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Cartagena on your own Easy Peasy

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We did Cartagena on our own. Very easy
Got off the ship early. We walked off at 7:00
take the free shuttle from the ship to the Terminal building.
do not visit it now.
We teamed up with another couple and shared a taxi from the terminal building directly to the Old Walled UNESCO city. Paid $15 for the 4 of us in a brand new small van. We told them "Centro" and were dropped off at the Clock Tower.
Not many people out this early. Great time for photos and it is still relatively cooler.

Entered the Walled city and walked first to Plaza Bolivar for photos. Then we walked out to the Old city walls and continued walking on the walls near the ocean to the northside of the old town. This is where the vendor craft sale area is located. You can see the Old Fort in the distance. We did not go here as it was already getting hot.
You can visit the Fort for $10 US cash per person.
Instead we continued exploring the city by walking thru the streets. Stopping at different Plazas.
Returning to Bolivar Plaza. Free wifi is available for 30 minutes if you register your email address. it worked great. You can get a photo taken with the lady who has a fruit basket on her head $1.
We then went inside the Palace of the Inquisition. They did not charge us anything and offered clean free bathrooms.
Next we visited the Museum del Oro the Gold Museum. It was also free.
Air Conditioning is available at both locations in a few rooms take advantage of it.
The humidity is horrible and I was so glad we started our day early.

Fruit vendors are on the street. Lots of things to look at. we never felt unsafe.
Do not carry much money or flashy cameras.

We got a taxi back to the ship from the Clock Tower area. Tell the driver Barco (ship) they are all over and easy to find.
Paid $10 for two of us but he gave us a tour on the way back to the ship. Pointing out interesting places along the way. We saw a wedding party exiting a church. The old fort up on the hill. Pretty old homes. donkey carts.

Once you return to the terminal take advantage of the free and fun Aviary and mini zoo. Great photos of parrots, flamingos, iguanas. This place is so much fun.
You can go inside the large cages and get great pictures of the birds.
We had toucans fly up to us and pick at our shoe laces.
Walk into the emerald mine exhibit, cool and interesting. The gift shop is also nice.
Take the free shuttle bus back to the ship.

Great day in Cartagena. Go early in the day. It does get very humid and hot.

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Thanks for the great info. We are traveling next month to Cartagena and DIY.

Did you get your taxi right outside the port area or did you walk a few blocks away for that price?

Did you use US $?

How long did you spend in the walled city?

Thank you!

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We were off the ship early and got the taxi just outside of the aviary area of the port.
We used US $$

5 hours total time off the ship.

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What time of year were you there? We will be there on Celebrity in April.


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[quote name='sunandsnow']Thank you. We are doing a full transit with Norwegian next month. Your help is very much appreciated.[/QUOTE]
Thanks for this great post . We are party of 8 on NCL Jewel in Feb doing the full transit.

Karen

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It is very easy to get a taxi outside the port area.

Be sure to negotiate your fee up front.

Do not stop for those trying to sell you on tours.

Keith

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[quote name='Kaitlyn2']Thanks for this great post . We are party of 8 on NCL Jewel in Feb doing the full transit.

Karen[/QUOTE]

Karen, your challenge is being in a party of 8 in terms of a taxi.

Keith

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HI all!

wlbox ~ thanks so much for this post.:DI used the info about the zoo by the
port area, which many didn't realize was there, & had a delightful time.
I loved Cartagena & hope someday to return there to explore the fort area more.

~ Jo ~ :)

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Thank you wilbox! This seems like a very nice day. We don't get in until 8, but you convinced me to start my day as early as possible. :)

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Hello, thank you for posting how easy peasy it was doing Cartagena on your own.

We will be there next April on HAL. We are only in port from 7am-1pm. We would prefer to do this port on our how, customized...were thinking either booking directly a guide but your post sounds easypeasy.

We don't have a lot of time, we are nervous about doing a diy tour as we will be short on time, don't want to miss the ship. How long was the taxi ride to central walled city? We would like to do a walk about, plus the inquisition would be another point of interest as a must see. Trying to plan our diy for 3 hours so we get back to port in time to do the zoo. Is that too short of time to cab, walk the city streets, inquisition, cab back in 3 hours?

And do you think two women on their own walking the streets would be advisable?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts, info and advice,
Sweetp

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Can anyone tell me if there is souvenir shopping close to the port? I am looking for t shirts with the Columbian flag on them. Thank you!

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Do they still have the water taxi from the port terminal building to the old city? We were in Cartagena four years ago and took the water taxi, walked around the old city, got a cab to the fort, then tool a cab back to the ship. It was a wonderful day. We're going back in January and want to do a similar day. I have't read anything in these posts about a water taxi.

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[quote name='RSF Cruiser']Do they still have the water taxi from the port terminal building to the old city? We were in Cartagena four years ago and took the water taxi, walked around the old city, got a cab to the fort, then tool a cab back to the ship. It was a wonderful day. We're going back in January and want to do a similar day. I have't read anything in these posts about a water taxi.[/quote]

Oh taking a water taxi to the old city sounds perfect...I will watch for replies..and maybe jump onto google and do some research. Thanks RSF Cruiser for your post!

Sweetp2

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We just got back from a 3 night trip to Cartagena. $10USD is way too expensive for a cab to el centro (aka torre del reloj/clock tower). We always paid $7000 colombian pesos which is ~$2.25. Uber is also in Cartagena, and it's almost the same as a taxi. That's a good option if you don't want to carry pesos.

Sweetp- it's very safe for women to walk around especially during the day. Your time at the port is so short, however, that I would suggest a private tour. The fort was a big highlight for me, and I loved walking around the old city and its neighbor, Getsemani.

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Hi,

while searching for information about Cartagena I have found this:

.Be wary of people offering their services as guides. Tourists coming off the cruise ships are besieged by guides offering their services at prices ranging up to $US80 for an afternoon. You can bargain them down to less than half that. Make sure you get a guide who does actually speak English. Pay him at the end, not before, and make it clear where you want to go, because many "guides" head straight for shops that pay them commisions. A taxi driver can be hired for a day trip for around US$10 an hour, though very few speak English.[B] If coming off a cruise ship, you must get a taxi driver from outside the terminal, because the ones inside the terminal have set up a cartel. [/B]To see a printer-friendly list of 36 interesting excursions in Cartagena.

[URL="http://www.cartagenainfo.net/glenndavid/tips.html"]http://www.cartagenainfo.net/glenndavid/tips.html[/URL] Edited by black forest

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For those who have taken taxis in Cartagena, will it be easy to find a van/minivan as opposed to cars? There are three of us but two wheelchairs, I could always fall back to two taxis but would prefer to stay together.

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Most of the taxis are tiny sedans that barely fit four passengers. You might want to consider a private car hire if you need a minivan for the wheelchairs.

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[quote name='euro cruiser']For those who have taken taxis in Cartagena, will it be easy to find a van/minivan as opposed to cars? There are three of us but two wheelchairs, I could always fall back to two taxis but would prefer to stay together.[/QUOTE]

In your case i would recommend excursion from ship.

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Thanks, but an organized tour won't work for us. We need the flexibility for one or both of them to go back to the ship if they get fatigued. I think that taxis are the best balance of cost and flexibility for us.

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[quote name='euro cruiser']Thanks, but an organized tour won't work for us. We need the flexibility for one or both of them to go back to the ship if they get fatigued. I think that taxis are the best balance of cost and flexibility for us.[/QUOTE]

If you haven't already cruised, someone on TripAdv game me an email address of a taxi driver. I believe he only has a car, but he may be able to put you in touch with someone who has a can. You can email me at annjunk at sbcglobal dot net if you are interested. Edited by alwalaska

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Ah, thanks but we've been there and are back. We didn't wind up doing a tour at Cartagena, we just walked off the ship and wandered around the port area shops and bird sanctuary. We did walk to the port exit to check out the area but it was really, really hot that day and it looked like a long walk to get anywhere so we turned back and returned to the ship.

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[quote name='sunandsnow']Thank you. We are doing a full transit with Norwegian next month. Your help is very much appreciated.[/QUOTE]


Are you on the jewel, Miami to la? We are.


Sent from my iPhone using [url=https://siteowners.tapatalk.com/byo/displayAndDownloadByoApp?rid=76452]Forums[/url]

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What would be the Top 10 things to do (in order of good to bad)
Going to be there in a couple of weeks and trying to decide what to do ?

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[quote name='sandy1754']What would be the Top 10 things to do (in order of good to bad)
Going to be there in a couple of weeks and trying to decide what to do ?[/QUOTE]

I haven't been there yet, but I will be going on Valentines Day.

If you don't get a top 10 back from someone, you can check out my Cartagena section in my OneNote Notebook link in my signature. Within the Cartagena section, there is a page titled Overview plan. Starting below there are the sites that we have chosen to try and see. There is also Numbered map under the Walled City page that I created to help us find our way around. Each page in this section has a place to see along with a photo and any info I could find about it on the Internet.

If you are going after I return, I will be happy to post my favorite things that I saw.

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Ann, your notebook was wonderful!! Thank you so much for allowing us access - so much great information. Am looking forward to reading any post-cruise thoughts. Hope you're having a great time!

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[quote name='cwb348']Ann, your notebook was wonderful!! Thank you so much for allowing us access - so much great information. Am looking forward to reading any post-cruise thoughts. Hope you're having a great time![/quote]


Thank you! We had an amazing time. Everyone was right about how hot it is there. Part of it is just how intense the sun is. It was "only" in the upper 80s with about 70% humidity, but we were very hot when walking in the sun and drank lots of water. Our interpreter that our driver brought carried a light umbrella when we walked. She said that it is just too easy to burn and get overheated there.

Although our driver and interpreter helped to spare us from some of the more pushy vendors, I didn't think it was any worse than Guatemala or some other locations we had been to in the past. I felt quite safe and would have felt perfectly safe doing it on our own.

There were a ton of people offering tours both inside and outside of the cruise port gates. Both sets were very pushy. Prices they were yelling at us did go down as we left the port. Others on the cruise took taxis from inside or outside the port area. Some recommendations based on that ...

1) Verify that their English goes beyond how to sell the tour to how to tell you about Cartagena. People had mixed experiences here.
2) Verify how many other people they will be loading in with you. They say they will take you to the Castillo or Walled City for a certain price, but that is probably a per person price and others will be joining you as well.

For us, since we had our driver pre-arranged and waiting outside of the port area, the worst part of the day for us was trying to get outside of the port area. The Exit signs wind you through a shop and the bird sanctuary and past all of the tour vendors. There was an exit signed for buses and cars only. I wish we had broken the rules and just walked out there. It would have saved us about 10 minutes and a lot of wondering around since we eventually just ended on the other side of that building any way.

One thing I realized, my map in the OneNote notebook doesn't have street names. They hand out a nice map and booklet at the port if you can work you way into the information booth person to get it. Also, I think if you went to one of the port talks, they handed them out as well.

Please let me know if you have any questions that I can help with.

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Thanks for this very helpful thread. We paid $20 for 4 of us to take a taxi from just outside the aviary area to the walled city. Even if some think that was inflated, I thought it was a reasonable price after the taxi driver had to wind his way through the traffic. It also would seem like they probably can use the money. Also, since these taxi drivers all had "Taxi" print fabric (all over print with the words many times), it felt like at least you were getting in a cab that might be safer than just one on the street. Also, our driver was very good at telling us the sights on the way. He said his English wasn't very good, but we had no problems with it. YMMV. He also offered to pick us up where he dropped us off at a designated time of our choosing. We picked a time, were there early and he was already waiting for us. A very hot, but pleasant day.

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[quote name='dreaminofcruisin']Thanks for this very helpful thread. We paid $20 for 4 of us to take a taxi from just outside the aviary area to the walled city. Even if some think that was inflated, I thought it was a reasonable price after the taxi driver had to wind his way through the traffic. It also would seem like they probably can use the money. Also, since these taxi drivers all had "Taxi" print fabric (all over print with the words many times), it felt like at least you were getting in a cab that might be safer than just one on the street. Also, our driver was very good at telling us the sights on the way. He said his English wasn't very good, but we had no problems with it. YMMV. He also offered to pick us up where he dropped us off at a designated time of our choosing. We picked a time, were there early and he was already waiting for us. A very hot, but pleasant day.[/quote]


I think that price sounds about average for what I heard. I am different than some. I believe in paying what I think is fair, even if it might be higher than what I could possibly get them down to. They definitely need to make a living, I agree with you.

Did he charge $20 again to go back, or was that included. If it was included, that was an amazing deal. ;)

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Just got back from Cartagena. Note that the Inquisition Museum is no longer free. The Gold Museum is still free and does have free restrooms.

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[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Visited Cartagena on April 2017 on ms Amsterdam. [/FONT][FONT=Comic Sans MS][FONT=Comic Sans MS]My wife and I (seniors) [/FONT]visited the old city by ourselves, no problem at all. We walked through the port terminal building, ignoring the taxi drivers offering tours and rides at inflated prices and walked 50 yards down the street outside. There we met another couple from the ship and shared a taxi ($10US for the 4 of us) to the Clock Tower Gate of the old city. From there we explored the compact and beautiful restored old city on foot. We visited the Gold Museum (free, with air con and toilets) and the next-door Emerald Shop, where a nice lady showed us their model emerald mine and told us about emeralds. We did not buy any there. We visited the cathedral and several scenic plazas and walked along the walls. We passed on the grisly [/FONT][FONT=Comic Sans MS]Palacio de la Inquisición. We visited Mr. Emerald but as the store was full of people being herded along on ships tours we did not stay long. I had bought 50,000 Colombian pesos (about $18 US) before leaving Canada, and paid 20,000 pesos for a nice embroidered bag from a street vendor after a bit of haggling (He would have taken $US.) When we were ready to return to the ship we went back to the Clock Gate and offered another taxi 20,000 pesos to take us back to the cruise terminal. He accepted and gave us a bit of a tour on the way back. At the terminal the free small zoo is well worth a visit and we spent my last 10,000 pesos on a couple of cold beers. We also bought a small emerald pendant (on a credit card) in the terminal shop. In the old city the street vendors were doing their best, but were not a real problem. A firm "Non, gracias" worked OK. The numerous tourist police seem to have cleared out the beggars previous posters have reported. We only saw one. Go as early as possible and take water as the city does get hot as the sun gets higher!
[/FONT]

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[quote name='alwalaska']I haven't been there yet, but I will be going on Valentines Day.

If you don't get a top 10 back from someone, you can check out my Cartagena section in my OneNote Notebook link in my signature. Within the Cartagena section, there is a page titled Overview plan. Starting below there are the sites that we have chosen to try and see. There is also Numbered map under the Walled City page that I created to help us find our way around. Each page in this section has a place to see along with a photo and any info I could find about it on the Internet.

If you are going after I return, I will be happy to post my favorite things that I saw.[/quote]

Can't find the link - can you please post it for me?? Thanks!!! :)

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We have been to Cartagena before, but some years ago. This time I think we would probably just take a taxi to the old town. Since last there I now have limited mobility.

Therefore, can somebody tell me if my OH would be Ok to push me in a wheelchair? Or are the streets just too difficult to manoeuvre?

Am I correct in thinking taxis are not allowed in?

Any information or suggestions would be appreciated.


Sent from my iPad using Forums

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[quote name='Froufie']Can't find the link - can you please post it for me?? Thanks!!! :)[/quote]

Hi. [URL="https://1drv.ms/o/s!AqrzJQvY8ahmtzxWZ0gC9kqzJsEf"]Here is the link.[/URL] Please let me know if it works. We didn't walk around, so I'm not sure how well my walking tour plan would have worked.

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[quote name='LondonTowner']We have been to Cartagena before, but some years ago. This time I think we would probably just take a taxi to the old town. Since last there I now have limited mobility.

Therefore, can somebody tell me if my OH would be Ok to push me in a wheelchair? Or are the streets just too difficult to manoeuvre?

Am I correct in thinking taxis are not allowed in?

Any information or suggestions would be appreciated.


Sent from my iPad using Forums[/quote]

You could probably get by with the wheel chair, but I think it would be hard. They don't always have cut outs for getting on and off the sidewalks like we do, the streets were pretty narrow and busy when we were there. There were also cobblestones if I remember right.

Our driver drove into the back part of the old town. He stopped and let us take some pictures. There were some areas that he could not get to. He also took us to a jewelry shop (which I wanted to do), over to see the new part of the city, to the fortress (hubby could push around the outer edge here easily enough), and more. We had it arranged ahead of time and it was a little more expensive, but having the A/C and someone to show us the sites was great.

Email me (annjunk at sbcglobal dot net) if you want me to try and find the email address of the guy who took us around Cartagena.

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