Discover Colombia's Cauca Valley on this nine-day adventure. Start in modern Cali of the region to take in the food and art scene, and hike the Andes in the Los Farallones area. Along the way, you'll spend three nights on Gorgona Island off Colombia's Pacific Coast where you'll trek through the jungle and snorkel inviting coastal waters.

Highlights

  • Enjoy exotic fruit and local fare on a street art and food tour of Cali
  • Take a salsa lesson in Cali, the "world capital of salsa"
  • Trek through a cloud forest in the National Park Los Farallones 
  • Spot humpback mothers and their offspring in the Pacific Ocean
  • Snorkel off the coast of Gorgona Island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cali Cali
Day 2 Cali city tour & Andoke Butterfly Center Cali
Day 3 Street art, local food & Salsa class Cali
Day 4 Hike the Eagle Trail from Pance to Villacarmelo Cali
Day 5 Fly to Guapi; Sail to Gorgona Island Gorgona Island
Day 6 Whale watching & Palmeras beach walk Gorgona Island
Day 7 Trek to Yundigua Beach & Snorkel excursion Gorgona Island
Day 8 Return to Cali Cali
Day 9 Depart Cali  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cali

Cali River, Cali, Colombia
Stroll along the Cali River

Welcome to Colombia! Upon your arrival at the Cali international airport, you'll transfer to your hotel in the colonial center of the city just 45 minutes away. Spend the evening as you like; if you aren't too tired, you can take the opportunity to hit the town and explore.

Day 2: Cali city tour & Andoke Butterfly Center

Colombia - Cali - San Antonio church
Snap pictures of the mid-18th century San Antonio church

This morning you'll join your guide for a tour of Santiago de Cali (officially, Santiago de Cali), starting with a panoramic view of the city from atop the central hills of Cristo Rey and Sebastián de Belalcázar. From there, you'll explore the Cali River and the Gato de Tejada breaking up the tour at important monuments. Pass through the Boulevard del Río where you will find your way to the historic center, rich in galleries, museums, and ornate churches.

Next, you'll visit the Andoke Butterfly Center to round out the day. Accompanied by a guide, you'll explore the grounds, covering ecological trails, visiting aquatic gardens and immersing yourself in the tranquil feel of the park. You'll learn about the life cycle of the butterflies, see hummingbirds, and walk the giant map of Colombia to discover the diversity of each of its regions.

Day 3: Street art, local food & Salsa class

Salsa Class in Cali
Take a salsa lesson in Cali

This morning is another full day of your Cali education. Begin the day touring the streets before heading with your guide to a local market to try the variety of foods and drinks on offer. Try the tropical fruit, chontaduro, and the local beverage, lulada with a side of Ceviche Colombiano. Your tour will highlight popular attractions, including the bohemian neighborhood of San Antonio, the public park Loma de la Cruz, Parque de los Estudiantes, Parque Alameda, and La Galeria Alameda.

In the afternoon, you'll switch up the pace and participate in a dancing class personalized to your skill level. Join your fellow students, locals and foreigners alike for an hour of perfecting your moves, whether it be in salsa, bachata, or kizomba.

Day 4: Hike the Eagle Trail from Pance to Villacarmelo

Photo Credit: Nathalie Clavel
Enjoy encompassing views from atop mountains on your Eagle Trail hike

This morning you will set out south to the village of Pance, lace up your hiking boots and begin your trek to Villacarmelo. You'll hike in Parque Nacional Farallones through cloud forest, lowland jungle, and over mountains, crossing streams upon each descent and stopping to admire the sweeping panoramic vistas of the Cauca Valley and Cali. Toward the end of the trail, you'll pass over two mountains said to be where the eagles sleep, keep an eye out to see if you can spot one or two. End today's excursion with a dip in the Meléndez River.

Hiking distance: 9.3 miles (15 km)

Day 5: Fly to Guapi - Sail to Gorgona Island

Photo Credit: Mathilde Siccardi
Board a boat and cruise to the small Gorgona Island

After an early start, you'll make the short drive to the airport (45 minutes) to catch your domestic flight to Guapi on the western coast of Colombia. Upon your arrival, you'll hop in a tuk-tuk (motorcycle taxi) and go straight to the pier where you'll board a boat that takes you the rest of the way to Gorgona Island (Isla Gorgona) (1.5 hours). A former island prison, Gorgona Island has been converted into a natural national park and is now known as a whale watching destination. Settle into your accommodation before venturing out for lunch, followed by a short walk to learn about the island's history.

Day 6: Whale watching & Palmeras beach walk

Photo Credit: Nathalie Clavel
Go whale watching off the coast of Isla Gorgona

After breakfast, you'll board a boat to seek out the humpback whale, which travels annually along the South American coast from Chile to the north in search of calmer waters for its baby. The still and deep waters of the Colombian Pacific Ocean attract the mammals, which makes it the perfect place to go whale watching from July to October. Return to your hotel for lunch and a rest before venturing out again for a 10-minute boat ride to Palmeras to check out its beach and enjoy the natural island setting.

Day 7: Trek to Yundigua Beach & Snorkel excursion

Photo Credit: Mathilde Siccardi
Spot wildlife endemic to Gorgona Island

After breakfast, travel by boat to the northeastern part of the island. From there, you will begin a two-mile walk (3 km) to Yundigua Beach, taking in the peaceful scenery. Change out of your hiking boots and put on your snorkeling mask to discover the colorful fish and corals of the coastal waters. Enjoy lunch back at the hotel, spending the rest of the day at your leisure.

Day 8: Return to Cali

Photo Credit: Mathilde Siccardi
Say goodbye to Gorgona Island

Pack your bags this morning and return to the mainland to hire a tuk-tuk back to the Guapi airport for your return flight to Cali. Take the rest of the remainder of the day to spend as you like.

Day 9: Depart Cali

Photo Credit: Nathalie Clavel
Stroll through Cali's Cats Park

Depending on your departure details you may have time to stroll through a park or complete any last-minute souvenir shopping, before transferring to the airport for your onward journey.

Map

Map of Cauca Valley & Gorgona Island - 9 Days
Map of Cauca Valley & Gorgona Island - 9 Days