Guide to Cartagena: Arrival, Neighborhoods, and Tips for Your Stay

#cartagena #culture #colombia


10/20/20234 min read

Welcome to Cartagena: Your Comprehensive Guide to Arrival and Neighborhoods

In this guide, we'll take you through the essentials of arriving at Cartagena International Airport and provide insights into the various neighborhoods of this vibrant city. From transportation tips to neighborhood highlights, get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through one of Colombia's most enchanting destinations. So sit back, relax, and let us be your trusted companion as you explore the wonders of Cartagena.

  1. Cartagena International Airport

This is the way how 95% of the tourist arrive to the city. In order to get to your destination the most frequent way is by taking a taxi, however please be sure to pass by the taxi cubicle outside the airport where you can ask for a ticket with the suggested taxi rate depending on your destination. If you don’t do this, the driver will probably charge you at least 40% more than the regular rate.
The second option is to ask for an Uber, app you should know very well.

Tip: walk one block away of the airport, heading to the main street, cross it and take the taxi from there. At this point the rate is 30% less because the taxi has not to pay the airport fee. This option is often used by locals, backpackers and people traveling with lite baggage.

The average taxi rates from the airport are:

  • Historic Center: 5 USD

  • Getsemani: 5 USD

  • Bocagrande: 6 USD

  • Castillogrande: 8 USD

  • Zona Norte 10 USD

  • morros 8 USD

You can also ask for transportation services before arriving to the city with a reliable agency like

  1. Historic Center

The historic center concentrates most of the action of Cartagena: really old and nice houses, boutique hotels, hostels, rental houses , restaurants, bars, museums and commerce.

Tip: If you are planning to come for work, with your family or friends and you are the type of people who prefers hight standards of quality, service and lots of history this is the place to go. If not, there are other places close to the center where to stay with less prices and also good experience.

  1. Bocagrande

This might be known as the “bohemian” neighborhood of Cartagena, its full of nice boutique hotels, cool hostels and native family houses. All the night life is concentrated on its main square with open shows and restaurants and also you will find a world-class gallery of public street art, this is the preferred place for backpackers and bohemian visitors.

Tip: If you come alone or with friends and want meet new people from all around the world this is the place to stay. Most of the hostels in Cartagena are located in Getsemani. On top of that, the prices for food and drinks are good value for money.

  1. Getsemaní

Bocagrande is the neighborhood where local residents and tourism get mixed. This place is full of apartments whether own by local native people or people from other cities that rent them for tourism and well known hotels. There are also some restaurants and shopping centers to spend the day. This is the preferred place to stay by Colombians that wants to enjoy the beach.

Tip: If you are coming with your family or a group of friends and do not want to spend a lot of money on a boutique hotel in the historic center you can either rent an apartment or book a hotel in Bocagrande. Please do not choose this place if you are a beach lover and have high expectations to enjoy a beautiful beach, can offer you spectacular daypass to beautiful beaches located on islands near the city.

  1. Castillogrande

This is a residential neighborhood, where the wealthy native people lives. There are really nice and beautiful apartments. There are no hotels in this place, however you can find some rental apartments on Airbnb. The beach in this zone is much better than Bocagrande, however the water is really quite and still.

Tip: If you enjoy the beach and want to be close to it and to the historic center, this is the place to stay.

  1. El Laguito

This place is called “El Laguito” that means lake in English, as its name stands, is surrounded by a lake of salty water. This neighborhood is similar to Bocagrande, there is a mix of residential and tourism apartments, but its price is cheaper. This is the preferred place for Colombians that want to enjoy the beach but have a tight budget and don’t want to spend Bocagrande’s rates.

Tip: If you are coming with your family or a group of friends and want to pay less than Bocagrande this is the option for you. The restaurants prices are also the less expensive however there are not a lot of options, most of them are just fast food restaurants

  1. Cruise Terminal

The cruise terminal of Cartagena is located at Manga’s neighborhood that is close to the historic center. Its location is shared with the container handling operations, however the port has a separate facility to receive the cruise passengers. This facility includes a small zoo that all the tourists really enjoy. The Port coordinates the transportation for the cruise passengers either by ground or boat.

Tip: If you are planning to visit Cartagena on a cruise ship you have to visit the Port zoo and have a nice coffee in its coffee shop. For the transportation to the city I would suggest to take the boat services as is quicker and you can enjoy the sight of the Cartagena’s bay. The boat will drop your off in front of the historic center. If you decide to go on ground transportation take the bus because the rate is regulated by the Port, instead the taxi driver will charge you in dollars and probably more than usual

  1. Morros & Zona Norte

Although it is a little far from the city center, this is one of the places with better beaches in Cartagena, the sand is clean and the waves are stronger than Bocagrande. Here you can find either rental apartments or well known hotels. There is not much to do aside than staying on the beach all day, you can contract a private transportation with or either take a local taxi to go into the city.

Tip: If you are a beach lover and planning to stay most of the time enjoying it and staying in the hotel facilities this is the place for you.

There are a lot of things to know about this magical city, but I don’t want to extent more on this post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and if you are planning to come please keep in mind these tips.

See you next time until the next post!


Guide to Cartagena
Guide to Cartagena