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Day at Cartagena


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Looking for some feedback from previous travelers to the Panama Canal in general and Cartagena in particular.  We will be doing the full transit from LA to Fort Lauderdale, December 3rd-18th, so we will be getting to Cartagena at the end. 


We have booked excursions through the ship for Puerto Vallarta, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas and Fuerte Amador and plan to do the same for Huatulco.


I see that there are quite a few city tours through the ship and probably many more privately.  They all seem to be hitting the same spots for the most part, but my thinking is that we can have more control if we go it on our own.  Also a good deal cheaper.  At first we thought about the hop on/hops offs as a more flexible option and to a certain extent they are.  But we think that just taking a cab into the city gives us the most flexibility.


Here is what I think I know.  It is about two miles or so from the ship to the city, too far to walk.  Cabs are about $10 US to the city and back.  Getting a cab by the hour is be about $20 per.  While the tours hit all the hot spots in their 3 1/2 to 4 hours, they can be crowded.  Do I have this right?


Since we can't see everything, we feel that we need to pick our spots and have something of a plan.  That means the walled city, San Felipe Castle and probably Las Bovedas.  I know the tours go out to the new city and some points outside the walled city, like Getsamani, but like I said, pick your spots.


My thinking is to go to the castle first.  Heard it is better in the morning, cooler and less crowds and then head up to Las Bovedas for a little while.  From we go the walled city and spend the rest of our time there.  It seems like most of the good stuff is there anyway, all within walking distance of one another.  Plus there is the carriage ride.  As far as cabs go, I was thinking we could get a cab for two hours from the dock and let them take us to the castle, then Las Bovedas, then the walled city.  At that point, let them go and we spend two or three hoursthere before heading back mid afternoon.  Or we can just get a cab in each spot.


Is this realistic?  Does it make sense, logistically and financially?  Are the cabs accessible enough?  More specifically, are the cabbies more inclined to want multiple hour trips or does it not really make a difference.  How difficult will it be to get a cab at the castle.  I am assuming that there are plenty in the old city or if not there a short walk to where they are.  Speaking of walks, is walking from Las Bovedas to the walled city something we want to do.  Same goes for the castle to the old city, if we skipped Las Bovedas.


Any help would be appreciated from those who have experienced this area. 


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We toured Cartagena with Dora the Explorer, customizing our tour and itinerary, two couples.  Our tour guide worked for Dora and was one of the best private tour guides we have encountered in many years of international travel.

Cartagena is a fascinating city with an old-world ambiance and vibrant culture.  We allocated more travel dollars to this port and thus booked the private tour.

Cartagena's weather is hot and humid year-round.  Yes, we walked on our tour, but we also appreciated the tour driver's airconditioned car for point-to-point travel in the city. 



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