Michael was a font of information and a great...
Mar 10 - Mar 18, 2023
Michael was a font of information and a great collaborator for planning a trip with my two teenagers to Colombia. We went from Cartagena, up the coast through Tayrona National Park, to Minca, and left from Santa Marta. Michael was very attentive to details and customized the trip according to our varied interests and our budget.
We especially loved going to the market and cooking in Cartagena, and also our bicycle tour there. The jungle bungalows in Tayrona were so sweet, complete with a gemlike pool and a resident dancing parrot. Our tour of La Victoria coffee plantation, where the machines have been in use since the 1890's, was so interesting followed by a hike to the local waterfall.
We felt happy for easy transfers, nice accommodations, and most of all for the friendly, knowledgable people we were connected to along the way.
We loved this hotel. It's a gorgeous setting with beautiful individual bungalows set along paths on the jungle hillside and a lovely blue swimming pool. Lila the dancing parrot made us laugh, and everyone who worked there couldn't have been nicer. Yummy breakfast.
This hotel set on the hill above Minca was simple and comfortable. We were in the main building in rooms with a very nice shared patio and a gorgeous view. Going down the hillside to the river were individual bungalows. We enjoyed swimming in the river. The staff was very nice and helpful.
Jorge, subbiing in for Carolina, was so knowledgable and articulate. We tried corozo juice from a street vendor and local sweets. Jorge had an easy way of conveying the history of the city through streets, statues, and architecture all the way back to the 1600's. Plus we saw a sloth and monkeys in the parks. A great afternoon.
It was a gorgeous day for a boat ride, but our landing spot on a small private beach with lots of other people was a little disappointing. We each had a shaded chair, and the people working there were nice, but we were very close to everyone else and beach just so-so. Snorkeling also (an extra fee) was fine but not great. Maybe there is another destination in the Rosario Islands that is prettier and more special?
One of our favorite things. Good to get out of the Old City. The market is not a pretty setting, but there was a lot of activity, and our chef-teacher picked delicious items all the way through. The cooking class was on a shaded hotel room with an outdoor kitchen in Getsamani. Delicious and fun.
This park is so pretty. The teenagers opted out of the hot hike, but I spotted capuchin monkeys, birds, an anteater, and sloth. My guide was very good and passionate about the area. He knew a lot about the history, the Kogi people and culture, and the nature. I swam at La Piscina. Cabo San Juan was crowded with Santa Marta daytrippers who came by boat. I had the best ceviche of the trip on the beach there.
Our guide knew a lot about local history and the Tayrona people. We somehow didn't realize we had a hot, 45 minute uphill hike before we got to the river. There was a pretty little museum of artifacts at the top. The river trip guide was a very nice, but the river itself was beyond sleepy. We met other people who had gone down rivers with a bit more current. A sleepy, sunny morning on the water.
This was much more fun than we anticipated. The 130-year-old machines from England, our knowledgable guide Jamie who grew up on the farm, and learning about the process from little plant to roasted bean was so intertesting. Our hike to Marinka falls for lunch and a swim after made for a really nice afternoon.
Our guide Al here was a bit odd. We were also worn out, but we jumped ship on this tour halfway through.