January 1st, 2015, Posted by travelwith2ofus
Our visit to Cartagena, Colombia was a very short one. We had about five hours before we returned to the ship. We decided in advance to do the Chiva Bus Rumba tour of Cartagena.
The tour took us through the city and along the way we visited areas like Manga, Pie de la Popa, Bocagrande and Castillo Grande.
Honestly, we didn't know what to expect in Colombia. Our first stop before we went on the tour was at the Cartagena de Indies Cruise Ship Terminal.
There are lots of activities to do there, including a visit to the Emerald Gallery, which is a cave with actual emeralds embedded in rocks and includes a museum with emeralds which have already been cut and polished. Just so you know, Colombia is the biggest producer of emeralds worldwide.
Also located on the compound is the Colombian Shopping Village where you can purchase items like jewelry, souvenirs and other items of interest.
One of the highlights for me was the Parrot Emporium. There you can find not only parrots, but toucans, owls, peacocks, geese, flamingos and other wildlife including deers.
We chose the Chivas Bus Rumba as our tour in Colombia. It's a ride on a very colorful bus to places of interest including .
Honestly, we could not understand a word of the tour guide or the songs they were singing, because of course they spoke Spanish. But I must tell you, that this was one fun ride. The bright colors of the bus alone will make you happy. Add some rum and some live musicians and you have a recipe for fun.
The bus came to the cruise ship port to pick us up. As soon as we entered the windowless bus an attendant passed around and gave us a bottle of local rum, coke, ice and water. He informed us that if any of items finishes just call him and it will be replenished.
We drank, we sang and met new friends. We stopped at designated points along the route, interacting we both locals and tourist alike. With Limited time in Colombia this to me was an ideal tour.
Back to the ship
I must admit. We didn't have enough time in Colombia. During the five or so hours we spent we really enjoyed it. Of course the places we visited were basically tourist hot spots but there were also a lot of locals.
I know a lot of people, including Nikks and I had our reservation about Colombia because of its history, but we did not encounter anything negative, the local were very friendly and the place is vibrant. We did not get to do much but to see and get the feel of the real Colombia i guess you need to spend more time than we did.
What we liked:
Immigration: No hassle. Quick
Airport transfer: No transfer needed Parrot Emporium, Emerald Gallery and the Colombian Shopping Village is located about five minutes from the cruise ship port. The Chiva Rumba bus came and met us on the port also.
Columbia: Colorful, vibrant, people are easy going and beautiful.
What we did not like:
That the trip was so short!
Would we go Colombia again? Yes. But for a longer period to see the true Colombia.
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