This action-packed 17-day itinerary combines cities and culture with an unforgettable trekking adventure. Tour the capital of Bogotá, then fly south to discover the indigenous communities and extraordinary ecosystems of the Amazon. After two nights in vibrant Medellín, head back into the wilderness for a four-day trek to the ancient ruins of the Lost City, ending your journey in the lively Caribbean city of Cartagena.

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the cosmopolitan capital of Bogotá
  • Discover the remarkable biodiversity & indigenous cultures of the Amazon
  • Soar high above Medellín by cable car
  • Trek through dense forests to the ancient Lost City 
  • Stroll the cobbled streets & ancient ramparts of Cartagena
  • Relax on the white sand beaches of the Rosario Islands

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Bogotá! Bogotá
Day 2 Discovering Bogotá's Treasures Bogotá
Day 3 Fly South to the Amazon Rainforest The Amazon
Day 4 Explore the Amazon Half-Day Trek The Amazon
Day 5 Boat Journey up the Amazon The Amazon
Day 6 Fly to Medellín Medellín
Day 7 City Tour of Medellín & Comuna 13 Medellín
Day 8 Day Trip to Guatapé & Peñol Rock Medellín
Day 9 Fly to the Caribbean Coast & Santa Marta Santa Marta
Day 10 The Lost City Trek (Day 1 of 4) On Trek
Day 11 The Lost City Trek (Day 2 of 4) On Trek
Day 12 The Lost City Trek (Day 3 of 4) On Trek
Day 13 The Lost City Trek (Day 4 of 4) - Transfer to Santa Marta Santa Marta
Day 14 Transfer to Cartagena Cartagena
Day 15 Visit Bazurto Market & Cartagena Walking Tour Cartagena
Day 16 Escape to the Rosario Islands Cartagena
Day 17 Hasta Pronto!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Bogotá!

Plaza Bolívar in La Candelaria, Bogotá

Welcome to Bogotá! On arriving at the airport, you'll be met by your guide and transferred with a 45-minute drive to your hotel.

From there, it's time to explore the beating cultural, economic, and political heart of Colombia. Home to 8 million and sitting 8,660 feet (2,640 m) high in the Andes, this lively capital is known for its festivals and nightlife. 

Day 2: Discover Bogotá's Treasures

Gold Museum, Bogota
Remarkable artifacts in the Gold Museum of Bogotá

After your breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel to begin a walking tour of magnificent Bogotá.

The first stop of the tour is the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria. Whether you’re a fan of colonial architecture or an amateur photographer, this area is the ideal place to wander, spotting colorful facades and detailed wrought-ironwork along the way. Then it's time to explore the world-famous Plaza de Bolívar, the central plaza and the heart of the city.

After stopping for lunch (your guide can help with suggestions for traditional restaurants and regional specialties), visit the Gold Museum, which gathers the world’s largest collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts. Next, it's on to the Botero Museum, where paintings and sculptures of the famous Colombian artist are exhibited as well as works by famous artists from his private collection, including Picasso and Braque. 

Return to your hotel in the late afternoon, and the rest of the evening is at your leisure. 

Day 3: Fly South to the Amazon Rainforest

Amazon River
Morning mist over the rainforest near Leticia

Today you'll fly south to Leticia, Colombia's southernmost city and the gateway to the Amazon. Upon arrival at Vasquez Cobo airport, you'll transfer 7 miles (11 km) to a nature reserve, where you can enjoy a typical Amazon meal of fresh grilled fish. After going over the details and activities of your upcoming expedition, you'll take a short walk through the jungle to reach the treehouse where you’ll spend the night.

After settling in, it's time to head out on a canopy tour of the rainforest. Traveling across a series of observation platforms, hanging bridges, and zip lines, you'll "fly" from tree to tree, observing the forest canopy from a bird's eye perspective.

As dusk falls, venture back into the jungle for a guided night tour to observe nocturnal wildlife. Return to camp for pizza "a la Amazonas" before turning in at your treehouse for the evening.  

Day 4: Explore the Amazon Half-Day Trek

Trek along the Amazon River

After a hearty breakfast, your jungle expedition continues with a two-hour trek to a settlement of the indigenous Macuna people. Here you'll learn about their traditions and way of life, and the secrets of planting their fields. Nearby is the Tacana River, an ideal stop for swimming and some fishing before returning to the reserve in the afternoon.

Day 5: Boat Journey up the Amazon

Take a boat journey up the Amazon River

Rise early this morning, departing after breakfast for a trip to the Leticia harbor. From here you'll set off on a boat journey up the Amazon River to your base for the night: the beautiful Marasha Natural Reserve on the Peruvian side of the river.

How to reach the reserve depends on the time of the year—during the dry season, you`ll have to walk around 45 minutes through a path in the jungle. During the rainy season, you`ll take a small canoe. The journey will be well worth it, as you observe the many birds, monkeys, and other wildlife that call the reserve home, and enjoy the delicious meals and available activities such as canoeing and hiking. The giant lotus flower and the huge Ceiba tree can be also seen here. At night you’ll have the opportunity to go in search of caimans, before settling in for the night with a soundtrack of rainforest sounds.

Day 6: Fly to Medellín

Medellín's Botero Plaza

Early this morning you`ll start your trip back to Leticia, where you'll have a few free hours before catching your departing flight. You'll fly first to Bogotá, then connect to an onward flight to Medellín. From there, you'll be taken to your hotel in the Poblado district. 

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Day 7: City Tour of Medellín & Comuna 13

Medellín transformative cable car system
Medellín's transformative cable car system

After breakfast at your hotel, spend today exploring Medellín on a private tour with a local guide.

Known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” Medellín is considered the most innovative city in Latin America. During the last twenty years, Medellín went through drastic changes, as an innovative program of urban development turned it from the most dangerous city in the world into a modern example of urban transformation. Get an insight into the history of the city by visiting the Pueblito Paisa and enjoying panoramic views over the city. Then explore the famous Botero Plaza with an exhibition of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, whose sculptures have become a landmark of the city.

Take the city's famous MetroCable up to Santo Domingo, which was once a notorious area of gang violence in Medellín. The cable car was constructed to make the inner city more accessible to people from the outskirts and allows visitors a glimpse into the lives of the marginalized population. In the Comuna 13 district with its unique electric escalators, you can observe another innovative project that improved the life quality of the people of Medellín. 

After a short transfer back to your hotel, the rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

Day 8: Day Trip to Guatapé & Peñol Rock

The view from atop El Peñol

Today, embark on a private tour to the colorful town of Guatapé—about a two-hour drive from Medellín. On arrival, you can climb the 649 steps of the famous Peñol Rock that dominates the region's landscape. It's the Antioquia district's version of Brazil's Sugarloaf Mountain, and the views are well worth the effort.

After all that exercise, head into town with your guide. Stop for a traditional lunch before taking a walk through the picture-perfect streets of Guatapé. Located right on the water, the town is full of buildings painted every color of the rainbow, lively cafés, and families and couples relaxing in the main square.

Day 9: Fly to the Caribbean Coast & Santa Marta

Sunset on Rodadero Beach, Santa Marta.
Sunset on Rodadero Beach, Santa Marta

It's time to leave Medellín and make your way to the Caribbean coast. You'll be picked up at your hotel and taken by private transport to the airport for your flight to Santa Marta. This busy port enjoys the distinction of being the first Spanish settlement in Colombia. Though it’s often used as a stopping point for day trips in the area, the historic downtown has been restored and is worth a visit. After settling into your hotel, stroll the town's cobbled streets lined with multi-colored buildings and take plenty of photos (you won't miss the stately, white-washed cathedral). There is a slew of hotels, restaurants, and bars in the area, too.

Nearby, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains are home to Colombia’s tallest peak, Pico Cristóbal Colón, which sits at a whopping 5,700 meters (18,700 feet). These mountains are also the gateway to postcard-worthy Tayrona National Natural Park, on the palm-fringed Caribbean coast.

Day 10: The Lost City Trek (Day 1 of 4)

Set off on a trek to Colombia's Lost City

Today is the first day of an unforgettable journey to the Lost City! Your guide will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the village of Machete Pelao, the entrance to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. From here a four-hour hike meanders through traditional coffee and cacao farms reaching the Mamey region where you'll have lunch. 

When you arrive at camp, there will be free time to enjoy the natural surroundings and swim in a nearby waterfall. Everyone will meet up for dinner, where your guide will share the history, language phrases, and customs of this community, before turning in for the night in the campsite's hammocks.

Day 11: The Lost City Trek (Day 2 of 4)

Views across the Sierra Nevada range

After breakfast at camp, you'll set out on today's eight-hour trek. About halfway through the day, your guide will stop and visit the Mutanzhi indigenous community where you'll have a chance to interact with its settlers. 

Continue trekking until you arrive at the third hut in the Paraíso Teyuna indigenous community, which is located high above sea level. Here, you will be at the foot of Teizhuna, Tayrona's sacred city, where you will see a remarkable array of unique flora and fauna. 

Relax in the late afternoon and take a dip in the river. Later that evening, your guide will share more information about the Lost City and its sacred meaning for the indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain chain.

Day 12: The Lost City Trek (Day 3 of 4)

Climb the terraces of the Lost City

Today is the final overnight of your adventure so enjoy every moment! After breakfast at camp, your guide will take you to the entrance of the Lost City where you'll climb 1,200 steps to reach the archaeological site. There will be free time to explore the terraces, ceremonial centers of Ciudad Perdida, and Waterfall of the Youth. Have lunch and then get back on the trail along Buritaca River's indigenous paths, stopping for occasional swims in the natural pools. 

Day 13: The Lost City Trek (Day 4 of 4) - Transfer to Santa Marta

Stop for a dip in a cool waterfall

After breakfast at camp, you'll make your way to the Mamey and Honduras region. Along the way, stop by a waterfall to swim and freshen up.

You'll eventually arrive at Machete Pelao—the entrance to the Sierra Nevada mountain range—and end the adventure where a transfer will be waiting to return you and your group to your hotel in Santa Marta.

Day 14: Transfer to Cartagena 

Welcome to Cartagena!

After breakfast, a representative will pick you up from your hotel in Santa Marta, where you'll begin your journey down the coast and arrive in beautiful Cartagena. Settle into your hotel and take a stroll along the colorful cobblestone streets of the historic center. 

Day 15: Visit Bazurto Market & Cartagena Walking Tour

Cartagena
The colorful Old Town of Cartagena

With its mix of colonial history and cutting-edge modernity, Cartagena is a famously enchanting city, and it deserves a second day of exploring. During the morning you'll join a group tour to discover the Bazurto Market, a real pearl at the same level as La Popa Monastery and San Felipe Fort. Here you'll explore the gastronomy of the city, learning about the region's traditional fruit stands, vegetables, herbs and spices, and seafood. After tasting some native fruits and sampling the local beers, head to Ohlala Bistrot, a restaurant that will be waiting for you with a traditional breakfast of arepas de huevo.

In the afternoon, join a walking tour of the Old Town. As you explore the historic cobbled streets, you'll step back in time to the 16th century, a time when pirates ruled the seas and Sir Francis Drake held Cartagena to ransom for months. As part of your tour, you'll visit famous colonial buildings like the San Pedro Claver Monastery and the Basilica Minor Cathedral.  

Day 16: Escape to the Rosario Islands

Catch a boat to the turquoise waters of the Rosario Islands

Set off for the Rosario Islands today, for a day trip into the warm, crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea. Located just 45 minutes from Cartagena, this beautiful archipelago is made up of 27 islands off Colombia's west coast.

The Rosario Islands are part of the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Park, one of the most important nature reserves in the country. Here, both the islands and the surrounding waters are protected, leaving them as remarkably well-preserved ecosystems.

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the Cartagena pier to board a boat bound for the breathtaking Isla Grande, where you can spend the day relaxing on the white sand beaches of this Caribbean paradise. If you prefer a more active day, there's plenty of optional excursions on offer, including snorkeling and kayaking. After an incredible lunch of fresh seafood, you'll return to Cartagena in the afternoon, where a driver will meet you at the dock and return you to your hotel.

Day 17: Hasta Pronto!

Take one last stroll through Cartagena before catching your departing flight

It's time to say goodbye! After one last coffee or stroll through the colonial streets, a private transfer will pick you up at your hotel and take you to Cartagena airport—about a 15-minute drive away.

Although it's time to say hasta pronto to Colombia, the memories from your trip will surely stay with you for a lifetime. 

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