Cartagena or Bogota: Which City Should I Visit?

Cartagena Colombia

Colombia is known for its tropical beauty. In recent years, Colombia has seen an increase in tourism and it’s no wonder.

The country has so much to offer in terms of culture, with eight sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, historic archaeological parks, beautiful beaches along the Caribbean coast, and of course, coffee.

Colombian Cupid

If you are on the fence between Cartagena vs. Bogota, here are some fun and exciting tidbits to help you decide your travel itinerary.

Weather

Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is located on a plateau in the Andes mountains. Because of its altitude, the climate in Bogota is relatively cooler. When packing your clothes for a visit to Bogota, prepare for a minimum of around 8ºC to a maximum of around 20ºC.

Cartagena, being located along the Caribbean coast, has a much warmer climate. If you’re planning to stay in Cartagena, make sure to pack a lot of summer clothes, as the temperature can reach up to around 32ºC.

Culture

Due to recent urban development activities, Bogota is experiencing a rebirth. Restaurants, shopping malls, nightclubs are cropping up all over the city. To view the expansive geographic beauty of Bogota, uphill Monserrate is your best vantage point.

If you’re interested in museums, parks and squares, then Cartagena would be your top destination. The Walled City is home to many colonial treasures. You can visit the Palace of the Inquisition, the Castle of San Felipe, or the churches located in Cartagena.

Food

Thanks to the fast-paced urban development, Bogota now has the Gourmet Zone. It’s the place where you want to fulfill your gastronomic desires. Make sure you try their changua, an egg-based broth, and the fritanga, a very popular fried food. The Ajiaco is also popular fare.

When in Cartagena, don’t miss their coconut rice, a dish that is said to contain the flavors of Colombian Caribbean. Also, try the arepa and egg for breakfast. Don’t forget to have some seafood dishes like the ceviche.

Nightlife

Whether it’s Bogota or Cartagena, the nightlife is wildly vibrant. If you’re up to dancing salsa all night while drinking Agila, the local beer, or the fiery aguardiente, then the Colombian nightlife will find you.

If the G Zone is the gastronomic center of Bogota, then the Zona Rosa is its nightlife center. If you want a more sedate night, try the hip but lively Chapinero.

If you want some Latin music, head to Cafe Havana, apparently the most popular club in Cartagena. The Plaza Santo Domingo and Plaza de Madrid are also surrounded by really cool dining spots where you can chill all night.

Accommodation

You can find many hotels in Bogota that offer cheap rooms, from around $10 to $30. If you plan to stay somewhere more luxurious, prepare to spend anywhere from $100 to $300 per night.

Find cheap hotels in Bogota

Depending on your budget, when you’re in Cartagena, you can stay at the Boca Grande area where a night can cost as much as almost $300. Or you can stay in Getsemani, an area catering to backpackers and travelers on a tight budget, where you can find rooms for as cheap as less than $20.

Find cheap hotels in Cartagena

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