Hi - I’m looking for a good place to stay for a few weeks, work, have a beach, a bit to see… has anybody been to Cartagena and can say something about cost of living, scene, beach, Wifi (reliable??), safety. Or is somebody there right now? I plan to go in about 4 weeks! Thanks!
I’ll tell you what I wish somebody had told me: Colombia has a horrific amount of harassment and violence still and as a woman traveling alone here I’ve felt uncomfortable from day one. I don’t scare easily and have traveled solo for many years, but I strongly suggest women travelers think twice about Colombia. I’ve personally witnessed violence and been not only catcalled, but approached, had my way blocked, and been literally screamed at by men here. And, even scarier, there’s a massive apathy about violence and harassment here. I literally heard a woman being beaten in my hostel and the locals just kept saying that it happens all the time here and they refused to do a damn thing. Since telling my own story, I’ve heard a lot of other horror stories from women that range from frustrating street harassment to being groped by strangers to being sprayed by a hose when they refused to acknowledge cat-callers.
Anyway, I know this isn’t what you’re looking for, but I wish someone would have told me, so I’m telling you. If you do go, be on your guard at all times. And honestly, I would pick Mexico (which has some really wonderful places) or somewhere else instead.
Hey - thanks for your answer and for sharing your experiences. I wouldn’t be alone but with two (male) friends, so I reckon I would be okay then. But still - good to know what I have to be aware of if I go there.
Cartagena has some dodgy areas, but if you pick your location right, not walk around during the night (use taxi apps) and behave ‘smart’ (do not flash your camera, iPhone, money,…), you’ll be fine. Cartagena has a beautiful old center, but you’ll have to travel a bit for the nicer beaches. 3 female friends who’ve been there didn’t have any problems with regards to being catcalled/violence,… at all (and they are blond). Just pick the right location to stay in. Enjoy!
I spent a week there on holiday in 2013 and can second what @GiovanniRio wrote. As long as you stay in the busy areas full of tourists Cartagena is safe and a wonderful town to enjoy. Especially the old town is a real traveller’s treat. Having said that I am not sure how good wifi is when it comes to up/downloading large files or how often it goes out. I only used the wifi in my hotel to WhatsApp and that worked fine but clearly is not enough of a measure of a good connection that you would need to work.
I do not agree with any of the negative comments about Cartagena. Its normal south american coast city. Been there with my wife many times and literally going again in 2 weeks. I am not a hostel type travel so I cannot talk on that. But she goes out every day by her self. Does her thing and never an issues. Getsemani is gritty area but fine. Bazurto the market is a bit shifty. Would not go if you were not a local. Cartagena is pretty much one of safest area in Colombia cuz its where tourism happens. If you look at crime stats its has lowest crime rate in 3 decades. Now saying that if you hang out in places people party (hostels) you might see some weird stuff. Drugs , dunkeness and pickpockets. My wife literally is over my shoulder yelling at some of the negativity of other comments. Oh and we been traveling for 9 years. So we do know a few places
I can not recommend Cartagena for digital nomadism.
Have been there two times, 4 weeks each - for visiting friends. But for work it sucks. You can only stay in the touristic area for work. It is the only place that I know with decent cafes for working.
As far as I know they have no real co working spaces in the whole city.
For internet, I would recommend getting a Claro sim card and a Tigo 4g sim card. Tigo I think works better. Internet can sometimes be unreliable, it’s a hit or miss for nomads and cartagena is comparatively not as good as other colombian cities. However, it’s fun to see the different places there. I recommend it for a week or two trip (if you’re in colombia for 2-3 months). Medellin is the best choice here (IMO).
Also, is you’re calling US and have an important call, you can buy Claro intl’ calling packages by
I’m european living in Colombia 4 years.
Cartagena is OK for 1 week. Then go to Medellín to work. Decent place, best security in Colombia compared to Bogotá and other major cities.