Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
kwahl1

What to see to Cartagena, Columbia

Recommended Posts

I have found the ship's tours of Cartagena to be very expensive and the same with private tours recommended on these boards. Ports will often have tour operators as you get off of the ship and we have had good luck before. Has anyone had any such experiences in Cartagena?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

im looking foward to Palacio de la inquisicion. its a wonderfull spooky museum exploring the darker side of history and human nature. admission is free.i believe i found out about it here on cruise critic so you can do a search to find out more

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were In Cartagena on January 10, 2011, and really enjoyed the old city. In fact it was our favourite spot of the whole cruise. We wished that we had more time there. Sure it was hot and humid, but what else would you expect given their location. There is a very nice welcome centre at the terminal. We walked through it and passed by two areas of tour operators before we reached the taxis. We found an English speaking driver who took us to the old city and gave us an excellent walking tour. There were people trying to sell us items, but you just politely say no and they leave you alone. Our tour cost us $10 US each and there were four of us. Hope that you enjoy your visit.

progress.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were in Cartegena in April and as I recall, it was not a particularly wheelchair friendly place.

Our first stop was at La Popa Monastery which had a number of steps leading to the entrance. I don't recall a ramp, but there might have been one. There were also stairs to get to the 2nd floor exhibits and to the views of the city. I don't recall seeing an elevator.

Our 2nd stop was at the San Felipe Fort. There is, in fact, a ramp from the base of the fort to the top but you would need someone very strong to push a wheelchair up this ramp. The ramp is quite long and steep and I had a bit of trouble walking up it and I wasn't pushing a wheelchair!

Our third stop was at the Walled City. This would be your best bet for sightseeing in a wheelchair. The sidewalks are probably too narrow for

easy navigation with a wheelchair, but you could use a wheelchair in the streets. The streets are made of bricks and may be an bit uneven, but I think it would still be manageable with a wheelchair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
im looking foward to Palacio de la inquisicion. its a wonderfull spooky museum exploring the darker side of history and human nature. admission is free.i believe i found out about it here on cruise critic so you can do a search to find out more

 

 

The museum is not free. You need to buy tickets before entering the grounds. I'm thinking we paid around $10 each. Know that all the written info re the displays are in Spanish. We asked why no English and the museum staff said honestly, they are interested in selling tour guides to cruisers and tourists. There weren't any available for an hour, so did it on our own and just caught bits and pieces from some of the tour groups that we passed. It was PACKED the day we were there. There are some displays on the second floor that are historical. Only one area displays some torture instruments. (ick) But unless you have a guide you don't know how they work or the stories behind them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have visited Cartagena, but not on a cruise. Lonely Planet has a guidebook for Colombia that has a great section all about Cartagena, and I found it really helpful with maps and info about what to see and do. You do not need a guide to walk around inside the old city walls. Just walk around and explore -- there are wonderful old cathedrals, street performers, restaurants, interesting metal sculptures, etc. To go outside of the old city, such as to La Popa, just grab a taxi. They are readily available. Most drivers don't speak much English, and we don't speak Spanish, but we were able to communicate enough to get where we wanted to go. We hired a taxi driver for the day on one of the days we were there (it was really inexpensive, but I don't remember how much now) to take us to the mud volcano and other places. It does take awhile to get there, but is a really unique thing to do. You can look at videos of it on youtube and see whether you would like to go. When we were there, there were some British tourists having a great time laughing and rolling in the mud and making "mud mohawks". I loved Cartagena a lot and would go back in a heartbeat. One thing that people always complain about, though, is the relentless vendors. Just try to remember that it is a very poor country and the people are doing whatever they can to survive. Just smile and say no gracious and move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has anyone been to El Totumo Volcano and Mud Bath in Cartagena?

Who took you and what did you think?

 

Thanks

 

I was there a number of years ago...we took an all inclusive vacation package to Columbia. We booked the mud bath tour through the kiosk in the lobby. I recall that the bath was very small but enjoyable. I can't imagine how crowded it will be will a tour bus of people from a ship!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We walked through it and passed by two areas of tour operators before we reached the taxis. We found an English speaking driver who took us to the old city and gave us an excellent walking tour. Our tour cost us $10 US each and there were four of us.

How long was this tour? Was it as extensive as, say, what Dora and Claudia offer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently got back from a stop in Cartegena and also initially thought that the tours were very expensive. I booked a tour with Claudia and since I got several others from my roll call to join the price decreased significantly!! We saw more than we would have with the ship's tour and she even threw in a DVD which shows some of the highlights. I would really recommend her, especially if you can assemble a group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I make a distinction between a driver and a tour guide. There is a big difference. Every tour I have booked in advance was in the $50-$100. range in European ports of call. The tour guides had a driver . The tour guide was certified in the history of the town or site we were exploring.This was in addition to living in the local area.

 

There is nothing wrong with taking a taxi and research the site yourself and know exactly what you want to see.

Have a great cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's also nothing wrong with taking a private tour, and later taking a taxi to a place the private tour didn't go. I am booked with Dora next month, but will have another 8 hours in Cartagena after her tour ends. I hope to get to the Emerald Museum, as she doesn't mention going there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There's also nothing wrong with taking a private tour, and later taking a taxi to a place the private tour didn't go. I am booked with Dora next month, but will have another 8 hours in Cartagena after her tour ends. I hope to get to the Emerald Museum, as she doesn't mention going there.

They now have an emerald museum there at the port. It is free to enter and they have headsets to narriate your tour. Not sure if the headsets have a cost assosiated with them though. Be sure to check it out, if you have the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was in December during HAL Panama cruise in Cartagena.

Taxis are available from the Cruise terminal to the Old Historic City

Interesting is to take a mini bus taxi with several people. Cheaper. For the return you simply take a taxi which will not cost you more as in the other sens.

 

The historical center is simply beautiful. You can take photos and video in incredible quantity as the center is nearly completely resored in orignal way.

You do not really need a tour at all. Churches and museums are well indicated in travel guides or on web. You need only a little map. On HAL we received it.

Cartagena is safe to walk, people are quite friendly. USD are accepted as the local currency is very low in value!

In supermarket you can pay with credit card VISA. You need an ID card or Passport as in most of places.

 

Enjoyed Cartagena!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The self guided tour of the simulated emerald mine at the port store is free and headsets are included at no charge. It's a wonderful display and you can see it in about 10 - 15 minutes. The park like setting and all of the beautiful tropical birds, flamingos, monkeys, minature deer and iguanas make the port store area a great place to visit. Don't forget to take your camera!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has any one done the Horse Carriage tour of Cartagena especially the Holland America offered one. Does not specify size of carriage and whether it is covered from sun. Any information would be welcomed

Ken:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ports will often have tour operators as you get off of the ship and we have had good luck before. Has anyone had any such experiences in Cartagena?

I was in Cartagena on March 12th. To get from the ship to the port, you had to take a free shuttle. Once outside the port building, I did not see anyone offering tours of the city; however, we had taken a private tour earlier in the day. It could be that, since we were returning about 2 p.m. to take a taxi back into the old city, that the on-the-spot tour offers had left.

Edited by Quasar1011

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has any one done the Horse Carriage tour of Cartagena especially the Holland America offered one. Does not specify size of carriage and whether it is covered from sun. Any information would be welcomed

Ken:

Ken, I saw several horse-drawn carriages in Cartagena (was there March 12th). I did not see any with a roof, so you'd be out in the sun. It looked like 4 people could fit in each of them, or more if some of the people were children.

 

Edit: Now that I think about it, some of the carriages were going down narrow streets between 2 and 3 story buildings, and there was lots of shade later in the day.

Edited by Quasar1011

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has any one done the Horse Carriage tour of Cartagena especially the Holland America offered one. Does not specify size of carriage and whether it is covered from sun. Any information would be welcomed

Ken:

 

If you look on you tube you can see a video of the carriage ride in Cartagena

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We were in Cartegena in April and as I recall, it was not a particularly wheelchair friendly place.

Our first stop was at La Popa Monastery which had a number of steps leading to the entrance. I don't recall a ramp, but there might have been one. There were also stairs to get to the 2nd floor exhibits and to the views of the city. I don't recall seeing an elevator.

Our 2nd stop was at the San Felipe Fort. There is, in fact, a ramp from the base of the fort to the top but you would need someone very strong to push a wheelchair up this ramp. The ramp is quite long and steep and I had a bit of trouble walking up it and I wasn't pushing a wheelchair!

Our third stop was at the Walled City. This would be your best bet for sightseeing in a wheelchair. The sidewalks are probably too narrow for

easy navigation with a wheelchair, but you could use a wheelchair in the streets. The streets are made of bricks and may be an bit uneven, but I think it would still be manageable with a wheelchair.

 

We are interested in those 3 places you went to in Cartegena. Did you use a private tour??? If so which one?? How many were you???Did you have to put a deposit down ahead??? In contact w/Claudia for that exact itinerary. Just like 1st post seemed very high for a 3 hour tour (which is what we asked for, with No shopping).

Would appreciate any input or ideas anyone has:confused:

Thanks, Grace

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can do a guided tour with one of the well known guides such as Claudia, Dora, etc. They're more expensive but you get the knowledgeable description of what you're seeing. And your destinations will likely be more succinct and you'll stay on time.

 

An alternative is to just hire a taxi driver for the day. I forget what the costs are but it's significantly cheaper. Some folks on our cruise did that and it worked out well for them. Search the threads here and I believe we had a follow-up discussion about what pricing they were able to get.

The disadvantage is that the driver likely won't speak much English at all and you'd likely have to figure out what you'll want to see in the old town or just wander.

 

We just ended up taking a cab to the old town and followed: a map, suggested walking tours, and site descriptions we were able to find on the web. We were hoping to make it up to the Fort and La Popa but ran out of time just wandering and taking our time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You can do a guided tour with one of the well known guides such as Claudia, Dora, etc. They're more expensive but you get the knowledgeable description of what you're seeing. And your destinations will likely be more succinct and you'll stay on time.

 

An alternative is to just hire a taxi driver for the day. I forget what the costs are but it's significantly cheaper. Some folks on our cruise did that and it worked out well for them. Search the threads here and I believe we had a follow-up discussion about what pricing they were able to get.

The disadvantage is that the driver likely won't speak much English at all and you'd likely have to figure out what you'll want to see in the old town or just wander.

 

We just ended up taking a cab to the old town and followed: a map, suggested walking tours, and site descriptions we were able to find on the web. We were hoping to make it up to the Fort and La Popa but ran out of time just wandering and taking our time.

I just noticed that the Princess tour for La Popa Monastery is not saying (canceled) anymore.

Does anyone know if they repaired the road up to La Popa??. Princess customer service agents don't know anything regarding tours. Princess says mini bus holding 20 people .

Hope someone out there knows or can find out for us. Our cruise is in Sept. of this year.

Is it too good to be true that the road is fixed.??

Thanks for anyones info on this,:)

Grace

Edited by Ronnieslady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...