Date of visit : December 2019
Cruise ship : Marella Discovery 2
This has to be one of our favourite ports in the World! Stunning architecture, amazing shopping, beautiful friendly people, and even an exotic zoo at the cruise terminal!
Arriving into Cartagena is wonderful, you literally disembark your ship and after a few steps you arrive at the port zoo, yes a zoo!! It’s amazing, with a full aviary complete with many different types of native birds, and a large enclosure with flamingos, ant eaters, parrots, peacocks and more, it’s fascinating, and best of all it’s free! You could spend the whole day at the port it’s so beautiful. In addition to the zoo they have some wonderful duty free shops selling all manner of different souvenirs, clothing, and of course alcohol and cigarettes.
However, after you’ve explored the zoo (usually longer than intended), there are taxis freely available outside, and for the cost of $20 USD they will take you to the UNESCO listed old City of Cartagena in around 20 minutes. It’s breath-taking. Stunning architecture of different colours, an absolutely fabulous cathedral, once again elaborately decorated externally, a myriad of streets packed with fabulous shops, mostly local small boutiques, and plenty of small café bars and restaurants. You could literally spend days here and not tire of it. The centre is particularly well policed so you don’t feel concerned for your safety, and the locals are all very friendly. Prices are amazing too, and Christina loves nipping in and out of the small shops gathering bargains, and one off Columbian designer pieces at rock bottom prices! Taxis back are easy to locate, and once again a fee of $20USD.
If you’re feeling adventurous then there’s an old fort you can visit, but sadly we didn’t make it this time as we had an early departure from Cartagena and couldn’t pack everything in. We did however manage to squeeze in a swim on this visit. We nipped over to the Hilton hotel in a taxi and made use of their facilities (approx. 10 minutes from the city centre), the water quality wasn’t the best, but it was nice and warm, and they served ice cold Colombian beer so it was a great finish to our wonderful day in Cartagena.