Traveling to Cartagena Made Easy
Vacationing in Cartagena is a wonderful escape from reality but actually getting there still requires a little forethought and planning. In the Colonial Era it would have taken you days or weeks to get to Cartagena in a boat. While you can still do that if you’d like (it’s a beautiful trip) it’s so much quicker and easier to travel by plane. You can be on the ground in Colombia within hours and having dinner and drinks with friends before the stars come out. So just how do you get to Cartagena by plane?
How to get to Cartagena from The United States
If you’re wondering how to get to Cartagena from the United States, you can fly through Miami International Airport. Avianca airlines offers daily flights directly to Cartagena. If you’d like to bypass Miami airport you can catch connecting flights in Fort Lauderdale Airport on Jet Blue or Spirit Airlines and be in Cartagena in under 3 hours.
From farther north, you can catch non-stop flights to Cartagena via Jet Blue (out of New York City) or Delta Air Lines out of their national hub in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is regularly listed as one of the busiest in the world (with more flights in and out per day than any other). While that tends to make the airport terminals crowded, the main portion of the facility is roomy enough to accommodate everyone easily and offers enough services that you can find pretty much anything you need at a moment’s notice.
If you’re coming to Cartagena from Europe you’ll likely either stopover in Miami, Florida or Bogota, Colombia.
Both of these international airports serve as major travel hubs connecting Cartagena with the rest of the world. While they’re busy, a bit crowded, and sometimes a little difficult to navigate, they’re laid out to handle all of that international traffic and the staff is used to handling issues international travelers might run into.
Miami specifically is one of the largest (and busiest) airports in The United States but it’s also one of the most modern, well equipped, and well-designed with every conceivable modern amenity you might need.
Bogatá airport just recently added two modern terminals specifically designed for international travelers (which has dramatically decreased the stress associated with transferring through this once notoriously crowded facility).
Both airports are excellent option for experienced travelers who expect a certain level of comfort and services during their long flights but are also easy enough to navigate that first-time visitors to Cartagena won’t get lost along the journey.
Canadian travelers (or those passing through The Great White North) might be surprised to learn they can get to Cartagena by catching non-stop international flights from Toronto and Montreal via Air Canada—the country’s air travel leader.
These new routes are part of the carrier’s expanded international service and began in December of 2017.
Additional flights with multiple stops are available from pretty much all over the country and will likely have visitors changing planes in one of the major travel hubs in The United States (New York, Atlanta, of Florida).
From Central America
Depending on which part of Central America and/or The Caribbean you’re flying from, you’ll likely be catching a direct flight to Rafael Nuñez International Airport in the heart of Cartagena.
However, if you have an exceptionally long way to travel or opt for a budget carrier, you may stopover in either Bogota or Panama.
In such cases it may often be quicker (if not more cost-effective) to hire a charter plane to take you and your travel companions to paradise.
From South America
Travelers from most locations in South America can catch direct flights to Cartagena from their home airports. However, it may be more cost-effective to select a flight plan with multiple stops in Panama, or Bogota.
You can often save hundreds of dollars per passenger going this route but the cost savings is often translated into inconvenience, time, and pre-packaged airport food!
Folks vacationing in Cartagena from Asia have the farthest to fly but thankfully several Asian airlines have pioneered a new era of comfort and economy in long international flights. With optional upgrade packages you can travel like royalty as your flight takes you over the Northern Hemisphere and you experience stopovers in spectacular European Locations like London and Madrid.
With a little forethought you can make these stopovers a part of your vacation getaway and create dual-destination vacations or simply add a few hours to your travel time so you can see some internationally renowned landmarks and take in some the foreign culture.
Domestic travelers will have no trouble getting to Cartagena. Flights are available from pretty much every airport in Colombia including Medellin, Bogota, San Andrés, Cali, and Pereira.
Our preferred domestic carriers include Avianca, Copa Airlines, and Lan Colombia. With documentation hassles, no need to check through customs, and no long layovers you can hop on a plane and be in Cartagena—our own beautiful vacation destination—within minutes!
Rafael Nuñez International Airport
When you fly into Cartagena, you’ll be landing in Rafael Nuñez International Airport. This modern travel hub is located just two miles (a short cab ride) from the heart of historic Cartagena. In addition to taxis (which cost about COL$15,000—or $5-$8 US), regular bus service ferries passengers from Rafael Nuñez International Airport into Cartagena.
However, when you book your luxury vacation rental home with us, we recommend starting your vacation off right. We can arrange for private car service to whisk you from the airport to your new luxury home away from home without any hassle at all.
Be at the beach, in the pool, or at the bar within minutes of touchdown and make the most of your time here.
Private Planes to Cartagena
If you prefer a more refined travel experience, there are several companies which provide private planes for flights to Cartagena. This VIP experience allows you to travel in comfort and style without the need to be herded like cattle through a busy international airport terminal.
We recommend Prive Jets for service to and from Cartagena and can arrange travel for you and yours with one call.
Documentation You Will Need
Upon traveling to Cartagena, you will need to present certain documents in order to be cleared at the airport. If you do not possess a Colombian passport, you must also produce a passport from your home country in order to exit the airport.
If you’re planning on staying in Colombia for less than 60 days, you will not need a Visa. If you plan to stay longer, you must secure a tourist or business Visa prior to entering the country.
In addition, you may be denied exit from the airport if you do not also possess a valid return ticket or proof of return or onward travel from Colombia.
Once you get to Cartagena, one of the first questions you’ll likely ask is “how much does this cost?” Whether you’re negotiating with a driver about cab fare or purchasing a cold drink from a vendor, understanding a little bit about the currency in Cartagena will help keep you from getting overcharged.
The current “Coin of the Realm” in Cartagena is the Colombian Peso (COL$). Exchange rates vary wildly but at the time of writing 1 Colombian Peso is equal to:
• 0.00036 USD
• 0.00046 Canadian Dollars
• 0.00030 Euros
• 0.039 Japanese Yen
• 0.0068 Mexican Pesos
That means that a bottle of decent table wine that costs COL$29,670 will actually only run you about $10 USD.
(Keep in mind that many private vendors will be open to moderate amounts of negotiation for their wares and services. And competitors will often try to undercut any offer you’ve gotten from another salesperson).
However, if you’d like to make travel arrangements, plan a day trip or excursion to The Rosario Islands, hire a car to take you anywhere in Cartagena, or make dinner reservations without running through the mental conversions or haggling about the price, our complimentary concierge service can take care of everything for you.
Now that you know how to get to Cartagena, we look forward to seeing you here. Reserve one of our exclusive luxury vacation rental homes today or get in touch to plan your once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Cartagena the easy way.