Colombian Nature & Culture for Families: Bogotá, the Amazon, Medellín & Cartagena - 14 Days
- Hike to the top of the El Peñol granite megalith
- Take nature walks and canoe tours in the Colombian Amazon
- Go rafting on the clear waters of the Río Claro
- Spend a day at the beach in the Rosario Islands
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogotá||Bogotá|
|Day 2||Bogotá Half-Day City Tour, Maloka Interactive Museum||Bogotá|
|Day 3||Horseback Riding in Tabio||Bogotá|
|Day 4||Transfer to Leticia, Night Walk in the Reserve||Leticia|
|Day 5||Visit Tikuna Indigenous Community, Matamata Gorge Walk||Leticia|
|Day 6||Mocagua Island Walk, Sunset Boat Ride to See Pink Dolphins||Leticia|
|Day 7||Transfer to Medellín||Medellín|
|Day 8||Half-Day Medellín Tour, Coffee Farm Tour||Medellín|
|Day 9||Day Trip to Guatape & El Peñol,||Medellín|
|Day 10||Easy Rafting Tour on the Río Claro||Medellín|
|Day 11||Transfer to Cartagena||Cartagena|
|Day 12||Mangrove Fishing Tour, Chocolate Tasting||Cartagena|
|Day 13||Beach Day on the Rosario Islands||Cartagena|
|Day 14||Depart Colombia|
Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá
Welcome to Colombia! Your private driver will be waiting for you at the airport in Bogotá and will take you to your hotel. Bogotá is the capital of and largest city in Colombia, a diverse and multicultural place with a blend of modern and colonial-era architecture.
There are fascinating cultural and natural sites within the city and within easy reach of it, and its delicious food has made it a global foodie destination. For families, there's street art and colorful architecture, interesting museums, and a vibrant culture that is likely very different from what they're used to. Settle into your hotel after your arrival and give your kids a chance to rest from the flight.
Day 2: Bogotá Half-Day City Tour, Maloka Interactive Museum
Kick off your first full day in Bogotá with a morning city tour, starting in the city center. Explore Paloquemao Fruit Market and get to know the real Bogotá through its food. Kids with a sweet tooth will love sampling exotic fruits they've never tasted before, while parents can get an insider's look at local life and culture in this humming center of the city.
Continue to the Candelaria neighborhood, home to some of the prettiest streets in Bogotá. Modern buildings rub shoulders with original colonial-era buildings as well as colorful street art, which kids will especially love. Learn about Bogotá's culture and the importance of its street art as you wander around. Finish the city tour with a cable car ride up to the famous viewpoint of Monserrate, where you can get some of the finest views of Bogotá.
In the afternoon, check out the fun Maloka Interactive Museum, a child-oriented science museum. Visitors can interact with a wide variety of exhibits that explore science and technology throughout the museum's nine rooms. Exhibits include telecommunications, the history of humans and the universe, and a popular exhibit dedicated to Bogotá, where you can see images of the city through 3D glasses and learn about its development and history.
Day 3: Horseback Riding in Tabio
Get back to nature today. Just an hour from Bogotá, in the picturesque town of Tabio, is the Isabela Equestrian Property. Bonds between humans and horses are developed here, and the mental health benefits for both humans and horses through positive interactions are explored.
Learn more about traditional rural Colombian ways of life while riding horses through a spectacular natural landscape. You and your kids will be led on a horseback ride by trained professionals dedicated to the care and study of the horses. You'll follow well-maintained old roads that go deep into the lush landscape. Whether your kids are complete beginners or have ridden horses before, they will be helped to feel comfortable and confident on this memorable excursion.
Day 4: Transfer to Leticia, Night Walk in the Reserve
Today you'll leave Colombia's cities behind and head deep into the rainforests of the Amazon, which is sure to be a thrilling experience for the whole family. You'll fly from Bogotá to Leticia, a city in Colombia's far south that lies on the border with Brazil and Peru and is bisected by the mighty Río Amazonas. While the Amazon rainforest is more commonly associated with Brazil, it covers nearly one-third of Colombia's land area.
From Leticia, take a two-hour boat transfer to your upscale eco-friendly guesthouse dedicated to the conservation of the rainforest and local communities. This eco-mindedness means guests must accept some restrictions (such as limited hours for electricity), but this is all part of the natural Amazon experience and is for a good cause. This is an excellent opportunity for kids to learn more about sustainable living and how they can be involved. You'll have the option to stay in a treehouse, where you can enjoy amazing views of the Amazon from the treetops.
After you've had time to settle into your room and refresh, and if your kids can stay up a while after nightfall, take a night walk with a local guide to soak in the sounds and experiences of the Amazon after dark. The jungle is very different at night than during the day, and more animals can be seen, including nocturnal wildlife.
Day 5: Visit the Tikuna Indigenous Community, Matamata Gorge Walk
The Amazon is not only about the jungle and the wildlife but also about the people who live here and make a living in this incredible environment. Today you'll visit an Indigenous Tikuna community, which will be an unforgettable experience for your kids. See how they live and have built their lives around the water and the jungle, cultivating cassava, yams, and corn and raising chickens.Walk through a reserve to Matamata Gorge, a deep and impressive natural landmark with beautiful waterfalls that borders the Amacayacu Natural Park, the first protected area in the Colombian Amazon. If the water levels are high enough, a canoe will pick you up to return you to Calanoa by water. As the river is the main means of transport around here, it's a great opportunity to get a deeper look into rural life.
Day 6: Mocagua Island Walk, Sunset Boat Ride to See Pink Dolphins
Enjoy another day exploring the Amazon today. Take a nature walk on Mocagua Island, a small island in the Amazon that's part of the Amacayacu National Park and full of unique flora and fauna—around 5,000 species! Task your kids with keeping their eyes open for the smallest primate in the world: the mouse lemur. If the water level is high, this trip can be done by canoe rather than on foot.In the afternoon, take a boat trip near the Peruvian border in search of pink dolphins. These freshwater dolphins (also called boto) are believed to be pink from scar tissue caused by fighting; the pinker a male dolphin, the more attractive it is likely to be to female dolphins! Kids will be delighted to spot these unusual and playful creatures, and afterward, you'll stay on the water to enjoy the sunset over the Amazon.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Transfer to Medellín
This morning, transfer back to Leticia by boat (a two-hour journey) to catch a flight to your family's next exciting destination: Medellín. Upon arrival, you'll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel.Drop off your luggage, then you're free to head out into the city to explore. After a few days in the rural ruggedness of the Amazon, big city life might be a bit of a shock to you and your kids, but Medellín is an exciting, attractive place with plenty to keep families happy. It's one of the most progressive cities in Latin America and is located in a bowl-shaped valley in the Andes, meaning that wherever you go in the city, you are practically guaranteed spectacular mountain views.
Day 8: Half-Day Medellín Tour, Coffee Farm Tour
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up from your hotel for a half-day tour of the city's highlights. In just four hours, you will see the most important sights in Medellín and learn about the history of the city as well as the local Paisa culture. Explore the famous Botero Plaza downtown, which exhibits the sculptures of Colombian artist Fernando Botero, whose sculptures have become a landmark of the city. Kids will certainly be amused by the bulbous, cartoon-like bronze characters.
Take the city's iconic 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 today it offers sweeping views over the city and a fun way to hop between the many hills. Check out another innovative project in the Comuna 13 district, where the kids will love riding the outdoor escalators and hunting for the neighborhood's famed graffiti and murals.
In the afternoon, embark on a tour of a traditional coffee farm. Medellín is located north of Colombia's main coffee-producing region, so is a great place to learn more about this important crop. Even kids who don't drink coffee will enjoy learning about how it's grown and produced and observing the traditional rural way of life. Visit the home of a local farmer, who will show you each step in the coffee-making process. Stroll through coffee fields, learn the best way to prepare coffee, and witness the typical daily lives of Colombian coffee farmers as you travel through the countryside.
Day 9: Day Trip to Guatape & El Peñol
Enjoy an exciting day trip to some of the region's finest natural and cultural attractions around Guatapé (about a two-hour drive from Medellín). This lakeside town is known as one of the crown jewels in Colombia's Antioquia region, and you'll enjoy a private guided tour through the village to discover its many dazzling candy-colored buildings. Afterward, hop in a boat for a relaxing tour of the lake that will appeal to the whole family.
You'll then head to El Peñol ("La Piedra Rock"), a natural granite landmark that can be seen from all around the region. If you are feeling energetic and if your kids are old enough to relish a physical challenge, climb the 740 steps to the top, from where you can admire an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. You can go as fast or as slow as you want (or need), and the climb usually only takes about 20 minutes. Halfway up the rock, you'll see a shrine to the Virgin Mary, as well as other interesting sights along the way. Alternatively, check out the rock from below while relaxing at a market stall at its base.
Day 10: Easy Rafting Tour on the Río Claro
Head out into nature again today on a family-friendly adventure on the beautiful Río Claro, a 3.5-hour drive from Medellín (if you'd rather not spend so long driving today, an alternative activity can be arranged).
The Río Claro is considered one of the most beautiful rivers in Colombia, with crystal-clear water that meanders through a narrow canyon lush with tropical rainforest. You'll also enjoy a traditional lunch to refuel after the adventure. This rafting experience is considered an easy river course suitable for beginners, so is ideal for kids of various ages. The intention is to enjoy a fun float in a beautiful setting rather than get an intense adrenaline rush on massive rapids!
Day 11: Transfer to Cartagena
It's time to leave Colombia's mountainous interior behind, as today you'll fly to Cartagena, located on Colombia's Caribbean coast. With a sunny Caribbean climate and a local culture rich in cuisine, music, and dancing, Cartagena is one of the world's most romantic cities—as well as a prime destination for families. Endless white-sand beaches lie within easy reach, while the walled city and its swashbuckling history are sure to capture young imaginations.
After your arrival, take a stroll around the city to get your bearings, and stop for dinner to sample some tasty Caribbean fare against a backdrop of a famously colorful Cartagena sunset.
Day 12: Mangrove Fishing Tour, Chocolate Tasting
Kids and adults alike will enjoy the range of activities offered today. In the morning, embark on a mangrove tour in La Boquilla, a fishing village with a strong African heritage that can still be seen today in many of its traditions. Over about two hours, navigate the mangroves in a canoe with a local fisherman. See (and even try your hand at) traditional fishing techniques as you paddle through the mangroves, which feature a diversity of birds and nature. You will also likely meet the local villagers, who are very friendly and might even invite you to cook your catch and sit down to lunch with them.In the afternoon, put your feet up and re-energize as you learn about the history of one of Colombia's most famous exports. Discover how the rich Colombian soil produces some of the most renowned chocolate and cacao in the world, and satisfy sweet tooths of all ages with a delicious chocolate-tasting experience.
Day 13: Beach Day on the Rosario Islands
This morning, take a boat to the Rosario Islands for some relaxing family time on the beach. After such an active couple of weeks in Colombia, you and your kids might want a laid-back day on the sand, though you'll also find plenty of adventure and activities on offer. The Rosario Islands are just one hour by speedboat from Cartagena, part of an archipelago formed by coral reefs, and their white sands and shallow turquoise waters make them the perfect destination for families.
Spend the day at a wonderful Caribbean eco-friendly hotel of San Pedro de Majagua, which has two small beaches. You can snorkel or dive, go swimming, book spa services, enjoy the sea and the waves, practice kayaking, or just relax and enjoy the surroundings. The hotel can also arrange a mangrove tour with the islands' locals, a fun experience and a great way to support the local community. After a memorable lunch, you'll return to Cartagena in the mid-afternoon and are free to spend your final night in Colombia however you please.
Day 14: Depart Colombia
It's time to say goodbye to Cartagena, and to beautiful Colombia. Depending on the time of your flight, you might have time to do some last-minute souvenir shopping or to take a final walk in the cooler morning air. A private driver will pick you up from your hotel in Cartagena and take you to the airport in plenty of time for your flight. Hasta pronto!
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