- See endless views of Bogotá from the heights of Monserrate Hill
- Hike to the lagoon from the legend of El Dorado at Chingaza National Park
- Swim in the healing waters of Santa Rosa Hot Springs
- Tour the active volcano of Nevado del Ruiz
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogotá, Monserrate Hill Tour||Bogotá|
|Day 2||Day Hike in Chingaza National Park||Bogotá|
|Day 3||Day Hike in Chicaque Natural Reserve||Bogotá|
|Day 4||Transfer to Villa de Leyva, Afternoon Walking Tour||Villa de Leyva|
|Day 5||Transfer to Barichara, Afternoon Walking Tour||Barichara|
|Day 6||Camino Real Hike, Chicamocha Park||Barichara|
|Day 7||Fly to Pereira, Santa Rosa Hot Springs||Pereira|
|Day 8||Cocora Valley, Coffee Farm & Salento||Pereira|
|Day 9||Transfer to Manizales, Plantain Cooking Workshop||Manizales|
|Day 10||Nevado del Ruiz Trek||Manizales|
|Day 11||Hike Cerro Bravo Volcano||Manizales|
|Day 12||Transfer to Medellín, Medellín Transformation Tour||Medellín|
|Day 13||Day Trip to the Río Claro Nature Reserve||Medellín|
|Day 14||Day Trip to El Peñol & Guatapé||Medellín|
|Day 15||Envigado Street Food Tour, Depart Medellín|
Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá, Monserrate Hill Tour
Welcome to Bogotá! Your private driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel, where you'll have a chance to rest and regroup before you head out to see the sights. Colombia's capital city and its largest, Bogotá sits on a high plateau known as the Bogotá savanna, more than 8,000 feet (2,438 m) above sea level. Home to colonial-era architecture and landmarks, museums, art galleries, musical venues, and international cuisine options, this multicultural mecca truly offers something for everyone.
Start your visit with a view of the city from Monserrate Hill, a 10,341-foot (3,152 m) mountain that offers breathtaking panoramas of the entire countryside. You can take a cable car from the base to the top, or make the 3.5-mile (6 km) out-and-back hike if you're feeling fit. Do keep in mind that this is considered a challenging hike, with a steep trail and quick altitude shifts. At the top, you'll find the Catholic shrine, Monserrate Sanctuary, which was completed in 1657. See the different vantage points of the sanctuary along with its gardens, fountains, cloud forests, rich foliage, and birdlife.
Later this evening, take a stroll through town. Head to the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria, considered the heart of the city and named after the chapel dedicated to the Virgin de la Candelaria. Walk the cobblestone streets, check out museums such as Botero Museum, where you'll find works from world-class artists, or stop in at one of the many bodegas or restaurants.
Day 2: Day Hike in Chingaza National Park
Take a guided day hike through Chingaza National Park, a nearly 19,000 acre (76,600 ha) protected area located two hours northeast of Bogotá in the Colombian Andes. The park has an extensive network of hiking trails, lush natural vegetation, and more than 180 species of birds. It is also home to Laguna de Guatavita, considered a sacred place where the legend of El Dorado, which tells of a lake full of gold, originated.
Your guide, along with a local interpreter, will pick you up from your hotel, taking you through the municipalities of La Calera and Guasca and into the park. From there, you'll start your hike along the trails, walking along the mountains and through the Andean forest, exploring the beauty of nature and wildlife, and ending at the peaceful waters of the lagoon. The hike is approximately 6.8 miles (11 km) and you should plan on it taking about six hours.
Day 3: Day Hike in Chicaque Natural Reserve
Day 4: Transfer to Villa de Leyva, Afternoon Walking Tour
Your next destination is the city of Villa de Leyva. Your driver will transfer you to this historic colonial town, a 3.5-hour drive from Bogotá. Along the way, you'll make a stop in Zipaquirá, where you can visit the Catedral de Sal—a Catholic church built within the tunnels of an old salt mine that sits more than 650 feet (200 m) underground. Originally a small chapel where miners would pray for safety during their dangerous work, the cathedral was rebuilt in the 1990s and is still used by worshippers today.
Day 5: Transfer to Barichara, Afternoon Walking Tour
Your driver will pick you up at the hotel this morning and take you to Barichara, an old-world town that is considered one of Colombia's most beautiful destinations. The drive takes about 4.5 hours, and you'll travel through several smaller towns and villages.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Camino Real Hike, Chicamocha Park
Today, you'll have the opportunity to walk along parts of the Camino Real, a 150-year-old road built by the famed German explorer, Geo von Lengerk. This is one of the most important roads of the colonial era, as it was once the primary route for trade and commerce. The hike is about 3 miles (5 km) round-trip and takes you from Barichara to the town of Guane. Once you reach Guane, you can get a bite to eat and relax in their town plaza before heading back to Barichara.
Later, your driver will take you to Chicamocha Park, a small reserve area that is home to Chicamocha Canyon, one of the largest in the world. Travel via cable car across the canyon, which has astounding depths of more than 6,000 feet (1,829 m). If you're feeling extra adventurous, the park also has zipline tours that take you through the canyon at speeds of nearly 30 mph (48 kph)! Enjoy your last night in Barichara tonight with dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 7: Fly to Pereira, Santa Rosa Hot Springs
A private transfer takes you to the airport today, where you'll fly to Bucaramanga and then Periera, your final destination. Located in the mountainous regions of western Colombia, Periera is the largest city of what is known as the country's "Coffee Triangle"—famous for producing most of Colombia's coffee. After your driver collects you from the airport and you get settled at your hotel, head out for a visit to one of the region's most popular attractions, Santa Rosa Hot Springs.
The hot springs are about an hour away from Periera, situated in a lush Andean cloud forest with waterfalls, a river, and a thermal spa. There are multiple man-made pools, and you can relax with a beverage or snack while enjoying the healing mineral waters of the springs. Later, you'll head back to Periera, where you can venture out into the city for dinner, or just decompress at your hotel.
Day 8: Cocora Valley, Coffee Farm & Salento
Discover the coffee culture of Colombia with a visit to the Corcora Valley. Your guide will pick you up for the tour, which starts with a walk under the high wax palms of the region, ascending into the mysterious cloud forests. After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit a working coffee farm and learn about the coffee cultivation process and all the best-kept secrets of Colombian coffee!
Day 9: Transfer to Manizales, Plantain Cooking Workshop
Depart Periera and head to Manizales, a central-Colombian city that sits in the heart of the coffee region. Your driver will transport you to your hotel, and after check-in, it's time to head out to a coffee farm to learn how to cook one of Colombia's most beloved food staples—plantains.
Plantains, or plátanos, might look like bananas at first sight, but they are definitely different. Starchier and less sweet than their banana cousins, they are used in a variety of Colombian dishes. During this hands-on class, you'll hear about the history of the plantain, how important it is to Colombian cuisine, and the different ways to prepare it. The culinary team will walk you through the process as you create dishes from both ripe plantains (maduros) and green plantains (verdes), culminating with a delicious afternoon meal that you cooked yourself!
Tonight spend some time exploring Manizales. After dinner at a local restaurant, you can visit the Catedral de Manizales, which boasts the tallest church tower in Colombia, or take in the sunset from the Chipre neighborhood, which sits high up over the city and offers gorgeous evening views.
Day 10: Nevado del Ruiz Trek
Take a guided tour of Nevado del Ruiz, one of the Colombian Andes' most emblematic mountains with an altitude exceeding 17,000 feet (5,321 m) and home to one of the most active volcanoes in the country. You'll be picked up from your hotel in the morning and travel toward Brisas, one of the entrances to the Los Nevados National Park, which is nestled in the middle of the coffee region and known for its glaciers, forests, and abundant wildlife. Be sure to bring warm clothes and boots that are good for walking, as well as sunscreen!
You'll travel on foot to the Valle de las Tumbas ("Valley of the Tombs"), an area once used for sacred religious ceremonies, which tops out at 14,000 feet (4,400 m) above sea level. Your guide will make sure there are several acclimatization stops along the way, as the altitude can be daunting for inexperienced hikers. You'll pass along vegetation and greenery, which slowly gives way to an arid, lunar landscape, the product of volcanic sediments.
The hike includes other sectors such as Arenales and Valle del Silencio before you descend back to lower ground, where lunch awaits. On your way back to Manizales, there will be a stop at Otono Hot Springs, where you can soak your tired muscles in their healing thermal pools.
Day 11: Hike Cerro Bravo Volcano
Learn more about high-altitude hiking, testing yourself with a tour of the Cerro Bravo volcano. This day trip gives you an excellent introduction to high altitudes, as you learn about the region's flora and fauna while acclimating to the Colombian mountain air.
Located in the central mountain range of the Colombian Andes, Cerro Bravo has an unusual ecosystem, characterized by high-altitude orchids and other plants with a high degree of endemism. The crater is bordered by very steep walls and covered with forest, with the landscape from its summit offering panoramic views of the Nevado del Ruiz, Valle de Magdalena, and the Letras Paramo. The hike is about 3 miles (5 km) round trip, and, depending on physical ability, takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete.
Day 12: Transfer to Medellín, Medellín Transformation Tour
It's off to Medellín today, nicknamed the "City of Eternal Spring" due to its consistently temperate climate. Your driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel, where you'll have time to relax a bit before you head out on a guided tour of the city. While once considered a dangerous place, Medellín has enjoyed a profound transformation, primarily due to the local government investing heavily in infrastructure and education. Modern Medellín is a vibrant metropolis, rich in history and culture, with a growing tourist trade.
Day 13: Day Trip to the Río Claro Nature Reserve
Take a day trip from Medellín to see the fascinating landscapes of Río Claro Nature Reserve. Located in the Eastern Andes, this 1,100 acre (450 ha) reserve consists of lush rainforests, clear rivers, and mountain views. Your driver will pick you up in the morning and you'll make the 3.5-hour drive to the reserve, where you'll be met by guides who will share all that the area has to offer.
Day 14: Day Trip to El Peñol & Guatapé
Take a guided tour to the village of Guatapé, starting with a scenic drive through the eastern highlands of Antioquia. About an hour and a half outside of Medellín, your guide will make a stop at El Peñol, a 650-foot (200 m) monolith that can be reached by climbing a steep 740-step staircase. Make your way to the top and see views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.
Day 15: Envigado Street Food Tour, Depart Medellín
It's your final morning in Medellín, and if you have time before your flight home, take a guided street food tour for an immersion into authentic Colombian foods. Your guide will transport you to the nearby town of Envigado, where you'll visit different stores, markets, and restaurants, all while learning about the street food culture and cuisine. Taste dishes like empanadas, arepas con queso, churros, and local fruits and get to know the vendors who make these delicious treats!
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