Kimkim Trip Reviews for Philippines

Reviews from actual kimkim travelers. We publish all reviews.
4.7
(12 reviews)
Read 12 verified reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim.

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El nido, coron, camiguan, cebu, Philippines - Jul 10 - Jul 18, 2019

Traveler: Jasmine A. - Local specialist: Dan Barmatz

Our trip to The Philippines was incredible! We appreciated how much Dan guided us from the very beginning with our price range, desired activities and our other wishes for the trip. He was super responsive, and we loved all of our private tours. The package deal was customized for us, and I have yet to find another company who does this with such attention to detail. While we were on our trip, we received texts (loved that) from Gazle who was also super helpful and responsive. We... read more

Our trip to The Philippines was incredible! We appreciated how much Dan guided us from the very beginning with our price range, desired activities and our other wishes for the trip. He was super responsive, and we loved all of our private tours. The package deal was customized for us, and I have yet to find another company who does this with such attention to detail. While we were on our trip, we received texts (loved that) from Gazle who was also super helpful and responsive. We absolutely loved The Guerrera Resort (Camiguin)! Amarela (Bohol) was a beautiful place, and we could not have been happier with the service and amenities. The snorkeling in Balicasag should not be missed and neither should the boat cruise on the Loboc River (both in Bohol).There is no question that I will use Kimkim again for my future travel plans, and if you are looking for the best specialist for your trip to The Philippines, you have to use Dan Barmatz!

Dan Barmatz profile photo
Dan Barmatz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you very much for your kind words! It gives us pleasure to find our guests here in the Philippines satisfied.

We are very thankful to have guests like you.

Hope to see you again,
Gazle, Dan and the rest of the team :)

Three days in the philippines, Philippines - Jun 30 - Jul 4, 2019

Traveler: CAROLE L. - Local specialist: Dan Barmatz

Everything was great. Dan was very attentive to our needs. It was a disappointment that the underground cave on Palawan was closed and we had to do another tour. The island Hopping tour was absolutely awful. I would never recommend it to anyone. I understand we had no choice, either that or stay at the hotel where there also was nothing to do but swim in the pool Hotel was fine but lots under construction so although the service was terrific there really was no charm to it. The... read more

Everything was great. Dan was very attentive to our needs. It was a disappointment that the underground cave on Palawan was closed and we had to do another tour. The island Hopping tour was absolutely awful. I would never recommend it to anyone. I understand we had no choice, either that or stay at the hotel where there also was nothing to do but swim in the pool Hotel was fine but lots under construction so although the service was terrific there really was no charm to it. The islands were made for tourists and held no beauty or anything of interest. The swimming was in a restricted area which made it crowded and murky waters, totally unappealing considering the Pacific can be so beautiful. The lunch was like pigs eating at a trough. That last island again was for tourists. Nothing indicative of the Philippines, its beauty or history. Just ugly island with murky water and totally overcrowded.
I've traveled to 150 countries and would never recommend this tour to anyone.

Dan Barmatz profile photo
Dan Barmatz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Carole,

Thank you for your review. I'm very sorry we had to change the tour on the last moment, due to an arbitrary immediate closure of the Underground River National park. It was very unfortunate. I agree with you that the island hopping tour in Puerto Princesa is nothing special. We usually skip it altogether.

It's a shame that your trip here was very short, and therefore we had no room for corrections. Your trip relied almost solely on Puerto Pricesa and the Underground River, so... read more

Hi Carole,

Thank you for your review. I'm very sorry we had to change the tour on the last moment, due to an arbitrary immediate closure of the Underground River National park. It was very unfortunate. I agree with you that the island hopping tour in Puerto Princesa is nothing special. We usually skip it altogether.

It's a shame that your trip here was very short, and therefore we had no room for corrections. Your trip relied almost solely on Puerto Pricesa and the Underground River, so once the park was closed we tried the best that we can to make something out of it.

I hope to see you here again in the future, for a longer time, and we'll be able to show you the true beauty of the Philippine Islands and its people and culture.

Kindly,
Dan

Philippines 2019, Philippines - Mar 29 - Apr 9, 2019

Traveler: James W. - Local specialist: Dan Barmatz

Using Kim Kim was pretty easy. Dan set us up with things in line with what we were looking for. Our local guides were good, but I’m glad I spoke the local language as some of the English skills were rough.

Dan Barmatz profile photo
Dan Barmatz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi James!

Thank you for your review. We always love to read that our guests are satisfied with our service, and had fun during their stay in the Philippines.

We would love to see you again on your next trip :)

Best,
Dan

Jennifer

Trip to philippines - 4 days in february/march, Philippines - Feb 27 - Mar 4, 2019

Traveler: Jennifer K. - Local specialist: Cami Sarmiento

I loved my trip to the Philippines—especially the two-day boat trip from Coron around the Calamian Islands. Spending the night on tiny, nearly-deserted Pass Island under a sky full of stars was beyond memorable, and our guide Jhonas planned each day to perfectly avoid the crowds at popular spots. I've never seen coral reefs like the ones I saw there, and we had the opportunity to learn free diving, kayak from the boat in quiet lagoons, etc.

The day tour of Bohol with Scarlett was also very... read more

I loved my trip to the Philippines—especially the two-day boat trip from Coron around the Calamian Islands. Spending the night on tiny, nearly-deserted Pass Island under a sky full of stars was beyond memorable, and our guide Jhonas planned each day to perfectly avoid the crowds at popular spots. I've never seen coral reefs like the ones I saw there, and we had the opportunity to learn free diving, kayak from the boat in quiet lagoons, etc.

The day tour of Bohol with Scarlett was also very interesting, and it was made easy with a seamless airport transfer and made comfortable with an air-conditioned van (it gets HOT there!). A Bohol highlight was the Lomboc River lunch cruise—it sounds touristy and I never would have booked it for myself, but it was actually a total delight. The Butterfly Sanctuary was not for me, though perhaps worth a stop for the homemade ice cream on site (try the Cacao or Durian flavors!).

My one piece of advice to travelers booking with Cami is to be explicitly clear about the type of hotel and transport you want throughout your trip, as this was the only issue we ran into. Get the hotel names and look into them ahead of time to be sure they meet your expectations, and if possible, get on the phone with Cami to confirm everything—she is great at answering questions asked before the trip. In terms of tours, food, activities, etc, you're in fabulous and knowledgable hands.

Cami Sarmiento profile photo
Cami Sarmiento, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for your wonderful feedback Jennifer. We are all very happy that you and Cailley had such a great time with us. Thank you for choosing to travel with us. We look forward to adventuring with you again in the future.

Explore and family wedding, Philippines - Jan 30 - Feb 13, 2019

Traveler: Chad K. - Local specialist: Dan Barmatz

It was a pleasure working with the KimKim team on our Philippine adventure!

The trip started with a trip up to Banaue and Batad for a tour of the rice terraces. They were truly spectacular and a highlight of the trip! It’s an 8 hour journey from Manila, but well worth it. We had a great driver, who was able to tell us about the Philippines, make stops and always recommend great local food for us to try along the way.

We hiked with an excellent guide through Batad. We got off the main... read more

It was a pleasure working with the KimKim team on our Philippine adventure!

The trip started with a trip up to Banaue and Batad for a tour of the rice terraces. They were truly spectacular and a highlight of the trip! It’s an 8 hour journey from Manila, but well worth it. We had a great driver, who was able to tell us about the Philippines, make stops and always recommend great local food for us to try along the way.

We hiked with an excellent guide through Batad. We got off the main trails and we’re able to see the rice terraces and village from so many great perspectives! We hiked well ahead of the main tour groups and were able to enjoy swimming at Tappiya Falls on our own. On the way back from Batad to Banaue, we rode on top of the Jeepney.

We stayed at the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel. It was clean and in a great location, out of the hustle and bustle of the town centre.

Following Banaue, we went back to Manila for a great night at the I’M Hotel, before we flew to Coron. The I’M Hotel pool and rooftop bar are a fantastic place to relax and enjoy the scenery!

Coron was gorgeous. It’s such a chill town that provides amazing opportunity to get out on the water for island hoping. I loved the small town vibe. When I arrived in Coron I was a little surprised that it wasn’t a beach town, given the photos you see online (there’s no beach and the water is pretty dirty), but you’ll soon forget about that when you go out on boating adventures. I particularly enjoyed the coral garden, shipwrecks and Kayangan Lake! We loved the sunset drinks and dinner at La Sirenetta Seafood Restaurant & Bar. The restaurant is setup on the water and has beautiful views.

We stayed at Corto Del Mar and enjoyed the hotel. The hotel has a nice courtyard, pool and restaurant, but it’s not right on the beach.

Following Coron we had a wonderful time in El Nido and enjoyed some quiet time staying on Miniloc Island, where we could easily tour the Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Snake Island and Cudugnon Cave. El Nido resorts Miniloc Island offers great island hopping tours. The only disappointing part of our stay was the boating transfers to Miniloc Island. We were first put on a boat that wouldn’t start for about a half an hour, then once it got started this same boat stalled in the middle of our journey and we had to be rescued by a speedboat. The hotel didn’t really acknowledge the situation and I expected a bit more from a 5 star resort.

Following El Nido we had a fantastic time in Borocay for my cousins wedding. We stayed at the Coast Borocay Hotel. This is an amazing boutique hotel, on the beach at Station 2. From the moment we arrived at the airport, this hotel provided the best customer service of any place we stayed in the Philippines. We loved this hotel!

I’m happy about our KimKim experience and was happy to have the team just a What’s App message away from helping keep the trip on track and our tours confirmed, even when they’re running late or on island time. Everything was taken care of and we were able to relax on the trip.

Dan Barmatz profile photo
Dan Barmatz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Chad!

Thank you very much for your review! I believe it will give future clients an idea of how their vacation here in the Philippines can look like, and what's our capacity. We always make sure our guests get the best, as this is what they deserve!

Hope to see you here in the Philippines again some day.
Best,
Dan

Izabella

Palawan, Philippines - Jan 30 - Feb 12, 2019

Traveler: Izabella L. - Local specialist: Dan Barmatz

Dan planned my whole trip to the Philippines and it was exactly how I wanted it to be. He was very knowledgeable about all the places we talked about and made good suggestions of what we should do if I was unsure about anything. I would highly recommend Kimkim to all my family and friends as they tailor the trip to whatever your needs are. I am very happy. Thank you so much will definitely be booking with KimKim again

Dan Barmatz profile photo
Dan Barmatz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you so much for your kind words Izabella!

Looking at your lovely pictures makes me happy I was able to be a part of your visit here. I had a great pleasure serving you, and would love to do the same for any of your family members or friends in the future.

I hope to see you here again one day :)

Best regards,
Dan

Joyb, Philippines - Jan 8 - Jan 23, 2019

Traveler: Sara H. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first trip to the Philippines and my first experience with kimkim. The trip more than met my expectations and frankly, I was blown away. Leo from Uncharted Earth kept in touch, answered my questions, and made and adjusted arrangements quickly and graciously. He sent photos, bios and cell numbers for everyone I would be guided by in the Philippines so I knew who was supposed to be meeting me. While in the Manila area the guides, Don-Don, EJ and Jhon... read more

I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first trip to the Philippines and my first experience with kimkim. The trip more than met my expectations and frankly, I was blown away. Leo from Uncharted Earth kept in touch, answered my questions, and made and adjusted arrangements quickly and graciously. He sent photos, bios and cell numbers for everyone I would be guided by in the Philippines so I knew who was supposed to be meeting me. While in the Manila area the guides, Don-Don, EJ and Jhon were fun, friendly and knowledgeable. They helped me try new foods and I had a great time seeing the sights. I seriously underestimated the effects of heat and humidity and they adjusted accordingly, cheering me on and helping me out at Taal Volcano, Laguna Waterfalls and the boat ride down the rapids. We also saw historical buildings in the area. All must-see excursions. The Bayleaf hotel was also nice while in Manila. Ana Santos from Uncharted Earth was always available throughout my tour modifying travel plans and getting another driver for me when plans changed at the last minute; a flight was cancelled so that she had to fix my stay at the hotel and transportation. The only time I had problems the hotel was supposed to arrange transportation; I called Ana and she fixed that, too. While in Donsol, Donsol Eco Tours and Elysia Hotel were wonderful, adjusting for the change in flights cheerfully, the food was grand and I highly recommend the firefly boat ride, Krishna was a great guide. I would highly recommend Donsol Eco Tours and the Elysia Hotel for anyone seeing the area. While in Palawan, Stephen Tuboc showed me the sights and arranged my island hopping schedule so that I missed the crowds at each stop, the boat crew provided an amazing meal, as good as any restaurant, right there on the beach- heaven. They even managed our time so that I got to see a magical little enclosed lagoon all by myself. Truly a mind-blowing day. The Atremaru hotel was also wonderful, peaceful and felt like you were really living in the jungle. I would highly recommend Stephen as a guide, really knowledgeable. Everywhere I went the scenery was amazing, food was wonderful and I’m sure it was because Uncharted Earth did such a good job selecting the tours and lodgings. If I’ve forgotten anyone, I apologize. Two huge thumbs up.

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for the detailed review Sara, my team and I are all very happy that you had such a wonderful time with us! You were a great guest and we hope to go on another adventure with you in the future!

Segal

Christmas getaway, Philippines - Dec 24 - Jan 8, 2019

Traveler: Segal A. - Local specialist: Dan Barmatz

Dan did an amazing job planning my trip. When I encountered an issue with my first hotel. Dan took care of it immediately. I loved all of the destinations he chose for me. The trip was very well organized. I would definitely book future travel with Dan. I would definitely HIGHLY reomeend him to my friends. I would rate my experience a full 10/10. Thanks so much.

Dan Barmatz profile photo
Dan Barmatz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you very much Segal!

We had a pleasure having you here, and will love to see you once again in the future. I'm personally delighted that you enjoyed the itinerary we designed together.

Thanks again for your kind words.
Dan

Law family tour, Philippines - Dec 27 - Dec 30, 2018

Traveler: Carina L. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

Our trip was wonderful..Our drivers Ana and John were excelkent .Friendly and amazing druving skills and patient with our regular stops. They were wonderful to accomodate another person in our tour at the last minute.Marvin our guide was good and found great restaurants fir lunch Hillside Inn in Batad and Misty Inn in Sagada were both charming and served delicious food.
The terraced rice fields and Echo Valley were amazing and despite the long drive well worth it.Abother trip off my bucket list.Thanks Leo for your help and advice
Carina Law

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Carina, thank you for your feedback and I'm glad you had a wonderful trip! It was a pleasure for my team to show you a bit of our country.

We also do tours in Colombia, another amazing country. You might want to consider that for your next vacation!

Thank you for traveling with us and we hope to take you on another adventure in the future!

Beach & jungle, Philippines - Nov 7 - Nov 14, 2018

Traveler: Jeff S. - Local specialist: Cami Sarmiento

Step Tuboc was a fantastic guide. He gave good explanations and really knew his flora & fauna, especially birds.
The individual guides were good with 3 being exceptional. The 2 girls that took us to Rasa Island and Mike in the El Nido region.
We enjoyed the hiking, going to the caves, and boating. The highlights were hiking through the rivers to the village, traveling to Rasa Island, & all of El Nido.
We had a great time. We have traveled a good bit (I think this makes 46 countries) and we would rate this in our top 3 travels.
Thank you.

Cami Sarmiento profile photo
Cami Sarmiento, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for your review Jeff. I'm really happy to hear you had such a wonderful trip with Step.
Thank you for choosing to travel with us. We look forward to taking you on another adventure in the future.

Philippines, Philippines - Sep 28 - Oct 13, 2018

Traveler: Bel B. - Local specialist: Yoav Reuveni

Sent the following to the agent, have listed reasons below
out of pocket expenses in which we are seeking a refund and received a partial refund as agent blamed those he booked with and if they refused refund so did he. Quotes given in AUD then US then AUD, became confusing, advised we were from Australia early on. Communication with agent before leaving Australia was that using WhatsApp was fine and he would contact day before on WhatsApp with info, this regularly didn't happen and we had... read more

Sent the following to the agent, have listed reasons below
out of pocket expenses in which we are seeking a refund and received a partial refund as agent blamed those he booked with and if they refused refund so did he. Quotes given in AUD then US then AUD, became confusing, advised we were from Australia early on. Communication with agent before leaving Australia was that using WhatsApp was fine and he would contact day before on WhatsApp with info, this regularly didn't happen and we had to chase him up, he blamed us for not getting a local simcard yet we had free wifi to get information the day before. Sending the information before he finished work each day would have been more reasonable. Anyway trip is finished, won't use this agent again and hope that no-one else is let down by them:
Payment for 2 pax turtle viewing that we made but as per our texting this never happened. Our tour on this day was less than 50% of what was expected tin the outlined itinerary you gave us - day trip that ended at 11am, very disappointing, lunch for 1 person to share among 2 with a piece of fruit only for the second person, very average.
Yellow taxi pick up from Ferry Terminal to White Sands on return from Bohol - drivers were very rarely who you texted through and number plates matched maybe once. This yellow cab guy held up our names across the road then we chased him to his yellow taxi, someone grabbed our bags and put them in the taxi boot demanding money. Driver sat in seat on his phone and did nothing, had to pay driver and bag man total 580 peso.
Canyoneering - we sent a message early on asking if there was anything we needed, that is on KimKim messages. We didn't get a reply so presumed nothing. Once arriving we had to pay for waterproof bag and reef shoe hire 700 peso.
Group van El Nido as we ended up organising private ourselves. Your messages didn't get through before our pick up around 6.30am that you had said was coming later than that at 7.30am. No chance to communicate and our tour guide for the day had no information for us either until the end of our tour when we had already arranged a transfer ourselves.
Taxi to airport due to your transfer being too late to get us there 500 peso.
We forgot also the 240 peso for luggage and ferry terminal charge.

Review of trip with reasons for refund requests;
We were told by Yoav to call or message anytime and that he would let us know day before who would be picking us up for transfers. I would often have to chase up our following day transfer well into the evening as he hadn't contacted me. It seemed once we arrived in the Philippines we were forgotten. I even got a message from him telling me he'd be up at 6am and asking me to appreciate it - the only reason was that he hadn't organised things earlier and let us know at a reasonable hour the day before what was going on. This service was poor.
Day 1 mostly worked as per the itinerary. Got in later than expected due to the insane traffic as advised. Met Yoav, given $4500 peso refund for the cancellation of the Pagsanjan Falls cancellation from company he had been working with.
Day 2 was as per itinerary, great guide who spoke English, Had a great guide for the day who spoke English well, this was extremely rare for our guides and transfers which made it very difficult to communicate or know what was going on. It also led to not getting experiences we had paid for.
Day 3 as per itinerary
Day 4 Our tour on this day was less than 50% of what was expected that was outlined in your itinerary - day trip that ended at 11am, very disappointing. English speaking guides weren't on our boat, no one had a phone that would contact our agent, no one would give us the right information. Shipped on and off the snorkelling turtle island after a 30 minute snorkel and a shared meal (paid for 2 lunches, given 1 and a piece of fruit).
Day 5 Went well
Day 6 Ferry back, with unexpected charges, taxi at terminal for our transfer holding up our names and calling out to us. Drove terribly and charged us. This was supposed to be an included transfer. not a paying taxi.
Day 7 people need to know this is a 4 hour drive each way to the Canyon. We would have stayed a night down that way rather than in Cebu. Very long day. Had to pay for items needed and not advised about on this trip. Reef shoes, waterproof bag.
Day 8 Given firefly tour as an apology from agent for everything that had gone wrong thus far. Firefly tour was listed on our itinerary and my husband and I couldn't recall 100% if we'd cancelled it or not but agent said we had so agent paid for this.
Day 9 Only found out late evening before of transfer from river to El Nido details. Cancelled and moved to private transfer as after experiencing canyoneering group trip we realised groups meant waiting a long time for people (canyoneering 4 hour turned into 7 hours plus 8 hours of driving - very long day). We also didn't want to have to come all the way back into town to head out again and begin the 4-5 hour drive. Paid for this ourselves, agent advised going private night before when we chased him up to find out about what our transfer was meant to be.
Day 10 as per itinerary
Day 11 Meant to be on a group jet boat, agent forgot to organise and reconfirm, ended up on a group standard boat.
Day 12-15 as per itinerary
Day 16 driver didn't turn up, had to organise taxi, another out of pocket expense. Arrived at the airport 10 minutes after flight was closed off for check in. Had to beg staff of Cebu Pacific to see if they could find a way to get us on as we had international connecting flights. They were amazing, Cebu Pacific staff, and got us on. Not a great way to end a tour that hadn't gone as expected.

You expect a couple of hiccups when travelling, I've travelled extensively for the past 20 years and all booked through flight centre with minimal hiccups. The service through Kimkim was nowhere up to standard. A holiday shouldn't be stressful, travellers shouldn't be chasing up agents to get information, to find out why things have gone wrong, why daily incidents have taken place. I hope this isn't the service provided by all travel agents through kimkim.

Yoav Reuveni profile photo
Yoav Reuveni, local specialist, responded to this review:

I can only regret that Bel had a bad experience here in the Philippines. It makes me very sad to know it happened and she is holding us responsible for it.

I have been in communication with Bel all throughout the trip, and tried my best to help whenever an issue arose. I feel a lot of this issues and miscommunication is due to misunderstanding and possibly a slight language / culture barrier which is something i will do my best to learn from and improve.

We also gave her a free tour as... read more

I can only regret that Bel had a bad experience here in the Philippines. It makes me very sad to know it happened and she is holding us responsible for it.

I have been in communication with Bel all throughout the trip, and tried my best to help whenever an issue arose. I feel a lot of this issues and miscommunication is due to misunderstanding and possibly a slight language / culture barrier which is something i will do my best to learn from and improve.

We also gave her a free tour as compensation after the problems in Bohol, and we organized the private transfer to El Nido for her at a 4 hour notice. I have to say this review conveniently leaves out all the hard work and effort we have put into this package. I understand some people focus on the negative and when something goes wrong it ruins their day, but ultimately i do believe we did a lot of things right with this trip and i'm very surprised to hear Belinda thinks the service was poor.

I'll be happy that all potential clients read this. It's better if you understand the Philippines is not Switzerland and mistakes here happen quite often - we are dependent on local suppliers and they are not always reliable. Also, if you book a "budget" package, you will get group tours and shared vans that's just the way the world works - you can't expect VIP treatment without paying for it.

We will use this review to try and improve our service, so we are thankful to Bel for taking the time to submit it. I certainly could have done a lot of things better with this trip.

Active, Philippines - Aug 8 - Aug 12, 2018

Traveler: Blair M. - Local specialist: Leo Cuesta

Johnas was WONDERFUL. Thank you for a wonderful trip. Everything was handled expertly.

Leo Cuesta profile photo
Leo Cuesta, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for your review Blair, I'm glad you had a great trip despite the less than perfect weather! Thanks for choosing to travel with us and we hope to go on another adventure with you in the future (we also do trips in Colombia, you might want to consider that for your next vacation)!