Cartagena tours

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#1
Campbell River, BC
41 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
My wife and I are sailing on Coral Princess from Ft Lauderdale on April 21 and have been scoping out the tours for Cartagena. My wife has a bad knee and finds walking and climbing quite difficult. We like both the Best of Cartagena & Fortress tour and the Scenes of Cartagena tour listed on the Princess site. Both, however, say 'substantial level of activity' and I'm wondering if it mainly refers to the climb to the fortress and, in that case, could she simply wait for our 30 minute visit near the bus?
Any tips about Cartagena would be greatly appreciated, I think it will be a trip highlight.
#2
Coastal North Carolina
6,596 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We recently sailed on the Island Princess (love the ship---you will love the Coral which is her sister ship). We did a private tour with Lee Miles in cartagena and found it very interesting. The tour visited a bunch of interesting sites and only stopped at the base of the fortress for photos and the guide describing it-it was lovely but if your wife has bad knees it would probably not be adviseable. We walked through Old Town with our guide and it is lovely, and visited a church and historical sight at the top of a hill overlooking the city-again, lovely but required some walking. Good luck!
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#3
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
491 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Hi,
We did this tour during the Nov. 10 - 20 Island Princess cruise and enjoyed it very much. The fortress has very steep ramps up. Also, the interior consists of tunnels and steps. Some of the people in our group had difficulties with it. Waiting near the bus is possible, but be warned there are loads of vendors there. There is also a lot of walking around the old city with very few chances to sit and rest. Mostly level; however, the streets are cobblestones that are uneven. The city is beautiful, very much like the towns in southern Spain with narrow streets, balconies and flowers.
Hope this helps.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Art
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#4
35 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
The most historical part of Cartagena's Walled City is closed off to vehicular traffic on ship days. This requires that the tours all include about 6 blocks total of walking to get in to Plaza Bolivar, the main square, and back out to the bus. The walking, however, is flat; and generally on paved, non cobbled, streets.

I would agree that the Fortress is too much for anyone with a bad knee, and that the vendors at the bottom are a real pest. With a "photo stop" instead of a full tour of the Fortess, however, the guide stays with you at the bottom, and can "shoo off" the vendors a bit.
#7
Illinois
164 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
We are planning on using Lee Miles when we visit Catagena in April. Here is is website. http://www.destinationcartagena.com/privatetours
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#8
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,679 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Last January we did the Best of Cartagena & Fortress thru Princess and were very happy with it. DW has MS and did not get off the bus at the fortress or the Popa monistary. The wlaking thru the old town was on the level, about 8 blocks and was at a liesurely pace.
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#9
Mechanicsburg, PA
54 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
We just returned from a cruise on the Jewel of the Seas which included a stop in Cartagena. We were very lucky to have made arrangements with Claudia, at toursclaudiavidal.com , a few months back, so she showed 18 of us around her beautiful city. Claudia met us at the pier and we then proceeded to the monastary, "LaPopa", on top of the hill for a view of the entire city and harbor. We also toured the inside of the monastary which included the Chapel of Our Lady of the Candle. Next we went to San Felipe de Barajas fort. Some climbed to the top with Claudia, while others stayed near the bottom (it very hot and humid in Cartagena ). We then stopped at the "dungeons", a market place for local crafts and art. We then moved on to the old city where we visited the Inquisition Palace and the Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver. Afterwards we headed to the modern area and made a stop at an emerald factory. Claudia then took us to a commercial district for more shopping, but all of us opted to return to the ship as we were all getting tired.

Claudia is a great guide and very knowledgable tour leader. She has great knowledge and pride in her country and her city. She was very informative weaving the history of Cartagena into the tour. She has a very good command of the english language, so that does not present a problem. She is very personable and got to know most of the participants name by the end of the tour.


I would strongly reccomend anyone to use Claudia's tours!!!
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#10
Southern California
172 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
On Monday, 1/25/2010, we arrived in Cartagena. We disembarked and met Dora De Zubria who was waiting on the shore for us. She was on time, had a lovely van for the 4 of us, it had air conditioning and a driver. Our tour was to see Cartagena. Dora was very personable and accommodating. We visited the old town, the cathedral, and fortress. We were also driven to the top of a hill that housed a beautiful church. It also had the 14 stations on the drive up. There were a lot of well-armed guards as a festival was coming where people walked the stations. The road up was blocked, but Dora got us through. We also visited the inquisition jail which has been transformed into little shops. While walking through the old town we saw two different gentlemen who had sloths clinging to their torsos. The sloths were somewhat active and you could see the face and claws very well. Dora was magnificent. Well-informed, directed us quickly and efficiently, spoke excellent English, and was willing to modify our tour as we requested. She can be contacted at www.cartagenatours.com.
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#12
Victoria, BC
35 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Hi, I am too looking for tours in Cartagena for our trip on April 24 from Fort Lauderdale with Princess.

Dora's website is now called, http://www.islapirata.com/
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#13
10,092 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
You should work with the roll call for your trip if you are looking to join/share.

Originally posted by Rrdstarr
Hi, I am too looking for tours in Cartagena for our trip on April 24 from Fort Lauderdale with Princess.

Dora's website is now called, http://www.islapirata.com/
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#14
Arlington, Virginia
2,249 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
We arranged a private tour with Jacinto Jimenez (J.J.) Taborda last year when we visited Cartegena on the Island Princess. He can be reached through jacinto-200@hotmail.com.

J.J. was an excellent guide and geared our tour to what we told him we wanted to see and do.
#15
Southern California
527 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Dora's website www.islapirata.com shows that she uses a van for some tours, but also a"new chevrolet automobile". Has anybody taken her tour in the passenger car; and if so, how much did that cost?
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Con El Viento A Mi Favor

#16
10 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by Putterdude
Last January we did the Best of Cartagena & Fortress thru Princess and were very happy with it. DW has MS and did not get off the bus at the fortress or the Popa monistary. The wlaking thru the old town was on the level, about 8 blocks and was at a liesurely pace.

Our foursome has tentatively booked the Princess tour of Cartagena. What I'm looking for is a trip to the Monastery, a good tour of the Fort (I love Forts), and then the Old City. Anything else historical after that is a bonus (don't need to visit any parts of the newer city)
Any thoughts on the Princess tour or others to fit our bill?
#17
Arlington, Virginia
2,249 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
None of the Princess tours go to La Popa Monastery. The one tour they had there has been cancelled according to the Princess website. (I believe there was some damage to the road leading to La Popa, so it's impassable by the buses that Princess and larger groups use.)

I can highly recommend the guide that we used, J.J. Taborda. He offers small tours by car so he can go wherever you want to go. He will personalize your tour to what YOU want to see. For example, we told him we wanted to see La Popa, the Forteza and the Old City but NO shopping and he gave us exactly the tour we wanted. (BTW, he seems to know everyone in the Old City.) He was very knowledgeable about the history of Cartegena and Colombian current events as well. He can be reached via email at jacinto-200@hotmail.com

Here are some further comments about J.J. and his tours:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...Cartagena.html
#18
1 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
After reading many positive reviews, we booked our tour in Cartagena with Lee Miles. The minute we stepped off the Island Princess, we saw a large sign bearing our name. Lee and our guide, Sandy (outstanding guide) were waiting for us just steps from the ship. We visited the sites already mentioned and had a lovely lunch in old town, where reservations had been made in advance by Lee. Our guide, Sandy, was knowledgeable and well-informed and took good care of us every step of the way. We never felt unsafe. Lee is also Mr. Emerald, and is one of the few emerald dealers recommended by the ship. I bought an emerald ring and absolutely love it! Very professional and no pressure to buy. I don't usually post, but wanted to share a very positive experience.
#19
Southern California
527 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by GradUT
None of the Princess tours go to La Popa Monastery. The one tour they had there has been cancelled according to the Princess website. (I believe there was some damage to the road leading to La Popa, so it's impassable by the buses that Princess and larger groups use.)
Would a van be able to use that road now, and make it to La Popa?
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Con El Viento A Mi Favor

#20
Capital District of New York
2,194 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Originally posted by Quasar1011
Would a van be able to use that road now, and make it to La Popa?
We were in Cartagena the 27th of January and did a tour with Claudia. It was very good. We were on an 18 passenger bus/van and were able to make it up to La Popa. If you have an opportunity to get up there I highly recommend doing so. Not only are the views wonderful, there is a great serenity up there.