When Is the Best Time to Visit Cartagena? Plus 7 Top Tips
As someone who has traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, I understand how important it is to plan your trip at the right time of year. From the weather to the crowds and prices, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding when to visit.
In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know about the best time to visit Cartagena, including weather patterns, popular events and festivals, tips for avoiding crowds, and more. Plus, I’ll provide seven top tips to help you make the most of your visit to this beautiful city.
Weather in Cartagena
Cartagena is a tropical destination, which means you can expect warm weather all year round. However, the city experiences two main seasons: the dry season (December to April) and the rainy season (May to November). During the dry season, temperatures are typically in the mid-80s, and rain is rare. This makes it the best time to visit Cartagena for those who want to enjoy the beaches, go on outdoor excursions, and explore the city’s historic sites.
On the other hand, the rainy season can be unpredictable, with frequent showers and thunderstorms. Despite the rain, temperatures remain warm, with highs in the mid-80s. However, the humidity is often high, which can make it feel hotter than it actually is. While the rainy season may not be the best time to visit for beach-goers or outdoor enthusiasts, it can be a great time to experience the city’s cultural events and festivals.
Events and Festivals
One of the most popular times to visit Cartagena is during the city’s festivals and events. From music festivals to cultural celebrations, there’s always something going on in Cartagena. Some of the most popular events include the Cartagena International Music Festival, the Cartagena Film Festival, and the Hay Festival.
If you’re interested in attending one of these events, it’s important to plan ahead. Hotel rooms can book up quickly, and prices can be higher during peak festival times. However, attending a festival can be a great way to experience the city’s culture and mingle with locals and tourists alike.
Crowds and Prices
Crowds and prices in Cartagena can vary depending on the time of year. The high season for tourism is typically from December to February, when the weather is dry and warm. During this time, you can expect higher prices for accommodations and activities, and larger crowds at popular tourist sites.
If you’re looking to avoid crowds and save some money, consider visiting during the shoulder season (March to May or September to November). During these times, prices are typically lower, and crowds are smaller. However, keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable, and you may experience more rain and humidity.
7 Top Tips for Visiting Cartagena
Now that you know when the best time to visit Cartagena is, here are seven top tips to help you make the most of your trip:
- Stay in the Walled City: The Walled City is the historic heart of Cartagena, and it’s where you’ll find the city’s best restaurants, bars, and shops. Staying in this area will also allow you to explore the city’s many historic sites on foot.
- Get Up Early: Cartagena can get hot and crowded during the day, so it’s a good idea to wake up early and explore the city before the crowds arrive.
- Take a Boat Tour: One of the best ways to experience Cartagena is by boat. You can take a tour of the city’s many islands and beaches, or explore the nearby mangroves and wildlife.
- Try Local Cuisine: Cartagena is known for its delicious seafood and traditional Colombian dishes. Don’t miss out on trying some of the local specialties, like ceviche, fried fish, and arepas.
- Visit the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas: This impressive fortress is one of Cartagena’s most iconic landmarks. It offers stunning views of the city and is a must-see for history buffs.
- Take a Sunset Stroll: Cartagena’s streets come alive at sunset, with locals and tourists alike taking to the streets to enjoy the cooler temperatures. Take a leisurely stroll around the city and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
- Get Off the Beaten Path: While Cartagena’s historic sites and beaches are certainly worth visiting, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and explore some of the city’s lesser-known neighborhoods and attractions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions related to “When is the best time to visit Cartagena?”:
Is Cartagena safe to visit?
Cartagena is generally considered safe for tourists, but like any city, it’s important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Stick to well-lit areas and avoid flashing valuables.
What is the currency used in Cartagena?
The official currency in Colombia is the Colombian peso (COP). Most shops and restaurants in Cartagena will accept credit cards, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash with you as well.
Can I drink the tap water in Cartagena?
It’s generally not recommended to drink the tap water in Colombia. Stick to bottled water and avoid ice cubes in drinks.
Do I need a visa to visit Cartagena?
Visitors from many countries, including the United States and Canada, do not need a visa to enter Colombia for stays of up to 90 days. However, it’s always a good idea to check the latest visa requirements before you travel.
What is the time zone in Cartagena?
Cartagena is in the Colombia Time Zone (COT), which is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-5).
Conclusion to the Best Time to Visit Cartagena
Cartagena is a beautiful and vibrant city that offers something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the beach, explore the city’s rich history and culture, or simply relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, Cartagena is the perfect destination. By considering the weather, events, crowds, and prices, you can plan the best time to visit Cartagena for your needs. And by following our top tips, you can make the most of your time in this incredible city.
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