We loved the Zicasso process - from the intake form, to the screening interview, to matching process with a local agent - we absolutely would leverage the same process for our future trips
Our travel agency (and in particular Ivana) were amazing - communicative - both ahead of the trip and during, made great recommendations based on our style, and advocated on our behalf in the few instances when things didn't go exactly according to plan
We loved the "private" nature of everything we did - our own drivers, our own tour guides, our own activities - certainly we paid for it, but if that's the kind of holiday you're looking for, our travel company certainly delivered
Pre-Trip / Itinerary Building
We were clear with our travel agency that for us, food > wine, so we had more activities geared that way (truffle hunt in Split, Oyster farm in Ston, Peka in Hvar, Food tour in old town Dubrovnik). But of course, given that it's Croatia, they recommended a couple of wine-centric activities - which were fantastic
We questioned whether it was worth it to have 4 stops in an 11-day itinerary - it seemed to us like a lot of packing/unpacking - but the team at our travel agency were especially insistent that we leave Korčula in the itinerary - and we're so glad we did
We went back and forth on a few of the activities and in particular, the "right" hotel in Dubrovnik. In the end, the itinerary was nearly perfect, and the Hotel in Dubrovnik was the right choice for us
Each time we adjusted the itinerary, we received an updated PDF file with the updated schedule, costs, etc. And perhaps my favorite communication - in the days before the trip, we received an email with three things: 1) a final pdf overview of the entire itinerary; 2) a one-page summary with dates/times for every activity and transfer; and 3) a separate, detailed pdf voucher for each activity/ticket/transfer across the whole trip
Croatia is gorgeous. The best word I can use to describe it is "Dramatic". The people are incredibly friendly. And there are delicious things to eat and drink everywhere you go
It was *hot* - 95F/35C every day (from late June through early July. And we did *a lot* of walking. Just be prepared :)
There is *a lot* to do - between old cities with tons of history, beautiful beaches, restaurants, vineyards, farms, markets - we could easily go back to the same spots for another two weeks and have an entirely new experience
If you want to see Croatia in comfort, with no worries about logistics, and always feel well looked-after, I highly recommend this travel agency
During the Trip
While for sure packing/unpacking so many times was a bit of a pain, every transfer was seamless. The transfers to/from hotels and ferries were always easy - drivers waiting for us, tickets already delivered, etc.
In the couple of cases where there was an issue (e.g., one of the hotels forgot to send someone to collect us at the ferry port), Ivana was just a text/WhatsApp call away, and immediately ensured the issue was resolved
The itinerary was largely perfect - the activities recommended/selected were great, the drivers/guides subcontracted were excellent, and the hotels were largely wonderful
For sure the top highlights were the Truffle Hunting experience outside of Split, oyster farm near Ston, and the Game of Thrones tour in Old Town Dubrovnik (aka Kings Landing). And the bungee jump off the Dubrovnik Bridge was an unscheduled and unexpected highlight
And in the ultimate show of service/class, Ivana even came to our hotel in Split to meet us in person and to give us a bottle of local wine
Quick Stop-by-Stop thoughts
Split... The Hotel is the perfect location in Old Town, and has impeccable service... Truffle Hunting is a "can't miss" if you love truffles... We really liked Šibenik (much more so than Trogir)... Even though you can't swim in Krka, bring a suit and stop at the beach right nearby
Hvar... We loved Alviz Pizza... the lunch at Konoba Maslina was gorgeous... The pool at the hotel was excellent
Korčula... The location and service at the Hotel was fantastic... The beach was great! The "tavern lunch" was an absolutely amazing meal
Orebič/Ston... The oyster farm stop was both fascinating and delicious
Dubrovnik... we loved the Hotel - especially the beach! The Game of Thrones tour through old town was awesome (especially as we are big fans of the show)... Bungee jumping off the Dubrovnik bridge was an unexpected highlight
Things we might do differently
The biggest change we'd make is to not have such an early start on days during which we were transferring from one location to another. For example, we didn't need to wake up early to catch the first ferry from Hvar to Korčula - it is a vacation, after all - no need to be setting alarms!!
We probably would have skipped Hvar - not because we didn't enjoy it (we absolutely did!) but because it just wasn't our speed (it's more of a party atmosphere than we were looking for)... it just means next time we will have to check out Brač and/or Vis - and/or spend some time up in Istria
We would also have been more questioning/assertive about the opportunity to modify some things "on the fly." You are, after all, on a "private tour" - so why not take advantage of that. As an example, while you're no longer allowed to swim at the waterfalls in Krka (and therefore didn't bring swimsuits with us), there are several nearby beaches where you can easily swim - which, had we known/planned, we would have taken advantage of
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