartagena is a walkable city, especially the historic walled city, so consider exploring on foot to save on transportation costs. For longer distances, use public buses or shared taxis, which are much cheaper than private taxis or car rentals.
Lastly, consider your entertainment and activities budget. Many of Cartagena’s attractions, like its beautiful beaches and the charming old town, are free to explore. For attractions that require an entry fee, such as museums or historical sites, it’s wise to prioritize which ones you want to visit most. Additionally, look out for discounted or free entry days to these attractions.
Budgeting for a trip to Cartagena involves careful planning and making smart choices. By being mindful of your spending on accommodation, food, transportation, and activities, you can enjoy all that this vibrant city has to offer without breaking the bank. Remember, the goal is not just to spend less, but to make the most out of what you spend.
Avoid Overpaying In Cartagena
Traveling to Cartagena can be an enchanting experience. However, like many popular tourist destinations, there can be situations where you might end up overpaying if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most value for your money.
First, understanding the local currency and exchange rates is crucial. Before you travel, familiarize yourself with the Colombian peso and its conversion rate to your home currency. This will help you better understand prices and prevent you from overpaying. It’s also important to note that while credit cards are widely accepted, smaller establishments and street vendors may prefer cash, so having small denominations of local currency can be beneficial.
Before you order anything at an establishment make sure that you see a menu. This is mostly for people visiting Islands in Cartagena such as Isla Baru. There are a lot of instances where tourists will order food from who they think works for a restaurant and order without seeing the menu. The person will come back with an outrageous bill. I’ve seen people order 2 fish plates and 4 beers and the person wanted the equivalent to $500 dollars USD. This scam is pretty common around the world in tourist destinations.
When it comes to shopping, bargaining is a common practice in Cartagena, especially in markets and street stalls. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price, but remember to do so respectfully. Vendors often inflate prices for tourists, so a polite negotiation can help you get a fair deal. However, bear in mind that not all places are open to bargaining, such as supermarkets or high-end shops.
Dining out in Cartagena can be a delightful experience, but it can also be a place where you might overpay. Avoid restaurants that cater primarily to tourists, as they tend to be more expensive. Instead, try local eateries, where you can enjoy authentic Colombian cuisine at reasonable prices. Also, it’s worth checking if a service charge is included in your bill to avoid tipping excessively.
Transportation is another area where overpaying can occur. While taxis are relatively affordable, make sure to agree on a fare before starting your journey to avoid any surprise charges. Alternatively, consider using public transportation, which is a cost-effective way to get around the city.
Lastly, when booking tours or activities, compare prices from different providers before making a decision. Many tour operators offer similar experiences, so taking the time to shop around can help you secure the best deal. Also, be wary of individuals selling tours on the street, as these may not always be legitimate.
Avoiding overpaying in Cartagena comes down to understanding the local currency, being comfortable with bargaining, choosing where to eat wisely, navigating transportation effectively, and comparing prices for tours. With these tips, you can enjoy everything this beautiful city has to offer without straining your budget.
Luxury Vacation In Cartagena Without A Budget
Going on a luxury trip to the vibrant city of Cartagena without budget constraints can truly be an unforgettable experience. The city, known for its stunning colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, and lively culture, has a plethora of high-end experiences on offer that can make your trip extraordinary.
Rent A Yacht in Cartagena
One of the highlights of a luxury trip to Cartagena is undoubtedly the opportunity to charter a private yacht. This allows you to explore the breathtaking beauty of the Caribbean Sea at your leisure. You can sail around the stunning Rosario Islands, anchor in secluded bays for a private swim, or simply soak up the sun on deck. Onboard, you can enjoy gourmet meals prepared by a personal chef, sip on fine wines, and relax in the lap of luxury. Renting a Yacht is easy and costs around $3000 Split the bill between your friends and enjoy your time out at sea for around $400 per person.
Rent A Luxury Yacht In Cartagena
If you want to rent a larger luxury yacht they have them also. These are for people without a Budget and want to take some friends out to sea. Like the smaller Yacht, they come with a chef and can visit the different islands of Rosario, etc. I believe you have the yacht for about 8 hours, which is plenty of time. They have beds and couches and can tan out in the sun.
Fine Dining In Cartagena
When it comes to dining, Cartagena’s steak houses are a must-visit for meat lovers. These high-end establishments offer a selection of the finest cuts of beef, cooked to perfection. Accompanied by an extensive wine list, elegant interiors, and impeccable service, these steak houses provide a dining experience that’s second to none.
VIP at Cartagena Night Clubs
As the sun sets, Cartagena transforms into a vibrant hub of nightlife. The city is home to several exclusive nightclubs where you can dance the night away to the beats of local and international DJs. Many of these clubs offer VIP sections with bottle service, ensuring a luxurious and unforgettable night out. For a more relaxed evening, consider visiting one of the city’s beach clubs. Here, you can lounge on comfortable daybeds, enjoy cocktails, and listen to live music while taking in the beautiful ocean views. The Nightclubs will probably be where you spend the majority of your money besides your accommodations. With more and more tourists visiting expect the prices to keep on rising.
Jet Ski In Cartagena
During the day, thrill-seekers can indulge in a variety of water sports available in Cartagena. Renting a jet ski and zipping across the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea is a popular choice among visitors. Other activities like parasailing, snorkeling, and scuba diving are also available, allowing you to experience the beauty of Cartagena’s marine life up close.
A luxury trip to Cartagena without a budget can be a truly lavish and memorable experience. From private yacht charters and fine dining at steak houses to exciting nightlife and exhilarating water sports, Cartagena offers a wealth of experiences for those seeking a high-end travel adventure.
Nothing is Free in Cartagena
You will meet a lot of friendly people. Some of them will bombard you with “samples” etc. There is nothing Free in Cartagena. Even if you wanted to take a picture with the nice ladies from Palenque who are selling the fruit. The Rappers who harass you when walking down the street will also want compensation after they finish their song. The massage ladies offering you free samples lol and tell you it’s okay. No, it isn’t lol. Anything someone does for you expect to be compensation paid.
In Conclusion: The Cost To Visit Cartagena
The cost of visiting Cartagena, Colombia, depends on your travel style, accommodation choices, and planned activities. By carefully planning your trip, setting a budget, and prioritizing your expenses, you can enjoy a memorable visit to this charming city without breaking the bank.