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 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.