Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Cartagena, Columbia

Welcome to Cartagena!

Cartagena, Columbia

The first time we ever came to Cartagena I have to admit my mind went to the cartels. It took a few trips here before my mind automatically didn't focus on the bad. (Although years back we witnessed the most aggressive and largest groups of pushy vendors at every one of the Hop On Hop Off bus stops.)

I was up early watching as we docked and as the busses were given the okay to start filling the pier. Busses down one direction...
tour buses lined up on cruise ship pier at Cartagena, Columbia
and down the other. 
tour buses lined up at cruise ship pier in Cartagena, Columbia
Wonder how today's HOHO guests fared
Update: I spoke to passengers who rode the Hop On Hop Off today and they told me stories of the aggressiveness of the vendors. So nope, no change.

No tour bus for me today, though. I knew exactly where I was headed - to the aviary in the port area. The Port Oasis EcoPark was oh-so-close to the ship. It's an easy walk but there is also a free shuttle provided.
Port Oasis EcoPark in Cartagena, Columbia
It was quite a lovely experience. It's like a zoo, but more of a sanctuary. And it's free! I saw lots of animals. The birds were free range so they flew (and landed) all around.
flamingos at Aviary at the Cartagena, Columbia cruise port
Flamingos were in an enclosed area
So was the Collared Peccary, thank goodness
Being I can't stand monkeys I'm glad I didn't come across any. They also have sloths but I didn't see any of those, either.
But I did come across beautiful birds who were free to go wherever they wanted. At my feet, in the trees, and flying overhead. 
white peacock at Aviary at Cartagena, Columbia cruise port
macaws in Aviary in Cartagena, Columbia cruise port
I even had one investigating my scooter.
I spent a couple hours there just looking at everything. They have a nice store and I was able to pick up some new bling for Scooter. 
Just big enough to hold hand sanitizer and lip balm
But the time I was ready to go back, I was sweaty. Like clothes stuck-to-you sweaty. A cool beverage from their little cafe (menu at the end of this post) helped to cool me down just a little, but I would probably need half a dozen to bring me much relief. 
house cocktail at Cafe Del Puetro Cartagena, Columbia cruise port
Even the vultures knew I was about done
Before I left I came across one last picture I just had to take. The simplest and sweetest of all.
I wheeled my way back to the ship..
cruise ship as seen from Port Oasis EcoPark in Cartagena, Columbia
went to the cabin, peeled off my clothes, and got dressed for the pool. Swam for a couple hours, had an ice cream cone, a free 5 minute shoulder massage from the spa gals, and had my nightgown back on before dinnertime. An exhausting but full day in Cartagena.

This was our last port of this cruise. Folks I've talked to are ready to get back home while I'm ready to really get my trip started. We have a couple sea days and then will be in Fort Lauderdale on Friday. See you then!

Cafe Menu. I thought the prices were great.