WDSA2016 will be held in Cartagena's Centro de Convenciones! (Click on the image below to visit the Centro de Convenciones website). 

 

Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias is a coastal city located on the northern part of Colombia and facing the Caribbean Sea to the west. It is the country’s 5th biggest city, with a population of approximately 1 million inhabitants. The city is composed of various districts which include Bocagrande, Castillogrande, el Centro, and Getsemaní, to name a few. The latter two are historic and touristic, and are also where our conference’s Convention Center is located. Bocagrande and Castillogrande are modern residential districts, but they also have restaurants and shopping malls.

Also known as “la Heróica” or “the Heroic”, Cartagena was founded in the year 1533 as a Spanish colony. Because of its strategic location, it soon became an important commercial and slave trade port, and thus gained significant economic influence during the colonial period. Its location also made it subject to constant attacks and sieges by Spain’s enemies and pirate vessels, which explain the city’s fortresses and defenses. Today these structures are still visible and well-conserved due to restoration initiatives that look place in the second half of the twentieth century. They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, and this has resulted in Cartagena becoming one of Colombia’s and Latin America’s principal tourist destinations.

  

Tourism

Cartagena has a lot to offer. The city’s Centro, also known as the walled city or the historic district, is an enchanting neighborhood, filled with narrow streets, lively plazas, historic churches, and colorful houses (most of which have been declared national monuments). This part of the city also contains a variety of hotels, bars, and restaurants, so walking around it is very safe, even at night. Besides walking, you may also rent a bicycle to more easily get to know it.

Other places of interest besides the Centro include the Castillo de San Felipe, a military fortress, or La Popa Hill, which consists of a church located on a small hill, from which the whole city can be seen. You can also plan a daytrip to the nearby Islas del Rosario (20 minutes away from Cartagena, by boat), where you can enjoy beautiful beaches and Cartagena's most exemplary seafood.

We certaintly hope you can take advantage of the city's attractions during your stay. Please visit the following official sites for more information, or contact our tourism agency in Cartagena to plan specific visits or activities This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

http://www.colombia.travel/en/where-to-go/caribbean/cartagena-de-indias

http://www.ticartagena.com/en

http://colombianproject.com/things-to-do-in-colombia/things-to-do-in-cartagena-de-indias/

http://www.fodors.com/world/south-america/colombia/the-caribbean-coast/places/cartagena

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/colombia/caribbean-coast/cartagena

http://www.cartagenacaribe.com/en/

 

Information for Travelers 

Cartagena has an average temperature of 28°C, but with its high humidity levels it may tend to feel a bit warmer. We thus recommend WDSA2016 participants to bring light clothes (including light sweaters, considering the conference’s sessions will be held indoors, with air conditioning). Hotels are likely to have pools and the sea is fairly easy to access, so bathing suits are also a good idea. Because the city is windier during the late afternoon and at night, these are probably the best times to walk around.

Mobilization within Cartagena is easy; if you’re staying in the city’s Centro or Getsemaní districts, you can take a walk to the WDSA2016 Convention Center and to the restaurants chosen for our social events. We might be providing transportation for our participants staying in other parts of the city, however, cabs are always a good option. You can ask your hotel’s front desk to call a cab whenever you need one. Cabs are also the best choice from the airport to your hotel (the prices vary depending on where you’ll be staying, but this ride should cost you no more than USD $10).  Your Uber application should work just fine here as well.

Wi-Fi will be easily accessed during your stay; most restaurants and bars have Wi-Fi access, and you will be able to connect in the Convention Center and in your hotel (make sure you ask for username and password in your hotel’s front desk).

Colombia has an electric current 110-120 VAC and a type B socket (visit the following website for more information on socket types http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/).

 

Videos

Cartagena de Indias, once...

The Land of Forgetfulness

Colombian Nature Wealth

 

Zika

Zika virus was discovered in the second half of the twentieth century, but last year it regained international recognition and media coverage due to an increase in confirmed cases in tropical climate countries. Zika spreads primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, a species that is rare in Cartagena and nearby; its symptoms (mainly fever, joint pain, and red eyes) usually last several days but the illness is very mild, and people rarely need to go to the hospital because of it.     

Ever since we started planning WDSA2016, our staff has been in close contact with Colombia’s and Cartagena’s health authorities. All have confirmed that the number of Zika cases in Cartagena and nearby have been decreasing since October 2015. This implies no other conferences or activities taking place during the summer have been cancelled. According to Cartagena’s Health Department (DADIS for its name in Spanish), there was just one Zika case reported for the last week of May 2016 in Cartagena and nearby. The Department thus suggests the city and its surroundings have entered the virus’s endemic phase, which is characterized by an overall decline in confirmed cases. 

Although contracting the virus in Cartagena is extremely unlikely, we invite WDSA2016 to follow standard precautions to avoid getting bitten, such as applying bug repellent (which we will provide) and wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants if you’re planning on walking outdoors for extended periods of time. We would like to remind you that getting bitten does not automatically imply you’ve contracted Zika (even if you get bitten by an Aedes mosquito, which is unlikely, it might not be infected with the virus).

We therefore believe WDSA2016 participants shouldn’t be alarmed by the situation. However, just to be safe, we strongly urge pregnant women to refrain from participating in WDSA2016, as the link between Zika and microcephaly, although not entirely confirmed, is highly suspected.

The WDSA2016 staff is interested in our participants’ welfare. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the Zika virus.

 

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By Ana María Salgado
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