By Doyice Cotten
When one thinks of risks in Cartagena, or for that matter, anywhere in Columbia, one thinks of kidnapping, drugs, and murders. Certainly, there is that possibility; however, on a recent visit there, we found that Cartagena is perhaps the most beautiful city in all of Latin America (see Photo 1) and definitely safer than most. Columbia is winning the war against the cartels and drug lords. In most of the country kidnappings, drug wars, and such are way down and Columbia is becoming a good place to live and visit.
The old city is beautiful, interesting, and safer than many American cities. We want to warn visitors, however, that there are risks on the streets – one of which is footing on the sidewalks. Photos 2 through 5 are daytime shots of a few of the common hazards on the sidewalks. They are easily spotted if you are looking for them, but if you are looking up at the beautiful buildings (or straight ahead at the gorgeous Columbian ladies), you are liable to have an accident.
There hazards are hot so easily spotted on the streets at night (see Photos 6 through 9). Many streets are not well lighted and one must use care. Cartagena has done much to eliminate crime in order to make the city safer, but still has much risk management to go regarding such hazards.
Finally, Photo 10 shows Hotel Caribe, a beautiful hotel on a beach strip much like Miami Beach. There, some U.S. Secret Service agents found it to be quite hazardous to take prostitutes to their rooms – particularly if you were not going to pay them.
All in all, we found Cartagena to have fewer hazards than most Latin American cities. We went fully expecting it to be a more dangerous place in relation to both crime and physical hazards. We left surprised and pleased with the city and the country.
Click on photos to enlarge.