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Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

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Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

Is it a week too long? Traveling in August and trying to figure out of any good places to take day trips from Cartagena. I'm looking for places with things to do with the family (2 teen kids and my mom). Also, I'm considering going to Islas San Bernardo? Is this reasonable? Do you know of any locations that won't break the bank and that include activities for all to enjoy (my daughter is a certified diver). Please throw at me any tips about staying in Cartagena nowadays (last time I visited I was a high school senior!)

Much appreciated.

-MaLu

Lecheria, Venezuela
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1. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

I believe that perhaps 7 days is too long in Cartagena (5 days should be ok).

The only places worth visiting near Cartagena for a day trip are Islas del Rosario and Playa Blanca. The first at 1.5hrs the latter at 45mins. Perhaps you can visit El Volcan del Totumo (mud volcano) if you are into that sort of thing (45mins). San bernardo, Santa Marta, Tayrona, etc are at plus 3 hours distance.

Your daughter can dive in Islas del Rosario (there are better spots but this one os Ok and very close to Cartagena).

Tips:

If there are 4 of you perhaps its cheaper to rent an apartment than 2 hotel rooms (perhaps a suite).

Good Hotels in old city are expensive, Hilton and Hotel Caribe in Bocagrande are good and cheaper (there are others but this two have been here for a long time).

Do not stay in Boquilla hotels. your teen kids might get bored as there is only beach and hotel activities and is somewhat far from city.

Visit Getsemani neighborhood at night,

Visit old city at nigth.

It is very hot, try stay indoors from 11AM to 2PM.

Try the following places...

Bars/Food: Casa de la cerveza in Calle del Arsenal (outdoors great view and wont break the bank like Juan del Mar restaurant), Leon de Baviera (Arsenal), Via Apia (Old city, Plaza SantoDomingo), Intriga Tropical (El Laguito near Hilton)

Restaurants: Riquisimo in El Laguito, Pavia in Getsemani, Restaurant la Trinidad in Getsemani, La Palleteria (Ice cream) in old city, Juan Valdez coffee in old city (near University of Cartagena), eat where you see locals eating in old city... as an example : empanadas from Chinese restaurant "Polo Norte" with Pony Malta (malt beverage)

If you need more tips Ill be happy to help.

Edited: 02 March 2014, 18:03
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2. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

This is great info. Thank you.

Do you think that Isla Mucura is a feasible next stop after Cartagena? I think the diving options are better around there. Lodging sounds quite expensive but it looks enchanting. Any tips/recs about San Bernardo lodging (PuntaNorte looks amazing but the prices are very, very high for me-- they charge per person b/c activities are included although not the diving).

This will be my kids' first visit to my native country and I want to make an effort to bring up the best and most memorable experience for them (we'll be visiting all my family in Bogota!).

Many thanks in advance for your response. I'm sure Cartagena has changed quite a bit since I went there for my high school graduation!

PS would you care to share an email address with me? I'd like to ask you for some addt'l feedback.

Thanks again!

MaLu

Edited: 02 March 2014, 18:57
Huntington, New York
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3. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

We are going there in a few weeks...we are staying at Casa Marta from Sunday to Wednesday, then going to Punta Faro from Wednesday til Saturday, then Casa Marta again Saturday night and flying home Sunday morning. I am going with my partner and we are bringing our 13yr old niece as a reward for studying Spanish...Could we do a day trip to Santa Marta? what is there to see? I think I read something about a trip down a river? Is it safe to do something like that?

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4. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

Ha! Exactly what I'm planning... how did you reserve at Punta Faro? And is that an all inclusive? Would you mind sharing your experience booking and letting me know how you're getting from and to Mucura from Cartagena? Thx

MaLu

Lecheria, Venezuela
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5. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

Maluz, absolutely it is jccantillo@hotmail.com.

I am sorry I cannot comment on Isla Mucura as I have never been there. Although I stayed a couple of years ago on the Decameron Isla Palma that is right around that area.The Decameron also had diving instructor and equipment. Cartagena has changed quite a bit... for the better.

Rocheden,

No, a day trip is not advisable. Santa Marta is too far, the trip down a river that I know of is in Palomino which is even farther away. Need at least 3 or 4 days to make it worth.

Huntington, New York
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6. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

Thanks. We'll stay in Cartagena then.

Bogota, Colombia
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7. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

Ma Luz, Isla Mucura is part of Islas de San Bernardo; feasibly it would be easier to take a boat from Rincon del Mar, which is closer to Tolu than Cartagena. The majority of the day tours leave out of Tolu; actually you can get to some of the resorts by using the tour boats. If you think Punta Norte's prices are expensive wait till you get accommodation quotes from Punta Faro; judging by the resort's transportation prices this isn't a cheap resort. I toured the resort but didn't stay there.

http://www.puntafaro.com/en/index.html

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8. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

we are taking a boat that we get at a hotel in boca grande. i have the price written down somewhere - i'll look it up and let you know. ps - we made reservations through Booking.com...Meals are included, but I am taking my confirmation of the reservation because I've seen some people say that they had to pay for food even though they thought it was included...

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9. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

How are you doing Playa. Happy New Year. As you can tell I haven't given up on my plans to visit my beloved "Patria"; however, I'm having a hard time with the San Bernardo lodging. Punta Norte charges per person and we'd be 4 so you can do the math.... I know you've been all over the place on the Caribean coast. Please help me out here. I'm having a lot of pressure b/c I already found an apartment in Cartagena but it's booking pretty quickly. The intention is to find really nice beaches which you can't find in Cartagena. Maybe do some snorkeling and diving (only my daughter ); I was told diving around Cartagena is nothing special. If you think the San Bernardo route is not doable with the group I'm traveling with, both logistically and financially, by all means send me other suggestions c

As always, thank you. PS are you now living in Bogota?

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10. Re: Day trips from Cartagena during a week stay (and a bit more)

Hi, I'm finalizing my reservations with Fredy of PuntaNorte to stay in the Isla Mucura. I'm now thinking that I will want to make a stop in Medellin and from there get to Tolu and from Tolu to C/gena... I think we might be able to catch the "Silleteros", which would so awesome for my kids! I'll be gravitating towards the Medellin forum very soon. Thanks.