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Testimonials from our responsible travellers

 

Community-based tourism is not a simple matter. In my experience, the goal of a balanced cultural exchange can easily be destroyed by too much emphasis on the tourist dollar, or by the local culture being too weak or uninteresting. Here in the Calchaquies valley they have got it about right, with strong local characters bringing energy and passion to the task. They were asking me almost as many questions as I did of them.

Kevin Rushby, The Guardian travel writer
Tour: Rural Argentina Experience
Read his article Homestays in Argentina: how ethical holidays are protecting a way of life
Watch his audio slideshow Traditional music in Argentina’s wild north west

Our trip to Costa Rica was adventurous, informative, and perfectly tailored to our interests in sustainability and environmental preservation. Our guide, Jose, was excellent – he clearly loves his line of work and has taken it upon himself to become extremely well versed in the local culture, history, flora and fauna.

Our trip was a wonderful mixture of outdoor adventures (horseback riding near the Arenal Volcano, trekking through the rainforest, bird watching at dawn to spot colorful toucans), local culture and cuisine (city tour, pub crawl, delicious farm-to-table Costa Rican cuisine, and coffee tasting in San Jose), and interacting with the local communities. Our stay at an organic farm was restful and peaceful, and we enjoyed the ultimate “slow food” experience – drinking pineapple juice from a just-picked fruit and even learning how to make our own hot chocolate from cacao growing on the farm. The rural homestay that Sumak planned for us with the Juanilama community was a delightful cultural immersion and learning experience.

The Sumak Travel staff are professional, attentive to detail, and will go the extra mile to ensure your trip is everything you’d imagined it would be. We also love that Sumak Travel trips are carefully engineered to ensure fair wages for all involved, minimal environmental impact, and an equitable exchange between locals and travelers. Highly recommend!

Hannah, Kasi, & Simone, from the Ethical Influencer Network Bloggers
Travelled December 2016

Tour: Elements of the Natural Costa Rica Tour
Read the series of blog posts about the trip, part of the Happy Travellers category

We visited Tunja and found it interesting, Nobsa to buy ruanas and Sogamoso to learn about the Muiscas. The drive there was beautiful and interesting. We felt this was real Colombia. The hike at the Paramo de Oceta and visit to Mongui was our favourite of all the things we did in this area. We hiked in the open and had great views of the foothills of the Andes. The Paramo was interesting and the plants and stone formations that we saw were fascinating. At Lago de Tota, everything was well organised. We did a boat trip and drove around the lake.

In the Amazon, we enjoyed Puerto Narino village a lot. It was great just to wander through the village in the morning and watch the natives bring in their food for the market or watching the children play in the afternoon. The activities we did were all very nice. We all enjoyed them – especially the ones in San Martin, fishing for Piranas, spotting pink dolphins, jungle walk, visiting with an ‘abuela’, seeing the painted houses close to Calanoa lodge at Mocagua. The food was very good; fresh juices, fruits and salads. We mainly had fish, rice and plantains and this was always delicious and really fresh. The Amazon was the big finale and highlight for us all.

We had a very good time and the service provided through you and your agents was excellent and as we had our own private guides, we got to experience so many things that would not have been possible, had we tried to travel on our own or in a larger group of people.
I hope to be able to visit other parts of Colombia in the future and would use your services again. Many thanks for a memorable trip.

Tove, Reiner, Ole & Victoria
Travelled December 2016

Tour: Elements of Chicamocha Canyon & Colonial Colombia Adventure tour plus the Amazon Rainforest

We enjoyed a great trip arranged by Sumak and all the people involved. Bogota was great, we wished we had stayed another day there, just looking around the old town. Catalina was fantastic and gave us a great introduction to the history of the country. Villa de Leyva, is a great place. Absolutely loved the Centre for Palaeontology. The guide that takes you through the details of how Colombia was formed and its history. Fantastic – Highly recommend. Barichara was great, the hike into the canyon fantastic. Seeing the coffee, tobacco, banana trees, etc. was really nice. The day in San Gil was fantastic, particularly the waterfall.

We really liked the cycling days, they were not too tough for us. The people in Colombia in our experience are fantastic, very helpful, not pushy and go out of their way to help. Beautiful countryside, stunning scenery, great food. We would still like to go back to the coffee region and Manizales, Medellin and Cartagena.

Kevin & Catherine
Travelled December 2016

Tour: Chicamocha Canyon & Colonial Colombia Adventure tour

Our trip was flawless, and hugely enjoyable, possibly one of the best we have ever experienced. We loved Colombia and its people, the itinerary Sumak managed to put together at short notice was exactly what we were hoping for, and everyone we had contact with was friendly, professional, and efficient, the tempo perfect, accommodations well located and comfortable, and the experiences memorable.
In short, we had a fabulous time and bring home fantastic memories, can’t thank you guys enough. Obviously we have only tasted the surface of this amazing country and can’t wait to return. But we can’t imagine how the itinerary we enjoyed could be improved upon for a first experience of Colombia in the time available, and would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone. Again, our sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone involved.

Bettina & John
Travelled December 2016

Tour: Elements of the Chicamocha Canyon & Colonial Colombia Adventure tour, plus the Caribbean Coast and Medellin

Thank you Sumak for the wonderful trip you created. The itinerary you planned offered an ideal range of experiences. The hotel selections (and restaurant recommendations) were lovely and authentic. Our airport and hotel transfers went flawlessly. The activities (tours, hikes, expeditions) were delightfully interesting and energizing. Your suggestions of how to best prepare for the Lost City trek were very valuable. And, last but not least, the guides were excellent – very knowledgeable and kind. In particular, we mention Maria (Cartagena), Alejandro (Bogota), Sergio (Amazon) and Bruno (Lost City).

Your guidance, and the oversight of the in-country team, provided the framework for one of our favourite trips of all time. Without question, we will recommend you highly. Thank you so very much!

Connie & Richard
Travelled December 2016
Tour: The Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

Thank you Sumak! You created an excellent trip for my family, and I truly appreciate your attention to detail, your follow through and the uniqueness of the experience. Our highlights of the trip were: walking along the glaciers, seeing penguins and canoeing in Patagonia, Staying with a host family in Bariloche, enjoying fantastic wine, tango lessons and city tour through Buenos Aires and the outside neighbourhoods. When I travel through Latin America I will contact you again!

Jackie, Nancy, Richard, Anthony, Gary & Kevin
Travelled October 2016

Tour: Elements of the Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia tour, plus Buenos Aires

We are now back home but still floating on the high of our holiday! Words cannot fully express the majesty of Colombia – the warmth of its people, the forever-changing landscapes, the awesomeness of its pre-Columbian sites, the amazing variety of its flora and fauna. We cannot praise all the holiday arrangements you and Sumak arranged enough. Everything went to plan and everywhere we went we were welcomed with open arms and wonderful smiles. There are so many highlights that it is almost impossible to select a few, but we will try:
 * Sitting on the balcony at Ecohabs, Minca overlooking the tree canopy and seeing three vultures, two toucans and a myriad of other birds, all sharing the same tree to dry out after a torrential downpour
* Spending two unforgettable days exploring San Agustin’s anthropomorphic statues and the wonderful countryside surrounding them, one of the most important ancient sites on the planet!
* Crossing the other-worldly 12,000ft Paramos, the ‘Lungs of the Earth’, to reach the sacred pre-Colombian site of Tierradentro, nestling in a green valley, surrounded by Andean peaks.
* Watching the full moon rise majestically over the horizon of the Tatacoa Desert
* Visiting Gabriel Rodriguez’ Museo Artesanal at Casa Totumo in Villavieja, a very simple place, where he creates everything; furniture, musical instruments, pictures and jewellery from the wood and fruits of the Totumo tree. So far he has taught 40 local children, who had previously been absorbed into the drug culture, his unique skills. They must commit to staying for four months, but at the end of that time, they can take away what they have made. Gabriel does all this without any payment.
* Walking up the Cocora Valley in Salento, surrounded by 60 meter wax palms and crossing and re-crossing the tumbling river on rope bridges, slightly scary at first but then brilliantly bouncy!
A number of friends were really interested to hear we were visiting Colombia and wanted to to know all about it, when we came back. Without reservation, we will tell them how amazing the country and its people are and recommend your company extremely highly.
Thank you again for making it a journey of a lifetime.

Ann & Geoff
Travelled September 2016

Tours: Elements of the Criollo Colombia Tour, plus San Agustin, Tierradentro and the Caribbean Coast

We loved Colombia. The people, the colour, the countryside were all spectacular. The organisation at Sumak couldn’t have been better. It was so easy and relaxing knowing everything was thought through and perfectly organised. We liked all the guides. The hotel choices were excellent too. Our favourite part was Barichara and the hike to the Juan Curi waterfalls. We enjoyed the Amazon but found the mosquitos and rain a bit tough! Thanks for helping to put together a truly amazing holiday. We are so grateful.

Clare, Rose, Grace & John
Travelled August 2016

Tours: Chicamocha Canyon and Colonial Colombia Adventure, plus the Amazon Rainforest

We had 2 separate tours with Sumak during our 2-month South America trips and they were absolutely fantastic. Our community-based ecotours at the Atacama desert and Bolivia were eye-opening. We experienced the local cultures which was not the typical tourist activities. We were happy for the unique experience and that not many tourists went to where we were; but on the other hand we reckon this type of ecotourism should be promoted more for other people to know. It is definitely the tourism of choice for people who love unique and personal travel experience.

Given our positive experience for our first trip with Sumak we used them again for Colombia. Felipe has been fantastic at organising our trips, even on short notice for our tailored trip to Colombia. He is accommodating, efficient and very prompt at replying emails. Our trips and the transfers all went smoothly. It certainly has taken the stress off organising trips while travelling in South America with patchy internet. Felipe and the tour agents checked constantly during the trips to make sure there was no issues. The tour guides were professional, sensible, knowledgeable and always look out for us.

Thank you Felipe and Sumak! We definitely will go with you guys again for future South America trips. Wished you do other continents as well!

Wai Mee, Rachel, Robyn & Su Yin
Travelled June 2016

Tours: Atacama Desert Tour, Essential Bolivia Tour, elements of Criollo Colombia Tour, plus San Agustin & Tierradentro

I had such an unforgettable trip with Sumak. Not only was I able to visit breathtaking landscapes and natural areas, but I was able to spend time with the locals and understand their traditions, customs, and their current realities (a priceless experience), and I was able to meet so many wonderful other travellers along the way. I traveled for a month and every aspect of the tour was perfectly planned out in the itinerary and flawlessly executed. I never had to worry about anything nor scramble to make my next connection, the food was incredible, and I was very comfortable in all the lodgings. Sumak did a fantastic job of ensuring an incredible vacation for me, and I am so grateful that I chose their company to travel with. I would love to do another!!

Rosetta
Travelled June 2016

Tours: Atacama Desert Tour, Essential Bolivia Tour, The Inca Empire Tour

We have had an amazing holiday! All of the arrangements you made for us went very smoothly and nearly everything was just as we’d expected it to be, if not better. Our favourite part of the holiday by far was the homestay. The people we met there were so welcoming and we really valued the opportunity to spend time with them. If we were to do this trip to again, we’d extend our stay there. The travel difficulties we experienced over the last few days, due to bad weather, were made easier because we knew that you and your team were there to help out too.

Some of our time at Sao Paulo airport was spent looking at your website for inspiration for our next trip. I am sure it won’t be long before we are contacting you again for another great holiday!

Heather & Nick
Travelled April 2016

Tours: Elements of the Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Rural Argentina Tour, plus Mendoza & Santiago

Our trip was absolutely wonderful and we had an incredible time in both Argentina and Chile. The level of service and attention to detail while developing our tour through to our experience on the ground was second to none. We have so many highlights and can only speak very highly of our guides and drivers. Everywhere we stayed – hotels, b&b’s and hostels – were all very comfortable and we received a warm welcome. Breakfasts were always good – El Calafate and Pucon breakfasts were exceptional. The packed lunches and evening meals in Torres del Paine were of a very high standard. We enjoyed our stay in every location, however, we felt that the service could have been better at the ecolodge we stayed at in San Pedro. All of the tours whether private or with a small group were amazing. There were a couple of changes and cancellations due to bad weather but that did not diminish our enjoyment at all. When our luggage went missing between flights the support team went out of their way to help us and ensured our luggage was delivered to our hotel as a priority within a few ours.

Our trip was incredible and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We met some wonderful people along the way and have fantastic memories of two beautiful countries. We were looked after throughout and for that we are extremely grateful. In fact we are already talking about the possibility of another trip in the not too distant future.

Karen & Barry
Travelled March 2016

Tours: Incredible Argentina and Chile Adventure

We had a wonderful time, thanks to all the arrangements you and others made for us, and we would certainly recommend Sumak to other like-minded travellers.

We were impressed with the care taken and with the enthusiasm and knowledge of our guides who gave of their time and did not seem to mind that we sometimes overran the “timetabled” events because we were either so full of questions or the guide thought of something else to show us! We enjoyed their company and hope they did ours! Accommodation was on the whole ideal and everywhere we stayed had an ensuite. We were just a little disappointed with the place we stayed at in La Serena, our first choice not being available.

The excursions from San Pedro were excellent, with plenty of dramatic scenery, wildlife, some amazing walks, and ways were found to avoid the mass of backpackers we might have encountered. The meetings and meals with indigenous peoples gave us an insight into local life that few tourists are privileged to have and we are very pleased to have been able to support some of the local communities. I hope that this style of tourism, which you and the guides we met all believe in, will flourish and grow in the future and will help to preserve the cultures and lands of Chile.

The contrast between the Atacama Desert and Easter Island was of course huge, and after the intense heat of San Pedro, the sea breezes of Hanga Roa were welcome. The Mana Nui Inn was a lovely spot to stay on Easter Island and our guide, who seemed to know practically everyone on the island, showed us so much and taught us a lot about Maois. The seafood and fish were amazing! We felt so relaxed after 7 nights on the island that it was hard to return to the “big city” for a couple of nights!

So thank you again and good luck with all your future projects!

If you don’t want only to lie on a beach or stay in a five-star hotel in South America but instead meet the locals and learn about where you are, here are the people to organise it all for you. I’ve just spent four weeks on a tailor-made trip for two in Chile and Easter Island and the buzz will stay with me for the rest of the year. You get comfortable, friendly accommodation (even with family atmosphere if that’s what you want), guides who are endlessly accommodating with your requests and questions and generous with their time; and, of course, advice on where to go, what to see and what and where to eat! There’s even someone at the other end of a phone calling to see if you’re OK or fixing things that may have slipped a bit. Go on, take off with these sustainable-travel minded people and have the time of your life at any time of your life!

Ruth & Gabriele
Travelled March 2016

Tours: The Easter Island Adventure & Mystical Chile Tour 

We had a wonderful time! Nico, who led our day trip to Valparaíso, was superb. He gave us excellent advice and recommendations for our subsequent travel to Atacama (not with Sumak). The whale watching trip from Punta Arenas was utterly superb in every way. It was expertly run, and we had a professional, humorous, highly knowledgeable and keen to share guide. The same is true of the Canal Fun people in Ushuaia. In fact all of these excursions mentioned above were top quality events run by brilliant people, also with great food. We won’t forget them! Beyond that, the transfers and accommodation were fine, though packed lunch provision and quality were very variable.

All in all, the whole Sumak experience ran smoothly with only very minor blips and a range of really brilliant excursions run by top people. We wish we had been organised enough early enough to have used Sumak in Atacama as well. We are very pleased we saw that article in the Guardian about Colombia and followed it up!

Louise & Simon
Travelled March 2016

Tour: Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia Tour

It was a fantastic holiday with a lot of great memories that we will treasure for a life time. We visited both Brazil and Argentina, two very different but fantastic countries packed with great experiences: from experiencing the vibrant cities of Rio and Buenos Aires, to the breathtaking nature in El Calafate, Ushuaia and the waterfalls in Iguazu National Park. The guides were fantastic and very helpful and are a great assets to the company.

In terms of recommendations for other travellers, we would suggest trying to book at least 3 full days in the cities and Mendoza and at least 2 full days in El Calafate. One day at the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls is ideal, and only a few hours on the Brazilian side is sufficient. We would also recommend spending a bit more on hotels in Ushuaia and Iguazu Falls as the standard varies.

Overall, we have come home with some wonderful memories and I would not hesitate to recommend Sumak Travel to a friend.

Linda & Peter
Travelled March 2016

Tours: Elements of the Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia Tour, Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Rural Argentina Tour, as well as Rio de Janeiro.

Overall we had a wonderful trip and our guides were generally excellent, being very patient, caring and knowledgable. The accommodation and activities were very good overall, with the only 1 stand out disappointment being the tree house where we were very dissatisfied with the level of service and amount of time we were made to wait.

These are just a couple of the highlights:

  • The bicycle tour in Bogota was brilliant, and our guide Margarita was a joy. She was enthusiastic, took account of our skills and wishes, and we had amazing fun.
  • The Calanoa Lodge is just wonderful! We had a fantastic room, the staff were so friendly, and we enjoyed the activities, even visiting the local people because we now knew what to expect.
  • We had a fantastic tour of the gold museum and Botero Museum, where the guide had such a passion and knowledge on both.

Your support and organisation has been fantastic, and we will be happy to book with you again, and recommend you to our friends.

Jane & Robin
Travelled March 2016

Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

We had a great time in Colombia, thank you. All the arrangements were organised very well, and every transfer arrived before our pick up time so we were never left wondering if the taxi would come. Some of the hotels were really excellent, and we were impressed with the enthusiasm of the guides that took us cycling and showed us round the coffee plantation. The only thing I would perhaps suggest for future travellers to Colombia are some restaurant recommendations in Bogota!

We hope to travel with you again. Your help in putting our itinerary together, and making all the arrangements was very good and appreciated by us. Incidentally, I found Colombia to be a very safe destination, even walking round Bogota in the evening to and from the restaurants.

Caroline & Simon
Travelled February 2016

Tours: Elements of the Criollo Colombia Tour and San Andres & Providencia

It is difficult to imagine a trip as well planned across such a broad spectrum of culture and landscape as our adventure in Chile proved to be.

My father and I immensely enjoyed our trip. Our guides were first rate, knowledgeable and personable. Their desire to share their thoughts and feelings enhanced our experience immeasurably particularly when we had the gift of meeting with indigenous families. There were so many highlights! Although the landscapes in Patagonia and the Atacama Desert are hard to compete with, our interactions with our guides allowed us to feel even more connected with this beautiful country. We absolutely loved visiting the Mapuche community and would highly recommend this visit to future travellers. We had wonderful conversations (thanks to Nico’s translations) and will treasure this memory for a lifetime. Similarly, participating in the llama caravan created a wonderful balance to excursions to the geysers and salt fields. If we knew what we know now, we would stay in the same hotels, but we would recommend going with a different company in Atacama for the day trips.

We will definitely work with your company again in future! Thank you again for creating memories that will last us a lifetime! .

Erin & Edward
Travelled February 2016

Tours: Torres del Paine & Atacama Desert Tour

We had an amazing time, really the trip of a lifetime; it’s just a shame that our own timeline didn’t give us more time in the country.

Our drivers were very nice, kind and both attempted to cover the language barrier between us. The only issue we came across was when we were travelling on the boat across to Ilha Grande, we kind of had to wing it. But, we figured it out in the end by asking the locals on the pier, and had an excellent smooth trip over the water. The pousadas were beautiful! Everyone was kind and greeted you with a smile. They were always clean and the breakfasts served were delicious. There was a slight confusion with the pousada in Paraty, but that may well have been a language barrier with the person on reception that day. Our tours were excellent! The history tour in Paraty was definitely a highlight as we got such an insight into the country, the history, the town and the way of life. I couldn’t recommend that enough to anyone else!!

Thank you so so much for all your hard work and dedication for helping us pull together such an amazing week when we were on a budget and wanting to experience as much as possible. I will highly recommend your company to anyone who is visiting Brazil! .

Ginni & Tom
Travelled February 2016

Tours: Elements of Sao Paulo, Paraty & Rio de Janeiro Tour

The holiday was everything we hoped it would be and more – truly a trip of a lifetime. We had such a fantastic time. Thanks so much to you and your team in London and Colombia for organising it. We were really impressed with how smoothly everything went and how lovely, helpful and informative all the people who looked after us during the three weeks were. We loved the country and it felt like a great time to have visited. We feel that thanks to you, we made the absolute most of our time there and have come back to grey London with some wonderful memories.

Daisy & Charles
Travelled February 2016

Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

We heard about Sumak Travel through a travel article in The Times and were immediately drawn to the journalists’ description of ethical, off-the beaten track travel in Colombia. Having travelled extensively and independently over the years, we were initially reluctant to book a trip through a travel company. However, Sumak were very open and flexible to our ideas and helped create a customised itinerary for us based on the countries and activities that were important to us, bearing in mind our budget. We chose Peru, Bolivia & Chile as the focus of our 10 weeks.

Through Sumaks’ network of local ethical travel companies, we had some fantastic cultural experiences and home stays, the highlight of which was our trip to Lake Titicaca where we stayed with 2 different families on Taquile Island and Luquina Penninsula. We chose to have a private guide for many of our excursions, which was well worth the extra expense as it meant we had a very personalised experience. The quality of the guides, whether for a cultural tour of an Inca ruin or for the 5 day Salkantay Trek was consistently excellent, with engaging and incredibly knowledgeable guides.

As a company, Sumak were proactive, engaging and most importantly, genuinely interested in providing an outstanding level of personalised customer service; we would recommend Sumak with no hesitation.

Niamh & Marten
Travelled Winter 2016

Tours: Tailor-made tour including elements of: The Inca Empire – Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu Tour, The Atacama Desert Tour and the Essential Bolivia Tour

The wonders of Patagonia, both Torres del Paine in Chile and the Glaciers national park in Argentina, were magnificent and the most memorable part of our journey. I also fulfilled a childhood dream of seeing the Iguazu Falls from both sides and managed to fly over them in a helicopter and experience them up close in a Rib boat. I would recommend also making time to visit the Itaipu Dam on the Brazilian side…and bringing headphones / earplugs for some of the long transfers which can be noisy and slightly uncomfortable!

Overall our holiday was excellent and I felt that it also benefitted local people, as tourism is critical to both Patagonia and Iguazu. It employs many local people and is the bedrock of the local economies. Sumak Travel did a wonderful job of pulling together an itinerary that worked. Felipe was very patient with me and managed to accommodate most of my crazy plans. It has given us a taste for South America and have been discussing with Sumak out next trip already.

Shirley & Roland
Travelled January 2016

Tours: Tailor-made tour including elements of: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Rural Argentina Tour & Journey to the End of the World Patagonia Tour

The holiday was a great adventure. Overall I enjoyed the trip and being in the jungle was a fascinating experience – the animal life, the sounds at night and the day, rough camping in the Amazon, the flora and fauna in Caño Cristales, and the physical trek to the Lost City with the indigenous villages was a very rewarding experience.

Thanks for all your work in organising this.

Nick
Travelled December 2015

Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

We thoroughly enjoyed our two weeks in Costa Rica with such a varied and interesting itinerary – it is a lovely country with such relaxed and welcoming people.

The ground arrangements worked perfectly and we cannot speak too highly of Jose Pablo, our guide. What a lovely, friendly young man. Nothing was too much trouble, and throughout he was accommodating and considerate of my disability. He proved to be observant and knowledgeable with regard to wildlife/botany and was equipped with binos/telescope to ensure we enjoyed the best opportunities for viewing. We found the Actuar accommodations and the Gomez’s farm to be the highlights of the trip. The following will stay in our ‘memory bank’ for many years to come: 1) The visit to the Bribri community; the canoe trip to get there, the village itself and its people; 2) Our visits to Casa Calateas, Finca Sura and Los Campesino were all wonderful. Our hosts all made us so welcome and we learnt much from them all. Waking up at dawn to the sounds of wildlife is something we shall not forget; 3) Macaw Lodge was wonderful – what a beautiful place; 4) The final hotel, Plaza Yara , was luxurious and very comfortable.

Overall we had a wonderful and memorable holiday. The tour was well thought out and we were able to experience a flavour of Costa Rica and its people.

Helen and John
Travelled November 2015

Tour: Natural Costa Rica

We had an amazing time – we loved Argentina – what a country! And 3 days in Rio at the end was really fun. Thank you for organising such a great tour – we enjoyed all aspects of our trip.

Overall the hotels we stayed in were fantastic, with lovely staff, and the guides were lovely and really helpful. I would definitely recommend the dolphin excursion – this was fantastic and a real highlight of our trip! El Calafate was also great and we really enjoyed the Glacier tour. The 3 days in the Calchaqui Valley were fantastic – it was an amazing experience and a real highlight. Edgar was brilliant – he’s a fantastic guide and so knowledgeable – the families were lovely and so hospitable. We loved the riding in Corralito, a real experience. Estancia San Agustin was beautiful and Carlos and La Negra were great hosts – we felt like royalty staying there! He took us to a local horse show with all the gauchos in their traditional dress on beautiful Peruvian Paso horses – it was fantastic to see – we road on these horses too which was just great. Of course Iguazu Falls is quite incredible and Rio too was amazing. Pedro who did our transfers was lovely and really helpful and the tour around the Santa Marta Favela was also really interesting and our guide, also Pedro, was a little star!

So all in all a fab trip – I would recommend it to anyone!

Jette and Ashley
Travelled November 2015

Tours: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Rural Argentina Tour, Journey to the End of the World Patagonia Tour & Rio de Janeiro

After organising a memorable trip to Costa Rica, we thought it would be difficult for Sumak to surpass that, but we were wrong.

Our three week honeymoon in Peru and Colombia was quite simply the most amazing experience we have ever had. From the moment we stepped on (yes on, they organised the flights for us too) the plane we were in dreamland. Hotels like palaces, excursions that made us feel like (Mr & Mrs) I. Jones, and luxurious relaxation that made us feel like royalty. All of the guides were brilliant, lovely people, really interesting and friendly and each of them made the whole trip very special, and it was often very hard/sad to say goodbye.

We are already looking forward to next year’s adventure…Bolivia and Venezuela perhaps?

Gemma and Andrew
Travelled October 2015

Tours: The Inca Empire – Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu Tour and The Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

We travelled with Sumak Travel to Colombia and had a great time. The entire holiday went like clockwork. We did a lot of moving around, every 1-2 days and also took part in a 4-day jungle trek. All requests that we made were fulfilled, all our pick ups/transfers were on time, the accommodation was lovely and the guides were great with excellent English. I asked a lot of questions before the holiday and they were prompt and professional with every single one.

I would recommend Sumak Travel and definitely use them again. It’s a pity they don’t operate in South East Asia!

Laura and Alexander
Travelled October 2015

Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

It was an amazing trip – thank you SO much for putting it together for us. I think I loved Bolivia the best; stunning landscapes, Lake Titicaca and Sun Island and of course, the incredible salt flats, but really everything was fantastic.

All of the guides were excellent, particularly Juan in Bolivia, Gonzalo in San Pedro, Nico in Santiago and Ludo in Easter Island. Juan of Travolution was also very helpful. The driver in Santiago was also excellent and always on time and friendly. The situation of the two guest houses on Sun Island was very beautiful. We all loved the dancing on Sun Island, the geysers in Bolivia, those incredible lagoons and the amazing flamingos. Wildo’s tour was very good with an excellent lunch and walking with the llamas was fun and a lovely way to watch the sun going down. I won’t mention all the tours, but I particularly liked the canyon walk in the cactus valley and walking down the dunes – Gonzalo, our guide, was so good. I found the accommodation basic but most were comfortable and clean. Hostal Miskanty was nice, especially because of Marta who was so kind and helpful and made lovely cake for breakfast! The Mana Nui Inn on Easter Island was great as well.

There were so many wonderful things to see and experience every day. It really was a brilliant trip!

Written by Maat, travelled with Ann, Sarah and Marie-Clare
Travelled October 2015

Tours: Essential Bolivia Tour, Atacama Desert Tour and The Easter Island Adventure

We had a fabulous trip. We saw so much, we did so much and met some wonderful people. The itinerary was busy and we may have changed a couple of things in retrospect, but overall it was excellent so thank you for putting it all together.

Bolivia was a revelation. Although a poor country it has a rich and living culture. All the guides without exception were wonderful and passionate about their countries and the places we visited. Juan Luis in Bolivia was full of energy and happy to talk about Bolivia’s turbulent history and current state of affairs. On Isla del Sol Veronica and her helpers of the Challa community made us very welcome. They even had us up and dancing after dinner! We ran into Juan Luis again at Uyuni which was great because he took us on again as tour guide and showed us things we may have missed. We were joined by two Dutch girls in our car who were great fun and Simeon, who was our driver, looked after us very well. The Salt flats were amazing and a real highlight.

Gonzalo, our guide in San Pedro, was excellent and took good care of us and recommended some excellent restaurants. We weren’t sure what to expect for the stargazing visit but because there was a moon it was difficult to see many stars (nobody’s fault). I liked Valparaiso more than the others, I think. We had a walk around visited Pablo Neruda’s house and Nico, our guide, was also very interesting on modern Chile. We could have had more time but we had a delightful al fresco lunch in a fine restaurant overlooking the bay. Finally on to Easter Island. The warm welcoming weather soon turned into tropical downpours but that didn’t stop us or our wonderful local guide, Ludo. We went everywhere and saw everything and heard all the stories. Ludo even sang to us. We all got on really well and enjoyed our cabins overlooking the rather stormy sea.

Written by Ann, travelled with Maat, Sarah and Marie-Clare
Travelled October 2015

Tours: Essential Bolivia Tour, Atacama Desert Tour and The Easter Island Adventure

Sumak provided an excellent service – we were looked after every step of the way and nothing was too much trouble.

The Atacama desert was one of the most exciting and memorable parts of our trip. We particularly enjoyed the private tours with our guide Gonzalo where every day was different and the scenery absolutely stunning. The accommodation was simple but adequate and our hosts extremely friendly. We felt that the holiday really benefited local people. For example, it was great to lunch in local villagers’ kitchens and contribute to the maintenance of their lifestyle. This is particularly important that these villages receive a share of the tourist cake as most of these small villages are dying and need to be revived.

Overall, it really was a tremendous holiday with some wonderful memories we would highly recommend this holiday to friends.

Penny and Richard
Travelled October 2015

Tours: Mystical Chile: Atacama, Huasco, Santiago & Valparaiso

I travelled with my family to Colombia last summer (2015). We like to plan our trips ourselves and the team at Sumak Travel were amazing. They worked with us, suggested improvements to our location choices and made us feel it was never any trouble to keep changing things.

On holiday everything worked as promised. The hotels Sumak suggested were good, the transfers on time and the cars good quality. All the interpreters and guides had good English and knew their stuff. The local representative was also amazing, always available and knowledgeable and nothing was too much trouble for him to find out or arrange. His English was also perfect. At one point towards the end of the holiday I was ill and Sumak were fantastic at arranging changes to our schedule, rebooking hotels and sourcing doctors for me to go to. I even got a call from the English office to find out how I was feeling! On our return they prepared letters for our insurance company and continued to support us when asked.

Honestly, I have not had a better experience with a tour company in 40 years of travelling.

Sara, Joe, Jacob, Benjamin and Alexander
Travelled August 2015

Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

Overall, a FANTASTIC trip. We were able to see a lot in a short amount of time. In Buenos Aires, La Boca was great! We enjoyed meeting the local artist, and the community organisation was fabulous – it was wonderful having lunch with them! The tango/milonga activity was a lot of fun too. We were grateful for our siesta time beforehand and happy to have Herve with us as he was a great guide! The Iguazu Falls were beautiful and we enjoyed the combination of the boat tour and hiking. In Salta, our guide Edgar was great – it was evident that he has strong relationships with the families in the tourism cooperative and we really enjoyed our time with them. They were a huge blessing to our group and went out of their way to make us feel welcome and share their homes and culture with us. The time we spent with them making tamales and empanadas, and the dinners was so wonderful. Thank you for all of your work in organising the trip for our students! We will keep you in mind as we get a new group of students at the start of the new year and begin planning our next adventure.

Group of Students of Sciences of Life, University of Florida
Travelled August 2015

Tours:  Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls & Rural Argentina Tour

We all had an amazing time in Colombia. I don’t really know where to start except to thank you for your enormous contribution in making it such a memorable adventure. The hotels were all of an exceptional standard and perfect for our needs. We especially loved the Posada San Antonio in Villa de Leyva and Hotel Alfiz in Cartagena. All the guides were great, friendly and knowledgeable, and went out of their way to accommodate us. I would strongly endorse Andres in Villa de Leyva and Alex in Barichara in particular. Apart from the airport closure in Bucaramanga, everything went smoothly. We were really impressed with everybody’s timekeeping and always felt secure and in safe hands. Jose was always there when we needed him and I’d be obliged if you could convey our gratitude to him. I rarely feel the need to compliment an airline but Avianca were super efficient at all times and remarkably calm during the crisis. I thank you again for the wonderful service Sumak provides.”

Ardal, Melanie, Rebecca, Redmond, Emily
Travelled July 2015

Tours: Chicamocha Canyon & Colonial Colombia Adventure and Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

The tour was a fantastic way to get an introduction to Colombia. We were particularly impressed by the coffee region tour. Our guide, Veronica, was excellent – so helpful, friendly and professional. The horse riding activity and coffee tour were particularly enjoyable and the standard of car transport during this part of the trip was of a very high. We also found the tour of the amazon region fascinating and all the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. Overall, the activities were varied and interesting and the pickups were on time and well organised. This really took the strain out of travelling! The Sumak team was extremely helpful and professional in the lead up to the trip and I couldn’t have asked for more in terms of communication and information. We will certainly recommend Sumak to friends and family.

Rebecca and Rory
Travelled July 2015

Tour: Criollo Colombia Tour

We had a great time in Colombia – Bogota, where we had an excellent city tour, Cartagena, the Ciudad Perdida which we enjoyed despite the tough trek to get there. In Ecuador we found the Galapagos Islands stunning. We were very happy with your arrangements for our hotels, flights and transfers etc. We would be happy to recommend Sumak Travel to other travellers and of course would think of you should we be going back to South America.

Catherine and John
Travelled April 2015

Tours: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure and Natural Selection Tour – Galapagos Islands

What a trip! Thank you and the team on the ground for making all the arrangements for the trip so effortless for us. We had one of the best trips of our lives! We enjoyed all of it but the great surprise of the trip was the parque condor in Otavalo where they rescue and breed birds of prey. What a spectacular show of these magnificent birds in flight!!! The Cachalote is an old charmer, must have been very handsome in its younger days! It was very well run and had a very competent crew; the food was good and healthy and they took care of our gluten free diet well. We were also very fortunate that we had great company in the other passengers. All were physically fit, curious and up to our daily excursions. The highlight was the naturalist guide, Juan Tapia. He was an encyclopedia of the islands, plants, marine and land animals, and all the birds. And he was just a well rounded worldly person that is fun to spend time with.

Cynthia and James
Travelled April 2015

Tour: Natural Selection Tour – Galapagos Islands & the Mainland

The tour of Colombia provided some fantastic memories – seeing the Amazon in flood, visiting the Ciudad Perdida, and generally experiencing the diverse tapestry of landscape, people and cultures. The trip took me off the beaten track at times and although it was sometimes challenging as a result, the added authenticity made it all the more worthwhile.
Furthermore I was glad to see that local indigenous people were often the ones benefitting economically from our trip and the tour was certainly respectful of the environment too.
I had a magical time and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this tour, but bear in mind that learning a little Spanish will make the experience even richer.

Weng
Travelled April 2015

Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure
Read a full review on responsibletravel.com

We had an amazing time in this great country. The details of our trip were flawlessly executed and we found your recommendations very helpful. We thoroughly enjoyed everything from the time in Cartagena to the trek, beautiful Palomino Beach and Coralina Island. Each had their own charm and we have many warm memories, pictures and have made new friends. We can see why Colombia has been named a top travel destination! We enjoyed the local guides, particularly our guide on the Lost City trek who was extremely knowledgeable and proud of his heritage. We loved the Palomino Beach region and found our accommodation at Casalina nicely appointed and the meals excellent (and well priced).

Debora and Stuart
Travelled April 2015

Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

We had an amazing time on our trip and couldn’t believe how much we were able to do and see in 2 weeks, without feeling like we were travelling all the time.

The 3 city hotels were all fabulous, getting better as the trip went along. The final Cartagena hotel was absolutely stunning, beautiful place to end the holiday. Bogota was perfect – beautiful building and loved the district, bit less hectic than the city centre. We loved the Amazon trip, so amazing to get out into the wild and sleep in the Maloka, the jungle, up at tree etc and our local guide, Martin, was just brilliant. We really felt we’d got off the beaten track and the highlight was probably the dolphins on the 4th evening! Santa Marta was fascinating, lovely place and hotel beautiful as well. The Lost City – what can I say?! Brilliant. Manuel and Sergio were fantastic guides and Sergio was really curious and spoke brilliant English. We were lucky enough to have a great group of 8 of us and everyone got on well. Wiwa Tours is such a positive concept and loved that we weren’t with the masses and had separate camps that were smaller and so much nicer and more welcoming. Palomino was lovely destination for after the trek and it was an easy half hour walk along the beach to the town. There were nice beach bars near the accommodation. I would say the accommodation was basic rather than rustic, however very quiet and private and gorgeous views!

We’ve been raving about Sumak Travel and our holiday ever since we got back – we usually do this kind of travel independently but you have most certainly proved the value of using professionals such as yourselves because it was so smooth and so easy, whilst getting the true travel adventure – thank you.

Tracy and Duncan
Travelled March 2015

Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

The great thing about the holiday was the opportunity to stay with local people in their houses, we probably had the best food there too! The vegetables were fantastic- picked at 5pm to be eaten at 8pm.

The visit to the Iguazu Falls was amazing, as they are simply spectacular and the visit is very well organised. You have access through a series of pathways right to the heart of the falls, providing thousands of photo opportunities. The trip overall was very good and we all enjoyed it.

Nick, Lorraine, Richard and Richard
Travelled February 2015

Tours:  Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls & Rural Argentina Tour
Read full review on responsibletravel.com

I traveled solo on a self-made tour to Costa Rica covering both Carribean and Pacific coasts as well as a stop in Arenal. As a single woman traveling alone, I was hoping to have the rare opportunity to travel local and safely. It was a fantastic experience. The tour guides, drivers, and hotel operators were universally good to work with. I packed a lot in only 8 days. Sumak worked with me to provide all I requested. Changes to the plan were clearly communicated and alternates were quickly arranged with the local tour operator.
It was a true community based, sustainable travel experience, catered to my particular requests for small locales with more tican (Costa Rican) culture. I recommend Sumak travel highly!

Pura Vida!

Kristan
Travelled February 2015

Tour: Natural Costa Rica

Myself and a couple of friends recently (February 2015) spent 2 weeks travelling in Colombia, after having read an article in The Guardian about Sumak Travel. I spoke extensively with Felipe at Sumak Travel and together we worked out an itinerary to suit myself and my friends, including a 5 day trek to La Cuidad Perdida, the so called Lost City of Teyuna. This turned out to be the highlight, and was a simply wonderful experience, not least due to our Wiwa guide, as I was keen to choose a trek lead by one of the Indigenous communities from that area of the Sierra Nevada. It was their use of the Indigenous guides that drew me first to Sumak Travel.

The whole holiday went very smoothly, especially all our overland transfers, with transport arriving on time and friendly helpful drivers. I was also very impressed at the local ground staff within Colombia, as although we did not need city guides (preferring just to amble by ourselves!) they were always on hand via the telephone and indeed called us at times to check if everything was going okay, well beyond my expectation!

Felipe and Raffaela at Sumak Travel were equally helpful, always willing to discuss details of our trip and put together new variations.

My thanks to everyone concerned, the care and attention we received throughout was brilliant!

Alison
Travelled February 2015
Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure

The booking process was very professional and informative – in all Sumak Travel made it a very enjoyable holiday. I’ve had some wonderful memories and would highly recommend Sumak Travel for South American Holidays to a friend.

Helen and Jason
Travelled January 2015
Tour: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure
Read full review on responsibletravel.com

The organisation of the tour to Chile and Bolivia by Sumak Travel was GREAT! Everything was very well organised and nothing failed. The guides were good as well as the programme that was very well prepared between me and the company. The landscape was wonderful and I recommend to all the people that like big spaces, trekking and emotions. We did some tours with local population that was not very usualy between other tourists. We could learn a lot about people of Atacama Desert. Maximum classification: 10/10.

Helena, Sara, Maria and Herlander
Travelled November 2014

Tours: Atacama Desert with Uyuni Slat Flats extension and Torres del Paine (Chilean Patagonia)
Read full review on responsibletravel.com

We travelled to Colombia with Sumak Travel on a tailor made itinerary including coast, countryside, culture and a trek to the Lost City. The schedule was very busy, as we crammed in a great deal into 2 weeks, but the careful planning allowed us to do all we wanted and the whole experience exceeded our expectations. We were certainly well looked after, the operation was very professional – the local agent phoned each day to check all was ok, the guides rang the night before to confirm arrangements for the following day. All transport, drivers, guides, and accommodation were excellent. The country itself was spectacular, with a great diversity of scenery and culture to experience. The trek to the Lost City was an unforgettable experience and certainly any discomfort re rain. mud etc was outweighed by the fantastic scenery and the privilege of spending time with the Wiwa people.
I would certainly recommend Sumak Travel for any trip to South America and I would put Colombia top.

Judith, Meena, Shirley and Kathryn
Travelled November 2014

Tours: Undiscovered Colombia Adventure and Chicamocha Canyon and Colonial Colombia Adventure
Read full review on responsibletravel.com

Sumak Travel organised an amazing trip for me in Chile, incorporating all the visits I requested and more. I spent a wonderful holiday learning a little of the Mapuche culture, visiting the homes of the Nobel prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, seeing stunning archaeological sites, rock paintings and spectacular scenery, with desert, geysers and beautiful Valparaiso. The emphasis on caring for the environment was impressive. Thanks to the organisation, the accommodation (hotels, guest houses and the delightfully hospitable village house in San Pedro de Atacama), the friendly people and especially the guides, I had a superb time.

Jenny
Travelled November 2014

Tour: Atacama Desert, with the addition of La Serena and Valle del Elqui
Read full review on responsibletravel.com

We certainly mixed with everyone locally, even without homestays! We had meals in peoples homes and exchanged contact details, shared ,talked about our lives and experiences, hopes and dreams. We have brought back many stories to tell and hope we left a lot there. We donated to local projects and discussed impacts of previous actions and read everything there was on the changes, entering debates in the bars and taxis ! At museums and galleries, local students and staff asked us to speak ‘english’ to them. We sang football chants at a service station, with the supporters, waved the flag, they got on the bus, we returned to the limousine !!! They had the better team. We followed local customs and have brought back a sense of ‘we should do more’. The holiday was amazing, really great. So varied, we felt so lucky to be met at every airport or bus station by friendly experienced and interested guides. We were taken to their homes, to meet family and friends, to have coffee, to share in their lives and interests and to be guided into their part of the country. We had plenty of time to be “alone” ! And felt safe experiencing the towns and cities. We can’t wait to go back…

Heather and Paul
Travelled October 2014

Tours: Essential Bolivia, Atacama Desert, Rural Argentina, Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires, and Sao Paulo, Paraty and Rio de Janeiro
Read full review on responsibletravel.com

Accept the invitation and leave to a trip around the world without crossing borders. Iguazu Waterfalls – Puerto Madryn – Bariloche – El Calafate – Ushuaia – Buenos Aires. These are the trip stopovers, Argentina has everything: snow, mountains, beach, lakes and plains. Here everything is big: the 3m long of the open wings of the condor (the biggest flying bird in the world), the whirlpool of the 1.5 million litres of water per second of the 275 waterfalls, the rivers which look like seas, the endless plains of Patagonia, the 30km of glaciers of Perito Moreno. Nature acquires different proportions for a European. Argentina is like a continent; it is equivalent to visiting 7-8 countries in the Old Continent. This makes us ask: what is there from Europe? There we can find the mist of the Swiss lakes, the French streets, the Italian pasta and seasoning, the Spanish La Movida, the snows from the Alps… After all, many Europeans have left towards America. Europa is in her blood and her soul is in Nature.

Joana and Nuno
Travelled October 2014

Tour: Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia Tour, with an Iguazu Falls extension

A heartfelt thank to Sumak Travel and Felipe for making sure we had a truly incredible time in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. We really enjoyed every minute of our time in beautiful South America and felt so welcomed and well looked in all of the countries we visited. We feel so blessed to have met such terrific guides Pablo in Bolivia, Pamela/Juan in Chile and Edgar in Argentina and all the kind warm-hearted people who have all made our holiday very special.

We loved seeing the incredible, spectacular and breathtaking landscapes, the mountains, the volcanoes, the salt flats, the desert, the geysers, the magnificent waterfalls and awesome views/architecture of the cities. It is hard to believe that we saw some of the most beautiful sights in the world. It was amazing to hear about the history and culture of South America, sample the sumptuous food (even learn how to make some!), take part in the beautiful, diverse music, meet wonderful people during the home-stays, and dance the tango. All this brought us closer to the people and their traditions, inspiring ways of life and experiences! We will never forget this incredible adventure and it will really be in our hearts forever.  We thank everyone in all the countries we visited making this a trip of a lifetime for us.

Mala and Anna
Travelled August 2014

Tours: Essential Bolivia, Atacama Desert and Rural Argentina Experience
Read full review on responsibletravel.com

Sumak Travel organised a two week trip to Costa Rica for us in June this year, and it was fantastic. They worked with us to plan the perfect trip, with activity days being interspersed with days off so that we could do our own thing. We were amazed at how well everything went, buses always ran on time and the tour guides were all amazing.

Costa Rica is an incredible country, and we could learn a lot from them about how to look after the environment. The diversity of wildlife pays testament to this approach, and we were treated to close up moments with caiman, scarlet macaws, toucans, crocodiles and a bright yellow eyelash snake…to name but a few.

We were so pleased with the service and value that Sumak provided that we have asked them to curate our honeymoon…you can’t get a better testimonial than that!

Pura Vida!

Gemma and Andrew
Travelled June 2014

Tour: Natural Costa Rica

We spent 52 days in South America on a trip completely organised by Sumak travel and we loved every minute of it. It was our first time there but we still wanted to do something different, and not just the usual tourist things, therefore we integrated some home stays and community-based activities in our trip, which were the definite highlights of our journey.

We loved Chile, especially our stay with a Mapuche family in Curarrehue – the food and landscapes were amazing … We crossed the Andes twice by bus, to and from Argentina, and I can say it was beautiful both times. Argentina was also very interesting and we fell in love with Cafayate and the surrounding areas, where we even decided to venture on a horse ride in a canyon whilst staying at a ranch – it looked like a film set, it was simply stunning – and our guide, Edgar, was such a funny guy! … Bolivia, and the Uyuni desert in particular, was something out of this world, but we think that our home stay at Isla del Sol, on Lake Titikaka, deserves a particular mention – we felt like going back in time for centuries, and we were lucky enough to be the only foreigners in the little Challa community… The Peruvian side of Lake Titikaka was also very pretty, especially little Amantani island, but we absolutely adored Cuzco and surroundings, which was also the starting point of the most strenuous but probably the most interesting part of our journey – the Salkantay trail – at the end of which we had the chance to spend some time in a little organic coffee plantation, surrounded by avocado and mango trees, where we even prepared our own coffee from scratch…

Whilst in bigger cities it was nice to have a hotel in a central location, we loved to be able to spend some times with the locals in rural areas, sharing their homes for a bit and making a difference in a more direct way … we witnessed the improvements that this form of softer tourism is bringing into their lives without turning them upside down and we were happy to be part of it. We were deeply touched by their kindness and the authenticity of their simple way of life, and these will be the most lasting memories of our journey.

We had a few hiccups here and there, which is absolutely normal in such a long trip, but we were extremely happy with the way the trip was organised – accommodation, activities (sometimes in small groups, but mostly on our own), local guides, even vegan food … besides Felipe, who was always only a click away, in each country we visited, we had a different contact person to talk to in case of unexpected problems, and they were very quick at rectifying any glitch we encountered.

All we can say is that it was a truly incredible trip – and one to be remembered for many years to come!

Isabella and Ernst
Travelled March 2014

Tours: Chiloé and Chilean Andes, Incredible Argentina and Chile Adventure, Essential Bolivia and The Inca Empire
Check out their amazing travel blog

Here are a few observations from our trip to Brazil, which overall was fabulous – fun, beautiful, really nice people and a good learning experience for both of us. Rio is the most beautiful city I have visited, and I have done a lot of travelling! We loved where we stayed and our guide was top-notch. Also the Favela was colourful and we met many interesting people. We loved Paraty where we hiked the Gold Trail and learned about the history. Festa do Bonfim in Bahia was a highlight, and I would like to visit again. We danced and marched the entire five miles and Bahan even drummed with the band Mali, which we loved. Thanks for everything.

DeAnn and Bahan
Travelled January 2014

Tours: Sao Paulo, Paraty & Rio de Janeiro and Fascinating Shores of Brazil Tour

I want to thank you for making our trip so brilliant. It was such an amazing experience being able to share the lives of some amazing people. The communities made us feel so welcome and I’ve come back itching to go see them all again! The people were lovely, the food was amazing, the country was beautiful, the horses are unbelievable, I can’t fault any of it, so thanks again for making it all possible.

Amy and Emily
Travelled January 2014

Tours: Rural Argentina Experience (including estancia stay)

This is a tremendous format for a holiday if people want to learn about the local people as well as see the tourist sites. The visit to the Atacama Desert area, including the high Andes, was special for me, and spending time with the indigenous farmers was really interesting.

Dave
Travelled January 2014

Tours: Atacama Desert Tour and The Easter Island Adventure

In Easter Island we had a very good guide who took us to other places outside of the itinerary, which we really appreciated. Moreover, since she was local, we were able to learn so many fascinating things about her culture and people.

Bettina and John
Travelled December 2013

Tours: Atacama Desert Tour and The Easter Island Adventure

We had a fantastic holiday and the attention to detail was amazing – not having to worry about transfers and on line check-ins made life so easy. The mixture of big sights (Iguazu Falls and the glaciers) and visits to the small farms was just right. And the mixture of places to stay made it more varied and interesting!

Nuala, Robin, Ciara, John, Ronan and Rory
Travelled December 2013

Tours: Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia Tour and Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls & Rural Argentina Tour

The holiday was in general excellent. Both of us loved Chiloe. The people were wonderful, both those we stayed with and those we met. The place we stayed was great – you could just walk out along the beach in either direction for miles. We shared their New Years Eve meal which was lovely (and beautifully cooked!). Another highlight was trekking through the araucaria forests on the slopes of a snow capped volcano – stunning. I know it’s hard to wean people away from the desert and Patagonia, both of which are great – but people don’t know what they are missing! We enjoyed spending several nights in different locations and not rushing around every other day, and having the flexibility about exactly what we did. Also, the night buses were very comfortable!

Sheila and Gillian
Travelled December 2013

Tours: Torres del Paine, Chilean Andes & Chiloe Tour and Mystical Chile Tour

My experiences in Chile were once-in-a-lifetime. Apart from the majestic views of the Andes or the rich culture in the Atacama, staying in homestays allowed me to share these moments with the local community. What I saw felt very genuine as I was travelling outside this hotel/hostel tourist bubble that prevails in these remote places. Knowing that I was also contributing to the future of the community just made the trip more worthwhile. It also held in store a lot of amusing surprises for me – mainly the misunderstanding of what an ‘Ancestral Caravan’ meant. Less of a caravan ride around the desert, more of a bonding walk with a Llama family!

Alessia N.
Travelled November 2013
Tour: Atacama Desert

Our trip was fantastic, everything seemed to run smoothly in terms of flights, car pick-ups and all the excursions. The highlights for us were probably the whale watching and glacier walking, but it is difficult to pinpoint individual things as it was all a wonderful experience. We also thoroughly enjoyed staying with the families as it offers a unique experience and one wholly different to hotels.

Chris and Hannah
Travelled November 2013

Tours: Journey to the End of the World – Patagonia Tour and Rural Argentina Experience

What a brilliant introduction to Colombia! The guides were amazing – enthusiastic, knowledgeable and thoughtful, and obviously love sharing their passion for the country. Everything was so well organised and because it was only the two of us on the tours it was really personal too.

Jane
Travelled October 2013

Tour: Criollo Colombia Tour

“We were so lucky to come across MAMBE. Staying with an authentic indigenous community in the Amazon and being able to share and learn from them was already something I thought I would never do, but then just a few days later travelling to the Pacific and being surrounded by whales was just ridiculous (We went in July). Thank you Mambe for a surreal and very down to earth experience. We’ll definitely be back with more friends for more Colombian Love”

Tom Y.
Travelled August 2013

Tour: Intrepid Colombia

It was fascinating to be guided by Juan, someone that not only knows the culture, but was part of it, and felt so passionate about everything he was sharing with us. I was so proud to be able to bring my friends from other parts of the world and to see them amazed by the vast cultural and geographical diversity of Colombia

Catalina R.
Travelled July 2013
Tour: Intrepid Colombia

The whole trip was memorable and exciting, but if we had to choose a highlight we would say the journey across the Andes was the best road trip ever! Other highlights were the vibrancy of Buenos Aires, the spectacular Iguazu Falls and the endless beauty of the Argentinean landscapes… It was a privilege to stay with local families, to learn about economic schemes and not to be blinkered by commercial tourism. It is good to know that the families benefit financially from our stay. All our guides pointed out conservation concerns and encouraged us to support and be aware of environmental issues.

Pal and Jerry
Travelled June 2013

Tour: Incredible Argentina & Chile Adventure

My experience in Salta with Red de Turismo Campesino was marvellous. Apart from the majestic views of the Calchaqui Valleys, I must say that the ‘home stays experience’ allowed me to have a much richer exchange with the host families in terms of learning from the campesinos daily life as well as interacting with the local community. What I found most interesting was to learn the origins and foundations of this community initiative as they use tourism as a tool to achieve collective benefits while maintaining their identity and passing their knowledge to future generations. In El Divisadero, I was hosted by Teresa Gutierrez and together with her I had the best company, an 8-year-old boy (Teresa’s grandson) who explained to me the local flora and fauna and took be to the best panoramic sites so I could appreciate the best views of the Valley. Additionally, I had the opportunity to learn and to taste homemade wines produced by Miguel Terraza (wines called Solin Terraza) whose mistela production is absolutely fantastic. I also stayed in Corralito and had the pleasure to be hosted by Soledad and her family, who is a ceramic crafter as well as an active leader in favor of peasant organizations, family farming and rural women’s rights. I love travelling and albeit I have been in Salta few times before, this has been, so far, one of the best travel experiences of my life. Thanks to Sumak Travel for a very unique and unforgettable experience. I’ll definitely be back and will also spread the word amongst all the people I know because such places and experiences are definitely worthwhile.

Marina D.
Travelled April 2013

Tour: Rural Argentina Experience

Our eco-adventure helped us to experience a versatile side of Argentina, that we otherwise might have missed if we had booked a more traditional STA travel type tour. Our tour allowed us to absorb the hustle and bustle of two amazing cities, as well as sitting back and appreciating a more rural, humble way of life. We had the perfect blend of adventure, culture, relaxation and fun. Sumak Travel also offered the right level of organised activities and free days to experience the country for ourselves. I feel Sumak Travel offers flexibility, which would suit a variety of peoples needs i.e.: if you would want support simply with flights and accommodation only or if you desired a more detailed package type itinerary. We really want to thank-you for your detailed expertise and efforts. Thank-you for helping us discover a less commercialised tour and pointing us into the direction that other travellers would not have had the opportunity to experience. You set up a truly unforgettable journey for us. We had the time of our lives!

Habibah A. and Nicholas W.V
Travelled April 2013
Tours: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Rural Argentina Experience and Rio de Janeiro

We had a fantastic time. I didn’t know what to expect when we went and some of the trails were hard work but I can’t get over how incredible the locals are! This was my first experience of community based tourism and I honestly believe it is the future of travelling.

Joseph D., Emma and George
Travelled March 2013

Tours: Atacama Desert and Chilean Andes and Chiloe

I won’t lie, we had no idea of what to expect from Colombia, we had already travelled overland all the way from Argentina, and had heard many contrasting stories. But a friend of us recommended checking out Mambe travel (thanks Dan!!!). We thought we had done quite well by travelling off the beaten track, but Mambe’s version off the beaten track gave a new significance to the expression.  There were machetes, big boats, small boats, hammocks, canoes, but in the end we made it to our destination, a beautiful and untouched part of the jungle (inhabited by the San Martin community) where no other traveller from the big tourist community we met in Leticia had made it. Plus we got to see pink dolphins and sloths. Thanks for an unforgettable experience.  Ps. watch out for the piranhas”.

Uli P.
Travelled January 2013

Tour: Intrepid Colombia

Endorsements from partner organisations

 

Travel broadens the mind! Broadening the mind and thinking up new ways of doing things is something we all need more of as our global society faces up to the environmental, social and economic challenges of the 21st century. It is refreshing to discover Sumak Travel as truly authentic and original sustainable tour operator, developed by people who are deeply passionate and knowledgeable about the places they operate in. It is exciting to be working in partnerships with Sumak and I look forward to seeing them set the bar for others in the travel industry.

James Sutton
Founder of The Bloomtrigger Project

Sumak Travel’s commitment to building travel itineraries out of grass roots community based tourism initiatives is exactly what this industry needs more of. Exactly the kind of people we set up to spread the word about so delighted to be working together towards a common goal!

Alex Narracott
Founder of Much Better Adventures

Sumak Travel has been a great partner for us and the local communities that are part of our network. Tourism operation is at the core of our beliefs and sustainability of each community entrepreneurship. Thus, the devotion and compromise that Sumak shows for our initiatives, is something we are very grateful. Besides, not all tour operators are transparent in their relation with both clients and providers, and that is a unique quality of Sumak”.

Juan Marambio
Global coordinator of the Global Community-based Tourism Network

Sumak Travel is pioneering the future of the global cultural industry – and economies at large: where local communities around the world are no longer mere objects for cultural and economic profiteering, but custodians and investors in their own heritage”.

Wahome Muchiri
Co-founder of WOW Society

As a member of the Ethical Tour Operators Group, Sumak Travel plays a vital role in ensuring that tourism always benefits the local communities. A recent addition to the group they have shown dedication and great enthusiasm and I look forward to working with them in the future.

Mark Watson
Executive Director of Tourism Concern

Finally an organisation that connects all the best community tourism in Latin America!

Ben Keene
Founder of Tribewanted

 

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WTM Responsible Tourism Tourism Concern Muchbetter adventures The international Ecotourism Society
Ethical Trekking Bloomtrigger The Travel Foundation Social Enterprise UK

We've signed up to the Travel Foundation's Forum and have committed to take action on sustainability within our business.