I was so excited to see Cartagena. It looked gorgeous from the water, and I had read a bit about the city and the interesting historic section which was supposed to be an easy distance from the port.
What a disappointment! Well, not Colombia, or Cartagena, but our experience with the little bit of it that we were able to see. We got off the ship and wound our way through a very interesting park sort of place with flamingos and other birds.
When we emerged into the taxi stand, we were instantly overwhelmed with taxi drivers trying to convince us to ride with them.
We settled on a taxi driver who agreed to take us to the historic section for $5/each, so we and our friends set out. Before the car doors were hardly open at our destination we were accosted by a man selling hats, and another selling sunglasses, and then more selling beer, drinks, cheap jewelry, and so on. This was pretty much how the whole morning went. Unless we were a bit off the beaten path on a side street, we were constantly approached by aggressive people selling things. The area was beautiful but it was very hard to enjoy it. It’s too bad that the museums were all closed too, and even the church was closing its doors as we were leaving. But, I still did manage to get some photos!
The best part of our time was the taxi ride back to the ship. I think the driver sensed our frustration and wanted to show us a little of the city, so he took us on less than a direct route so we could get a sense of what the area was like. Everything was very clean and mostly white, and very attractive. He recommended that we come back again in a plane and stay in a hotel so we could get a better idea of what it is really like in Colombia.
I would love to explore more of Colombia. When you are on a ship full of tourists though, you’re like prey so it’s a whole different scene than an individual walking around the city. We were all so discouraged we just went back to the ship for the last few hours we had at this port. Now I was also apprehensive about our next ports. Were we going to face more of the same everywhere we stopped? (thankfully we didn’t, and we had a good time at the next places)