OWR Guest Q&A – Francesca, UK
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, my names Francesca, I’m 32, from the UK, and work as a Civil Engineer.
Why did you book this trip?
A mixture between wanting to see a lesser visited country in South America and also to have a ready-made group of friends to experience it with! The itinerary seemed to have a good mix of culture and nature and lots of activities were included that I may not have done if I had gone alone. I also liked how OWR aren’t a large global company, with several departures a month and a new group leader every time. It appealed to me that the smaller company size meant a personal touch and the founder, Steve, comes on the trip with you. It all adds to the experience which makes a huge difference.
Had you been on a group tour before? If yes, how did this compare?
No I hadn’t, but this trip set the bar very high for any future group travel trips! I felt it was the perfect trip for my first group travel experience because the itinerary was perfectly paced, the group sizes were small and there was free time to explore on your own.
Did you have any fears before coming on the trip?
None at all about the country or the content of the trip. My only fears were regarding it being my first group tour and how the dynamic would work. I’m glad that I booked it anyway, regardless of my fears, because I had a wonderful time!
How did you get along with your group?
There was such a mixture of characters and personalities which meant we all clicked really well. We all got along and spent a lot of our free time together. The jokes and laughter were endless and in no time at all, your group become friends. In the end, your group are what makes the trip special and I met some wonderful people, some of whom I’m still in touch with now.
(See also: Solo Travel vs Group Travel)
How were your tour guides?
Steve and Julian were so friendly and welcoming. When I finally arrived in Medellin late at night on the first day of the trip after an horrendous 16-hour flight delay, Julian was there waiting for me with a beaming smile and huge hug. He made me feel at ease straight away and from that moment, we became firm friends. I got on well with Steve too and I enjoyed many long chats with him throughout the trip, about all sorts of topics, which are still amongst some of my most treasured memories of the tour. Both Steve and Julian are there for any questions or advice at any stage, helping to book activities on your free days and recommending places to eat or visit. Steve was very organised to make the trip run like a dream. They both join in with all activities and soon become like members of the group, rather than the guides. I can’t praise them both highly enough.
What were some of the highlights of your trip?
The trek to Cabo San Juan in Tayrona National Park was simply stunning. As was the wonderful town of Jardin, nestled in the Andes Mountains – the views were just incredible. The meal in the restaurant on our last night in Medellin was a huge highlight – I still think about it now! I loved the Comuna 13 visit, it was eye-opening and so important to learn about the history and past struggles. To be honest, every day was a highlight, Colombia is such a diverse and fantastic country and the people are so friendly.
Any favourite local foods that you’d recommend?
All of it! As a massive foodie, Colombia was perfect for me! Bandeja Paisa is an absolute must (the chicharron is so good). Cheese bunuelos were delicious, as were patacones and empanadas. For something sweet, I’d definitely recommend obleas. The food is seriously delicious.
What did you know about Colombia before the trip?
Not too much really, I wasn’t aware of any tourist hotspots that other South American countries have, such as Machu Picchu or Sugarloaf Mountain. Unfortunately, all I really knew was of the drug cartels and the conflict and struggles that the country has been through. I had heard it was a diverse and beautiful country though and I wanted to see past the troubled reputation and see the real Colombia.
(See also: Group Travel In Your 30s & 40s)
What did you learn about Colombia during the trip? What’s your lasting impression of the country?
When I was in Bogota, I joined a ‘War and Peace’ trip to hear about Colombia’s past and present, which was very informative and essential to fully understand the history of the country. But when I was travelling around Colombia, I encountered nothing but friendly and welcoming locals who were rightly proud of their country. Colombia deserves to be featured more prominently on the tourist radar, as it has a lot to offer for any type of traveller.
How would you sum up your overall experience?
I genuinely had a wonderful time and that was because of a mixture between Colombia itself, my group, tour guides, the food and the experiences and activities we did. Everything came together perfectly to make it one of the most memorable trips I have been on and wouldn’t hesitate to go back.
What would you say to anyone thinking of travelling with OWR?
I would definitely recommend OWR as everything has been thought of, meticulously organised and all you have to do is turn up and enjoy yourself! Steve promptly replies personally to your emails if you have any queries before your trip and the booking process is swift and easy. The itinerary covers all of the main attractions (and more!) and the personal nature of the business cannot be overstated. Honestly, just book it, you’ll have the best time!
Join Our Group Tours for Solo Travellers Aged 25-45 !
We’re Other Way Round Travel and we bring together groups of solo travellers aged 25-45 for immersive & authentic trips to the most exotic places in the world. Here’s some of our popular trips.
11 Days in Mexico. Breathe in the pulsating Mexico city, roam the charming streets of traditional Oaxaca, and hit the beach in sun-drenched Tulum. See Itinerary
12 Days in Brazil. Admire street art in São Paulo, trek rainforests in colonial Paraty and marvel at the madness of Rio de Janeiro. See Itinerary
12 Days in Peru. Cook ceviche in Lima, sail the Amazon, hike to Machu Picchu and become awestruck by the Sacred Valley. See Itinerary
15 Days in Colombia. Dance salsa. Meet coffee farmers. Sail tropical islands. Hike lush jungles. Taste the finest Caribbean rum. See Itinerary