Julianne

Northern colombia, Colombia - Jun 10 - Jun 18, 2017

Traveler: Julianne E. - Local specialist: Tara Davis

It is truly difficult to put into words how amazing our trip to Colombia was! When my friend and I initially decided to travel to Colombia, I did some research and found that there were SO MANY places that looked amazing, but some of them were a little off the beaten path and it seemed like going with a guide would be the best option. I had previously done a private tour with a local guide in India, and it was such an amazing experience that I was hoping to find something similar in Colombia. This is when I found Kimkim and was connected with Jules.

Jules, Tara, and their team really went above and beyond helping us plan the tour. They were very responsive to our questions (and there were a lot of them), and they worked with us for at least a month, going back and forth with different tour options until we had planned a trip that fit our budget and our desired itinerary. I'm sure I drove them a little crazy, but they were extremely kind, patient, and professional throughout the entire planning process. Jules was so enthusiastic about all of the places that we wanted to visit, and it was obvious that he was very genuine and excited for us to be experiencing a side of Colombia that a lot of tourists never see.

Since Jules had another obligation, he set us up with Nico, one of his teammates, as our tour guide for the majority of our tour. Nico was super laid back and fun (and funny!), and we had an amazing time touring with him to La Cienaga Grande/Nueva Valencia, Taironaka Reserve, La Guajira, and Medellin. He was very knowledgeable about all of the places we went, and he was also kind enough to share with us some personal stories about his life and about growing up in Medellin, a city I really never thought I would visit, but one that ended up being really vibrant and beautiful, and that I am so glad I was able to visit. During our 4 days with Nico, we visited a village on stilts in the middle of the swap, cooled off in a peaceful river after a very hot day and spent the night at an archaeological reserve, drove through La Guajira desert and interacted with the Wayuu people, swam in the Caribbean at the most insanely gorgeous beach (that we literally had to ourselves) in Cabo de la Vela, saw Flamingos in the wild, and toured a coffee plantation in Medellin! Every single place we went was incredible in its own way.

After we left Nico in Medellin, we lucky enough to go on a 2-day rafting trip on the Rio Verde, with our guides Mael and Lucho, who were also super cool guys, and who obviously love what they do. It is hard to pick my favorite part of the trip, but the rafting trip was definitely up there. The drive to the town of San Francisco was beautiful, and the 3-hour hike through the mountains down to the river was some of the most beautiful, lush green scenery that I have ever seen. We camped in the jungle that night, and saw fireflies, shooting stars, butterflies, birds, and even a monkey! The next day we rafted for about 3 or 4 hours, swam in a gorgeous waterfall, and just enjoyed the beauty that surrounded us.

This trip was truly unforgettable, thanks to Jules, Tara, Nico, Mael, and Lucho, and also the wonderful drivers that we had for different parts of the trip. I only wish I could have stayed longer! Thank you all SO much!! It truly was a magical experience that exceeded our expectations. There is really nothing better than swimming in the Caribbean on a beach that you have almost entirely to yourselves and seeing Flamingos in the wild.

Tara was very friendly, quick to respond to my messages, and also very helpful in tailoring our trip to make it fit our budget and desired itinerary. I really appreciate her help with adjusting our plans when one of our friends was unable to come on the trip due to work.

Thank you, Tara!

Tara Davis, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hello Julianne,

Thank you, Julianne for sharing this magical experience and adventure with us. Reading this put such a bright smile on my face. From the whole team at Expedition Colombia (Jules, Nico, Mael, Lucho, and myself) thank you for experiencing a side of Colombia that a lot of tourists never see and sharing with other readers about how many natural, beautiful places there are.

Our passion is to not only take people to Colombia’s most wild places, but to also protect them. We want... read more

Hello Julianne,

Thank you, Julianne for sharing this magical experience and adventure with us. Reading this put such a bright smile on my face. From the whole team at Expedition Colombia (Jules, Nico, Mael, Lucho, and myself) thank you for experiencing a side of Colombia that a lot of tourists never see and sharing with other readers about how many natural, beautiful places there are.

Our passion is to not only take people to Colombia’s most wild places, but to also protect them. We want the world to discover and value Colombia as one of the planet’s richest countries in terms of cultural and biological diversity.

I hope it inspires you to know that by joining us on our active holiday, you directly contributed towards grass-roots river conservation in Colombia. With the goal of contribute towards the responsible development of tourism in Colombia, Jules and I started a foundation with the help of influential local, leaders to keep places, like the Verde River where you rafted, wild & cared for.

I hope it makes you inspired to know that your trip directly protects the fireflies, butterflies, birds, and even the monkey you saw, as we work with local lawyers, though our river conservation foundation Yumana, to ensure this critical ecosystem and its rivers are kept wild, clean, drinkable, and fishable!

By taking legal action against threats to the local environments of these tropical jungle paradises, by supporting local microeconomic projects & grassroots community events, such as our annual Samana Fest, we are building a community within Colombia to call for conservation of some of the country’s last remaining wild rivers. You coming, and sharing your experiences with your international network, makes this a global call to action. Together, through responsible tourism, we’ve experienced how our voices are being heard in Colombia– by government, big corporations and the media.

It was truly a pleasure to plan your adventure, and I hope you know none of the adjustments or changes felt at all like work because we’re working together on the same team with the goal of discovering and sharing the places you were able to go to: La Cienaga Grande/Nueva Valencia, Taironaka Reserve, an archaeological site, La Guajira desert, Cabo de la Vela, a pristine Caribbean marine environment and beach, a Flamingo ecosystem!

I’m also so happy to hear you had meaningful interactions with Colombians. It sounds like you had an incredible experience visiting the indigenous Wayuu people. Also, it sounds like you had special moments to speak with our knowledgeable guide, Nico, about what it was like to grow up in Medellin and see the city transform into a progressive, vibrant, beautiful city while keeping its rich culture and coffee tradition.

Again, from everyone here at the Expedition Colombia, thank you for coming to Colombia and having a “magical experience that exceeded expectations”. This is what sharing Colombia is all about and why we love what we do. I’m sure we’ll stay in touch!