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Cartagena tours

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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.

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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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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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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.

Edited by garabato

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The information about Lee Miles is appreciated. Is that the name of a person or a tour company? Do you have any contact information for Lee Miles?

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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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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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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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You should work with the roll call for your trip if you are looking to join/share.

 

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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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.

Edited by GradUT

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Dora's website http://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?

Edited by Quasar1011

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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?

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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-g297476-i4451-k4221417-Another_fan_of_JJ-Cartagena.html

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

 

I agree with everything the above poster stated and our experience in Dec was exactly the same. We joined another couple from our Roll Call and the 4 of us arranged a tour through Lee Miles. We also had Sandy as our guide and thought he was excellent. I remember being in Cartagena in 1999 after going through the Canal and feeling somewhat uncomfortable during our ship's excursion (lots of tourist police with automatic weapons). I didn't feel that way at all this time. Enjoy your visit to Cartagena.

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Thanks for the info re: recommendation. Was the walking very difficult? How long was your tour? Were you able to adjust times so you went in the morning (cooler)? Did you book it before you left on your cruise? Thanks!

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Thanks for the info re: recommendation. Was the walking very difficult? How long was your tour? Were you able to adjust times so you went in the morning (cooler)? Did you book it before you left on your cruise? Thanks!

 

I don't know if your questions are directed at me, but I will answer them anyway. Our tour lasted about 5 - 5 1/2 hrs (including lunch). We started about 9 am. All 4 of us had been to Cartagena before and we wanted to see some new things and just walk through old Cartagena. In addition to a stop at La Popa and the base of the fortress, we went to the Palace of the Inquisition and the Gold Museum. Work is continuing on repairing the washed out portion of the road to La Popa - smaller vans have no trouble making the trip. The view from there is not to be missed. We began corresponding with Lee Miles months before we left. We started with one of his basic tours and made adjustments. In the process, he sent us a description of the various sites in Cartagena and accessibility issues at each. Although humid, it was not oppressively hot when we were there in Dec. On our walk through the old town, Sandy took us inside a small hotel to show us an example of the beautiful courtyards behind the building facades. We decided among ourselves to go on in, take a seat on the shaded terrace and have something to drink. It was a nice, unscheduled break. The best thing about a private tour is that you are in control of what you see and how fast you see it.

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If you are in town, can you walk up to the fortress or easily get a cab? Trying to figure out whether to do Cartagena ourselves, or get a guide.

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You will need at least a cab from the port. The Fortress is technically walkable from old town but given the crowds I wouldn't want to do it.

 

I would go with a guide. One really nice feature of using Lee was that with a van at our disposal for all stops we didn't have to schlep anything.

 

If you are in town, can you walk up to the fortress or easily get a cab? Trying to figure out whether to do Cartagena ourselves, or get a guide.

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