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Here’s a list of a few possible tourist traps.

Cartagena, Colombia

Unfortunately, foreigners are frequently overcharged because of their perceived as rich. It’s usually a good idea to inquire about the pricing before making a purchase in order to avoid being taken advantage of. This is crucial, especially when getting a taxi, purchasing goods and services from street vendors in tourist areas, and placing an order at a restaurant in a far-off location. And always ask for the price in pesos.

#1 Taxi Drivers in Cartagena, Colombia

Nobody uses taximeters, and there are no official rates.

Most taxi drivers will try to charge you more because you’re a foreigner. It’s sad to say, but it’s the truth.

To minimize unpleasant surprises, you should:

  • Get an idea of the rates before arriving in Cartagena.
  • Ask for the price BEFORE you get in the taxi — Voy a Getsemaní. 8,000?

To help you, this is a list of prices you should pay in 2022 in Cartagena:

  • A trip between Getsemaní, Bocagrande, old city: 8 – 10,000 COP.
  • Airport – Bocagrande: about 23,000 COP.
  • Airport – old city: about 15,000 COP.
  • Bus terminal – old city: about 25,000 COP.
  • Round trip Old town – La Popa (+ 1 hour waiting time): about 50,000 COP.

Safety tip: You can ask your hotel/restaurant to call a taxi driver and confirm with them the average price.

For me, the most challenging moment was at the airport.

You’ll have your luggage. You’ll be tired.

#2 Uber in Cartagena

Once in Cartagena, you can also use Uber.

It’s kind of legal in Colombia now.

If you don’t want to wait too long, you can use indriver, or didi.

My safety tips are:

  • Do not leave your glass unattended or accept drinks from people you do not know. A drug called scopolamine can turn you into an obedience zombie — you’ll answer all questions and remember nothing.
  • Better to party with a group of people than alone.
  • Bring a photocopy of your passport and some cash—instead of your credit card.

Street Vendors in Cartagena, Colombia

The street vendors in Cartagena are exhausting. They will see you from miles away trying to sell their products/services. Let’s see how to deal with them.

#3 It’s Their Bread and Butter

Even if they annoy you, remember that they are not doing this for fun.

You must act respectfully and firmly. If they see you hesitating or embarrassed, they will continue to talk to you.

This is what I do:

  1. I look at them in the eyes and smile.
  2. Then, I say “Está bien papa, gracias” for a guy and “No, gracias mi amor” for a woman.
  3. Then I go on my way without worrying about their answer.

If you’re not comfortable saying no, you can try to ignore them. Personally, I prefer the first technique.

#4 Oyster Sellers, Shrimp Sellers, and Masseuses

You’ll find them on the beach, trying to offer you a free sample.

Keep in mind this: It’s NEVER free.

Always refuse the free sample.

Then, you can ask for the price if you’re interested.

#5 Street Sellers Inside the Old Walled City

You’ll meet street sellers who want to sell you hats, cigars, and so on.

Don’t hesitate to bargain.

A hat should cost from 20 to 40,000 COP.

Finally, you will also be the “victim” of the rappers. They carry around a speaker and do improvised raps on passers-by. Don’t hesitate to tell them “no gracias” from the beginning and then let them sing. You can also enter one of the many coffee shops to escape them.

 

                                                                                      The Rosario Islands

Islas del Rosario turismo: Qué visitar en Islas del Rosario, Cartagena, 2023| Viaja con Expedia

It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Caribbean Coast. As a result, there are a few scams to avoid.

Before saying, “Yes, I do.”

As I told you before, some locals will charge you more because you are a foreigner. It will be difficult to argue about the price if you don’t speak Spanish.

Here are a few tips to avoid these annoying situations.

#6 Restaurants At the Beach

I advise you to go to a restaurant where the prices are displayed. It’s not that simple, but there are a few.

If you want to spend a few hours on the beach of Bocagrande / Laguito, you will like to take shelter in the shade. Don’t hesitate to negotiate for free the carp+ plastic chairs if you order food and beverages.

#7 Double-Check the Bill

Check that you have not been given an extra drink or dish at the bar or restaurant.

You will also observe that most add a line “propina voluntaria.” This corresponds to a tip of 10% of the bill.

You do not have to pay for it — although it is customary to do so if you are satisfied with the service.

#8 Pickpockets

To avoid them, you must use your common sense:

  • Don’t keep anything in your back pockets.
  • Don’t show off with your valuables.
  • Don’t leave your stuff unattended (restaurants, beaches).
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