Trips Travel Agency

Trips Travel Agency is a Luxury Travel Concierge company that specializes in international travel for the discerning client. Whatever you need we can make it happen!

Filtering by Tag: Colombia

New Year! New Adventures!

As we start 2019 we wanted to take a look back at where we’ve been and what we’re looking to do in the new year.

In 2018 we sent clients off to their first trip to Morocco on a group tour. Another client followed their team around Russia during the World Cup. Our honeymoon couple ventured to Thailand for their first international trip as a married couple. While another group of friends treked through Scandinavia and France for their annual get together. These are just a few of the clients we helped trek around the world.

Taking a break on the sand dunes in Morocco

Taking a break on the sand dunes in Morocco

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We also partnered on some great collaborations, first and foremost with Laurelle of AR images who had the top blog post of the year on our page. If you didn’t read it here’s your chance to catch up on Creating Great Vacation Photos. Secondly we collaborated with Brianne from the blog A Traveling Life on our 5 Favorite Places to Dine in Bogota, because you know we just can’t stop talking about Colombia. If you haven’t been, now is the time to sign up for more information on our group trip in June.

Last but not least we took you on some of our own amazing advenutres. Last year we traveled to Japan and chowed on some Okiminyaki, Medellin, Colombia, Mexico and went on an Elewana Skysafari in Kenya. All four destinations had their own charm and interesting details about them, click on the links to revisit them.

Elephant seen on safari

Elephant seen on safari

What’s next?

We still love to travel and are looking towards new destinations and emerging destinations to highlight. Do you have a place you’d like to see highlighted on your blog? Leave a note in the comments and we’ll work it into our 2019 blog schedule.

Not to mention we are still creating our new tour in June to Colombia, it will be the first time that we’ve introduced a tour in June for this destination, so if you want to know more sign up for our email blast or send us an email.

As Always Happy Travels

KJ

Exploring Medellin

For many years I stayed away from Medellin. I stayed away because I thought it was too touristy. I like to travel off the beaten path so while I made stops to less touristic places in Colombia, like Viterbo and Santa Marta, I never ventured to Medellin.

While I loved Bogota I couldn’t help but feel that the expat and entrepreneur groups were lacking in Bogota. They rarely held activities and rarely made a peep on the Facebook groups. I figured it was due to the cold and rainy weather which kept everyone inside and to themselves. Yet the Medellin groups were very active both online and in real life, so off I went to find out why so many expats, entrepreneurs and digital nomads chose this city their homebase.

Once I checked into my hotel I was able to see why this city was so attractive. Thankfully I did myself a favor and booked a room on the high floor and caught a glimpse of the spectacular views of the area. In fact, everywhere I went in Medellin, the views of the mountains and the city were beautiful.

Next is the superb weather.  Moving from Bogota, which is known as the wintry city (ciudad de nevera) to  Medellin better known as the city of  eternal spring was like night and day.   One expat told me, " I love New York, but you can’t buy good weather". Medellin was always about 70 to 80 degrees, warm and breezy but not too humid.

As an expat or entrepreneur finding long term accommodation is always an issue. If you’re a first time visitor most people tend to start off and stay in the Poblado area. There you’ll find many hotels, restaurants and cafes. If you plan to stay in Poblado be prepared to spend top dollar for any apartment you rent. Many of the high- end apartments are the best of the best and command those prices. After a while those who plan to stay longer move out to other less expensive neighborhoods of Medellin like Belen, Laureles and Estadio, or they move to the suburbs such as Envigado or Sabaneta. While Medellin had great weather, I found Envigado much colder than its neighbor, so that can be a downside.

Once you’ve settled in then the next step is to find your office space. There literally is no shortage of coworking spaces in this city. I tested out Global Express and liked it as it had the basic amenities that I needed, but there are so many others.

A good way to connect with other entrepreneurs or expats is to check out Facebook groups, such as Medellin Entrepreneurs Society and Expat Women of Medellin. These are also great ways to find apartments around the city.  Need to keep a pulse on the city?  Sign up for Catalyst Weekly’s newsletter; highlighting daily events happening around the city. Also a good source to find the city's yoga studios. 

Ramen from Douraku

Ramen from Douraku

Lastly Medellin isn’t known for its gastronomy, for that you should go to Bogota. Still there are a few hidden gems.  First up is Douraku in Poblado. I stopped here because I was trying to get over a cold and needed something to warm my soul. I found that at the time, it was a newly opened Ramen shop. The ramen and noodles were cooked to perfection and weren’t bland, which is usually the case with most foreign cuisine in Colombia as they adjust the recipe for local tastes.

If you’re looking for traditional Colombian food you can’t go wrong with Mondongos. Mondongos is probably the best known place in Poblado; get there early as the line is pretty long on the weekends. They carry the famous tripe soup dish Mondongo, and Tipico Antiqueno which is more commonly known as Bandeja Paisa.

Mercardo Del Rio

Mercardo Del Rio

Since you’ll also need some fun Mercado del Rio is a great place to visit on the weekends.  It’s easy to grab drinks with friends but there are some good spots to eat as well such as Al Alma Coffee Roasters. I loved this spot for the all day breakfast everyday. Sinko bar is good for drinks while Enoteca del Rio for good wine. Look out for their special events such as the outdoor summer park.

In the end Bogota may be my favorite place but Medellin holds a close second in my heart. 

Need more ideas on what to do and where to go? Reach out to us to plan your trip!

Happy Travels!!

KJ

 

Still curious about Colombia? Check out the other posts in the series : Bogota & Cartagena

Where to Eat!

I love to travel and I love food. Nothing beats eating well when you’re on the road and experiencing different cultures. Here’s a short  list of my favorite places to dine when travelling.

First it must be said I am a little biased to Boston and DC. I've had great experiences in both cities and need to mention them first .

Located in the heavily college section of Allston this little gem Seoul Soulongtang is my favorite when I’m looking for Korean food in Boston

If you find yourself in DC there are 3 dining options that are a must- Brunch, Dinner and Happy Hour. Not necessarily in that order but it must be done.

When I first moved to DC I fell in love with Happy Hour, a place where coworkers and I could relax, chat and get to know one another outside of work. I created many great friendships during Happy Hour which has lasted forever. Some of our favorite places include Barcode; Ping Pong Dim Sum- delicious appetizers and creative drinks. A friend and I also did a historic bar hop of DC on October night and fell in love with Off the Record at the Hay Adams. We also loved Zengo back when it was open but sadly it no longer is open.

Need Brunch?
Try Medium Rare- Unlimited mimosas/ screwdriver/ Bloody Mary and your choice of entree for $25. Loved the 18th street location

Dinner-
Try the new BLT Prime in the Trump Hotel. We hear that it is one of the best steakhouses in the District and has a beautiful setting.  Don’t forget to check out the suburbs and try Copperwood in Arlington. Copperwood is the perfect place for evening drinks and snacks. Try the Mac & cheese, we swear it’s to die for

Colombia

I love Asian cuisine and trust me when I say I was a little leery of trying Welcome in Cali. I had already gone through many bad dining experiences in Colombia and was not intrigued to try it.

Thankfully my curiosity got the best of me and went in. What arrived to my table were two heaping bowls of deliciousness. One was the Ramen filled with broth that tasted spot on. The other was Chicken Bun that tasted like every bit of the Bun I would buy at Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia .

Every country has it’s own world renowned chef and in Colombia it’s Harry Sasson. His restaurant Club Colombia is my go to spot whenever I’m in town. It’s a really cozy restaurant with low lighting and ample space. Try to get a seat near the windows or enjoy a drink on the couch near the fireplace.  

Need more ideas, click below to see some of list of favorite places!

 

 

Welcome to 2017

Welcome to 2017! 

First let us say a thanks to all the clients we worked with in the past year. Last year we sent clients on romantic getaways to places such as Bali and Australia. Clients toured Egypt, Dubai and Jordan. We had girl getaways to NYC and a Christmas cruise to the Bahamas! Not to mention the numerous winery tours that we planned. 

What does 2017 hold? 
As we enter our 5th year of business, we are excited to plan new trips and new experiences all over the world for all of our clients. Additionally we are adding concierge services for clients who want a more bespoke experience and a concierge by their side. Want to know more about our concierge services email us for more information. 
Lastly you will see us more out and about in the community working with various organizations. If you see us feel free to stop by our table. 

As always don't forget to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

In the meantime take a look at some of our favorite places to visit while in Colombia and don't forget to keep up with those New Years Resolutions.                   

This is Colombia: Cartagena

Colombia is no longer the drug smuggling country it was known for. nor is it the country portrayed in Narcos. Instead it is a nation that has moved on and is shedding its past every day. 

I started my journey here in Cartagena. The rebellious city to the north that sought independence from Spain first. 

The fortress built to look out for pirates

The fortress built to look out for pirates

It borders the Caribbean sea and despite what Google told me the weather was absolutely beautiful. Think sunny beach days with a drink in hand, you honestly can't beat it. Whereas Bogota is high above sea level, Cartagena barely sits above the sea. You will see waves crash upon the rocks and into the streets. If it rains mini ponds will be where none existed before. But don't  worry the sun will come out again. During the month of October the city isn't teeming with tourists, great if you want to get away from tourists not so great if you want lots of people everywhere.

On this visit I stayed in the Getsamani neighborhood at the Allure Chocolat. On the street was what seemed like a convention center but many clubs and bars all around. Right across from the hotel is the bus stop for the hop on hop off bus. Perfect if you don't have too much time and want to explore the city on your own. The passes last for 2 days and include a walking tour. 

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This location was also close to Castillo Grande where you can catch the boats to the near by Tierra Bomba Island. Most of the hotels will sell you on The Beach Hostel. During busy season you will want to call ahead and make sure they have space for you. 

It is beautiful and has a nice pool and lounge chairs. However, if you want to mingle with the locals, go to the ones next door, those were packed and were loads of fun. 

Keep in mind these are not you clear blue Caribbean waters. 

If you're looking for more city life and tall skyscrapers stay in the Bocagrande area. Filled with loads of eateries, malls, shopping and casinos this is the place to stay. I loved venturing off to this part just because more people were around in that area and there was a bigger nightlife there than Getsamani.

 

Review:

Allure Chocolat:

Great hotel. It's sister property Allure Bonbon is down the street, but they don't have the spa, so I didn't stay there. The regular rooms with two beds are quite small, so you may want to consider an upgrade if you want more space. 

Pros: 

  • Great Spa- Spent everyday there!
  • Beautiful pool, could need a little be of retouching though.
  • Good complimentary breakfast, although if you stay a week, you will get sick of the same thing
  • Great Wifi
  • Awesome staff that help you out a lot

Cons:

  • Not a 5-star
  • AC was leaking in the public spaces everywhere, from the front desk to where the spa was. Woke up and saw a piece of the ceiling fall near the spa. Although at the time it seemed like they were working on it and trying to get it fixed. 
  • Concierge does not relay information 
  • Not much to eat on this side of the street, instead try something on the other side of the hotel Calle 25, there are tons of restaurants there. 

Happy Travels!