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Is it that dangerous in Cartegena

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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

 

If you do find this again, I check the Colombia forum on here quite regularly so start a post wth your question and I´ll try to help.

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Cartagena was a beautiful city. We just returned on Oct. 11, 2009 on the Island Princess. I did not feel threatened, but however, we took the Princess excurson into the old city and we had a female armed guard with us at all times. Then as we were walking, another policeman joined us. I am not sure what this was for--maybe for pickpockets or other annoyances. We didn't stay long, but were able to shop in the old "dungeon" area for a short time. We also stopped to have pictures taken with the "fruit basket on head" lady and bargain for necklaces. We were not allowed to wander.

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Our ship goes here in November but I fancied going to a beach and have a lazy day, prehaps with a bit of site seeing. Has anyone been to any beach on here and done it on their own in a taxi.? Would it be safe.?

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I too would like to be in contact with you if you wouldn't mind emailing me at hermy8820 at cox dot net. We'd surely like an insider's view of Cartagena. A good friend of mine and her husband lived down there for a couple of years in the 90s when they were sailing the world on their boat. They loved it. Denise

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Is it better to wander city alone or with a tour guide e.g. Lee Miles Tours?

Any comments / ideas appreciated for possibly a small group of 8? Thanks. Bob

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If you've never been to Cartagena before I would recommend booking a tour for your group. We loved our visit there in 2009 but its not a city we would wish to tour for the first time on our own without a good tour guide. We felt safe and weren't bothered by the agressive vendors but many vendors do tend to be aggressive. Lee Mile is great to work with setting up your tour and giving recomendations for possible places you might want to visit so your tour can be set up specifically for what interest your group the most. I have read good things about using Dora or Claudia too although no first hand knowledge of these two ladies. All of these people will put together a tour that fits what your group wants to do.

 

We're excited to be returning to Cartagena again in 2011 and this time will be exploring more of the Old City on our own, but I would not recommend that for a first time cruiser to Cartagena.

 

Hope you enjoy Cartagena as much as we did!:)

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Excellent - many thanks for the timely information. I am sure we will enjoy Cartegena - whatever we do! Looking forward to the trip.

 

Hope yours goes well next year

 

Bob

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Excellent - many thanks for the timely information. I am sure we will enjoy Cartegena - whatever we do! Looking forward to the trip.

 

Hope yours goes well next year

 

Bob

 

I just looked and saw that you are doing the same itinerary as we are in Feb The only difference is that you are on the Island and we will be on the Coral. Ships are almost exactly the same. We've sailed on the Coral before and its our favorite ship so I'm sure you will love the Island. We have private tours booked with Rosie in Acapulco. J.J. in Puntarenas(we toured with him in Limon on the east coast of Costa Rica and he's agreed to come to Puntarenas to give us a private tour of the west coast of Costa Rica this time), and Rudy in Panama City. Cartagena on our own although Lee Miles is meeting us at the pier to drive us to his store first before we take a taxi from there to the old City, and we'll take the public bus to Eagle Beach (across from the Amderdam Manor) in Aruba which is our favorite caribbean beach. Cabo is the only port we've not yet decided on and will either just wander around on our own or take one of the ships tours to see a bit more of the area since its our first time visiting Cabo. When we were in Pamana on our partial transit of the canal we did the ships tour to visit the Embera Indians and LOVED that tour. I've heard great things about the private tours to visit the Embera Indians but we honestly thought the ships was tour(which we rarely do) was fantastic.

 

Hope you will do a review of your cruise when you return so we can read all about your adventure !:)

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Cartagena on our own although Lee Miles is meeting us at the pier to drive us to his store first before we take a taxi from there to the old City

 

We're going in Feb, too. If you don't mind my asking what is he charging for that? We were going to just take a cab from port to old city, but that might be another option.

Thanks. Fran

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I just looked and saw that you are doing the same itinerary as we are in Feb The only difference is that you are on the Island and we will be on the Coral. Ships are almost exactly the same. We've sailed on the Coral before and its our favorite ship so I'm sure you will love the Island. We have private tours booked with Rosie in Acapulco. J.J. in Puntarenas(we toured with him in Limon on the east coast of Costa Rica and he's agreed to come to Puntarenas to give us a private tour of the west coast of Costa Rica this time), and Rudy in Panama City. Cartagena on our own although Lee Miles is meeting us at the pier to drive us to his store first before we take a taxi from there to the old City, and we'll take the public bus to Eagle Beach (across from the Amderdam Manor) in Aruba which is our favorite caribbean beach. Cabo is the only port we've not yet decided on and will either just wander around on our own or take one of the ships tours to see a bit more of the area since its our first time visiting Cabo. When we were in Pamana on our partial transit of the canal we did the ships tour to visit the Embera Indians and LOVED that tour. I've heard great things about the private tours to visit the Embera Indians but we honestly thought the ships was tour(which we rarely do) was fantastic.

 

Hope you will do a review of your cruise when you return so we can read all about your adventure !:)

 

Thanks for the detailed info - you are certainly organised!! Well done indeed. We have arranged a private tour in Acupulco, a princess tour to the Embera Indians. We are considering a tram tour in Punterenas and the idea of Eagle Beach on Aruba looks interesting! We may well do a private or Princess tour of Cartegena - we shall investigate further. Have you used Lee Miles before? Will review the cruise at the end! Enjoy your cruise. Bob

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We have been to Cartagena before, in 2007 to be exact. On that cruise we took a ship's tour for safety reasons. This time we plan to take a taxi to the old city and walk around on our own. Should we be concerned about our safety? After taking the ship's tour we felt that there was really nothing to be concerned about. Hopefully, things have only gotten better. Would like to hear from people who have been there recently.

 

<<<Karen>>>

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2007 wasn't that long ago. I wouldn't say it has gotten better but not worse either. Use common sense and be street smart and you will be fine. There is extra security on duty when the cruises are there. Just stay on the tourist streets and in well populated areas and you should be fine. Here in Colombia there is a common saying that translates to "Don't give papaya". This basically means don't give anyone the reason to bother you/take advantage of you and they won't. Have fun! I have spent many many days in 2007 and this year in Cartagena without incident.

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globalwife-

 

Thank you for replying to my post. You're right 2007 wasn't that long ago. The reason for taking the ship's tour then was the fact that we were on the second cruise ship to visit Cartagena in 7 years!!! The port had just opened to cruise ships after concerns over safety due to the drug trafficking problems closed it for 7 years. We never really felt afraid and the only "problem" was the number of street vendors after our business. Nothing we hadn't experienced before.

 

We look forward to our day in Cartagena. Hope to go to the Gold Museum and the Palace of the Inquisition neither of which we saw in 2007.

 

<<<Karen>>>

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I was there just before christmas of 2009, not on a cruise. I would say it is very safe. The only time I felt a little scared was walking back to my hostel well after dark when I was offered drugs in a seedier part of town. Had no issues while walking around in the day time or even the evening hours. Within the walls of the city there are always people around, eating dinner outside in the plazas, walking, etc into the night. I'm a woman and I was sometimes alone and sometimes with friends.

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We were there in April with a private tour guide (just the 3 of us) and felt perfectly safe. I think we would have been fine walking around the Walled City and the other tourist spots on our own, but we wanted a guide for the commentary as we had never been to Colombia.

Our cruise ship offered a self-guided walking tour of the Walled City (they just provided transportation and a map), so they obviously felt that the passengers would be safe on their own.

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I was there last year and felt extremely safe. We did a walking tour of the old city as part of the mangrove swamp excursion. From my understanding, vendors are told by the authorities that if a tourist says no thanks then they have to leave them alone. I found that to be true, IMHO much better than Mexico for that. Armed military presence was minimal and the people on the street were very nice. I'll tell you more in a few weeks-----I'm leaving for a full transit next week and am looking forward to doing the walk myself this time so I can try some of the fine restaurants that I've heard about. I think I'll be fine, even at the "hole in the walls" that I enjoy eating from.

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I was not sure if we needed to book a tour or not. Heard it was not safe but the good thing is we speak Spanish so I guess will try going on our own.

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Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. Have printed off a map and will take a taxi to the old city. Looking forward to going at our own pace and seeing what we want to see.

 

<<<Karen>>>

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I have to admit, although I am looking forward to visiting Columbia, I am a little uncomfortable about the safety of the area. I just read that passengers touring on a bus (thru Celebrity ship) were robbed of cash and cameras in St Kitts! We never felt uncomfortable when we were there! I guess desperate people will do anything to get $$.

We will be on a tour with Claudia in Columbia (there will be 8 of us) in Jan. so, hopefully, we won't have any issues.

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I just came back from Cartegena, I felt safe. The old walled city was interesting and fun.

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I have to admit, although I am looking forward to visiting Columbia, I am a little uncomfortable about the safety of the area. I just read that passengers touring on a bus (thru Celebrity ship) were robbed of cash and cameras in St Kitts! ...

 

Well, don't go to St Kitts if that makes you feel uncomfortable - go to Cartagena instead!

 

In Cartagena the National Police are all around in the tourist areas. Lots of officers are holding machine guns keeping an eye on things. I never felt unsafe.

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Anything can happen anywhere at anytime. Don't take much cash or wear any jewelry of value in any port. But I amnot going to miss out on "what ifs". I just try to be smart and observant of my surroundings. Odds are nothing will happen, but if it did I would not lose much. Life is unpredictable.

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I wanted to take a private Lee Miles tour but my husband feels like that would make us look like "rich tourists" and set us up for a kidnapping.

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