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Is it that dangerous in Cartegena

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We did a ship's tour in January but from everything I have heard and read about Lee Miles I would have no hesitation about booking him for a future cruise. He is not going to take you anywhere but where the tourists go so you are not going to have any problems. Lots of people tour on their own but as we were warned on the ship, use common sense and don't go down dark alleys or streets and stay in well travelled areas where tourists are.

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I´m a Texan living in Colombia (been here for over 2 years now). Cartagena can be a dangerous place but so can NYC or other places in the US. I spent a week last summer in Cartagena (mostly in the old city) and didn´t have any problems with safety. If on a tour you will be fine. We did everything on our own and were fine. And, yes, i look very American. Cartagena has a bad repuation but Colombia has changed a lot from how it was 10 or 20 years ago. If you are worried about kidnappings, that won´t be likely to happen in a city like Cartagena. If you are worried, just stay in your group and leave valuables on the ship. If you know a little Spanish you would even be fine to go off on your own, IMO. Whatever you do, don´t stay on the boat. Cartagena is an amazing place and the old city is wonderful!

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Thanks for the reassurance. I am a little paranoid. Heck if we can do Rome and Barcelona on our own we should be ok here especailly since we are taking a tour with 8 others. :o

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We loved Cartegena and look forward to visiting there again on another cruise again in the future. While we do think its a good port to have some kind of organized tour vs just getting off the ship and grabbing a taxi we also have no extra safety issues beyond what we would have in a number of other large foreign port cities. Cartegena is a city in which vendors are on the agressive side, but we experienced very little of the agressiveness and had no problems at all. I'm sure there are some great taxi drivers one could find by chance but we did have people on the cruise with us that did experence drivers that agreed to one price and then demanded an entirely different price when reaching their destination. Not all the taxi drivers speak very good English so that is another problem one can encounter.

 

Unfortuantely we were not able to do a tour arranged by Lee Miles as there were three ships in port that day and he could not guarentee good tour guides so would not organize any tours the day that we were there but we did go to his store and really enjoyed meeting and talking to him. He really is a nice man that we hope to visit with again some day and hopefully will be able to do a tour arranged by him next time to see and visit places we did not get to go to on our first visit.

 

I have absolutely no doubt that you will love Cartegena as its a beautiful city and well worth leaving the ship to explore with an organized tour by Lee. Enjoy!:)

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this was brought up on our RC about the danger of Columbia...USA TRAVEL WARNING...i first saw this after i booked my PC cruise...became a little concerned but after reading everything on here i was a little less worried, but nevertheless still a concern....i think traveling these days to any place you have to be aware and alert, but now if i can do NYC subways and city buses i think i can do a group tour with my RC mates with Lee's tours and be OKAY:)

SAFE TRAVEL EVERYONE;)

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Thanks for the reassurance. I am a little paranoid. Heck if we can do Rome and Barcelona on our own we should be ok here especailly since we are taking a tour with 8 others. :o

 

Crazy as it may seem, we're way lots more comfortable in Rome and Barcelona than anyplace in Colombia.

 

You are booked with known tour guide .... in no way like just roaming around on your own. Have FUN! ENJOY! :)

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Cartagena was not one of our favorite stops on our

Panama Canal Cruise in 06 (personal feeling)

We where warned by the cruise line and other passengers who

had been there , not even to take aspirin , Tylenol or any prescription

drugs ashore . The Columbia's have(had ?) a zero tolerance policy

on drugs . This especially true if they contained codeine or such additives.

 

:confused::confused:

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I'm sure there have been threads on this subject, but I would appreciate hearing from people who have been to Cartagena (Colombia) recently - like in the last six months or less. Some are telling us it is definitely a very dangerous place and one would be foolish to do anything but take a Princess Excursion. My thought is to get another couple to join us, find a legitimate taxi queue, look for a proper registration and check the driver's credentials. Know in advance where we want to go; negotiate a price in advance and head out. An English speaking driver would be nice, but my Spanish is good enough to handle any discussions if necessary. Would really appreciate hearing from people who have "done Cartagena on their own". Many thanks. Denise

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No more dangerous than doing something on your own in Chicago, LA, NYC or any other major metropolitan area.

 

Keep vigilant, make smart choices and your chance of safety is nearly 100 percent (just like the aforementioned cities).

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If you look on the internet at travel.state.gov then click on International Travel it will give you any travel warnings the US has for different countries. It's been several years since we were on a cruise that went to Columbia and at that time the US had a warning about travel there. We didn't leave the ship, lots of people did and had no trouble but to me it wasn't worth the risk. Good luck and have fun.

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Hired my own guide, forgot his name but he is mentioned on the Columbia site, and never for an instant felt any insecurity. It looks and feels like a European city.

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I took my 82 yr-old Mom on the Island Princess repo in May with a stop in Cartegena. We walked through the little shop where you dock and outside were lots of taxis waiting on the street. We asked for someone who spoke English and agreed on a price for a private 4-hour tour of the main sights (based on what the ship's tours were doing). He was extremely considerate of his "mother". If necessary, he would drop us off and then come meet us to escort us around so she had to do the least walking from parking areas. I felt totally safe with just us two ladies and would not hesitate to do the same again.

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Actually, I wish we had booked a private tour when we were in Cartagena last year. We took a Princess tour and were bombarded by street people everywhere we went. Also, the bus took us to three Emerald shops, which was a bit overkill. Only tour that I ever registered a formal complaint with Princess. Got half our money back, but that didn't erase the disappointment of not being able to enjoy a truly beautiful city. My feeling is that if we had hired a taxi, we wouldn't have been noticed.

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no TYLENOL...is this still the case...anyone know who has been there more recent??????? i always carry it with me everywhere just in case headaches and i have allergies too year round that kick up so always have in case it gets to bad--boy DEFINITELY NEED an updated answer on this one:eek:

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a group of us on our RC is going with LEEs tours he comes highly recommended....there is TRAVEL warning still for Columbia....just be careful aware and stay safe no matter where you are!!!

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no TYLENOL...is this still the case...anyone know who has been there more recent??????? i always carry it with me everywhere just in case headaches and i have allergies too year round that kick up so always have in case it gets to bad--boy DEFINITELY NEED an updated answer on this one:eek:

 

We visited Cartegena in Feb 09 annd loved every minute of our visit. Never heard the don't take Tyenol scenario and if we were going again tomorrow wouldn't hesitate for a minute to take Tylenol or aspirin in its container with me off the ship into the city if I felt I needed to. Hope you enjoy your lovely day in Cartegena!:D Don't forget your camera, there are a million beautiful pictures to be taken.:)

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If I ever go back to Cartagena, I will stay on the ship! We took a Princess tour and were bombarded with vendors who, quite literally, got in your face and blocked your movements. They even did this to my 6 year old granddaughter-like what could she buy? She was scared stiff. Even after we got back on the bus, they were knocking on the windows. Totally a bad experience. Keep in mind too that even when traveling with a registered, credentialed driver, you can still be robbed or worse by bandits.

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We were in Cartagena last November and set up a tour with Lee Miles, an American who lives in Cartagena and has an emerald business there. One of his assistants gave us the actual tour which was really nice, just to various places around the city. We never felt in danger or anything and had a great tour. He'll customize the tour based on what you want to see. (He also doesn't push you to buy any of his emeralds.)

 

You will probably be able to read lots about him on the Columbia board. On a quick search I found him at the email below. If that's not working now, I'm sure someone has a current email address on that board.

 

I also was hesitant about going anywhere in Cartagena, thought it would be best to stay on the ship until I read so much about Lee.

 

His email is leland@misteremerald.com

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We have been to Cartagena twice, once right after 9/11 and again 2 years ago. It is a beautiful city and when we were there the first time we just grabbed a cab and he took us to the city highlites. On our 2nd visit there we did do a ships tour of the old walled city which was very interesting, but did head out after the tour to do some shopping. Yes, the vendors can be a real pain, but they are in Mexico as well. All we did was shake our heads say no firmly and moved on. Never once did we feel any fear at all. I would do this lovely city again in a heartbeat.

Edited by TM

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We were in Catagena last year with Celebrity. Loved the place and it has so much to see.

 

Did the ships tour 'very good' which gave us the old fort (worth seeing) and the old town and a show .. it was great value.

 

They had the shopping on the end of the tour .. but it was done well, we had the choice to shop or just go back to the ship after 15 mins .. the shoppers came back later.

 

A good deal for a beer after a great day is at the pier near the shop.. $1 a beer and they had seats on the lawn to ralax and look at the world pass by.

 

We are now off to see what Santa Marta holds for us next month with plans to see lots of things.

 

Neil

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no TYLENOL...is this still the case...anyone know who has been there more recent??????? i always carry it with me everywhere just in case headaches and i have allergies too year round that kick up so always have in case it gets to bad--boy DEFINITELY NEED an updated answer on this one:eek:

 

 

Wow! People sure do spread and believe rumors quite quickly. Don't worry Starfish, not refering to you. To be honest when I moved to Colombia two years ago I believed most of the travel warnings and stuff but they do all of these warnings to be safer than sorry. I have traveled to far more dangerous countries that don't have the travel warning. If you were familiar with the history and situation in Colombia you would realize it is more about politics than anything. It can be dangerous for diplomats/embassy workers to be here but for the average joe coming in on a cruise, forget about it. Please be aware that since I live here I get all the Updates via email from the US embassy. Yes, you can get robbed, but doesn't that happen in any major city? I always carry Aleve with me everywhere I go and Tylonol is very easy to buy here. I've never entered on a Cruise (will be leaving from Cartagena in Jan though) but have flown in and out several times. Actually most Rx drugs can be bought here without an Rx so I don't understand where this rumor came from. However, if you are bringing illeagle drugs, forget about it. Colombia will be very hard on you. Please don't stay on the ship at this wonderful port. I admit when I first moved here I was scared all the time, but now feel safer here than I do when I go home to visit TX.

 

Oh and as for the vendors, ignore them. No need to say a thing to them or anything. Normally saying something, even a quick "No," indicates to them that they have your attention and they will continue to bother you. Please get off the ship in Colombia and make the judgement yourself of how bad it is.

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I´m a Texan living in Colombia (been here for over 2 years now). Cartagena can be a dangerous place but so can NYC or other places in the US. I spent a week last summer in Cartagena (mostly in the old city) and didn´t have any problems with safety. We did everything on our own and were fine. And, yes, i look very American. Cartagena has a bad repuation but Colombia has changed a lot from how it was 10 or 20 years ago. If you are worried about kidnappings, that won´t be likely to happen in a city like Cartagena. If you are worried about being robbed, just stay in a group and leave valuables on the ship. If you know a little Spanish you should be fine to go off on your own, IMO. Whatever you do, don´t stay on the boat. Cartagena is an amazing place and the old city is wonderful!

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