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Is it that dangerous in Cartegena

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Some are telling us it is definitely a very dangerous place and one would be foolish to do anything but take a Princess Excursion.

 

Who's telling you this garbage? Is it someone that either has never been there or someone that stopped there and was too afraid from self-inflicted terror to even leave the ship? We were there in April and had a wonderful time. No one robbed us. No one got stabbed or shot. None of us woke up in a dark alley with a kidney missing. The only thing we lost was a bit of money on tours and a great lunch as well as some memory on the card in our camera taking lots of pictures of this beautiful city.

 

Honestly, some people think if the port isn't Mayberry U.S.A. your life is in danger.

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If I ever go back to Cartagena, I will stay on the ship!.

 

I'm sure you the locals won't miss you.;)

 

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.

 

Care to exaggerate a little bit more????:rolleyes:

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I'm sure you the locals won't miss you.;)

 

Care to exaggerate a little bit more????:rolleyes:

 

I'm not exaggerating at all-and you can roll your eyes all you wish and be as sarcastic as you want. They were in our faces and knocking on the bus windows but choose to believe what you wish.The OP asked for OPINIONS and I gave mine. I have posted MY experience as happened to me and others posted their experiences as happened to them. Maybe we just got there on a bad day, but it was enough to keep me from going back.

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We were in Cartegena in April with Celebrity and did a tour through Lee Miles. Julio was our guide and he was just wonderful. We toured the old town and bought art and got lots of coffee in the new part of town. I would probably skip the Inquisition Palace next time (all reproductions) but loved the gold museum.

 

Yes, the vendors were aggressive but not any more than I expected and I NEVER felt unsafe. A couple ladies from our table just went out and got a cab and they had a great time too.

 

You'll be missing a great port if you skip Cartegena.

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We were there in January and did a Princess tour which we did enjoy. I probably would not rush to do a taxi tour on my own the first time but with you it is a bit different as there are the four of you and you can speak Spanish. When we go back again I would look for an independent tour like Lee Miles. As for vendors, sure they were there...just as they are in Mexico and other Central American countries....were they any better or any worse...no. I do think in Cartagena as in any city you just need to keep your wits about, don't go down dark streets and alleys and keep to where there are tourists around.

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Ethel5 said: I'm not exaggerating at all-and you can roll your eyes all you wish and be as sarcastic as you want. They were in our faces and knocking on the bus windows but choose to believe what you wish.The OP asked for OPINIONS and I gave mine. I have posted MY experience as happened to me and others posted their experiences as happened to them. Maybe we just got there on a bad day, but it was enough to keep me from going back.

 

Thanks so very much guys You too as always, Ethel, and I do wish to speak respectfully because your opinions do matter - but in this case please climb down from that horse, it is waaaaay too high. Clearly the majority of folks posting here don't agree with you on this particular topic -- i.e. whether you can enjoy the sights of Cartagena on your own and expect to (1) return to the ship safe and sound (very high expectation of yes) and (2) encounter many persistent, annoying street peddlers (high expectation of yes also). But if annoying peddlers who approach you, bang on windows, etc. (and believe me I do choose to believe they will do that) can spoil your visit to a beautiful city, then you're going to miss out on some spectacular sights. Remember what Nancy Reagan taught us - JUST SAY NO - but in this case add a polite but firm 'gracias' to those nuisances. Nonetheless, many people believe in the "better safe than sorry" adage, and I can only say to them, with neither sarcasm nor rolling eyes intended "If that is your comfort zone and it works for you, then that's how you should do things."

 

As for us, we're actually going to have two visits to Cartagena on this B2B. We'll look into Lee's tours as Plan B. On Mother's Day this year, we hired a guide in Le Havre who came highly recommended by many on CC and 6 of us had a fantastic day in Normandy with him. But depending on cost, I may go back to Plan A and find out where the Princess excursions are going and then see how many of them we can visit on our own in a 4-6 hour period at times when the buses are least likely to be there. We have to carry some cash and at least one AmEx in case the schlock du jour - forever referred to thereafter as "Denise's treasures" - is simply too good to resist. We'll each take a camera, and I think I want one of them to be a video. We'll remain alert to our surroundings but not to the point that we cease to marvel at them. If we're robbed, we're robbed (unlikely to happen but not a pleasant thought - and you can be a victim anywhere, even right here in the good old U.S.).

 

Thank you again, all. Denise

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thanks for the info about the tylenol;) i have read things pro and con about Cartegena, but am looking forward to this place cos i never thought i would ever go there...being on cruises i am going to places i really never imagined i would be able to travel too so i plan to get off and see each and every port...i just dont feel they would PORT there if it was so dangerous so i have to believe we will be OKAY just like any place in the world we travel...we just have to be AWARE and BE CAREFUL:)

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Is it possible to walk from the ship to the Old Town, or is it to far. It looks to be between 1.5 - 2 miles on Google Earth about a 20-30 min walk which isn't a problem for us.

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Is it possible to walk from the ship to the Old Town, or is it to far. It looks to be between 1.5 - 2 miles on Google Earth about a 20-30 min walk which isn't a problem for us.

 

I'm guessing it's been done before, but I'd advise against it. If you do, I'd offer four suggestions:

 

1. Have a VERY detailed map with you. There isn't a direct route that runs from the port to Old Town. Expect to do some zig zagging on the roads. It sure seemed like more than 1.5 or 2 miles on the ride back, but I could be mistaken.

 

2. Have someone with you that speaks fluent Spanish. To read the road signs, and ask for directions.

 

3. Bring LOTS of water with you. It was 90+ and humid when we were there.

 

4. Have enough money on you for a cab ride back.

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I am not sure that I would advise walking from the ship to Old Town, some of the areas are quite nice but others are a bit mixed and maybe that is a bit on the complementary side...I think I would prefer to take a cab in myself.

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Thanks, for the advice. Not that we're skinflints or anything, not wanting to get a taxi, we just like to walk everywhere as much as possible, especially on holiday to keep those pounds off.

 

David

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Thanks, for the advice. Not that we're skinflints or anything, not wanting to get a taxi, we just like to walk everywhere as much as possible, especially on holiday to keep those pounds off.

 

David

 

Sounds like you already made up your mind up but I wouldn´t recommend walking in that area. Save your walking for ïnside the walls or if you want to walk a bit more, walk to the Fort from the old city.

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Starfish, your absolutely right in your conclusion. We, my daughter and I visited Cartagena Oct 08, we booked a tour with the ship (Coral Princess) and although it was a nice tour of the city with a good guide we opted to leave it halfway through and do out own thing. We were fine and being two women alone we had many comments about going off by ourselves but we had alot of fun just chatting to locals and bartering with them. Don't worry go with the right mindset and enjoy!

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Sounds like you already made up your mind up but I wouldn´t recommend walking in that area. Save your walking for ïnside the walls or if you want to walk a bit more, walk to the Fort from the old city.

 

We'll probably get a taxi up to the old town and then walk across to the fort, after reading the above advice.

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We weer in Cartagena 5 months ago. We had vendors approach us, we had others knock on the tour bus windows while we waited, and we were not bothered by it in the least. They are just trying to make a buck the best way they know how.

 

I'd go back tomorrow! Cartagena is too beautiful to miss out of misplaced fear.

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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

 

I've been to Cartagena many times, usually by myself - and I don't do tours. I explore on my own... I feel safer there than in half the places I go in the US! Cartagena is a beautiful fascinating city, and the people are wonderful. This fear is really uncalled for.

 

Someone else posted this article on another thread, it bears repeating... http://www.time.com/time/travel/article/0,31542,1882856,00.html

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I've been to Cartagena many times, usually by myself - and I don't do tours. I explore on my own... I feel safer there than in half the places I go in the US! Cartagena is a beautiful fascinating city, and the people are wonderful. This fear is really uncalled for.

 

Someone else posted this article on another thread, it bears repeating... http://www.time.com/time/travel/arti...882856,00.html

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Thank you, TrentS, for the link to the TimeCNN article. I am sold on doing Cartagena on our own. Unfortunately, I'm a poor walker, especially on uneven pavements like cobblestone, but that won't stop me. Just jump in and out of a waiting cab at the various sites we'll want to visit and take photos of. Plus we are lucky that I speak passable Spanish and we have two days in Cartagena. Absolutely everything I've heard about this city is positive positive positive with the exception of the aggressive peddlers, which are not a concern to me. As someone posted earlier, these people are just trying to make a living like everyone else, but you can simply smile and say no gracias.

 

I had breakfast yesterday with a friend of mine who used to sail with her husband to all sorts of exotic places. In fact, they lived in Cartagena for two years, but it's been about 15 years ago. They absolutely loved it. At our first M&G we can all finalize our plans for shore excursions. If there's another couple who wants to spend several hours touring Cartagena by taxi or van, perhaps have lunch there, but minimize the amount of actual walking, maybe you'll want to consider joining us. This sounds like it might be the very best experience of this cruise! Denise

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I've been to Cartagena many times, usually by myself - and I don't do tours. I explore on my own... I feel safer there than in half the places I go in the US! Cartagena is a beautiful fascinating city, and the people are wonderful. This fear is really uncalled for.

 

Someone else posted this article on another thread, it bears repeating... http://www.time.com/time/travel/article/0,31542,1882856,00.html

 

I am constantly amazed by the information provided in these posts!!

 

Thanks so much for this article. :)

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Even I, who post a lot here, failed to remember the "ports of call" board. That is always the best place to start when your question is about a specific port, city, or excursion site. People don't need to be cruisers to appreciate Cruise Critic. Anyone who travels out of the country can learn so much and it's the best information because it comes from people just like them who have actually visited these places -- and recently.

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I'm not exaggerating at all-and you can roll your eyes all you wish and be as sarcastic as you want. They were in our faces and knocking on the bus windows but choose to believe what you wish.The OP asked for OPINIONS and I gave mine. I have posted MY experience as happened to me and others posted their experiences as happened to them. Maybe we just got there on a bad day, but it was enough to keep me from going back.

 

 

I believe Ethel5. Belize is the same way. First time there I tried to go out the cruise port gate on my own and had the locals right in my face blocking my movements. There is no way I'm going off with some aggressive stranger in a foreign country!

Edited by KY Transplant

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KY Traveler I believed Ethel too - we all did. That was never an issue. Absolutely everybody who's been to Cartagena forwarns us that the peddlers are aggressive. That's aggressive, not dangerous. If you choose your private driver or guide carefully, he or she will understand when you say you absolutely do not want to be bothered by people trying to sell you things. But if you're not able to hold them at bay, think of Nancy Reagan and JUST SAY NO, GRACIAS:D and move on. I do appreciate that some people are simply not able to deal with those kinds of situations without experiencing more stress than it's worth. For those who feel this way, it makes more sense to just stay on the ship. But for the others I say -

See Ya in Cartagena!

Edited by BayCalif-Ariz R Us

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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!

 

We are coming for our first taste of Columbia in Cartagena at the end of Nov. We would really like to talk to you about what the city has to offer. I speak fluent although rusty spanish and are pretty independent. We'd like your recommendations on what to do and see for the one day we are there. ]

Thanks,

Jana

Edited by ship-shore

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Sorry, I'm finding it impossible to send you this message with my email address in a way the whole world can not read it. I know I'll never find this thread again, but I'd love to hear from you. I'll keep trying.

Jana

Edited by ship-shore

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