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Uncharted Earth

We are the adventure travel experts for uncommon places, pioneering tours to unique destinations in the Philippines and Colombia and providing our guests with exceptional experiences since 2011.

We believe that true adventure can be had only if you are far away from crowds, familiar things and your comfort zone. We are serious about taking our guests on extraordinary trips and we do that by going to lesser known destinations --- places that even most locals don’t know about. Unspoiled by mass tourism the raw beauty of these places is awe-inspiring and the emotions that they inspire can be life-changing. We also go to some classic destinations, but we experience them in a more authentic and in-depth fashion than most tourists do. For example, instead of simply looking at the famous Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines from a view deck like most people, we hike into the mountains, walk amidst the rice paddies and spend nights in the villages of the Ifugao, the indigenous people who made them. By exploring new destinations and embracing unique adventures, we let people discover the best of a country, and often, the best in themselves.

We also believe that nature is best appreciated by engaging it physically and that a perfect vacation is one that is jam-packed with activity. In other words, we enjoy tiring people out. We appreciate rest and relaxation as much the next person but with so much to see and experience in the world it's against our principles to let our guests spend a lot of time lazing around. We've dedicated ourselves to showing our guests as much of a country's best as their time will allow. Tired faces with big smiles are our typical indicators of a successful trip.

Finally, we believe that the best people to show you a place are those who live there. True adventure involves the unknown and unexpected, but you want to travel with people who are intimately familiar with a destination. We focus on only a few countries and these are the countries that we call home. Our head office for Sales and Marketing is in the United States but we are operationally based in each of our destination countries and all of our trip leaders are locals. That’s why we’re the experts in our chosen destinations. What’s uncharted to everyone else is home to us.

We go to great lengths to show our guests the best that this magnificent planet has to offer. Come travel with us and let us show you your Uncharted Earth.

Featured trips & expertise

The Batad rice terraces with local Ifugao men
The Cordillera: Banaue, Batad & Sagada - 6 Days

Trek through the Philippines' Cordillera and marvel at its natural and cultural heritage. Discover famous rice terraces, quaint villages, sacred waterfalls and rivers, extensive cave systems, and the hanging coffins of Echo Valley.

Discover the tropical beauty of Palawan
Palawan: Adventure in Paradise - 6 Days

Palawan's exotic geography and diverse vegetation are exceptional in a country that already has its fair share of awe-inspiring sights. This six-day adventure will have you snorkeling, seeking out wildlife, riding an underground river, and kayaking the El Nido islands. Discover why Palawan is in a league of its own when it comes to tropical destinations.

Explore the waterfalls of Estrella Falls, Palawan
Secrets of Palawan - 6 Days

Go deep into the Philippines' "last frontier" to discover beaches, rainforests, and waterfalls that few travelers explore. See endemic cockatoos in their natural habitat, snorkel coral reefs, and meet the indigenous Batak people. This is a unique trip that takes you away from crowds and lets you experience Palawan's nature at its best.

Hike through UNESCO protected rice terraces of the Ifugao
Ifugao Village Trek - 5 Days

Immerse yourself in the land and culture of the Ifugao on this five-day itinerary. Trek from Banaue stopping at four different native Ifugao communities along the way. You will hike deep into the Ifugao region to places most tourists don't see, trekking through ancient rice terraces and forested mountains.

Early morning view over the Maligcong
Mountain Province Trek: Maligcong & Sadanga - 6 Days

Be among the first visitors to the remote Mountain Province in the beautiful Philippine Cordillera. This six-day itinerary will have you hiking through centuries-old rice terraces and mountainous landscapes, breaking bread with locals in traditional villages along the way.

Guatiquia River in Chingaza National Park
Bogotá's Active Adventure: Bike, Hike, and Climb - 6 Days

If you're interested in the kind of vacation that revitalizes body and mind while pushing the limits of your endurance, consider this active six-day Colombian itinerary. It's centered in and around the capital of Bogotá and packs enough high-intensity exercise to really get those endorphins pumping. Even better, all these activities occur outdoors, on city streets, and in all that surrounding nature for which Colombia is deservedly famous.

Recent Trip Reviews for Uncharted Earth

Russell

Trip to colombia, Colombia - Aug 3 - Aug 11, 2019

Traveler: Russell E. - Local specialist: Cami Sarmiento

Thank you to everyone at Kimkim, especially Cami who was so helpful in putting together my trip to Colombia.
I visited bogota, Santa Marta, Cartegena and did the Lost City Trek.
Cami helped put this altogether as well as arranging trips, tours and transfers meaning all I pretty much had to was get on the plane and the rest was taken care off.
Special mentions to the tour guides of Jhon and Alvaro for showing me around Bogota and Cartegena.
For the Lost City Trek I'd like to thank Denis,... read more

Thank you to everyone at Kimkim, especially Cami who was so helpful in putting together my trip to Colombia.
I visited bogota, Santa Marta, Cartegena and did the Lost City Trek.
Cami helped put this altogether as well as arranging trips, tours and transfers meaning all I pretty much had to was get on the plane and the rest was taken care off.
Special mentions to the tour guides of Jhon and Alvaro for showing me around Bogota and Cartegena.
For the Lost City Trek I'd like to thank Denis, Gostavo, Luis and Samir who were amazing guides and helped make the whole adventure truly memorable.
Thank you to Kimkim for being a major part of giving me a fantastic Colombia experience!

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

Hi Russell
Thank you very much for your wonderful review. I'm very happy to hear you had such a great time in Colombia. I'll make sure to share your kind words with everyone.
Thank you again for choosing to travel with us. It was a pleasure to help you organize your trip and we look forward to traveling with you again in the future. Let us know when you plan your next visit to Colombia, or if you ever plan a trip to the Philippines. We’d love to help you plan another unforgettable trip.
All the best,
Cami

One week in colombia: 5 great itineraries, Colombia - May 14 - May 16, 2019

Traveler: Cindy D. - Local specialist: Cami Sarmiento

We had a fabulous time in Columbia. Cami did a super job in setting up
the middle part of our week, which I think was so successful because of the several conversations we had on kimkim.

We were picked up promptly by our driver, Luis. I know he was called in late, as our our original driver was unable to. My one concern was that he had driven through the night to get us and we had a 6-7 hour drive ahead of us. In spite of that, he was a very cautious driver, talked with us, stopped when we... read more

We had a fabulous time in Columbia. Cami did a super job in setting up
the middle part of our week, which I think was so successful because of the several conversations we had on kimkim.

We were picked up promptly by our driver, Luis. I know he was called in late, as our our original driver was unable to. My one concern was that he had driven through the night to get us and we had a 6-7 hour drive ahead of us. In spite of that, he was a very cautious driver, talked with us, stopped when we needed to, or when we had to though out the construction zone. I learned much from him about Columbia and never felt in danger.

We arrived late to Hacienda Venecia, but still took lunch and had a very informative tour of the coffee farm by Johan. Again, we learned a lot and he was most generous with his time.

We loved this place and wished we would have had more time there, if only to watch the birds! Just beautiful and the accommodations and staff very nice.

Milton and Victor picked us up promptly in the morning for our trip up to Nevada. Milton gets an A+ in my book. He has a broad and deep knowledge of the region and was eager to share that with us. The paramo was awe inspiring, but I think he felt that way about it too. I did not expect him to stay with us long when we returned to Manizales, but he did and we enjoyed our tour there as well.

The one place I had mixed feelings about was the place we had lunch at. We decided not to take in the hot springs, so enjoyed watching and feeding the hummingbirds in the garden. I also enjoyed talking to one of the employees about the hummingbirds, who obviously was quite taken by them as well.

Milton had asked if we could have lunch in the warmer room, and it seemed that they agreed to it, but when we returned they had put our food in the colder room (we had just come down from the paramo) even though there were no other guests. Two of us had also wanted the traditional soup and lunch, and our driver I think wanted something off the menu, but we were told we could only order off the menu and that Milton and our driver had to have the traditional food. It did not seem quite right, but I do not know if that is culturally accepted. If not, I feel the treatment would have been enough for me to not want to use this place (which is too bad because the hummingbirds were such a treat). By the way, the little cafe we stopped at on the way to the paramo was a treat where we had the traditional cane soup and cheese. Perfect!

After touring Manizales, we were dropped off at the Quo hotel. Very modern and nice-much more than we needed, but very comfortable.

Victor picked us up the next morning and promptly delivered us to the Pereira airport. It was fun to talk to him about the area.

Thank you SO much for putting together a package that so perfectly suited our needs. We loved Columbia! Everyone we met was so friendly, kind and helpful. I hope we get back someday, but in the meantime will highly recommend it to friends (and kimkim). We wish the country and its people well.

With much gratitude,
Cindy

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

Thank you for your review Cindy. It makes me very happy to know you enjoyed so much your short stay in the Coffee Region and that everyone took great care of you.
Thank you also for your comments about Termales del Ruiz. I will share this with them so that they realize the impact this behavior has on their visitors and don't do it again.
Thank you again for choosing to travel with us. We look forward to adventuring again with you, Tom and Laurie in the future.

One week in colombia: 5 great itineraries, Colombia - May 14 - May 16, 2019

Traveler: Laurie K. - Local specialist: Cami Sarmiento

Our guide Milton was absolutely fabulous. A wealth of knowledge, and a great human being. In my opinion, the day we spent with him was the best day of our trip. Visiting the paramo and the volcano was an experience of a lifetime. Being introduced to this beautiful country and unique ecosystem, while at the same time talking about social and contextual issues was quite meaningful. While everything worked out quite fine, I do want to raise one personal concern. Our driver from Medellin... read more

Our guide Milton was absolutely fabulous. A wealth of knowledge, and a great human being. In my opinion, the day we spent with him was the best day of our trip. Visiting the paramo and the volcano was an experience of a lifetime. Being introduced to this beautiful country and unique ecosystem, while at the same time talking about social and contextual issues was quite meaningful. While everything worked out quite fine, I do want to raise one personal concern. Our driver from Medellin to the coffee region, Luis, was quite fine. There was lots of road constructions o we were forced to go very slowly. I was concerned, however, that he had driven through the night to get to Medellin to pick us up, and then drove us at least 6-7 hours back, with still 2 more hours of driving to get home, all without any sleep. Not only is this a safety concern, but I hope KimKim does not expect this of its drivers. Our entire experience was fabulous, but I wanted to make sure to mention this.

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

Thank you for your review Laurie. I'm really happy to hear you had such a great time in the Coffee Region and that you were able to share all kind of knowledge with Milton.
Thank you also for letting us know about Luis Fernando. What he did is not standard practice and it is not what is expected of the drivers that we work with. We ask them to spend the night before a service at the destination and we cover their accommodation expenses so that this doesn't happen. Thank you for sharing this and we will make sure this never happens again.

Outdoor adventures around medellin, Colombia - Mar 27 - Mar 31, 2019

Traveler: Philip D. - Local specialist: Cami Sarmiento

The trip we experienced had some wonderful highlights. However, the hiking on the second and third days, was not properly described. This created a dangerous situation in which my wife was hurt. She had to stop hiking. The only way she got out was on horseback. Luckily, she has experience riding and the farmer who owns Jordan finca was skilled at guiding the horse down 10k of extremely steep, rocky paths and then through 5k more of just wet, slippery paths to safety.
Specifically, the... read more

The trip we experienced had some wonderful highlights. However, the hiking on the second and third days, was not properly described. This created a dangerous situation in which my wife was hurt. She had to stop hiking. The only way she got out was on horseback. Luckily, she has experience riding and the farmer who owns Jordan finca was skilled at guiding the horse down 10k of extremely steep, rocky paths and then through 5k more of just wet, slippery paths to safety.
Specifically, the description of the second day: from Petosi to Jordan is very misleading. The description says: "you will arrive at Jordan farm by "mid-afternoon." The hike is 22K! The second half starts with slippery, muddy trails and quickly turns into steep rocky pathway for about 5 miles. It took us 11.5 hours to complete. A group of younger hikers did it in 10 hours. What's so crazy is that the third day continues with 6.2 more miles of steep, slippery rocky paths. So no way could Carol, who twisted her knee on the 22k leg complete the hike back to the road.I have hiked 100s of miles. Really (Wonderland Trail completely in 8 days, the Superior Hiking Trail, Pukasqua, etc.) If this trail had an accurate description I would not have taken my wife (who I clearly described as 73 years old and normal fitness) on this trail. I'm not asking for a refund, but days 3 and 4 were a frightening and extremely unpleasant experience for me and bad for Carol too, because the safety of my wife was at risk.
If you do not change the descriptions of these days, I will spend time and effort to expose the carelessness of your agency. Check with the guide Freddy if you think any of this is innacurate.
GOOD STUFF: Our guide Freddie Cardona (I will check on his last name) was excellent and was invaluable in getting Carol through this dangerous situation. The bike riding day was great fun. The Cocorra valey was beautiful. The packaging lists were accurately and helpful. Both hotels were nice, with Quo in Manizales having an excellent room and exceptionally helpful staff.
The score for Cami is based on the description of the hike, not on her being helpful.
I guess the bottom line is that what could have been a great trip was ruined by an innacurate description of the risks. Fortunately Carol got by with a very sore knee. Take the hike yourself, then write the description. Explain that this hike is appropriate for experienced hikers who can handle 22K of steep, rocky, muddy pathways that can be trecherously slick, at altitudes over 10000 feet.
Finca Jordan is lovely. Finca Petosi is a pit. Dirty, toilets withot seats that are barely clean. The owners of both fincas were friendly but Mary Luz at Jordan is an exceptional host, as was her husband Mario.

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

Thank you for your feedback Philip. I’m sorry to hear about your experience during the hike in Los Nevados. The safety of our customers is our first priority and we work with the information given by our customers to best match their level of fitness with what they want to do. It was never my intention to recommend a trip that was not appropriate for your fitness level or to mislead you into thinking that what was suggested was an easy hike when it is not. I think the root of the problem is... read more

Thank you for your feedback Philip. I’m sorry to hear about your experience during the hike in Los Nevados. The safety of our customers is our first priority and we work with the information given by our customers to best match their level of fitness with what they want to do. It was never my intention to recommend a trip that was not appropriate for your fitness level or to mislead you into thinking that what was suggested was an easy hike when it is not. I think the root of the problem is that there was a misunderstanding between what you meant when you requested an intermediate level active itinerary and what I consider is an intermediate hike, and we never clarified what each of us meant.
I have done this hike myself and am familiar with the terrain. Many of the photos in the trip plan are ones I took. The two-day hike from Potosi to El Cedral that you describe is 22 kilometers total, with only 11 kilometers of hiking per day. Each day’s hike takes most trekkers 6 to 7 hours including rest stops. They arrive at each farmhouse in mid-afternoon, at around 3PM. Hiking times vary per group; some groups can stop more often to take pictures, do birdwatching, or can hike at a slower pace and take longer than estimated. But give or take, the time estimates are accurate for most people looking to do an intermediate hike.
We have done this hike with many groups of intermediate hikers of all ages. They were all very happy with the trek and thought it was right for their fitness level. I match our trips with our customers as best as I can, and thought that we understood each other in our conversations. I feel terrible this was not the case. I should have clarified our difficulty standards and discussed this in more detail with you.
Your feedback means a lot to me and will make sure to clarify with future guests more accurately the challenge level they have in mind. We have also added distances to the description of this trip to give future guests an even more accurate idea of the challenge level.
Thank you also for your comments about the farmhouses in Potosi and El Jordan. We have shared them with the farmhouses and talked to Potosi about improvements to the place.
Thank you for choosing to travel with us and I’m glad you had some wonderful highlights in your trip.

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.

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!

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!

Denise

La guajira, caribbean, bogota, Colombia - Dec 2 - Dec 6, 2018

Traveler: Denise M. - Local specialist: Cami Sarmiento

Miguel was a very competent careful driver. The driving part of the trip was longer and tougher than expected - 9 hours day 2, 7 hours day 3, 6 hours day 4. There was a lot of extreme poverty with many beggars requesting water and rice because they were so hungry. The main sites to visit were nice enough but the scenery along the way much less interesting than I had imagined. Taroa dunes beach is lovely. Places we stayed at understandably very primitive. Food monotonous but we did not... read more

Miguel was a very competent careful driver. The driving part of the trip was longer and tougher than expected - 9 hours day 2, 7 hours day 3, 6 hours day 4. There was a lot of extreme poverty with many beggars requesting water and rice because they were so hungry. The main sites to visit were nice enough but the scenery along the way much less interesting than I had imagined. Taroa dunes beach is lovely. Places we stayed at understandably very primitive. Food monotonous but we did not get sick.
We very much enjoyed the boat trip in camarones. Carlos, our boatman and guide was well informed and we saw many flamingos and red ibis. Learned about Wayuu which interested me. Would NOT recommend trip to others unless they have some real reason to be interested in area.

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

Thank you for your review Denise. I'm glad to hear that Miguel took good care of you and that you enjoyed your time in La Guajira with him and Carlos.
Thank you for choosing to travel with us. We look forward to taking 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.

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)!

Trip to colombia, Colombia - Jun 24 - Jul 3, 2018

Traveler: Robert R. - Local specialist: Cami Sarmiento

Overall, this was a rewarding trip, however, not without some issues. In general, too much time was spent traveling from place to place, especially with some of the long car rides for activities that were only a few hours in length. EVERY flight we took on Avianca experienced delays, significant delays or cancelation. By and large, our guides were excellent, except for our experience on Day 2 going to Chingaza (see below). No events / activities were planned for any of the evenings and it... read more

Overall, this was a rewarding trip, however, not without some issues. In general, too much time was spent traveling from place to place, especially with some of the long car rides for activities that were only a few hours in length. EVERY flight we took on Avianca experienced delays, significant delays or cancelation. By and large, our guides were excellent, except for our experience on Day 2 going to Chingaza (see below). No events / activities were planned for any of the evenings and it might have been nice if we had been able to attend some sort of cultural event or to be directed to a special restaurant. Some specific comments follow:

Day 1- Edgar met us at the Hotel just as the World Cup match ended with Colombia's victory. He was excellent. He took us around the park nearby, to a Sunday craft market, and he made several good dining suggestions. He was also our guide on Day 3 which was also an excellent tour of places in Bogota. At our request, he brought us to the main food and flower market and introduced us to numerous indigenous fruits. In retrospect, we should have flown to Pereida at the end of Day 3 to give us more time in coffee country.

Day 2 - Chingaza was interesting but not worth the long trip. We met our guide in La Calera but the vehicle was not large enough for all the passengers. At the park, it was cold, raining, windy and at high altitude. We needed extra layers of clothing and waterproof footwear. Our guide was completely immersed in her discussion of the surrounding environment, would not stop talking for the entire time we were with her and didn't properly assess my wife's level of discomfort and desire to return. The park was interesting but I think it likely that there may have been other activities near Bogota that would have be more interesting.

Day 4 - By far the best day of the trip. The visit to the coffee farm was without a doubt the highlight of the trip. We very much liked our guide, Juan.
Day 5 - Salento and the Cocora Vally hike were nice but we needed to end early to fly to Medellin. Worst day of travel on the entire trip. No direct flights on Avianca so we needed return to Bogota. Our first connecting flight was cancelled and the later flight was 2 hours delayed. In all, it took us 8 hours. It would have faster to drive and even faster to fly on EasyFly direct in 1 hour.

Day 6 - Medellin, we had a nice morning touring Medellin but it probably should have been the entire day. We did not see as much as we would have liked. Then we spent two hours driving to Guatape, a beautiful town with some stops along the way. Unfortunately, we arrived in Guatape late in the day and during a rain downpour and were not able to walk around much. The visit to the town should be been the priority of the trip, not the side stops. Long drive back resulted in a very late dinner.

Day 7 - Rafting. The trip itself was great and worthwhile but our departure from Medellin should have been earlier, not 11am. Consequently, we didn't get back to Medellin until it was almost too late to go out to dinner.
Day 8 - Cartagena. Excellent day touring the City with Richard.
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Day 9 - Isla del Encanto. Two problems. 1) We were not instructed to bring towels and I had to rent them for 60,000 COP. 2) The guides explained the set up of the resort to all the passengers in Spanish on the boat before docking. After docking, they repeated the explanation to a group in English. It was a busy day (national holiday). By the time they finished us giving information about the resort, more boats had docked and every cabana chair on the beach and near the beach were taken by people who had exited the boats earlier. We asked the staff to help but pretty much got a cold shoulder. Given that we probably paid twice as much as everyone else, we were fairly irritated by this sequence of events. Otherwise, the visit was nice.
Day 10, we spent in the old city on our own before going to the airport.

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

Thank you for your trip review and your detailed feedback. I’ve already spoken with Isla del Encanto regarding the issues you had with them and things should be better in the future.

It’s a shame about Avianca’s flight delays which resulted in your losing touring time. They are typically the most reliable Colombian airline and that was unfortunate.

I’m glad you had a great Colombian vacation. Thank you for choosing to have me arrange it for you and I hope to put together another trip for you in the future.