Cindy

This would be a 5 star review except the ques... - Jan 25 - Feb 4, 2020

Traveler: Cindy R. - Local specialist: Esteban Tittaferrante

This would be a 5 star review except the questions are about booking experience and I had one glitch when asking to change the excursion one day and continued to get a stock itinerary returned to me. Eventually the itinerary was changed but it made me wonder if Esteban was listening to our request.
The actual trip was excellent and I would give 5 star review to Columbus Luxury Travel for our guides, itinerary, and attention to details of our privately guided tour.
Our flight to Flores , our car and local guide there were perfect. He listened to our preferences and chose restaurant and travel times according to our requests. He was knowledgeable about Tikal and the nature life, answering all our questions and had patience with Larry’s attempts to learn the Spanish language.
For the remainder of our trip we can’t say enough about our 5 star guide Juan Jesus or JJ. He made our trip a spectacular memory and we feel we could have a friend for life in Guatemala. We were given a very nice car for our travel on difficult roads and he was an excellent driver. We often felt our lives were in his hands and we were comfortable with his driving. Amazing!
Our accommodations were interesting, varied, and just what we asked for. All the hotel staff were friendly, attentive and made us feel like we should stay longer. Only the Jungle Lodge in Tikal was less attentive with a slow check in and busy staff. The beds were comfortable as we had requested.
Each community we saw was fascinating. JJ was able to give us information about all the different regions, Mayan people, and local traditions and cultures. He was protective, walking with us in Coban at night to find a local restaurant.
We were very sad at the end of our tour when we had to say good bye to JJ.
Columbus Luxury Travel was very responsive when we asked to change our itinerary in the middle of the week after some long days of driving, and were told there would be 5 hrs driving each day for the next 2 days of the proposed itinerary. We changed to an extra night at Lake Atitlan and more boat tours of local villages and a hike in a nature reserve.
CLT also arranged birthday songs and cakes at two different restaurants on Larry’s birthday. They gave us fun memories and we were surprised!
Some of the most memorable experiences were
Driving the rocky mountain roads across Guatemala 🇬🇹,
Seeing the indigenous Mayan people in daily life as we drive through the countryside and villages,
Small restaurant and village interaction with local people like in city of Coban and in villages I do not have names for.
Getting stuck in a rut at the top of a mountain with village locals gathering around to watch us figure out how to get the car out without offering help. 😆
Macadamia tree farm and active volcanos at Antigua.
Touring women’s cooperatives in the villages around Lake Atitlan.
The best experience was visiting a local family home and sharing a meal with Felicia and her family, frying tortillas with them in their open fire grill.

Having a private guide and driver made the tour exactly what we wanted, giving us enough time on our own and lots of individual attention so we could learn about the country.
Our only request would be more detailed information about the tour before we go and so we know better what to expect. This could have been done in a more personalized itinerary and tour map. We continued to receive only a canned general itinerary with minimal details even after we arrived.
We met the staff at Columbus on our last day in Antigua and they were lovely people. I know if we had made arrangements with them in person we wouldn’t have had any problems.
We would recommend CLT and especially JJ to any traveler and hope to see him again.