- Take a walking tour of Bogotá's La Candelaria district for boutiques and street art
- Stay at an authentic eco-friendly guesthouse dedicated to Amazon conservation
- Boat through the borders of Peru and Brazil and see pink dolphins
- Walk along Cartagena's historic fortress walls at sunset with a mojito
- Take a day-trip to a Caribbean Island and snorkel in the turquoise sea
For travelers who have their sights set on South America, Colombia is in the midst of a major revival; in fact, it has been on the rise ever since the death of drug lord Pablo Escobar in 1993. With up-and-coming metropolises and stunning nature opportunities, this a great trip for those who want to experience a mix of both for a fun, well-rounded adventure.
You'll start with two nights in the sprawling city of Bogotá, home to world-class museums and restaurants, hip hotels, and progressive urban renewal projects. Then it's time for a change of pace. You'll fly south to the heart of the Amazon for four nights in the jungle where you'll base yourself in an eco-friendly guesthouse in Leticia. This is where you'll stay with like-minded fellow travelers, meet indigenous communities, and hike and boat through some extraordinary environments that play host to a range of wildlife including dart frogs, toucans, dolphins, and monkeys. Finally, fly to north to Cartegena on the Caribbean coast where you'll spend two days exploring the narrow streets of this inner-walled city. And if boating to an island and relaxing on a white-sand beach sounds like a nice way to spend the last day of the trip, you're in luck.
|Arrive in Bogotá
|Bogotá City Tour
|Flight to Leticia - Transfer to the Amazon River
|Agape Natural Reserve
|Zacambu Reserve Adventure (Colombia & Peru)
|Javari & Amazon River Adventure (Colombia & Brazil)
|Flight to Cartagena
|Rosario Islands Day-Trip
Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá
Welcome to Bogotá! A driver will meet you at the airport for transportation to the hotel.
Colombia's biggest city is on the rise in terms of gastronomy and culture, so spend your free time discovering this vibrant Andean capital by foot. Explore the cobblestone streets through the La Candelaria neighborhood, where trendy restaurants and colonial-era landmarks are located, as well as excellent museums, shopping, and street food options ranging from empanadas to exotic fruit salads.
(Optional add-on.) Depending on what time you arrive, you can experience Bogotá's local history and culture by taking a tour with an English-speaking guide.
Day 2: Bogotá City Tour
After breakfast, it's time to hit the streets and explore Bogotá! You'll be picked up at your hotel by a local guide who will share his/her city knowledge on this half-day tour.
Half-Day Walking Tour: Take a thorough walking tour through colorful La Candelaria — the heart of Bogota's historic center with narrow streets, cultural landmarks, and shops selling local goods.
(Optional add-on.) To spend a full day with your guide, take the aforementioned walk through La Candelaria and then explore two of Bogotá's best museums in the afternoon: the Gold Museum (closed on Mondays) for the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world, and the Botero Museum (closed on Tuesdays) for a collection of masterpieces from this renowned Colombian painter and sculptor.
(Optional add-on.) If you are an early riser, start the morning sunrise tour of Bogotá's best and biggest food market — Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao — which provides ingredients for the vast majority of the city’s best restaurants. Wander through the stalls and continue strolling through neighborhood streets stopping to photograph walled graffiti art.
Half-Day Tour Duration: 4 Hours (with an English-speaking guide)
Day 3: Flight to Leticia - Transfer to the Amazon River
Today, partake in the ultimate adventure and fly south towards Colombia's slice of the Amazon rainforest. When you arrive to Leticia's airport, you'll transfer to a private boat and head down the Amazon River to reach Calanoa Lodge — an eco-friendly guesthouse dedicated to conservation and working closely with local communities. That means there will be some restrictions for guests including the use of rainwater, limited hours for electricity, and meals prepared according to standard practice and availability.
After dinner, join a local guide for a nighttime jungle walk to soak in the noises of insects and animals that only come out after dark.
Day 4: Agape Natural Reserve
While in Leticia, transfer to the Agape Natural Reserve and learn about protecting the Amazon Forest through a range of activities. Hike through the trails, kayak in the gorges and lakes, relax in the hammocks, or climb a tree to a canopy platform 114 feet high with the safety of ropes and harnesses. From here you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Amazonian jungle.
Have lunch in the visitor's center before departing. There’s even an option for camping in the canopy.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Zacambu Reserve Adventure (Colombia & Peru)
Today, you'll start the adventure by hiking in the jungle towards San Pedro de los Lagos Indigenous community and then kayak on the Yahuarcara and Victoria Regia lakes. Afterwards, you'll have lunch in Flor de Loto followed by a three-hour boat ride along the Amazon River to Peru's Zacambu Reserve. Take note of the unique flora and fauna and wander around white sand beaches.
Dinner and accommodation will take place in a family home.
Day 6: Javari & Amazon River Adventure (Colombia & Brazil)
This day-time boat excursion departs from Colombia's southern coast and enters Brazil via the Amazon and Javari Rivers. You'll float to the town of Benjamin Constant, named after a Brazilian revolutionary, which is accessible only by boat. This is an area inhabited by Ticuna Indians, and the Maguta Musuem in town is devoted to their language and culture. But the biggest draw is perhaps not the town itself, rather the pink river dolphins which frequent the area, often jumping and swimming next to the boats.
Return to Leticia (on the Colombia side) and visit local handicraft shops.
Day 7: Arrive in Cartagena
Welcome to Cartagena! This picturesque colonial city on the Caribbean Sea is rich in culture, architecture, romance — and, yes, even pirate history. Upon arrival, you'll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Depending on the time of your arrival, consider a few options. You can relax and enjoy the hotel amenities or jump into action with a neighborhood walk, either by yourself or with an English-speaking guide (optional add-on). Here are some things that you should see:
- Wander the narrow, winding streets of the inner-walled city with a camera to photograph colorful houses and lively squares overflowing with bougainvillea.
- Check out the colonial neighborhoods of San Diego and Santo Domingo stopping at key sites like Plaza de los Coches, Plaza de la Aduana, Parque Bolívar, and Plaza de Santa Teresa.
- Walk along the Old Town's original fortress walls, built (starting in 1586) with the purpose of protecting Cartagena from any attacks. You'll get some amazing panoramic views of the city (and the sunset!) from here.
- Pay respects at Santo Domingo, reputedly the oldest church in the city.
- Peek in La Vitrola for future reference — this is the city's most famous restaurant in a 400-year-old colonial home.
- Explore Getsemani, the up-and-coming neighborhood just outside the walls of Cartagena's historic Old City. Once a seedy area, Getsemani is now a haven for hip culture with charming Spanish colonial architecture, graffiti art, boutique hotels, and street food vendors.
Finish the day on your own with mojitos and fresh ceviche in one of the city’s hip restaurants or rooftop bars.
Day 8: Explore Cartagena
After breakfast, take your pick between numerous ways to experience Cartagena, either on your own or with a private tour (optional add-on), whether it’s a surfing trip along the coast, a boat trip to pristine Caribbean beaches, or even a sunset sail with a glass of bubbly.
Other options include a guided walking tour of Cartagena's UNESCO World Heritage walled city. Together with an English-speaking professional, you will delve deeper into South America’s most extensive fortifications and visit famous sites like the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, located on the Hill of San Lázaro, and San Pedro, with its Andalusian-style palaces and Cathedral.
If an organized tour isn’t appealing, simply create your own adventure around the city. At dusk, take part in the unforgettable atmosphere as the city comes alive with street performers and musicians.
Day 9: Rosario Islands Day-Trip
Rise and shine! After an early breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel bright and early and transferred to the pier for a speedboat transfer (an hour by boat) towards the Baru Peninsula. Along the way, you will see Tierra Bomba Island and Boca Chica, an ancient fort that once protected Cartagena.
Once you arrive to the Rosario Islands, change into your swimwear before you head to Playa Azul, a stunning white-sand beach on the bright turquoise Caribbean Sea. After a buffet lunch is served, you will have time to relax and sunbathe, or rent a kayak (pay directly) in the sea before returning to Cartagena in the late afternoon. A car will pick you up at the pier to take you back to your hotel.
Day-Trip Duration: 7 Hours (including transfers)
Day 10: Depart Cartagena
It's time to say farewell to Colombia! After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy your last moments of Cartagena in a relaxing café, or — if you have not done so yet — take a walk around the city with an English-speaking guide (optional add-on) to gain a new perspective of the city from a local.
This tour covers Cartagena's enchanting maze of colorful houses and lively squares from the 16th century. Meander through the colonial neighborhoods of San Diego and Santo Domingo while learning about important historical sites like Saint Philip's Castle and el Museo del Oro.
A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home.