Before going you need to know about a few annoyances that manage to only slightly mar the magnificent beauty of this jewel of the Caribbean. Prostitution is legal and rampant. Look no further than the Secret Service scandal; they got busted because they refused to settle the bill with a local service provider who simply phoned up the police. To each his or her own, but you really need to be able to tell when a woman is clocked in and don’t waste her, or your, time. Second, drugs are very illegal, you will be offered them, and you will get stopped and patted down by local police. Third, Cartagena and its locals have a reputation in Colombia as being so anxious to take advantage of visitors so as to actually damage its own tourist industry. In my experience, this is pretty accurate, but is a minor annoyance that you should just treat as a tax – pay the minimum you can reasonably get away with and get over it. Finally, beware Devil’s Breath: a flavorless, scentless knock-out drug that is sometimes used to relieve travelers of their hard earned cash. Make a pact with your travel buddies (whether you packed your own, or met others there) that you will look out for each other. This nasty stuff can be passed orally or by touch, can kill in excessive doses, and results in the victim becoming a happy-go-lucky party animal open to maxing out credit cards and emptying bank accounts just to help out their newfound friends. Yes, this is not Kansas, Toto, but Cartagena is a gorgeous new lover who will seduce you with her charms and reward you deeply for loving her.