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Just back from Cartagena


jdg80

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This is from my full review of my recent sailing on the Jewel of the Seas. I'll try to answer any questions.

 

Tuesday morning we sailed in to Cartagena, Colombia, we’re not really sure why but it seemed kind of smoky and smelled like after the Fourth of July. Once the sun came up however it cleared. You dock at a regular container ship area and have a bit of a walk to get out. You walk through a little gift shop before going back outside. Once outside there were several people there selling tours and taxis. We ended up going with a guy named Victor on his bus with about 8 or 10 other people. I believe it was $20.00 per person for the tour but I am going to double check with my husband. The bus was air conditioned and we felt very safe the entire time we were there.

 

Our first stop was at the San Felipe Fortress where we got out for about 15-20 mins to take pictures and look around. Next we headed to the Dungeons to do a little shopping. Here is where we made a big mistake, we LOVED the Dungeons and the type of things that they had there but didn’t want to buy too much since we were still at the beginning of our tour and we were going to have another shopping spot. Looking back we really wish that we would’ve bought what we liked as we were unable to find the stuff again the rest of the cruise. We did however take our picture with the fruit basket lady, for a couple of bucks.

 

After the Dungeons we went on to the Old City where Victor and his wife led us around. The old city is lovely with neat architecture and beautiful flowers. The vendors here are pretty aggressive but we found that a stern NO worked just fine. There was a lady in our group who was always telling them “maybe” and “not now” and would touch the stuff and they would not leave her alone. NO was definitely the way to go. It was very hot and you do walk quite a bit in the Old City so take that into consideration when planning your activities.

 

The last thing we did was go shopping in the newer area of town. Pretty much all they have here are emeralds and diamonds so if you are not in the market for that, as we weren’t, we were disappointed to spend so much time there. You live and you learn however and the tour was a great way to spend our first time in Cartagena. If you do go there however check out the store upstairs that sells fresh coffee. We had iced coffees and they were really delicious!

 

If anyone is going to Cartagena in the next few weeks I have a huge favor to ask of you. Please reply to this post so that I can ask you, thanks!

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Thank you to all of you helpful cruisers!!! I am looking for contact information, website or email, for an artisit that is located at the port. His name I believe is Greg Hills and he does photography artwork on canvas. As you are leaving the ship you have to walk through a gift shop to get to the taxi/tour area. Hills had his work set up just outside the door to this gift shop and had a young woman there selling for him.

 

If anyone can get this for me I would be ever so grateful!

 

Jamie

 

p.s. I am so jealous of all of you going to Cartagena in the near future it was a great port and look forward to going again sometime!

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  • 1 month later...

We were in Cartagena April 16th. I was looking forward to being there because of the positive information received here. There were four of us and we were very disappointed. The vendors are so plentiful you can not walk anywhere without 2-5 of them surrounding your every step! They are everywhere! We were constantly saying no, no, no.... I can actually say they spoiled Cartagena for us.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We were in Categena on April 22nd and did a Lee Miles tour which was great, and like the first poster the Dungeons are definitely the place to buy gifties. We did a photo stop at the Fort as the climb is pretty steep and we had people that weren't able to do it. Overall we loved the cruise so much on EOS that we have re-booked for 2010 repositioning. Cartegena and Santa Marta are great.:)

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What a beautiful city Cartagena was! We were there on April 16 on the Coral Princess. We really liked the Scenes of Cartagena Tour. We went to the highest point in the city at La Popa Monastery. There was an excellent 360 degree view of the city.

 

We also went to the old walled city to see San Pedro Claver church and a folkloric dancing show at the Naval Museum. There was also some shopping and a photo stop at San Felipe Fortress. There were also miles of beaches along the coast.

 

Would recommend this port to anyone. The port area is pretty far from the sights. It is well worth taking a tour to see the history.

 

DavidnSteph

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  • 4 weeks later...
Thank you to all of you helpful cruisers!!! I am looking for contact information, website or email, for an artist that is located at the port. His name I believe is Greg Hills and he does photography artwork on canvas. As you are leaving the ship you have to walk through a gift shop to get to the taxi/tour area. Hills had his work set up just outside the door to this gift shop and had a young woman there selling for him.

 

If anyone can get this for me I would be ever so grateful!

 

Jamie

 

p.s. I am so jealous of all of you going to Cartagena in the near future it was a great port and look forward to going again sometime!

 

 

I am so happy to read postings from others that enjoyed Cartagena. We were in Cartagena, on the Constellation, in November 2007, and we LOVED it. We were amazed that there were a large number of our fellow passengers that would not get off of the ship, as they were afraid. When I asked what they were afraid of most of them said the "drug criminals". We had a wonderful time while there, we did the ship sponsored excursion "City Tour" and really enjoyed it, we had 'Tous' as our tour guide. He was very informative, very knowledgeable, spoke wonderful English. He told us that his regular position is as a School Teacher and he only works as a Tour Guide part-time. I think we were lucky to have him. We are going back this November and can hardly wait. We did make a minor Emerald purchase while there, NOT at a ship sponsored store, received a very good appraisal from a "real" jeweler on our return.

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  • 3 weeks later...
We were in Cartagena April 16th. I was looking forward to being there because of the positive information received here. There were four of us and we were very disappointed. The vendors are so plentiful you can not walk anywhere without 2-5 of them surrounding your every step! They are everywhere! We were constantly saying no, no, no.... I can actually say they spoiled Cartagena for us.

 

Were you on a ship-sponsored tour or on your own? I wonder if we go on a ship-sponsored tour if the tour guide will do his best to keep the street vendors from bothering us? We had the same problem in Jamaica and Nassau, although Nassau was many years ago. and it can definately ruin your tour. :(

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Were you on a ship-sponsored tour or on your own? I wonder if we go on a ship-sponsored tour if the tour guide will do his best to keep the street vendors from bothering us? We had the same problem in Jamaica and Nassau, although Nassau was many years ago. and it can definately ruin your tour. :(

 

We were on a ship-sponsored walking tour in Cartagena in April, and although our guide did not try to keep the street vendors away, I really did not find them terribly bothersome. A polite "no thank you" or "no gracias" worked every time. We had a fabulous tour there and would go back tomorrow. The Old City is magnificent and not to be missed.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Where exactly are the "Dungeons" relative to the fort, and what all were they selling there?

 

Take a look at the map at http://www.destinationcartagena.com/cartagena_map.html

 

The Fortress (San Felipe de Barajas) is located in Manga, the neighborhood where the Port of Cartagena is located. Just beyond it is the Old Walled City, and "the Dungeons" or Las Bovedas, are inside the old city wall and actually are part of the old city wall. It is an arcade of shops, all selling handcrafts.

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  • 4 weeks later...
I would recommend that a person spend some time reading about the history of Cartagena and it's importance to colonial Spain. Candidly I hadn't and am now doing my reading and can't wait to go back.

 

I have a little time before our cruise. What are you reading to get the history of Cartagena?

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  • 2 weeks later...

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