Would you buy a stock if it cost you $2000 a year just for the pleasure of owning it? Of course you wouldn't, then why would you want to buy into a holiday home with such high up-keep costs?
As I have said, and I believe I have made the point quite clear, Cartagena is VERY expensive. However, if you are looking for investments in real estate interesting properties can be found ... if you look hard enough.
I want to tell you about a personal experience that happened with us last month (July 2009). We managed to find a small 3 bedroom apartment in a middle-low class lot that had a price of 40,000,000 pesos (20,000 USD). After negotiations we managed to get the price down to 37,000,000 pesos (18,500 USD) and placed a "For Rent" sign in the window. No ad in the local paper, just the sign in the kitchen window. We were getting on average of 5 calls a day from people wanting to rent the apartment. Even after removing the sign we were getting a couple of calls a day! We were able to rent the apartment for 450,000 pesos a month (225 USD) with no trouble whatsoever. That is more than 1% return on investment.
We are now negotiating a second apartment in the same complex and a re currently talking to an architect who is interested in renting it for 1,000,000 a month USD 500). Needless to say we are very interested. There are many gems like this available that won't eat into your saving and can give you a very healthy return. If you want to live in a luxury apartment then buy one, but don't buy one here as an investment. Cartagena vacation homes can be found to fit your budget, just son't stop looking.