When travelling to Colombia, it is recommended that you bring cash with you, especially US dollars or Euros in high denomination bills. The first thing you need to know is that the exchange rates offered in the airport are the least favourable for exchanging your money. However, if you happen to have a layover in Bogota, where the exchange rates are slightly more competitive, you can exchange just enough money needed to buy a coffee or pay for a taxi once you arrive in Cartagena in case you did not book an airport transfer service in advance.
Exchange Money within the Walled City
You are going to find many places within the walled city where you can exchange the money that you worked so hard to save up for your well deserved trip to the caribbean, but the truth is that none of them offer a favourable exchange rate except for one, which will give you a competitive price. It is located on the corner of La Plaza de los Coches, at the entrance closest to the clock tower.
Exchange Money in Bocagrande and Castillogrande
If you are staying in this area of the city, which offers the best selection of hotels and restaurants in Cartagena, in addition to being located close to the city’s beaches, save yourself the time and trouble of going to various different currency exchanges and go straight to Carrera 2 and Calle 8, where you will find the best place to exchange dollars in the area.
The Best Option
Bancolombia is one of the biggest banks in Colombia, and Cartagena has many branches located throughout the city. This is where you will always find the best exchange rate in all of Cartagena. This option would be the best for anyone planning to exchange a large quantity of money at once, as it ensures that you receive the best rate. The only disadvantage of exchanging money at the bank is that you have to go very early in the morning, or right after they reopen in the afternoon at 2pm, as it is common for banks to have very large lineups, and you will lose some of your valuable vacation time if you have to wait too long. The only requirement to be able to exchange money at Bancolombia is that you have to bring your passport. It is also important to know that not all banks offer a currency exchange service, and if they do, they usually only exchange pesos for US dollars and Euros, not Brazilian Reales or other types of currency. Also note that most banks in Cartagena open at 9:00 am close from 12pm to 2pm (except those who are inside malls) and reopen in the afternoon until 5 or 6pm.
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