- La Guia de Cartagena, Colombia
   The Guide To Cartagena, Colombia


Your life in Cartagena will have a different rhythm, balance and sense of excitement. If you are the type of person who is inquisitive, the explorer type, you can find the activities, new friends and attractions you are looking for. The biggest difference will be the bureaucracy whenever you deal with government, large companies, and many banks. Do as the locals and hire a personal aid to stand in line, pay your bills, do your banking, etc. The cost is minimal.

You are at the beginning of a new span in your life, and your goal is to get the most out of it while enjoying the pleasures that a great city and her people have to offer. Greet passersby with a big smile and a buenos dias, and the chances are very high, that your greeting will be fully returned. Your on your way to another good day!

Parks, History, and Attractions in Cartagena, Colombia

Parks - Cartagena, ColombiaCartagena has many conveniently located parks with trees, flowers, statutes, ponds, fountains, birds, comfortable benches, and of course: people. Parks are a great place to meet new people, who can, if you like, quickly become friends. The beaches share the same openness, and their proximity to wherever you may live will never be more than a ten minute walk. History is Cartagena. If your into genealogy, you may even find roots back to your forefathers? When a city such as Cartagena, is steeped in history, it seems to mellow the people into a peaceful and slower pace, while instilling a pride that is completely unique and "religiously" wholesome. The museums, architecture, music, art, libraries, and the people, can fill your time with a new awareness of yourself, and things you want to do.

Adventure, Sports and Maintaining Your Health

Sports - Cartagena, ColombiaThe islands are nearby, and for the adventurous, the fisherman, the beach bum, the snorkeler/diver, they await. Local Dive Shops offer day scuba and snorkel trips to the Rosario Islands. Deep sea sport fishing, wind surfing, sailing, biking, hiking, golf, tennis and more are close by. There are also good walking tours throughout nearly all areas of the city. Health clubs and spas can provide a complete program for your health improvement, or maintenance. Conventional as well as alternative therapy and medicine is practiced. Hospitals and clinics are many, and the care offered is considered: adequate to good. Savings over N. American or European prices in elective dental and surgical procedures can be 60-70 less than you have to pay "back home".

Food in Cartagena, Colombia

Food - Cartagena, ColombiaSeaport cities are a smörgåsbord when it comes to varieties of food. Restaurant menus with current prices, offer dishes from around the world. Restaurants and quick food places seem to be on every street corner. Service and prices are good, costing about a half, to a third of stateside prices. There are three large national chain food stores in Cartagena, and their products and prices are comparable to what you are used to. And, yes they take credit cards and have cash advance machines. ATM's are all over the city. The national beer, Agula, has a good full bodied European taste-about 30 cents u.s., by the case and 50-75 cents in restaurants. Local cooking is readily available from tablecloth restaurants, to portable cooking stands, which like magic, appear on the sidewalks-both day and evening. Plus there are all kinds of food and drink available from peddle vendors, with food carts on wheels! Sidewalk cafes, both upscale, mid scale and no scale, are also popular. Bars and discos are a fun place to meet new people, dance, and if you like, drink all night! The supermarket selection is comparable to many back home, with special emphasis on: vegetables, fruits, and fresh breads.

Learning Spanish in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, ColombiaEnglish, German, French and other international newspapers, magazines and books are available. There are also programs from these and other countries, available on Cable TV. But your life in Cartagena will be mostly in Spanish, and that's where your fun really begins. You should consider learning some Spanish. Many schools offer a variety of packages including basic language classes, tours, or even room and board with Cartagena family. This could be a good option to check out Cartagena, before you move in? A retiree of either gender, (with their steady incomes) can easily find a partner, either live-in, or casual. This lifestyle can offer both company, and the sharing of each others language and cultures.

Your Own Business in Cartagena, Colombia

Business in Cartagena, ColombiaAs a resident on a pension, you are permitted to run your own business or invest in someone else's. You make take out profits on your investment, but you are not permitted to earn a "salary". You will have to become familiar with Colombia's laws regarding foreign residents. To read an explanatory letter from a local, bi-lingual business attorney-click here. Becoming engaged in your own Cartagena business could prove to be an exciting and unique experience-keeping you busy, becoming a part of the local economy, while making new friends.

Establishing Your Residence in Cartagena, Colombia

Do you want to first check out the hotels? Or perhaps rent, or buy a house, renovate an old one, or build a new one? Perhaps an apartment, or condo is more your style? Cartagena offers many options, and there has never been a better time to pick up a bargain. It's best to use an intermediary such as a real estate company. The commission is generally 3%, or about half of “back home” commissions. There are no license requirements for real estate people, and Consumer Protection Laws, as we know them, do not exist. However, anyone who holds themselves out as a professional can be held liable for mis- representation or fraud for a period of up to five years after the occurrence. Everyone understands "fairness", and your dealings, if well documented by a good attorney, should keep you whole. Do not sign any type of legal document without the advice of an attorney who speaks and understands your language. Their fees are set by the government, and they are reasonable. Always being "legally correct", is good advice, no matter where you live!

Rental and lease prices are far lower than those in North America and Europe. Luxurious, completely equipped apartments or houses, are more difficult to find, and therefore, more expensive to rent. A good idea is to rent a place before buying. In this way you should be able to avoid any "buyer's regrets".

Purchase prices of apartments and small homes begin as low as $15,000. The options are many, and the price range is extensive. Land, and labor are cheap. Building materials can cost less, or more, depending on if they are manufactured here in Colombia, or they are imported. Building times can be fast if the contractor uses a large number of laborers, and the building type is typical. Check around for a good contractor, and don't forget to use your attorney. Overall your per square foot, turnkey price will be about one third to one half of prices you will pay back home.

Colombia manufactures good quality hard and soft wood furniture crafted in many styles, and again the prices are very reasonable.

Utilities, such as electricity, natural gas, bottled LP gas, water, sewer, telephone, cable and Internet connection, are available throughout most locations of the city. The prices are comparable to back home depending on the “zone” where you live. Zone 1 are the very poorest neighborhoods and their rates are rock bottom and supported by those who live in the higher zones, the highest being Zone 6, the most upscale areas.

Transportation Options in Cartagena, Colombia

Transportation in Cartagena, ColombiaPublic transportation in Cartagena, is a retirees dream! Cheap, clean, cheap, frequent, cheap, and safe. Buses, taxis, motor scooters, motorcycles, cars, bicycles, in-line skates, and even horse drawn carriages, are everywhere. With fares so low, we don't know why anyone would want their own transportation, but if you do, it's no problem. You may want to rent a car before you buy your own. For special occasions you can even hire an English speaking driver with a mint, air conditioned Rolls Royce! You can own and drive your vehicle with your existing drivers license. Drive on the right side of the road. Insurance is recommended, however, many locals do not carry insurance. Perhaps this is the reason there are fewer accidents than in countries where everybody, and everything, is insured? The pace is slow, and the people will impress you as: cautious, friendly, and responsible.

Begin Your Search for More Information right here at: CartagenaInfo

good place to get "the feel" for all that Cartagena offers, can be found on this unique web site with two thousand photos, and more added every week. The owner, yours truly, is a retired Gringo, who after the first couple of months, has come to feel at home in Cartagena. With Spanish far from perfect, each day I learn a little more-poco a poco. Most people are very tolerant, when they see you are trying to speak their language! Nearly always, you will find what you want, at a fair price, while receiving a big smile. Cartageneros have a centuries long history as being known as friendly people. The economy is tourist oriented, which means the concept of service is understood-nearly always coming with a smile, and at a slower pace. For a related topic for the budget traveler, click on: Cartagena On $10.00 A Day! Many of your questions will be answered on our web site. However, if after reviewing CartagenaInfo, you have specific question(s) that you think we can answer, give us a shout at:

Thanks, and have a great retirement! I know that I am!

Jim Bone

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