Is Cartagena Worth Visiting?

Cartagena, located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, is considerably one of South America's most mesmerizing colonial destinations. Renowned for its remarkable Spanish architecture and the age-old city walls encasing the historic Old Town, the city is a living relic of the 16th century. The cobblestone streets, colorful balconies draped with bougainvillea, and bustling plazas featuring outdoor cafes are vivid scenes perfect for leisurely exploration. Cartagena is also known for its sensational Near Shore Islands that provide beautiful beaches and exceptional diving experiences. All these attributes, combined with the city's rich culture and pulsating nightlife, make it a truly captivating destination.

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Travel experiences

Overall rating

4.2 /5

based on 15 experiences

Rating summary

Things to do

4.5/5

Safety

4.6/5

Food

4.6/5

Budget-friendly

3.7/5

Solo travel experience

I traveled alone to Cartagena and had a wonderful time there, I encountered no problems. I used common sense and walked through well-lighted areas, main streets, etc., but really, I did not feel unsafe. There were plenty of tourists, and the locals were very nice. I stayed in a great Airbnb in Getsemani neighborhood, and the owners were very helpful. I ate out in town alone every night and no one bothered me. The only thing that I did not feel comfortable doing alone was dancing in the evenings. I missed that a bit, but I thought that I would probably attract a lot of attention.

Posted: October 13, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 5/5
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Solo travel experience

Everyone was super nice, everything was cheap, and the food was amazing. The only drawbacks were that no one spoke English and it was humid. I never felt unsafe.

Posted: October 11, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 5/5
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Solo travel experience

Recently, I traveled alone to Cartagena and I recommend staying in the Getsemaní district. It's quite lively here, with good nightlife and dining options, as well as very close to the Historical Center. Before ordering a service or making a purchase, ask for the price in advance, as sometimes they may overcharge you.

Posted: September 4, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 5/5
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Solo travel experience

All the time while I was in Cartagena and its surroundings, I felt very safe. However, I was approached by local sellers to buy things, but I simply ignored them and went on.

Posted: August 13, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 4/5Safety: 5/5
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Solo travel experience

I went on my first solo trip to Cartagena for my birthday. I had an amazing time from horseback riding, taking mud baths in a volcano, going to Palenque, exploring the city and partying. I had an amazing time and felt safe.

Posted: August 8, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 4/5Safety: 5/5
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Solo travel experience

Cartagena was beautiful, but I couldn't stand the hustlers and people who were constantly trying to sell me junk. You can't even eat lunch outside because they come up to your table throughout the whole meal. Beautiful city, but I won't go back there.

Posted: July 26, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 5/5
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Solo travel experience

The food was excellent, and the locals were very friendly. I had many opportunities to practice and improve my Spanish skills, and I even had some great conversations. Nonetheless, the place was full of vendors, and it was hard to enjoy the beach or walk down the tourist street without being constantly harassed by them. I was also cheated several times, for example, when I was charged a horrendous amount for drinks and shrimp, or when I had to pay a high service fee for a waiter at a beach table.

Posted: April 30, 2023
Things to do: 4/5Food: 4/5Budget-friendly: 4/5Safety: 4/5
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Solo travel experience

Cartagena was nice and interesting, but still probably one of my least favorite places in Colombia. It was definitely the most stressful place I visited in Colombia. The beach was wild, but also crowded and full of pushy sellers, so I didn't spend much time there. Gethsemani was cool, but walking around the tourist attractions in other parts of the city, I constantly came across offers to buy trinkets.

Posted: April 30, 2023
Things to do: 3/5Food: 4/5Budget-friendly: 4/5Safety: 4/5
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Solo travel experience

Cartagena was beautiful, but it seemed really expensive to me and not as exciting after visiting all the other places in Colombia.

Posted: April 29, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 2/5Safety: 5/5
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Solo travel experience

I went to Cartagena with my best friend and we had a great time. We used taxis which were very easy to operate. We bought a day ticket to the Bora Bora beach club, took part in a cooking class, went to a mud volcano, took a sunset cruise with an unlimited bar, and I also did a photo shoot. We had an amazing time.

Posted: April 10, 2023
Things to do: 5/5Food: 5/5Budget-friendly: 5/5Safety: 5/5
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