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  #1  
Old May 25th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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Default Cartagena on your own?

We were wondering if this is a port where you can get right off the ship and wander around town. Is the ship docked right in town or do you need transportation to get into town? Is it safe to wander around without a guide? What is close by? No matter how much talking I do I can't talk my DH into seeing the fort there. He says we have seen more than enough forts and is not at all interested in seeing another one. Most of the tours I have seen to book includes the fort. He says after looking at photos of Cartagena he would like to spend the day there. Any suggestions?
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Old May 26th, 2009, 05:21 PM
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The fort of course is really something to behold, it is 16th century and candidly I have never seen anything quite like it. If you don't want to take a tour then I would take a cab into the city...I don't think that I would want to walk it. You can walk around in the old city but be aware of your surroundings and don't go down any dark alleys. One suggestion that was made to us, was to carry a photo of the ship...not all of the cabbies speak good English but all will understand that you want to go back to the ship.
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  #3  
Old May 26th, 2009, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin's girl View Post
We were wondering if this is a port where you can get right off the ship and wander around town. Is the ship docked right in town or do you need transportation to get into town? Is it safe to wander around without a guide? What is close by? No matter how much talking I do I can't talk my DH into seeing the fort there. He says we have seen more than enough forts and is not at all interested in seeing another one. Most of the tours I have seen to book includes the fort. He says after looking at photos of Cartagena he would like to spend the day there. Any suggestions?
Yes it is safe in Cartagena. Very pretty town.

There are 4 main places in Cartagena where typical cruiser goes. 1. The Fort 2. The Monastery 3. The Old City (lots to walk around and see) and Ocean front 4. Shopping area near the rich part of town.

You can get a free shuttle bus (or walk) to the end of the pier from where you can get any number of licensed cabs. A cab ride to the fort should cost $20 per cab. There will be plenty of cabs available to come back for the same price. No need to make arrangement with the same fella unless you love him.

Unfortunately you will need a cab to go between each of these points also. So if you decide to do all of these, I suggest you find a taxi at the pier and negotiate a price for 4-5 hours and visits to these spots. Look to pay approx $50-$60 for that. If you speak Spanish, even a little bit, it will help. If not, hire a guide thru' Lee Miles. It will cost you more but Lee is upfront about prices.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Smile Thanks for the info

I was wondering the same thing as the poster asked. I loved your suggestions and appreciate you pointing out the highlights so we know what not to miss.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Soccrmom65 View Post
I was wondering the same thing as the poster asked. I loved your suggestions and appreciate you pointing out the highlights so we know what not to miss.
I concur. Thanks for sharing unklez!
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Old May 29th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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I was just in Cartegena in April, but not on a cruise. I can't give you any advice on transportation from the port, but definitely go to the old city and just walk around. It is a lovely old colonial city and very safe. Besides historical buildings, there are many beautiful churches, museums, interesting metal sculptures, sidewalk cafes, great food, and a square where cultural dances are performed daily. Walk around and feel the great vibe of the city and watch women in native dress balance baskets of fruit on their head. The only downside was there are many vendors who can be very annoying. It's best to just ignore them and not make eye contact unless you're sure you really want to buy something. But at least I'd rather have people trying to make a living by selling things than by picking my pocket. I am told there is very little crime and they are really trying to welcome tourists who may have been scared away in the past when there were a lot of problems in Colombia. The Lonely Planet guidebook for Colombia has a great section about sights in Cartegena that you might want to read before visiting.
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 12:43 AM
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Default truth about cartagena

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Originally Posted by Kevin's girl View Post
We were wondering if this is a port where you can get right off the ship and wander around town. Is the ship docked right in town or do you need transportation to get into town? Is it safe to wander around without a guide? What is close by? No matter how much talking I do I can't talk my DH into seeing the fort there. He says we have seen more than enough forts and is not at all interested in seeing another one. Most of the tours I have seen to book includes the fort. He says after looking at photos of Cartagena he would like to spend the day there. Any suggestions?
I've been reading the advice your getting & I went to Cartagena 11/08 & will NEVER return Victor was my guide, he loved his country. We went on a "mangrove city walk" tour mangroves... a little nervous the city walk, greatful to get out with out being kidnaped! Oh & I had no problem saying NO to the vendors chaseing me thru town. I have been on several cruises I am going 11/15/09 on rccl liberty, I have loved every minute except there.
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 02:10 AM
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I've been reading the advice your getting & I went to Cartagena 11/08 & will NEVER return Victor was my guide, he loved his country. We went on a "mangrove city walk" tour mangroves... a little nervous the city walk, greatful to get out with out being kidnaped! Oh & I had no problem saying NO to the vendors chaseing me thru town. I have been on several cruises I am going 11/15/09 on rccl liberty, I have loved every minute except there.
Amazed to hear that you had a bad experience. Could you be a bit more specific what made you nervous on the city walk and why you thought you'd be kidnapped. Was it all related to the vendors chasing you?
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Old June 5th, 2009, 08:00 PM
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We were there in April on our way to the Panama Canal on the Zuiderdam. One of the ladies on the cruise had arranged a private tour at a very reasonable price for us and we had a great time. We did 3 of the 4 places to see, 1. The Fort 2. The Monastery 3. The Old City (lots to walk around and see).

The dock we were at and as far as I know we were the only cruise ship in town was a commercial dock and the gates and taxis were too far away to be considered an easy walk.

Here is some of the info provided by the guy who arranged our tour.

The price for 12 is $46 per person ($552 total); 14: $40 per
person ($560 total); 16: $37pp. I do not require a deposit ahead of time.

I would like US dollars please, and if you could collect ahead of time, that would be wonderful, so we are not making change on the pier...and it will, hopefully, prevent no shows. I will be waiting near the bottom of the gang plank wearing a green vest (required by the port authorities) and holding a sign with the person from the ship who organized the tour.

Here is Les's web site.

http://www.destinationcartagena.com/privatetours

I will also warn you that Les owns a emerald store and the last 30-45 minutes of the tour was spent at the shopping area where his store is located.

But the tour guide was good and the bus was new, clean and had good A/C.

I would suggest if you are visiting Cartagena try doing a tour.

Have a great next cruise.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 01:11 AM
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............I will also warn you that Les owns a emerald store and the last 30-45 minutes of the tour was spent at the shopping area where his store is located......
Just tell the tour guide upfront that you'd like to spend less time at Lee's Emerald store. Really it is that simple.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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We probably should have done that except there were a couple of couples who were interested in getting some jewery and actually did buy some of Lee's Emeralds. He is NOT a pushy sales person and all of the people working in his shop were very nice and polite. I wasn't really complaining as much as letting people know what to expect.

All and all it was a good tour and was enjoyed by all.

Have a great next cruise.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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Thanks for all of the advice. How did you go about getting a group together to do Lee's tour?
cruiser620 - thanks for the photos. My DH likes the idea of catching a cab and going out to the old city. I'm glad we still have time to decide what to do and the best way to see and get a feel for the city.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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We got the group together from the rollcall for our cruise and then added a couple of more couples that we or others met on the ship who expressed interest in going. We contacted Lee during the cruise via email so he could make sure the vehicle being provided was big enough (and it was) for everyone.

Rollcalls for cruises that are a long way off tend to be slow but keep going to it and adding comments and keeping it visable to people who book after you and try to recruit new members.

I added a link to the rollcall to my signature and tried to use my signature more than normal when posting on the HAL, Mexican, Columbia and Panama Canal boards to attract people who were booked on the cruise but hadn't joined the rollcall.

Have a great next cruise.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Thanks for all of the advice. How did you go about getting a group together to do Lee's tour?
cruiser620 - thanks for the photos. My DH likes the idea of catching a cab and going out to the old city. I'm glad we still have time to decide what to do and the best way to see and get a feel for the city.
1. Your own group which can be as small as the 2 people in your cabin!
2. Your specific cruise's roll-call

Keep in mind that a group more than 8-10 people could end up being difficult to please with some wanting to do xx more than yy.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by unklez View Post
Yes it is safe in Cartagena. Very pretty town.

There are 4 main places in Cartagena where typical cruiser goes. 1. The Fort 2. The Monastery 3. The Old City (lots to walk around and see) and Ocean front 4. Shopping area near the rich part of town.

You can get a free shuttle bus (or walk) to the end of the pier from where you can get any number of licensed cabs. A cab ride to the fort should cost $20 per cab. There will be plenty of cabs available to come back for the same price. No need to make arrangement with the same fella unless you love him.

Unfortunately you will need a cab to go between each of these points also. So if you decide to do all of these, I suggest you find a taxi at the pier and negotiate a price for 4-5 hours and visits to these spots. Look to pay approx $50-$60 for that. If you speak Spanish, even a little bit, it will help. If not, hire a guide thru' Lee Miles. It will cost you more but Lee is upfront about prices.
Your fourth suggestion is to visit the Ocean front. What's happening there and is it in walking distance?
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Old June 18th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Your fourth suggestion is to visit the Ocean front. What's happening there and is it in walking distance?
Ocean front is walking distance from the old city. It is mostly just a scenic area. You will see some locals using it as a beach also.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wwinfl91 View Post
We got the group together from the rollcall for our cruise and then added a couple of more couples that we or others met on the ship who expressed interest in going. We contacted Lee during the cruise via email so he could make sure the vehicle being provided was big enough (and it was) for everyone.

Rollcalls for cruises that are a long way off tend to be slow but keep going to it and adding comments and keeping it visable to people who book after you and try to recruit new members.

I added a link to the rollcall to my signature and tried to use my signature more than normal when posting on the HAL, Mexican, Columbia and Panama Canal boards to attract people who were booked on the cruise but hadn't joined the rollcall.

Have a great next cruise.
Our roll call for Dec on the NCL Star is the slowest I have EVER seen for roll calls we have been a part of! I would love to organize this excursion with Lee for our sailing, but it may be slow going!
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Old June 20th, 2009, 08:37 PM
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Hang in there on the rollcall. The one we had for our April Eurodam cruise was slow for a long time and then heated up the last two months.

We had a good time on the excursion that Lee arranged and would recommend using him in Cartagena.

Have a great next cruise.
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Old June 21st, 2009, 12:45 AM
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Hang in there on the rollcall. The one we had for our April Eurodam cruise was slow for a long time and then heated up the last two months........
Ya last 1-2 months it will pick up. Don't worry about space running out on Lee's tours. Start talking to him at least 3-4 months before cruise date.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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No one mades yuo visit lee's store. I like to buy local crafts and sundresses but I rarely buy jewelery while traveling. You do not have to get shopping included
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Last edited by ellbon; July 18th, 2009 at 11:34 AM.
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