Safety in Cartagena: What You Need to Know

November 13, 2023



Exploring Safety in Cartagena

Nestled on the northern coast of Colombia, Cartagena stands as a city renowned for its illustrious history, vibrant culture, and picturesque Caribbean beaches. It draws in travelers seeking a blend of heritage, art, and relaxation. it is cartagena safe Yet, like any tourist destination, addressing safety concerns is paramount. In this article, we delve into the safety landscape of Cartagena, providing you with essential information for a secure and enjoyable visit.

Overall Safety

In general, Cartagena is regarded as a safe destination for tourists, and most visitors have uneventful experiences. However, like any major city, minor crimes like pickpocketing can occur, especially in crowded places and tourist-frequented areas. To reduce the likelihood of theft, it's advisable to remain vigilant about your belongings, refrain from displaying valuable items, and exercise caution in crowded settings.

Diverse Neighborhoods

Cartagena comprises diverse neighborhoods, each possessing its distinct character and safety profile. The Old City (Ciudad Vieja) is a favored spot for tourists, celebrated for its well-preserved colonial architecture. It is generally safe, but being a tourist hub, it can attract pickpockets. Bocagrande, a modern precinct of the city, is also deemed safe and houses numerous hotels, restaurants, and shops.

When exploring less-traveled neighborhoods, it's imperative to exercise prudence, as safety conditions can fluctuate. Conduct research on specific areas or consult local authorities or your accommodation for safety recommendations.


Public transportation in Cartagena is typically safe. Taxis are readily available and considered a secure mode of travel within the city. Ensure you use licensed and registered taxis, usually identified by their yellow color and clear markings. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Didi are also accessible.

While using public transportation, remain vigilant about your belongings to ward off theft. Moreover, when navigating the city on foot, exercise caution around traffic, as some areas may lack clearly defined pedestrian pathways.

Health and Hygiene

In Cartagena, as in many tropical destinations, safeguarding your health is pivotal. Make sure to stay properly hydrated, apply sunscreen, and exercise caution when indulging in street food, which may not consistently meet the highest hygiene standards. It's crucial to keep your vaccinations current, including those for diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid.


Spanish serves as the official language in Cartagena. Although English speakers can be found in tourist areas, possessing a basic understanding of Spanish or having a translation app at your disposal can significantly aid in communication.

Emergency Services

Cartagena maintains a network of emergency services, including medical facilities and law enforcement agencies. The emergency number for police and other services in Colombia is 123, while for medical assistance, you can dial 125.

Safety Recommendations

To ensure a trouble-free stay in Cartagena, consider the following safety tips:

1. Stay in Well-Traveled Areas: Concentrate your explorations in well-populated and tourist-friendly areas, especially during the nighttime.

2. Stay Alert: Maintain awareness of your surroundings and the security of your belongings.

3. Use Licensed Taxis: Rely on licensed and registered taxis for your transportation needs.

4. Hydrate: Given the tropical climate, ensure you remain adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

5. Respect Local Customs: Familiarize yourself with local culture and customs, and dress modestly when visiting religious sites.


Cartagena is a captivating destination, offering a plethora of historical sites and exquisite beaches. While safety concerns should not deter your visit, it is paramount to exercise prudence and remain mindful of your surroundings. By adhering to common-sense safety practices, you can savor your time in Cartagena and explore all the enchanting facets this city has to offer.


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