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“Péssimo atendimento.”

Colque Tours - Day Tours
Ranked #16 of 36 Tours in Uyuni
Attraction details
Sao Jose Dos Campos, SP
Level Contributor
73 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Péssimo atendimento.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013

I decided to copy the message that my husband sent to the office in La Paz to explain the problems I had with this company.
I arrived at Colquetours Uyuni's office exactly at 10 AM, considering the necessary time for payment and finishing what else it could be needed to start the tour, that you had also set to be started at 11 AM.
The local employee seemed to be caught by surprise when he saw a group of six people arriving to make a tour, despite of having in his records a fax ( probably coming from your office) with the names of all of us. Some evidences that support my affirmation:
- the driver/guide (MARCOS) was scheduled at the moment and, worst, did not know that, on second day, he could have the task of guiding us to the top of of the mountain on Thunupa sight seen, what he later told us that he was not prepared (physically) to do that ( his behavior will be commented later);
- later, the driver told he was not a guide tour, only a driver;
- the car was not ready, since the spare tire had been left to be fixed, and all the group had to go back to the place it was left, what happened at approximately 11:30, after going to the trains cemetery (remember this was a sight seeing that we had asked to be cancelled and, as you have written, our tour would start at 11 PM);
- the food, box lunches and all the stuff was not ready and, one way of dealing with that, was the fact that the guide headed us to the train cemetery, in order to have some time to make possible for office's employee to finish the preparation (and purchase) of the necessary food and the other goods.
This was the actual schedule:
- 10:00 - group arrival at Colquetours office;
- 11:05 - car's arrival at office and loading of our luggage;
- 11:15 - tour start heading trains cemetery (remember we haven't asked that);
- 11:25 - back to Colquetours office when the food has been loaded;
- 11:30 - arrival at spare tire's fixing place (with all the group on board);
- 11:40 - tour start, heading Colchani.
As you can see, the real start of tour happened at 11:40, what means that we have lost all the morning. You know that we asked a 2 day tour, since we did not have too much time for the trip, so, the only thing we wanted was a well organized tour, what really did not happen, and besides, we had to hear some jokes such as "Bolivians are this way", when the tire was being fixed.
In my opinion, the 2 day tour is not good, since the second day is programmed for an activity that can be performed only by well prepared persons, since the vulcan (or the top of mountain) is very far from the last car's position. Colquetours DOES NOT give the customers any information about the difficulty of climbing the mountain and ONLY ONFORMS that climbing to the top is an option. This was one of the reasons that led us to insist on the climbing and made us having problems with the driver, that did not believe in our capacity.
Still considering the second day, if the climb is not performed, the program is too short, and maybe the day is lost in places not so interesting and, besides, having other options.
Concerning the driver's behavior, here are some facts:
- at first, he presented himself as a nice and accessible person, and he really confirmed that was scheduled for the tour at the moment we arrived at the office;
- after having the spare tire back, he had stepped in our luggage, in order to access the correct place for loading the tire;
- during all moments, when we started discussing the second day, he clearly tried to induce us deciding not to climb to Thunupa's top, saying that it would be too tough, we should wear special shoes, and we it was paramount to leave the hotel at 5 AM, in order to complete the tour at the correct time. Besides, for several times, he made some jokes about our physical condition, trying to make us believe it would be impossible to climb the mountain;
- after arriving in the hotel, when I asked him to confirm the departing time (when I confirmed the climbing option), he changed the departing time to 07:30 AM, saying that this time would be ok;
- considering the previous item, later he said that, for climbing to the top, it would be really needed to leave the hotel at 5 AM, but since he didn't believe we would succeed, he said it was ok at 07:30, not giving us (in advance) the possibility of completing the climb;
- during dinner he once more asked me if we really wanted to climb the mountain, since he was not prepared for that and he said he had not been told (when he was hired for the trip) that he would have to do this task;
- he clearly demonstrated that he wanted to go back to Uyuni early, since that, without the climbing option, he said we should be back at close to 2 or 3 PM (later we have heard some conversations, by mobile phone, when it was possible to see he was setting a meeting with a woman - maybe it is a clear indication about his hurry);
- after arriving to Incahuasi Island, he told us to make the tour around the place, have lunch and, after that, he would be waiting us in the car, but it didn't happen, since we didn't find him and, besides, he was DRINKING beer with some other people and, worst, he asked me to wait a little more and "take some other pictures" in order to give him the necessary time for drinking the opened bottle.
I know that the Salar has normally a clear way and driving there is very easy, not considering how to get oriented. Anyway, driving under effects of alcohol and putting in risk six other people is nothing but unacceptable. I really don't know how much he has drunk, but for a service like that, it is not acceptable more than ZERO, since my whole family was on board.
You know that this tour is not so cheap and everything has been paid at the right moment and, from my point of view, paying 50% in advance, like you asked and I DID, with no other guarantee than your word, is too much and really requires trust to someone or to a service that I don't know too much about. Besides that, reaching Uyuni or some other places in Bolivia is not so easy. From my side, I tried to plan the trip in the most details, in order to not having unnecessary stress. I don't have any complaint about our previous dealings but, for sure, in Uyuni, Colquetours services was example of disorganization and lack of consideration to the customer's needs.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank RSuman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Sao Paulo
Level Contributor
147 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Great experience on tour to Uyuni with Colque Tours, leaving and returning to San Pedro de Atacama”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2013

I've just returned from a three day trip with Colque Tours to Uyuni, leaving from San Pedro de Atacama. I had read several reviews on this and other tour companies going to Uyuni, and I must confess I was really scared... all of them seemed aweful!

I've decided to take the tour with Colque because they were one of the few companies doing the tour during the first days of 2013, when there was a problem on the border in Bolivia and the regular tours were canceled by most of the other companies.

Some of the good points of my experience:

- no luxury, but no over promisse. the hotel we stayed at in Uyuni was clean and had hot water and comfortable beds. Didn't feel cold at all at night.
- my 4x4 in Bolivia was a Lexus 97, with seat belts and great seats.
- the driver/guide was a 26 year old guy called José, great guy, very nice and caring
- the owner of the company, Felix Colque Ramos, is a character - very fine guy, who'll make the best to please you. I understand some people found him rude - he's just a straightforward Bolivia old man, and if you don't speak Spanish it'll surely be more difficult to get along with anyone in that part of the world.
- the views are amazing and we had enough time to enjoy all the sites of contemplation
- the food was decent, we didn't feel hungry at all

Downsides:

- crossing the border from Chile to Bolivia and from Bolivia to Chile takes up to three hours (if you're lucky you'll make it in 1:30h)
- there're no actual roads - it's mostly dirt roads and lots of dust.

All in all, our experience with Colque Tours was certainly good, and comparing them to all other tour companies, I believe the best part is that they're Bolivian and not Chilean, which makes your life easier on the border crossing.

Besides, they've been operating for 20 years - the longest among all... certainly, that's why they get more reviews than the others, but don't feel scared!

Enjoy your time in beautiful Uyuni!

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank jcpastore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belo Horizonte, MG
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“BIG MISTAKE! Do not EVER book with Colque Tours! They will steal your money!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2013

They will steal your money!

I've booked via internet, have payied 50% of 187 U$ Dollars in advance and when I arrived in San Pedro de Atacama, the agency was closed. I had no information about my tour (booked for the 25th december), but I've decided to do my part of the deal. On the next day I've waited outside my hostel from 5am to 6am and nobody came. No surprise about that, since they had no ideia where I was staying (they haven't asked before. Esther, from the La Paz office thought it wouldn't be necessary).

On the 25th december the office in San Pedro was open and a woman named Cecilia told me that I was wrong nd that they wouldn't gave me my money back, She told me the driver of Colque Tours went to my hostel (how???) two times and that I was not there (impossible). There was a lot of headache and discussion. After I've showed an email I've wrote to the office in La Paz at 5:50 am of the 25th december, Cecilia spoke to a guy on the phone and they've agreed to give 85 of the 90 dollars back. The problem: they money would be payied via Bolivia, since they were responsible for my booking. Now Bolivia is saying the same old [--], that the mistake was mine and that they will not give my money back. Great, isn't?

Do yourself a favour: do not EVER book with Colque Tours, They will steal your money.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank Glaucimara84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manchester
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“DO NOT go with Colque Tours!!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2012

We've had a terrible experience with Colque Tours at the end of JULY on our Bolivian Salt Flat Tour from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile to Uyuni. We booked the tour through STA. We were misinformed of where to meet the tour by the owner of Colque thus missed our trip. If you have any issues with this company, do not believe anything they say they will do to rectify a situation. They said they would drive us to meet our tour wherever they were and when that was never arranged, they said they would arrange accommodation for us and accept any other additional costs due since we were now delayed an additional day. We never heard back from the owner and thus had to do everything ourselves and absorb the costs. We did however receive excellent help from the Colque receptionist Sheryl who will remain a good friend. The difficulties with Colque unfortunately didn't end there as when we did finally go on our trip, our driver was very DRUNK on the first day. He insisted that he was not drunk and was willing to continue driving us. It reached a point where we ended up having to put the driver in the back seat where he soon passed out and my husband drove for the next 3:30 hours. During this time, my husband had to endure difficult 'roads' at very high altitude while we received verbal abuse from the driver every time he woke up. We found out from other drivers/tours the first night that our driver and colque tours are notorious for this kind of thing. Unfortunately we missed a few stops that afternoon because we didn't know where to go and simply had to get ourselves safely to the hostel. Luckily our driver was fine for the rest of the trip however we had to continually check he wasn't accessing any drinks and getting sleep throughout the day. These guys are overworked and drive long hours. Watch how your driver is doing no matter what tour company you go with. This trip was very unfortunate as Bolivia was one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen. I will say that they're day trip to Mooon Valley in the Atacama desert was good but other members of our salt flat tour had continual issues with Colque. For example, 2 girls in our group booked a tourist bus from Uyuni to La Paz through Colque and found out on the day that Colque never actually reserved them a place, nor reimbursed them for it. Though some people had some good experiences with Colque, there are more negative experiences and the danger they are willing to put you in is not worth the prices. If you book through other agencies like STA, find out who the operating company is first.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank mvigier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Broughton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Excellent tour in beautiful places”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2012

I feel really bad that some people have had bad experiences with Colque Tours, as my tour was absolutely excellent. I hope this is down to them learning from past bad reviews.

We were picked up and taken to the border where we met our guide (Saul) and the family we were sharing the jeep with. We had absolutely no problems with the transport - and Saul was an excellent guide. He stopped loads so we could take photos and was really informative. He was really keen to help us take good photos as well!

The accommodation is simple and cold, but we were expecting this and came prepared. The food was also basic, but very edible and after a day in a jeep entirely appreciated! Despite the cold, we had a good night sleep and the next day we were taken to Uyuni. Staying in Uyuni turned out to be good (some of the salt hotels are bad for the salar, we discovered), as we got up really early to see the sunrise. We even managed to change our programme as the family we were with didn't want to get up early. The guides let us switch jeeps so we could go.

The only negative thing was that on the second night at the hotel in Uyuni there were no vegetables or anything to drink at dinner. When we asked why we had glasses the lady just shrugged her head. I can only assume that this is because the cooking there had been left up to the hotel staff and not our guides, as the rest of our food on the trip was served with salad and drinks!

I really hope people read this review and give Colque Tours a chance - I had a fantastic time and would definitely recommend them!

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Josie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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