Colombia Aficionados: An in-depth survey of Colombia’s most notable destinations (13 days, price from $4,900 p/p)
What’s a ‘rolo,’ the ‘eje cafetero,’ and a ‘costeno’? After this trip you’ll know more about the capital city, coffee country, and the country’s crown jewel than most. Enjoy the wide array of culture and vistas this experience packs into 13 days including Bogota, coffee country (Salento), and the Caribbean Coast (Cartagena, Parque Tayrona).
Explore Bogota, Colombia’s bustling capital, followed by a jaunt to the famous Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá for your first - but not last - taste of pueblo life. Next, you’ll enjoy a few days in the famous eje cafetero (coffee country) and finish off your Colombia experience exploring the cobblestoned streets of Cartagena.
Leave this experience with a wide breadth of knowledge about Colombia, from its capital city to the Caribbean coast, and the coffee country in between. Learn about the regional dialects, accents, customs, and cultures - and see that Colombian culture is as diverse as its wildlife.
Day 1: Arrive to Bogota, transfer to hotel and get settled. Meet your guide for the next day. We’re happy to arrange and suggest an itinerary for your evening given arrival times and energy levels.
Day 2: Exploring Bogota
Edit this text: Start in the La Candelaria historic district, the oldest part of the city, to learn about Bogotá’s colonial past and visit the Plaza Bolivar. Visit the Botero Museum, a permanent exhibition of works by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist, whose “oversized” art is instantly recognizable. Your next stop is the Museo del Oro, Gold Museum, which houses one of the finest collections of pre-Colombian gold artifacts in the world. This is considered a must-see when in Bogotá, with more than 35,000 pieces of gold work, many of which possess detailing unsurpassed by modern goldsmiths. Finally, take a cable car up to Monserrate Sanctuary to visit the church and enjoy sweeping views out over the city.
*Note: If museums are not your thing, we can arrange food and graffiti tours, bike tours and more. Let us know your speed for exploring big cities like Bogota, or if you’d like to find a way to combine both traditional and modern explorations of the city.
Bogota – Graffiti Tour: Today we woke up bright and early (9.30am, that’s early right?) and headed straight to the Bogota Graffiti tour which started at around 10.30am. After that we headed to La Puerta Falsa for lunch and then went and did all those important things to do in Bogota like go to the Gold Museum, The Bank of Colombia Museum, the Independence Museum, wandered around La Candelaria before having dinner with a friend and, again, flopping into bed.
Day 3: Villa de Leyva
Edit text: Enjoy a scenic private drive to Villa de Leyva, located a few hours away in the mountains. Stop en route to visit the famous Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá. One of the marvels of Colombia, the underground cathedral is carved out of a functioning salt mine. The subtle illumination and detailed execution of the work took years of effort from miners and artists, and your guide will explain how it was constructed and how the cathedral and salt mine still function in harmony. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue toward Villa de Leyva. About 4 miles from town you’ll be dropped off with your guide to continue by foot on a rural path through gorgeous mountain scenery to your hotel. Guatavita lake?
Accommodations: Campanario de la Villa
Located in the historic center of Villa de Leyva, the Hotel Campanario de la Villa features comfortable lodgings in a colonial building arranged around an attractive central courtyard. The hotel offers a restaurant, pool, and spa.
Edit text: Walk the quaint cobbled streets of Villa de Leyva with your private local guide, arriving to the enormous plaza, which is home to the area’s main church. Visit the house of Antonio Nariño, an important leader in Colombia’s independence movement, then head to the Monastery of Carmelitas Descalzas, still occupied by a secretive sect of nuns. Your tour will include several other historic buildings in the village, including the Museo de Fosil, El Infiernito, and the Casa Terrocata.
Day 5: Transfer to el Eje Cafetero
We’ll get you to the airport to catch a flight to Armenia in the heart of coffee country and get settled in your hacienda.
Day 6: San Alberto Plantation for a coffee tour and tasting. The journey out will take you through some stunning scenery: carpeted rolling hills of lush green coffee, plantain and yucca. Experience the entire process of coffee harvesting and processing, from seedling to harvest to toasting to cup. Learn about the lives of the regional coffee growers and finish the tour with a guided tasting of some of Colombia’s finest brews.
Day 7: Valle de Cocora + Salento
Hiking to waterfalls, hummingbird sanctuaries, horseback riding, or bike trips all available to explore this world class valley where 200-foot palm trees are king.
Fly to Santa Marta. This small, up-and-coming city lies next to the Sierra Nevada mountain range and Tayrona National Park, along with crescent-shaped beach and popular backpacker haven, Playa Taganga. The town is relaxed and still growing. Transfer to Tayrona National Park, a national treasure. The beaches here are a mix of pristine, Caribbean waters nestled into a background of jungle fauna.
Day 9: Exploring Tayrona Park
Hike through Tayrona National Park to El Pueblito, a pre-Columbian site. You’ll learn about its rich history with a private guide. Opt for horse riding or “cabalgata” if you’d prefer to explore on horse. During this exploration you’ll see the striking variety of flora, fauna, sealife, and culture right along the coastline.
Suggested abode: Ecohabs Tayrona
Alt options: We can arrange a private guide to take you on a hike to different beaches and a local historical site, or snorkeling, do a different hike like “9 Stones,” or a coffee tour on a finca in Minca.
*Note: From here, folks can do the Lost City tour on their own (another 4 days) onto this itinerary.
Transfer to Cartagena, The Crown Jewel of the Caribbean. Get settled. Afternoon walking tour of the historic downtown. We’ll suggest night time activities and can organize buggy, segway, or bike tours of the downtown area, too.
Exploring Islas Rosarios - day trip on boat to one of the country’s most well-known cristaline waters for fresh catch on site. Snorkeling is possible if you’re interested.
Exploring Cartagena with activities of your choice...or go DIY!
Day trip to Palenque, first free town of the Americas
Mercado Bazurto ½ day experience (tour of the city’s bustling outdoors market with private guide)
City Tour in private vehicle to see Castillo San Felipe, Getsemani, and Pie de la Popa (a monastery convent)
Botanical gardens ½ day experience with private car and guide
Mangroves ecotour by canoe and lunch in traditional fishing village right outside of town in La Boquilla
Horseback riding on the beach of La Boquilla
Day 13: Transfer to airport and off to your next destination!