Our experience in Colombia
At first, their children weren’t convinced that an active tour of Colombia would be as much fun as a pool-side vacation. But with the help of Erik, our local travel expert, Monique Staals and her family designed a wonderful trip, ideally suited to their wishes. “Colombia is such a diverse country, there’s something for everyone.”
Monique’s son and daughter (15 and 17 years old) are adopted from Colombia. They haven’t been back since. “Now that the situation has improved so much, and it’s safe to travel around Colombia again, we really wanted to go back and show our kids their birth country,” says Monique. “My husband and I used to travel quite a bit, but since having kids our holidays have become a lot less adventurous. The kids were fine with lounging pool side all day, and weren’t too sure what to expect from a trip where they would be sleeping in a different location every couple of days. Colombia was such a success, though, that they’ve now also caught the travel bug.”
Local knowledge, international guarantees
Monique and her family wanted to book their trip through a local, Colombian travel agency; figuring they would be best suited to advise about the most special places and accommodations in the country. Because they still wanted financial security for their booking, they chose for Better Places. “With Better Places, you design your trip with a local travel expert, but with the financial guarantees of an international travel agency,” says Monique. “Together with Erik, the local travel expert, we designed the trip exactly as we wanted. Nothing was impossible, no wish too much for Erik. We managed to do a horse-back riding tour, since our daughter loves horses. We also spent our first week in Colombia visiting our children’s birth family and foster home. Erik was able to arrange these visits and a Dutch interpreter, and that worked perfectly.”
Tubing down the river
Monique and her family crossed most of Colombia in 3,5 weeks. They travelled through mountains and along the coast, and visited beautiful cities. They stayed on a coffee plantation and learned all about coffee production, enjoyed the hustle and bustle of beautiful Cartagena, and undertook a variety of adventurous activities. “The trip was so full of highlights that it’s difficult to choose just a few,” Monique enthusiastically recalls. “The visits to our children’s birth and foster families were very special, of course. But we also loved snorkelling on the Rosario islands, horse-riding in the mountains, and our very special riverside accommodation in Taironaka. We spent the night in a small hut next door to an indigenous family. We tubed down the river, rolling out into the sea, lots of fun to do. We also really enjoyed rafting in San Gil.”
Monique is also enthusiastic about all the great places they were able to spend the night, from simple riverside huts to luxury boutique hotels. “Erik chose the best, most special places for us to stay. Our little house directly on the beach in Palomino was for me the most beautiful, complete with our own hammocks and lounge chairs.” Monique says she can recommend Colombia to everyone. “The country is so beautiful in terms of nature and culture, and so varied. On top of that, the locals are super friendly and hospitable; always ready to lend a helping hand. There is something for everyone: relaxing on the beach, horse-back riding in the mountains, strolling through the bustling cities or river rafting. Our trip was organized to perfection, we felt very safe throughout, and we really enjoyed everything that Colombia has to offer.”
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