Getting Around in Cartagena

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Historic Cartagena, Columbia's famous Caribbean city, is easy to get around.


Historic Cartagena is a walker's paradise during the day. Museums, markets, the ramparts of the city's old fortress, a variety of shops carrying leather, breathtaking emeralds--and touristy souvenirs--provide wonderful opportunities for exploring Colombia's historic city. Visitors develop a sense of history as they walk the well-worn cobblestone streets, linger over a drink in the shadows of lush vegetation and soak in the lovely architecture of the city where "Love in the Time of Cholera" was filmed. 

Buses and Combis

For those who need to reach points away from the center, the city is well-served by local buses and ´combis´ or ´collectivos´--little vans that serve the same routes as the city´s official buses. While these are perfectly safe to ride, they are not always the best option if you are in a hurry because the drivers will often wait until the vehicle is full before setting off. Local buses run out to the tiny International Airport, around 25 minutes from the city center, but it´s worth taking a taxi if you have a lot of luggage or if time if of the essence. Long-distance buses arrive at the bus station, where taxis, buses and combis are on hand to whisk you to the city center. Buses and combis inexpensive, with a single price covering pretty much all destinations in the city--usually little more than the equivalent of US$1. Personal safety and security are concerns of most visitors when considering methods of transportation in Cartagena. Visitors who take a few precautions will have no more problems here than in any other city. As in any other city, when traveling on any form of public transport, keep valuables hidden and keep a firm grip on your bags. Avoid walking after dark and take taxis where possible.


Taxis are a preferred method of transportation to reach some of the city's gourmet restaurants.  Since dining begins late in Latin countries--and Colombia is no exception--walking is not recommended unless you are dining in central Cartagena. Exercise caution when taking taxis in Cartagena as you would in any international city. While few taxi drivers may be dangerous and some are happy to overcharge unwitting tourists, most cabs are metered and the drivers are pleased you are visiting their city.  Try to pick up taxis only from the official ranks, and if you need to flag a taxi on the street, be sure the driver has his official ID on display near the rear view mirror. Ask the price to your destination before getting into the taxi and walk away if it sounds too high. Metered taxis are numerous and hotels are happy to arrange taxi service for guests.


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