We started our day today at 3:30 AM to be ready for our 4:30 AM tour bus pick-up. This tour cost $150 mil Colombian pesos or about $50US each. We arrived in Cartagena about 9:00 am and I was able to sleep some on the ride, however our van was packed with 14 including 3 children and two 6 month twin boys and a barely sufficient air conditioner. I guess we looked enough like a bus of immigrants for full body armored police to stop us on our way out of town. The took all our identification, my passport and others credenzas (in Colombia this is like a driver's license). They really scrutinized the men checking closely with something on their cell phones. This was to happen twice more before this tour was over. It was a 3 1/2 hour there and the same back.
Cartagena was a beautiful walled city with plenty of colonial charm. But it was steaming hot and we all wandered through like wilted lettuce. The best part was the Museum of Gold just because it was air conditioned. It's a shame we didn't enjoy this beautiful historical site simply because it was too hot.
The rest of the tour was downhill. They took us to a shopping mall. Why? Then to a beach area where we did have a good local lunch. We had been told we would be able to choose between the beach and returning to the historical area, but after lunch we were very disappointed to learn our tour guide wasn't interested in returning. Soon it poured rain. I couldn't begrudge them the rain because this area of Colombia has been experiencing 9 months of drought. The palm trees are turning brown and some have already bent over.
I am happy I did get to see Cartagena but just wish it could have been a more enjoyable day temperature wise.
Tomorrow we take a shorter tour, a one hour bus and 10 minute boat ride to the Tayrona Park where there are several beautiful beaches. We have decided to go to Crystal Playa where there should be nice snorkeling.