Cartagena (Colombia) Harbour Tour Excursion Reviews
Take a tour of the beautiful harbour of Cartagena, which holds a Spanish Naval Base. It's in the heart of the city and a part of the bustling commercial district -- so you won't be at a loss of sites to see!
SPANISH GALLEON HARBOR CRUISE: The tour must have been overbooked. There was a section of seats undercover to shield from the sun. There were no seats left. 4 of us were given seating on a narrow shelf along a rail at the back of the ship. Very uncomfortable and in full sun. The guide had a very thick accent and gave little information of the sights along the way. He talked a lot about the Miss Universe contest. He went on and on about it. Then he talked about pop culture and T.V. shows. One guest finally said, "We don't watch T.V. we are on vacation!" So he stopped but went back the Miss Universe oration focusing on 3rd place Miss Colombia. They did give bags of chips as snacks and water or beer. Since we were in the back of the boat away from the seating area, snacks were thrown at us.... Worst excursion I have ever had. It should be eliminated as it is not up to the caliber of a Princess excursion. It was a waste of my money and time.
Entering the old city by a harbour tour, one could imagine what it must have been like arriving on a Spanish man o'war (at least once past the modern rather over-powering tower-block skyline). The walled city is very much a colonial time capsule, in a wonderfully sheltered and fortified harbour, of what must have been a very opulent and wealthy city in its day. Magnificent churches and open squares abound, with a signature clock tower and cathedral, the latter visited by the late Pope Jean-Paul at the height of the Columbian drug wars. It now thrives on tourism and more recent street art also adds interest. Avoid Mondays to see the wondrous gold museum or go next door into the rather more commercial emerald "museum". We had an excellent guide to bring the city to life in an all too-short half day excursion, and kept-up with the group even having to bump a wheelchair along the cobbled streets! The cooling breeze on our catamaran was welcome after the heat of the city.and the wheelchair was no problem.
The harbor tour was good, but the time line was off...I felt ripped off as we could hardly hear the guide, we were told to be back at the harbor for our ride back at certain time, no time to look at the emerald factory that we were right beside. (yet the our tour that left the same time we did, came back to the ship way after we did) I don't recommend this excursion.
The tour was half harbor and half city walking tour. We liked both. It was hot enough to fry an egg on the side walk! If you go, wear a hat, sun glasses, and sun screen and comfortable walking shoes! The architecture and history of Cartegena is so interesting . Be prepared to fend off some persistent vendors and know that if you have a photo taken with a local they will expect money for the privilege.
The combined harbour and city tour was lead by an excellent guide which helped to make it a very interesting experience. It allowed a better appreciation of the more historic parts of the city then a purely land based tour.
Cartagena by land and sea
The harbour tour was nice but it is choppy. Ours was on a small boat that held about 45 people, it was covered but if you are on the wrong side you will be in the sun some, make sure you wear sunscreen. I really enjoyed the sights that we saw from the boat.
Couple of bad points, our bus that was to take us shopping and to Castillo de San Felipe was late so we sat on the water for about 30 minutes waiting for it to arrive. The shopping they take you to is a joke! Our tour guide tried to force us into Mr Emerald to hear a lecture on emeralds and when people didn't want to go, he got mad. I paid for the tour and I don't have to listen/or shop for emeralds if I do not want to. The rest of the tour was nice.
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