3 independent reviews for Colombia holiday, tailor made

Reviews for Colombia holiday, tailor made

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review 7 May 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Amazon forest, simply amazing!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take your time, Colombia is a beautiful country absolutely worth visiting.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes as we worked with local guides who explained us a lot about the places we visited but also about the nature and the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Really great.

review 12 Mar 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The UNESCO World Heritage site at the Archaeological Park in San Agustin. We had an excellent park guide, Miguel Angelo who was very knowledgeable, and our local guide (Jorge) spoke very good English,was very helpful and a pleasure to be with. Barichara and the walk to Guane was very enjoyable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bargain hard when buying stuff off the street, e.g football shirts Whilst the Hacienda Venezia was located in a pretty valley, we wasted a lot of time and fuel travelling to & from the hotel to see the Cocora Valley and we had insufficient time to appreciate fully the beauty of our surroundings near Manizales. We would have been much better off staying in Salento. Salento was also closer to the airport at Pereira, and the trip from Popayan would also have been far shorter.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local people will have benefitted, But there were environmental downsides of not staying in Salento which could have and should have been pointed out to us. Conservation was supported.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Our transport from Santa Marta to Cartagena failed to appear and it took quite some time for us to contact the local agent to alert them as no-one was answering the emergency phone. Although many promises were made (e.g we were told on three separate occasions that the car will be with us in 20 minutes) we then had to wait almost 3 hours for an alternative to be arranged (luckily we were not going for a flight). The alternative was a pick-up truck which gave us a pretty bumpy ride, but did at least get us to our destination. The local agent could have shown us more consideration and contacted us to ensure that we had arrived safely. But we did get a free meal in an interesting restaurant which was of some consolation. We had to wait several more days to find out what had gone wrong. The excuse given by the car company was that they just plain forgot. As a result we can only award the holiday 4 stars.

Read the operator's response here:

Happy to read that our travelers had a good holiday and in fact would have preferred to give a five star review. We agree that the Archaeological Park at San Agustin is a top location to visit together with another day tour through the area if time allows to add another day. We normally have travelers with limited travel time stay overnight in Salento but in this particular case we were asked by our travelers to have a stay arranged at hacienda Venezia. It was not our original proposal. We realize now that it was too much traveling for them and that we should have advised differently, or that we should have added an extra day here to wander around and visit eventually a beautiful birdwatching park nearby Manizales. The mother hacienda of Venezia is a very interesting and beautiful wooden coffee farm from the colonial times with a modern swimming pool, great views, hammocks and sofas in abundance all round the veranda and abundant birdlife, all in the middle of the coffee fields with steep hills and an authentic small modern coffee factory at short walk. Many coffee farms have been turned into hotel pousadas only and the process of coffee production is invisible. Here you can see it all and you recieve a guided tour over the fields and at the factory of this middle sized farm that still processes the coffee. We are very sorry that not all of the private taxi transfers functioned properly. We from our side have asked the staff in Bogota to build in some extra double control checks for the transfers and the rest of all the services. So that this experience is also turned into a learning experience for all involved to improve the performance. Best regards, Marcel

review 23 Jan 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Loved the Colombian people; loved Bogota; Medellin & Cartagena.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be aware in advance of the length of time it takes to get served in restaurants and the blandness of the food. Also we found the guides to be uninspiring. Colombia needs to invest in these areas in order to drive tourism in a positive was.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was good and very enjoyable overall - we saw a huge amount of the country and had many different experiences.

Read the operator's response here:

We are happy to hear from our customer that they did like the Colombian people and cities and that the trip overall was very enjoyable. Also we are really glad to hear that the trip was regarded as bringing benefits to local people, involve reduction of environmental impacts and support conservation. As these are important items for many local operators, as well as for tourism in general in Colombia. It's true that some local guides have to learn more about standards of Western tourism and not all guides speak English very well, but normally they are very enthusiastic. What happened here is that the group preferred to travel without an experienced tourleader. When traveling in a group and not familiar with the Spanish language and Colombian culture, we always highly recommend to travel with an experienced tourleader. This we did advise to this travelparty but they preferred to travel on their own. It is quite a challenge to travel with a group through Colombia without anyone speaking Spanish! My partner supported and accompanied this group every day by telephone. This would however have been fully unnecessary with the presence of a tourleader. A learning lesson also for us. A tourleader does not only inform the group during the trip about Colombian culture and aspects in general, but supports the whole organization and logistics of local tours, transfers, coordinates with the local guides, is a complement in many aspects to the local guides, selects restaurants and prepares the menus, takes care of first aid and prevents accidents there where necessary. A professional tourleader has many years of experience in guiding groups, is passionate about a country, about the tours, about guiding, loves to take care, anticipates and this way creates a once in a life time holiday for his customers. We offered to guide this travelparty ourselves, we would have loved to do so and it is a pity we did not have the chance to make this trip more than enjoyable. We have guided many grouptrips, we are certificated and do recognize once again that guiding a travelparty is not something that you just do and comes by itself: it is a true profession! When traveling in a small group or in case of a tailor made individual travel, this can be a financial factor to think about, but when a group is bigger than 8 or 10 pax, the extra cost is relatively low and has a huge advantage. We do offer guidance in Latin American destinations as Cuba, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Brasil and in Colombia. You can see some of our group offers on the site of Responsible Travel. Feel free to contact us and have a chat by Skype. At last but not at least about the food. Colombia is not famous for its kitchen that is true so far, this may change in future, but it does have very nice and traditional foods to offer. In the bigger cities as Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin and Cali you can find some boutique haute cuisine restaurants though. Many local restaurants are not used to big groups or European standards. The meal that is ready, is served first without thinking of the other plates that still have to come. Also, as soon as somebody finishes eating, the plate is taken away. So when eating in group, sometimes one is already finished while others are still waiting. This should not happen in the better restaurants in the bigger cities, but also here it helps to have a tourleader in the group who manages all this with the waiters and captain of the restaurant.

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