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active 3 days ago

Cátia Chaves

My name is Cátia and I was born and raised in the Azores. Since a very young age I was in a close connection with travel and tourism since my father worked on a nature lodge and I spent plenty of time there interacting with other kids.

When I went to college and it got the time of choosing my specialty field, it felt natural to choose Tourism as the right path to follow.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Since São Miguel Island is currently my home, I know this place as the palm of my hand. Also, the other 8 islands feel like "neighbors" to me so I can easily build a multi-island plan with the highlights and local tips for the best holidays ever."

How did you get involved in travel?

"Living on an island means that you are a bit "cut out" from the rest of the world and I always felt curious about all the wonderful world that is out there to explore. So since I was a young teenager, I felt the urge to travel and explore as much as I could. I started by traveling to visit family and friends on the other islands os the Archipelago and moved on to foreign countries by the time I was in college.
After graduating in 2013, I joined Picos de Aventura team and started working on a daily basis with people from around the world, helping them to organize their holidays."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"The best thing I can remember happened on the first weeks of my professional experience. I was on a whale watching tour with some guests and colleagues and out of a sudden, a humpback whale came close to the boat and started to show one fin, then the belly, the other fin like she was dancing for us. One of the guests on the boat came to me, hugged me with the the eyes full of tears and thanked us for the wonderful chance we gave her. This made me think that it is such a privilege to live here, being surrounded by all this beauty and how I would like to keep making people this happy by showing them the best we have to offer."

Featured trips & expertise

Best of San Miguel - 7-Day Active Itinerary in the Azores Islands

The scenario for this adventure is the island of São Miguel, the biggest of the 9 islands that compose the Azores Archipelago.  This adventure lets you discover both the most popular and remote places of the island in an active way, with a focus on authentic experiences, and a close relationship with nature and quality time.

Recent trip reviews for Cátia

Frederick

Adventure holiday, the Azores - Mar 8 - Mar 15, 2018

Traveler: Frederick W. - Local specialist: Cátia Chaves

Everything about my KimKim experience was flawless, our planner Catia understood exactly the type of trip we were looking for, and booked us with guides that provided a unique experience in the Azores. When problems arose due to inclement weather, plans had to be canceled, bookings refunded, and other arrangements made, on the spot. This was all done seamlessly.

Cátia Chaves, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Frederick.
Thank you for your message. I am so glad to know you had a fantastic time at our piece of paradise! :)

Jon

Cycling in the azores , the Azores - Sep 29 - Oct 6, 2017

Traveler: Jon B. - Local specialist: Cátia Chaves

I really can't say enough about how much we enjoyed ourselves in the Azores. The islands are amazing and the tour took full advantage of their natural beauty. The agent who arranged the trip (Catia) did an excellent job and all the guides and activities were great. I would happily refer Kim Kim and Picos de Aventura to anyone who asks!

Catia was always friendly and prompt and answered all our questions with the right amount of detail. The trip she arranged was excellent from accommodations to activities.

Cátia Chaves, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Jon.
Thank you for your kind words. I am really happy to know that you had a wonderful time here! :)

Active azores experience, the Azores - Aug 7 - Aug 13, 2017

Traveler: Mikki F. - Local specialist: Cátia Chaves

The tours and hotels that the travel partner arranged for were excellent. I was very pleased with the individual tour operators. There was a massive breakdown in communication between the tour company that I was communicating with and the tour provider due to the fact that there were two or three companies in between them. The meeting times on our trip vouchers did not always match the meeting times on our overall itinerary. The tour operators called us the "ghost clients" because they... read more

The tours and hotels that the travel partner arranged for were excellent. I was very pleased with the individual tour operators. There was a massive breakdown in communication between the tour company that I was communicating with and the tour provider due to the fact that there were two or three companies in between them. The meeting times on our trip vouchers did not always match the meeting times on our overall itinerary. The tour operators called us the "ghost clients" because they didn't have any information about us and didn't even know if we were real clients.

This was most problematic on the mountain climbing tour because the tour operator provides a document to participants instructing them on equipment and supplies that they are supposed to bring. We were lucky to have the operator for a different tour so she was able to send us the document the night before our climb. We were told that lunches would be provided on full-day tours, but this was not the case for the mountain climb. We had gone to a market earlier and just brought whatever food we had. We brought hiking equipment that was sufficient for the climb, but that was purely by chance. The tour company also needed our passport numbers to register us with the government as climbers and to get us insurance for the climb. Nobody told us about this and i happened to have a copy of our passports. If not, we wouldn't have been able to climb.
Had we not met with the tour guide the day before, we would have been unable to complete the climb (other people were not permitted to climb if they were not properly outfitted).

Another tour only had the name of the third party travel agency and not our names, ages, or nationality. After the other tour issues, we went to the tour provider the evening before our tour and they were ecstatic because this allowed them to put us in the correct group with other people who spoke english.

On another day, our transfer from the port to our hotel was not there when our ferry arrived so we walked to the hotel.

The next day, our guide for the full-day tour was not at the hotel at either of the times we were provided (tour voucher and itinerary had different times). We tried calling the number listed on the voucher, but it was the number for another travel company who the kimkim travel partner had booked through. We found a poster for the tour provider and managed to get in touch with her. The third party tour company had told her that we would be arriving that day and she should pick us up at the port, not our hotel.

Overall, i used kimkim because i wanted the tour planning and booking process to go more smoothly. Due to the multiple layers of tour companies between us and the eventual tour operators, there was a tremendous lack of communication. I imagine the multiple layers also added cost. Were it not for proactive steps that we took during the trip, this could have spiraled into a complete disaster.

There were small errors that i picked up on during the planning process. There were the mismatched tour times. It's hard to say whether some of the other issues were her fault or whether it was further down the chain. If she had directly booked things for me, the way i thought this would work, it would be easier to determine where the breakdown occurred.

Cátia Chaves, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Mikki.
I am sorry to hear that your experience was not the best during your holidays!
Since the plan included more than one island, I had to book the tours through other provider which we've worked before and is of trust.
In this case, and I hope you understand it, I gave them all the info they asked for and also asked for any special requirements which they did not informed me about. I already sent the provider an email in order to check what created this lack of information and... read more

Dear Mikki.
I am sorry to hear that your experience was not the best during your holidays!
Since the plan included more than one island, I had to book the tours through other provider which we've worked before and is of trust.
In this case, and I hope you understand it, I gave them all the info they asked for and also asked for any special requirements which they did not informed me about. I already sent the provider an email in order to check what created this lack of information and created all this unnecessary confusion with the activities. Once again, I am really sorry for all the trouble that it caused you.

Aug 2017, the Azores - Aug 5 - Aug 12, 2017

Traveler: Steven H. - Local specialist: Cátia Chaves

The schedule of activities felt oddly organized as our rest day was early in the week and prior to the more physical activities. The packed lunches with repetitive and monotonous. The trip was good but essentially we were paired with an agent from pico adventures so we were limited to activities only from their group even when we suggested an alternative it was dismissed. So essentially kimkim provided us with someone who made a hotel reservation for us and connected us to pico adventures.

See prior notes.

Cátia Chaves, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hello Steven, than you for your feedback.
May I ask which activities would you have liked to change? Please notice that August is the peak of the high season and sometimes it gets really difficult to find availabilities on short notice and I believe that was the case.

Hiking azores, the Azores - Jul 2 - Jul 8, 2017

Traveler: Catherine C. - Local specialist: Cátia Chaves

Thanks KimKim! This was an excellent trip and having KimKim back-up was comforting. You connected me with Picos de Adventura, a superb tour company and their "adventures" could not have been more fun or beautiful.

Catia was great -- I also worked with Tiago and they were both tremendously helpful with getting my trip organized and with any questions I had along the way. This is a great company clearly focusing on the best possible customer service.

Cátia Chaves, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Catherine. I am really glad we could help you building your holidays plan.
Thank you for your kind words!

Azores- sao miguel, the Azores - Jul 4 - Jul 10, 2017

Traveler: Lee M. - Local specialist: Cátia Chaves

If directions to the office were included, it would have been helpful for the 1st day. Also, having a dry, secure place to store phones/camera would be great for water adventures so we could have taken pictures. Alternatively, if there was a photo package, for the water adventures, we would have signed up for it.

Cátia Chaves, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Lee, thank you for the feedback.
If you have a look at the Welcome Kit I sent you which included all the information about our address and directions to our office, you'll find it there, so I thought it would be easy for you to find us. As for the water adventures, please notice that we are on a zodiac boat and there's not too much room there for storage but I appreciate your comments and will try to find a solution for this.

Trip to the azores, the Azores - Jun 18 - Jun 24, 2017

Traveler: Judith C. - Local specialist: Cátia Chaves

The trip was amazing! The people were wonderful, warm, kind and friendly, the island is incredibly beautiful, the activities were fantastic. We loved it!

What could have been better then? More detail in the information provided. After booking the trip, we received nothing to confirm and no more specific information than was provided in the initial trip plan description.

Why was this a problem? For example, on the afternoon we arrived in Ponta Delgada, we were scheduled to go whale... read more

The trip was amazing! The people were wonderful, warm, kind and friendly, the island is incredibly beautiful, the activities were fantastic. We loved it!

What could have been better then? More detail in the information provided. After booking the trip, we received nothing to confirm and no more specific information than was provided in the initial trip plan description.

Why was this a problem? For example, on the afternoon we arrived in Ponta Delgada, we were scheduled to go whale watching, but no information was provided as to the time, location or meeting point for the activity. Before we left I thought to ask Cátia specifically about this and was told 1 pm, but I should have asked for more details. I guess I thought we would receive them on arrival, but we didn't. While it might have seemed obvious to them that we would meet at the boats in Ponta Delgada harbor, it was not obvious to us on the day of our arrival!

Similarly, the description provided for each activity was good for a general idea of the activity but fell short of giving enough specific information - duration, degree of difficulty, starting point, starting time, etc. For another example, the description of the "Route to Pristine" doesn't mention that it is a 14K hike with the first 3K uphill, never mind where you meet and what time, etc. The hike was fabulous and we loved it but it would have been good to know what we were getting into before we started on the journey.

Whenever we asked, the information was provided, and it was correct, but sometimes we didn't ask quite enough questions. Before traveling we asked Cátia to reserve a restaurant table only one night, at a small place where we heard reservations were necessary, which she kindly did. But we had to ask the date and time of the reservation (the day of), and were not told that the restaurant was cash only, which they say they tell you at the time the reservation is made, something we didn't find out until we had finished our meal. Fortunately, the owner seemed unfazed, we paid with all the Euros we had, but had to return by cab (the place was in another town) another day with enough cash to pay off the entire bill.

We figured most things out and they were expecting us at each step along the way, but it would have been good to provide us with a bit more specific of an agenda, at the latest upon arrival.

Please do not take this as a negative review! Overall, the activities were fantastic! We just would have liked a bit more detail in our itinerary.

Tiago and Cátia planned an incredible trip for us and we enjoyed it immensely. I'd like to thank all our drivers/guides/hiking companions - Luis, Luis, Mario, Philip and the Azores Fishing guys Eduardo and Diogo for being so wonderful, knowledgeable and kind, and showing us their beautiful home and all the great things there are to do there. Had we booked this trip without kimkim's help, we probably would have done less than half of what we did and certainly would not have tried canyoning, now my son's favorite new activity!

Cátia Chaves, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Judith.
I am really glad you had a nice time with us!

Thank you!

Hiking vacation for 2, the Azores - Apr 9 - Apr 14, 2017

Traveler: Carol R. - Local specialist: Cátia Chaves

Our trip went very smoothly and was a wonderful experience. We didn't wind up doing the activities on the days of our trip planned, but all of them were covered and it fit very nicely based on weather, etc...

Catia was very prompt in responding to any questions that we had during our trip.

Cátia Chaves, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Carol.

We tend change the order of the activities depending on the weather conditions because most of the tours are outdoor so it's better to have them when the weather is nicer. I am happy to know that you had a wonderful experience at our island.

Thank you for your feedback.