- See the best of Colombia, from the Andes to the Jungle to the coast
- Enjoy a stay at a beautiful hacienda in the heart of Colombia's Coffee Region
- Explore the mountains and wax palm landscape that make the Cocora Valley
- Venture into the jungles and rivers of the Colombian Amazon
- Trek to ancient ruins on the Caribbean in PNN Tayrona
- Relax at a unique beachside hotel
- Take a journey back in time to the UNESCO site of Cartagena de Indias
This 14-day tour of Colombia will whisk you through Bogota, with its world-class museums and colonial past, onto the mega-diverse Colombian Coffee Region, a biodiversity hotspot with abundant cloud forest just waiting to be explored before heading out to the mysterious and magnificent Amazon, a mix of water, impenetrable jungle, wildlife and indigenous cultures who will welcome you in.
After the Amazon, the golden beaches of Colombia's Caribbean coast await where archaeological ruins, movie-set beaches, and stunning mountains provide the backdrop to some well-deserved rest and reflection before you end your trip at one of the world's great historical cities - Cartagena de Indias, UNESCO heritage site will enchant you with its historical yet laid back Colombo-Caribbean charm, a perfect place to unwind at the end of your Colombian adventure.
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogota||Bogota|
|Day 2||Bogota - History & Culture||Bogota|
|Day 3||Fly to Colombian Coffee Region||Hacienda, Quindio|
|Day 4||Colonial Coffee Towns, Mountains, and Coffee!||Hacienda, Quindio|
|Day 5||Day at leisure at hacienda||Hacienda, Quindio|
|Day 6||Fly to the Amazon||Calanoa|
|Day 7||Mocagua & Fundacion Maikuchiga - 'The Monkey's Story'||Calanoa|
|Day 8||River Matamata, PNN Amacayacu||Calanoa|
|Day 9||Isla Mocagua & Fly to Santa Marta||Buritaca, Caribbean coast|
|Day 10||Day at leisure at beach hotel||Buritaca, Caribbean coast|
|Day 11||Trek to Pueblito, PNN Tayrona||Buritaca, Caribbean coast|
|Day 12||Transfer to Cartagena & Afternoon Historical Tour||Cartagena|
|Day 13||Free day to explore Cartagena||Cartagena|
|Day 14||Fly home|
Day 1: Arrive in Bogota
Today you'll arrive in Bogota which lies on the Cundiboyacense plateau, high up in Colombia's Eastern Andes, at 2,600 m / 8,530 ft. You'll transfer to hotel for early check-in depending on flight time.
After an optional lunch, you'll be picked up ready for a trip to one of the world's great museums. Bogota's Gold Museum houses an incomparable collection of pre-Hispanic gold that takes the visitor on a journey through thousands of years of history before the arrival of the Spanish.
You'll finish the day by heading to Bogota's most famous landmark - Cerro Monserrate which towers over the vastness of the capital below. Enjoy panoramic views over the city as the sun goes down. Restaurants will be recommended for dinner.
Day 2: Bogota - History & Culture
Your guide will pick you up at the hotel nice and early for a very special market visit at Paloquemao. Revel in the hustle and bustle of this wonderful market that is Bogota's largest and most diverse. Sample local foods (with the locals) and learn about what grows in Colombia - which is pretty much everything. Food from cold climates, many, many colorful varieties of potato (endemic to the Andes), more fruits than you could wish for and seafood direct from the Pacific make this a perfect way to learn about Colombian food and rural culture.
After leaving Paloquemao you'll head into the city center to walk around the historical center of La Candelaria to observe architecture dating back to the 16th century. After La Candelaria, you'll visit Fernando Botero's museum, full of voluminous paintings typical of the Colombian master.
A walking tour of the Plaza de Bolivar, Bogota's main square, will ensue before heading off to the historical township of Usaquen where you'll finish the day in Bogota's upmarket sector, enjoying the colonial plaza, boutique shops, excellent restaurants, and bars.
Day 3: Fly to Colombian Coffee Region
Today you'll fly to the Colombian Coffee Region, where, upon arrival, you'll drive to a rural hacienda-turned boutique hotel where you'll stay for the next few days. Here you'll have the chance to relax on the hotel grounds or take a tour of the local Cocoa field to learn about how this crop is cultivated before having dinner.
Day 4: Colonial Coffee Towns, Mountains, and Coffee!
Today will begin early as you head off to the colorful colonial coffee town of Salento, the oldest town in Quindio region and a shining example of the typical guadua-bamboo influenced architecture, brightly colored facades and mountain-top location. The surrounding mountains of the Central Andes are where Colombia's Coffee Region (recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is located and the landscapes are simply stunning.
You'll start at a local hacienda for a private tour on the process of growing coffee, from seedling to plant. You'll have the chance to taste various types of coffee and understand why this crop is so important to the local economy before heading onto Salento for a typical lunch at a local restaurant.
The afternoon will be dedicated to visiting the famed Cocora Valley, home to Colombia's national tree — the 60m-high wax palms that dominate this volcanic landscape that is a mixture of bright green pastures, swathes of cloud forest and mountaintops high above.
After returning to Salento you'll be taken for a game of 'Tejo'- an explosive disc-throwing game that is unique to Colombia, before dinner will be had at one of Salento's great restaurants.
Day 5: Day at leisure at hacienda
Today you'll have a day at leisure at the hacienda where a jeep ride to local towns or horse riding at a local reserve are all available, though for some, just relaxing and soaking up the quiet atmosphere in the Colombian countryside is just enough.
Day 6: Fly to the Amazon
Today you'll head to the airport ready for your flight to the Amazon, which will connect in Bogota. Upon arrival in the 'Lung of the World', you'll get a short taxi ride to the pier where a private launch will be ready to take you out on to the mighty Amazon itself and west to Calanoa, your base for the next few days in the jungle, some 60 km and 1.5 hours away.
Upon arrival, you'll have time to check into your jungle cabin and take a walk around the reserve before having a delicious dinner prepared by the locals. A legendary sunset overlooking the Amazon will be marveled at from their viewing platform before you embark on a night walk into the jungle, looking for fantastic insects, families of tarantulas, large ungainly tree frogs and even large mammals that may walk into the torch light.
Day 7: Mocagua & Fundacion Maikuchiga - 'The Monkey's Story'
We'll have an early start (6:00 am) to begin our walk to Fundacion Maikuchiga, run by Dr. Sara Bennett and the local community of Mocagua. The foundation works with captured primates from the illegal animal trade and those who have also been brought up in captivity. At the center, primates are nurtured back to health for their eventual return to their native habitat. After a brief introduction to the program, you'll head off into some secondary forest looking for: the common Squirrel Monkey, tiny Pygmy Marmoset, beautiful Yellow-handed Titi and Spix’s Night Monkey. You’ll have the chance to play with rescued monkeys who in general are very mischievous!
A packed lunch will be had before returning to Calanoa Reserve birding and wildlife watching returning via the same path. We'll meet with local Tikunas and have the chance to observe their community mural art project ran by the Calanoa Foundation where the Mocagua community is working to reclaim and record their ancestral knowledge through the painting of murals.
Day 8: River Matamata, PNN Amacayacu
Today will be either a boat trip or walking expedition into the jungles to the north of the reserve, depending on your preference.
The winding River Matamata which borders the reserve and also one of Colombia's most famous national parks — Amacayacu — will serve as the entry point into some primary forest where wildlife abounds.
The day will be spent looking for wildlife before heading back to Calanoa after the day's activity has died down. After lunch, a boat ride out to the Peruvian side of the Amazon will ensue where you'll be on the look out for the enigmatic Pink River Dolphins and stunning bird life that surrounds nearby Isla Mocagua. Dinner at Calanoa.
Day 9: Isla Mocagua & Fly to Santa Marta
Today you'll head out at daybreak to Isla Mocagua, just a 15 min. boat ride away. This large river island located in the middle of the Amazon River is a wilderness and haven for birds and mammals. Red howler-Monkeys will be looked for along with the beautiful Hoatzin and rare Amazonian Umbrellabird. No end of parrots will make the birding interesting before you head back to Calanoa for something to eat before packing and saying goodbye and heading back to Leticia.
You'll fly to Bogota and connect on to Santa Marta before finally being transferred to your beach-side hotel where a late dinner will be waiting for you.
Day 10: Day at leisure at beach hotel
Today you'll have a day to yourselves at this relaxing, remote location to enjoy the sun, sea and spa. All meals will be provided at the hotel.
Day 11: Trek to Pueblito, PNN Tayrona
Today you'll leave the hotel at 6:30 am for a 30 min. transfer to Tayrona National Park to meet your guide, ready to start your walk through tropical dry forest to the archaeological ruins of 'Pueblito' or 'Chairama' and onward to Tayrona's spectacular beaches.
The walk begins in El Calabazo sector of the park and heads to the archaeological ruins of 'Pueblito' or 'small town', an ancient Tayrona settlement that dates back around 800 years. After reaching ruins, you'll have the chance to observe and learn about the terraces and various stone structures before leaving via an original Tayrona stone pathway to Cabo de San Juan, one of Tayrona's most famous coves and beaches.
The walk continues along the seafront stopping at various beaches all the way to Cañaverales beach and the park's main entrance where your transport will be waiting for you to take you back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest.
Day 12: Transfer to Cartagena & Afternoon Historical Tour
Today you'll transfer to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cartagena, which lies around 5 hours away from your hotel. Upon arrival you'll drop your bags off and have the chance to grab some lunch before being picked up for your afternoon historical tour of the city.
You'll indulge in a historical tour of one of Latin America's best preserved Spanish colonial cities, once the epicentre of all gold exports from the continent and incoming slave trade, Cartagena was deservedly named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for its stunning 16th century architecture, very particular coral stone fortifications and the impressive Castle of Saint Philip, known to be the greatest fortress the Spanish ever built. The fortress will of course be visited, along with the various plazas and small neighbourhoods that make up the Walled City.
A visit to La Popa Monastery will afford panoramic vistas of the city and a walk along the city walls with views over the bay will complete the tour. The afternoon will be yours in Cartagena, free to explore the endless restaurants and eateries that are found among the mazy streets.
Day 13: Free day to explore Cartagena
Today will be yours to explore the truly delightful Old Town, full of excellent restaurants, bustling locals selling their handicrafts and foods, themed bars and of course the Cafe del Mar which is undoubtedly the best place to enjoy Cartagena's unbeatable sunset.
Day 14: Fly home
Depending on your flight time, you'll transfer to the international airport of Cartagena ready for your flight back home, at the end of a an unforgettable Colombian adventure that will stay with you for a long, long time.