Cartagena – Basic City Guide

Cartagena is located in the department (state) of Bolivar which is located on the Caribbean Coast in Northern Colombia. In 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO


How to get there  :

By Air :

Rafael Nuñez International Airport – Cll. 71 No. 03-89. Telephone (5) 656 92 00/02 .

By Ground :

Terminal de Transporte de Cartagena S.A. – Carretera La Cordialidad. Diagonal 57 No. 24-236. Telephone (5) 663 04 54.

Bus Transportation :

For a number of years Cartagena has been trying to construct a bus system on the lines of the Transmilenio in Bogota. It is to be called the Transcaribe. In the meantime all buses are privately run and an ´´experience´´ if nothing else, especially if you ride outside the main tourist zone.

Taxis :

Taxis in Cartagena are not regulated by a taxi meter.  The driver should have a chart of the rates. It is set by the various neighbourhoods to and from where you are travelling. Ask in advance before you get in the taxi and ask to see the rate card. For example, if you travel to Manga from El Centro, the cost should be around 5.000 COP.  At the airport there is a taxi service. If you don´t have transport arranged, it is safe to use this service. Go to the booth and tell them where you are going. The service costs a couple of thousand pesos more and is well worth it

Police :

The police operate out of 6 districts. Each have police stations and CAI – Centros de Attencion Inmediata  (Centres of Immediate Attention)

Police Command – Cll. Real No. 24-03, Manga. Telephone (5) 660 91 24/25.

Emergency : dial – 123


Hoapital Naval de Cartagena – Avenida San Martin. Telephone (5) 665 53 60

Hospital Bocagrande – Cll. 5 at Carrera 6a. Telephone (5) 650 28 00

Orientation :

Avenida Santander runs from Bocagrande out to the international airport in the barrio/neighbourhood of Crespo. Just a historical note – originally there was no road here, only ocean. Pedro de Heredia Avenue will take you into the non touristic part of the city. The city in the past seven years has grown out to the north beyond the international airport. The main tourist areas are Bocagrande, the old city -´´Centro Historico´´ and the Rosario Islands. All are accessible from the main central areas of the city.

Road distances from Medellin to other cities :

Bogota  – 1060 km

Cali – 1099 km

Medellin – 643 Km

Santa Marta – 209 km

The trip by road to and from Cartagena can be very long. If the roads are closed due to mudslides, your trip could take you double the time you expect.


Cartagena is hot and humid. The temperatures vary between 24 C and 31C and the humidity has a very conservative average of 84% . if you are from the northern climes think of a hot and humid NYC or Toronto in August for 8 months of the year.  December through March there are cooler breezes off the ocean and generally less rainfall.

Please note:

1) The area code in Cartagena is (5) so it is not necessary to dial it  with the numbers listed above if you are in the city or local area.

2) While EscapeArtist Colombia does its best to maintain the above information as a customer service, we do not take responsibility for information being outdated or incorrect.

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