In case you don't know by now, we love Segway tours. It's not just because the Segways happen to be a blast to ride, they are a great way to see some of the world's most historic and interesting places. Cartagena, Colombia, is one such place where a Segway is an excellent choice to explore the historic Old City. We discovered Segway Cartegena through their website and wasted no time in booking a 90-minute tour.
If you have ever avoided a Segway tour because you feared that they are difficult to ride, let me put your mind at easy. If you can stand up, you can learn to ride a Segway in about 10 minutes or less. They are super-intuitive, and a lot of fun. In fact, the hardest part of our tour was finding Segway Cartegena's location! Our cruise ship offered a shuttle service from the pier to the gates of the Old City, so we figured we could walk around and find Segway Cartagena on our own. A map was emailed to us from Segway Cartagena, but the streets in the Old City are not very well marked. We asked several people for directions, showing them the map, but it seemed we kept going in circles. We did finally find the place (obviously), even though there is little or no signage outside. The Segways parked out front sort of gave it away!
Segway Cartagena offers a transfer from the ship for $15 per couple (each way), which we highly recommend unless you are adventurous like us and want to try to find the location on your own. Once we arrived, we met Cesar, our guide for the tour. A few other folks from our cruise ship (Azamara Quest) also showed up for the tour. We were all fitted with helmets and those who had no experience with riding a Segway were given a brief 10-minute training session.
We informed Cesar that we were very familiar with riding Segways and were allowed to skip the training session. While everyone else was getting trained, I used the time to rig up my GoPro to the handlebar of the Segway I would be riding.
Each Segway was equipped with a small bag (see photo above) that could be used to hold sunglasses, keys, a small water bottle, etc. However, we were not offered any bottled water, so make sure to bring your own. Of course, you can also wear your backpack during the tour for larger items. Even though it is not required, it is a good idea to wear sneakers or closed-toe shoes (not flip-flops).
Once the tour started, Cesar took the lead and we all followed through the crowded, narrow streets of the Old City. There were two other Segway Cartagena employees accompanying the tour. One would go ahead and stop traffic for us at intersections while the other remained behind the group. Whenever we dismounted the Segways, one of the guides would stay with the machines to guard them, so I never had to worry about my GoPro disappearing.
Cesar would frequently stop and have us park the machines so we could explore on foot and gather around as he explained the history of a building or an area. We have been on some Segway tours where you never dismount the machine until the end of the tour, and that can get a little tiring on the feet, so it is nice to get off frequently and walk around.
Cesar and his associates were also good about offering to take photos of us along the way, something a lot of tour guides fail to do.
Most Americans don't realize how much history and interesting architecture there is in Cartagena. I think there may still be a stigma about Colombia as a dangerous place, but today, Cartagena is probably as safe as any other international destination. In the Old City, you will find a lot of street vendors selling all sorts of items like hats, sunglasses, etc. But, none of the ones we came across were overly agressive.
Also, most of the places we visited, we found locals who could speak at least some English. Of course, our tour was entirely in English. Our Segway tour lasted 90 minutes and is a good value at $70pp. Segway Cartagena is a local company, so when you go on one of their tours, you are supporting a local business. We like that.
When your cruise ship visits Cartagena, you can book a tour through the ship, or you can do your own thing and book a Segway tour with Segway Cartagena. I think you know which option we preferCheck their website for details at www.segwaycartagena.com