Coffee region and cartagena, Colombia - May 28 - May 31, 2018

Traveler: Stephen W. - Local specialist: Gael Lejay

Our trip to Colombia was excellent. We had a wonderful time in the coffee region and the trip organized by Gael and Tucaya was a lot of fun and seamless. We had a few minor snags while booking the trip, as we were originally booked on a return flight that did not leave enough time to catch our connecting international flight, but we were able to switch our flights after bringing this up with Gael. Gael was very helpful with suggesting activities and excursions for us, all of which proved very enjoyable.

Once in Colombia, we corresponded with Nicholas at Tucaya via WhatsApp and he was very helpful. He promptly responded to any inquiry and made sure to check in with us in the mornings and evenings to recap the day and preview the next day's activities. On the ground in the coffee region, everything worked very smoothly. We had driver's and tour guides waiting for us at the appointed times without issues, the hotel (Finca Bosque del Saman) was beautifully picturesque, and our activities were great.

One day, we to Filandia, Salento, and the Cocora Valley with our tour guide Sebastian. Not only were these areas beautiful, but Sebastian is an amazing and thoughtful guide who took us both to the main tourist attractions but also took us off the beaten path to local coffee shops and restaurants. Cafe Jesus Martin in Salento and restaurant Helena Adentro in Filandia were highlights. We can't recommend Sebastian enough.

Another day, we visited Finca Casa Vieja, a coffee plantation run by a local family. Santiago, one of the owners, gave us a wonderful tour of the farm (which grows many types of fruits and flowers in addition to coffee), as well as a look inside the coffee making process. After a delicious lunch prepared by Santiago's aunt (using produce from the farm), we visited the family's coffee shop in Quimbaya, Cafe de Altura, where we sampled many different preparations of coffee as well as some baked goods prepared by Alejandra, Santiago's sister. Sebastian, our tour guide from the day before, also joined us for coffee, which was a pleasure. To cap the afternoon, we took a bamboo raft down Rio de la Vieja, which offered great views and some fun swimming opportunities.

The main downside to this trip was that we were only in the coffee region for a few days. We certainly plan to visit Colombia again and would be happy to book through Gael and Kim Kim again, as we had a great trip that went seamlessly after we got everything booked properly.