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New Transportation Study-Live in Cartagena, and you won’t need a car!


Sure, Cartagena offers: Friendly people, the Caribbean, International Airport, beaches, islands, good prices, quality medical and dental service, fine restaurants, nightlife, casinos, discos, bingo, diving, tennis, fishing, golf, fast internet service, cable/sat/TV services, world class shopping centres, lots of clubs you can join, churches, history, culture, architecture, beautiful women, music, art, concerts, etc., etc. 

BUT, for me, and perhaps for you, the "good life" begins with TRANSPORTATION CONVENIENCE. Most people love the freedom of getting around.  Is your current transportation: fast, like NOW... cheap, like pocket change... safe, and super convenient? If you can’t answer “yes” to all of these questions, check out Cartagena!

DISCLAIMER: Today, there are now more than 4 million American “expats”.  In the past five years the numbers have markedly increased.  I am one of them!  In the past, this Gringo has lived in 4 different houses, in the states.  During that time I working like a dog, living what I thought was the good life: autos such as a Fleetwood, Mark, motorcycle, ocean going sailboat, plane, pools, world travel, etc.

As a “Type A” person, I have learned to appreciate the slower pace of a different culture. I have cast off my “toys”, and during the past three years, the "major screw-ups of the world’s economy" has stripped my net worth.  NO PROBLEMO, because with a modest monthly dropping from the “eagle”, and owning my small apartment, the good life, here in Cartagena, is a great, day-to-day living experience, and I’m only a few hours by air, from the grand kids!

Now, I no longer have the continual problems and expenses of heavy and growing taxes, insurance, maintaining a house, a car, and the other time wasting “toys” of the so called: “advanced world”.  Here, my one bedroom apartment has a: pool, parking, cable TV/ High Speed Internet, safe drinking water, good neighbours, security, and I’m convenient to everything. My 6th. floor apartment fronts DIRECTLY on the Caribbean, complete with beach tents and chairs. Or my own hammock, depending on the view, can be slung between lots of large palm trees.  A cold Aguila beer, for $1 U.S., will promptly appear into my lazily raised hand!  Let’s be honest, an advantage of living in a lesser economy is good service, at a very low cost!  For example, a full time live in maid will cost less than $300 U.S. per month!

My modest “digs” are perfect for me, but I realize others probably want their own something special, and I believe they can find it here in Cartagena, with the help of a good, honest, English speaking realty person.  Here you can find your own Shangri-La, as there are hundreds of high quality, low-cost, apartments or houses to choose from.

The U.S., in my opinion, is the greatest country in the world.  However, over the past 30+ years, I think the “system” has gone crazy!  My degree was in Economics, but what I learned, is now past history.  Here, in Colombia, my life is safe, easy, simple, interesting, fun, and economical.  Colombia is NOT a paper economy. The “system” here, takes me back to the “good old days”- predictable!

The U.S. State Department periodically issues warnings about Colombia.  Bogota, Colombia, is the second largest Embassy in the world and a much desired, and fought after job assignment, for Gringos.  Because “State” declares it “dangerous”, the pay here is 15 % higher.  “State” warns us about countries all over the world, but they can’t warn us about the danger and safety problems in the U.S. It’s against the law!

While living in Cartagena, I need a car, like I need a hole in the head.  Let me explain:

TAXIS- In front of my apartment, and in front of hundreds of other apartment buildings, there are TAXI STANDS. If the taxi is gone, there are others next door, or you can quickly flag one.  Taxis in Cartagena are available 24 HOURS A DAY.  They offer good, clean, safe, A/C transportation. Most in-city fares are about $2.50 U.S.!

Some taxi drivers are now offering a new service called: "Colectivo".  They collect passengers (maximum 3 in the back seat, 1 in the front) as they travel along favourite routes. Believe it or not, the cost is about 60 cents U.S. Can you enjoy this type of TRANSPORTATION CONVENIENCE, where you now live?

BUSES- They go EVERYWHERE.  Within the city, to the inter city bus terminal, the international airport, big shopping centres, etc. etc. Most bus drivers will even STOP wherever you flag them.  When you want to get off, push the stop button, yell, or whistle and the driver will STOP, whenever you want! Here, you have personalized bus service! The fare is about 60 cents U.S. Can you get this type of TRANSPORTATION CONVENIENCE where you now live?

NOTE: Buses start running around 5:30 A.M. and stop around 11:00 P.M.  On Sundays, many routes start at 6 A.M and stop around 10 P.M.

MOTO- Is a motorbike between 100 to 150 cc.  About three years ago they began offering passenger service. Now, there are more than eight thousand Moto’s throughout Cartagena! They run everywhere7/24.  It’s cheap, door-to-door transportation.  NOTE: personally I have never used a Moto.  As a former motorcycle owner, (who had a fall) I tell my friends: “please don’t use them”.  But if you are gutsy, or lucky, they are convenient, fast and cheap! 

Why is public transportation so convenient and low cost? The quick answer: the cities do not limit the number of vehicles.  As a result, the public transportation market is SATURATED, which means PRICES ARE CHEAP!


I asked “our” taxi driver and the guys who work at our apartment building, WHICH IS THE:

1. BUSIEST hour, during the week, when public transportation passes by my apartment building?
2. SLOWEST hour of activity, during the same week?
3. AVERAGE hour of activity, during the same week?

They all agreed:

1. BUSIENT hour of the week is Monday 8-9 a.m.
2. SLOWEST hour of the week is Wednesday 12 midnight to one A.M.
3. AVERAGE hour of the week is Friday 8-9 p.m.

This study was completed during September, the slowest month in Cartagena. During September there are no government sanctioned fiestas, (Colombia has more government approved Fiestas than any other country in the world!) and tourism is low because the kids are back in school. 

NOTE: These figures were compiled on the one way road in Laguito, a barrio of Cartagena.  The area is Residential/Tourist/Commercial.  Nearby Bocagrande, is mostly Tourist/Residential/Commercial?  I think a similar study in Bocagrande would indicate 40-50% HIGHER AVERAGE TOTALS than Laguito. 

NOTE: Taxi prices vary from city to city throughout Colombia. For example, in Bogota, Medellin, etc., taxis are metered and the minimum fare can be a dollar or less, than here in Cartagena.  In Cartagena the taxi driver will show you an official Price List.  Bus and moto charges throughout Colombia, are similar. Colombian gas prices are about the same as those in the U.S. Labour costs can be 80% or less!

Here are the STUDY RESULTS: 


3.8 Taxis passed by my street EVERY MINUTE!
1 Bus
passed by EVERY 2.5 MINUTES! 
1 Moto
passed by EVERY 2 MINUTES!

or on any other advanced country, in the WORLD”?

New project, now in the works-MEET CARTAGENA’S STREET VENDORS:  We are now completing a photo presentation of street vendors who work up and down the street. So far we have nearly 50 photos of vendors who offer different products or services. Meet them, and you may discover that the vast majority of vendors are interesting, helpful and honest.  Granted however, there a few who initially can be a pain in the butt! But when they learn to recognize you, they will leave you alone.  We have never been touched, or threatened in anyway, by a street vendor. In our opinion, they are simply trying to earn a daily living.

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