Based on solid TripAdvisor and CruiseCritic reviews, I contacted Claudia in early October as I was planning private excursions for our Panama Canal cruise in late November / early December. She immediately responded to my email and we were able to negotiate a reasonable rate for a Cartagena city tour. She also sent me a detailed itinerary including the sights we could see during our short port call.
We met as planned at the pier and immediately drove up to the monastery. This was the perfect way to start the day as we beat all of the tour groups and thus had the place to ourselves the entire time. Also it offers a fantastic view of the city. Next we stopped at the fortress where we learned about the history but did not have time to go inside. Once we entered the walls we took a few minutes to shop the arcade for some souvenirs and then had a nice walking tour through the old town. Then we went inside the Emerald Museum, which I wasn't really keen on visiting but it turned out to be a welcome respite from the heat and the sales people were not too pushy. We continued walking to San Pedro Claver church & museum where we learned about its' history. Then we finished up the walking tour outside the naval museum. Unfortunately there was heavy traffic which prevented us from going out to see the new/modern part of the city where all the high rises are. But I did enjoy driving through Getsemani neighborhood and also seeing some of the ornate old homes near the port.
Claudia was an excellent guide and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with her. The tour was a great overview of Cartagena and, given the limited amount of time we had in port, we saw a lot. Note that one of our family members walks with a cane and this tour was a bit of a challenge for him due to the uneven sidewalks, cobblestones, and long time on our feet in old town. So just keep that in mind if you are planning a similar excursion in Cartagena.
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