Boris’ office planned a two-week trip to Colombia in July for my 19-year-old son, husband and I. They did a great job explaining the options, possible experiences and timing needed for the locations. We chose to visit 5 areas—Bogota (2 nights), the coffee region, Medellin, Tayrona and Cartagena, spending 3 nights in most of them. While we felt that was a good amount of time in each area, we probably scheduled too many activities as we definitely did not have much down time. If I had to do over, I would not schedule activities in Tayrona along the northern coast. It was a great place to relax and activities not as interesting as others we did around the country. Colombia is a beautiful country with incredibly varied landscapes, amazing agricultural bounty (mostly done by hand—saw only 1 tractor the entire time), wonderfully creative, fresh and delicious food everywhere and warm locals willing to share their stories.
Boris’ team arranged activities that we either wouldn’t have been able to do on our own or wouldn’t have been the same. They turned out to be some of our favorite experiences. For example, we toured two different poor neighborhoods in Medellin (comuna 13 and Santa Domingo) with Spanish-speaking neighborhood leaders involved in the graffiti art transforming the neighborhood (with our Medellin guide acting as translator). It was fascinating to see these communities up close and to hear their stories of the violence and hopes for the future. Another favorite experience was visiting very different markets used by locals. First Paloquemao in Bogota—very clean, well organized, items from produce to meats/fish to home goods and flowers beautifully presented. That was in contrast to the Barzuto market in Cartagena, where we seemed to be the only tourists navigating the dirt floors, tight winding walkways though makeshift stalls, fish and meat sitting in open hot temperatures with a French chef shopping for our cooking lesson (we only bought produce there). It was a sight to see! Finally, we would not have known about some amazing restaurants we visited for lunch that were not even in our itinerary. One of those restaurants, in Bogota, didn’t even have a sign out front but our guide knocked and was welcomed in. Our hotels were all wonderful and a welcome respite at the end of every day—most outstanding were Four Seasons Casa Medina in Bogota, Hacienda Buenavista in coffee region, Villa Play Tayrona and Casa San Agustin Cartagena.
Our guides were wonderful and really added to our experience—particularly Byron in Bogota, Froilan in Medellin and Juliano in Tayrona. They were intelligent, interesting and informative. It’s a gift to get to spend time with a local, get to know them and share details about our lives. We gain a better understanding of a country and its people with a guide rather than just crossing tourist sites off a list.
We we thrilled with our trip to Cartagena from Boris and his team. (1) Everything went flawlessly, and it really was great to have the same guide and driver every day. (2) The hotel (Casa San Agustin) was the most wonderful hotel we have ever stayed in with the combination of its history, the service, and the design. (3) The restaurants suggested were the perfect combination of unique and delicious. And (4) everyone we interacted with was kind, welcoming, and eager to answer our questions. I think Colombia is a very special place that has these characteristics itself, but having Boris and his team made the trip just even more special and easy.
We just spent 10 days in Colombia visiting Bogota, Medellin and Cartegena. Boris and his team put together a wonderful trip for us taking into consideration everything we were interested in.
Our guides in all the cities were interesting, knowledgeable, flexible and seemed to be enjoying themselves with us.
We asked for the trip to provide a contemporary art experience and it did. We visited galleries, museums and an artist’s studio.
The hotels we stayed in were beautiful and exceptionally accommodating. The restaurant recommendations were excellent. Who knew that Colombia had such sophisticated and delicious food?
We spent most of our time in cities and hope to return to see the countryside.
Plan a trip to Colombia with Boris. You won’t be disappointed.
Boris and his team put together a fantastic trip to Colombia for my wife and me, a country we had not yet visited. Contrary to what people may think based on past history, Colombia was very safe, but very busy, and we were well looked after by excellent guides. Our trip started in Bogota with an easy direct day flight from New York. Three nights there allowed us to explore the city, its food and the amazing gold museum. Boris’ office arranged a private art tour which included access to a private opening of the works of the famous Colombian artist Jim Almaral, where we met him and his more famous wife Olga de Amaral. For a change in pace we then spent a night in Villa de Leyva, a national heritage site with a stop in Zipaquira to see the spectacular underground salt cathedral. Next stop was Medellin with visits to Communa 13, with an understanding of conflict and cacao, and a visit to a large orchid collection. Four nights in the coffee country, staying in a wonderful hacienda, allowed us to explore that area, including a rafting trip, a visit to a coffee plantation and a day out with an excellent birding guide. The final stop was Cartagena, where we stayed in the Casa San Augustin in the middle of the old city; great for walking around the old areas with activities such as a rum and chocolate tasting, a private cooking class in one of the best restaurants and a salsa dancing lesson. An easy 5 hr direct day flight took us back to New York. Colombia is a country well worth a visit, even though it does not seem to be on the radar screens of many of our acquaintances, and Boris and his team are a great asset for organizing a diverse and interesting trip.
Our trip to Colombia in January 2023 was so well-planned by Boris Seckovic and his team! It was an adventurous choice for us, and we were rewarded with a vast array of experiences from deep countryside to wonderful cities. Colombia had apparently ended its rainy season—we enjoyed beautiful weather throughout. Boris and his team were so responsive, made itinerary adjustments easily, and always kept in touch. We felt safe, cared for. Our guides were excellent—knowledgeable, well-spoken, and easy-going while hosting us through many varied activities. Colombia is a diverse land, with incredible mountains, coffee plantations, small colonial towns and vibrant cities. Art, culture, and of course a notorious history abound! The Colombians are a welcoming, friendly people, and quite diverse. Our lodgings were lovely. Highlights ranged from orchid farms to art museums, from floating along a river in a bamboo raft, to a fascinating day on a small cacao farm with local farmers. The exotic fruits and juices are memorable, and many local cuisines. Our boat trip in Cartagena was first-class, and snorkeling was wonderful. Art has transformed many areas, especially with street art, and another highlight was our private art tour in Bogota! Thank you, Boris and team, for guiding us through a rich, multidimensional experience in Colombia!
I travelled to Colombia as 2 couples; we knew very little about the history and culture before my call to Boris. We are all well travelled and were anxious to learn, visit and immerse ourselves into a new destination. It was also great that it was snowing here in NY and Colombia has a beautiful climate. After 2 phone conversations and some emailing, Boris and his team planned us a wonderful trip. We started in Medellin for 3 nights, we saw great street art, learned about cacao and lots of history on the complicated past of this country. we also visited a magnificent orchid and hydrangea farm, it was really beautiful. From there we moved onto the coffee area, which is lush and peaceful. Bambusa is a small, quaint hacienda where we felt far from the world’s chaos. On to coastal Cartagena and the pace quickened with lively streets, great restaurants and more historical lessons. We ended our trip in Bogata, where we could have used another 2 days. Bogata is cosmopolitan, rich in history, art and great restaurants. Boris’ team planned this trip beautifully. We really saw a huge cross section of Colombia. Every detail was executed, every guide was smart, timely, polite and a pleasure to be with. We felt very safe and educated during our stay. I would highly recommend Boris to any traveler with a thirst to explore and learn. The hotels were all different and well chosen also.
We had wanted to visit Cartagena and Medellin for awhile and finally decided to make it our 2022 post-Christmas trip (which is usually a beach for us). We reached out to the Wendy Perrin site, which we had used before, and got connected to Boris’ office. We found the initial conversation very helpful. They appropriately steered us away from beaches in Colombia and toward the mountain region, while organizing Cartagena and Medellin very well. We found the guides (we had five!) to be well-informed and engaging, and felt very comfortable traveling around the country by auto.
Our hobby is horses, but we tend to avoid the “nose-to-tail” tourist riding that is a staple in many countries, including Colombia. In lieu of this, Boris arranged a half-day visit to a remarkable Paso Fino ranch in the Rio Negro area that was a highlight of our trip. We very much enjoyed the farm and appreciated the courtesy extended by the ranch folks who gave us a tour, provided an exhibition of horse training and then let us ride these beautiful horses ourselves! We also very much enjoyed a private visit to the orchid and hydrangea farm near there. Overall the three days in Medellin were very interesting, although we missed one of the museums after Boris’ office boggled a reservation. But we got to experience the culture, art and food of the area. It is certainly worth a visit.
The promoted visit to the “coffee region” was less enjoyable. It involved another flight, a long two-hour drive, and there wasn’t much to see or do—and a couple of planned events were canceled due to weather. And not much coffee! We would not go back there. That said, Boris uses a lodge called Hacienda Bambusa that we do recommend. And kudos to the staff who made New Year’s Eve dinner an event to remember—which did a lot to mitigate the rough-and-tumble car ride to and from the lodge.
The plan was to fly from there to Cartagena to finish our 8-day visit to Colombia. It wasn’t clear to us how it happened, but Boris’ schedule for airport pickup caused us to miss the flight and we spent half a day in the small, miserable Medellin airport. They blamed it on their “partner” failing to notify us. We never figured out who the “partner” was. (The moral here is always confirm your own air arrangements, and don’t rely on the agency or its “partners.”)
But we did enjoy Cartagena very much. We especially enjoyed being in the beautiful Hotel Santa Clara, conveniently located away from the cruise ship crowds. The Chef’s dinner at the 1621 restaurant in the old convent that forms part of the hotel should be on everyone’s Colombia list, wherever you stay. It was an innovative 6-course meal with unusual wine pairings.
Overall, a memorable trip.
We really appreciated the amazing trip Boris & his team put together at incredibly short notice, & with the exception of the weather, it was excellent. What can we say…. It was the rainy season in November, & there were record rains!
That said, all the guides were excellent. In particular we really enjoyed the company of Sebastian Arbelaez in the coffee country & Aura Maria Gomez in Cartagena, & the passion & optimism of our guide Jose Murillo in Medellin was inspiring.
We loved the private art tour in Bogotá & recommend it highly.
Sandra Montenegro & her home were amazing. We loved her taste in art & she’s a great story teller.
We would have liked to have had more time in Villa de Leyva & the surrounding area, & loved the accommodation that was selected for us there (Casa Terra). Great hosts!
Overall, our only criticism, I think too much was jammed into our schedule for our tastes, & too much time was spent driving in the car. We would have preferred more down time to relax & explore on our own, & of course, this would have been easier if it didn’t rain so much of the time when we weren’t in motion. The 3 days we were at Las Islas it rained almost non stop, but we still loved the location & the lodging & would recommend it. We were impressed by just how good the snorkelling was, even in the rain.
We loved colonial Cartagena where we did finally see the sun, & would definitely go back. We had the good fortune to experience the Carnival while there. We however did not feel the long drive to & from Palenque was worth the experience. Very sad that this village isn’t getting more local financial support.
Colombia is a geographically beautiful & culturally diverse country with a very complicated & violent past, but its present is full of inspiring people who are committed to making it a safer & more stable country. Definitely worth visiting!!!
Boris’ team was remarkable, & we have already recommended them to several friends.
Boris planned and arranged our Colombia trip and we were there last week. What an experience. It was amazing, really amazing. We went to Bogota, Coffee region and Cartagena. The travel guides were awesome. The hotels we stayed in were so good. We attended a cooking class in Cartagena at Carmen. Really loved it. The hills of the coffee region were a treat.
We do travel but this was the first time we used a Wendy Perrin-recommended travel agent. So so glad we did that. We are already planning our next one with them.
Wow, really wow. 5 stars.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Boris Seckovic and his team were absolutely invaluable in helping us have an amazing family trip. Pre-planning was very easy via phone and email, and the expert guidance on activities and locales led us to have a wonderful time.
On arrival, every arrangement unfolded as planned: Each of the three tour guides were so professional, knowledgeable, flexible, and very warm/good-humored — truly lovely people who are great at their jobs and really enhanced our time. We would recommend them all without hesitation.
A special note of gratitude to coffee region tour guide Sebastian Arbelaez who, after three very full days of touring, met us at our hotel at 5am and helped us through the confusing, two-hour-long process of getting checked in and organizing our luggage and paperwork for departure from Armenia. He was incredible and patient, and I literally don’t know what we would have done without him.
The tours themselves were amazing, especially Gregorio Uribe (music) and Maria Paula (art tour) in Bogota and Palenque (so beautiful and culturally rich)! Cartagena is, of course, incredibly special and we mostly enjoyed walking around and soaking it all in. The coffee region was so different — lush, green and peaceful.
We adored Casa Medina and Hacienda Bambusa — gorgeous, high quality, unique hotels with superb staff. If we had it to do over again, we probably shouldn’t have arranged quite so much activity so that we could relax at our wonderful hotels a bit more. I wish Casa Medina and Sofitel had been able to arrange adjacent hotel rooms, but for some reason hotels (in general) rarely seem to be able to accommodate these requests.
In Cartagena, the Sofitel is stunning, we loved the historical feel of it, and the food/buffet is stellar, but the hotel was too large and crowded for our tastes. More importantly, the hotel rooms showed obvious wear and tear and need to be refreshed. It was simply not in the same category as the other two hotels on the trip. If we returned to Cartagena, we would not stay at the Sofitel again.
As far as Covid, it was a non-issue. Everyone wore a mask (moreso than in the States) unless we specifically invited them not to. Most restaurants checked vaccine cards. The Covid testing was remarkably easy to arrange and results were prompt. We felt safe every step of the way.
We hired Boris’ team for their pre-trip planning expertise, and that aspect was absolutely wonderful. What was unexpectedly amazing was being able to truly enjoy our time and not spend part of each day debating what to do, see or eat. This is a huge bonus, especially with a multi-generational family group full of opinionated people. Having a great plan in place allowed us all to actually relax and enjoy our family time pretty much from day one. In other words, the trip planner absolutely added value to our trip!
All that to say, we highly recommend Boris, and we will call again when we return to beautiful Colombia!
Thank you to Wendy Perrin for helping us find Boris Seckovic. It was an unforgettable family trip!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Firstly, we can’t begin to express our gratitude to Boris in crafting such an amazing trip!
We had an absolutely stellar time! Everything he suggested was truly spot on.
To break it down a bit more…
What a gorgeous city! We absolutely loved our time there. Our guide Gustavo was wonderful. He was so nice and funny and truly had a wealth of knowledge. He did a great job telling stories of the city and showing us around. It was great to meet lots of people he knew all over the city too. Really an amazing time with him/because of him. And all of the activities we booked were fantastic too!! We really really loved the cooking class and the day on the boat! But everything was super special. And the hotel Boris found for us was really special too. What a beautiful hotel… amazing room, amazing staff, amazing location, etc. etc.
What a great contrast to the coast. Everyone was very apologetic about how rainy it was, but honestly, coming from LA it was a nice change. Haha. So glad Boris recommended the area! Our guide Sebastian was just as wonderful too. Really truly made us feel welcome and did an amazing job showing us around. His genuine warmth and friendliness was so special and memorable. We had such a great time exploring the area and eating all the amazing food! Even when we couldn’t go on the rafting trip because of the weather, he was so great about finding another activity for us. We were especially touched when he took us to his house to meet his mom. What a great guy! As for activities… we LOVED meeting Pascal and Diego and sharing lunch with them in their little slice of paradise. That will definitely be one of our favorite memories from the trip! And staying at Bambusa was so wonderful. What a cool hotel in the middle of the mountains. Really peaceful and relaxing and comfortable and had great food!
Honestly… we’ve run out of all of the amazing words to describe our experience.
The trip was magical and we are absolutely in love with Colombia. We can’t wait to come back and see Medellin and Bogota and all of the other amazing places!!
Thank you to Boris a million times over for creating such a special trip for us. I don’t want to say it was once in a lifetime, because I know we’ll be back. But suffice to say it’s in the pantheon of absolute favorite trips we’ve been on.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Colombia trip January 15-April 21.
WOW memory: Standing on my balcony on my suite in Cartagena in the late afternoon and watching the golden waves striking the shore below the colonial era walls. This would be true at any time, but was sensory overload after a year without travel.
There are some important features of travel in Colombia that are independent of the pandemic. Perhaps because Colombia has no obvious famous tourist destinations such as the Galapagos or Machu Picchu, and because it just emerged from a fifty year civil war, it doesn’t get many foreign tourists in most parts. As a result, very few people in the travel infrastructure speak English. That is true for check in agents at airports, and flight attendants even on Avianca, Colombia’s premium airline, and in five star, international class hotels such as the Four Seasons Casa Medina Bogota.
A person should go to Colombia because of the spectacular variety of intimate, beautiful experiences in one country.
In what was an often challenging travel environment, Marc and Boris performed heroically and with the complete finesse of an expert kayaker on the most challenging whitewater. After the pandemic, anyone on a trip with them will find working with them even more of a total joy. Without them, my trip would have been impossible.
To address the questions Wendy asked:
“How did this trip differ from one you might have taken before the pandemic?”
Because of the possibility of a national lockdown or travel ban in the US, I arrived three weeks earlier than in the original itinerary, namely, before January 20. I switched hotels at the end so that I could stay in a hotel with a room more tolerable in a two week quarantine. Historically important churches everywhere and some museums and restaurants were closed because of the pandemic. One region was closed that I would have otherwise visited. Airline travel at every stage was always awkward. Covid procedures were different at each airport.
“Did the trip planner suggest experiences, accommodations, dining options, travel logistics, etc., that felt Covid-appropriate to you? Did he/she solve particular challenges or destination-related problems?”
The answer is yes to every part of the first question. With regard to the second, Marc and Boris’ team wrote letters that enabled the guide to enter airline terminals generally restricted to passengers in order to help me check in with airline agents who spoke only locally accented Spanish. Their team over the phone helped me fill in very confusing forms for pre-registration for arrival and departure and for extending my visa. The outfitter arranged for the hotel to have a doctor test me for Covid in my room within the required three days before departure. To deal with the closure of the region in the previous section, the outfitter rescheduled and expanded visits to other places to fill the gap. The outfitter and the local partners were able to adapt airport transfers to accommodate local lockdowns and curfews. They were always accommodating to my uniquely personal wishes and interests, requests for itinerary changes, and inherent way of doing things. They were easily reachable over the phone and responded quickly to emails
“What did the trip planner do, or not do, to minimize your health risk or financial risk?”
Because my trip was always going to be private and in luxury accommodations and private cars, the health risk was reduced substantially. There really wasn’t any financial risk.
“Did the trip planner add value to your trip? If so, how?”
Being able to negotiate the often changing or confusing or difficult procedures described earlier, being willing to make frequent changes, and knowing the fine details of which rooms in a particular hotel were suitable to my tastes added immense value.
“Did you have certain trip experiences that other travelers should either seek out or avoid?”
In Cartagena, do stay at Sofitel Leyenda Santa Clara. Don’t stay at the Four Seasons Casa Medina in Bogota because they didn’t observe the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the room and because the hotel has restaurant staff who don’t understand menus that are printed in English, and don’t stay at Gitana Del Mar on the Caribbean coast because the receptionists were rude or indifferent and because their kitchen staff did not observe basic Covid rules. Marc and Boris do not deserve a scintilla of responsibility for these bad experiences; the hotel staffs do completely. No travel company can be around a client every minute of every day.
A month in Colombia: Marc and Boris’ team are one of the 2 top travel advisors with whom we’ve worked over the last 30 or so years. We highly recommend them because (1) Marc, one of the 2 founders, planned our trip with us – we were not turned over to an associate, (2) the itinerary was as detailed as I have ever seen, (3) the guides + the drivers were superb, (4) their staff were available 24/7 (+ we had problems with 3 of the hotels) and (5) the logistics were excellent and (6) we appreciated their surprising us with room upgrades in many of the hotels.
My family of two adults and three teens, ages 12 to 18, traveled to Colombia over New Year’s, spending seven days in country. We visited Bogotá, Quindío (the coffee region), and Cartagena. As we were completely unfamiliar with South America, we planned guides, drivers, and activities for most of every day. We have not traveled with so much support in the past, and it was extremely helpful and rewarding. Emily and a few other associates from Marc and Boris’ office were a fantastic help, both during the planning and the trip. They made great choices about which regions we should visit and for how long, what activities we should do, and where we should stay. They even got us into a wonderful boutique hacienda in the coffee region at a very busy time of year. Each of our guides was friendly and attentive, and very knowledgeable about their area. We had Juliana, an artist, in Bogotá share her perspective on museums and the graffiti district. Camilo, a biologist and ornithologist, took us on a hike in the countryside and helped my husband with his birdwatching. Tavo is a musician, and gave us a great perspective on Cartagena. All the tours and activities were fabulous, and the lodging and dining reservations the team set up were perfect for us. We ran into some flight delays on one of our internal flights, and Marc and Boris’ office was very helpful and supportive. Also, the guides mentioned that the company was checking in with them regularly each day, which was so supportive in such an unobtrusive manner. We did so many wonderful activities, but a big highlight was our last day, when we took a private boat trip out to the Rosario Islands and spent some time at a beach club. The kids got so much out of every day of the trip, and continue to rave about it to everyone, a real accomplishment with teens, and the parents accomplished our goal of family time and exposing everyone to a new continent. We want to thank Wendy Perrin for suggesting Columbia as a destination in the first place, based on our parameters, and setting us up with this team. We also would like to thank Marc and Boris’ team for helping us through some initial qualms about the political situation and supporting us splendidly through the planning and the whole trip. It was definitely a trip to remember for a lifetime. In addition, we all plan to return to Columbia, and are evangelizing it as a destination for other Americans.
Marc organized a wonderful trip to Colombia for our family. Marc and his team put together an itinerary that kept my husband and I and two teenagers completely engaged. We loved visiting the very different regions of the country and learning about each area’s distinct history and culture. The guides in each city were fabulous. They all knew a lot about their respective cities and enjoyed sharing their knowledge with us and answering our questions. In addition, they were all wonderfully flexible with our needs and requests. We made some last-minute switches on some days, and Marc’s team was able to deal with them effortlessly and graciously.
I honestly can’t think of anything we would have done differently…although in Cartagena a late checkout could have been requested, as they wanted us out of the rooms before our pickup time. The rafting was probably about an hour too long but we completely understood that the infrastructure of the river didn’t allow for a shorter ride. Marc organized such a terrific adventure!
The best part about working with Wendy’s WOW team are the WOW moments. We were surprised with a cooking class at the best restaurant in Cartagena – Carmen’s. We all enjoyed learning about the local cuisine, preparing, cooking and ultimately eating what we had prepared! The restaurant was truly lovely and the time spent there was one we won’t forget.
Marc and Boris’s team provide top rate service for travel to Colombia. Marc and Ana were a pleasure to work with during the planning stages and executed the trip seamlessly. All of our guides were punctual, knowledgeable and professional. Although Cartagena is an easy city to explore on your own, we felt there was real value in having a local guide explain the history behind the sites and especially in pointing us toward the best street foods that were safe for us to try. When we did encounter a small problem during our stay in Tayrona, Ana ironed it out quickly and painlessly. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Marc and Boris in the future.
I was very pleased with Marc and Boris’s planning and performance during our trip to Colombia. I’ve worked with other specialists, and their execution was very much on par with those established resources. All the guides assigned to us throughout the trip were excellent, hotels/lodges were well appointed, and logistics were on point. There were a few hiccups on transfer pickups during our time in Cartagena, but all was managed and was not really a reflection on their planning.
The planned experiences during the trip were also excellent, with highlights being:
– Bamboo raft float down the La Vieja river in the coffee region–relaxing and very “local” experience
– Visit to the Blue Apple Beach House on Tierra Bomba–stylish island lodging, good food and very cool vibe overall
– The street food tour of Cartagena
I would definitely recommend Marc and Boris as a travel resource for Colombia.
Boris helped me plan a multigenerational family trip (travelers from ages 2 and 3 to early 20s to 40s and 60s) that spanned Medellin, Cartagena, Palenque y Armenia/coffee region). It was the best vacation we’ve ever had! The itinerary was well-planned and well-executed with great guides! We felt entirely safe at every destination as well as in transit between destinations. Accommodations and restaurants were super comfortable and first rate. A meal in Palenque, surprisingly, turned out to be one day of our favorites. Hacienda Bambusa is heavenly, with hands down the best staff ever, and we definitely recommend Casa San Agustin in Cartagena. Can’t say enough great things about this trip — we are extremely pleased and grateful for Boris and his team’s help!
Boris planned the perfect trip for us. He listened to how we travel and followed through with a spot on itinerary. We absolutely loved the entire experience and found each day was different than the day before. Boris was also very available if we had any questions while we were there. This was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken thanks to his great planning. We had friends who decided to join at the last minute and he made that work also. I would highly recommend Colombia and Boris and his team to anyone.