Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook
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Making the Most of Cartagena
Making the Most of Cartagena
Your ship docks in the busy port’s Manga district, in a modern container ship facility and close to an upscale neighborhood of luxury high-rise residences and yacht basins. You’re a short drive from the old, walled city that will be visited by most excursions. All ashore for the 2017 repos is at 6:30 or 9:30 am, all aboard at 2:45 or 5:45 pm.
We generally recommend you book a Disney shore excursion, which takes care of all your transportation needs. If you want to venture out on your own, a taxi tour is popular. Know that taxis are not metered, but operate on a zone system. The minimum fare is around $2; a one-hour drive may cost $8. A taxi to the old city should cost about $5 one way. You will see several taxi drivers at the pier, but if you walk past them and out to the port gates, you’ll find more taxis at better rates. Car rentals? Forget about it!
STAYING SAFE IN CARTAGENA
All of Colombia is on the U.S. State Department’s watch list, but violent crime isn’t the problem movies and TV might lead you to believe. Fleecing tourists, on the other hand, appears to be high art. Colombian “emeralds,” “Cuban” cigars, “Pre-Colombian” art and gold, money changing, picked pockets, swiped handbags, drug purchase shakedowns … you name it, there seems to be a scam built around it. Naturally, the upscale, higher-priced shops are far more reputable, and you undoubtedly pay for the peace of mind. Look for “recommended” shops in your Shopping in Paradise guide. While limited to advertisers, at least the publisher’s shopping guarantee offers some recourse. Note that you need an export permit for Pre-Colombian goods of any sort, but reputable dealers should explain that. Fakes, of course, don’t require a permit—just make sure you paid a low, low price. Definitely carry only small bills of U.S. currency—getting change will be either expensive or mark you as a juicy target. Despite that, Cartagena is a very popular vacation destination. Fortunately, since you’ll be on your way out of town before dark, will most likely be taking a guided excursion, won’t talk to or make eye contact with hustlers or beggars, and won’t be going off the beaten track (right?), you should be able to avoid major trouble.
Top Photo Slice: (℗ 53374) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx
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