Best Cartagena, Colombia excursions
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Don't let the fact its Columbia scare you like it originally did me. The people are friendly, the little sanctuary near the port is amazing. Saw tons of rescues. A baby sloth, baby ant eater, around 50 parrots, tiny monkeys if you can spot them, peacocks, peahens and even a flamingo chick with its flock! Theres even more if you can find them, if they fly or climb they are not in cages so they can freely crawl or fly around you, the ground walkers such as the ant eaters are in a fenced in area for their safety from us. I highly recommend once out of the main port in old town, ask locals for their favorite food stop. We were walked to a little hole in the wall restaurant with some of the BEST bolognese sauce I've ever had in my life, it was like a sweet pork sauce. My parents had the best chicken and beef. Even the soda is better than in the us as it's full of carbonation and tastes good.
This is a great place. The old town with its magnificent wall is beautiful and charming. Nice colonial style architecture, very colorful buildings with balconies full of flowers. The churches are lovely. Nice squares and quaint small streets. Lots of great history. Vendors may be pushy but just ignore them. Truly enjoyed it.
This port caught us totally by surprise because it wasn't what we were expecting at all. It's a little Miami in the new town - all white condo buildings and sky scrapers. And in the old town, the walled city is a must see! There was so much history to hear about see. The only downfall was the unrelenting vendors trying to sell us hats and everything else, they never stopped! But upon return to the cruise ship terminal, there's a free small zoo and Juan Valdez store and they were so nice to go through before getting back on the ship - macaws, peacocks, black swans, pink flamingos!
Visited: Apr 08, 2018
We did the "1-Hour Horse & Carriage Ride In Old Town" shore excursion ($59.95 for 3 hours) by Princess and really enjoyed it. We stopped briefly at San Felipe Fort--very big, very impressive. It is located on the Hill of San Lazaro in a strategic location where it dominates approaches to the city by land or sea. Very helpful for detecting French or English pirates in the 17th century. Also found a store across the street that let us use their restroom for $1. Reminded me of finding restrooms in Italy and Turkey. Primitive, but functional. Wow, souvenir vendors in Cartagena were most aggressive of any on this cruise. Came right up to bus window, would not take NO for an answer and followed you if you walked away. We arrived in the Old Town area and were assigned our carriages. We enjoyed a lovely, peaceful ride through the beautiful and iconic architecture of New World colonists--cobbled streets, magnificent churches and idyllic pastel-painted houses dripping with tropical flowers. Luckily, we were a party of three, so our guide Fernando hopped into our 4-person carriage and promptly narrated the whole hour in Old Town. The rest of our group did not get all that wonderful background and history. He was very informative and interesting. Definitely worth the tour money. After the carriage ride, we walked along several very long blocks in Old Town and souvenir-shopped. We really enjoyed Cartagena, but it was quite warm that day (April) and we were eventually happy to get back onto the air-conditioned bus and the ship. Colombia was the only country on our cruise where we were told beforehand that we would need a yellow fever shot if we planned to go outside of Cartagena and into the countryside. Apparently they do not have yellow fever under control in Colombia.
Visited: Mar 30, 2019
Loved it. Beautiful loved it all. Best avoided by people who are afraid of people trying to make a living. A simple no is all that's needed. We got a local tour guide who was really good. Free time around Cartagena was great.
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