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Our Real Latin America Expert

Millie Davies
Millie Davies - Travel Expert

Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

Samaria Valley, coffee region, Colombia

Millie one of our Travel Experts went to unspoilt Colombia, home to arguably the most dramatic scenery, the greatest variety of flora and fauna and among the friendliest people in Latin America.

WHAT COUNTRY DID YOU VISIT?

Colombia

WHEN DID YOU VISIT?

May 2022

HOW DID YOU GET THERE?

I flew direct from London Heathrow to Bogotá with Avianca.

WHEREABOUTS DID YOU GO?

Bogotá, Medellín, coffee region and Cartagena.

HAD YOU BEEN BEFORE?

Yes, but backpacking 10 years ago so a very different experience.

WHICH WAS YOUR FAVOURITE?

HOTEL:

Casa Don Luis in Cartagena – beautiful old building, amazing staff and my most delicious breakfast of the whole trip finished off perfectly with a mimosa!

EXCURSION:

My favourite excursion would definitely be Medellín's transformation tour and visiting Comuna 13 - it was incredible to see how much the city and country in general has changed and moved on since the dark days of Escobar and the turbulent history he brought.

ANY NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCES SINCE YOU LAST VISITED?

Now there are a lot more wonderful boutique properties and pretty plazas full of cool cafes and boutique shops but also a shift in general attitude. I think people seemed happier and more positive about the future.

WHAT WERE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS?

Hiking through the Samaria Valley, seeing the storm rolling in and then getting soaked at the end of the hike. I am a big lover of rain so was a really fun time and then a nice hot Colombian soup to warm us up!

WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES ALONG THE WAY?

I ended up drinking coffee (something which I never liked before) thanks to my time travelling through Colombia and staying at Hacienda Venecia and understanding and appreciating the coffee making process in more depth.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR TRAVELLERS WANTING TO VISIT THE SAME DESTINATIONS?

Take your time and give yourself at least one free day in each location so you can take it at your own pace and explore the areas that interest you most. Definitely use your local guides on the first couple of days when you are touring as they are local experts and have so many great tips and recommendations to share which will really elevate your trip.

IS THERE ANYTHING INDISPENSABLE TO PACK OR PREPARE FOR?

I would recommend not ‘overpacking’ make sure you have enough space in your suitcase for the many bags of coffee and coffee sacks, as well as some wonderful handicrafts you will undoubtedly want to bring back if you are anything like me. I ended up buying another hand luggage hold all just to fit it all in!

ANY LOCAL SNACKS, DISHES OR DRINKS THAT SHOULD BE SAMPLED?

Arepas grilled and stuffed with cheese were delicious! Aguardiente which is a Colombian liquor made from sugar cane and anise is another local specialty not to be missed!

EXPERT COMMENT:

One of the highlights was the half-day gentle hike we took through the valley of Samaria in the coffee region where we observed the famous wax palms up close. The location is breathtakingly beautiful and it’s a lesser-known gem compared to the more popular Cocora Valley. If you love the great outdoors and going slightly off the well-trodden path, Valle de la Samaria is a must-see.

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Real Latin America Experts

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    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

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  • Ben Line
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    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
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    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

Meet the team