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SteveCathy1

How safe is cartegena columbia?

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My DW and I have never been to Columbia and are stopping in cartegena on our Panama Cruise with NCL PEARL Apr. 18, 2014. We Would like to know if it is better to take a tour with the Pearl or venture out on our own to shop or hit a beach. Any help would be appreciated.

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We love this city.

 

Yes, you need to be street smart as you would be in any city but it has a lot to see.

 

Keith

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We were just in Cartagena three weeks ago while cruising.

I would strongly recommend that you join the Roll Call for your sailing and find a group that is touring with Dora. The city is a jewel and it would be a shame to find a beach and miss Old Town.

We felt perfectly safe everywhere we went.

We loved it so much we are planning on taking a land trip there as soon as we can work out the details.

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I am a police officer here in the states so I am very street smart and very aware of crime. I was not to concerned while visiting Cartegena. Sure you need to be aware like you would in any port of call...dont wear flashy stuff or carry a luis vuitton purse or anything lol. Otherwise you should be fine. You will like anywhere get the locals trying to sell you crap and services but we didnt run into any one to aggresive. There was a guy with a Sloth who just puts it on you without asking or saying a word...then expects 10 bucks for letting you hold it. I personally didnt have any issues with these Sloth guys but have heard storys of them causing conflict with tourists who didnt want to pay...and I dont blame them. I wouldnt pay for something I didnt ask for either. But yes...all in all its a safe port during daylight hours.

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We booked a tour through Dora and felt quite safe. We were not in a big group; think she had about 14 but she got us a guide Dency with a great driver. Tailored our day to what we were most interested in seeing. I wouldn't want to wander around there by ourselves but we had a very good tour and day. Did hold a sloth at LaPopa but asked the guy to let me. Cost me $2 or $3. Dency told me ahead of time not to give him $4. Didn't see anything of the guy throwing sloths on people.

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I would take a ship tour just to be on the safe side. We did, and had a police officer escort us on the bus so that really told me something about the safety of Colombia. I felt safe there but the vendors are really demanding and will put items right in your face for you to purchase.

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We took the Panama cruise on Coral Princess last month, and it was our first oceanliner-type cruise. Being newbies and not wanting to bite off more than we could chew ($$$$), and feeling quite low-energy that day, we decided to just walk down the cruise ship dock to the duty-free shop at the end of the pier. Outside the shop was a lovely tree-shaded area with flamingos "grazing" and a few feet beyond was an area where gorgeous multi-colored parrots, toucans, and monkeys were RIGHT THERE. (I think the sign that was there referenced a "Parrot Experience" or something like that). The birds there weren't in cages and they were not at all afraid of humans. We literally got within inches of the birds and snapped dozens of wonderful pictures. We spent easily 2 hours just strolling around looking at the birds and DIDN'T HAVE TO SPENT A DIME!!

 

Later that evening when we raved about our wonderful day with tablemates who had been on various organized tours, they were so jealous. Because they had all boarded their tour busses right at the ship they were never even aware that area was there and what FREE wonders it held!! Best "shore excursion" of our entire cruise.

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We took the Panama cruise on Coral Princess last month, and it was our first oceanliner-type cruise. Being newbies and not wanting to bite off more than we could chew ($$$$), and feeling quite low-energy that day, we decided to just walk down the cruise ship dock to the duty-free shop at the end of the pier. Outside the shop was a lovely tree-shaded area with flamingos "grazing" and a few feet beyond was an area where gorgeous multi-colored parrots, toucans, and monkeys were RIGHT THERE. (I think the sign that was there referenced a "Parrot Experience" or something like that). The birds there weren't in cages and they were not at all afraid of humans. We literally got within inches of the birds and snapped dozens of wonderful pictures. We spent easily 2 hours just strolling around looking at the birds and DIDN'T HAVE TO SPENT A DIME!!

 

Later that evening when we raved about our wonderful day with tablemates who had been on various organized tours, they were so jealous. Because they had all boarded their tour busses right at the ship they were never even aware that area was there and what FREE wonders it held!! Best "shore excursion" of our entire cruise.

 

This sounds lovely..........However, travelers should be aware there is another pier that's just for cargo and, therefore, no pretty places in easy walking distance. Not sure how to find out where you're going to dock - perhaps it depends on size of ship or how many are in port that day. Just know it's a possibility. We were on NCL Pearl last year and where we docked was just by huge cargo containers. We had booked a tour through Dora and she met us. Great day excursion but we would have been out of luck if thinking we were going to just walk off the ship and look around.

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I'm certainly no expert on Cartagena, but I can describe the area where we docked. Our pier was one of 2 piers contained within a massive industrial cargo complex called Terminal Maritimo de Cartagena. If you look at the currently-available Google map of Cartagena and put the map in "Satellite" mode you'll get a very clear color view of this dock. The current map shows a cruise ship docked at one of the piers and a dotted line leading to the right at the end of this pier. If you follow that dotted line about 1000 ft. you'll notice the only green-treed area, and it abuts Calle 28. This is where the duty-free shop and Parrot Experience are located. In actual practice, this dotted line is a clearly marked pedestrian pathway you follow to get out of the maritime complex. In fact, it could be a little scary/dangerous to walk outside this marked pathway depending on how busy the cargo port is. I can tell you that there was a free shuttle ride from the ship to the duty free shop, but it's somewhat small, and we wanted a teeny bit of exercise that day. Not terribly strenuous to do this walk, unless the 90+ degree/90%+ humidity gets to you. I'm guessing if one were planning to book an independent tour or cab ride, this is where you'd go to connect with one. In "real life" there were indeed semi-persistant vendors hovering at the fringes of the "Parrot Experience", but they were in no way unpleasant or aggressive. Again, being no Cartagena expert, it looks from the Google map, that this may be the only cruise ship docking place -- but I could easily be wrong about that.

Edited by Nauticat42

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We were there recently and took ships excursion, and with normal precautions it is quite safe and secure . Wonderful city great Spanish influence and lots to see .

 

After "Romancing the Stone" I was wondering how safe it would be , but that was 20 years ago. Relax and enjoy .

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I have been visiting Cartegena de Indias since 1995 and usually stay at least two weeks. Like any other location, don't have flashy items or high tech items. Cartagena has a lot lof history and fascinating and tradictional culture different front the rest of Colombia. You will see a lot of street vendor trying to sell their items. Just "No, gracias" and keep walking. It you stop, then they think you're interested. If you do want to buy something alway ask for the prime then bargain the price down a bit. I hope this helps for you. Enjoy your trip.

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Have done the regular tours and been to Rosario Island. We were going to take the horse drawn carriage ride till I saw the posting about the cruelty, turned me off. Would like to walk/tour the Old Town and maybe small shopping can someone recommend a guide or should we just take our chances with a taxi at the pier. On the Eqinox in Feb.

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to the op - my husband and I felt very safe in Cartagena. although we took a ship tour, we wished we would have done it on our own. we did wander off during a shopping stop we weren't interested in to a nearby beach.

Have done the regular tours and been to Rosario Island. We were going to take the horse drawn carriage ride till I saw the posting about the cruelty, turned me off. Would like to walk/tour the Old Town and maybe small shopping can someone recommend a guide or should we just take our chances with a taxi at the pier. On the Eqinox in Feb.

just wanted to say that I am so glad you changed your mind about the horse carriage :) reading about people holding sloths for money was breaking my heart (these sloths are often torn from the jungle and live horrible lives in small cages) and then your post made me smile. enjoy Cartagena!

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