Other travelers I’ve met along the way have told me nothing but good things about Cartagena. I was really looking forward to spending a couple days there to check the place out. Here’s how it went.
Day 1 in Cartagena:
We got off the boat in the morning, found our way to a hotel and began checking emails to find out where the container was at. To our dismay, the container broker we were dealing with informed us that they would not release the bill of lading until we paid an extra $75 per bike for adding them to the bill of lading back in Colon, Panama. After a little nap and some fresh water in the morning, we spent the rest of the day corresponding with the broker, and waiting in a Western Union office to get the money wired so that they would release the bill of lading. The residual rocking effects that the boat inflicted upon me had me stumbling around all day like a drunk man.
Day 2 in Cartagena:
We were up early, piled about 7 people into a cab the size of a Geo Metro, and headed to the port. We spent the morning waiting and waiting. Then we walked down the road in the blazing heat to the customs office, waited awhile longer, and eventually spoke to someone who got the paperwork started on the vehicles. We weren’t driving away with our vehicles today, so we then went downtown to purchase insurance. It took about two hours because their computer kept crashing. We finished after the office officially closed, but fortunately they got it all done rather than turning us away with no insurance. Made it to the hotel about 6:00 PM. I took a quick walk around town, got a bite to eat and was in bed before long, tired from another day of waiting. Still hadn’t reached equilibrium from the damn boat.
Day 3 in Cartagena
Again we were up early to take a cab to the port. This time only four of us went because we were sure we’d be driving our vehicles out before noon. We’d already had two days of red tape BS. It couldn’t take much longer, right? Long story short, we drove the vehicles out of the port at about 8:30 PM after our most impressive day of waiting yet. I had a few beers at the hotel before retreating to my 100 degree hotel room for the night. Land legs were slowly coming back.
Day 4 in Cartagena
I really needed to hit the road to Bogota, but I decided to spend one more day in Cartagena just to continue my rehydration and see if my body could remember how to stand on solid ground again. I was able to meet up with my friends Chris and Alison again who I initially met in language school in Nicaragua. Coffee in the morning and a few beers later in the evening with them were the highlight of my day. The old walled in city in Cartagena really was impressive architecturally. Unfortunately I have no pictures of Cartagena. You’re just going to have to use Google Images and crop me into the photo.
Except this blurry photo of the container crew the day we got the vehicles