CARTEGENA, COLOMBIA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.

If you have read my recent Cartegena post you would have gotten all the details on the where to eat, stay and play. For this post, I am going to dive in on  things you need  to know before planning your trip. Given the history and stigma surrounding the country, I will start out with safety as I think that will be one of the first question  on most peoples mind. 

SAFETY
Let me just say first and foremost that Cartegena was relatively  safe; we did not have any bad encounter or experiences while we were there. The Country is growing tourist hub which has become vital to its economy, hence the government cares alot about its reputation regarding safety.  But as with travelling anywhere else in the world you still have to pay keen attention to your surroundings. I also encourage you to do research regarding safety on any where in the world you are planning to travel to. 

DOCUMENTS
Most first world Countries  do not need a Visa to travel across the global, all they need is their passport and a plane ticket. However, the great new is Jamaican citizens also do not need a visa to travel to Colombia, all you need is your passport and your plane ticket as well. To get to Colombia you can travel through the United States if you have a US Visa. For my Jamaican peeps who do not have a US Visa, you can transit through Panama which is also a Visa- free country for Jamaicans.

COMMUNICATION
Spanish is the official Language for Colombia, so it would suit you well to learn a few basic words. Most restaurants and hotels usually have at least one person that speaks English, but for the most part the locals barely if at all speak English. But not to fear, this where google translate will be your best friend; even though I knew a few words, google translate was a life saver. Make sure to download the offline translator for the road. 
AFFORDABILITY
Colombia is very affordable and you can easily survive on 400 USD for 7 Days and that all depends on the activities you have planned out for your trip. Most Stores and Restaurants take credit cards and you can use USD but I would recommend changing out some cash for the local currency which is Colombian pesos to use for tip and when buying things from the locals. Make sure to bargain with locals when buying stuff you will find that they usually start high then come right down after negotiating a bit. The only thing I found to be a little pricey are the clothing stores especially the one that do hand made stuff which I believe is also attributed to the fact that its a tourist area. So make sure to pack all the clothes you need for your trip. Also, not sure if this applies to all the hotels in the walled city.  But the nicely laid out snacks and stacked mini bar is not inclusive it will be added to your bill if you so choose to indulge.
WEATHER
As it pertains to the weather it is very similar to Caribbean weather expect hotter and more humid in my opinion. I think we might have gone at the starting of the  rainy season because it rained a few of the days. So be sure to check the weather before jetting off. Hope this was insightful in helping you plan your trip and happy travels. If you have any questions you can leave comment below. 









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