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La Popa in Cartagena - Can you see the view before opening?


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I am considering two different cruises. Cartagena is the most important stop for me on either one, and is the main reason I am considering these two cruises. One cruise is in port from 11 am until very late in the evening, which would give me plenty of time to see everything (old city, museums, fort, La Popa). The other cruise (which is better in every other respect) is only in Cartagena from 7 am to 1 pm.


This would only leave me realistically with only 4 quality hours to sightsee. If I want to spend 3 hours in the old city, I would have to give up the fort (which I wanted to see) and maybe even La Popa. I am sure La Popa doesn't open until 9 am or so, but does anyone know if you can visit the outside areas and take in the view before they open? If so, I might be able to squeeze in everything else, minus the fort, into my short morning there. Thanks for any info you might have.

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On our recent Oceania Regatta cruise, we were in port at Cartagena from noon to 7PM. We arranged a tour through Lee Miles and got a great tour of the city (including a stop at a local restuarant for lunch). I don't know what time La Popa opens, but I can tell you that we were there just as it was closing. There is a gate below the complex that would prevent you from getting very close to the complex if it were closed.


I think Lee Miles could probably tailor a tour for you that would let you see much of what you would like (including La Popa) in the time that you would have.



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We were in town from 7:00a to 1:00p -- did a walking tour of the walled city and a quickie tour of the Castillo. I would consider our short visit a "getting to know you" type of a visit. I can't speak to the views from La Popa, but there were some really nice views from the top level of the Castillo, from where you can also see La Popa sitting on the hilltop in the distance.


I'm not sure I'd base my cruise decision on whether or not I could see the views from La Popa - you could end up with a hazy morning where the views would not be that great. Also, in the early morning, you might be shooting into the sun (not positive about this). Have you searched the web for photos from people who have visited the monastery? Are they nice, clear views? As we were coming into port there was a definite haze in the air - probably from the incredibly hot day - and pictures from a distance did not turn out all that great.


Have a great time in Cartagena - it was one of our favorite ports on our December cruise. If you want to see photos:


-- Click on Dec 14 - Cartagena album.

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h2so4 -


You pictures are great. I'm going to go back and take a better look when I have more time. I am surprised that your photos entering Cartagena are so geat considering they must have been taken at 6 am or so.


I have a couple questions for you. First, what was your tour time? How much time did you have in the old city and how much at the fort? Third, did you have time to see either the Gold Museum or the Inquisition museum?



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I went back and looked at my journal - we must have been in port from 9:00a to 3:00p -- not 7:00a to 1:00p ... sorry. I must have confused it with Aruba, which was the port before Cartagena. In any event, it was the same amount of time - 6 hours.


I think it was around 7:30 or so that we actually sailed through Boca Chica and into the harbor - ship was a bit late. The haze was considerable until we passed the lighthouse, and then it cleared a bit. Photography was best to port in the a.m.


We met our guide around 9:00a - took a cab to the walled city and spent about 3 hours exploring inside the walls; took a cab to the Castillo - spent about 45 minutes or so there. We were on the ship by 2:00p or so -- mostly because we were so worn out from the heat (it was very, very hot - so go prepared).


The time frames were totally up to us - not determined by the guide (the beauty of a private tour) -- our frequent stops within the city to take pictures pretty much determined things for us.


Knowing we had a limited time, we opted out of visiting any of the museums.


You sound like you want to really explore Cartagena and see as much as possible. That being the case, it seems like the the cruise with the longer hours in port would be better - but, you'd be well-served to find out (if you have not already) the hours for the museums. Then again, if you're there early in the day, the temps should be cooler, so exploring on foot would be more comfortable.

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We were in Cartagena earlier this year from 8am to 1pm and had a good tour that included La Popa, the Fortress, the Inquistion Museum as well as other things we wanted to do. So, don't discount your 7am to 1pm cruise as not enough time! Here is a link to our journal for our day in Cartagena:



Good luck with your cruise choice, Debbie

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couple of things. Don't plan on 7-1. we will be there in 3 weeks on Serenade. Our scheduled time is 7-1. However I've been corresponding with Lee Miles. he's providing a van & driver/guide. i've put together a group of 9 from our ship. Lee advised we won't be able to get off the ship until 8 at the earliest. He tailored an itinerary for us. We will visit La Popa check my posting here in about 6 weeks when I get back & I'll let you know. We're doing La Popa, inquisition, Fortress, old city, Gold Museum and shopping in 4 hours.



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Alan & Eileen,

Your post is addressed to me, but I think perhaps you meant to address the Original Poster because I have already been to Cartegena and we did arrive right on time. We got right off the ship and we were waiting on the tarmac for Lee and our driver before the 8:30am time that Lee had estimated for us. (We were scheduled to dock at 8am and we did.) Perhaps it has to do with the cruise line and/or size of ship and number of passengers who must be cleared. RSSC Mariner had fewer than 600 passengers aboard the day we arrived in Cartegena. 2112 may want to take that information into consideration as he makes his/her decisions.


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Sorry Debbie-


I guess it varies by ship. Serenade is close to sold out for our sailing which means 2000 passengers. I've found in the past that they give priority in disembarking to RCCL excursion passengers and those doing their own have to wait. therefore We are anticipating a delay.

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Thanks for everyone's response so far, and the great pictures and blogs.


Alan & Eileen - Have a great trip and I look forward to hearing about your experience. We are neighbors by the way (I live in Concord).



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