Cartagena City, Colombia. A major port since 1533 and located on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean coast region.
It was strategically located between the Magdalena and Sinú rivers. It became the main port for trade between Spain and its overseas empire.
During the colonial era it was a key port for the export of Peruvian silver to Spain and for the import of enslaved Africans under the asiento system. It was defensible against pirate attacks in the Caribbean. It is the capital of the Bolívar Department.
Cartagena has a total population of more than 1 million people according to the 2018 census.
It is the fifth largest city in Colombia.
The urban area of Cartagena is also the fifth-largest urban area in the country. Economic activities include the maritime and petrochemicals industries, as well as tourism.
During the Spanish colonial period Cartagena served a key role in administration and expansion of the Spanish empire. It was a center of political, ecclesiastical, and economic activity. In 1984, Cartagena’s colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9 THINGS TO DO AND NOT TO DO IN CARTAGENA
- Do not buy and take cocaine. Instead, avoid even talking about this topic to the Colombians.
- Don’t refuse a shot of aguardiente! Instead, when a friendly Colombian offers you shot of the local spirit, just say yes! It is just an offer of friendship and unity.
- Avoid making jokes about Guerrillas and Pablo Escobar. These jokes will just make people avoid you. So instead, just avoid them at all costs.
- Do not bargain aggressively. Instead, keep the haggling light-hearted and fun. You stand a much better chance of getting discount and making a friend!
- Don’t forget to carry cash. Instead, make sure you always have at least enough cash for the day. Colombia is still very much of cash economy hence it’s difficult to transact with credit cards.
- Do not turn up in a restaurant in shorts and flip flops. Instead, dress decently when going to restaurants or even clubbing.
- Avoid hailing a taxi at night. Instead, you can order for one using a taxi app.
- Don’t worry about Punctuality. Colombia are well known to be “slow”. So just relax when the person you are meeting gets a bit late.
- Do not buy anything before asking for price. Instead, always ensure you know the price just to avoid misunderstandings at a later stage.
9 MOST INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT CARTAGENA
- The Cartagena walls were not built as a continuous wall. They were built is sections as a series of stand alone bastions.
- The walls were once right on the water.
- The people of Cartagena collected rain for drinking water.
- The walls took 184 years to fully complete.
- Cartagena’s iconic clocktower was not an original feature of its walls. In fact, the city originally had no proper entryway or gate here.
- The harbor was guarded by 29 stone forts.
- It is predominated by its tourism industry.
- In its ancient times, the city was one of the best protected cities in the Spanish empire.
- Cartagena, Colombia is one of the UNESCO’s Heritage Site for its port, Fortresses and monuments. The Heritage sites also includes the old town of Cartagena.