- Soak up the atmosphere of Bogotá, Colombia's cultural epicenter
- Hike in the Andean areas of Cocora Valley and Cerro Bravo
- Explore Colombia's "Coffee Triangle," including by horseback
- Hop over to the Rosario Islands off the Caribbean coast
- See the city of Cartagena by bicycle and on a street food tour
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogotá, Bogotá Walking Tour||Bogotá|
|Day 2||Day Trip to Guatavita, Zipaquirá & Salt Mines||Bogotá|
|Day 3||Fly to Salento, Butterfly & Botanic Garden||Salento|
|Day 4||Valle de Cocora, Coffee Farm & Salento||Salento|
|Day 5||Transfer to Manizales, Horse Riding at Hacienda Venecia||Manizales|
|Day 6||Hike Up Cerro Bravo Volcano||Manizales|
|Day 7||Transfer to Medellín, Medellín Transformation Tour||Medellín|
|Day 8||Piedra del Peñol & Guatapé Boat Trip||Medellín|
|Day 9||Fly to Tayrona National Park, Santa Marta City Tour||Tayrona N.P.|
|Day 10||Excursion in Tayrona, Boat to Playa Cristal||Tayrona N.P.|
|Day 11||Transfer to Cartagena, Bike Tour & Dance Class||Cartagena|
|Days 12-13||Transfer to Rosario Islands, Beach Time & Plankton Bioluminescence||Rosario Islands|
|Day 14||Transfer to Cartagena, Street Food Tour||Cartagena|
|Day 15||Depart Cartagena|
Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá, Bogotá Walking TourWelcome to Bogotá! A driver will meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel. One of South America's most vibrant destinations, Bogotá is Colombia's epicenter of art, culture, and gastronomy. It's also one of the world's highest capitals, sitting at 8,660 feet (2,640 m) above sea level and cradled by chilly Andean peaks.
On a half-day walking tour, you'll explore Bogotá's historical center with an English-speaking guide. Start in the main square of Plaza de Bolívarthe, in the La Candelaria neighborhood. La Candelaria is the city's colonial-era heart and the site of many key buildings, such as the government headquarters, Justice Hall, and neoclassical Catedral Primada—Bogotá's largest cathedral.
Next, visit the Gold Museum and its impressive collection of pre-Columbian goldsmiths from native communities. Finish your tour at Museo de Botero, one of Latin America's most important art collections, with over 200 works donated to the city by Colombian painter Fernando Botero.
Day 2: Day Trip to Guatavita, Zipaquirá & Salt Mines
After breakfast in Bogotá, a private driver will pick you up for a journey north of the capital to Laguna de Guatavita. You will have a short guided hike to the sacred lagoon to enjoy this spectacular crater-shaped body of water. You'll learn about the area's rich history, including the ancient rituals of the Muisca people, who threw gold and precious stones into the lagoon as offerings to the gods.After, you'll have lunch in the small village of Sesquile, then transfer to Zipaquirá. This town, declared a Colombian heritage site, is known for its famous underground Catedral de Sal—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.
While in the area, you'll also head to the Nemocón Salt Mine, half an hour from Zipaquirá. Here, 24 feet (80 m) underground, is a collection of immaculately preserved tunnels where eight million tons of salt were extracted between 1816 and 1968. The chambers off the main routes show the history of salt mining amid spectacular atmospheric light effects 28 mirrors. In the afternoon, you'll return to Bogotá and enjoy some free time to explore the city at night.
Day 3: Fly to Salento, Butterfly & Botanic GardenToday, you're flying west from Bogotá to Pereira, a journey that takes around an hour. Upon arrival, a driver will meet you at the airport and take you to Salento. Fringed by forested peaks, the town of Salento is one of the loveliest destinations in Colombia's UNESCO-listed Coffee Triangle. The settlement was founded in 1850, and its bahareque architecture of brightly painted balconies and doors still line the main street. It's also an excellent base for day trips to nearby coffee fincas, traditional villages, and nature reserves.
Spend the afternoon among the butterflies and blooms of Quindío Botanical Garden. Here you'll find 600 species of plants and trees aged up to 200 years old. The tour around the botanical garden includes a visit to the Insect Zoo, a seven-floor balcony where you can witness the many layers of vegetation. Spend time at the height of the treetops, which are home to countless birds of more than 70 species. Afterward, head over to a butterfly garden, filled with 1,500 butterflies of 50 different species and hundreds of flowers lining the walkways.
Day 4: Valle de Cocora, Coffee Farm & Salento
Salento is stunning in its own right, but the biggest attraction lies in the nearby Valle de Cocora, where towering Andes peaks are blanketed in electric-green flora and dotted with 328-foot (100 m) tall wax palms—the national tree of Colombia. This morning you'll walk among these extraordinary giants, ascending a mountain trail into the cloud forests. The route here takes you along dirt tracks through tropical forests and streams and up to lookouts providing some sweeping views.
Day 5: Transfer to Manizales, Horse Riding at Hacienda Venecia
This morning you'll be transferred by car from Salento to Manizales—the most adventurous of the three cities that make up Colombia's Coffee Triangle. As you approach Manizales, embark on a horseback tour of the Hacienda Venecia, a working farm that delivers awesome views across coffee, plantain, and avocado plantations. There's flora and fauna aplenty, with native trees, water springs, and more than 260 species of birds. The farm's traditional house is the perfect place to refuel and learn about Colombian coffee.
Day 6: Hike Up Cerro Bravo Volcano
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Transfer to Medellín, Medellín Transformation Tour
After a car transfer from Manizales to Medellín, you'll delve straight into the city's fascinating history. Join a guided tour of Medellín's past and present, and learn more about the transformation of this fascinating metropolis. Just over 25 years ago, Medellín was one of the most dangerous cities in the world due to the presence of Pablo Escobar, the founder of the Medellín Cartel.
The tour highlights an area of the city called Comuna 13, which was plagued with violence from drug trafficking organizations and paramilitary groups in the 80s and 90s. Since then, locals have made a major transformation and the sprawling mountainside neighborhood is now a hub of graffiti art and street murals. You'll get to ascend the giant escalator that scales the mountain in six sections, linking once-isolated residents to the city below.
Day 8: Piedra del Peñol & Guatapé Boat Trip
Day 9: Fly to Tayrona National Park, Santa Marta City Tour
A driver will take you to Medellín's airport today to catch your flight to Santa Marta. The oldest city in Colombia (founded in 1525), Santa Marta packs a historical punch, but it's also fringed with virgin beaches and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range. Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel, just outside the entrance of postcard-worthy Tayrona National Natural Park—a biodiverse protected area between the peaks and the sea.
Day 10: Excursion in Tayrona, Boat to Playa Cristal
Spend the day exploring the diverse natural beauty of Tayrona National Park on a private tour. Start at Playa Gairaca, a solitary bay on the road to Playa Neguanje—this little-visited spot has been preserved in a pristine state. Drop by Mirador Siete Olas, a beach where rows of waves reach the shore in a mesmerizing sequence, giving it its name "Seven Waves Viewpoint." You'll also be able to see it from a viewpoint in the peaceful hills along the way.
Day 11: Transfer to Cartagena, Bike Tour & Dance Class
In the morning, a private driver will transfer you to Cartagena. This colorful fortress city on the Caribbean coast is rich in culture, colonial architecture, romance, and even pirate history. Exploring by bicycle is a great way to get an overview. Led by an expert guide, you'll set off from the historical center on a private cycling tour.
Later, get into the Colombian groove with a one-hour dance class. Music and dance are important elements of Colombian culture. Popular dance styles include salsa, merengue, and vallenato, often to the beats of traditional vallenato music (multi-instrument folk music originating from this region). Your dance teacher will show you key steps that you can try later at a bar or club.
Days 12-13: Transfer to Rosario Islands, Beach Time & Plankton Bioluminescence
Island life awaits! Your driver will take you to the port of Cartagena, where you'll board a boat and cruise over to your hotel on the Rosario Islands. Just 45 minutes from Cartagena, this beautiful archipelago is made up of 27 islands. The 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.
Day 14: Transfer to Cartagena, Street Food Tour
Start the day with a boat ride from the Rosario Islands back to the mainland. Bring an appetite, as today you'll explore Cartagena's diverse culinary scene on a street-food tour. The two-hour guided excursion will get you up close and personal with the real Cartagena, as street sellers fill your belly with their signature dishes and warm your heart with hospitality.Grab a fried snack, like papas rellenas (fried stuffed potatoes), empanadas (filled pastry), or caribañolas (a torpedo-shaped meat and cheese pie). Order a refreshing coconut water or raspao (an icy beverage made with fruit and sweetened condensed milk). Finish off with tropical fruits, such as granadilla, guanabana, or papaya. As well as being delicious, street food is one of the best ways to gain an insight into the daily lives of local. It serves as a cultural shortcut to everything from music to history, architecture to art.
Day 15: Depart Cartagena
Enjoy your last day in Colombia. After breakfast, relax at a sidewalk café, or explore a new neighborhood. Walk through a maze of colorful houses and squares, some from the 16th century, or explore the colonial areas of San Diego and Santo Domingo. Visit Saint Philip's Castle, or the Palace of the Inquisition in Plaza de Bolívar, which was once the seat of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and is now a macabre museum. When it's time to leave, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport. Safe travels!