Not sure what to expect while in Cartagena, 4 of us decided to take a ship's excursion. We did the city tour. It was really a good couple of hours. We also got to take some time on our own for eating in a local restaurant. If you go on your own be sure and allow enough time to get back to the ship. Sometimes it is hard to find a taxi.
It is about 2 miles from the port to the Walled City. Be careful. It is not safe to wander around on your own. Lots of bad guys out there.
If you don't want to do the ship's tour, I would recommend getting a private tour company (with an English speaking guide).
We were there 2 months ago and a lot of the places are a ghetto. There were soldiers and cops with machine guns all over the place in the downtown area. But no where to be found in the other areas.
Hundreds of beggars.
SS Norway (12 times) '85 - '97; Radiance OS 06/01; Island Princess 11/04, Grand Princess 11/04/05, Golden Princess 7/21/06, Golden Princess 2/24/07, Explorer of the Seas 12/23/07, Island Princess 11/15/08
Thank you ALL for your responses. I think I will check the excursions and then look at the cost of a tour guide rather than wonder around on our own. I have heard (read) many similar comments about the area.
I will NOT chance any encounters in columbia without a guide of some sort.
As you drive from the pier to the old city look up at the street signs. each block is marked with the symbol of the "organization" in control of that particular area. I am a former police officer and was there with a current anti crime detective. We were "alarmed" at the local scene. Don't go anywhere on your own