It can seem financially impossible to plan an opulent Caribbean trip, especially when taking daily expenses into account. Even if we want to invest in a trip we won't soon forget, it's critical to discoveraffordable travel without sacrificing quality. As travelers contemplate a visit to this Caribbean gem, one burning question often echoes in their minds: Is Cartagena expensive?
Like many things in life, the answer depends on personal preference. Are you trying to make the most of your delight without going overboard, or are you looking for an experience of a lifetime? You can have an inexpensive or luxurious holiday in Cartagena, and you can be sure that your money will go farther in this alluring and enthralling place than you could have imagined.
When it comes to total expenses, which include lodging, food, and tourist activities, Cartagena, Colombia is one of the most affordable places in South America. Naturally, costs will change depending on availability, demand, and season. But due to its popularity as a travel destination, Cartagena has a lot of chances to offer affordable lodging, airfare, food, and entertainmentpackages.
Luxury-seeking visitors can totally immerse themselves in remarkable experiences in Cartagena. World-class dining, immaculate beaches, thought-provoking historical sites, breathtaking architecture, hospitable locals, tropical jungles, historic ruins, and a bustling nightlife scene are all offered by the city's diverse cultural fusion.
The best time to visit Cartagena, Colombia, largely depends on your preferences regarding weather, crowds, and budget. Here are the main considerations for different seasons:
- Weather -This period is characterized by lower humidity and minimal rainfall, providing comfortable conditions for outdoor activities.
- Crowds -It's the high tourist season, so popular attractions may be busier, and accommodations may be more expensive.
- Recommendation -If you prefer dry and sunny weather and don't mind the higher number of tourists, this is an excellent time to visit.
- Weather -The shoulder seasons offer a mix of decent weather with some chance of rain. Rainfall is generally less frequent compared to the wet season.
- Crowds -There are fewer tourists during these periods, making it a good compromise between weather and crowd levels.
- Recommendation -If you want to avoid the peak tourist season and still enjoy relatively good weather, the shoulder seasons can be a great time to visit.
- Weather -The wet season sees higher humidity and increased chances of rain, but showers are often short-lived.
- Crowds -This is the low tourist season, so you may find more affordable accommodations and fewer crowds.
- Recommendation -If you don't mind occasional rain and want to take advantage of lower prices and fewer tourists, the wet season can be a budget-friendly option.
A woman wearing a floral dress
Despite being a well-liked travel destination, Cartagena is also reasonably priced. The price is only $46 per day on average. Actually, this is a major factor in the attraction's popularity among travelers. Many visitors believe it to be relatively priced when compared to other South American cities. Its affordability places it in the top 25% of South American destinations, and our cost research revealed that it is comparable to other cities in the nation.
As previously stated, Cartagena is a great place to visit if you're looking for luxury without breaking the bank. If you want to get the most out of your Caribbean vacation, you should think about renting a house in Cartagena that is located inside the Walled City or close by.
These lavish homes can host a number of visitors, which makes them perfect for family vacations that don't break the bank. For less money than a typical resort hotel room, you may get full staff, a private pool, and a gorgeously restored Spanish Colonial home with a rooftop balcony. Discovering your ideal vacation rental property is the first step towards organizing your opulent yet affordable Cartagena getaway. Below is an example of a monthly budget for a couple visiting in Cartagena:
|Rent (three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment)
|$600 – $1,000
|Water & sewer
|Telephone (land and cell)
|Transportation (buses & taxis)
|Entertainment (evenings out, etc.)
|Clothing & personal care
Your departure location is one of several factors that affect the cost of flights to Cartagena. Spirit, LATAM, and COPA are just a few of the airlines that regularly provide flights from the United States that leave from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for about $70. For a few dollars more, comparable flights are offered from nearby destinations like Miami and Atlanta.
The cost of flights from farther-flung US locales, such as New York City and Newark Airport in New Jersey, can vary from a little over $100 to several hundred dollars. Traveling abroad can be more costly, with some flights costing over $1,000. To make the most of the trip, though, think about including a layover in the United States in your travels. See our Flights to Cartagena page to discover the best affordable flights to the city.
Considering our analysis of hotel prices in Cartagena, it becomes apparent that they are very expensive in comparison to hotels in other cities. A hotel room will cost you approximately $81 a night on average. There are about seven five-star hotels in the city, with nightly rates averaging $170. Three-star hotels offer an average price per night of $78 for a well-rounded option that takes comfort and affordability into account, while two-star hotels are even more reasonably priced at $46 per night.
The cuisine of Cartagena is among the most enticing features of a vacation there. A wide variety of international cuisines, such as Italian, Asian, South American, Cuban, and more, are available for dining in the city. It's not forbidden to combine different types of meals, like enjoying a $5 ceviche at a beachside shack and a $70 ribeye steak at a fancy restaurant.
We advise sometimes indulging yourself in some of the upscale dining options available in Cartagena, even if you're frugal with your money. Reputable chefs from around the world prepare delectable cuisine in elegant settings that are truly appreciated only here. Thankfully, even at the best restaurants in the city, Cartagena's food scene is still reasonably priced.
The cost of a plate might vary from $12 to $60, but you can get the most out of your meal by choosing a few small dishes and appetizers rather than a standard entrée. With this tactic, you can try a variety of items for around half the price of a full lunch. For suggestions on places to eat, check out our extensive guide to Cartagena's food scene.
Depending on the mode of transportation utilized, local transportation costs in Cartagena can change. Compared to the national average of $8, other passengers have only spent an average of $7 per person per day on local transportation. When you can, choose public transportation instead of a cab or private driver to save money. It's almost always less expensive.
Two glasses of lemonade on a table
- Explore the Walled City (Ciudad Amurallada) -The historic center of Cartagena is surrounded by well-preserved walls dating back to the colonial era. Wander through its charming streets, adorned with colorful colonial architecture, balconies, and flower-filled balconies.
- Visit Castillo San Felipe de Barajas - This fortress is one of the most iconic landmarks in Cartagena. Explore the impressive structure, climb to the top for panoramic views of the city, and learn about its history as a key defensive fort.
- Wander through Getsemaní -This neighborhood, located just outside the walled city, is known for its bohemian atmosphere, street art, and lively nightlife. Take a stroll through its narrow streets, try local street food, and soak in the artsy vibes.
- Relax in Plaza Santo Domingo -This picturesque square is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, and shops. Enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the outdoor terraces while soaking in the vibrant atmosphere.
- Take a Walk on the City Walls -The walls that surround the historic center offer stunning views of the city and the Caribbean Sea. Sunset is a particularly beautiful time to take a leisurely stroll along the walls.
- Visit the Palace of the Inquisition -Located in the heart of the old city, this museum provides insight into the Spanish Inquisition and the history of Cartagena. It houses a collection of historical artifacts and offers a glimpse into the city's past.
- Relax on Playa Blanca -Escape the city for a day and head to Playa Blanca, a beautiful white sand beach located on the nearby Barú Island. You can take a boat or a bus to reach this idyllic destination.
- Indulge in Local Cuisine -Cartagena offers a variety of delicious Colombian dishes. Try local specialties such as arepas, empanadas, and ceviche. Don't forget to indulge in the fresh seafood available throughout the city.
- Take a Boat Tour to the Rosario Islands -Explore the pristine beaches and coral reefs of the Rosario Islands, located off the coast of Cartagena. Snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches are popular activities on these islands.
- Experience the Nightlife -Cartagena comes alive at night. Explore the vibrant nightlife in the Getsemaní district, where you'll find a mix of bars, clubs, and live musicvenues.
After dusk, Cartagena's nightlife really comes to life, with most bars and clubs picking up steam after midnight or later. With this schedule, you may get the most out of your exciting day, take a nap, and get ready for an evening of dining, dancing, and mingling. The most alluring places for tourists to relax are in the lively Getsemani quarter or inside the Old City's medieval walls.
You may find a variety of eateries, pubs, clubs, and a unique selection of music to keep you occupied here. These spots draw fashionable customers from all around the world who are ready to enjoy the vibrant ambiance. Although prices at local places are typically more affordable, keep in mind that Cartagena is a popular tourist destination. Clubs may have a cover charge, usually not exceeding $15.
While wine and spirits are more expensive, beer can cost anywhere from one dollar to six dollars. Choosing a bottle can result in cost savings as they range from $30 to over $200. Try some of the local specialties, such as Caribbean rum beverages, to really immerse yourself in the Cartagena experience.
Not only are they tasty, but they're also usually the most economical choice available. The variety of alternatives accessible for nightlife in Cartagena is its greatest feature, ranging from upscale clubs to intimate, atmospheric taverns. Remember that both visitors and residents dress to impress, thus fashionable clothing is the standard.
Cartagena is generally considered safe for tourists. However, like in any destination, it's essential to stay vigilant, especially in crowded areas, and take standard safety precautions.
The official currency in Cartagena, as in the rest of Colombia, is the Colombian Peso (COP). It's advisable to carry some cash, but credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and shops.
The cost of tours and activities can vary depending on the type and duration. Boat tours to the Rosario Islands or historical tours may have different price ranges. It's advisable to compare prices and book in advance to get the best deals.
Cartagena has a vibrant nightlife, particularly in the Getsemaní neighborhood. You'll find a mix of bars, clubs, and live music venues. The atmosphere is lively, and it's a great place to experience Colombian music and dance.
In conclusion, Cartagena, Colombia, is a captivating destination with a rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. The best time to visit depends on your preferences, with the dry season from December to March offering pleasant weather, though it's also the high tourist season. The shoulder seasons provide a balance between favorable weather and fewer crowds, while the wet season from July to August is the low tourist season with occasional rain.
Whenever you choose to visit, take advantage of the city's walkable streets, explore the historic Walled City, and enjoy the diverse culinary offerings. Consider a trip to Playa Blanca or the Rosario Islands for beautiful beaches. Stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun, and immerse yourself in the local culture by trying Colombian cuisine and learning a few basic Spanish phrases. Keep an eye on safety updates and travel advisories to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience in this enchanting city.