Our tour guide JJ took us first to San Filipe Fortress. Halfway up the ramp we stopped to look out over Cartagena. JJ gave us some historical background information on the fort and the area before guiding though the tunnels up to the top of the fort.
After a short bus ride we toured the old walled city. JJ explained how to tell where the wealthy families resided by the doors and arches. What a truly lovely area this is. We had the opportunity to watch a area artist paint local scenes on mirrors. A truly talented man.
JJ was friendly and informative, his English was very good and easy to understand.
After the tour Lee supplied us with refreshments and we had some time to shop. Cartagena is a truly lovely city that we hope to visit again.
We proceeded to the Rain Forest where Rey took us on a walking tour,pointing out flora and fauna and answering any questions we might have.
Lastly we toured San Lorenzo Fort. We were treated to fresh pineapple on our way back to the ship.
Rey was a well informed man with a great sense of humor. He made the day not only educational but entertaining as well.
We spent the rest of the day at the public beach. The water was beautiful and clear. Change rooms, bathrooms and shelters with picnic benches are provided free of charge. The beach was very clean.
We did a little shopping in the area. If you're in the market for jewelery, crystal, liquor, perfume, etc. this is the place for you. Some great bargains to be had.
The area is very commercialize with Wendy's, Burger King, KFC, etc everywhere--it's like North American in the Caribbean. Everything is in English so there is no language barrier to be concerned about.
We started our tour with a river cruise of the Tortugero Canal, Rene the driver of our boat spotted numerous sloths, birds, lizards and fauna (the man had eyes like a hawk) while Rey explained the different types of plants and trees.
We stopped at a roadside fruit stand and sampled fresh fruit and had a short tour of the grounds where Rey pointed out herbs and explained their uses.
We continued to the Del Monte banana plantation. Rey gave us an informative tour of the plantation, explaining how the bananas are grown and harvested. We then visited the processing plant and learned what goes into getting the banana from the tree to the supermarket. I have a new appreciated from the perfect yellow fruit now.
We then visited a local farm where Rey pointed out many herbs and trees, explaining how they're grown and their uses.
We were then taken to a local beach restaurant and enjoyed a typical local meal consisting of chicken, rice and beans, fried plantains and a coleslaw salad with the beverage of our choice. It was absolutely delicious and included in the cost of the tour.
It was a truly enjoyable day. Rey and Jose went out of their way to make sure we were satisfied. They made bathroom stops without being asked and provided us with beverages while driving. Although Rey was concerned about his English he was very easy to understand and very well spoken.
Costa Rica is an ecologically conscious, developing country. Her beauty is everywhere to be seen. We would love to visit again in the future.