Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

loriva

Any comments on Cristian Martinez -- Tour Cartagena?

Recommended Posts

One person posted on using Cristian's company lately, but I was wondering if anyone else had experience with the company.

 

I am interested in knowing if the walking tour with the company meets you at the shp or if you need to take a taxi to meet up with the tour? If they do meet you at the pier, do they do any stops or photo opportunities (the fort, vista of Cartagena, for example) en route to the Old City? Or is it just straight there and back? What sites in the Old City are visited on the tour? How long is the tour? (What time start/end?)

 

Any additional details on how the tour rolls out would be most appreciated. Many thanks in advance for comments,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm bumping this back up, because I'm interested in the answers as well. I'm going to be in Cartagena in mid-December, and am trying to figure out how to see several areas without being part of a shopping-oriented tour.

 

Does anybody have any experience with just hiring a taxi at the Cartagena port for several hours?

 

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

U can dictate ur tour w/Mr Miles. Shopping vs no shopping. OLD CITY is fantastic if u enjoy quaint cobble stone like roads and bistro atmosphere. i could have strolled for hrs here.......... but maybe that's not ur thing.

 

 

I did HaVE A Diff. Time Planning Cartagena Prior To My Cruise , But My Choice Was Perfect. Please Contact Lee Mles { " Mr Emerald" } And He Will Advise U And Set Something Up. We { Group Of 10 , 4 Of Which Were Still Too Afraid To Venture Out On Own .. Their Loss }

 

So, we Set Up A Tour W/him & Had Doris As Our Guide . We also saw THE Mr. Miles himself but I think he actually does emerald sales esp to high end buyers ,as this is his other REAL livelihood. Doris was Very Nice And Informative. The tour itinerary Was Inclusive of all the sites on my list to see. The Tour Was Great And There Were Never Any Safety Issues .

 

We Esp. Loved Old City And Could Have Spent More Time Just Walking Thru Here But As Our Ship Left Around 130pm We Were Limited. I Also Was Hoping To Find An Emerald To Add To My Jewlery Collection But Alas ................. The Prices For Such Beauty Were Above My Means However, I Did Leave W/ A Cute Pendant {$100.00 } And Will Treasure It !

 

Please Do Not Discount This Port And Enjoy The Beauty And History It Affords. {it Reminds Me Alittle Of Italy ALBEIT A SPANISH CULTURE } ! ºÜº

 

ALSO BTW ........ DON'T LISTEN TO THE COPS/SECURITY ON THE PEIR DIRECTLY ON DISEMBARKATION FROM THE SHIP. MR MILES AS AN INDEPENDANT TOUR GUIDE IS ABLE TO MEET U RIGHT ON THE DOCK ! {A NICE TOUCH , AS THE TAXI'S ETC R A SHUTTLE BUS AWAY } ALWAYS ALSO REMEMBER TIME CONSTRAINTS to get off the ship HAVE TO DO W/CUSTOMS ETC OF THE COUNTRY U R VISITING. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS CONTROLLABLE . { WE WERE 1/2 LATER THAN ANTICIPATED DEBARKING IN COLUMBIA}

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please post some results for those of us going in 2008. Very interested in seeing some sights, not shopping (altho a little looking never hurts;).)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WE have booked with Christian and we can tailor our tour to suit. He gave us a list of possible sites to look at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We booked a tour with Christian Martinez and spent several hours with one of his associates, Johnnie, on December 14. Christian called him near the beginning of the tour to touch base with us. Can't say enough about the tour. We customized the standard three-hour city itinerary to add an extra hour and cover the fortress as well. We had been looking forward to Cartagena as a highlight of our cruise itinerary, and everything we saw and experienced exceeded our expectations. We had fantastic weather, by the way -- hot but not a drop of rain. Vendors did approach us, but a polite no was sufficient to send them on their way. We were never hassled to buy anything.

 

Johnnie met us just outside the pax terminal at the pier (still inside the port facilities). From there, we took a taxi to the walled city and walked all around, stopping frequently to take photos, etc. Since this was a custom tour, we were able to set the pace ourselves and go to the places that were of interest to us. We skipped going into the museums due to our limited time, but made sure we had an opportunity to walk on top of the city walls. Last stop was Las Bovedas, the former dungeons that now house a crafts market. Once we were done in the city, we took a cab to the fortress. Spent about 45 minutes there - mostly on the ramparts and outside walls. Fantastic place for a bird's eye view of the surrounding city scape. Afterwards, Johnnie accompanied us back to the port by cab. Due to the way we customized the tour, the cab rides were in addition to the standard fee.

 

A word of warning - this is a WALKING tour. While the terrain is easy - level city streets mostly; the short climb to get inside the fortress might be considered steep - the hot temperature can take a toll. Comfortable shoes and clothes (long sleeves/pants help protect from the brutal sun), a wide-brimmed hat, plenty of sun block and plenty of water are essential. Mid-way in our tour, we stopped at a Juan Valdez Cafe for a break - need local currency if you do this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

h2so4, thanks for posting. We go in Feb and am glad to hear things went well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We booked a tour with Christian Martinez and spent several hours with one of his associates, Johnnie, on December 14. Christian called him near the beginning of the tour to touch base with us. Can't say enough about the tour. We customized the standard three-hour city itinerary to add an extra hour and cover the fortress as well. We had been looking forward to Cartagena as a highlight of our cruise itinerary, and everything we saw and experienced exceeded our expectations. We had fantastic weather, by the way -- hot but not a drop of rain. Vendors did approach us, but a polite no was sufficient to send them on their way. We were never hassled to buy anything.

 

Johnnie met us just outside the pax terminal at the pier (still inside the port facilities). From there, we took a taxi to the walled city and walked all around, stopping frequently to take photos, etc. Since this was a custom tour, we were able to set the pace ourselves and go to the places that were of interest to us. We skipped going into the museums due to our limited time, but made sure we had an opportunity to walk on top of the city walls. Last stop was Las Bovedas, the former dungeons that now house a crafts market. Once we were done in the city, we took a cab to the fortress. Spent about 45 minutes there - mostly on the ramparts and outside walls. Fantastic place for a bird's eye view of the surrounding city scape. Afterwards, Johnnie accompanied us back to the port by cab. Due to the way we customized the tour, the cab rides were in addition to the standard fee.

 

A word of warning - this is a WALKING tour. While the terrain is easy - level city streets mostly; the short climb to get inside the fortress might be considered steep - the hot temperature can take a toll. Comfortable shoes and clothes (long sleeves/pants help protect from the brutal sun), a wide-brimmed hat, plenty of sun block and plenty of water are essential. Mid-way in our tour, we stopped at a Juan Valdez Cafe for a break - need local currency if you do this.

 

can you give me info on how to contact christian martinez and also about what i can expect for a price range on this tour. how did you learn of this person and their dependability. thanks going on cruise on feb 28th. cruiser s

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christian's website has contact info as well as his prices. (We paid a little more since we customized the standard tour to add an additional hour.)

 

http://www.tourcartagena.info/index.html

 

I found his name from these boards - the posters seemed well satisfied, and since we wanted a walking tour, we went ahead with Christian. Someone recently posted that they weren't very happy because the guide Christian provided did not provide much in the way of explanation about the sights. If you do a search on "Christian Martinez" on the Colombia and SA Boards, you'll probably find that review.

 

Enjoy Cartagena - it's a wonderful city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have booked a 4 hour walking tour with Cristian for March 6 from Quest. Right now it is just myself and husband so it's a bit pricey for only 2. But it's still cheaper pp than the ships tour and we can see what we like. I've requested we stay outside mostly, walking, and not inside many museums. I'm hoping 2 other fellow pax will join us to bring the cost pp down and then we can extend the tour for 5 hours. The cruiseline's 5 hour walking tour w. lunch is $134 pp. Cristian's 5 hour tour is $170 total for up to 4 persons. We can have lunch on the ship. The ship's 4 hour walking tour is $84 pp. Anyone interested in joining us?

 

Susie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Susiesan - have a good time in Cartagena. We loved it. We also skipped the museum due to limited time. Make sure you walk on top of the city walls for at least a little while - nice breezes and very few people up there. I'm working on photos from our trip and will try to remember to post a link here when I am done -- hopefully before the end of the month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had pre-arranged a walking tour with Cristian Martinez for our very recent stop in Cartagena on our 11 day Panama canal cruise. I had found him through these boards and he seemed to be very highly recommended. We (four of us) agreed on his three hour walking tour and I confirmed everything with him just a couple of days before I left. Upon arriving in Cartagena we got off the ship a little early and went to the area where I thought his e-mail said to meet. As time passed we started walking around in the hopes that we were just missing each other but to no avail. Eventually we gave up and took a taxi and guide to the old city (beautiful, and well worth the visit).

 

On getting home a week ago I e-mailed him as I believe in giving him the opportunity to explain what happened (emergencies do occur). To date I have received no reply from him.

 

Obviously I can't comment on the quality of his tour but am not impressed by his lack of response to my e-mail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We will be in Cartagena over Easter break and I had also thought to book with Cristian based on good reviews seen in these forums. After your experience, I'm thinking we maybe shouldn't plan or count on that. It's just my husband and I and I would prefer to avoid the large bus with the cruise excursions. Was it easy for you to hire a taxi at the port? Did you find the taxi driver informative or just providing transportation? I would like to see the fortress, monastery and old city so am not sure whether a taxi would wait for us at each of those sites or we would take different taxis between those sites. Any ideas or recommendations?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was really disappointed not to meet up with Cristian as we had all really liked the idea of spending our time in the old city and getting some exercise. I guess it's up to you if you book with him, but my bigger disappointment is the fact that he has yet to respond to my e-mail yet he had no trouble responding to me when I was booking with him. There are tons of taxis right at the port all willing to take you on a tour. I think that there are two types.....just taxi's (don't come with a seperate guide) and the taxi's that have the driver and guide. Both seemed to be in abundance but we were off the ship as soon as we docked. Our guide spoke very good english and stayed with us the entire time. He was knowledgeable about the area and it was up to us what we wanted to do but we took some suggestions from him as I now wasn't prepared thinking that we would be relying on Cristian. We stopped at the monastery which was really busy (with passengers on the ships tour). We decided not to go in but that was our decision not our tour guides. At the old city he arranged to meet up at another location with his driver then he escorted us throught the old city and pointed out various points of interest. Certainly from what we saw, there is a choice between a taxi driver only and a driver with guide. He did take us to an emerald factory which in hindsight was a waste of time as none of us were interested in buying anything. I think your choices of the monastery, fortress and old city are excellent. I can't stress again how much I enjoyed the old city. You will be hounded by vendors at the monastery and in places at the old city (dungeons especially) but a police "no" always seemed to work. If I hear from Cristain I will certainly post and update everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about the "no show" since I was one of the "satisfied" customers who posted a review of our walking tour with one of Christian's associates. After reading your experience, I would be hard pushed to recommend him again, or even use him myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We will be in Cartagena over Easter break and I had also thought to book with Cristian based on good reviews seen in these forums. After your experience, I'm thinking we maybe shouldn't plan or count on that. It's just my husband and I and I would prefer to avoid the large bus with the cruise excursions. Was it easy for you to hire a taxi at the port? Did you find the taxi driver informative or just providing transportation? I would like to see the fortress, monastery and old city so am not sure whether a taxi would wait for us at each of those sites or we would take different taxis between those sites. Any ideas or recommendations?

 

Yes, very easy to hire a taxi, they are through the cruise ship port gift shop, they are all yellow, prices are posted on a sign (in English), talk to them see how their English is, they will wait for you at each stop, (at least ours did) and you can easily do monastery, fortress, dungeons shopping in the time allotted. Take pictures on the way into port and on the way out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info on taxis. Do you remember what the posted rates were approximately and what currency do they accept? We are in port 9am-3pm so would have about 5 hours of that to cover the sites we want to see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have Cristian booked for a walking tour March 6 and e mailed him to confirm and let him know someone is disparaging him on CC. He explained he knew about the post, had tried to notify DeBUK about a change in meeting place but she apparently did not get the message. He said he was there for the tour. he has advised me of a meeting place change from the initial booking so I know where to be and at what time. I still plan to go with him and will report on the tour when I get back.

 

Susie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats funny because I just got an e-mail from him apologizing for NOT showing up!!! Personally I don't believe his reason, but I guess it's all personal opinion. I WAS there, in fact four of us spent over 20minutes trying to find him both inside the restricted area and outside the debarcation area (we split up to do this). I never received any type of e-mail from him ever to change/cancel etc except to first book then CONFIRM that he would be there and at what location (even if he sent me one in the hopes that I would check my e-mail while onboard I would have appreciated it).... When I got back, there was no e-mail apologizing and I had to prompt him with an e-mail then WAIT 10 days to hear from him. I personally think he only responded as you can see from his post that he reads Cruise Critic and doesn't like the bad post. The only positive is that I have read really good reviews about him and I still wish him well. If anything, I don't think he will do this again as he realizes that two bad posts would NOT BE GOOD!!!

 

Susiesan....I have a feeling you will get a fabulous tour from Christian as will the other people that go with him in the near future. Cartagena is a beautiful city and I am still sorry that Christian didn't show up as I think the walking tour would be a great way to see the city. I have posted his e-mail response to me below, then i guess it's enough said on the subject and everyone can make their own minds up. As Christain said, and I agree, we are all entitled to a second chance. HAVE A FABULOUS TRIP.

 

E-MAIL:

 

Dear Debbie,

 

Just hoping all is well by the time you get this message.

 

I have no words to apologize myself for not being able to welcome you to Cartagena.

 

It is obvious that you never got my message, previous to be aboard. The reason why we could not meet you on February 2nd was due to a circumstance at the pier having to do with new polices and documents requested at it for tourist guides enter the the debarcation port.

 

As I see it was just impossible to notify you about this last change, that was absolutely out of my hands, I do really apologize myself and my associates for this inconvenience, and also if you could just consider your position at , http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=714644 I will be more that grateful to you and your relatives just giving me a second chance in order to in the near future provide a better service. I know you do not have to but I would like to be given a second chance.

 

With the respect and consideration of always,

 

Cristian M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We read and hear so much these days about dishonest business people in the travel industry, especially ones from the internet. Whatever the misunderstanding it does appear Cristian is trying to do the right thing by owning up and apologizing. I'm going to give him a chance with my tour. And if he doesn't show up I know we can get a cab and put together a last minute tour. I don't know how far from the dock the "clock tower" is but we're going to take a cab there to meet him. I had a bait and switch incident with a tour guide I had booked for Port Antonio, Jamaica. She tried to massively raise the price on me. So I found someone else and told her I have no need of her services. I haven't posted about it yet though. I will after I take the tour as promised from the other company who I hope will come through. I will report on these tours when we get home.

 

Susie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Susie, The clock tower isn't far and is a beautiful spot to start the tour. I also believe that whatever occurred with our trip won't happen again and Cristian's prices I thought were very good. I certainly never got the impression that he was anything but legit and I'm sure you'll have good value for money with no hassles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also had a tour arranged with Cristian to meet at the clock tower. We took a cab there and hung around for a while. We then picked up another guide who gave us an excellent tour at a very reasonable price. When I got home I had an email from Cristian waiting in which he apologised for not meeting us as he had knee problems. I would give him another chance if you have booked as you can always get another guide at the clock towerif he doen't show. We had Antonio. He was great and even got us a cheaper price for the taxi back to the port.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had arranged with Cristian Martinez for a walking tour for 4 in Cartagena on our stop there March 6, 2008. Four other friends had a tour with him too at the same time. We all 8 took a cab to meet him at the clock tower. We got there and his two guides met us, but they were hassled by the local police. It is because they were not " official" guides and had not paid the appropriate or adequate bribes to the police. A call was made to Cristian who was out of town and it was worked out that the two young men could be our "hosts" but not our guides. They were not allowed to talk about anything. So all we did was follow our guide Johnny around, stop in front of a building, and get one short sentence like "this is the church". We could have done this ourselves and read the commentary from the Frommer's book. This was not the tour I expected. We had planned on a 4 hour tour but cut it short after 3 hours because it was so lousy.

 

In light of the no show problems and ours with Cristian's unauthorized guides I would not advise anyone using his company until he gets his act together.

 

I was very disappointed as Cartagena is a lovely place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Susiesan,

Sorry to hear about your experience with Cristian. Cartagena is a really wonderful place -- we booked a tour with Lee Miles for our cruise in February and were totally satisfied with our experience.

I hope your post will help others avoid an experience similar to yours.

phlewt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our party of four was supposed to be met by Cristian M. at the clock tower on March 2. No one showed up for us, but that turned out okay, as we were approached there by another guide, and we ended up having a wonderful time for half the cost.

 

Our only regret was that we didn't have longer in Cartegena to see more sights in the lovely, historical city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 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...