Just got back from Panama canal cruise. Stop at Cartagena was the worst port I have been in. Paid for a tour and the whole time had to fight off vendors that would not take no for an answer. They followed people around like puppies and touched you, grabbed you, and got right in your face to sell crap. Our tour guide also contributed by stopping at his friends for cigars, tee shirts, paintings, cold drinks, emeralds, photos of fruit carrying locals and the finest silver plated steel jewelry.
I for one will never get off the ship at this port again.
On the other hand, Costa Rica has been cleaned up and the stop there was enjoyable this time. I did not see any military with auto weapons on every street corner and did not see all the trash we seen the last time we were there. I also did not see people getting fleeced looking for imaginary monkeys in the trees. Also the town was just cleaned up. I enjoyed walking around and looking around. Felt safe.
Panama was great except the land fill was on fire and the ship had to float through the smoke. Other than that we did the train to the Pacific and the bus ride back. Had a great guide and the trip was nice. I enjoyed this port and the trip through the locks.