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Pros & Cons of Living in Cartagena

If you're considering a move to Cartagena, this article discusses the pros and cons of living in Cartagena.
|-Pros & Cons of Living in Cartagena

Thinking about moving to Cartagena? Below we highlight some of the pros and cons of living in Cartagena.

Cartagena, a jewel of the Caribbean coast, is a city that has been attracting expats and tourists alike for years. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty, it’s no wonder why so many people are drawn to this Colombian city. But like any place, living in Cartagena has its pros and cons. In this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of making Cartagena your home.

Pros of Living in Cartagena

One of the most significant advantages of living in Cartagena is the city’s rich culture and history. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena is home to a plethora of historical landmarks, including the iconic Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas and the walled city of Cartagena. Living here means you’re never far from a piece of history, and the city’s vibrant culture is reflected in its music, dance, and festivals. For instance, the Cartagena International Music Festival and the Cartagena Film Festival are events that attract artists and enthusiasts from around the world.

Another advantage of living in Cartagena is its stunning natural beauty. The city is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, offering beautiful beaches and a variety of water sports. The Rosario Islands, a national park located just off the coast, is a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. Additionally, the city’s tropical climate means it’s always a good time to explore the outdoors.

Cartagena also offers a lower cost of living compared to many Western countries. This means your money can go a lot further here. For example, a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost as little as $10, and a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be rented for around $500 per month. This makes Cartagena an attractive option for retirees or those looking to stretch their dollar.

Finally, the people of Cartagena are known for their warmth and hospitality. Colombians are generally friendly and welcoming, and this is especially true in Cartagena. Whether you’re shopping at the local market or enjoying a night out, you’re likely to be met with a smile and a friendly greeting. This sense of community can make living in Cartagena a truly enjoyable experience.

There are also numerous opportunities for volunteering and giving back to the community. Organizations like the Cartagena Paws, which helps stray animals, and the Foundation for the Development of the Poor, which provides education and healthcare services to the less fortunate, are always looking for volunteers.

Cons of Living in Cartagena, Colombia

While there are many advantages to living in Cartagena, there are also some disadvantages to consider. One of the main drawbacks is the city’s high humidity and heat. With temperatures often reaching the high 80s and 90s (Fahrenheit), and humidity levels frequently above 80%, the weather can be uncomfortable for those not used to tropical climates.

Another disadvantage is the language barrier. While English is taught in schools, many locals do not speak it fluently. This can make everyday tasks like shopping or visiting the doctor more challenging for those who do not speak Spanish. However, this can also be seen as an opportunity to learn a new language and immerse yourself in a new culture.

While the cost of living is generally lower in Cartagena, this is not always the case for imported goods. Items such as electronics, cars, and certain foods can be significantly more expensive than in Western countries due to import taxes. This is something to consider if you’re planning on moving to Cartagena long-term.

Finally, like any city, Cartagena has its share of crime. While the city is generally safe, petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching do occur, particularly in tourist areas. It’s important to take precautions and stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night.

Despite these drawbacks, many people find that the pros of living in Cartagena outweigh the cons. The city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty, combined with the warmth and hospitality of its people, make Cartagena a truly unique place to live.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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