Kimkim is Fantastic!
Aug 4 - Aug 12, 2023
I love Kimkim. It might not be the cheapest option for travel, but it's certainly the easiest and the best. I've worked with other online travel agencies and none have been as helpful and informative as Kimkim and none have been as responsive during the travel process. This time, our travel coordinator, Margoth, set up a What'sApp communication system that allowed us to report any dissatisfaction we had & communicate about changes to our itinerary. I couldn't believe how helpful Margoth & her team were. They changed dinner reservations for us (times & places) at the last minute. They let us know when one of our activities wasn't going to work & immediately recommended alternatives. When we were unhappy with a guide, we had a new one the next day. Most surprising of all, when one of our drivers showed up for a long drive with a vehicle with A/C that didn't work, they refunded us the cost of the entire outing (but assured us that the guides would be paid)! I was amazed with the service we received. I also love that almost all of our tours were private ones, so my kids & I could move at our pace & didn't have to adjust our pace to that of others.
The other thing I love about Kimkim is how patient all the travel coordinators are. I had difficulty making a lot of decisions & Margoth just kept making changes for me. We wanted a trip that was a little more active -- with more hiking -- than a lot of travelers to Colombia appear to request, & Margoth found ways to meet those requests. She was unbelievably patient with me -- even when I went incommunicado for a bit (because of work).
Finally, the people Kimkim hires are fantastic. We had 4 guides in 3 different cities, & 3 of them were absolutely phenomenal (&, as I said, when I complained that our 2nd guide wasn't very informative or engaged, that guide was quickly replaced). The 3 guides -- Byron in Bogotá, Omar in Pereira, & Diego in Medellín -- enhanced our overall experience in Colombia and helped us to fall in love with the country. All 3 wanted to share their love of their country with us and did so effectively. Byron knew so much about Colombia's history that I assumed he was a history or political science major in college. I wasn't entirely surprised to find out he had studied biology, though, because he also knew a remarkable amount about the flora & fauna of the region. I don't think there was a plant, fruit, or flower he couldn't name. Diego also knew a lot about history & the flora & fauna, but what we most enjoyed about him was his wonderful sense of humor. You have to be impressed by someone who can do puns in a language other than their native one. And who better to take you on a tour of a coffee farm that someone who, before he began working in tourism, had worked for the Colombian national coffee growers association (Omar)? The visit to the coffee farm was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
In addition to the coffee farm, we especially enjoyed the amazing palm forest (despite the crowds), the view of Guatapé Lake from the top of El Peñol (again, despite the crowd), some of the small towns (Salento, Guatapé, Filandia) & the crazy hike up through the river to the El Retiro waterfall. None of us (except the local guide in the town) realized that we would be hiking up the river, but Diego -- who had never been on the hike before -- was a great sport about not having spare shoes to replace the ones that got wet.
If you're worried about old stories about the dangers of Colombia, don't be! I felt as safe there as I have anywhere around the world, and I even walked alone in the mornings, as I do at home in Michigan. The only scary part was crossing some of the streets, thanks to the crazy motorcycle drivers, but none of the 3 cities was comparable to Hanoi when it came to motorcycle-induced, street-crossing terror.
he Residence Inn Bogota was a fabulous place. It was beautiful and provided top-notch service. Strongly recommend this place for a comfortable stay.
The Movich Hotel was nice, but the air conditioning wasn't great, which was a bit disappointing. Nonetheless, the service was good.
The hotel in Medellin was absolutely adorable and the free laundry service was a lifesaver. The service was phenomenal, making up for any minor shortcomings.
The trip up to Monserrate was a pleasant experience, though it was short. The city view was beautiful.
Bogota wasn't my favorite, but the Gold Museum was enjoyable and my daughter enjoyed the fruit market.
The outdoor activities near Pereira, including the visit to the coffee farm, were a definite highlight.
The waterfall hike was fantastic. The guides were friendly and knowledgeable.
This tour was a highlight of the trip. Omar was an exceptionally knowledgeable guide. Loved every moment of it
The city tour in Medellín was not my favorite. The long gondola ride didn't offer much interest.
The final day hike was so much fun. Even though it was unexpected to walk about a kilometer in the river, it was a great adventure. The guide was incredibly kind and helpful.