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Just got back this morning!!


g8trzz

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Even though I plan to write a review of our cruise, I wanted to briefly share our experience in Cartegena. We arranged a tour with Leland Miles prior to coming to Cartegena and I must say, we had an absolutely fabulous time!! Lee, his guide Claudia, and the driver Edgar met us promptly at the pier. We had pre arranged a customized tour with Lee prior to our arrival so we were set to go. Claudia is an outstanding, very personable tour guide. She is very knowledgeable with her history. We felt totally comfortable with her as she took us around her city. I will say that the street vendors are a little aggressive but all you have to do is tell them no and they will leave you alone. Even my 81 year old mother was able to fend them off with no problem!! I would not hesitate for a moment to go with Lee's tours again. I am very thankful that we got to experience a taste of Columbia!!

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We arrived at the port at 8:50 am. and we got off the ship as soon as possible to meet Lee. Our tour was scheduled to start at 9 but they are aware when you arrive and know you will be coming.Lee, Claudia and the driver were there when we got off the ship. We arranged for our tour to last 4 hours which we felt was just the right amount for us. The first place we were taken was to the La Poppa Monastery which sits on a hill. There was a very large amount of vendors trying to sell you things but all you have to do is say no thank you and keep walking. We toured the monastery which overlooks Cartegena. We got some great pictures there. From there we drove to the Fortress. We didnt actually go into the Fortress but we stopped and took pictures. From there we drove to Lee's emerald store to shop if we wanted to . There is absolutely no pressure at all to buy anything. We just looked. There is a coffee store next door to his shop and we picked up some cute things. They also sell cokes at the coffee shop for a dollar a bottle which we purchased! We stayed there around 20 minutes and left to go on a walking tour of the walled city. It was absolutely beautiful. We never felt unsafe or threatened in anyway. At that time we also went to the Gold Musuem. It is very small and doesnt take long to see, but it is interesting. There was a small group of students doing a report on the museum, so it was busy at the time. From the walking tour, we went to Las Bovedas, the dungeons where we went to store number 6 and store number 14 (maybe 15...not sure). Both of these stores were a lot nicer than the usual souveniers that you buy. We were approached by a few vendors while there but it wasn't too bad at all. Overall, I would do it again in a minute. My mother who is 81 totally enjoyed herself as well and was glad she went. THere were 5 of us in our family and another couple joined us on the tour. The total cost of the tour was $242.00 for 7 of us, and that included admission to the monastery. Everything else did not involve an admission fee. Our group (of 5) tipped Claudia $45.00 and gave the driver $20. We did not feel pressured at all to tip, but honestly, after you are through you want to give them something. At least we felt that way. Claudia is extremely knowledgeable and very interesting to listen to. We felt overall, that we definitely got our money's worth and was very happy we made the decision to do the tour. Lee is extremely professional and well organized. He makes sure to give you the best possible tour that he can. We also let Claudia decide where to go first which worked out really well. We stayed ahead of the crowds! We even went over a bit on our time, but she didnt care. I think she had as much fun as we did! Do not miss the opportunity to see Cartegena. We knew we would probably not pass this way again and felt we had to take a risk. We were glad we did!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi-thanks for the trip report. We are booked with Lee on a tour and I am so excited. He's doing a tour of the world of Gabriel Garcia ***** and his inspirations for the books that he writes. Did you see any of these sights,such as his house,etc.?

I'm glad you and your mom had a wonderful time! I'm also glad to hear that the vendors weren't too aggressive. We had an awful time with them in Egypt and it was really quite scary.

Hope to talk to you again soon. Take care, Shelly

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To the original poster: Could you give me specifics (website and email) on how to contact the guide you used? We are going on a full transit in December, and if I can get enough interest from the very small (so far anyway) cruisecritic rollcall group, I would like to books such a tour. By the way, how many did the van hold, and what kind of vehicle was it? I know your group was seven, but what was the max for the vehicle? Thanks for any and all clarification.

Ellie

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