Colombia will astound with its natural and cultural diversity, lovely people and amazing birding
Almost all of our clients let us have their feedback after they get back from their travels. Sometimes this is a detailed trip report or it can be just a few words. Whatever it is, we love to receive feedback, as it helps us to keep standards high and experiences perfect for future travellers. Over half of our bookings come from repeat clients or by word of mouth, a statistic we are very proud of. Here, you can find some of the reasons why.
We had a fabulous time on the Colombia Nature & Culture tour – this was a great trip. At times it was quite hard work, with lots packed in, ..
We had a fabulous time on the Colombia Nature & Culture tour – this was a great trip. At times it was quite hard work, with lots packed in, but that is exactly what we wanted and we thought it was excellent throughout. Where we went and the hotels we stayed in were all great.
Just a few specific thoughts. Our visit to Monserrate in Bogota was strenuous because the queues for the funicular were huge both ways, and in the end we walked down (which itself is hard work). The two main reasons were (a) that the cable car had an accident a few weeks ago , and so is currently not working; and (b) we were there on a Sunday when the funicular ticket price is reduced and lots and lots of Colombians (and others) want to go up the hill. Ideally, we think, it would be better to go on another day of the week if possible. We really enjoyed the flower and fruit market but, if there are no better options, it might be better to go straight from there to Monserrate instead of first going to the Gold Museum, as we did. That would mean getting to the funicular much earlier and, one would hope, avoiding some of the queues; and the Gold Museum can be done at any time of day.
The cable car trip to Parque Arvi in Medellin was great but, once we were at Parque Arvi, we didn’t use our time well. Mompox was hard work to get to and from but was absolutely worth it! One of the most wonderful places we have ever been. If any better way of getting there ever becomes available (guide books say that flights to Mompox may start sometime, but they don’t seem to have done yet) it would be worth exploring those.
Our guides were generally good. From a selfish point of view, it would have been great to have more guides like Diana Balcazar who led us in and around Bogota, because she knew about birds, unlike any of the others. And, maybe to be hyper-critical, what was billed as a ‘Nature and Culture’ tour was a bit light on the nature, though I acknowlegde that our fellow group members weren’t nearly as interested in the wildlife as we were – and we did see a lot of birds in the end. But, ideally for us, a bit more birdy input would have been good at times. I hasten to add that none of this is a complaint – it was a brilliant holiday …
… not least because of our extension at Sanguare. Sanguare was fantastic in every respect. The journeys to and from Cartagena took about 3.5 hours each way, and the last 15 or so miles from San Onofre is on pretty rough tracks. The ‘resort’ is just superb. We had a lovely detached circular room – more than 20 feet in diameter – about ten feet from the excellent swimming pool and fifteen feet from the superb beach. There are seats, hammocks etc everywhere and the whole place centres on a wonderful and huge mango tree, where new visitors are met and where there is always coffee, water, fresh coconut and fudge available.
There is also a big dining room, again circular and thatched with a very high roof, where the superb meals are served. The food was fantastic – varied, tasty, beautifully presented etc. While there is no choice in the sense that there isn’t a menu to choose from, there are plenty of options available so you can pick and choose to suit whatever your tastes are. At a typical lunch, there are probaby 15 or 20 large and small dishes on the serving table (this includes salad, dressings etc), all of which are creative and wonderful. As well as breakfast, lunch (soup; the main course; and always a small and delicious dessert; nd a different fruit drink every day) and dinner (a bt smaller than lunch, but not much!), the staff bring round a dish of home made ice cream (different flavours every day) at about 11.00 am – finding you wherever you are – and an execllent glass of fruit drink at about 5.00 pm.
The staff are lovely, led by two sisters (Margarita and Vivianne, whose father is/was a friend of the owner (Alvaro??). They have very little English but that was no problem and the friendliness, politness and helpfulness of everyone was palpable (as everywhere in Colombia). The whole reserve is big – a mix of reserve proper, land that was grazing land which they are working to restore to its original state, some grazing further from the resort, and one large and several smaller lakes (on one of which I managed to photograph a duck which has only been recorded in Colombia three times before!).
When we arrived, there were only four other people staying at Sanguare. On our third day, a party of 19 Swedes arrived which filled the rooms, but the atmosphere remined quiet and everything continued to feel very relaxed.
As you will gather, we thought that it was perfect. But it might not suit everyone, particularly those who
• want air conditioning and hot running water – there are fans, but the shower was cool
• want a safe in their rooms or a key for their door; we had neither, but that was fine
• don’t like frogs popping out of the loo – several appeared every evening, but they were friendly!
But for those who want somewhere beautiful, relaxing and utterly enjoyable, Sangaure is a great place to go.
With many thanks to everyone at Motmot for a great holiday. Debbie and Rob – Feb 2019
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Just returned from an excellent holiday in Colombia. We saw nearly 400 species of birds over the 2 weeks. The hummingbirds, in particular, were lovely..
Just returned from an excellent holiday in Colombia. We saw nearly 400 species of birds over the 2 weeks. The hummingbirds, in particular, were lovely to see, in all their array of metallic colours. Perhaps the most enthralling sight and sound were the oilbirds emerging from their cave at dusk at Rio Claro. We loved the butterflies, and other insects, too. The number of species seen and their amazing colours and patterns kept us busy with our binoculars and cameras. The trip was a bit more ‘full-on’ than we had expected, after experiencing several other ‘MotMot’ holidays. We would have preferred to have had a bit more time to ourselves to observe the insects and plants, as well as birds.
Our guide, Manuel, though relatively inexperienced, did a great job in looking after us. He was always busy making sure we were happy. He kept us well supplied with snacks and drinks throughout our tour, making sure we liked the things that he bought. He was good at spotting, or hearing, birds and could identify most of them. He was honest if he didn’t know what something was and then did his best to ID it later. We did think he sometimes overused Playback to attract the birds, but we think he felt under pressure to show us as many species as possible. We would have been happy just to wait and see what appeared.
The accommodation was generally good, though we preferred the lodges and character properties, rather than the standard hotels. Our hotel near the Cerulean Warbler Reserve and our cabin at El Dorado were amazing and we would have liked to stay at both for longer. The travel times between hotels was often more that quoted in the itinerary, for example, on Day 9, the drive to Ocana took 6 hours, much longer than we had anticipated. The itinerary would be better to concentrate on travel times and stops, rather than on lists of birds which we might see, many of which, we were informed by Manuel, were impossible to see.
Overall an excellent trip with a good guide.
Kevin and Jacki Solman – March 2018
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We returned yesterday from a wonderful holiday in Colombia. First of all I believe our itinerary and the planning of the night stays was excellent. ..
We returned yesterday from a wonderful holiday in Colombia. First of all I believe our itinerary and the planning of the night stays was excellent. I am glad I mentioned I did not wish to travel for more than four hours in a car a day. The travel time was often up to six hours waiting for lines to be painted in the middle of the road or cows crossing not to mention the traffic especially in Bogota. What a city of 9 million not to have a metro of some kind! In Bogota itself we had a very good guide and the Museum of Gold will always be remembered. Our trip to Guatavita Lake was excellent – now there is a good path. Personally the Salt Cathedral rather touristy!
Villa de Leyva is outstanding, the huge square and the hospitality at Hotel Casa Terra was perfect 11/10. I am glad we only drove to Honda – Hotel Posadia Las Trampass another excellent small hotel. Honda has much history, being the old port. The Manager, Angela, took us to her boss’ huge farm, 7000 ha, for a walk along a river, crossing it four times on foot! This is a great cattle ranch and we met the owner. Great experience. The Coffee triangle is well worth while, the great rolling hillsides, so very green. The visit to Tinamu Natural Reserve we very much enjoyed. Again, Salamina another lovely hotel and we enjoyed the visit to St. Felix.
Time rolled on. Medellin was a very good experience. We managed to work out the sky train and travelled one length of the city on the line to the other – a good way of seeing any town. We even connected up with a cable car ride. I am glad we had two nights in the city visiting the historical village of Guatape and Penal Rock – excellent. Flight to Santa Marta went well and Villa Maria gave us a good taste of the National Park even if the park is closed currently due to too many visitors.
Finally Cartagena – what a wonderful completely walled town. It reminded us of Dubrovnik. Enjoyed the visit to the Rosario Islands but we will always remember our last day to visit the village of La Baquilla, and the school. The children greeted us with some freshness and smiles. The punting trip on the shallow lake to the beach, through the mangroves was excellent, much wildlife. The lunch on the beach cooked by a local was delicious. This trip was definitely off the usual tourist route, neither our guide or driver had been there before.
All very well planned and much enjoyed. As I mentioned at the beginning a wonderful holiday and thank you for organising it for us. Atlanta in the US is only 5 hours flying time away and tourism will increase dramatically in the very near future. It was special to be in this country in the early days. We met no other UK visitors.
Elizabeth Coatsworth - February 2017READ FULL REPORT
We had a wonderful time in Colombia. Many, many thanks for arranging such a wonderful holiday. Jeff and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, not only wi..
We had a wonderful time in Colombia. Many, many thanks for arranging such a wonderful holiday. Jeff and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, not only with Luis in Bogota but also on tour with Hernan and Angel. We were able to keep up with our Simon Bolivar odyssey right up to our very last day in Colombia! All our accommodation was comfortable and perfectly located for birding. The food was delicious and the fruit juices out of this world.
Hernan has such a lovely personality and it was a privilege to be with such an excellent and experienced bird guide. Our name for him of Wizard of Aves suits him perfectly!! Angel was a delight to be with. He is an excellent driver and great fun. I will not forget the Spanish sayings he taught me!
Jill & Jeff – Feb 2016READ FULL REPORT