The tour guide spent too much time talking about a map in one of the churches. She walked too fast. We could not stop if we saw something we were interested in; it was full speed ahead! She took us to 2 emerald jewelry stores. We were not interested in buying emeralds.
We enjoyed Dora and the tour a lot. We went to La Popa on the hill and got an overview of the land as well as a tour of the monastery. Then we drove to the fort but did not get to walk up. The walking tour of the walled city was excellent (she even bought us all fresh fruit cups from a street vender half way through- very refreshing!). When we did the obligatory "Now here's where you have some time to shop" she always had an alternative for us non shoppers...we could walk up onto the wall and explore it and the beautiful views. I was a little disappointed that we did not go into the Inquisition Museum, but I really liked the art museum and church we did go to.
We did the tour to see Cartagena by land and sea. A bus took us to the fort that overlooks the entire city. You were able to see the new high rise area and the old walled city. The walled city was full of houses, shops and restaurants. The architecture was similar to San Juan. We took a boat to see the walled city form the water as well as the new island where the high rise buildings were located as well as the forts that guarded the entrance to the harbor.
City walking tour, guide was terrible. It was set up to take our group to certain vendor, we stopped at a break dancing group, a street painter and a specific stall in the market. The guide had little information about the city itself or the sights. We tried to split from the tour, but the guide would not tell us where or what time to meet the bus. In hind sight, we should have left the tour and taken taxis back.
Port stop was a short 8am to 2pm. Several couples from our Cruise Critic roll call booked the City Tour with Dora De Zubiria. With three ships in port she booked up early and we were in a "Group Two" with Veronica, Dora's niece. Dora's team was waiting for our group of 12 with signs right at the pier. We had a clean, large van with PA so everyone could hear. We enjoyed the time at La Popa, Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas and in the walled city, but could have spent less time in the Dungeons (tourist shops) and Emerald Museum (jewelry store).
We did the CARTAGENA PRIVATE CITY SIGHTSEEING EXCURSION. We went to the fort, monastery, and tours of both the old and new parts of the city. Our guide (Ben) was great.
Boat and walking tour of Cartagena. Guide was ok. He would tell you the surface facts of the city but would not include 'when' the 2nd older church in the city was built. Looked as if he was guessing as to the date when we asked him when it was built. He was very nice and knew plenty which seemed to suffice for most passengers but it was not 'in depth' knowledge of the city. The tour itself was nice. They of course take you to the local emerald 'cave' where you exit through the very expensive gift shop. It was air conditioned though.
We chose to hang out outside and get an arepa with butter. $2 which was overpriced but they needed the money. The $2 beer was also overpriced given they were $2 at the convenience store around the corner. Again, she needed the money more than we did. The food was amazing, the beer not so much.
The local British pub was not open until noon which means they are missing all of the passengers from the boats today. We had to be back at the ship by 1 pm. Too bad as we love the little local places.
"Old City" & Historical Museum of Cartagena tour. There were 3 cruise ships in port on the day we were there and lots of excursions include the Old City. The streets there are narrow and the temperature was HOT. It was very crowded. We were probably more focused on not losing sight of our tour guide in the crowd and missed much of interesting architecture. Bottom line, I’m glad to have seen Cartagena, but probably would have been better had we arranged a private tour.
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