Which is Better, Cartagena or Medellin?

One of the most common questions asked by American and Canadian tourists visiting Columbia is, “Should I visit Cartagena or Medellin?” While both cities are beautiful and boast unique vibes, choosing between them is daunting and time-consuming.

The good news is that today’s article will compare these two tourist destinations based on different parameters. The purpose is to help you make a wise choice and visit the best city to create memorable experiences. Read on!

Cartagena Vs. Medellin

Cartagena is the capital of Bolivar, Columbia. It is one of the most visited towns in Latin America, thanks to its ideal location on the Caribbean coast. The city has a population of almost 900,000 people, making it the fifth-largest Columbian town.

It has a rich history, unique culture, diverse cuisines, world-class public and private beaches, and state-of-the-art accommodations. On the other hand, Medellin is a modern city with numerous urban development projects, including cable cars and metro systems, allowing locals and tourists to explore the city efficiently, reliably, comfortably, and quickly.

The city has various tourist spots, including museums, parks, libraries, public spaces, nightclubs, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, etc. Let us compare these two beautiful tourist destinations based on the following parameters to help you make an informed decision.

Weather Conditions

The average temperature in Medellin is between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. In contrast, the average temperature in Cartagena is between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making this city warmer and more humid than Medellin.

In addition, the average daily high temperature in Medellin is 82 degrees Fahrenheit, but the temperature drops at night to 62 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the daily high and low temperature in Cartagena is 89 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

So, if you want to visit Cartagena, you must book a hotel room, lodge, apartment, villa, or vacation rental property with proper ventilation and an air conditioning system. In contrast, you can survive the weather in Medellin without an AC system.

Activities to Do

Cartagena and Medellin offer something for people of all ages. So, it’s pretty challenging to differentiate these cities based on the places to see and activities to do. Because Cartagena is a beach location, it boasts plenty of water activities, something you rarely find in Medellin.

For instance, some of the best activities in Cartagena include visiting the nearby islands, such as Rosario Islands, or taking yacht or boat trips to explore the scenic Caribbean sea. Cartagena is perfect for deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, and paddleboarding.

Medellin is a much bigger city, providing tourists with numerous options for a vibrant cityscape. It has warm weather, vibrant nightlife, unique cultural spots/events, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, festivals, music venues, and nightclubs.

Food and Nightlife

Medellin is a city of 3.7 million people, making it one of the largest cities in Columbia. It drives hundreds of thousands of tourists monthly to relish Latin-American food, explore the blend of traditional and modern architecture, and enjoy the magical nightlife.

While Cartagena has many restaurants serving diverse menus, it is nowhere near Medellin regarding Latin-American and Columbian food quality. However, Cartagena beats Medellin for its world-class seafood restaurants, allowing tourists to sit in a comfortable environment, eat seafood, and satisfy their taste buds.


Which city is more affordable for tourists? Affordability is critical when planning to visit Columbia and deciding between Cartagena and Medellin. If you visit Cartagena for three days, expect to spend an average of $550 as a solo traveler.

However, if you are in this city with your romantic partner or spouse, an average three-day trip will cost between $900 and $1,000. Likewise, if you are a family of four, you will spend at least $1,200. However, you can leverage family packages.

Booking a hotel room in Cartagena’s city center will cost an average of $165 per night. However, you can rent an Airbnb apartment for as low as $40 to $45 per night. Tourists also book villas and colonial houses for affordable prices. However, this requires choosing a reliable service like “Prime Cartagena.”

On the other hand, the average price of a three-day trip to Medellin for a solo traveler is between $300 and $400. However, if you are a couple, expect to spend between $600 and $750. A family of four can expect to spend $1,000 to $1,100.

Moreover, the average price of a hotel room in Medellin is $32 per night. You can find low-end accommodation for $12 to $15 or a high-end hotel room for $60 to $70 per night. Vacation rentals in Medellin cost between $100 and $400 per night for the entire home.

Final Words

Selecting between Cartagena or Medellin is your personal choice. However, if you want to stay in a pleasant environment and explore dozens of tourist spots, go to Medellin. On the other hand, if you love tropical weather and want to relax on the beach, Cartagena is a better choice. Prime Cartagena is a reputable tourism company offering a wide range of services, from world-class accommodations (villas, bungalows, colonial houses, and vacation rentals) and yacht and boat rentals to concierge services. We offer the best vacation packages for groups in Cartagena and Medellin.