TRAVEL TO CARTAGENA

Colombia is more a country for the traveler than for the tourist. It's one of the few countries in Latin America that's not over traveled by tourists. In Colombia you still have the feeling that there are things to discover, something your neighbors or friends haven't done. If you like adventure, travel in a country with an enormous diversity of nature and culture, if you want to meet the nicest people of South America, then definitely Colombia is the right destination. Colombia has everything other touristy Latin American countries have: the mountains of the Andes, the Amazon, the beaches, the culture, the food, the historic ruins, the colonial buildings, the archeological sites, and so much more, but without the big amount of foreigners. This is your chance to see a country which still isn't overrun by masses of tourists.

Cartagena de Indias is one of the most beautiful cities in Colombia; a Colonial-style city located in the centre of the Caribbean Coast, at the extreme North-East part of Colombia.

General Information

Foundation
1 June 1533
Total area
609.1 sq km
Location
100 26’ North Latitude/ 750 33’ Longitude West
Altitude
2 meters above the sea level
Temperature
22-29 C
Currency
Colombian Peso
Telephone codes
Colombia (57); Cartagena (5)
Electricity
110-120 Volts; 60 Hz

Applying for Colombian visa
You may need a visa to visit Colombia. Please check out from your nearest Colombian Embassy about your visa requirements. People from several countries would require a visa to visit Colombia; while citizens of many countries are exempted from the visa requirements. The citizens of the following countries do not require Colombian visa for touristic purposes for up to 90 days:

  • Andorra
  • Antigua
  • Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Holland
  • Honduras
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Korea (Rep)
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Ireland
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • The Philippines
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Slovak Republic
  • Spain
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Singapore
  • Sweden, Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Turkey
  • UK
  • Uruguay
  • USA
  • Venezuela

This list may not be complete or correct. You are again advised to check with the nearest Colombian Embassy about your visa requirements.

Travel to Cartagena
Cartagena is well connected to the rest of Colombia by air and road. In order to reach Cartagena, ideally all foreign participants would be required first land in Bogota the capital city of Colombia and then take the domestic flight to Cartagena (about 45 minutes). Air France flies direct to Bogota from Paris every day. There are also direct International flights to Cartagena from Miami.

You will be picked up at the airport by the organizers and taken to your hotel, Hilton Cartagena Hotel, which is situated in the downtown about 10 kms from the airport. Please note that you are supposed to reach Cartagena any time on 3rd November 2009 and depart on 8th November 2009. Your lump-sum covers five night stay in Hotel Hilton, all breakfasts (5), lunches (4) and dinners (5), one full day excursion and airport pick up and dropping. The dinners include three social evenings (ICRT inauguration, ALASBIMN inauguration and the combined Closing Ceremony of ICRT-ALASBIMN).

It may be economical to book your International and domestic (Colombia) flights separately. You should buy your international sector return air ticket to Bogota from your country; and request the local organizer in Colombia to purchase your Bogota-Cartagena-Bogota ticket locally in Colombia. Please also note that if you plan your trip early and buy your tickets earlier, you may be able to get your air tickets at a much reduced price.

Places to visit in Cartagena
Cartagena de Indias has many interesting places which all year long are visited by international, national, and local tourists due to its historic, architectural, cultural, esthetic, and recreational importance. Here you can walk through the historical San Felipe’s Castle, buy handmade souvenirs at The Bovedas, visit The Popa’s Convent and have a beautiful sight of the city, learn about the Inquisition Museum, enjoy the Caribbean beautifulness of Rosario’s Islands, have a walk trough the Walled City or take for a ride in chiva (country bus) or carriage and finally, have a romantic dinner at any of the city’s old squares. You can also enjoy the sun at the beach, day-light walk trough its streets, romantic sunsets as well as clubbing nights that mix modern and antique. Cartagena is a charming destination ready to delight, live or work. Welcome!

Close to the city, only 40 minutes away from the city by boat, Cartagena de Indias offers to its visitors the most exciting landscapes which include 50 islands, 6 ecological reserves and 18,000 hectares of marine and submarine parks.

Some of the most visited and recommended places in Cartagena include:

Santo Domingo’s Church
The Bóvedas
Aduana Square
San Pedro Claver’s Church
The Murallas of Cartagena
Inquisición Palace
San Felipe de Barajas Castle
Santa Catalina’s Monument
The Popa Convent
The old boots monument

Currency
Other than the Colombian Peso, the US Dollar and British Pound are also accepted in most major shopping centers. You may exchange your foreign currency for Colombian Pesos in most banks, hotels and several authorized foreign exchange outlets at the airports, shopping malls etc all over the country. ATM vending machines are available all over the country.

Drinking Water
It may not be perfectly safe to drink water straight from the tap in Colombia. Bottled mineral water is preferred. Local supermarkets and grocers usually carry a sizeable selection.

Electricity
Colombia voltage is 110-120 volts, 60 Hz. On request, most hotels will provide transformers to visitors with electrical appliances of a different voltage, such as 220-240 volts, 50 cycles per second.

What to Wear
The period October- December is probably the best time of the year to visit Colombia. The weather in Cartagena during the time of ICRT is expected to be warm, sunny and pleasant.