But, back to my original point of this story, I would not recommend walking outside of the port. They offer excellent and friendly cab service from within the port area. When we went to walk outside of the port, there were many cab drivers and hustlers waiting for tourists like us. They were quite aggressive and personally it made me a bit uncomfortable. We decided against trying to walk any further and instead turned back into the port area to save our adventure in Cartagena for another day. Since we have another stop there, I figured we would wait until our other musician friends were able to join us and then go to the old city in a larger group. I look forward to writing another installment on the old city area of Cartagena and posting some additional pictures then.
Once you get to the port store, the shuffle you through a tourist trap of a shop that sells all kinds of made in Columbia art, clothing, coffee and emeralds. Cartagena is famous for their emeralds…. also famous for their Heineken cut emeralds…. Where someone cuts and polishes the green glass from a Heineken bottle and puts the “fake stone” in a setting and sells it to unaware tourists. Princess Cruises has taken extra care to ensure that they recommend some specific shops for their passengers to shop at so that they can purchase goods that are authentic.
Outside of the shop, there was a small cafe serving Columbian coffee, fresh fruit smoothies and other snacks. They also have an excellent wifi internet connection that you can access for $5/hour. Inside the port stores area, there is a small caged area where there are all kinds of native birds, including Toucans and Parrots. I wish I knew more about the species of birds as their colors were amazing, pink, red, blues and attitudes to match. They squawked and quarreled at each other over the melons at their feet. We had a great time taking pictures of them.
Speaking of journey’s we certainly have had our share of adventure already. Our first day where we could get off the ship, we thought we would venture on foot from the port in Cartagena to the center of the old city. There are some famous land marks there and we heard some great cafes as well. It’s kind of interesting how the port areas in every country are clean and beautiful…. also very safe. When we disembarked the ship, we were greeted by ladies with giant bowls of fruit resting on their heads. I’ve never seen such colorful fruit in my whole life. It’s so hard to describe the reds and pinks of the melons. They were much brighter and more vibrant than any flowers from my garden at home. As we walked from the ship to the actual port stores it was super humid and about 99 degrees. I felt as if I was melting.