Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Typically we come into a port of call with some background and expectations of where we are visiting. But today was one of those rare exceptions. For whatever reason, we didn’t do a lot of research on Cartagena beyond looking at the offered excursions and the travel advisories on the State Department website. The excursion options were pretty limited, and everything offered was a variation on an old city tour and/or old fortress tour.
We choose the old city tour. We got up a reasonable hour and joined Becky and Leigh for breakfast. Soon thereafter we got off the ship and boarded a catamaran which took us across the harbor to the old city. On the way, we passed by the Colombian naval base, which was proud to welcome its fifth ship to the fleet yesterday. Our guide made light of this and said that their navy has 400 ships… minus 396. He said that Colombia is not a war country and doesn’t have need for a large military. But he did take pride in saying that Colombia is the only South American country with access to two oceans. But we’d think Chile might have something to say about that here.
It may be useful to point out that it was about 90F and sunny today, even though the forecast called for clouds and passing thundershowers. It was hot and muggy and a bit difficult to really enjoy.
Our tour guide Carlos (aka Speaker) was full of extra energy and tried his best to wake up the large group and get us excited for the day. He was pretty knowledgeable about the city and its history and provided plenty of background via a microphone and chest speaker. But it was difficult to always hear him or pay attention with the constant pestering of the street vendors selling hats, sunglasses, and necklaces. The city itself is almost 500 years old. The old walls were built as defenses against pirates.
Beyond seeing the architectural beauty of the old city, we also made stops at the Pre-Colombian culture and gold museum, and the emerald museum. The latter two were a great stop if only for the air conditioning and break from the vendors.
After about two hours, and a deceptively long mile of walking, our city tour came to an end. We boarded the catamaran and went back to the Equinox. But before returning to the ship, the port had a small zoo with various local birds and monkeys.
We spent the rest of the day on the ship relaxing from the heat and activity of the morning’s tours.
In the evening we saw the comedian Carl Banks.
Tomorrow we make port in Colon, Panama. But we won’t spend much time there because were going to board another boat and transit the Panama Canal! Tomorrow will be a two continent and two ocean day.
Total steps: 10,678
Total primates: 2 species
Free purell squirts: 7