Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

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

Kevin's girl

Cartagena on your own?

Recommended Posts

We're working with Lee right now for our December holiday cruise on Celebrity......He wanted to know up front if we wanted to "just" do sightseeing or if we also wanted to shop some. We opted for both........

 

If I were you, I'd tell Lee upfront to keep the shopping time < 1/2 hr. All the shops are next to each other including Lee's emerald shop. Any more time here will be really cutting into sight seeing. Also at every sight there are street vendors with very reasonable prices and open to bargaining....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CAn you get to the walled city without going on a tour?Can you get to the different things inside the walled city without a tour...like the Palace of the Inquisition? What about San Felipe fortress?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The walled city is some distance from the port and there was a considerable walk from where our ship was docked to the guarded port gates. There seemed to be cabs available on the other side of that gate but you would have to walk to get there and then negotiate a price to go to the walled city without knowing if you were paying too much. Unless you also paid for the driver to wait for you you would have to find a way back to the port and I didn't see any cabs waiting around the walled old city. You might be able to find a way to call for a cab but you probably also would have to be able to speak Spanish.

 

Given Columbia's history of violence especially against Americans we decided it would be safer to go on a tour with a local guide. Current conditions in Columbia and especially in Cartagena seem to be much more peaceful than it has been in the past but being safe rather than sorry seemed to be the way to go.

 

You can get in the walled city without any admission fee as far as I could see. You would have to pay a fee to enter the Palace of the Inquisition.

 

We never felt threatened except we were sometimes surrounded by vendors trying to sell us "souvenirs" or services like shoe shines. One cigar vendor followed us from the time we entered into the old city until we boarded our bus to leave. I kept telling him I didn't smoke but he didn't seem to remember he had already asked me.

 

There were armed soldiers and armed police at various places around the city but they didn't seem to be bothering anyone including us.

 

This didn't seem to one of those ports where you could walk off the ship and be right in the city. The area surrounding where we were docked was a commercial shipping area and didn't seem to have anything worth stopping to look at.

 

Again in my opinion this is a port to either arrange a tour, go on cruise line tour or stay on the ship (which I wouldn't recommend).

 

Have a great next cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wwinfl91,

 

you mentioned you used a local guide, was this arranged prior to the cruise or did you hire someone on the dock area?

 

thanks for your help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did a tour thru Lee Miles although another lady actually gave the tour. Lee was there in the morning to take the money and make sure we got onto the bus and introduce us to the guide. We saw him again at his emerald store which was the last stop on the tour.

 

I posted this earlier in the tread but here is his web site.

 

http://www.destinationcartagena.com/privatetours

 

I noticed the cabs by the gates to the port area as we were leaving and I assume they were there to pick up people for tours. I remember briefly talking with someone on the ship later who said that they walked down to the gates and got a cab but I don't remember what he said it cost.

 

Have a great next cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I visited Cartagena recently, but not on a cruise. I can't believe how many people have this ridiculous idea that it is a scary and dangerous place. Nothing could be further from the truth. Check out this Time magazine article: http://www.time.com/time/travel/article/0,31542,1882856,00.html

I am female and walked all around the old city at night and it was great. The mix of cultures makes for a really interesting vibe. Yes, there are vendors trying to sell you things to make a living -- HORRORS! Just ignore them or say no gracious if you don't want to buy something to help them out. They're not trying to rob or hurt you -- they just want to feed their families and are trying to find a way to make a little money. Unlike most of the European cities I have visited, I never saw or heard of anyone pickpocketed in Cartagena. The old city is wonderful to see, and if you're stopping in port, why in the world would you miss it? Taxis are everywhere, especially near the clock tower entrance, and are easy to use and inexpensive. I don't speak any Spanish and didn't have any trouble at all. If you're worried about getting back to the ship, show the driver a picture of it. (Be careful how you say "port", though, or they may think you mean the airport.) I loved visiting Cartagena and wouldn't hesitate to return.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

I couldn't agree more! Cartagena is a beautiful, fascinating city, the people are wonderful, and I feel safer there than I do in half of the places I go in the US!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

when i first heard Cartagena i said OMG...COLOMBIA and i was a little taken back and apprehensive...scared:eek:....the more i read and understand i am now like CARTAGENA...OMG we are going to COLOMBIA:)...did you ever think we would and now it is with ANTICIPATION;)

thanks EVERYONE for posting your EXPERIENCEs!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
when i first heard Cartagena i said OMG...COLOMBIA and i was a little taken back and apprehensive...scared:eek:....the more i read and understand i am now like CARTAGENA...OMG we are going to COLOMBIA:)...did you ever think we would and now it is with ANTICIPATION;)

thanks EVERYONE for posting your EXPERIENCEs!!!

I could not agree more. While we are still not sure what we are going to do here, I can not wait to see the city. Thank you to all who have posted.

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...