Discover South America's best-kept secret on this adventure through the verdant mountains and powdery beaches of Colombia. Head into the serene highlands of Colombia's famed coffee region and discover the sweeter, softer side of this much misunderstood country. Discover Bogota's colonial heart, laze on palm-fringed stretches of Caribbean shoreline and meet the locals that make Colombia one of the world's friendliest countries.

Theme

Explorer

  • Highlights

    • Discover the new face of Medellin, a city offering scenic cable-car rides, world-class cuisine and a pulsating nightlife
    • Spend a couple of days learning about the world's favourite bean during a stay on a traditional coffee estancia deep in Colombia's coffee country
    • Tayrona National Park seems to have it all, from perfect beaches and mountain backdrops to wildlife-filled jungle. Laze in a hammock as dusky titi monkeys and red squirrels play in the treetops
    • Wander beneath the floral balconies of Cartagena, the World Heritage-listed town combining Carribean splendour and irresistable old-world charm
  • What's Included

    Meals

    13 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners

    Transport

    Plane , Private Bus , Private vehicle , Public bus , Van

    Accommodation

    Hotel (14 nights), Coffee Estancia (2 nights)

    Included Activities

    • Barichara - Walk along Camino Real to the village 'Guane'
    • Bogota - Gold Museum
    • Bogota - Montserrate cable car
    • Cartagena - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
    • Medellin - Flower Farm tour
    • Salento - Tejo game
    • Subway and metrocable to get to Plaza Minorista Market and San Javier Medellin and back
    • Tayrona National Park - Entrance fee
  • Pricing

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      • Start Date:19 Oct 19
      • End Date:4 Nov 19
      • Price:$5,035
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      • End Date:25 Nov 19
      • Price:$5,135
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      • Start Date:23 Nov 19
      • End Date:9 Dec 19
      • Price:$4,985
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      • Start Date:7 Dec 19
      • End Date:23 Dec 19
      • Price:$5,180
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      • Start Date:14 Dec 19
      • End Date:30 Dec 19
      • Price:$5,285
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      • Start Date:23 Dec 19
      • End Date:8 Jan 20
      • Price:$5,285
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      • End Date:20 Jan 20
      • Price:$5,430
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      • End Date:27 Jan 20
      • Price:$5,430
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      • End Date:3 Feb 20
      • Price:$5,430
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      • Price:$5,230
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      • End Date:1 Jun 20
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      • End Date:3 Aug 20
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      • End Date:17 Aug 20
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      • End Date:31 Aug 20
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      • End Date:21 Sep 20
      • Price:$5,230
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      • End Date:5 Oct 20
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      • End Date:19 Oct 20
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      • End Date:2 Nov 20
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      • End Date:23 Nov 20
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      • Start Date:21 Nov 20
      • End Date:7 Dec 20
      • Price:$5,430
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      • Start Date:28 Nov 20
      • End Date:14 Dec 20
      • Price:$5,430
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      • End Date:21 Dec 20
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      • End Date:28 Dec 20
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    Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
  • Itinerary

    Day - 1

    Location: Bogota - Bienvenidos! Welcome to Colombia. With a wealth of cosy cafes, interesting museums and old churches, cosmopolitan Bogota is full of surprises. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where your group meeting will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Afterwards, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around the nearby area. After that, you're free to go exploring.

     

    Day - 2

    Location: Salento - Enjoy a free morning in Bogota. Around lunch time take a short flight (1 hour) to Armenia and transfer (approximately 40 minutes) to the beautiful village of Salento. Take the time to stroll through its quaint streets and admire the colours of 'paisa' architecture at its best. For some local food, trout is the way to go. There are lots of ways to enjoy it, but it's most often served with a rich, garlicky cheese sauce. Colombia's national sport, tejo, is a popular pastime in Salento. Think bocce with gunpowder! If you're game, you'll have the option to visit the local tejo hall and give it a go.

     

    Day - 3

    Location: Coffee Estancia - Travel by jeep out to the magnificent Cocora Valley, home of the towering wax palm (Colombia's national tree). Spend the morning walking among the region's incredible scenery, perhaps hiking up to Acaime Reserve where colourful hummingbirds feed. The hike to Acaime (approximately 5 hours) is quite strenuous, with some steep and slippery sections, so you'll need good walking shoes, as well as plenty of water and snacks. A generous boxed lunch will be provided. If you'd rather take it easy, you can explore the valley as you please, then take a jeep back to town. Later, travel deep into Colombia's coffee region for a two-night stay in a traditional coffee estancia, where you'll have a unique opportunity to learn first hand about this wonderful bean.

     

    Day - 4

    Location: Coffee Estancia - Thanks to its tropical altitude and fertile volcanic soil, Colombia is one of the world’s largest coffee producers. You’ll get to know this addictive little bean a whole lot better on a guided tour of the coffee plantation and processing centre. Dig into the history of the plant, learning the inside story of the industry that's long buoyed the country's economy. See how the beans are grown and harvested, processed, dried, roasted and ground, and then sample firsthand what all the fuss is about. Try different types of coffee grains and get a lesson on preparing different types of coffees, finishing it all off with a steaming cup of freshly brewed joe. Afterwards, relax amid the estancia's beautiful surrounds of sloping green hills and valleys.

     

    Day - 5

    Location: Medellin - This morning we will leave the Coffee Estancia to get a one hour transfer to the small town of Chinchiná, where we will then board a comfortable public bus for the approximately 6-7 hour journey to Medellin. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk of this beautiful city. Along the way, learn a little more about the town's interesting recent history. Having spent the 1980s and 90s with an international reputation as one of the world's most dangerous cities (thanks to Pablo Escobar's infamous drug cartel), Medellin has turned itself around to become one of the most exciting cities in South America. And with some of the country's finest museums, parks and architecture (as well as a much safer and comfortable atmosphere now) it's easy to see why its popularity is increasing. NOTE: As of July 2018 there are major roadworks on the road to Medellin, this can cause lengthy delays and make for a slow travel day so take plenty of water & snacks for the journey. This road is also very winding so if you are prone to motion sickness it is recommended you prepare for this by speaking to your doctor before travel about travel sickness medication.

     

    Day - 6

    Location: Medellin - Make an early start and join your leader on a morning visit to Plaza Minorista Market. The market is divided into distinct areas: flowers; fruit, vegetables, and herbs; and meat and fish. Take the opportunity to buy some exotic local fruits like feijoa, araza, guanabana, maracuya and lulo – many of which are seldom found outside of Colombia. After lunch, enjoy breathtaking views of Medellin and its surrounds during a cable car ride up to San Javier. Sail up the mountain over brick houses, watching as the corrugated metal roofs give way to vistas of green valleys and forested peaks. Thanks to the elevation, things are usually a little cooler up here. Back in Medellin, you might want to search out one of the city's lively salsa bars (many count Medellin's nightlife as the best in Colombia).

     

    Day - 7

    Location: Medellin - This morning starts at approximately 8am with a pick-up. We head about 17km out of of Medellin to a flower farm in Santa Elena which is located slightly higher than Medellin at 2500mts above sea level. Here we will meet a local "silletero" (chair maker) and his family. The silletero makes the flower "silletas" (flower display) that competes every year in the Medellin "Fiesta de las flores". A local guide will take us through the history and the evolution of the "silleta" culture. We'll see where the flowers grow and witness how a small silleta is made. This afternoon you'll have some free time to explore Medellin. Perhaps visit the Museo de Antioquia to see some of Botero's famous works or get more modern at the beautiful Museo de Arte Moderno.

     

    Day - 8

    Location: Cartagena - Today we fly to Cartagena. Cartagena is one of South America's most historic cities. The old city, particularly the inner walled town, is the main attraction – it's packed with beautiful churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions.

     

    Day - 9

    Location: Cartagena - Spend some free time today getting to know Cartagena's Old City under your own steam. Shop for local handicrafts, head up to San Felipe de Barajas Castle (the largest of the city's fortresses), or perhaps head out of town to the Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. Instead of lava, this strange volcano emits a cream-like mud that is said to contain many healing properties. Enter for a wallow, then wash the muddy goodness off in the nearby lagoon. RESTAURANTE INTERNO: If you're feeling like an authentic Colombian meal and supporting a great cause in your free time, why not do both by dining at one of Cartagena's hippest restaurants, Restaurante Interno? Housed in a women's prison, the restaurant opened in December 2016 with the aim of giving inmates nearing the end of their sentences a second chance and job-ready skills to have a better chance of reintergrating into society on their release. It has since become one of the hottest spots in town (graced by local celebrities and even the Colombian President), prices start at USD$30, so while not a budget option, it is a unique experience and the money is going to a good cause.

     

    Day - 10

    Location: Guachaca - In the morning, take a shared van transfer (approximately 5 hours) north of Cartagena to Guachaca, your home for the next two nights. This is a beautiful region, awash with lush green mountains that collide with the rugged coastlin, enjoy a cocktail or two with your travel companions or treat yourself to a massage. It's the perfect jungle paradise in which to take the pace down a notch. Once you're there, the remainder of the day is free. Park yourself in a hammock with a book, or make the short walk to the beach and get a load of that coastline. Your accommodation is a lovely family-run guesthouse, simple and comfortable, nestled high in the jungle.

     

    Day - 11

    Location: Tayrona National Park / Guachaca Region - Head to Tayrona National Park, a protected plot of wilderness encircled by the massive Santa Marta mountain range on one side and the picture-perfect Caribbean on the other. There's a fair amount of hiking involved today, so be prepared and make sure your walking shoes are on (bug spray will also come in handy). It's a solid hour or two to hike to the first beach, with a few up and down parts, and if it rains it may get a little muddy here and there. The reward, however, is not only the superb beaches but the hike itself. The ambience of the jungle, the verdant scenery and the first glimpse of the sea make for a magical day out among nature. The hiking is flexible; you can hike more or less, depending on your wishes and energy levels. The hike to stunning Cabo San Juan is well worth the effort; it's further away than some other beaches however highly recommended. Note that it's not possible to swim at all beaches, as the ocean rip can be strong. When it's all over, we head back to Guachaca for the night.

     

    Day - 12

    Location: Guachaca Region / Barichara - Enjoy a final morning in your jungle haven, perhaps rising early to see the sun rise from the beach. After a tasty continental breakfast, head off for your (included) flight Santa Martha to Bucaramanga (approximately 3.5 hours including a stop in Bogota). From Bucaramanga, transfer to Barichara (approximately 3 hours). With its quaint cobbled streets, stuccoed houses, and rolling hills for a backdrop, Barichara is probably the prettiest and best-preserved colonial-style village in all Colombia.

     

    Day - 13

    Location: Barichara - With free time, spend today however you please. Barichara is itself a fine place to wander around on foot, with its artistic (but safe) atmosphere and plenty of nice shops to browse. If you'd like to get out and get active, head over to San Gil, the adventure capital of Colombia (approximately 30 minutes' drive). Please speak to your tour leader for suggestions of things to do. The Pescaderito swimming hole on the way there is well worth a visit too; even if the water is a little chilly, it's an idyllic spot to relax for an hour or two.

     

    Day - 14

    Location: Barichara - After breakfast, set out on a two-hour walk along the Camino Real to the village of Guane. The walk is stunning, full of awe-inspiring mountain scenery. Declared a national monument in 1988, the ancient trail was built by the indigenous Guane people. It starts off with a gentle descent down the rim of a canyon before crossing a valley filled with cacti. The walking is mostly downhill, and you'll likely spot a few fossils embedded in the stones that pave the trail en route. On arrival in Guane, refresh with a cooling drink, soak up the peaceful atmosphere and perhaps check out the local church before catching the local bus back to Barichara. There may be some time to relax or explore back in Barichara before the day's end.

     

    Day - 15

    Location: Bogota - Today we travel by public bus to Bogota via San Gil (approximately 8 hours), so kick back and enjoy the lull as the scenery rolls by. There will be plenty of stops along made along the way. Your hotel in Bogota is located in the Chapinero neighbourhood, one of the most culturally interesting parts of town.

     

    Day - 16

    Location: Bogota - Today we'll check out a couple of essential local spots. One is La Candelaria, the historic heart of the city. Boasting a wealth of cosy cafes and colonial churches, it's a neighbourhood full of surprises. As well as loads of museums, art and great food to try, it's also just a beautiful town to walk around, an interesting clash of the old and new. We also head to the Gold Museum for a chance to learn about the wealth this country once had. Fascinating and easy to navigate, the museum has 55,000 artifacts from various eras on display. Finally, it's time to head up Cerro de Monserrate by cable car, where a 17th-century church overlooks the sprawling capital. It's a great place to watch the sunset as the trip draws to a close.

     

    Day - 17

    Location: Bogota - The trip concludes after breakfast this morning.

     

    Best of Colombia
*Terms and Conditions
Offer subject to availability at time of booking. Prices are per person share twin based on best available tour price, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and are based on cash or cheque. Tour deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions may apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry.
HLO Ref# 9671
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