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GloriaF

Cartagena, Columbia report

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Cartagena is huge, with well over 100 skyscrapers on the waterfront. The city has preserved many old colonial buildings and fortresses in the old walled city. There are street vendors that make those in Jamaica look tame. I would not recommend a tour on your own in this city.

 

We took Princess Tour 100A, "Best of Cartegena and Fortress". It covers a lot of different areas and was a good tour. We left the ship shortly after receiving clearance about 9:20 AM and the tour lasted until after 2PM. The ship left port at 3:30, so our time was well-spent seeing the sights of Cartagena. We felt it was a very comprehensive tour. There is quite a bit of walking involved, a little of it strenuous at the fortress, but well worth the effort.

 

We felt there was too much time given to shopping, stopping once for 20 minutes at an assortment of shops, then again for 30 minutes (which turned into 45 minutes) at an upscale area with many emerald jewelry stores. Many people on our tour purchased emeralds at a store recommended by the tour guide. I did not.

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We are planning to do the same tour. Did you happen to buy coffee? - I would like to bring some home, but do not know if there is a particular brand that stands out. When you went to the fortress, is there place to sit and wait, as my husband will not be able to make it up a big incline. How difficult is the passage up to the top of the fortress?

 

I hope that you will write a review of your entire cruise - would love to see it.

Thank you.

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Just wondered what currency is accepted for purchases. Did you get the local $ or were US dollars accepted? I was particularly interested in the silk shawls sold at "Las Bovedas" and mentioned on another thread.

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US $ readily accepted, and prices quoted in $. The street vendors will make great deals if you are so inclined. I don't have the patience and just want them to leave me alone. FYI: Some women on our tour got 5 necklaces for $10 that were pretty nice looking. The deal started 2 for $10, and the bargain was made as the bus pulled away.

 

Coffee is for sale in lots of places. We purchased coffee at a supermarket in Costa Rica (5 large bags for $10 approx), so were not looking at prices. Your guide may be willing to help you decide the best brand and price.

 

Iceberg2, my review is on the roll call, post 123. Here is the link: http://messages.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=423629&page=7

Thanks for asking! :)

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How long did you spend at the fort and was it enough time to see everything? Did you visit La Popa and if so how long was the visit there?

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Since the Elation is not listing excursions for Cartagena until we get on board, what was the price of Best of Cartagena and Fortress? That's the one we are interested in.

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Since the Elation is not listing excursions for Cartagena until we get on board, what was the price of Best of Cartagena and Fortress? That's the one we are interested in.

 

We took the 'Deluxe Cartagena & Fortress' excursion with Celebrity last month and the cost was $57. We really enjoyed it. And, since this original thread is from 2007, I'd like to address the issue of the street vendors from my recent experience. Yes, there are a lot of street vendors, but they were not in any way threatening or even persistent. If you simply tell them 'no', or 'no,gracias' they will leave you alone. We have had much worse experiences in Jamaica, the Bahamas and Acapulco.

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Thanks for information on excursion. Thats probably the one we will do even though a lot of people are arranging their own with Lee Miles. I'm not quite sure why Carnival has chosen to not offer most of the excursions for purchase on the web site prior to sailing. Robert and Marcy

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Robert and Marcy, a group on our roll call did arrange a tour with Lee Miles and had a nice time. However, it took a lot of back and forth with Lee and a lot of negotiating within the group as to what they wanted to see and in what time frame. My husband loves forts and many of the tours only offer a photo stop there. We wanted a tour of the fort and then a tour thru the city, which is what we got. The price of the ship's excursion was really quite reasonable, as we saw the inquisition palace, had two brief stops for shopping, a stop for a beverage (beer or soda, which was included) and a folkloric dance, a stop at a church, and a walk thru some parts of the city. If this is what your ship includes, I highly recommend it.

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Dear friends,

 

We have been to Cartagena many times. Don't get ripped off by the alleged "dollar" prices. This only means that they are charging you a fortune.

 

The taxi drivers outside the cruise pier try to quote you $20 or $25 to go to the old city.

 

The legal rate is about 7,000 pesos which is no more than $3 or $4.

 

If you do any shopping, try to hang around any Colombians from your ship because they will not stand for it and will make sure they (and you) get charged properly.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

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we are boking a rc excursion to ROSARIO ISLANDS. anyone know anything about this place?:rolleyes:

 

I was there a few times as a kid. The main attraction is the aquarium, nice place to do the swimming with the dolphins deal. If you take a small motor boat there, expect the ride to be a little bumpy. I like a little bumpy but some don't :rolleyes:

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Dear friends,

 

We have been to Cartagena many times. Don't get ripped off by the alleged "dollar" prices. This only means that they are charging you a fortune.

 

The taxi drivers outside the cruise pier try to quote you $20 or $25 to go to the old city.

 

The legal rate is about 7,000 pesos which is no more than $3 or $4.

 

If you do any shopping, try to hang around any Colombians from your ship because they will not stand for it and will make sure they (and you) get charged properly.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

 

We will not be going until Feb. of 11 But starting to gather information.. We have heard only a few good things about this port and way to many bad things..

 

A huge difference three or four dollars and $20. -$25. How far is it to the city.. and is this pp. or for the cab.

 

Thanks to all who have posted.. I do appreciate reading about all of your experiences..

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We will not be going until Feb. of 11 But starting to gather information.. We have heard only a few good things about this port and way to many bad things..

 

A huge difference three or four dollars and $20. -$25. How far is it to the city.. and is this pp. or for the cab.

 

Thanks to all who have posted.. I do appreciate reading about all of your experiences..

 

The price should be for the cab ride. If you take a cab from inside the port it will be a quite a bit more than if you walk about a block to the exit of the the port where cabs wait. There you can get a cab for less than 10k pesos ($5) to the old town.

 

Cartagena is wonderful. I have been there many times. Common travel sense is a necessity though.

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Dear friends,

 

We have been to Cartagena many times. Don't get ripped off by the alleged "dollar" prices. This only means that they are charging you a fortune.

 

The taxi drivers outside the cruise pier try to quote you $20 or $25 to go to the old city.

 

The legal rate is about 7,000 pesos which is no more than $3 or $4.

 

If you do any shopping, try to hang around any Colombians from your ship because they will not stand for it and will make sure they (and you) get charged properly.

 

Kind regards,

 

Gunther and Uta

 

 

 

Excellent advice

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The price should be for the cab ride. If you take a cab from inside the port it will be a quite a bit more than if you walk about a block to the exit of the the port where cabs wait. There you can get a cab for less than 10k pesos ($5) to the old town.

 

Cartagena is wonderful. I have been there many times. Common travel sense is a necessity though.

 

 

Thanks for the tips about the cabs.. We are looking forward to our short visit.. Can we make a day of it in Old Town or is there some must see things to do..:)

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Thanks for the tips about the cabs.. We are looking forward to our short visit.. Can we make a day of it in Old Town or is there some must see things to do..:)

 

The fort is quite impressive (if you like fortresses, and we do :) ) But, there is much to see in the Old City. Here's some info on Trip Advisor to check out :

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g297476-Activities-Cartagena.html

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Hi, are there any beaches that you can go to to swim or snorkel, or scuba diving tours? WE will be there in April,2011

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My SIL & BIL were on the Equinox cruise with us and they did the excursion to Rosario Island. They really enjoyed that.

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Hi, are there any beaches that you can go to to swim or snorkel, or scuba diving tours? WE will be there in April,2011

 

Although, not horrible, Cartagena is not known for it's beaches. If this is your first time in Cartagena, you should plan to see more of the history (Old city, fort, etc.) It is quite impressive! If you are positive you won't like it and insist on going to a beach. The Rosario tour is your best option but beware the beach they will take you to will most likely be very crowded. I wouldn't rish doing this trip on your own though as the day trips can easily get off schedule. Snorkel and Scuba are options but not that great in the Cartagena area, as far as I know. If you cruise is headed to Santa Marta also, then that is the place you should look more into scuba, snorkeling and nicer beaches.

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Hi, we are scheduled to be in Cartagena in Oct. and will be visiting on a Monday. I looked up some of the individual sights (like the Inquisition Palace) and it appears to be closed on Mondays. Has anyone else visited Cartagena on a Monday? Were there some sights that were closed? Thanks!!

Susan

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We're stopping there on our Coral Princess Panama cruise in December 2010. On my shopping list are emeralds from Colombia. I'd love to hear where is the best place to go.

 

Linda

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Linda, if you go on a tour of the Old City or the Fortress and Old City, most tours will stop for some shopping at the Plaza Pierino Gallo. This is a fairly nice shopping center with a lot of emerald stores as well as some store that sell other merchandise as well.

Happy shopping!

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