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Colombia Travel Tips: Your Guide to Getting Around Cartagena

A man carrying a backpack waiting at the train station. Find out what modes of transport are best to get around Cartagena, Colombia. | Photo by Bruce Mars on Pexels

Out of all the countries in South America, Colombia is one of the most contrasting—not just in geography but also in culture.

It’s also one of the South American countries that still embrace their Murisca and Tairona influences. The result is a rich and vibrant culture that shines throughout the country.

Should you decide to travel to Colombia, we strongly recommend that you make a stop in one of its most lively and exhilarating cities: Cartagena.

We guarantee that you will not regret visiting Colombia after experiencing this amazing city.

About Cartagena

Located along the Caribbean coast, Cartagena has 5 major sections, namely the northern area, downtown, San Diego, Getsemane, and Bocagrande.

Because Cartagena's a larger city, navigating around can be confusing for first time tourists. One way you can avoid getting lost is by familiarizing the different modes of transport available, which are:

Taxis

A yellow Colombian taxi parked on the side of the road. Taxis are one of the most convenient modes of transport in Cartagena. | Image source: Wiki Commons , licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Taxis are one of the most convenient modes of transport in Cartagena, Colombia.

Throughout your stay, you will probably be riding taxis most of the time. Just make sure that they are properly licensed by the local Colombian government. Towns in Colombia require that taxis be licensed for the safety of drivers and riders alike. Most taxis found in major cities like Cartagena will almost always be licensed.

The indicators of a legal taxi are the yellow color and the label “servicio publico” on the plates. The downside of taxis is that they can be a little expensive depending on your budget.

However, the rates are still cheaper compared to cabs in most Western cities.

Mototaxis

two mopeds driving around the city at night. To get around the Cartagena quicker, a mototaxi could be your best bet. | Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels

One thing tourists notice once they travel to Cartagena are the droves of motorcycles lining the streets. The locals don’t just ride them for personal use; there are some drivers that take passengers too.

There are areas in Cartagena that can’t be accessed by buses and even taxis. If you need to visit one of these areas, then mototaxis will be your best bet of going around.

Transcaribe

An orange bus in Cartagena, Colombia making a stop If you want to beat the traffic without spending a fortune on taxis, Cartagena, Colombia’s transcaribe is the best way to get around the city. | Image source: Wiki Commons , licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 >

In Cartagena, there are buses and then there’s Transcaribe.

In order to improve their mode of transport, this bus line (that almost mimics the functions of a subway) was created in 2016.

These buses have their own routes and even their own designated lanes. This is ideal when you want to avoid rush hour traffic. The mode of payment for a ride is similar to the subway wherein you buy a card and simply load it with credits.

You can ride a Transcaribe by waiting at the designated SITM terminal for your route.

Buses

 A man and a woman sitting beside each other in a bus. Immerse yourself in an authentic Cartagena experience by riding the most widely used mode of transport in the city: buses. | Photo by Jen on Pexels

Buses are the most widely used mode of transportation in the city. Unlike the more organized Transcaribe, you can hail buses just about anywhere around Cartagena.

In order to board the right bus, you have to check which area is indicated in its signage. There are three major routes, namely Ternera-San Jose, Ternera-Villagrande, and Campestre-Castillo.

Transportation in Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia is such a dynamic and fast-paced city. Being confused about the transportation in the city may limit your experiences.

Understanding how transportation works in this city will open up experiences with Colombian food, introduce you to a great cup of coffee and ultimately save money by knowing how to get around efficiently.

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