My group of 3 booked a day trip to Montenegro at the conclusion of our Rick Steves Best of the Adriatic” tour in September, 2022. We booked with the guide book’s recommended Pepo Klaic over 2 months in advance. He quoted a price per person and an itinerary that included a lunch and a visit to Perast. He explicitly said he would guide and drive. The day before our tour he cancelled. He had double booked the day. Luckily it was with a couple on our tour. We agreed to go together if his vehicle could fit us. He showed up with a small uncomfortable car for us. He drove us to Montenegro. No guiding at all. Didn’t even enter the city walls or orient us to anything. No lunch. Perast cost extra. I would not recommend him. I have never had such a poor experience with a private guide. Cancelling less than 20 hours was bad enough, but not delivering what was sold was worse. Beware.
That is awful....
I'd also recommend you send some official feedback on this since this guide is in the book. Go to this website:
Click on Updates and Feedback, then on the Feedback form. The office should know your experience.
We visited Croatia and Montenegro in 2019, and I initially hired Pepo Klaic as well to drive us around the Bay of Kotor and make stops. I used Rick's Croatia guidebook so that must be where I got his name. But somewhere else, and I don't remember where, I had read enough negative reviews about him that I cancelled with him and hired someone else.
For people planning future trips to the Bay of Kotor, after I cancelled with Pepo, I contacted Julija Antunovic who received all excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. She was unavailable on the day we wanted to go to Montenegro, but she recommended her colleague, Stjepan, who was excellent. Our trip included visits to Budva, Kotor, and Perast. Because Stjepan is not from Montenegro, he could not guide us inside the places we visited but he told us about the history of Croatia and Montenegro along the way, and he made the day so much more educational and fun. He gave us ideas of what to visit in each place. We could have hired local guides for each village, but we didn't think it was necessary. This was one of the most enjoyable days of our trip.
I will chime in here on a different note. I also booked Pepo based on seeing his name mentioned in the Rick Steves' Croatia guidebook. I started corresponding with him on email about 2 months prior to our trip. (Our trip was just a month ago in August 2022) Every one of my emails was responded to promptly, almost always within the hour, unless it was late in the day in the US and very late at night in Croatia, in this case I would wake up and have a reply waiting for me the next day. As we got closer to the trip, I started communicating with him via WhatsApp, and this was also no problem.
We booked him for 4 of us (2 adults and 2 children) for day trips to Mostar and to Bay of Kotor. I did not go into a lot of detail with him as to what was expected for these trips, so I was honestly not sure whether to expect a guided tour from him for each of these locations or just the transportation. It turned out to be transportation only, but the rides to and from both locations were informative, he pointed out a ton of points of interest on the rides. On both day trips, he took a different route back to Dubrovnik in the afternoon than what we took to get to these destinations in the morning, so it was neat to see different parts of the countryside and not the same thing on the return rides.
Honestly, we were happy and preferred the fact that he did not guide us around both of the locations once we parked. The guidebook was more than sufficient for that, and we were able to go at our own pace and enjoy the day as a family (plus it would have been awkward sitting down for lunch and either leaving him or asking him to dine with us :)
In Mostar he parked and walked us to the central part of the town near the bridge and also recommended a really great family run restaurant right on the river with a great view of the bridge. He also stopped on the way at the town of Pocitelj which was right off the main road and let us wander up the hill to the tower and fort which was a highlight.
For the trip to Kotor, we stopped for coffee at a great place right on the bay with amazing views, and although we didn't realize it, we really needed this break after the ride from Dubrovnik to stretch our legs, get some caffeine (and lemonade for the klds) and just sit and take in the great view. We did a very nice ride around the perimeter of the bay and he let us spend about 4-5 hours in Kotor. He recommended a boat trip on the bay which we did (we booked our own speed boat and didn't share with other travelers). This took in the Lady of the Rocks Island as well as Perast. So we didn't have to worry about squeezing either of those in with Pepo.
The ride home from Kotor was a highlight, we continued around the bay and then up and over a mountain with amazing views over the bay and all the way across to the Adriatic. From there we crossed into Bosnia and the rest of the ride back to Dubrovnik was through the Bosnian mountains and countryside. Really memorable!
Anyway, long story short, if you want a fully guided walking tour of Mostar or Kotor area, I would recommend discussing this with him clearly ahead of time and if you do not think it will be something he will provide to your liking, then go with another operator. But if you want to get there and back comfortably, and have some interesting things pointed out on the rides, he will do just fine. My wife and kids really liked him as well.
We also used Pepo for the transfer to and from Dubrovnik airport and this was also seamless. Our AirBnB was up about 125 stairs on the hillside over old town, and he took 2 of our suitcases and bounded up the stairs like it was nothing. I'm about 15 years younger and in good shape and I will tell you that I was NOT able to do that :)