Monthly Archives: April 2016

Mel Jones & friends, Wales-UK

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“I have just returned from an amazing 4-day Food and Wine Tour of the Montilla-Moriles region of Andalucia based in Cordoba. The small group included my wife and another couple of friends. The whole event was extremely well organised by Rosa Lara who accompanied us on the tour. Our hotel was extremely well appointed in Cordoba and was right next to the mosque. Transfer arrangements in a private minibus were spot on. There were two visits to wineries (bodegas) where we sampled the great Pedro Ximenez wines of this area. In one of the local cellars the tasting was accompanied by a fantastic tapas lunch. We also visited an Iberian ham farm in los Pedroches Natural reserve (North Cordoba) and had a delightful lunch which included Iberian black pig ham, stuffed mushrooms, traditional cake and interestingly orange in olive oil and sugar. We also had a visit to an olive oil producer, as well as a cheese producer where various wines were tasted. Despite all this food during the day, we had to be fed and watered in the evenings as well. The choice of restaurants during our stay in the evenings was really good and based on local knowledge supplied by our delightful host, Rosa Lara.
This is a highly recommended company”

Dr Mel Jones & friends
Menai Bridge. Wales (UK)
Spring 2016

Rosita Hiscox & daugthers, Arizona-USA

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“We just LOVED the trip that Rosa customized for me and my daughters around Spain. I wanted them to experience the best of the culture and that’s why we picked March to come so we could see the Fallas in Valencia and the Holy Week in Andalucia. Just Explore was very flexible and made adjustments when necessary (ie: including a day trip to Toledo in the last minute, re-scheduling our “view” from a building to see the Fallas).  It was fun to watch the faces and hear my daughters’ cameras click incessantly. The history captured by each stop was embraced by each of their senses; sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell. Absolutely memorable trip! Thank you!”

Rosita Hiscox
Tucson, Arizona
Spring 2016

Charlotte Bell & friends, Connecticut-USA

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“Rosa Lara at Just Explore listened carefully to our interests and planned a perfect mix of urban locations rich in history and culture, along with visits to national parks that allowed for hiking and breathtaking vistas.  Hotels were all charming and gracious.  She provided guides for cities (Granada, Cordoba, and Seville) who were extremely knowledgeable about the history and art of these unique locations.  All spoke excellent English and lived locally.  They not only shared their knowledge, but also their enthusiasm for the region, which made our visit that much more fun and memorable.  Although we typically plan our own vacations, it was very fortunate to find Rosa for this trip.  We would never have located these unique settings or been able to plan this detailed itinerary.  Her extensive knowledge of the area and her dedication to planning a very personal trip were the keys to making this adventure so special”
Charlotte Bell,
Milford, CT
Spring 2016

Alexandra Field & family, Virginia-USA

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“We had a really spectacular week in Southern Spain thanks to Just Explore. We had done enough thinking on what we wanted that we had a pretty long and specific list that needed to accommodate two parents, one 14 year old boy, and an 11 year old girl. Rosa listened to what we asked for and managed to come up with an itinerary that hit all the right notes  and made adjustments as needed (including some when we arrived).  As a bonus, her itinerary was also reasonably priced (not easy for 8 nights during Holy Week in Spain!).  It was the perfect proof of how an individually planned trip can be so much better than a pre-packaged tour. We got to meet a number of guides over the week, and we enjoyed them all.  They were interesting and flexible (if we needed to stop for coffee to combat jet lag or wanted to learn about something specific) and kindly spoke English quite well.  In particular, our guide who took us through Granada and our agent who took us around Seville, were exceptional.  And we just loved the driver who made getting from city to city so much easier than driving ourselves or taking buses or trains! My son loved seeing some of the places where Season 5 of Game of Thrones was filmed (Osuna – off the beaten path – and the Alcazar of Seville which is definitely on the usual path) and a day in Zahara that allowed us to linger late in bed and then hike up to the old fortress tower at our own pace.  My daughter loved that Rosa managed to get us to be able to see so many cool things in the limited amount of time we had.  My husband loved the dinners at the hotel in Zahara and the deep dives into history that we got on all of our stops. I really loved seeing the variety of geography and cultures that makes/made up Andalusia.  Our very first day found us at an Olive Oil mill with Rosa, herself, showing us around and letting us taste the oils.  I will never think of oil the same way again!  And every one of our hotels was exactly what we asked for: charming, in great locations, and complete with wifi”
Alexandra Field & family
Arlington, Virginia
Spring 2016

Susan Holzman & Family, Boston-USA

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“Once we decided to travel to Andalucia, I researched three travel advisors and it quickly became evident that Rosa Lara and Just Explore Holidays was the right choice. Rosa’s grasp of our unique interests and travel preferences was immediately evident, and her recommendations for sight seeing, special excursions, destinations, hotel accommodations, when to take a train and when to rent a car were all on target. Rosa requested a Skype conversation early in the planning phase, which enhanced our working relationship and enabled her to get to know us a little better when customizing the experience for us. She effectively and meticulously planned an itinerary that allowed appropriate time to experience each city/village, and minimized jumping to different hotels during our time in Andalusia. Her pre-travel itinerary was very thorough, including  all details related to accommodations, ground transporation, car rental, as well as restaurant recommendations, hiking excursions and sights to visit on the self-guided portion of our trip. Rosa is delightful – warm, personable, attentive, responsive and very in tune with her clients. Meeting her in person was a true pleasure. She also checked in on us at various points within our journey… even when we were in another part of Spain that we planned independently.The difference between working with Just Explore Holidays and a U.S.-based tour operator is significant. Rosa lives (and spent her life) in the region, has personally vetted and established relationships with related travel suppliers in the area, and has personal, in-depth knowledge of each place we visited, the culture, the tiniest mountain villages, and the most beautiful, small beaches, and this can not be matched. After this experience I would absolutely recommend Just Explore Holidays”

Susan Holzman & family
Andover, MA
Spring 2016

Louise & Angelo Capozzi, California-USA

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“Rosa was a fabulous guide—everything was beautifully arranged, she totally took care of us. I had asked for a very active trip, we are active seniors–and she really gave us some great walks and one wonderful hike in the country up to a castle. I highly recommend Rosa with Just Explore–she’s personable, fun, warm, and has a nice sense of humor. Can’t imagine covering Andalusia in any better way than with Rosa. She arranged for well informed guides for all the special places that we visited, we loved the lunches that were planned and enjoyed the idea of having our larger meal at lunch time so we didn’t have to wait for so late at night to eat Spanish style. I loved the drives through the beautiful rolling countryside. The most beautiful, scenic day was a surprise to us we knew nothing about Ronda. It’s about a 2 hour fantastic drive from Sevilla driving close to the mountains. It’s a charming old town, and I recommend it highly for a day trip. We had the opportunity of seeing the massive gorge that was formed by an earthquake that occurred millions of years ago, and then we had a delicious lunch overlooking one of the mountain lakes. A very special day. We went to a sensational Flamenco show in Seville that included a delicious dinner, drink, wine—fun evening. Hard to say which historic site was our favorite, they were all beautiful—we did learn a lot of Spanish history—hope it stays in my mind.”

Louise & Angelo
Tiburon, CA
Spring 2016

Discovering the wines from Ronda

Cynthia & Charles Field, Washington-USA

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“This trip could never have been done without the efficient planning and responses of Rosa Lara, our travel specialist.  We decided to do the trip in our Spring vacation from the University where we are both professors at the last minute.  We had a lot to cram in and only eight days to do it.  With the help of Just Explore we got to see everything we wanted to see, we saved time with transfers they made by car and train, we missed nothing because of the excellent guides who showed us all the important aspects of every sight and town. Most importantly, Rosa made the experiences pleasant with her personal warmth and service.  We felt that she took care of all aspects of our trip so thoughtfully that we could relax and enjoy our travel in Spain. I got fast responses to all my inquiries. Those responses took in to account my questions and gave the answers I need to plan.The hotels picked were all distinctive and very well located. We were given tips on restaurants in each of our stops. If I would do this trip again I might use that time to see some of the unusual other opportunities that Just Explore offers such as exploring the making of olive oil or the famous local wines, just to give a little spice to the touring of great landmarks”

Cynthia & Charles
Washington DC, USA
Spring 2016