This 9-day Colombian adventure blends culture and cuisine with a dash of Caribbean beach holiday. Starting in the reborn metropolis of Medellín, you’ll tour a local coffee farm, discover the vibrant neighborhood of Comuna 13, and walk the candy-colored streets of Guatapé. Next, it’s on to the engaging capital of Bogotá to explore the city by bike. Head to the Caribbean coast to learn about authentic Colombian cooking and discover Cartagena’s characterful Old Town, then set sail to the Isle of Múcura for swimming and snorkeling in an island paradise.

Highlights

  • Visit a traditional Colombian coffee farm
  • Tour the vibrant street art of Medellín
  • Discover the colorful village of Guatapé
  • Explore Bogotá by bicycle
  • Learn to cook local cuisine in Cartagena
  • Swim, snorkel & sail from the Caribbean island of Múcura

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Medellín! Medellín
Day 2 Adventure on a Coffee Farm & Discover the Comuna 13 Medellín
Day 3 Explore Colorful Guatapé - Fly to Bogotá Medellín
Day 4 Guatavita Lake, Zipaquirá & Salt Mines Bogotá
Day 5 Discover Bogotá by Bicycle - Fly to Cartagena Bogotá
Day 6 Cartagena Walking Tour & Local Cuisine Party Cartagena
Day 7 Transfer to the San Bernardo Islands Isla Múcura
Day 8 Swim, Snorkel & Sail on Múcura Island Isla Múcura
Day 9 Transfer to Cartagena & Departure Cartagena

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Medellín!

Botero Park
Medellín's Botero Park

Welcome to Colombia! As you arrive at the international airport outside the “City of Eternal Spring” you’ll be greeted by a driver ready to escort you through a beautiful mountain pass and 1,000 feet down into the trendy neighborhood of El Poblado. On the way to your hotel, your English-speaking guide will give you all the recommendations you need to make the most of your stay in Colombia.

Once one of the most notorious cities in the world, Medellín is now known as one of the safest places in South America, as well as one of the most innovative. The hub of Colombia’s medical and tech sectors, the city is nestled in the Valle de Aburrá and offers breathtaking views in every direction. A modern and efficient metro runs north to south with sky gondolas reaching the heights of the surrounding Andes Mountain range. The tropical temperatures average 72 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, with average daily highs around 80 degrees, and nightly lows of 60.

Day 2: Adventure on a Coffee Farm & Discover the Comuna 13

Views across a Colombian coffee plantation
Views across a Colombian coffee plantation

After you’ve had some time to enjoy breakfast at the hotel, head out for a cultural experience on an authentic working coffee farm. After passing through Antioquia’s gorgeous green landscape, you'll arrive at the finca (farm). Here you'll learn about the entire process of making coffee—from the plant to the cup— and discover the daily life of Colombian coffee cooperatives that still produce coffee in a traditional and ethical way.

Stroll through the plantation as the farm manager explains the process of growing and harvesting the coffee bean. Learn about the roasting process that takes plain green coffee beans and converts them into the rich brew that we all know and love—full of flavor and fragrant aroma. Listen closely as the coffee farmer explains the key characteristics of a great coffee, both in scent and taste, and shares how to prepare a great cup at home. After seeing the involved, manual process required to grow, harvest, dry, roast, grind, and then brew a cup of coffee, you’ll never take this everyday drink for granted again. At the end of the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to buy freshly roasted coffee straight from its source, the perfect souvenir from Colombia to share with family & friends.

In the afternoon, return to Medellín for a visit to the Comuna 13 neighborhood, where you'll embark on a guided tour revealing the area's historical, aesthetic, and political history. This tour is designed and led by local hip-hop artists, ensuring an entertaining day filled with local knowledge. You'll hear emotional stories of hope deeply embedded into the city's streets, all while perusing its dynamic art and graffiti scene. Next, you'll take a short trip on the gondola, soaring up into the hills of Medellín to enjoy unparalleled panoramic views of the city.

Day 3: Colorful Guatapé - Fly to Bogotá

View From atop the Peñol de Guatapé
Panoramic views from the Peñol de Guatapé

Today, you'll pack your bags and travel through the municipality of Peñol to reach the Andean hill town of Guatapé. This small resort town offers a peaceful break from the city, while also featuring a stunning panoramic view of nature and the surrounding scenery from the top of its dramatic hilltop setting.

Start with a visit to the iconic Rock of Guatapé, where you can climb 649 steps to reach the viewpoint with a 360-degree view of the Guatapé reservoir and its neighboring lands. Then, you will be transferred to Guatapé itself, known as the most colorful town in Colombia. Make sure to keep your camera close—it's hard to find a street in Guatapé that isn't worthy of being admired and photographed! Enjoy a walk through the streets, where a specialized guide will explain the town's unique culture and lead you past its traditional houses and zocalos (city squares) This memorable excursion includes a boat ride in the reservoir and a ride in a typical three-wheeled motochivas taxi.

Later in the afternoon, you'll be transferred to the airport for your flight from Medellín to Bogotá. At the Bogotá airport, you will be welcomed by your local city guide and transferred to your hotel.

Day 4: Guatavita Lake, Zipaquirá & Salt Mines

Tunnel to Zipaquira's Salt Cathedral
The colorful tunnel to Zipaquira's Salt Cathedral

After breakfast in Bogotá, a private car will pick you up for a journey north of the capital, with your first destination being Laguna de Guatavita. You will have a short guided hike to the sacred lagoon to enjoy this unique, crater-shaped body of water. Learn about its rich history, including the ancient rituals of the Muisca people, who threw gold and precious stones into the lagoon as an offering to the gods during a leader's initiation. 

After visiting the lake, stop for lunch in the small village of Sesquile, then transfer to Zipaquirá. This town, declared a Colombian heritage site, is known for its famous underground Salt Cathedral—a Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of an underground salt mine. Entry to this popular site includes a guided tour along with some free time to explore on your own. In the afternoon, you'll return to Bogotá and enjoy some free time to explore the city at night.

Day 5: Discover Bogotá by Bicycle - Fly to Cartagena

La Candelaria
Explore Bogotá by bike

There are few better ways to get to know the city of Bogotá than on two wheels. Today you'll set off on a cycling tour of the city, starting in the well-preserved colonial district of La Candelaria. Discover the enchantment of the city center as you zip along hilly roads and pass iconic sites like Bolivar Square, the Planetary, the Bullring of La Santa Maria, the National Museum, Brazil Park, and the Gold Museum. During the tour, you´ll also have the opportunity to find enclaves dedicated to urban art and graffiti and take in beautiful panoramic views of the city from the mountain of Monserrate.

In the evening you'll be driven to the Bogotá Airport for your flight to the beautiful city of Cartagena. Here you'll be welcomed by your local guide upon arrival and transferred to your hotel.

Day 6: Cartagena Walking Tour & Local Cuisine Party

Colorful balconies in Cartagena
Colorful balconies in Cartagena

After breakfast, meet your guide and begin a walking tour of Cartagena’s historic center. Once the principal gold shipping port in the New World, the city's fortress-like design and stone ramparts helped protect it from countless pirate attacks. You will visit myriad plazas, the church and the monastery of San Pedro Claver, the Basilica Minor cathedral, and you'll stroll along narrow cobbled streets lined with colonial houses featuring bougainvilia-draped balconies. 

Visit the modern neighborhoods of Bocagrande and Manga, where daring modern architecture contrasts with the beauty of the old houses from the twentieth century, then continue to El Castillo De San Felipe de Barajasthe, where the Spaniards sought to protect the city from the attacks of the English in the seventeenth century.

Later in the afternoon you'll get the chance to learn more about Colombian cuisine, and try making it yourself. The warmth and tastiness of Cartagena’s food is largely thanks to the generosity of its people. A local family will open the door to their home and kitchens so you can learn how to create authentic dishes. Guided by a local cook, you'll connect with Cartagena and its gastronomic culture as you prepare to sit down to an unforgettable meal.

Day 7: Transfer to the San Bernardo Islands 

Arrive on the island of Mucura by boat
Arrive on the island of Múcura by boat

Trade Cartagena's hustle for the tranquility of the San Bernardo Islands, an archipelago of golden beaches set just off the coast of central Colombia. After breakfast, you'll transfer to the pier and catch a 2-hour ferry cruise through the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. Enjoy the breeze and fresh air as you pass Colombia's coastline from the Bay of Cartagena.

In the late morning, you'll arrive in Punta Faro, an exclusive resort on the islet of Múcura. As you enter the crystalline waters of its tiny cove and motor your way to the dock, your hosts will greet you with a fresh drink and welcome you to the islands. After settling into your accommodation, take some time to enjoy the amenities at the resort.

In the afternoon, you're free to relax on the beach, lounge in a hammock, try some water sports, or play a game of beach volleyball. Enjoy a happy-hour aperitif at the bar's terrace overlooking the bay, then settle in for dinner as the sun melts into the sea.

Day 8: Swim, Snorkel & Sail off Múcura Island

Punta Faro
Snorkel in the turquoise seas surrounding Múcura

Today you'll enjoy a peaceful breakfast at the hotel before hiking around the island. This coral islet is tiny yet packed with beauty, and you can walk around the entire thing in about an hour. Lunch will be served back at the hotel, followed by a boat tour in the afternoon to visit other islands in the chain such as Tintipán and Santa Cruz del Islote, the latter of which is a manmade, soccer-field-sized outpost home to about 500 people. It's regarded as the most densely populated island in the world.

The rest of your afternoon is up for grabs. You can rent kayaks, go windsurfing, or explore underwater marine life with snorkel gear or scuba equipment (they even offer night dives!)

Day 9: Transfer to Cartagena & Departure 

Sunset over Cartagena
Sunset over Cartagena

Enjoy a final leisurely breakfast and one last swim in the turquoise waters of Múcura, then transfer back to Cartagena by boat. Keep your eyes open and your camera close, as you'll pass by the beautiful Rosario Islands on the way.

Upon arrival at the pier, you'll be picked up and transferred to the Cartagena airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!

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