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lolastar

What to do in Cartegena Columbia

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We are cruising on the Norwegian Jade and one of our stops is Cartegena, Columbia.  We don't want to take an excursion or tour.  Is there a market at the port where a person could sit down and buy a  drink and, perhaps, do a bit of souvenir shopping?  We think we would  like to visit the walled city.  Can anyone tell us how to get there from the port?  Is it within walking distance?  Taxi?  Where to catch the taxi?  Approximate cost?  Is there anything else that we should see while we are there that is safe and easy to get to on our own?

 

Many thanks.

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I have been to this port twice and loved it.  Traditionally we book excursions from independent contractors, but with that said this is one of the few ports I would prefer going through the cruise line. 

There are a number of areas that frankly are not all that safe to tourists. 

Our last visit we booked an excursion that was partially walking and partially on a bus. We saw the old town, churches, the inner wall/fort, did the fantastic gift shops that are located in what was once dungeons, took in architecture and saw some great street entertainment. 

For more info you might want to repost this in the “ports” boards and I think you will get more info.  

PS some friends of mine just returned and they did a Segway tour of the city. 

Have fun!

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11 hours ago, lolastar said:

We are cruising on the Norwegian Jade and one of our stops is Cartegena, Columbia.  We don't want to take an excursion or tour.  Is there a market at the port where a person could sit down and buy a  drink and, perhaps, do a bit of souvenir shopping?  We think we would  like to visit the walled city.  Can anyone tell us how to get there from the port?  Is it within walking distance?  Taxi?  Where to catch the taxi?  Approximate cost?  Is there anything else that we should see while we are there that is safe and easy to get to on our own?

 

Many thanks.

 

We enjoyed one of the most fabulous excursions to date in all our cruises in the Segway excursion of the OLD WALLED CITY.  It is "up there" with our top 5 over all of our cruises (see expanded signature).  Here is the TA link to the ratings and reviews.

 

And our CC post.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/1505814-segway-cartagena/?tab=comments#comment-36062526

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g297476-d2431848-Reviews-Segway_Cartagena-Cartagena_Cartagena_District_Bolivar_Department.html

 

 

 

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We took a taxi to the fort, explored it, then walked to the old walled city. All quite touristy. Didn’t feel unsafe except for some traffic.  Took a taxi back to the ship. 

 

And we we were walking with our 6 year old. 

 

My my biggest complaint was that it was hotter than hell. 

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There is no need to take a tour through the ship for Cartagena.  If you are interested in seeing the old city (which is not walkable from the ship), I would highly recommend a private tour with Dora de Zubiria, aka "Dora the Explorer." She gets raves on CC for good reason; we used her a couple of years ago.  

 

http://www.cartagenatour.com/_index.php

 

Also, CC the Ports of Call, Colombia forum is a good place to go for information about Cartagena, including tours.  Enjoy your cruise!

 

enhance

(Approaching Cartagena on the NCL Jewel, by turtles06)

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31 minutes ago, Turtles06 said:

 

 

enhance

(Approaching Cartagena on the NCL Jewel, by turtles06)

What a beautiful picture.  This port is one of our stops on our Panama Canal cruise next March.  Did not expect such a large city.

Edited by tarps14

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1 hour ago, tarps14 said:

What a beautiful picture.  This port is one of our stops on our Panama Canal cruise next March.  Did not expect such a large city.

Thank you.  Yes, Cartagena is quite large --- I think people generally have just the old walled city in mind.  Cartagena was one of the ports on our Panama Canal cruise as well. BTW, in case it's of any help to you, the OP, or others, here's the detailed review of our Panama Canal cruise on the Jewel, including what did in each of the ports:

This is overlooking Cartagena from La Popa; that's the NCL Jewel and the Island Princess on the left in the background.

enhance

(photos by turtles06)

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We did a tour from Friends for Columbia several years ago, it was fantastic!!  I dont know if they are still working there, but it is worth a look.  We visited 3 nonprofits, my kids played games with local kids and seniors at a community center, we saw a new daycare, and a few back yard gardens.  Then they took us to the walled city for a tour.  It was great!!

 

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We will be there in December and plan on taking a taxi and walking on our own.  From what I gather you can catch a taxi outside the port gates for $20.  When you come back a taxi is a lot cheaper, around $5. You could also purchase hop on hop off bus tickets.  Go to the port boards for more info.  Here is a link:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/391-colombia/

Edited by ready2cruzagain

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Definitely agree that no formal tour is necessary.  Use google and TripAdvisor and learn a bit about the old city and what you want to see there.  Print out a map at home and plan your route. We took a taxi, 20 bucks for four of us to the clock  tower which is a main entrance for the walled city.  Coming back it was ten for the four of us.  We shared with a couple we met on the ship, did our own things there and met up to share the ride back.  At no time did we feel unsafe walking around.  Beautiful historic city.  Be sure to walk to top for the huge market.  And notice all the door knockers.  And the doors.  Beautiful and huge wooden doors with wonderful knockers - spirits, owls, turtles, lions, lizards, fish.  Found them fascinating.  And visit the little zoo right there at the dock.

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On 10/26/2018 at 8:20 PM, lolastar said:

We are cruising on the Norwegian Jade and one of our stops is Cartegena, Columbia.  We don't want to take an excursion or tour.  Is there a market at the port where a person could sit down and buy a  drink and, perhaps, do a bit of souvenir shopping?  We think we would  like to visit the walled city.  Can anyone tell us how to get there from the port?  Is it within walking distance?  Taxi?  Where to catch the taxi?  Approximate cost?  Is there anything else that we should see while we are there that is safe and easy to get to on our own?

 

Many thanks.

There is really no way to enjoy the port without a tour of some kind. Yes, in some ports you can, but this is one that you should at least the first visit take a tour. We kept it simple and did a horse and buggy tour via the cruise ship. At the end they tour stopped at a small shopping area for about 1/2 hour. We had a great time and loved Cartigena. It has been about 6 years, still wearing the T shirts we bought or hubby is anyway. Be sure to do some bargaining. 

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On ‎10‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 12:49 PM, Turtles06 said:

Thank you.  Yes, Cartagena is quite large --- I think people generally have just the old walled city in mind.  Cartagena was one of the ports on our Panama Canal cruise as well. BTW, in case it's of any help to you, the OP, or others, here's the detailed review of our Panama Canal cruise on the Jewel, including what did in each of the ports:

This is overlooking Cartagena from La Popa; that's the NCL Jewel and the Island Princess on the left in the background.

enhance

(photos by turtles06)

Highly recommend the visit to La Popa for the best overall VIEW of Cartagena - LINK for info:

 

https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylc=X1MDMjE0MjQ3ODk0OARfcgMyBGZyA3lteXktdC05OTkEZnIyA3NhLWdwBGdwcmlkAwRuX2dwcwMxMARvcmlnaW4DbXkueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMxBHBxc3RyAwRxdWVyeQNsYSBwb3BhIG1vbmFzdGVyeSBjYXJ0YWdlbmEEc2FjAzEEc2FvAzE-?p=la popa monastery cartagena&fr=ymyy-t-999&fr2=p%3Amy%2Cm%3Asa&hspart=att&hsimp=yhs-att_001&type=sbc_dsl

 

Yes it will be hot and humid plan on cool clothing sun block and bring water along but not back to the ship.

 

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If you take water off the ship then make sure the container is empty, use the wharf, before boarding or you will lose the container.

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On 10/27/2018 at 11:41 AM, Turtles06 said:

There is no need to take a tour through the ship for Cartagena.  If you are interested in seeing the old city (which is not walkable from the ship), I would highly recommend a private tour with Dora de Zubiria, aka "Dora the Explorer." She gets raves on CC for good reason; we used her a couple of years ago.  

 

http://www.cartagenatour.com/_index.php

 

Also, CC the Ports of Call, Colombia forum is a good place to go for information about Cartagena, including tours.  Enjoy your cruise!

 

enhance

(Approaching Cartagena on the NCL Jewel, by turtles06)

Just a quick note about Dora, we used her company this past Dec 11 for a driving/walking tour.
While in the walled city, at the last stop of the walking tour, my party of 3 got left behind. We were behind our group and I could see them. As we were trying to exit the church we were in, a group of people were trying to come in the exit only doors, therefore blocking us from getting out. By the time we were able to get by the blockage and outside (not a lot of time by the way - maybe a couple minuets) Tour guide and our group were no where in sight. 
We decided to wait 30 minuets before getting a taxi back to the ship, in case someone came back to the church where we were left. We stayed exactly by the exit doors where we were left. Right at the 30 minuet mark, the driver did come back.
I'm sure many of you have been on walking tours around the world, just as I have. I have never had a tour guide that didn't make sure she had everyone before proceeding to the next stop. The tour guide had no good reason why we were left. I told her we had never had a guide not keep count of her her party, she had nothing to say.
The tour could be good, and was until we were left, lol. I just advise you to make sure you stay right on the heels of your guide constantly.

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On 10/27/2018 at 8:41 AM, Turtles06 said:

There is no need to take a tour through the ship for Cartagena.  If you are interested in seeing the old city (which is not walkable from the ship), I would highly recommend a private tour with Dora de Zubiria, aka "Dora the Explorer." She gets raves on CC for good reason; we used her a couple of years ago.  

 

http://www.cartagenatour.com/_index.php

 

Also, CC the Ports of Call, Colombia forum is a good place to go for information about Cartagena, including tours.  Enjoy your cruise!

 

enhance

(Approaching Cartagena on the NCL Jewel, by turtles06)

We used Dora as well when we stopped in Cartagena on a Panama Canal tour. She was fantastic. 

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On 10/27/2018 at 9:28 AM, Formula280SS said:

 

We enjoyed one of the most fabulous excursions to date in all our cruises in the Segway excursion of the OLD WALLED CITY.  It is "up there" with our top 5 over all of our cruises (see expanded signature).  Here is the TA link to the ratings and reviews.

 

And our CC post.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/1505814-segway-cartagena/?tab=comments#comment-36062526

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g297476-d2431848-Reviews-Segway_Cartagena-Cartagena_Cartagena_District_Bolivar_Department.html

 

 

 

We loved the Segway tour as well and it sure was a lot easier than walking on all the uneven cobblestones!  Especially since I’m a bit of a klutz.  Enjoy your trip.  

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We took the highlights of Cartagena and folkloric tour through the ship. It was aprox 3-4 hours. I am glad we did.

We were bussed to the fort, then to the gold and emerald museums, walked through the square for awhile and then

taken to the Naval museum to see the show. The vendors were overwhelming to me. I think I missed seeing quite a bit

because I kept my head down. That said, I knew the guide was going to notice if we got left behind and I saw him

counting and admonished everyone not to abandon the tour. He did a good job.

 

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11 hours ago, croosieloosie said:

I’m happy for those of you that had a good tour with Dora. If you get her guide Mercedes, just stay on her heels!

 

Your tip is greatly appreciated!  I'm very excited about our upcoming tour with Dora, but will definitely be sure to follow your advice and stay annoyingly close to our guide at all times! 😉

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