I was offered the opportunity to attend an international veterinary conference in Cartagena and, needless to say, I jumped at the chance to go! Colombia is one of those places Americans (or maybe just me) find mysterious and exotic and rightly so, it’s a fascinating country that has such a rich culture and history. I took a flight from BWI to the Rafael Nuñez International Airport in Cartagena and it was painless. The taxis are located in the front of the airport and there is a kiosk where you can wait to catch one. Please make sure you have pesos before you arrive. ASK THE TAXI DRIVER HOW MUCH IT WILL BE BEFORE GETTING IN! I had a tiny issue in that regard and learned my lesson.
Some quick facts about Columbia for you future visitors:
- Power Adapters are not needed if you are coming from the US but if you are looking for a good one for other trips or are visiting from another country, I use this one.
- Currency is the Colombian Peso Currency Convert
- No visa required for US business travelers
- The language is Spanish but many people spoke English, if not then pull out your google translate and do your best 🙂
- Credit Cards work perfectly!
- Don’t be alarmed by the armed police on the streets
- Use common safety sense, I had NO ISSUES there as a female alone but I use my instincts and stay in public areas. I also try to stay with a group if possible. There are so many articles about how dangerous Colombia is but I felt just as safe there as I do in many other US cities.
In my profession, traveling overseas is very normal, but traveling to countries with warm and humid climates is not. I knew for this trip I was going to have to take some serious inventory of my wardrobe and just this once avoid my Scandinavian inspired neutral wardrobe. My Columbian friends told me to dress a bit more adventurously and throw so color in so…I tried. Here was my Packing List – Columbia. I bought a few dresses on sale at J. Crew and ASOS and packed my usual essentials to make life easier and again, I only used a trusty carry on for the whole thing! See my article on Suitcases and Carry-Ons for more on this subject. If you have these great pieces which can be day/night outfits, you will be good to go!
Red J Crew – Only $44.00 and also this one from ASOS for $72.00
We stayed at Hotel Las Americans. It was connected to the convention hall through a short tunnel and had a few solid dining choices as well. It was right on the beach which was nice the evening we had a bonfire party. I was happy with the hotel in general but I will say if you are going to Cartagena for a holiday, stay within the walled city, there is so much more to do and experience there and you really get more of the old historic feel Cartagena has to offer.
Our tour through the walled city was amazing, this city has great shopping, a wonderful yet complex history and amazing food!
During my trip, I saw some pretty amazing things. I tried to be very cautious about what I ate and drank while I was there which was tough because everything looked amazing. I did only drink bottled water and stuck to food which was easy on the stomach. Use bottled water to brush your teeth as well. Message me if you have ANY questions about your own adventure!