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What we did in Cartagena


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Just returned yesterday from our cruise and wanted to pass along our experience in Cartagena.

We considered doing Cartagena on our own but we had a shore ex credit we could use and being senior citizens thought we should be escorted our first time there.

We took the NCL Highlights of Cartagena and Folkloric show excursion.

We were picked up in an air conditioned bus right at the pier. Our tour guide's name was John. He was a native Colombian that spoke pretty good English and his microphone worked (not always the case on tours!).

First we went to the fort for a photo op. It was very interesting. We didn't get to climb it but that's OK it was hot! He was very nice and escorted me to a local store to use the bathroom. Be aware that you must bring your own paper as most places did not have it and unless it is a museum you have to pay $1 to use the restroom.

Next stop was the Navy Museum where got a bottle of water and saw a 30 minute very interesting set of three native dances with colorful costumes and music. There was a hat taped to the stage with a dollar bill hanging down and we were asked to put a $1 bill in for the dancers.(this will be a pattern LOL)

Then on to the old city. We walked around to the various squares as he narrated the history of the different statues and then on to the gold museum.

In the square were three very talented break dancers who danced for us and then passed the hat for a $1 tip. The gold museum was air conditioned. It was small but interesting.

Then we had some free time. We went to the Emerald Museum right next to the gold museum. Worth a stop if you like Emeralds.

At no time did we feel unsafe but there were quite a few aggressive street vendors and also people begging for money.

In the end we had a good experience but were somewhat unprepared for the begging and aggressive vendors. I talked to different people after the cruise and the opinions on whether to hand out money varied quite a bit. I ended up doing it as it was just a few dollars.

Hope you enjoy your time in Cartagena!

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