Monday, 3 July 2017

6 free or really cheap things you can do in Cartagena.

So I've finally left the US after an epic trip driving from California to Florida. First stop Cartagena in Colombia. After "living it up in the US" the wallet was really feeling pinched and I sure wanted to stretch my dollar since it would probably be another 6 or 7 months before I head home to Singapore. As such I made an effort to find some cheap if not free things to do while in Cartagena.

1) Free walking tour of the old town.
Like the USA, one can also find a free walking tour of the old town here. They do this twice a day at10am and 4pm in both Spanish and English. So if your Spanish is still rickety, you have the option of having all the sights explained to you in English. I was on the 10am tour and it ended at about 1pm, perfect timing to grab lunch especially with the 35 degree weather! It is a pay-what-you-can tour so if you really liked the tour, do tip the guide what you can afford!

2) Pop into the Chocolate museum
Nothing like sampling the food of the gods! Although the workshop is not free, you can still sample some of what they are selling for free ;)! How can one say no to chocolate after all!

3) Castillo de San Felipe
If you don't want to pay to enter, there is actually a mall right beside which in addition to overlooking the fort is also air conditioned! I got lucky here as I only had to pay student price. The staff were alright with giving me the discount even after i told them that my student car had already expired. There is an optional audio guide as well which is about 5USD. I ended up spending over an hour in the fort despite the sweltering heat! They do have a short film as well which is in an a small air-conditioned room so don't miss out on that!

4) Eating local
Nothing like eating arepas instead of donuts and drinking tinto instead of lattes to bring down ones costs. In general, you can get these for less than 2,000 COP. It is possible to find restaurants which have a "menu del dia" for 8,000 COP. An average meal would be about 15-25,000 COP and if you decide to eat at the more well known places, be prepared to spend over 50,000 COP.

5) Stroll through the Getsemani District
To unleash the hipster in you, this is the place to be where you can find small restaurants and hipster cafes.

6) Get your yellow fever vaccination.
The Colombian health department will provide free vaccinations for yellow fever regardless of ones nationality at certain locations in the country. Cartagena is one such place where you can also do so. I've included the location in Google maps here if you decide to get your vaccination done in Colombia.