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Up to date advice on “Cartagena on your own” please.


The Med
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We’ve just booked a cruise and we leave in 2 weeks so I’m now frantically trying to glean up to date information on the destinations.

 

I’ve done a quick search and I’m getting either old posts or conflicting information.

 

We’re not interested in tours but just want to wander the old town of Cartagena on our own.


Questions: Is it still easy enough to get a taxi from port to town? We don’t want a situation where we can’t get a taxi back to the ship easily.

 

Would we avoid the pushy touts if we got off the ship early, 8.00am ish?
 

Does the hop on hop off bus stop at the port and is it reliable? Some people on trip advisor say they enjoyed it, others have said they waited an hour for a bus. Don’t fancy long waits.

 

Thank you in advance for any help from anyone who has visited there fairly recently.p

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3 minutes ago, The Med said:

Would we avoid the pushy touts if we got off the ship early, 8.00am ish?

 

Since our most recent visit to Cartagena was three years ago just before the pandemic, I can't offer the recent advice you are looking for in your various questions, except to say that the climate remains unchanged and that it is typically very hot and humid in Cartagena, and the earlier you start your day there, the better off you will be.  🙂 

 

I hope you have a great time!  We've been to Cartagena twice, the first time taking a great private tour with Dora de Zubiria (along with a bunch of folks from our Roll Call), and the second time taking a cab to the Fortress and spending hours touring it on our own, then hopping a cab back.

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On 1/6/2023 at 7:24 AM, The Med said:

 

Questions: Is it still easy enough to get a taxi from port to town? We don’t want a situation where we can’t get a taxi back to the ship easily.

 

Would we avoid the pushy touts if we got off the ship early, 8.00am ish?
 

Does the hop on hop off bus stop at the port and is it reliable? Some people on trip advisor say they enjoyed it, others have said they waited an hour for a bus. Don’t fancy long waits.

 

Thank you in advance for any help from anyone who has visited there fairly recently.p


I was in Cartagena six weeks ago. 

I don't know about from port to town, but there were one million taxis near the clock tower entrance to the old walled town. So getting back to the ship won't be an issue. 

You will not avoid any vendors on a port day no matter how early you will get off the ship. I did not find anyone to be overly pushy, as a simple no gracias was all that was needed. The sheer number of vendors is overwhelming at first, but no one was aggressive. 

The HOHO bus is not reliable. That was the excursion I chose. We were not given the option to hop off and hopping back on was not possible. I wrote about my experience here: https://www.suitcasescholar.com/2023/01/10/pirates-of-the-caribbean-cartagena-by-cruise-ship/

If I had it to do again I'd do the taxi thing. 

Also my BFF who was sailing with me did the "on your own" excursion through the ship and it was not on her own. There was a tour involved. None of the ship excursion descriptions were accurate (MSC Divina.) 

Cartagena is amazing. Enjoy. 

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Thanks, we’ve compromised and booked a tour with the cruise company which involves a small tour then time to explore on our own for a while.

It wasn’t much more expensive than a taxi both ways so we thought it took the hassle out of it and gave us the best of both worlds. 
 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/17/2023 at 9:15 AM, little britain said:

@elbodans hi - can you advise how much a cab was? Did you barter?! Fixed fare? And how did you pay 💰? Thanks x 

I was in Cartagena last December. Four of us (solos), left the terminal where organized taxis were and walked a short distance to where the independent taxis were located. One guy in our group spoke a little Espanol. He haggled with a few and settled with one driver for $10 to the Old City. So, it was $2.50 per person. It was the same price with a different driver on the way back. The second driver had the AC blasting which was really nice.

Edited by IrieBajan54
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  • 2 months later...

DIY in Cartagena.

 

Today we were one of the first off the ship. Walked right out of the port to the main road. Negotiated with the guy who looked to be in charge of the cab 🚕 drivers - $5 total for 2 to Plaza del Poco in the Getsemani area of the city. 
This area is charming full of brightly coloured houses and street art. Wandered up and down the little roads for a while ( don’t miss Callejon Angosto with the umbrellas then walked through the park, el Centernario Plaza, to the walled city entering via Plaza del Reloj. 
more beautiful coloured houses and peaceful churches. We ended up near the Hotel Bastion, had lunch and a few beers, and then caught a cab back up the port. This guy charged $10 but it was a longer drive. 
 

Leave yourself enough time to enjoy the wildlife at the portIMG_0535.thumb.jpeg.3c30d7255cadf5777cd23ca1351197ec.jpeg


IMG_0537.thumb.jpeg.4cda2a24a1aec18eecf26d3e42579afd.jpeg
IMG_0572.thumb.jpeg.645165d5e40fda283e94955cd1567be2.jpeg

Edited by little britain
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