Next stop on our personal guided tour of Cartagena, Colombia was the Palace of the Inquisition.
The Palace of the Inquisition was constructed in the 18th century for the operation of the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. The building, built specifically for the Inquisition, is now a museum filled with creepy artifacts and historical archives. There are lots of ancient torture devices on display if that’s your thing. Pretty fascinating.
On the first floor, we got see all of the ‘tests’ that the accused had to go through to prove that they weren’t heretics. The questions weren’t very fair. The asked questions like, “So, how long have you been a witch?”, “Would you please tell me the the name of your master amongst the evil spirits?”, and “What demons and people attended your wedding?”.
We saw demonstrations of how the witches were weighed (If you drowned, you weren’t a witch, simple test to pass, right?). Then we moved on to the torture chamber room with an authentic ‘rack’ was on display. Cool stuff.
Living on the edge, we disregarded Royal Caribbean’s advice to only do business with Royal Caribbean endorsed tours and our gamble paid off.
We found a website called “Destination Cartagena” run by a guy named Lee Miles. We sent Lee an inquiry via email and he got back to us right away and answered all of our questions and seemed honest and trustworthy so we booked it.
Our private tour included full tours of San Pedro Claver Church, San Felipe Fortress, Palace of the Inquisition, and the La Popa Monastery and then some walking in Old City, and a little shopping. For $275 (2 people), we got an air conditioned car, a dedicated driver, a separate bilingual guide, plus an extra hour of car/driver/guide for whatever we wanted to do.
When we got off the ship, we were greeted by Anna, a beautiful Colombian woman, holding a sign with our names on it. We felt like rock stars. She escorted us to our waiting car where she introduced us to our driver, Marlon, who was very friendly but I don’t think he spoke any English. It was crazy freaking hot out that day so I am so glad we could travel the city with air conditioning. Note that the photo above looks foggy…that’s due to the humidity on the camera lens.
The whole experience was wonderful. We were far away from all of the touristy stuff, and driving through the streets Cartagena like the locals would, taking shortcuts through old neighborhoods that only the locals would know about. Anna was smart, elegant, and knowledgeable and was a wonderful tour guide.
We would recommend booking private Cartagena tours with Lee Miles without hesitation, it was an unforgettable experience.