Cartagena or Medellin: Which City Should I Visit?

Cartagena and Medellin are both beautiful cities in Colombia. If you are planning to travel or move to Colombia, both of these lovely cities would be a great option. This article will give information and specific details about both cities so that that you may compare them.


Cartagena is located off the Caribbean coast. It has all of the qualities you would expect from a beach destination. Tropical, warm weather, tall palm trees, thin, white sand, abundant ocean life, and coral reefs. The friendly Colombian people are the cherry on top of the Sunday.

Medellin is located in the Andes Mountains, so the weather is nice and mild. It is one of Colombia’s largest cities. People are attracted to this town because of all the modern features it offers. There are metro cables which provide residents with their main form of transportation in between the city and to surrounding towns. Museums, festivals, and an art-filled downtown attract visitors from all over the world.

Food and Nightlife

Colombia overall is known for its party vibe and tasty food treats, both in restaurants and from street vendors. Now, the population of Medellin is over twice the size of the population of Cartagena. It is also a lot more modern style of living, therefore the nightlife ambiance is amplified in Medellin versus Cartagena.

Medellin simply has a larger number of restaurants, bars, and clubs. Although Cartagena is more of a vacationing spot and it has plenty of places to eat and party, Medellin caters to millions of residents and tourist alike.

As far as food, being off the coast, you will find more variety of fresher seafood options in Cartagena. In reference to art and other similar attractions, Medellin takes the win. Being a large city versus a vacationing beach town, the cost of living and the cost of fun is slightly higher in Medellin versus Cartagena.

You will find nature and history in both cities, but Cartagena might give you slightly more beautiful views not being as populated a place as Medellin. Cartagena was one of the first colonies in Colombia, so you will be able to find colonial style buildings and homes that still remain from the 16th century.


When booking a hotel room, in Colombia as anywhere else, the cost always depends on factors like where you are booking, how far ahead you are booking, and how many days you book for. Although you will have more options for hotels and housing rentals in Medellin than Cartagena, the cost will likely be higher in Medellin for the same hotel room specs and amenities than it would be in Cartagena.

You will surely find more modern touches in the hotels booked in Medellin, but Cartagena’s hotels have all the flair and uniqueness you would expect in beach resorts.

Regardless of which city you visit or decide to move to, you will find a great time. There is great people, great food, and great fun all over Colombia. Think of what you enjoy best, classic, historical views or modern views, mountains or beaches, then choose. You really cannot go wrong with either option. I recommend you visit both Cartagena and Medellin. They are both top cities in Colombia.

What do you think?

Written by TJ

Tarik aka TJ is the founder of He writes articles and uploads videos documenting his trips in different countries. Get ExpatKings Premium to get access to all of his exclusive behind the scenes videos and photos.

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