a month in Colombia - Feb 7 - Mar 11, 2019
We enjoyed all of the trip. Our personal guides were all really informative, authentically and genuinely interested and passionate about their environments and willing to share their culture and lifestyle with us. To us, that is one of the best things about this sort of trip, and we were happy with your choices. It was a long trip, so there is much to recommend, and if I don't mention something, it doesn't mean we didn't love it! - I'm thinking of you Medellin with our great guide Marcello---
We always enjoyed the special heritage Colombian towns like Villa de Leyva, Jardin, Barichara... We won't ever forget visiting the Kogi in their village and our picnic by the river there.
There were a couple of odd things which I'd like to mention, just to keep you all in the loop. The driver at the airport in Medellin picked up the wrong travellers, so wasn't there when we arrived. A call to the agent who's number you provided soon sorted it out.
Our trip to Jardin was interesting. We noticed that most of your drive times are a bit optimistic... We expected a three hour drive or something, but about half way there we found the road between Medellin and Jardin is closed. We had to travel back quite a ways and then take the awful road down to Jardin, turning this into i think a 5-1/2 hour trip. We were surprised that the driver didn't know anything about it, because we are under the impression that this is a long term road project and the driver says you drive there all the time. Anyway, it was an awfully long trip, because it was at least as long back to the airport the next day and maybe longer.... just for a short one night visit. I would re-think your Jardin approach. Before we asked for an overnight, I think you had us going there on a day trip, which Obviously can not be! The rest of the day's description was out the window too.. We didn't see a museum, or taste any award winning sweets, and I can assure you, that cable car hasn't run in quite some time, although we did walk around the town and enjoy it! The itinerary indicated Dinner was included that day, but I don't know where! We had cervezas with the locals around the square and went out for Pad Thai later. So, we enjoyed Jardin, but we didn't seem to have had an experience as outlined in an itinerary.... When we left Jardin we went directly to the airport and flew from Medellin to Bogota at 6pm, then Bogota to Santa Marta at 8 pm. Of course we got into the Hotel Villa Maria quite late after dinner, and the bar were closed. We were wondering why we weren't on any of the direct flights from Medellin to Santa Marta that evening? Perhaps they were sold out, but they could have been booked two months in advance?
We particularly enjoyed the guides and the visits around Tayrona. The guides were all so enthusiastic and knowledgable, thank you. Christian brought a couple of books and props to discuss in depth the history and lifestlye of the local indigenous group, which we enjoyed at the nice picnic site set up for us. That day was a little "off script" too... we definitely went to a different village. We drove to Rio Ancho, then took a 4x4 up as far as the road went, then walked in the heat and dust about an hour and a half to the Kogi Village. We didn't meet anybody besides the kids there, but it was good, and the picnic spot on the River Ancho was awesome. We were pooped from this dusty day so much that the next day, we mostly sat in the shade and talked philosophy with the guide Juan. He had lots to tell us about Indigenous beliefs.
Barranquilla Carnival was a blast. Those people really know how to party, and we get why you picked the spot for our viewing (bathrooms, thanks!). We drank enough beer to need them. Luckily we were able to pick up our Fiesta tickets right in the hotel lobby upon our arrival. That, and a new hat to boot.
Finishing up in Cartagena was great. We enjoyed the shopping and dining scene there with many memorable food experiences. Unfortunately, on the last morning at 4:30 am, our last driver was no where in sight. We gave up shortly after 5 and hailed a ride with the help of our hotel.
All in all, these small things are just details, and our trip was long and varied, so everything can't be perfect! We had a wonderful time in Colombia and feel like we learned a lot and enjoyed quite a few different experiences. It takes a lot of patience to plan this type of holiday and the pre-booking questions and emails takes a certain about of patience and follow though. Nicolas did a pretty good job with all of that, Thank you Nicolas.
Kate and Mike