General Information


Cartagena de Indias is a city located on the northern coast of Colombia, capital of the department of Bolivar, and was founded by the Pedro de Heredia from Spain in 1533. Since then, the city became one of the most important ports of the Caribbean Sea. The iconic city walls, beautifully preserved despise the passage of time, were built to prevent attacks by pirates and enemies.

Cartagena de Indias, also known as the Heroic and is one of the most emblematic and best-preserved historical cities in America. It was declared Unesco’s World Heritage Site in 1984.


The official language of Colombia is Spanish; however English is spoken in hotels and main touristic places.

Time Zone

Standard time zone is UTC/GMT -5 hours.


Cartagena is a Caribbean city, with an average relative humidity of 85% from December to March. Usually during these months there is breeze and a pleasant climate. The temperature is around 30°C.


Registration fees do not include insurance of any kind. It is strongly recommended that all delegates take out their own travel and medical insurance prior to coming to ISTS41. The policy should include loss of fees/deposit through cancellation of your participation in the meeting, or through cancellation of ISTS41 itself, loss of airfares for any reason, medical expenses, loss or damage to personal property, additional expenses and repatriation should travel arrangements have to be altered. Neither the ISTS President or International Turtle Society will take any responsibility for any participant failing to insure. Please speak to your travel agent or airline in regard to this matter.

Currency and Credit Cards

The official currency of Colombia is the Colombian Peso (COP), which has denominations in bills of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000; and coins of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.

Currently, the official exchange rate of US dollar fluctuates between 4,000 and 4,4000 COP per 1 US dollar (exchange rate as of 22nd July was 4,410 COP). This might change in the upcoming months due to a volatile economy.

All participants are advised to avoid changing money outside the authorized sites. You can change money at the Cartagena Airport (Americambios and GloboCambio, at international arrivals, from 7:00 to 20:00) and at the Hilton Cartagena Hotel.

The main credit and debit cards (MasterCard, Visa) are accepted at most hotels, major restaurants, and shops.


Tipping is a common practice in Colombia. In restaurants the tip is usually included in the bill but its payment is voluntary. If not included, a 10% tip is customary in restaurants.

Electrical Plugs

Voltage in Colombia is 110-120 volts and frequency 60 Hz. The image shows a Colombian power outlet (Type A):