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arizonaperson

Cartegena on your own

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 Since we are in this port for such a very short time(7am to 3pm) is it doable or easy to take a taxi to the walled city?Like be dropped off at the clock tower versus the Princess tour that’s $39.95 each that’s called CTG -395 tour. The Princess tour is 3 1/2 hours and then basically they take you on a bus  with a narrated drive downtown and then a brief overview &  give you a map and then you have 90 minutes on your own and then the bus ride back. 

Seems like not much time with Princess. Thoughts from anyone that has done this in the past year.

 Thanks.

Julie

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That's our plan for our upcoming winter cruise -- take a taxi to the old city, walk around, do a chocolate-making class on our own, and taxi back to the port. I have heard nothing to indicate this isn't simple and straight-forward, but I guess we'll see...

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Will you both please check back in here once you return to let us know how everything went?  This is what we hope to do instead of booking a tour, so we are really interested in if taxi to Old City to do on our own works.  Thanks in advance!

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we totally did it on our own,had plenty of time. We do have a little Spanish speaking skills,but wow they are very pushy in English and Spanish. We told them right at the port -taxi only no tour- but in hopped a driver and tour guide .  It’s apparently approximately US$20 per taxi to go to the walled city and if you divide that by four people it’s five dollars each, but we only had two of us and honestly I don’t know how you would’ve fit four people into one of the taxis especially three adults in the backseat .I’m sure doable but I wouldn’t want to do it. So we paid the $20 to the driver and of course he wanted a tip we told him no because we told him several times no tour just drop us off. Once we got to the wall city there are people  everywhere trying to sell you something whether it be a Tour,whether it be a taxi right back ,whether it be products .they were in your face all the time. It was very difficult to look at the historic buildings and once you were able to do that another wave  would come along. We talked to people that were on a ship tour  & the same thing happened -so it really didn’t matter. We bargained for $15. US dollars Cab ride back to ship so a few dollars tip to him because he did as we asked no hassle. I’m glad we saw the city but just be aware they’re very pushy people - in Cartagena.

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When we went the first time on the Island Princess in 2011, an armed national guard soldier accompanied us on the bus. We took the excursion to the mud volcano. I don't see that offered on my upcoming cruise on the Caribbean Princess. The soldier was very handy at scaring away otherwise aggressive people trying to sell things when we stopped at the bottom of the hill beneath the fort and at the vaults. 

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On 11/4/2019 at 10:17 PM, arizonaperson said:

we totally did it on our own,had plenty of time. We do have a little Spanish speaking skills,but wow they are very pushy in English and Spanish. We told them right at the port -taxi only no tour- but in hopped a driver and tour guide .  It’s apparently approximately US$20 per taxi to go to the walled city and if you divide that by four people it’s five dollars each, but we only had two of us and honestly I don’t know how you would’ve fit four people into one of the taxis especially three adults in the backseat .I’m sure doable but I wouldn’t want to do it. So we paid the $20 to the driver and of course he wanted a tip we told him no because we told him several times no tour just drop us off. Once we got to the wall city there are people  everywhere trying to sell you something whether it be a Tour,whether it be a taxi right back ,whether it be products .they were in your face all the time. It was very difficult to look at the historic buildings and once you were able to do that another wave  would come along. We talked to people that were on a ship tour  & the same thing happened -so it really didn’t matter. We bargained for $15. US dollars Cab ride back to ship so a few dollars tip to him because he did as we asked no hassle. I’m glad we saw the city but just be aware they’re very pushy people - in Cartagena.

DH and I are going in December and were wondering if it is possible/doable to walk to/from the port to the walled city.  Is it safe, other than having to run the gauntlet of vendors?

Not really interested in any of the tours. 

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30 minutes ago, wvdeedee said:

DH and I are going in December and were wondering if it is possible/doable to walk to/from the port to the walled city.  Is it safe, other than having to run the gauntlet of vendors?

Not really interested in any of the tours. 

I'm sure someone will contradict me, but I grew up on the mean streets of NY City and I wouldn't do it.  

 

Safety considerations aside, Cartagena is one of the hottest, most humid cities I've ever visited and the walk could be exhausting just from that perspective.

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2 hours ago, wvdeedee said:

DH and I are going in December and were wondering if it is possible/doable to walk to/from the port to the walled city.  Is it safe, other than having to run the gauntlet of vendors?

Not really interested in any of the tours. 

 I’m sure it’s possible to walk but yes it is hot and humid and I didn’t see anybody walking. But that’s not to say you cannot. We were not interested in any other tours either that’s why we did it on our own with a taxi. But once you get to the walled  city doesn’t matter if you’re with a tour group or on your own -the locals hound you over and over -so just be prepared. But we found by taking a taxi and telling them no tour just drop us off in the walled city  was the way to go for us but they wouldn’t take no for an answer about the tour. They did drop us off in the walled city but the tour guide that hopped in the car with the driver expected a tip and we did not give any of them a tip. I thought $20 for two people that speak fairly good Spanish and telling them no tour at the beginning was enough. We enjoyed our free time in the walled city . I just thought it would take us a lot longer to walk around the walled city but we saw enough in a couple hours that we were done and ready to go back to the ship. The buildings are beautiful and the only place that we didn’t get hounded  to buy something from the locals was in one of the churches with the fan blowing on us so we sat and “prayed. “

By the way cabs at the port and near and in walled city are in abundance. And they also want to wait for you but we told them no we didn’t want to have to rush but I can see how some people would say sure wait for us to meet back at the spot but we didn’t want to do any of that .  Obviously great if that works out for you but I just wanted to do it on our own on our own time and it worked out .just wanted to warn others about our experience. May not be your experience when you go but… 

Edited by arizonaperson

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Thank you. This is great information and exactly what I was looking for. Probably going to take a taxi to the fort, then either taxi or walk to the walled city, then taxi back to the port. 

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Thank you for posting your info on taxis and such arizonaperson . I'm doing some research on this because of our port stop there in January. Your info was just what I was looking for. Did you happen to get lunch there while in the walled city?

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On 11/24/2019 at 5:50 PM, MrBreeze said:

Thank you for posting your info on taxis and such arizonaperson . I'm doing some research on this because of our port stop there in January. Your info was just what I was looking for. Did you happen to get lunch there while in the walled city?

No we did not get any lunch in the walled city. We stopped at Juan Valdez to buy a bag of coffee to go.  We honestly grabbed a taxi after we ate breakfast on the ship. And found that we didn’t need to spend that much time in the walled city as we originally thought. Number one because we were hounded so much about buying anything and everything and I mean hounded. (  and our Spanish is pretty good so it definitely wasn’t lack of communication )So we were back on the ship and had lunch. We did bring water and a few little package snacks with us but we didn’t need them on our walk. 

 

Edited by arizonaperson

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12 hours ago, arizonaperson said:

No we did not get any lunch in the walled city. We stopped at Juan Valdez to buy a bag of coffee to go.  We honestly grabbed a taxi after we ate breakfast on the ship. And found that we didn’t need to spend that much time in the walled city as we originally thought. Number one because we were hounded so much about buying anything and everything and I mean hounded. (  and our Spanish is pretty good so it definitely wasn’t lack of communication )So we were back on the ship and had lunch. We did bring water and a few little package snacks with us but we didn’t need them on our walk. 

 

Thank you. We are 29 days out now. So excited.

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Following. We will be there March 2021. Nice to be informed of the pushy people. 

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We were here overnight a few months ago.   The ship docks in the industrial port area, so no touristy junk (or amenities). The first night around eight we got off and walked around finding a convenience store about a mile away.  We stood out on the street and drank several beers before heading back to the ship.  Didn't know any Spanish, but they took our $ and was able to bum some cigarettes too.  Rained most of the time and were soaked by the time we got back.  Still a fun night.

 

The next day we took a taxi to the old town and walked around.  As others have said lotta vendors pestering you.  Later we found a bar off an alley and had several local beers. The bartender's brother took us back to the ship later for $10.

 

Edited by LostPuppy

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On 1/22/2020 at 1:06 PM, LostPuppy said:

We were here overnight a few months ago.   The ship docks in the industrial port area, so no touristy junk (or amenities). The first night around eight we got off and walked around finding a convenience store about a mile away.  We stood out on the street and drank several beers before heading back to the ship.  Didn't know any Spanish, but they took our $ and was able to bum some cigarettes too.  Rained most of the time and were soaked by the time we got back.  Still a fun night.

 

The next day we took a taxi to the old town and walked around.  As others have said lotta vendors pestering you.  Later we found a bar off an alley and had several local beers. The bartender's brother took us back to the ship later for $10.

 

Any chance you know the name of the bar or location?

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On 1/22/2020 at 1:06 PM, LostPuppy said:

We were here overnight a few months ago.   The ship docks in the industrial port area, so no touristy junk (or amenities). The first night around eight we got off and walked around finding a convenience store about a mile away.  We stood out on the street and drank several beers before heading back to the ship.  Didn't know any Spanish, but they took our $ and was able to bum some cigarettes too.  Rained most of the time and were soaked by the time we got back.  Still a fun night.

 

The next day we took a taxi to the old town and walked around.  As others have said lotta vendors pestering you.  Later we found a bar off an alley and had several local beers. The bartender's brother took us back to the ship later for $10.

 

Disagree about your statement of no touristy junk or amenities at the port. There's a modern port building with a very touristy shop in it plus somewhere to buy coffee, soft drinks, beer etc and sit and relax. There's a "sanctuary" for birds and other wildlife (I used quotes around sanctuary because I'm skeptical about whether it really is or if it's just a way to attract tourists.).

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On 1/22/2020 at 1:06 PM, LostPuppy said:

We were here overnight a few months ago.   The ship docks in the industrial port area, so no touristy junk (or amenities). 

 

 

On 2/1/2020 at 4:56 PM, njhorseman said:

Disagree about your statement of no touristy junk or amenities at the port. There's a modern port building with a very touristy shop in it plus somewhere to buy coffee, soft drinks, beer etc and sit and relax. There's a "sanctuary" for birds and other wildlife (I used quotes around sanctuary because I'm skeptical about whether it really is or if it's just a way to attract tourists.).

 

We were just in Cartagena last month (for the second time), and I disagree with @LostPuppy as well.  I think they've done a really good job there of creating a comfortable space for cruise ship passengers.   As @njhorseman noted, there's a shop where you can buy all the souvenirs and trinkets you might want, as well as places to buy food and beverages.  There's a little zoo area, and plenty of macaws flying around.  There's also a very interesting aviary, where we just saw the most unusual bird we've ever seen, an Andean C-O-C-K of the Rock.  (We preferred to call it Beluga Bird.) 

 

enhance

 

We also enjoyed seeing the toucans:

 

enhance

 

Leave some time on your way back to the ship to check out the aviary and the entire little cruise terminal complex.

 

(photos by turtles06)

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We will be going on RC Vision of the Seas next year. Did anyone do any ship excursions? Did you feel comfortable doing this port on your own.  Thanks 

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4 minutes ago, kuddles14 said:

We will be going on RC Vision of the Seas next year. Did anyone do any ship excursions? Did you feel comfortable doing this port on your own.  Thanks 


If this is your first time in Cartagena, I recommend taking a private tour with Dora or another reputable private guide. You’ll be in a much smaller group and have a better time than you would in a big bus tour from the ship.  Yes, you can see the old walled city on your own, but it would be easier to get around, and to know what you are seeing, with a guide. (And it would be time-consuming to go up to La Popa on your own.)

 

Our visit to Cartagena last month was our second, and we went off on our own specifically to visit the magnificent fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, and spent the morning there. We had a great time. I will post separately about that. 

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21 minutes ago, Turtles06 said:


If this is your first time in Cartagena, I recommend taking a private tour with Dora or another reputable private guide. You’ll be in a much smaller group and have a better time than you would in a big bus tour from the ship.  Yes, you can see the old walled city on your own, but it would be easier to get around, and to know what you are seeing, with a guide. (And it would be time-consuming to go up to La Popa on your own.)

 

Our visit to Cartagena last month was our second, and we went off on our own specifically to visit the magnificent fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, and spent the morning there. We had a great time. I will post separately about that. 

I’m not adversed to a private guide. Do I just google Dora in Cartagena? 

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So far our plan is to either go or return by taxi, but not both. I also guess, as we go down the cruise its a good idea to ask arround for people to share a taxi to the walled city.

We are on our honeymoon and our 5th cruise. Also we both speak Spanish so hope its a good defense against aggressive street vendors.

Current places i've marked to visit

 

image.png.c050e045fcddce912a517b06c03f62da.png

 

Everything seems so close, not sure about even needing a taxi. We are in our 30's

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