You´re in Cartagena enjoying the beautiful streets and the magical night, and you are a foreigner, and you don´t speak much or any Spanish. As there is a 30% chance that the police will stop you, take into account these recommendations, so when this situation happens to you, you will know how to deal with it and get away with it.
Cartagena el corralito de piedra, the city that doesn´t sleep, has a fantastic nightlife full of many bars, terraces, and clubs where you can enjoy and share with your friends or with local people. Still, it would help if you also kept in mind that there are good cops and bad cops everywhere, then keep this in mind.
How do I identify an honest police officer
mainly by the green uniform, and fluorescent color vest, although it is currently handling the new livery of turquoise blue or dark blue is being implemented gradually this year. Look at his last name should be in a visible part of his chest and also the badge that identifies him as a police officer; if you want to feel safer, you can ask him to identify himself, but do it with a lot of education, because they can feel offended and take it in a bad way and that is what I do not want to happen to you. All police or agents must be in uniform, and if they are not, they can’t demand a search of you, as it is required by law to wear the clothing for due process.
Do I object to the search?
If you thought yes, I would tell you no, this is the first mistake you should not make, try to stay calm, take a deep breath, try to listen to what the Policeman is asking you, sometimes they know some English words. Usually, he will tell you something like this, show me your ID, “text in English,” and the other question, “where are you going”. Don’t be in a bad mood because it is a normal thing for the police to ask you for a search in the city; they don’t need to see you as a suspect or any documents; they just do it.
This is the first mistake you can make; once I was with a group of guys, and the police stopped us, they told me that in their country (USA) is illegal; I said to them that in Colombia they could do it, at any time.
How do I identify myself with the police?
I don’t carry a passport, but I take my driver’s license. It isn’t necessary to have your passport in Cartagena while walking; I recommend that you keep it in the safety box of your hotel room or villa where you are staying, you can show your driver’s license or any other document that identifies you, do not carry your passport because just thinking that you can lose it or misplace it in the street is a headache, so to avoid this, keep it in a safe place.
The Policeman asks me to open my wallet
The Policeman will ask you to stand on your back and extend your arms, you do it calmly, and when you turn around, look him in the eyes, do not let them instill fear in you, because they are wearing that uniform. If he asks you to open your wallet, you do it, but keep in mind that he cannot check it; he can only look over it or ask you to take out everything you have in it, then, at that moment, he can also ask you to take out everything you have in your pocket, do not let him put his hand in the Policeman’sPoliceman’s pockets, that is illegal, after this, when the search is over, he will ask you some questions, to gain time and see if you are nervous or hiding something, act with intelligence, answer the questions politely, if you see that they are taking too long, you can tell them that you need to return home but say something credible and justifiable so that they do not have more choice and let you go quietly.
I was drunk when the Policeman asked me to be searched. Currently, you can not drink in the streets of Cartagena, but in the bars and nightclubs that you are out there in the historic city if, so when you are already back, or you are walking, you are drunk, you are not in your five senses. I recommend you follow the above steps, important to look at the last name of the PolicemanPoliceman just try to learn it, any irregularity, any of them in the back of his vest carries an identification number, you can also try to memorize it or take out your cell phone and write it down those data to a friend or in your notes. In Cartagena, as everywhere in the world, there are good and bad policemen; keep in mind these tips to face the situation without problems.
Can I record the search procedure? Yes, you have every right to do so, but keep in mind that before doing so, for some of them it is an offensive action, although you have every right to do so, what I recommend is to do it if you feel that the situation is a little tense or if you are nervous and it is best to make the video in conversation with a friend or a social network. This way, you already have a backup of what happened to your cell phone for anything that happens to your cell phone.
Is it necessary to hire a local guide or Concierge?
It all depends on what you want to do in the city, maybe you come and enjoy the city and have a good time and do not have any kind of inconvenience, but there is also the possibility that you want to be relaxed and have someone to take care of you, take you to the best places, book your nightclub, get you the best one and when you are so drunk that you can’t even walk, take you to your villa and hotel, make the reservation of your discotheque, get you the best one and when you are so drunk that you can’t even walk, take you and your friends to your villa and hotel, 30% of the foreigners that leave the discotheque drunk, don’t know where their house is exactly and the streets are similar so some people take advantage of that, to take some of your things or to take your money.
I hope these tips are handy for you; if you come to Cartagena or are here, don’t hesitate to share them with your friends and family; this will be very helpful for them.
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