We just came back from another amazing holiday organised by Columbus tours. Our family have been... read more
We just came back from another amazing holiday organised by Columbus tours. Our family have been... read more
Hi have used or been associated with this company for many years. They are totally professional... read more
We booked a tour in Sri Lanka with our Dutch friends and a Dutch tour operator. This organization worked together with Columbus Tours. It was an excellent choice. The tour was well prepared and we saw many highlights. But the highlight of the whole tour was our guide Ananda Gamage. He was top, always extremely friendly, good driver, told us the history of the country. He became a good friend.
I would make the train trip shorter and if possible (which is not easy because our stay lasted only 8 days) I would like to spend a whole day at the beach.
We visited Sri Lanka for 8 days in August and had an amazing time. Our driver from Colombus Tours, Priyal was amazing! He greeted us at the airport and drove us around from the start of our holiday to the end. He had a great sense of humour and was always happy, laughing and joking. He had so much knowledge of everywhere and took us to some amazing places for lunch we'd never have known about or found.
During our visit to sri lanka we stayed in 6 hotels, travelling from colombo to sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Hikkaduwa and somewhere in between. We visited Sigiriya Rock and climbed all the way to the top, went on a safari in Minneriya and saw so many elephants which was amazing!! I didn't expect to see so many and watched them for hours!
We visited Polonnarwua ancient city and saw a lot of Buddhists listening to a preacher which we walked through to get to the biggest temple.
Our guide took us to a local village where we rode on a cart pulled by ox, rode on a catamaran which I got to row for a bit before I got tired, and made food in their little kitchen and drank coconut water, climbed the farmers tree house where he keeps watch for elephants in the night! They were lovely people and I really enjoyed learning about their simple way of life (again we had to tip them for almost everything).
We visited Dambulla cave temples and then watched a traditional dance group in the evening in Kandy where the men are fire and walked through fire! They invited us for photos with them at the end but again wanted tipping for the privilege! Nothing is for free in Sri Lanka!
We visited temple of the Tooth in the morning super early so we could see the casket with the tooth but felt quite out of place bieng the only westerners in a see of Buddhists! It's a beautiful building though and has lots of history. We went to a gem museum, word carving shop, a sari shop (I tried on a sari). The only downside to all the shops and places like this is that the owners follow you around and try and pressure you to buy things you can't just look around without people pushing you to buy. We also had a stroll round the Botanical gardens (more for my mum and sisters benefit as they like plants, I just took lots of pictures of me doing silly things).
We then went to Horton Plains and walked 9km through beautiful mountains! It was cold and rainy up here but the views were incredible. After a lengthy drive we visited the Elephant Transit home in Uda Walawe which is home to baby elephants who have been rescued as they've lost their mother's. We watched them at feeding time when they come out for milk and they bought the tiniest one out first so he could get some milk and it was the cutest thing ever! Then about 60 more followed! It was very cute to watch but was a little sad as you know they should be with family but they don't have any. They do get released into the wild when they're grown and able to look after themselves.
The following day we got up super early again to visit Yala National Park where we were lucky enough to see a Bear, crocodiles, elephants, wild boar, deer, buffalo, monkeys and we caught the tail end of the elusive leopard but not enough to get a picture.
We visited a turtle hatchery which looked like the worst aquarium ever at first glance but when you read what they do it makes you feel better and all the turtles have been rescued by fisherman and are missing a limb or something so they have to learn to dive again before they're released back into the wild.
We attempted a whale watching tour but I spent the whole way being sick as the weather was hurrendous and the sea so choppy! We didn't see any whales!
All in all we have had an amazing time in Sri Lanka and squeezed as much as we could into a short space of time and visited some amazing places. Our driver Priyal made the trip more than we could have imagined and I thank him so much for everything! I've attached some of the thousands of photos I've taken over the trip to show some highlights but there were so many to choose from! I would definitely recommend visiting Sri Lanka with Colombus Tours, they were amazing from start to finish (although I write this while still in Sri Lanka after a delayed flight of nearly 24 hours...) so we technically haven't finished yet!!
Advice to anyone wanting to go; be prepared for a lot of driving if you want to see everything, the amount of dogs on the side of the road is very sad for an animal lover as most are scabby and injured and I just wanted to take them all home, bring plenty of extra money for tipping everyone, from the bell boys at the hotel, the cleaners, the jeep drivers, the village people and even the old man near the train which we just wanted to take a picture of a moving train and he wanted money because he lived nearby! It's a beautiful country and the food was absolutely incredible! Be prepared to eat curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner (not that I'm complaining as its so good). We loved our trip! Thank you x
we're thrilled to hear such positive feedback about your overall trip and the experience with Priyal - he certainly is a gem of a guide and chauffeur and we'll make sure to share this feedback with him.
We do regret that you didn't have the best experiences in the local shops - this past year has been a tough one on tourism, and shop owners and staff have a tendency to overdo it in an attempt to be extra helpful and thus getting whatever sales they can - we will however make it a point to share this feedback with the particular shop. Thank you again for the positive comments and sharing your experience of Sri Lanka!
My wife & I together with my cousin and his wife have just returned from a 3.5 weeks holiday in Sri Lanka organised for us by Columbus Tours in Sri Lanka. It is our pleasure and bounded duty to express sincere thanks to Bobby Jordan Hansen, Owner Vin Bartholameusz, Sales Manager & Priyal our ever helpful and friendly Driver. Words cannot express our thanks to them, for all their help in organising such a memorable holiday for us. Every detail of our holiday was perfectly organised, and we were well looked after, from beginning to the end. One could not ever imagine that after the recent bombings, that we would experience such a peaceful and worry free holiday. There was no evidence whatsoever, of any threat of violence, in fact it is quite the opposite. Right now is the time to visit Sri Lanka and make full use of the discounts being offered for what is fantastic hotel accommodation, delicious Sri Lankan food, and of course the wonderful helpful and friendly people of Sri Lanka.
We have travelled quite extensively around the world, but a Sri Lanka holiday is always worth serious consideration. Thanks again to Columbus Tours for a fantastic and memorable holiday.
My wife & I booked our honeymoon to Sri Lanka through our UK based travel agent, Emma Turner, at Travel Counsellors. They highly recommended that we used Columbus Tours for our driver who would be responsible for providing our transport as we travelled to 4 different locations over an 8 day period. Their reason for recommending this company was that Columbus Tours only employ the very best staff...they were not wrong!!!
I have to admit we were a little dubious prior to meeting our driver/guide. What would he be like? Would it be strange spending so much time with somebody that we’d only just met? We didn’t need to be worried at all. Chanaka Amarasinghe met us at our hotel in Negombo on the morning of our first day of travelling & from the moment we met him we knew that we were going to get along. He was so friendly and polite. Just what we had hoped for!
Throughout the next 8 days Chanaka made every minute in Sri Lanka count for us. He always had a few options of things that we could do/see as we made our way from Negombo to Dambulla & then Passikudah through to Kandy. At no point was he intrusive but he was always on hand to inform & educate us about the truly wonderful country that Sri Lanka is! He also made sure that if we ever wanted to just spend time alone relaxing then that was also an option.
Not only did Chanaka know so much about all of the main tourist attractions (that you will find on trip advisor as the “must do” things) he also had a few surprises up his sleeve along the way.
He took us to authentic family owned restaurants that served the very best of Sri Lankan dishes (& so cheap too!), spice/herb gardens, he knew all of the best view points for photos (he is also a very good photographer!) & finally the icing on the cake was a local show on our last night with him. Something that we will never forget & the perfect way to end of time in Sri Lanka.
We feel that not only did we get a wonderful driver/guide for our honeymoon trip we have also made a good friend who we will certainly stay in touch with!
We have already spoken to friends and family who, after seeing our photos & videos, are desperate to visit Sri Lanka. We will certainly be advising them to book with Columbus & asking for Chanaka!!
If you are thinking twice about visiting Sri Lanka...don’t. It is a wonderful (perfectly clean) country with so much to do & see. The food is amazing & we have never met such nice welcoming people (& we’ve travelled a lot!).
In short this has been the best holiday of our lives & a large part of the thanks for that goes to Columbus Tours & our good friend Chanaka!
Keep up the good work guys & we will definitely be seeing you again soon ❤️
This was by far the best holiday we have ever been in! We had two weeks in Sri Lanka but the first week was traveling around the island with Columbus Tours. The sights, hotels and people blew us away and our guide Ananda was the icing on the cake! He was amazing and looked after us so well that when we had to say goodbye at the end of that week he felt like part of the family! The itinerary was of our making on the whole and Ananda took us to each place and made sure we got the best deals, all the history/ background information and if he couldn’t come with us to some sites he set us up with guides he knew and recommended. Our teenage boys loved every minute too - which takes some doing! At the end of the trip Ananda took us to plant trees with a family as part of a conservation project which was very humbling and fantastic way to end our tour. We couldn’t recommend this company enough and can’t wait to do it all again! Thank you Ananda
In Oct 2018 I travelled to Sri Lanka with a group of 13 friends (old & new, varying in ages). This was arranged by Travel Counsellors in the UK & they used Columbus Tours in Sri Lanka to look after us whilst on our tour. We were met at the airport by our guides Ananada & Priyal. Whilst everything arranged by Columbus tours was fantastic, it was Ananada & Priyal that made our holiday. They really are an asset to Columbus Tours. Nothing was too much trouble, they went above & beyond to make our holiday special. They were always happy despite early mornings & late nights. We nearly missed our safari at Yala on the last day of our tour due to bad weather. However, Ananada & Priyal arranged for us to go at 4am the following morning before we were due to depart for our beach resort (& even came with us!). I feel that we really got to see your beautiful country as it should be seen, which we would not have been able to do on our own. We felt totally safe & was able to see so much more by going with Columbus Tours. I would recommend to go to Sri Lanka & see this beautiful place (but do it with Columbus Tours & ask for Ananda & Priyal - you wont be disappointed!!)