- Experience the metropolis of Bogota, one of Latin America’s most exciting cities
- Travel back in time in Cartagena, a beautifully preserved city on the Caribbean
- Undertake jungle walks in search of rare birds and wildlife
- Enjoy a multi-day adventure through one of Colombia’s most beautiful national parks - PNN Los Nevados
On this tour, you’ll enjoy some of the finer experiences Colombia has to offer, a country blessed with unrivaled natural and cultural diversity. Start with a trip to Bogota, Colombia’s uber-cultural capital, full of great museums, restaurants, and cultural centres before moving onto the lush expanse of the Colombian coffee region.
We’ll explore and traverse one of Colombia’s three immense Andean ranges during a four-day trek, taking you through one of Colombia’s most beautiful national parks: PNN Los Nevados, meaning ‘snowy peaks’, named after the park’s 3 glacier-capped volcanoes. PNN Los Nevados is a biodiversity hotspot, and protects vast tracts of páramo – the world’s fastest-evolving ecosystem, the majority of which is found in Colombia.
This trek will be an unforgettable adventure through ecosystems with the chance to observe volcanic landscapes and abundant wildlife. Cartagena’s Old Town and beautifully preserved 16th-century architecture, excellent restaurants, picturesque sunsets and nearby Caribbean islands serve as a perfect place to say goodbye for the trip finale.
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogota: Monserrate Hill||Bogota|
|Day 2||Bogota City Tour||Bogota|
|Day 3||Transfer to Zona Cafetera||Salento|
|Day 4||Los Nevados Trek - Day 1||Los Nevados|
|Day 5||Los Nevados Trek - Day 2||Los Nevados|
|Day 6||Los Nevados Trek - Day 3||Los Nevados|
|Day 7||Los Nevados Trek - Day 4||Los Nevados|
|Day 8||Sunrise Birdwatching - Transfer to Cartagena||Cartagena|
|Day 9||Cartagena Historical City Tour||Cartagena|
|Day 10||Depart Cartagena|
Day 1: Arrival in Colombia: Bogota & Monserrate Hill panorama
You’ll arrive at El Dorado international airport in the bustling capital of Bogota. You’ll then transfer to a delightful colonial style hotel located in the historic neighborhood of ‘La Candelaria’. After lunch you’ll be taken to Cerro Monserrate to observe the basilica of ‘Our Fallen Lord of Monserrate’ before being treated to panoramic views of the Bogota savanna, eagerly awaiting sunset.
After descending the ‘cerro’ or hill by either funicular railway or cable car you’ll head back to the hotel to freshen up before going out to one of Bogota’s various nightlife spots for a meal in one of Bogota’s many excellent restaurants, selected depending on your preferences and style.
Day 2: Bogota Cultural Tour: markets, museums, people and nightlife
You’ll have an early start to visit the hustle and bustle of Paloquemao market, a myriad of sights, sounds and smells that really captures the rural essence of Colombia. The market will be explored and local foods will be sampled during your walk around. Flowers (one of Colombia’s main exports), various types of potato and fresh produce from around the country will be on display at the various stalls. Colombia grows just about everything you’ve ever heard of, along with lots of things that you haven’t!
From here you’ll continue to the city centre to begin your walking tour, adapted and designed as per your requirements and interests, but always including: a visit to the famed Gold Museum, one of the world’s best and where you’ll be able to gain an insight into Colombia’s rich pre-Hispanic past and the Legend of El Dorado; the excellent Botero Museum, full of the master’s voluminous paintings; the historic main square – the Plaza de Bolivar where various events throughout history have occurred and have changed the country forever; finished off with a chance to explore the colonial centre of La Candelaria.
There’ll be time for lunch during the tour at one of the many local restaurants that serve the typical (and excellent) Ajiaco soup, a delicacy of the Cundiboyacense plateau. You’ll return to the hotel before heading out to the historical township of Usaquen, and, if on a Sunday, you’ll visit the local flea market. A short tour of this once rural hacienda will follow before you’ll settle down for dinner in one of Usaquen’s unique eateries.
Day 3: Arrival in the Coffee Region
You’ll fly to the Coffee Region hub of Pereira, and from there transfer to a typical coffee farm located in one of the region’s less-visited towns - Santa Rosa de Cabal. You’ll have the chance to learn about the coffee production process from sapling to toasting and also gain an understanding on how this crop has shaped the Coffee Region’s culture, leading to the naming of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Colombian Coffee Cultural Landscape.
Lunch will be had in Santa Rosa after we enjoy a short stroll around the town itself. You’ll then move on to the delightful little town of Salento, Quindio department’s oldest town, brightly colored and a great example of colonial Antioquian architecture.
You’ll check-in to the hotel before having time to explore the small streets and play a game of ‘Tejo’, a game that has pre-Hispanic origins and that is only found in Colombia. A pre-trek meeting will follow with the trek leader before dinner in one of Salento’s many great restaurants.
Day 4: PNN Los Nevados trek - Wax palms, Cocora, and elfin forests
This morning you’ll transfer to the immense landscape of the Cocora Valley, high up in the folds and peaks of the Central Andes, home of Colombia’s national tree and tallest palm in the world – these wax palms were once used by local pre-Hispanic Quimbaya indians to mould their intricate gold work. Later use of the palms for religious celebrations (Palm Sunday) drove this particular tree to the border of extinction.
Here you’ll begin your 4-day adventure, starting with an initial hard-level trek to La Argentina hacienda campsite at 3,476 m. (11,404 ft). The trek length today is around 11 km approximately, taking between 4-6 hours. The journey will take you through cloud forest onto the edge of the sub-páramo, a place of elfin forests that looks like a scene from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
An early afternoon arrival will ensure a late lunch and time in the camp to meet with the local farm owner to see how the people of the high-Andes of Colombia live.
Day 5: PNN Los Nevados trek - a walk through the ‘Paramo’
Today is an early morning start for the trek to El Bosque campsite located at 3,610 m. (11,843 ft). Today is a hard-level difficulty trek that will take between 7-8 hours and cover approximately 13.3km. This will be a day spent in the páramo, the ‘water factories’ of Colombia and one of the world’s most unique ecosystems.
You’ll stop at a local farm for a packed lunch before descending to the village of El Bosque and its school where camp will be set up for you on arrival.
In the afternoon there’ll be the chance to take part in an activity with the locals and a spot of fishing in the nearby river. An optional walk to a patch of elfin forest for birding in the afternoon will also be available. Dinner at camp.
Day 6: PNN Los Nevados trek - a descent into the jungles of the Andes
Today will be a late start for the descent to the famous La Pastora mountain refuge. The trek will be medium difficulty level and around 9 km in distance. As you leave PNN Los Nevados you’ll enter another regional natural park, famed for its excellent level of conservation.
After 3-4 hrs you’ll arrive at the refuge. A late lunch will be had at La Pastora before having some free time in the afternoon.
Optional visits to large waterfalls and birdwatching are also available. Stories will be told around the fire with marshmallows and good wine for those who want it.
Day 7: PNN Los Nevados trek - Arrival at Flora and Fauna Sanctuary
An early start will be needed to search for the enigmatic Mountain Tapir before breakfast. You’ll then start the descent via the valley of the River Otun to the pick-up point where our vehicle will be waiting for us. Birding will be done along the way in these pristine cloud forests.
Today’s walk will last anywhere between 2 to 5 hrs depending on how much you stop along the way, covering a distance of 6km.
Celebratory drinks will be had at the end of the trek before you transfer to national park and flora and fauna sanctuary Otun-Quimbaya for lunch, relaxation all followed by an evening meal. A night walk along the trails will be used to look for abundant nocturnal wildlife in the surrounding jungle.
Day 8: Birding and wildlife watching. Arrival to Cartagena
A ‘Birder’s Breakfast’ will be followed by a morning’s birding at SFF Otun-Quimbaya. Today we’ll be looking for characteristic species such as Multicolored Tanager, Cauca Guan (both endemic), Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, various species of Antpitta, Tapaculo and Wren, amongst many others.
Lunch will be at the sanctuary before you head off to Pereira once again for an afternoon or evening flight to Cartagena. Arrive in Cartagena and transfer to your colonial-style hotel located in the historical sector, in time for an evening meal at one of Cartagena’s great restaurants.
After dinner explore the tight streets, walk along the external walls and climb the various battalions, soaking up this rich, historic Caribbean atmosphere.
Day 9: Cartagena historical tour - Spanish castles, plazas, battalions and sunsets
Today you’ll leave the hotel for a morning tour of Cartagena’s historical Old Town or ‘Walled City’ which covers sites such as the mansions of Barrio Manga neighbourhood, an ascent by private vehicle to La Popa Monastery which allows for panoramic views over the city of Cartagena, historical sector, modern Bocagrande and the bay itself; Saint Philip Castle – the greatest fortress the Spanish ever built, ‘The Vaults’ and the various plazas that once were home to regal horse and carriages that transported the gentry during Spanish colonial times.
Time will be spent looking at the many examples of 16th-century architecture and visiting the once dreaded house of the Spanish Inquisition, end point of the countless suspected heretics. Your afternoon and evening will be at leisure in Cartagena for exploration of the Walled City.
Day 10: Goodbye to Cartagena and Colombia
Morning at leisure in Cartagena before transferring to the airport for your flight back to your city of origin.