Flawless planning and execution; an experience of a lifetime
Feb 6 - Feb 18, 2023
From our initial conversations several months ago to our return to the U.S. from Colombia a few days ago, Felipe and his team "escorted" us through their beautiful country, always in touch with us to make sure our experiences were memorable. We enjoyed all of our knowledgable and engaging guides, especially Tomás Vargas in Bogotá and Juan Carlos Vandergast in Medellin, both with whom we spent considerable time. We also enjoyed Isaac in Cartagena, with his enthusiasm and command of his city's history, though we only spent a morning with him, because of some confusion on our end.
What an unfair question when asked about favorite experiences! Through KimKim, Aracanto provided us with a myriad of exciting opportunities. How about Monserrate, Candelaria, Villa de Leyva, Kronosaurus, Raquira, Medellin's Commune 13, Fernando Botero, Guatapé, El Piñol, Rosario Islands, walled old city Cartagena, Gethsemane, the cooking class with Gilles Dupont? They all tumble around inside our heads as memorable events of the trip. And I can't forget the friendliness of the welcoming Colombian people we met everywhere.
Two thumbs up to everyone involved and hands down for an incredible twelve days discovering another favorite country.
Thank you, KimKim.
Stunning architectural beauty, welcoming and helpful staff
Very nice boutique hotel, jungle-like setting, very helpful staff, challenge to carry heavy luggage up steps.
Idyllic setting, enjoyed the desert island feel, outdoor dining, private chaises, access to water, good food. very friendly staff.
Like all Spanish-influenced houses, it's all behind the walls. Lovely grounds, huge room with living room, convenient to the squares and restaurants, delicious breakfast, very attentive staff. Rick was having physical difficulty with his back, and the owner arranged for a massage for him. The experience immediately improved his condition.
Terrific, upscale feel to begin our time in Colombia. Spacious room, delicious breakfasts, very helpful desk staff to guide us to restaurants. Lovely dining room.
Fabulous first dinner in Colombia. Loved the "room." Sophisticated. Food was tops.
Knowledgable Tomás enriched the day's experiences. The market, riding to the top of Monserrate for the city view, touring Candelaria--great introduction to the trip.
We waited 90 minutes to get our food. Language barrier and non-attentive wait staff made for a poor evening. However, we loved the vibe of the place.
Fun waiter frying to learn English while I practiced Spanish, charming courtyard setting. Tasty barbecue.
Charming Spanish village. Villa de Leyva itself is the attraction. The long drive to VdL from Bogotá is marked by a beautiful landscape I never tired of watching. What a discovery of the fossil of Kronosaurus at the Fossil Museum! I tried to wrap my head around the fact that this area was under sea water at one time. We really like the stop of Raquira on the return, a colorful arts and crafts town. Too bad they wouldn't ship purchases.
Great vibe. Friendly staff. Good food.
What a day of exciting discovery. Everything was eye-opening. Juan Carlos was absolutely one of the best guides we've experienced. Guatapé's journey to becoming an artistic jewel, the sad story about the flooding of the original town of Piñol to make the lake for producing hydroelectric power, the boat ride and Juan Carlos' clever reveal of Pablo Escobar's dilapidated mansion amidst the stunning hillside houses. No, we didn't climb El Piñol, though I really wanted to. I was sure I could climb to the top, but I was concerned that my left knee would not have allowed me to descend!
El Cielo couldn't confirm a reservation.
Comuna 13 is a living miracle. My body felt jazzed during the entire experience, and with the salsa and other beats filling the air, I could barely stay still. Sunday's crowd was thick, yet again, a friendly vibe. Exciting. Then there is Botero Plaza, with his 24 sculptural voluminous pieces thrilling us.
Long drive from Cartagena airport to Barú to get in the Hotel's boat. We appreciated the special arrangements.
Well, if nothing, it was exciting. Full boat of 40 people with luggage. Not balanced well, so this of us on the starboard side literally got soaked through all our clothing. Kind of funny, and uncomfortable. They rearranged luggage and then it was okay. But the adventure was not over. Apparently high winds made the Caribbean approach to Cartagena too dangerous, so our boat, along with several others, entered a very shallow river delta where our propellers were hitting mud. Other boats sped passed us, causing our boat to rock violently. Finally the boatman and first mate raised the engine (?) and we were on our way. Two your ride. It was an unanticipated adventure.
We liked Isaac's introduction to Cartagena. For us, it was an incredibly hot and humid day, and waking up the massive fort near noon was exhausting. So we cut the schedule short and returned to the hotel.
Fun place. Good food. Casual, local feel. Met two couples separately that made it more enjoyable. One man invited us to his cafe the next day for more conversation.
An excellent activity that we enjoyed thoroughly. French-born Gilles Duport is a wonderful and charming chef, fluent in French, Spanish, but not English. We had a wonderful time with our little bits of both European languages and his armchair English.
Despite its beautiful decor and lovely room, the food was not what we expected. The wait staff was inconsistent, and we felt a bit fooled by the wine selection process in an attempt to have us buy a very expensive bottle of wine.
Airport is convenient to downtown. Isaac was the only guide who did not go into the airport with us to help us get situated. Maybe it was because this was an international flight, whereas Tomás and Juan Carlos were able to help us with domestic flights.
Dear Blaine and Rick,
It has been a pleasure meeting you both, and I will miss our conversations and messages, and Thank You so much for making us a part of your trip to Colombia!
I also wanted to Thank you for taking the time to write this review, and I will certainly pass on your comments to Tomás, to Juan Carlos, Isaac, and to Gilles. Muchas Gracias!
We all hope you come back to Colombia in the future and Hasta Pronto amigos!
My very Best Wishes,