I’ve been enjoying the views, the food, and the people here in Cartagena. I typically wait until I’ve done something cool in the country before I blog and then lump a bunch of pics into the blog that you may or may not gloss over. So tonight I’ve decided to share with you a few first impressions about being here in Colombia. I’ll be exploring forts and other stuff later and will have more pics then. But for now here are some pics I’ve enjoyed taking.
Today we went to a little restaurant for lunch. I wouldn’t call it fancy, but it was nice. We were offered our choice of meat with their lunch special which included a generous piece of beef, pork, or chicken, rice, salad, beans, and sugar-cane water. It was a delicious and well balanced meal. The meal cost us 11,000 Pesos.
Based on my currency calculator, Pesos are 3,253 to 1 US Dollar, so our entire meal cost us $3.38. A great value for our lunch! Almost as inexpensive as Indonesia for food. Our marina slip is 27 US per night. A six pack of decent local bottled beer is 14,000 Pesos. I’ll let you do the math.
Lastly, the people have all been very friendly, helpful, and courteous. Everybody seems happy to see you. Not very many people speak English, but nobody gets frustrated with you if your Spanish sucks like mine. Especially if you are trying to speak their language. First impressions are it’s a really great place to be. Can’t wait to see some more things past the harbor and marina.
We checked in today. As many of you know, all sailboats have to check into a country upon arrival. Some countries are very strict about it. You’re typically not supposed to leave the boat or the marina until you’ve checked in. I’ve been in some countries where they wouldn’t let you get off the boat until you were checked in. Luckily they were also the countries that came to your boat to check you in.
Well in Colombia they aren’t strict about what you can or cannot do until you’ve checked in. However they don’t let you check in yourself but you have to use an agent. Our agent went to check us in and he asked for 100,000 Pesos before he left. Then when he came back he said we needed to pay another 700,000 Pesos, totaling around $250 US.
As an example in Bonaire we paid zero monies for entering or exiting the country. We were actually a little shocked by this information and would love to hear from other boaters about this fee. Has everybody else had to pay this? Please let me know in the comments below. We did confirm with the marina manager and he said it was a normal fee.
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