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Cartagena Taxi Warning and Imoressions


sippican
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Sorry, can't edit the title - "Impressions"

We are avid DIY'ers and are very comfortable striking out on our own in most ports. Having read through many threads, we headed out to the taxi stand beyond the gates to the port. (Knowing we could expect to pay $10 to the Old City, rather then the $20 from inside.) We were immediately approached by at least 5 drivers wanting our business. I asked who would take us to the Clock Tower for $10 and one immediatley agreed (he had a red Licensed taxi - as recommended). He and his friend got us settled and on the way, then they began proposing a tour, which we politley declined. They stopped so we could take photos of the fort, then said they'd drive us there, which we again declined. The next stop was a store - we again reinforced the Clock Tower destination and said "No more stops!". We were taken to a point next to the Old City walls, no clock tower in sight. The gentleman passenger said it was right around the corner and he'd walk us there. So we paid and left the taxi with him.The ride took about 30 minutes. Guess what? - more stores! We strongly told him, "No more!" and turned and walked quickly in the opposite direction. We had no difficulty getting our bearings in the Old City, and continuing with our sightseeing. Needless to say, we did not meet the same driver, as previously agreed (before his shenanigans), for the return trip! We did cross the street to the water opposite the Clock Towere and hailed a driver who was droppping off two passengers. We asked him if he'd take us to the port for ten dollars, NO stops and he agreed. Ten minutes back, right through the gates. Very pleasant driver! Our table mate fared even worse. She headed out by herself and had a taxi ride from hell - her driver ended up charging her $50 for a tour she did't ask for or want. She was too scared to get help or refuse to pay.

As an aside, we did not enjoy our time in the Old City and even cut the visit short. The level of harassment by vendors was probably the worst we've experienced in any port. (Perhaps due the fact that we were the only ship in port?) We stopped saying "No thank you" and refused to make eye contact. The people we did engage with were warm and helpful.

Edited by sippican
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  • 4 months later...

Sorry you had a bad experience.

 

When we arranged for a taxi we arranged it with the led guy who spoke English well.

 

We negotiated length of tour, what we would see and the price.

 

The driver couldn't have been any nicer.

 

We love Cartagena and have visited several times and each succeeding time we enjoy it more and see additional improvements.

 

We never felt pressure including the walled/old city.

 

Sorry it didn't work for you.

 

Keith

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