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Inneedofvacation

HAL in Cartagena

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Sorry to start a new thread as I’ve been reading through so many and still feel I’m not sure what to do. We are arriving on HAL but only in port from 7:00 am - 1:00 pm so little time. I’m trying to figure what to do that is not on the expensive side as we’ve booked some bigger tours in other ports. We’ve never been there before so would like to look around some but also am turned off by all the comments about the aggressive venders. Been down that road in other Caribbean ports so do know how to say no but at the same time our Spanish is next to none. Do you need some form of transportation from the pier to get into town?  I’m leery of taxis due to the language and pushiness. Is there stuff to do at the pier?  I haven’t seen HAL mentioned so are the tours, etc people mention from the other cruise,ones similar?  I’m just trying to figure out how to get a taste of Cartagena at the lowest cost for just two of us. Thanks. 

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Since you will be a first time visitor, I highly recommend that you book a private tour with Dora [link below] or another highly regarded tour operator.  (We toured with Dora several years ago, and her great reputation here on CC and elsewhere is well deserved.)  

 

http://www.cartagenatour.com/tours.html

 

Get a group on your Roll Call.  Perhaps someone has already organized one.

 

Don't be put off by what you've read about street vendors.  Just repeat a firm "no, gracias" when you are approached.  You don't need to know any more Spanish than that.

 

If you go on your own, you'll need to take a taxi into the walled city.  (You can pay in USD)  If you stay at the cruise terminal all day, there's very little to do but see the small aviary/zoo that's there.  It's not near anything.

 

The old city of Cartagena is interesting and colorful. Take a tour.  If you don't want to take a private tour, book a tour through HAL that takes you to La Popa and gives you at least a view of the fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, as well as a walking tour in the old Walled City

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On 2/3/2020 at 4:35 PM, Inneedofvacation said:

Sorry to start a new thread as I’ve been reading through so many and still feel I’m not sure what to do. We are arriving on HAL but only in port from 7:00 am - 1:00 pm so little time. I’m trying to figure what to do that is not on the expensive side as we’ve booked some bigger tours in other ports. We’ve never been there before so would like to look around some but also am turned off by all the comments about the aggressive venders. Been down that road in other Caribbean ports so do know how to say no but at the same time our Spanish is next to none. Do you need some form of transportation from the pier to get into town?  I’m leery of taxis due to the language and pushiness. Is there stuff to do at the pier?  I haven’t seen HAL mentioned so are the tours, etc people mention from the other cruise,ones similar?  I’m just trying to figure out how to get a taste of Cartagena at the lowest cost for just two of us. Thanks. 

In Cartagena on HAL on 1.21.2020.  The ship cleared @ 7am so you could be on your way to town quickly!  I will walk anywhere to save $$ but I highly recommend taking a taxi from the port to town.  Could you walk it?  Sure.  IMO not worth the time you will spend.  It is a very crowded two lane one way road to town with cars & motorcycles.  Did not experience ANY aggressive vendors anywhere...at the port or in town.  They asked, yet but once we said no, they walked away.  Police presence everywhere so you feel very safe in the walled city and Getsemani.  Folks from the ship took a taxi $20/pp into the walled city where they were dropped off & walked around on their own.  Always negotiate your price.

Is there stuff to do at the port?  There is an **amazing** Port Oasis Ecopark right when you start to exit the secure area.  Giant anteaters, parrots, peacocks, flamingos, monkeys, sloths.  Right there!  It is definitely worth some of your time.  I am not a zoo person but this was really impressive.  After looking around at the various animals, no, there is nothing to do at the port.  

The morning taxi ride took much longer than the ride back to the ship.  Might have to do with rush hour.  You need to back at the ship by 12:30pm so you have even less time than you think in Cartagena.

If you want to see the Fort, go first thing.  It starts to get really hot.  Have singles on you in case you want photos of the decorated donkeys or ladies with fruit on their heads.

Also, I wish I had much more time to walk around Getsemani.  In highsight, I liked that area much more than the walled city.  The artwork is amazing.  I would have liked to have started there and then I would have walked across the street to the walled city to see Botero's Gerturdis statue in one of the squares.  

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6 hours ago, Travels_with_Food said:

Folks from the ship took a taxi $20/pp into the walled city where they were dropped off & walked around on their own.  Always negotiate your price.

 

$20 pp?  They definitely overpaid there.   Definitely push back on a price like that.

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Thanks all. This gives us some ideas to consider. Since we haven’t been there before I know I’d at least like a little time to look around. 

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