Below are a variety of ways to help you get an introduction to Cartagena; most have links for further information.
1. Visit the Tourist Office for information—pick up a blue city map (available in English and Spanish), a copy of the monthly tourist newspaper “Donde” (Spanish only), and anything else they may have. Locations:
*In baggage claim at the airport (kiosk)
*In the old city, Plaza de la Aduana (main office)
*Outside the old city wall & to the right of the Clock Tower (kiosk–seasonal)
*At the tourist dock where boats for the islands depart
2. Free walking tours
-Centro & San Diego sections of the Old City: daily at 10 am & 4 pm (Spanish & English)
-Getsemaní section: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10:30 am & 3 pm (English only)
Meet for both at Plaza Santa Teresa, near the Naval Museum (2-2.5 hours, tips welcomed; registration preferred: http://freetourcartagena.com.co/us/index.html)
3. Segway Cartagena Owner Cesar is bilingual (English/Spanish). He & his staff show you how to ride a Segway, guide you safely along the streets, give a very informative tour, & are fun! Highly recommended. Tel: 660-5885; cell: 316-862-5588; email: email@example.com Calle 40 #06-26, Centro, Edificio Mirador del Tejadillo (by “El Boquetillo” entrance of the wall, along Avenida Santander/the sea)
4. Walk the Wall Have a look at the map here to see an outline of the city walls on Google maps, as well as the apartment locations. You can almost walk the entire way around the San Diego & Centro sections of the Old City with great views of the sea and the city. (Unfortunately one section of the wall was destroyed in the early 1900s in the name of “progress.”) There is more wall further south, in the “up and coming” Getsemaní area. Walking the wall is best done in the morning or late afternoon when it’s not so hot. Also it can be tricky at night as the pavement is not always level and there are no railings or lights, so please be careful.
5. Private guided tours in English or Spanish: We recommend Dimas Mosquera Arias, who has been a tour guide in Cartagena for five years. Originally from Buenaventura (on the Pacific coast), he has lived in Cartagena for many years and also spent several years in the U.S. He offers personalized tours around the Old City and more. Apartment Manager Benjamin can help book your tour with Dimas.
6. Rent A Bike Bike rental locations seem to come and go, but you should be able to find one without trying very hard. Ciclo Sport 512 on Calle del Cuartel is recommended (tel: 660-8438; cell:312-769-1424); they have electric bikes as well as traditional bikes. Be very careful of traffic; drivers are crazy here!
7. Take a carriage ride. You can almost always find a carriage available at Plaza Bolivar and by the Clock Tower.
8. Chiva Tours Several past guests have recommended taking a night time Chiva tour—it’s a party in a bus that brings you all over the city and takes you to a nightclub at the end. It’s “rumba” time!! Such tours can also be done during the day (and it’s also less of a party then), but note that these are open air buses and there is no air conditioning. There are many options for this; one is outlined here.
9. Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour 90 minutes total if you do the whole trip at once, but you can of course hop on & off and make a longer tour!