Cartagena, Colombia

At A Glance

Location Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama.  Cartagena is located in the northwestern portion on the Caribbean Sea.
Border countries Brazil 1,644km, Ecuador 590km, Panama 225km, Peru 1,800km, Venezuela 2,050km (border total 6,309km)
Type of government Democratic Republic
Head of state President Juan Manuel Santos (since 2010): Independent Liberal
Independence 20 July 1810 (from Spain)
Capital Bogotá
Population 48 million
Climate Steamy tropical conditions along coast and eastern plains; cool with less humidity in highlands
Topography Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains
Coastline 3,208km (Caribbean Sea 1,760km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448km)
Lowest point Pacific Ocean (0m)
Highest point Pico Cristóbal Colón (5,775m)
Major rivers Magdalena, Cauca, Meta, Guaviare, Caquetá, Putumayo, Atrato, Vaupés, Vichada.
Currency Colombian peso (COP/$) (For up-to-date rates, go to
Economy GDP: US$171.6 billion comprising agriculture (12%), industry (35.2%), services (52.7%), with key products and industries coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables, forest products, shrimp, textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement, gold, coal and emeralds.
Language Spanish; also 65 indigenous languages
Religion Catholic (90%); also Episcopal & Jewish faiths
Time GMT/UTC –5
International dialling code +57
Electricity 110V, 60Hz
Electric plug American-style plug with two parallel blades


Citizens from most western European countries (including the UK), Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada only need a valid passport to enter Colombia. A 30-, 60- or 90-day tourist visa will be issued on entry without the need to apply for any other visa in advance. 

Citizens from restricted countries need to apply for a tourist visa in the Colombian consulate in their country of origin. 

Whether arriving by plane or land, visitors must hold a return or onward ticket to prove an intention to leave the country. Furthermore, the ticket out of the country should be dated within 90 days to avoid difficulties at immigration. It is also entirely possible that proof may be required to show sufficient funds exist to cover your stay. 


In Colombia suggested tips are as follows:

Porter/bell boy : $1 per bag
Housekeeping : About $1-2 per day
Tour guides : $5 per person per day
Bus drivers : $1 per person per day
Restaurant tips : 10% of bill 
Taxi drivers : nothing


Zika virus is of concern in Colombia.  Malaria is generally not a concern in Cartagena.  Please consult the CDC site for information on vaccinations:

April Weather in Cartagena

Average Temperature 29°C / 84°F
High Temperature 31°C / 88°F
Low Temperature 26°C / 79°F
Precipitation: 4.0 mm
Humidity: 81%
Wind: 11 km/h
Visibility: 11 km

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