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active 4 days ago

Gael Lejay

When I arrived in Colombia six years ago, I had no idea that I would immediately fall in love with this country. And above all, these people. Warm, welcoming, festive, Colombians are the best reason to come to Colombia! I love making visitors discover the great diversity of the country, the richness of its culture, folklore, music, food, fauna and flora. Colombia cannot be told, Colombia must be lived!

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We mainly organize tailor-made trips to discover the diversity of Colombia. Its nature, its culture, its landscapes, its inhabitants... For us, a trip does not boil down to a walk in the country by taking pictures, we really want to make live the Colombia experience. Take part in a tejo party with the coffee pickers, embark with the fishermen of the coast, learn to dance salsa in the bars of Cartagena..."

How did you get involved in travel?

"In 2006, I arrived in South America in the footsteps of my grandfather. I fell in love with this continent and moved to Venezuela for 5 years. I started to explore the country by myself, then met the founders of the Tucaya agency in Venezuela. In 2012, after a revealing trip to Colombia, we decided to open Tucaya Colombia. I was convinced that this country, so rich and welcoming, was the next great playground for lovers of travel and discovery. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"In 2010, with 3 friends we organize an expedition in the Amazonian forest at the border between Venezuela and Colombia. After 2 days of canoeing and 2 days walking in the jungle, we arrive at the edge of a sleeping lagoon in the middle of what looks like a huge crater. The absolute silence, only interspersed with the calls of the parrots resonating on the walls, the impenetrable black color of the water, offers us a completely mystical spectacle that none of us will ever forget. On the way back, after 3 days of walking under the rain, when we arrive at the first village and that I enter a toilet, I took a moment to realize that the person in front of me, in the mirror, was me!!"

Featured trips & expertise

Colombia Coffee Country
Ultimate Guide to Colombia's Coffee Region

Colombia's coffee region set amidst the rugged hills between Medellin, Cali and Ibague produces some of the finest coffee in the world. Besides learning how the coffee is made, you can experience stunning national parks, vibrant cities, and quiet pueblos. We're spilling the beans with some expert tips on getting around the region and the best places to visit.

The lush coffee region of the Cocora Valley
Bogota, Cocora Valley, Medellin and Cartagena - 9 days

On this 9-day tour, you'll get to explore the historical and cultural side of Bogota before heading to the wax palm forests of the Cocora Valley. After spending some time on a local coffee plantation, head over to the beautiful city of Medellin, the home town of the famous Colombian artist, Fernando Botero. Finally, head north to the Pearl of the Caribbean, the colorful town of Cartagena.

Recent trip reviews for Gael

Coffee region and cartagena, Colombia - May 28 - May 31, 2018

Traveler: Liwen X. - Local specialist: Gael Lejay

I am really glad I went with KimKim to book our trip in Colombia. Gael, our trip specialist, took care of all the little trip-planning details that would have taken me days of research and indecision to figure out. We ended up going to the Coffee Region, and our itinerary included staying at a coffee finca with great amenities, hiking in the Cocora valley, visiting charming towns along the way, eating farm-to-table, and of course drinking amazing coffee with our local guides Sebastian and... read more

I am really glad I went with KimKim to book our trip in Colombia. Gael, our trip specialist, took care of all the little trip-planning details that would have taken me days of research and indecision to figure out. We ended up going to the Coffee Region, and our itinerary included staying at a coffee finca with great amenities, hiking in the Cocora valley, visiting charming towns along the way, eating farm-to-table, and of course drinking amazing coffee with our local guides Sebastian and Santiago. We also floated lazily down a river in a bamboo raft for an afternoon. The landscape just seems untouched out there, it was really a treat! I was feeling a bit ill from the altitude on one of the days, and the local guides took really good care of me.

Coffee region and cartagena, Colombia - May 28 - May 31, 2018

Traveler: Stephen W. - Local specialist: Gael Lejay

Our trip to Colombia was excellent. We had a wonderful time in the coffee region and the trip organized by Gael and Tucaya was a lot of fun and seamless. We had a few minor snags while booking the trip, as we were originally booked on a return flight that did not leave enough time to catch our connecting international flight, but we were able to switch our flights after bringing this up with Gael. Gael was very helpful with suggesting activities and excursions for us, all of which proved very... read more

Our trip to Colombia was excellent. We had a wonderful time in the coffee region and the trip organized by Gael and Tucaya was a lot of fun and seamless. We had a few minor snags while booking the trip, as we were originally booked on a return flight that did not leave enough time to catch our connecting international flight, but we were able to switch our flights after bringing this up with Gael. Gael was very helpful with suggesting activities and excursions for us, all of which proved very enjoyable.

Once in Colombia, we corresponded with Nicholas at Tucaya via WhatsApp and he was very helpful. He promptly responded to any inquiry and made sure to check in with us in the mornings and evenings to recap the day and preview the next day's activities. On the ground in the coffee region, everything worked very smoothly. We had driver's and tour guides waiting for us at the appointed times without issues, the hotel (Finca Bosque del Saman) was beautifully picturesque, and our activities were great.

One day, we to Filandia, Salento, and the Cocora Valley with our tour guide Sebastian. Not only were these areas beautiful, but Sebastian is an amazing and thoughtful guide who took us both to the main tourist attractions but also took us off the beaten path to local coffee shops and restaurants. Cafe Jesus Martin in Salento and restaurant Helena Adentro in Filandia were highlights. We can't recommend Sebastian enough.

Another day, we visited Finca Casa Vieja, a coffee plantation run by a local family. Santiago, one of the owners, gave us a wonderful tour of the farm (which grows many types of fruits and flowers in addition to coffee), as well as a look inside the coffee making process. After a delicious lunch prepared by Santiago's aunt (using produce from the farm), we visited the family's coffee shop in Quimbaya, Cafe de Altura, where we sampled many different preparations of coffee as well as some baked goods prepared by Alejandra, Santiago's sister. Sebastian, our tour guide from the day before, also joined us for coffee, which was a pleasure. To cap the afternoon, we took a bamboo raft down Rio de la Vieja, which offered great views and some fun swimming opportunities.

The main downside to this trip was that we were only in the coffee region for a few days. We certainly plan to visit Colombia again and would be happy to book through Gael and Kim Kim again, as we had a great trip that went seamlessly after we got everything booked properly.

Gael Lejay, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Stephen,
Thanks for this great and complete review!
I am really happy that you enjoy your trip to coffee region with Sebastian and Santiago and his family (they are great and so kind). You had a little taste of Colombia, there is so mucho more to know now! Be sure you will be welcome again anytime you want. Hope to see you soon.
Best wishes.