Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
CarolandNate

Cartagena Excursions

Recommended Posts

Going to Panama Canal LA to Ft. Lauderdale in December on Emerald Princess,  We have booked four of the six land days with excursions from the cruiseline.  Cartagena, Colombia id the last port of the trip.  From things that I have read, that Cartagena is really about the city.  We have decided that any booking we will do will be through the ship and that we will likely wait until we get on board.

 

Of the ship's authorized tours, most are to the city, perhaps 15-20.  I figure with that, we can wait and take our chances.  All of them seem to be generally going to the same places, so there is nothing that I see that makes me say, "I have to go on this excursion."  Most appear to be $30-50 and about three or fours hours.  The city area is fairly compact so it appears, maybe a loop ofg about a mile or two. We figure that there are  a few options.   1) Take one of the tours and when we get back call it day; 2) Take one and when we get back to the ship, take a cab back or walk (it's about three miles to the farthest point.).  3) Take a tour and stay around the city area, eventually cab or walk back to ship.  4) Cab to city, walk around, cab back 5) Walk up and back.  Appears that a cab is about $10.

 

Has anyone done any of these things here?  Any thoughts? Suggestions? Warnings?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Too bad you are limited in your choices.  We have been to Cartagena multiple times and really enjoy the city.

Last time we toured with Dora the Explorer (http://www.cartagenatour.com/) and filled the day with history in the old city and wonderful local food and scenery.  The only complaint I had was that her tour did not include any time to explore the huge fort that protected the city in colonial times.

Edited by thinfool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, thinfool said:

Too bad you are limited in your choices.  We have been to Cartagena multiple times and really enjoy the city.

Last time we toured with Dora the Explorer (http://www.cartagenatour.com/) and filled the day with history in the old city and wonderful local food and scenery.  The only complaint I had was that her tour did not include any time to explore the huge fort that protected the city in colonial times.

I have heard about her and that's fine.  I figure with 15 or so options we should not get shut out.  Some are actually hop on hop off or go on your own and if all else fails just taking a cab to the city and go on our own.  Just looking for suggestions or highlights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

To me the must-dos in Cartagena are exploring the fort, Castillo San Felipe de Barajas , and the walled old city. It's very hot and humid in Cartagena, so I'd recommend visiting the fort as early in the day as possible as it's a substantial climb to the top. Visit the old city after the the fort.

 

On our most recent visit we spent a little time at the bird sanctuary that's part of the cruise terminal. we were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. 

Edited by njhorseman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, njhorseman said:

To me the must-dos in Cartagena are exploring the fort, Castillo San Felipe de Barajas , and the walled old city. It's very hot and humid in Cartagena, so I'd recommend visiting the fort as early in the day as possible as it's a substantial climb to the top. Visit the old city after the the fort.

 

On our most recent visit we spent a little time at the bird sanctuary that's part of the cruise terminal. we were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. 

That's what I have read.  Are the ship's tours worthwhile vs doing it on our own hop on hop off, cab or walk in, etc.  They don't look to be overly expensive; they are about the same 3-4 hours and they appear to highlight the same places.  Looking the map, it appears to be relatively small area in which to sight see.  I'm thinking, do one of the actual tours and either come back to the ship or stay in the city, walk around and then head back on our own--cab or walk.  Being the end of the cruise, we will likely be pretty wiped out, but then we would have two sea days to recover.  Are there any that are more wow than the others or are they all pretty much variations of the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, CarolandNate said:

That's what I have read.  Are the ship's tours worthwhile vs doing it on our own hop on hop off, cab or walk in, etc.  They don't look to be overly expensive; they are about the same 3-4 hours and they appear to highlight the same places.  Looking the map, it appears to be relatively small area in which to sight see.  I'm thinking, do one of the actual tours and either come back to the ship or stay in the city, walk around and then head back on our own--cab or walk.  Being the end of the cruise, we will likely be pretty wiped out, but then we would have two sea days to recover.  Are there any that are more wow than the others or are they all pretty much variations of the same thing.

Personally, I think a ship's tour or equivalent tour from a private tour operator is the way to go on your first visit to Cartagena. Having a knowledgeable guide to explain what you're seeing is going to greatly enhance your experience.

 

I wouldn't recommend walking back to the port from the old city. It's probably about 3 miles, you'll be hot, sweaty and tired and i'm not sure I would feel entirely at ease doing it. If you're going to stay in the old city after the tour take a taxi back to the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, njhorseman said:

Personally, I think a ship's tour or equivalent tour from a private tour operator is the way to go on your first visit to Cartagena. Having a knowledgeable guide to explain what you're seeing is going to greatly enhance your experience.

 

I wouldn't recommend walking back to the port from the old city. It's probably about 3 miles, you'll be hot, sweaty and tired and i'm not sure I would feel entirely at ease doing it. If you're going to stay in the old city after the tour take a taxi back to the ship.

Appreciate the advice.  That's what makes this Cruise Critic so valuable

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were supposed to take a Panama Canal Cruise in March 2019, but my wife had to have brain surgery and we had to cancel. Prior to the cancellation, we had booked Dora for our tour. I did extensive research on the available tours in Cartagena and her name kept popping up in a lot of positive reviews. She was very quick in responding to my emails. We have now rebooked for April 2020 for the same cruise and again have booked with Dora. We are doing it so far in advance because she apparently books up pretty quickly. My wife and I are both looking forward to the tour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are doing a full transit Panama Canal with NCL in April,2020.  when we did a partial in 2017 we used Dora and was a little disappointed with her tour.  She got rave reviews and that's why we booked her but there was no time to see the fort (just to stop and look at it with hundreds of street vendors trying to sell you something).  On her walking tour part we spent more time in jewelry shops than sightseeing.  In fact, the last stop (a jewelry shop) had free wifi so everyone was on their phone.  We weren't paying attention and the group left without us.  No head count.  When we noticed everyone was gone we started to panic and tried to find them.  Eventually we did after a few blocks later. 

 

So this time we are looking for something else to do.  Maybe the HOHO or just a taxi to the Fort to explore by ourselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, EllieinNJ said:

So this time we are looking for something else to do.  Maybe the HOHO or just a taxi to the Fort to explore by ourselves.

We did the taxi thing the first time we were in Cartagena...went right to the fort, paid the entrance fee and spent as much time as we wanted...it was great (and hot)!

I think Dora does the fort, but you have to book the fort specifically, it is not on her regular tourist itinerary.

Still, just walk thru the visitor center and find a driver that will take you where you want to go.

Edited by thinfool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thinfool,

 

Do you remember how much it cost for the taxi, how much to get into the fort? in US dollars?

 

Thank you for the help!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Country_Cruiser67 said:

Thinfool,

 

Do you remember how much it cost for the taxi, how much to get into the fort? in US dollars?

 

Thank you for the help!

 

 

28 minutes ago, Country_Cruiser67 said:

Thinfool,

 

Do you remember how much it cost for the taxi, how much to get into the fort? in US dollars?

 

Thank you for the help!

 

7000 to 10000 pesos, so about 3 to 5 dollars

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Country_Cruiser67 said:

Thinfool,

 

Do you remember how much it cost for the taxi, how much to get into the fort? in US dollars?

 

Thank you for the help!

 

I assume you're talking about the Castillo death Barajas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...