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Is Cartegena safe to travel without a tour?


smith6
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Will be travelling to Cartegena in Jan on Celebrity Equinox and was wondering if you have to book a tour through the ship or could we just get off and grab a private tour on the pier like other islands. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Will be travelling to Cartegena in Jan on Celebrity Equinox and was wondering if you have to book a tour through the ship or could we just get off and grab a private tour on the pier like other islands. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

1. Cartegena is not an island.

2. Safety is a very squishy concept. Some people (like me) feel perfectly safe in a modern urban environment like Cartegena, others not so much. Only you can decide what your comfort level is.

3. In my opinion, the main attractions in Cartagena are the old Spanish fort and the Old City within the walls. If you use a ship's excursion, they can take you to the base of the fort and to the outskirts of the Old City, but that point you'll be pretty much on your own. With a local excursion group (prearranged via internet as most people do or maybe when walking off the ship) the situation will be about the same. Except maybe a smaller group to walk through and mill around in the fort and city.

4. Again, in my opinion, this is a perfect place to walk off, grab a cab, tell him where you want to go, what you want to do.

 

A few glimpses of this wonderful city:

 

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p1104919098-4.jpg

 

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I agree that safety is a difficult question to answer. I was born and raised in a big city. I did not feel unsafe in Cartagena but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Do you speak Spanish well enough to converse with local people? I speak a little and some people spoke a little English so it was somewhat OK. I had a little trouble at one point trying to communicate with someone about where someplace was I wanted to see but the tour guide helped me out there.

Are you comfortable being followed around by street peddlers? I was OK until the end when they saw we were going back to the ship and became desperate. How you handle this is up to you. I responded by buying a lot of souveniers.

Maybe a tour where you get lots of spare time to wander on your own? We were told by a tour guide at one of the other port stops that they would look for us if we didn't make it back to the bus. Have to believe that is the same for Cartagena. I felt like it was an extra layer of protection in case we got lost.

Have fun on your trip!

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My experience is that it is as safe as most places.

 

And it is getting better with each passing year.

 

Like most places go to the tourist areas and if you have an overnight I would avoid being out at night.

 

We are cautious people but I felt very safe in this city and we have visited there numerous times. There is lots to see of interest.

 

Keith

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  • 2 weeks later...

We just got back from a cruise with a stop in Cartagena. Three of us took at taxi from the port to the fort ($20), and when we were done at the fort, took a taxi to the Clock Tower in the Old City ($10), and then a taxi from the Old City back to the port ($10). I prefer to explore on my own - I can stay as long or little as I want to and be more or less on my own schedule. This was my second time to be in Cartagena, and I felt safe both times - I kept to the tourist areas. Cartagena is a beautiful city - one of my favorite stops.

 

Google Cartagena - there are excellent resources available for self guided walking tours of the old city.

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I am still preparing for my visit to Cartagena next month, but I've done extensive research. It seems like the vendors and tour operators here are some of the most aggressive, but still take no for an answer and don't seem to be dangerous, just annoying.

 

If you want to check out the OneNote document in my signature, there is a whole section on Cartagena including a numbered map that I made from an interactive web site with my own numbers added. There is also a description of each stop.

 

We found a taxi driver recommended on TripAdvisor and they are going to take us to La Popa Monastery then Castillo San Felipe and a drive through the city. We will then drop us at the walled city. He will come back at a pre-defined time to pick us up to take us back to the ship when we are finished. It is $75 for 2 to 3 people. He sent pictures of his car and it is a nice, but smallish Renault, so 3 people will definitely be cozy. I figured taxis that we grab outside of the port will run us up to $60 depending on how well we negotiate, so this is nice to know ahead of time we will have A/C and someone who speaks English fairly well.

 

You should also check out the Cartagena on Your Own thread as well. It has a nice plan that someone else did.

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Hello,

Our group of 14 will be on Celebrity Infinity this coming April.

I would like to ask will it be feasible for us to take 3-4 taxis ? or should we take the ship excursions.

We would like to stop at La Popa, the Fort and the old City.

We don't speak spanish, would it be easy to communicate with the taxi drivers in English?

I learned from reading this forum that from port to old city it is to "Centro", going back to ship "Barro", how about to La Popa or to the Fort ?

Really appreciate all your advice.

 

MH.

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Hello,

Our group of 14 will be on Celebrity Infinity this coming April.

I would like to ask will it be feasible for us to take 3-4 taxis ? or should we take the ship excursions.

We would like to stop at La Popa, the Fort and the old City.

We don't speak spanish, would it be easy to communicate with the taxi drivers in English?

I learned from reading this forum that from port to old city it is to "Centro", going back to ship "Barro", how about to La Popa or to the Fort ?

Really appreciate all your advice.

 

MH.

 

Four of us from the Infinity southbound Dec 2015 did pretty much what you are looking at doing. Cab to La Popa, then a stop to explore the fort, then Old City. However, 1) I speak good Spanish, and 2) we hired one driver who stayed with us for the duration. As I recall the negotiated rate, we paid him $20 per hour for 5 hours. He not only drove us, but in the City he also led us around and helped us find interesting views. (See a few of my photos attached to an earlier note on this thread.)

 

Advantages of sticking with one cab or cabs is that the guys hanging around the port gate waiting for assignments to cruise passengers are going to know something about the typical places you are going to want to visit, they know quickest routes from one to another, they probably speak some broken English. And I don't know that I would count on finding a random set of 3-4 cabs hanging around looking for passengers at La Popa.

 

I would guess that if you go as a group to the port exit, the taxi "dispatch" guy could probably fix you up with two minivans, and on from there.

 

Somebody named Dora gets high marks on this board. Before our trip I contacted her and asked if she would do this simple three-part tour rather than her usual city exploration and shipping thing. I never got a reply. You could try her though.

 

Stan

Edited by GottaKnowWhen
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  • 1 month later...

Somebody named Dora gets high marks on this board. Before our trip I contacted her and asked if she would do this simple three-part tour rather than her usual city exploration and shipping thing. I never got a reply. You could try her though.

 

Stan

 

 

We had a port call in Cartagena in January, and I arranged a private tour with Dora for a total of 8 folks on our Roll Call. (She can handle more.) She replied promptly to my emails when we were setting things up, and the tour itself was excellent. I highly recommend her.

 

http://cartagenatour.com/

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