I flew into Cartagena on Tuesday, November 13 and it was an adventure right from the start. Most of people in Colombia are good, honest, and friendly people but, as a tourist in a foreign country, I still have to be cautious of dishonest people who take advantage of tourists.
I made the mistake of not researching the conversion rate from the U.S. dollar to Colombian Pesos and my cab driver took advantage of my ignorance. I found out only after the fact that he was not only overcharging me to begin with but he also lied to me about the conversion rate. Being that the conversion is actually about $3,000 COP to $1 USD and not $6,000 to $1, like he claimed, I ended up paying over $20 for what should been less than a $5 ride. Lesson learned and one mistake that I won’t make again. All I can say is that I’m glad that I didn’t buy the weed or cocaine that he tried to pressure me to buy. Who knows where that would have led.
Aside from a few bad eggs like the dishonest taxi driver, pickpocketing children, and the sketchy guys that try to lure tourists into scams and other traps, most of the Colombian locals are actually incredibly friendly and helpful without expecting anything in return.
I stayed at One Day Hostel for the entirety of my ten days in Cartagena and I highly recommend this budget friendly hostel if you ever make the trip. I paid less than $10 per night, had a simple yet good complimentary breakfast every morning, and the staff provided a level of service that would give any high end hotel a run for their money.
As my first ever hostel experience, the best part was the sense of community amongst the fellow backpackers staying at the hostel. Solo travelers were quickly welcomed to join groups of other travelers in social and tourist activities. I made so many incredible new friends that, as a result, my ten days in Cartagena will be an experience I will never forget!
Where is the best place you’ve ever traveled to or the place you most want to go? Comment below!