Hilary and I would like to thank you, your team and your partners in Colombia for our fantastic holiday. Being disabled and organising a wildlife based holiday requires a lot of research and effort and you all excelled yourselves. The hotels chosen were perfect and all the activities were superb. How I managed to get to many of them in my wheelchair I will never know, but our guide promised to take me "to the end of the world and back ' and he certainly did along with the help of our two wonderful drivers Rolando and John.
Their first challenge was to get me to the top of Montserrate via the cable car. No mean feat considering the altitude and very steep path. Our guide Daniel Restrepo was determined to show me everything that was possible and his dedication to the task went well beyond the call of duty! He was simply BRILLIANT. His English was superb, he was very friendly, helpful and his knowledge on all aspects of wildlife and Colombian history was astonishing. Nothing was too much trouble. He helped us with our photography so that from being complete novices we returned home with some superb pictures - far better than any previous trip. When certain feeding stations were not showing the normal amount of birds due to lots of flowering plants or fruiting trees, he took it upon himself to find others. When one of our intended hummingbird visits was closed, he organized a visit to his in-laws who have an amazing garden with bird feeders. They made us feel very welcome as did his partner Sara who kindly cooked us and our driver dinner one night when we passed through his home town. The reserve he added at Don Miguels one day had by far the most species of birds with a perfect set up. Daniel was with us from 5.30 am until after dinner everyday. He went through our photos every night giving us tips and making sure we had logged the correct names. He even arranged to go to a Salsa lesson and dance session in Cali when Hilary expressed an interest on our last night.
We cannot fault Daniel in any way. Our drivers were both equally helpful in getting Jon about in his wheelchair and both lovely warm kind people. We will miss them all!
During our 3 week trip we saw 17 mammals including Giant Anteater, Lesser Anteater, Ornate Titi, Night Monkeys, Red Howler Monkeys, Tapir and the Spectacled Bear with a cub and their smallest wild cat the Oncilla. We also saw 42 different hummingbirds including the Sword billed and Long tailed Sylph. We eventually photographed 223 different birds including the Cock of the Rock, various Toucans, Red headed Barbet, Toucan Barbet, Bay Tanager and the Multi coloured Tanager to name a few of the highlights, and many endemic rare birds!!
We left as friends and hope to use their services again sometime.