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Hotel Deals for Ouchamps
Hôtel Relais des Landes
Loir-et-Cher, FRA
Mar 22 - Mar 22, 2019
per night from
$ 86.45
$ 77.8

Cartagena, a vibrant, romantic city nestled on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, is known for its tropical climate, colorful colonial buildings and welcoming locals. The city’s historic Walled City and fortress is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that, combined with the various direct flights from several major cities, has turned the area into a major tourist destination. For the budget traveler, Cartagena is an affordable option given the exchange rate of the US dollar to the Colombian peso. If you travel smart and avoid dining and shopping in pricey tourist areas, you could comfortably explore Cartagena on $75 USD per day—and that includes accommodations, meals, transportation and activities. Here’s how to do it.

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Hotel Stil in Cartagena, Colombia

Hotel Stil in Cartagena, Colombia

Budget accommodations

There are countless hotels and hostels down each of Cartagena’s charming cobblestone streets. The prices of hostels at properties such as Casa Isla de Manga start at about $80,000 COP ($25 USD) for a private room, but are even less for a shared room. This price includes a cooked-to-order breakfast from 7-9am, free WiFi and complimentary Colombian coffee all day. Meanwhile, a small shared room at a hotel like Friends to be Hotel by RPC in the Old City starts at around $112,000 COP ($35 USD). The hotel offers guests a complimentary library where you can check out books to enjoy by the private pool and courtyard. While not included in the price, this hotel has a restaurant, bar and spa on property, should you decide to splurge on a little self-care. A more comfortable hotel room like Hotel Stil Cartagena goes for about $160,000 COP ($50 USD) and includes a buffet breakfast, luggage storage and picturesque views of the city. Most of the hotels and hostels in Cartagena include breakfast and WiFi (make sure to double check this while booking to keep the cost down on your trip). But most of them have a lively feel with beautiful bright design, and some even have courtyards.

Typical Colombian ceviche

Typical Colombian ceviche

Delicious, affordable food 

Cartagena is known for its delicious food! From fresh fruit and myriad of food carts on the streets to local fish and cheesy arepas, this is a city that you can easily eat your way through. If you skip the complimentary breakfast at your hotel, opt for a cup of sliced mango for $5,000 COP ($1.60 USD) from the palenqueras, (local women in town donning colorful dresses that carry fruit on their head). Grab a cup of coffee at Café del Mural Laboratorio, a family-owned coffee shop where for the price of a cup of coffee $5,000 COP ($1.60 USD), visitors can learn about the country’s extensive history of coffee and sample the different variations of beans.

Lunch is usually the biggest meal for locals in Cartagena, so follow suit and try a traditional meal of fried fish, rice and plantains, which you can find at a food cart for about $15,000-20,000 COP ($4.70–$6.25 USD). To sample even more street food, book a small-group walking tour. And if you want to dine at a charming restaurant for lunch try Oh La La Bistrot, a vegetarian forward restaurant in the Getsemaní neighborhood, known for its mote de queso (mouthwatering cheese soup) for $9,000 COP ($2.80 USD).

For dinner, enjoy a variety of kabobs (beef, chicken, chorizo) from a food cart and grab a seat in one of the squares to enjoy the energetic music or dancing. If you want to splurge on dinner, make a reservation at Inferno, a restaurant located inside the San Diego women’s prison where the inmates cook and serve the food. You’ll pay $90,000 COP ($28 USD) for a starter, main dish, dessert and fruit juice. The restaurant enables the inmates to gain work experience to better prepare them for their release, plus it’s really delicious, so it’s definitely worth the higher price tag.

View of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

View of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Things to do

The Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena is a modern art museum that sits in a former customs building behind the Plaza San Pedro and features a permanent collection of Caribbean-influenced Colombian art, as well as special exhibitions. A general admission ticket is only $8,000 COP ($2.50 USD). After the museum, grab coconut water from a street vendor for $2,000 COP ($.60 USD), the heat in the afternoon gets intense, so stay hydrated with this local treat! Take a stroll around the city and if shopping is your thing, pick up a few souvenirs like a poncho for $30,000 COP ($9.40 USD) or a Mochila bag, a popular Colombian artisan bag for $80,000 ($25 USD). If you want to venture outside of the Walled City for a fun daytime excursion, a sunset cruise with an open bar starts at $89,000 COP ($28 USD). And don’t forget to indulge in Colombia’s favorite national pastime: dancing! From salsa to champeta, cumbia and beyond, there’s no shortage of dance schools and dance clubs.

Getting around

Cartagena is not that big of a city, which makes it easy to walk around downtown and enjoy its charm (leave your heels at home). However, transportation inside the Walled City is relatively inexpensive with taxi rates starting at around $6,000 COP ($1.90 USD) and then increasing per minute. Your total taxi ride will not be more than a few US dollars; the average is $12,800 COP ($4 USD) depending on the distance. Remember to ask the driver the price for your ride before getting into the taxi (it will always be in pesos) and don’t be shy to haggle if the price they give you seems on the high side.

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Tagged: Cheap City, USA, Cheap Tips, City, Destinations, International, Types of Travel

Jeanette Zinno

Jeanette Zinno

Jeanette Zinno

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