Lots of people arrive to Cartagena with the expectation that, as part of not-quite first-world Colombia, things are going to be cheap. 'Fraid not. Depending upon where you are coming from and how strong the currency you're converting is, things will be, for the most part, about the same price as in your first-world country (eating, drinking etc) or, even more expensive (accommodation, boating etc).
BUT if you know where to look there are still some choice options to eat on the cheap. I've made up a bit of a list of my favourites (in no particular order) HERE, but first here are some general tips to eating cheap:
- Lunch like a King.
- Keep things current.
The main plate will include your selected meat (carne [beef], cerdo [pork], pollo [chicken], lingua [tongue], higado [liver] or pescado [fish] being the main offerings) plus a varying combination of rice, lentils, beans, salad (always very basic - lettuce, tomato, onion), patacones and banana.
To drink, the usual offering will be aguapanela (brown sugar dissolved in water with lime juice), chicha (rice-based fruity cordial) or jugo (juice of the day). Corrientes are usually a lunch time thing, but a handful of places serve them up all night long too. Expect to pay from around COP$6,000 up to $15,000 depending upon the place and whether you choose the more expensive fish option.
- More the merrier.
- Eat street.
- When in Rome...
OK! You're now ready for my list of cheap(er) restaurants. Go here.
Do you have any other tips to eat cheap around Cartagena?