Colombia ladies' trip - Apr 25 - May 2, 2022

Traveler: Sonia D. - Local specialist: Michael Gold

Went with some girlfriends to visit another friend in Columbia. I was unsure about an online travel agency but KimKim and Michael had very good service. Our 2 main guides and all the transfers were also good.

We had some changes with another person being added after to our original plan. We also had to change the last hotel on our itinerary on the fly but I realize this was our fault as we told Michael that our friend was in Santa Marta while she was really was in Minca. So we changed on... read more

Went with some girlfriends to visit another friend in Columbia. I was unsure about an online travel agency but KimKim and Michael had very good service. Our 2 main guides and all the transfers were also good.

We had some changes with another person being added after to our original plan. We also had to change the last hotel on our itinerary on the fly but I realize this was our fault as we told Michael that our friend was in Santa Marta while she was really was in Minca. So we changed on the fly to spend an extra night in Tayrona instead of Santa Marta and have a relaxing day, but of course it was too late for a refund on our last hotel.

I don't think we were quite prepared for the "night bug" situation in the Colombian jungle (i.e. you must go to bed early and turn off all the lights if you don't like giant insects!) and if I knew I would have gone for hotels with both A/C (better sealed rooms) and mosquito netting. Strangely by coincidence, our hotel in Minca was down the road from our friend ... but the "night bug" situation was rather terrifying even with the mosquito netting (although I don't think there are any fancier hotels in Minca). I think our original hotel in Tayrona had AC + netting but we had to change once we added another person to our trip. Our plans were not done far in advance so I would advise any people with similar insect fears to get the nicest hotels possible with A/C + mosquito nets. If you have no compelling reason to stay in Minca I would stay in Santa Marta and do the day trips to Minca instead, and enjoy the bug free nights and hot water in Santa Marta :)

Tayrona National Park was beautiful but we weren't prepared for the exertion of hiking 14 km total in searing heat. We really enjoyed the bird-watching and coffee farm in Minca.

In Santa Marta, I could have skipped the city tour and spent the day at one of the nicer beaches outside the city ... we still managed a half day at the beach which was lovely.

Based on the experience I would definitely use KimKim again.

Hotel Reviews

Casa de Isabella, a Kali Hotel

Santa Marta

Overall Rating
Hotel Review

Very close to tourist / restaurant area downtown. Has a nice little lounge and tiny pool area. Breakfast is okay although not amazing. Rooms are fine, good hot water.

Tips for future travelers

It's noisy downtown so bring earplugs.

Cleanliness & Comfort

Staff

Authenticity & Character

Location

Sweet Harmony by Xarm Hotels

Minca, Magdalena

Overall Rating
Hotel Review

We mainly stayed here because our friend lives in Minca very close to this hotel. However, we were terrified of the bugs at night and went to bed early with the lights off to keep them away. Room was very stuffy with the doors closed. No hot water or lukewarm water depending on which room. Some room's had no frosted glass on bathroom and was totally visible to hotel guys who were digging a trench in the morning (so she couldn't take a shower in the morning).

CASA BAMBÚ

Los Naranjos

Overall Rating
Hotel Review

Only 8 huts so you may get the pool to yourself. Good food although portions too large. Very nice staff. When we went - end of April - loads of beetles come out and are attracted to light once it got dark. Makes sitting outside impossible after about 7:30 pm (unless you have no bug phobia). Light in room may also attract beetles so we all went to bed early and stayed in bed in the dark, looking at our phones. Would give hotel 5-stars if there was mosquito netting in room and a screened area outside where we could hang out without being attacked by beetles.

Activity Reviews

Excursion in Tayrona National Park - Arrecifes Area

Tayrona National Park

Overall Rating
Activity Review

Very difficult on a hot, humid day. We didn't realize it involved such a long hike to get to a swimmable beach. Beach did not have much shade. Would be more enjoyable on a cooler day. Long wait for entrance tickets (although tour guide did that and we got to wait in van).

Transport

Guides, drivers and staff

Quality of Experience

Birdwatching in Minca

Minca

Overall Rating
Activity Review

Nice quiet area, our guide found lots of birds including Toucans. They give you binoculars if you don't have any.

Transport

Guides, drivers and staff

Quality of Experience

Michael Gold profile photo
Michael Gold, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Sonia,

thank you very much for your detailed travel report. Your comments help us a lot to provide our guests with more information during the trips. Also, thank you for your feedback on the hotels - it's a pity that the insects didn't stop bothering you. Nevertheless, it sounds like you enjoyed your time in Colombia - also glad you were able to visit your friend :)

A good coming home to you.
Thank you very much,
Michael and the Chaska Tours Team