​Ursula Hosting, 2019

George and family do cartagena

Jul 9th to jul 16th

Hello again George, 

I would like to present to you an updated version of the previos plan I had created for you.  This one reflects a trip for three people, for seven nights/eight days.  As you know this is a living plan. It can be modified as necessary to meet your requirements.

For your trip, I am recommending to spend some nights in Cartagena and some in the Rosario Islands so you can enjoy the beauty of the islands.  I am suggesting the following:

  • 1 night (the last night) again in Cartagena

  • 2 nights in the islands

  • 4 nights in Cartagena

I am proposing a plan and have come up with an estimated cost based on this schedule. If you want to make changes, I would adjust plan and estimate as necessary. 

 

 Please take a look and let me know of any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have.

Accommodations - Cartagena

  • I always recommend options located in the historic area of the city which is formed by two smaller area,  El Centro, and Getsemani (See Map)

  • El Centro is the main area. the most traditional and classy.  Larger colonial houses, plazas, and hotels are located here.  As well as the main churches, museums, and shops.

  • Getsemani a bit more residencial/less affluent than El Centro. You can still see locals living in there, but it's become the hip part of town. Many call it the Brooklyn of Cartagena. Full of small bars, new boutique hotel, clubs, graffiti art, younger crowds. Some of my favorite restaurants, cafes, and bars are located here. 

  • Your hotel on the 9th, and the house for July 12-16 are both located in El Centro.  

Boutique Hotel - First night  - TownHouse 

  • I think spending the first night in the hotel would be now good,  for the same reason. Easy check in and check out.  Nice way to get you started.

  • Big and spacious rooms. Two room suite. King size beds. Rooftop bar and pool.  Restaurant service in rooftop and first floor lounge. 

  • Centrally located in El Centro. 

Beach Resort - Islas del Rosario - Next Two 2 nights - Isla del Sol

  • This resort is one of the best in the islands. More modern and comfortable than most. It is therefore also more expensive, but I am sure you would really enjoy it.

  • Room would be a suite, private bathroom, living area

  • Beach front, pool, and plenty of space to unwind.

  • It is also located in la Isla Grande, so you can venture and explore outside the island.

  • In this one, all meals are included, which would make a big difference. More expensive now, but perhaps saving money at the end.

  • Additional activities can be coordinated with hotel. 

Private Home ​(Centro Historico) - Last 4 nights - Casa del Virrey. 

  • Private home located in the center of the old town.  Located in one of the best condominium ​in the city.   Spacious and comfortable. A bit more standard and less decorated than previous, but with access to all amenities of the condominium complex (Pools, Gym, sauna, terrace)

Islas Del Rosario

  • Las Islas Del Rosario are a group of small keys/islands approximately 45 minutes aways from Cartagena on fast boat. They are beautiful, but also in some ways very primitive. 

  • There are few places on the islands where visitors can stay, but yet a broad variety of types of them. From luxury to hostels without power.  They all share limitations (Like hot water) but you can find the differences on how comfortable their accommodations are, or how private their beaches are (if they are even water front).  For you, I found an option that is highly rated, has a very private beach, comfortable accommodations, and yet are relatively cheap compared to others in the area. 

  • Transportation is limited. Few companies offer shuttles to and from these places. Resorts usually work with one in particular, the cost is extra, and there is usually just one time available (see below)

  • Day trippers are very common. These resorts sell day passes to visitors who just want to go for a day. What I like about the two I recommend is that they are two of the few who assign places to day trippers, which means no fighting for space or chairs at the beach with them, and only sell a specific number of passes.  Those are big pluses. You should not be bothered by them.     

    • If you rather, we could do this instead of staying over. But price nd value wise I think staying over is worth it.  Day trippers only get about 4-5 hours ​in these places.

  • Once you are there, please work with their staff to arrange extra activities: scuba diving, snorkeling, jet skies, island boat tours, and one that I highly recommend is the night visit to the bioluminescent bay in Isla grande.  Swimming in it at night is an experience like no other. Unforgettable. 

Itinerary and Experiences 

  • Tuesday, July 9th 

    • 12:10 PM Arrival - Pick up at the airport. ​​ Look for driver with sign. Your name will be on sign.

      • Money exchange - It is recommended to have some local currency if possible. You can exchange some (Not all) money at the airport.  Airport does have the worst exchange rate, You can exchange the rest later in the city where the rate is usually better. ATMs offer the best rate, but be aware of your banks international and ATM charges.  You can also send yourself money via Western Union. Good option.   Most places do take credit cards, but cash is definitely needed specially in the islands, and with street vendors.

    • You hotel Townhouse, is one of the newer boutique hotels in the heart of the colonial area. This two room suite is spacious and comfortable. We hope you enjoy it.

      • ​Breakfast is included
      • Please let them know you will need to leave early in the morning, so they can plan for breakfast early, and help you get a taxi if you wish.​

    • After check-in​, take your time to settle in and get familiar with your surroundings, store, money exchange, etc. 

    • 04:00 PM Walking Tour -  You guide will come pick you up at the hotel.  Please wait for her at the lobby. This walk will help you learn the lay out of the city, see main areas (in case you want to go back) and simply be introduced to the city. ​ She will share history and fun facts, but also can adapt the route based on your interests. So feel free to express any requests or questions you might have.

    • Dinner - We will send recommendations for you, and make reservations as requested for any night during the trip.   

  • Wednesday- Friday, July 10th - July 12th 

    • 08:30 AM - Departure for the Islands. Head to Muelle La Bodeguita, door No 5. There you will need to check in for your shuttle.   Remember this is already paid for, there is already a reservation for three under your name. 

      • The pier is about a 10 minute car ride or 10 min walk.  Please plan accordingly.  

      • The boat usually departs between 9-9:30 am, but it is important to check in early to avoid issues.

      • Each person needs to pay the port tax (about $5 p/p) . Recommended to have Colombian pesos in cash. 

      • Remember this is a small boat. Please try to pack light. 

    • Isla Del Sol Eco Hotel. Your reservation is for a Bungalow Deluxe. All meals are included.

      • Once at the island, they will welcome you and give you instructions. You won't be able to check into your room right away, but can enjoy their facilities.  Get into something comfortable and relax by the pool or at the beach. 

      • Check with the front desk about activities, and options for things to do like visiting the aquarium. 

        • One activity I recommend is checking out the bioluminiscent lagoon at night. Ask around to see if they offer that.  

  • Friday, July 12th 

    • 03:00 to 04:30 PM - Return from the Islands -  You would be returning into the city around this time. I don't recommend a scheduled activity this date as you would be tired and most likely happy to just spend time in a hot shower and room with A/C.  

    • You will be responsible for your own transportation to your apartment.  There should be taxis waiting right outside the muelle or passing by. This is a busy area, be ready for that.   Tell the taxi drive this instructions to take you to the house:

      • Casa Del Virrey Eslava - Carrera 6 #38-130 - Since addresses are not commonly used in Colombia, tell them this place is located on Calle del Tejadillo, in front of the little Plaza del Tejadillo (near the wall)

      • Remember you are staying in apartment 212

      • Remember this reservation doesn't include breakfast.  But there are stores near by to buy things to make or to grab breakfast in the mornings.  Some of my favorite coffee shops are:

        • Cafe de la mañana (One block away) and two blocks away you have Juan Valdez, La Brioche, and Esquina del Pan de Bono​

    • If you do feel like exploring the town, I recommend heading to Cafe del Mar.  This is the bar/restaurant with the best view and vibe in the old town to spend the sunset as it is located on top of the wall. Have a drink or two before dinner here. It can be crowded and full of tourists sometimes, but yet it is the best option.  If it is not your vibe then continue to walk on the wall towards Baluarte de San Francisco; a more calm and classy establishment across from Hotel Santa Teresa.   You can check this place any day during your stay as well.  

  • Saturday, July 13th

    • 09:00 AM - Private Bazurto Market Tour​  - This is a real as it gets. The local market where the city gets its produce, meats, and everything else in between.  It is becoming more popular among tourists but it not for everyone.  it is beautiful and colorful, but also real. Not upgraded to comfort.  It is an unforgettable experience, and we have the best guide for the job! 

      • ​Your guide will pick you at this time.  Please be ready by lobby of the complex. 
    • In the afternoon, you could rest after lunch, and then perhaps check out the Castillo de San Felipe later in the afternoon, or walk around the markets in Old Town. 

    • 03:00 PM - Dance Class (One Person) -  Please meet your instructor at Parque de la Marina. She will be waiting for you in the clear area where monuments are located.  towards the center.  It should also be easy to spot by the audio equipment.   It is a 15 min walk from the apartment. Please plan accordingly. ​​

  • Sunday, July 14th

    • Free day. Family plans to attend catholic mass at San Pedro Claver, and celebrate dad's birthday during the afternoon​​

      • George please let me know what and how I can help this day. Whatever you need​

  • Monday, July 15th
    • 08:00 AM Boca Chica Fortress Tour - This is a morning activity (about 5 hours) .

      • Please plan accordingly since this is an early start.  Taxi ride should be about 15 minutes. 

      • You will meet your guide in Bocagrande, behind the hospital (Hospital de Bocagrande). Her name is Wendy, I am attaching a photo of her at the bottom of the page.  The beach behind the hospital is the place where everyone goes to catch boats to Tierra Bomba, the island where Boca Chica is located.  Please be aware this place will be chaotic. There will be many people trying to sell you seats on boats, and rides to different places. It can be overwhelming.  Just tell them you already have a reservation and a boat. 

      • In addition to looking for Wendy, you can also look for the boat (lancha). I am also attaching a photo of the lancha for you at the bottom of the page.

      • Activity includes visit with bilingual guide Fortress of San Fernando y San José, as well as small snack (Refrigerio)  ​​

    • 05:00 PM Sunset Catamaran Cruise Cocktail (2 hrs) - This is one of the newest offerings in Cartagena, A perfect way to end the afternoon and enjoy the city's skyline.  Sunsets in Cartagena are beautiful, and this is the best seat in the house. Cocktail, appetizers, and a glass of wine is included.​

      • Be at Pegasos Muelle not later than 5PM.  This is a 15 walk from the house.

      • Pegasos Pier is right before Bodeguita Pier.  

      • Waiting to hear from operator about voucher. It may not be required. 

  • Tuesday, July 16th 
    • 10:30 Airport Transfer - Our driver will be ready to pick you up at this time for your 1:10PM flight.  Let me know if you would prefer a different time.  

Additional Options for Activities

  • Mud Volcano - Transportation and entrance to Totumo (Mud Volcano)  

  • Coffee Roasting and Tasting  - Workshop. Fun and educational.  

  • Private Street Food tour - Eat your way through old town. Guided

  • Mangrove Fishing - Join a local fisherman to catch fish local style, and then join them as they make a feast with the fresh catch. 

  • Museums - Free. No guide needed. I provide recommendations. 

  • Colombian Rum Tasting​ (1hr - 1.5hrs) -  Try amazing rums, have some appetizers, and enjoy of an insightful and entertaining time. 
  • Bird Watching (2.5 hrs) - let us take you to mangroves and large swamps were migratory and local birds hangout. 
  • 05:00 PM - Stand Up Paddle at Sunset - Another great way to welcome the sunset while exploring another side of the city.  
    ​​​

Summary

The above package includes:

  • 4 night accommodation in Cartagena (Private House) 

  • 2 night accommodation in Islas Del Rosario (Beach Resort)

    • All meals included

  • 1 night accommodation in Cartagena (Boutique hotel)

    • breakfast included​

  • Airport transportation 

  • Activities as noted  

  • Transportation to and from the islands  

  • Concierge services from the moment you book (i.g. reservation services, suggestions)

  • Guides of the city, and other recommendations upon request.  

Total stands at $2980.  $1535 has already been paid, $1445 is outstanding. 

Take your time reviewing everything and let me know what you think. We have time to create the perfect Cartagena vacation for you and your family. 

THANK YOU

Previously Presented Options

Beach Resort - Islas del Rosario - Next Two 2 nights

  • One bungalow with space for three people. One double bed, and one single bed. 

  • Restaurant and bar in premises. Breakfast is included. 

  • Additional activities can be coordinated with hotel. 

Small Private House ​(Getsemani) 

  • Colorful, comfortable, and with a lot of character. This is place is cute and well located. 

  • This one is one of the few houses that has hot water since it's been upgraded.