Bogotá, Colombia. The city doesn’t exactly evoke the excitement of other South American capitals, such as Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo or Santiago. In contrast, and unfortunately, most people associate Bogotá with the drug trade that plagued Colombia for years and imagine the city to be terribly dangerous. I visited Bogotá in February 2016 and I can tell you without hesitation that Bogotá is no longer an “unvisitable” city. In fact, quite the opposite. I had a great time in Bogotá and found it safer than other large South American cities that I have visited, including Buenos Aires, Lima and Rio. PUT IT ON YOUR TRAVEL LIST! Plus, visiting Bogotá can be an easy add-on to a South American itinerary, as it has many direct connections to the U.S. and throughout South America.
I visited Bogota, Villa de Levya, Cartagena and Islas del Encanto last month and loved every minute of it! Colombia is a fabulous country and an easy vacation destination from the U.S. Located on the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena is one of the MOST popular destinations in Colombia. Here are 10 things that first-time visitors should know before visiting Cartagena, even if its just for a day as part of a cruise ship itinerary!
1. Cartagena is VERY touristy!
I knew that Cartagena is becoming very popular and has been on the Caribbean cruise circuit for years, but I did not expect it to be nearly as crowded and touristy as it was, and it was especially crowded when the cruise ships were in port! Lots and lots and lots of visitors and the entire old town (called “El Centro”) catering to tourists. A good time but not exactly authentic. Keep this in mind if you are looking for an authentic Colombian experience. I recommend pairing Cartagena with a less touristy destination, such as Bogota, to get a more well-rounded Colombian experience.
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