We LOVED our time in Cartagena and really app...
Jul 10 - Jul 14, 2022
We LOVED our time in Cartagena and really appreciated the care Michael took to make sure each detail was thought out. The Armeria Real hotel suited our family well and the sleeping loft gave our daughter somewhere to hide away when she wanted a moment alone.
We particularly enjoyed the chocolate workshop at ChocoMuseo with Cindy. Our active 9-year-old was involved in every step. The owner, Abe, stopped by and gave us a bit of a taste of the rum experience from his other property Rumbox across the street. We went there later for dinner. That was a highlight but the workshop with Cindy was a wonderful, intimate, personalized way to kick off our adventure in Cartagena. She was knowledgeable and patient. We bought rum and chocolate to bring home to share with others.
We also loved the bike tour with Oscar. What a GREAT tour guide! So warm and a great story teller. We were not the steadiest on our bikes but he matched our pace and was reassuring. He sought out a great little coffee shop, which was a highlight for my husband. He helped our daughter make connections between Colombian history and what she'd already learned of US history. And he knew everyone all over town. I felt like we were rolling along with a local celebrity.
The dance lesson was a bit less successful - we learned how to dance but using the dining room at our hotel wasn't really the ambiance we were looking for. The instructor was great but it would have been nice to go out somewhere more lively. I suppose that's too much to ask at that time of day. Dance culture doesn't likely pick up until later at night. I did see Oscar took a video of us dancing - perhaps you could ask him for a copy and send it on to us?
The trip to the islands was lovely and I really liked IslaBela. It was not overrun like many of the reviews I'd read of other Rosario Island destinations.
Overall, a wonderful trip and using KimKim and Chaska helped us find the right balance between independent travel and expert on-the-ground guidance and support. Very satisfied!
The location in Getsemani was perfect and the rooftop pool is a great place to relax after a day of sightseeing. Take in the view of the city walls and the skyscrapers on the peninsula beyond as you lounge with a mojito from the bar. The room smelled a bit musty but the air conditioning was effective and the sheets were clean. They really need to boost the lighting in the interiors. The decor is charming and authentic to the neighborhood. For our family it was really perfect to have the two beds split into separate spaces, with a living room bedroom, and bathroom on the first floor, and another bedroom and bathroom in a sleeping loft above. This provided a little getaway for our daughter to decompress within shouting distance.
This was amazing. Cindy was a wonderful tour guide through the process of making chocolate. She let us be hands-on for several steps of the process, handling the cocoa beans, shelling them, mashing them and finally pouring them into molds. She even customized our mixture so that it would not contain milk since I had an allergy. We learned so much and were inspired to eat dinner that night at their restaurant across the street - Rumbox - where they have a lovely rum-tasting experience that is also infused with chocoloate. This experience was everything we could hope for - personalized, sensory, informative and fun!
Lovely trip to the islands. It's so nice you get your own little cabana/bed upon arrival. The food was tasty. The vibe was relaxed. The snorkeling was a little bit of a disappointment in that the water was a bit rough. Not much they can do about that as tour operators, though. And there were lots of pretty fish.
Oscar was a wonderful guide. Knowledgeable and friendly. He was greeting folks all over the city. He customized the tour to our interests. He worked with the bike rental place to make sure we got a tandem bike that suited our family. He scouted out a great coffee shop where my husband got to sample tasty coffee.
The instructor was great. We learned how to dance. I somehow thought we'd do so at a more lively venue where we'd then be able to continue dancing. Doing the dancing in the empty dining room of our hotel was not an ideal location - especially since we were such a small group.