The colorful Cartagena de Indias is a popular tourist destination and therefore a lot more expensive than the rest of the country. But there are plenty of options to visit the beautiful city of Cartagena on a budget!
Cartagena on a budget: 6 budget-friendly travel tips
#1 Stay in the less expensive area of Getsemani
Next to El Centro and San Diego is the more modern Getsemani. It is less beautiful and touristy, but also a lot quieter ánd cheaper. For that reason, many travelers choose it as their base for a visit to Cartagena de Indias. You are already in the old center and San Diego in 5 minutes, so don’t worry about missing anything of the beautiful street life there. In fact, the trendy restaurants and street art make Getsemani itself worth a visit as well!
#2 Explore Cartagena like an open-air museum
Although Cartagena has all kinds of highlights that you can take a look at for a fee, the main attraction is the beautiful architecture and the streets themselves. Luckily wandering through the colourful streets and along with the pleasant squares and enjoying the bustling street life is free, so your visit to Cartagena does not have to be expensive at all!
#3 Enjoy the Cartagena street food
The Colombian food is delicious and especially in Cartagena, you can have the best street food! The great smells of all the stalls make it difficult not to eat your way through the city.
Tip: go to Getsemani for all kinds of stalls in the bustling streets in the evening and where you can eat the best food between locals and other travellers on the benches on the street.
#4 Visit the free museums
Just like in the capital Bogotá, the gold museum in Cartagena can be visited free of charge. It is not that big and impressive, but it offers a nice insight in the history and current tribes in Colombia.
Tip: it is also a wonderfully cool place on the tropical warm afternoons!
#5 Have dinner in Getsemani
Not only the street food in Getsemani is delicious, but you will also find all kinds of nice restaurants around here. And they are a lot less expensive than the onces in San Diego and El Centro!
#6 Skip Café del Mar and watch the sunset from the city wall
Cafe del Mar is quite pricey, even compared to the rest of the city. And in our opinion, it is not even the best place to watch the sunset! It is busy and many tourists are blocking your view shooting selfies along the edge. Not atmospheric at all. Instead, find a place somewhere else on the city wall and bring your own drinks for a much better – and cheaper – sunset experience.