- Eat ajiaco, arepas, and amasijos, just like in "Encanto"
- See Villa de Leyva, the real-life town that inspired the film
- Experience the sights and sounds of the Amazon, like in Antonio's room
- Spend a relaxing day on a Caribbean beach in the Rosario Islands
|Arrive in Bogotá, City Tour & Family Lunch
|Transfer to Leticia, Amazon Night Walk
|Visit Woolly Monkeys & the Mocagua Community
|Puerto Nariño & Pink Dolphins
|Transfer to Villa de Leyva
|Villa de Leyva
|Amasijos Workshop, Tour Villa de Leyva
|Villa de Leyva
|Transfer to Barichara, Arepa Cooking Lesson
|Hike the Camino Real
|Transfer to Medellín, Free Time to Explore
|Transfer to Pereira, Colombian Coffee Tour
|Valle de Cocora Nature Walk
|Transfer to Cartagena, Street Food Tour
|Beach Day at Barú & Rosario Islands
Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá, City Tour & Family Lunch
Welcome to Colombia! Upon arrival in Bogotá, you'll be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. After you and your kids have had some time to settle in and refresh, head out into the city for your first experience of "Encanto" come-to-life.
Walk through Bogotá's colonial-era downtown and admire the well-preserved houses, churches, and convents. See the Colón Theater, San Carlos Palace, San Ignacio Church, Nariño Presidential Palace, Bolívar Square, City Hall, and the Cathedral Primada de Bogotá. Don't miss the dazzling Museo de Oro ("Gold Museum"), which houses the most extensive collection of pre-Hispanic gold artifacts in the world.After working up an appetite, enjoy a delicious family lunch of Colombian ajiaco, just like in the scene from "Encanto" when Isabela's engagement to Mariano is celebrated at the Madrigals' casita. Ajiaco is a soup made from the guascas herb, chicken breast, various kinds of potato, long onions, cilantro, and sweetcorn. It's accompanied by white rice, capers, avocado, and crema. This dish is a Colombian staple. After refueling with a bowl of soup, and if you and your kids still have some energy and time to explore, take a cable car ride up Monserrate Hill for a fantastic view of the whole city.
Day 2: Transfer to Leticia, Amazon Night Walk
Today, transfer from Bogotá to Leticia, a city in southern Colombia set on the Amazon River and borders Brazil and Peru. It's a gateway to the Colombian Amazon, a mysterious and under-visited area despite the fact that the rainforest covers about one-third of Colombia's total land area.After spending the day relaxing and settling into your hotel, you'll head out at night into the Amazon rainforest on a walking tour. Many of the Amazon's inhabitants are nocturnal, so the best time to see them is after dark. Expert Indigenous guides with ancestral knowledge of the jungle will guide you. The song of frogs and nocturnal creatures, the sight of night-blooming flowers, and phosphorescent mushrooms will surround you. The whole experience may remind you of the "Encanto" scene set in Antonio's room, which contains a luscious rainforest.
Day 3: Visit Woolly Monkeys & the Mocagua Community
Today, start with a boat ride down the Amazon River. Visit the churuco monkey project in Mocagua, led by the Maikuchiga Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to the conservation and preservation of churuco (or woolly) monkeys and other primate species. Kids will have the opportunity to interact with the curious monkeys and learn about their habitat as they paddle a canoe through the Matamata Ravine near Amacayacu National Natural Park. "Encanto" features many amazing Colombian animal species, some of which you might recognize on today's outing.
Refuel with a delicious typical lunch with an Indigenous family in Mocagua, followed by a basket-making workshop, where the whole family can get practical and creative as they learn this new skill.
Day 4: Puerto Nariño & Pink Dolphins
Continue the fantastical wildlife theme today on a river tour to Tarapoto, looking out for gray and pink Amazon river dolphins along the way. The presence of river dolphins is a good indicator of water quality and ecological diversity in a river, and this vulnerable species is of unparalleled ecological value in this ecosystem. They can be seen year-round near Puerto Nariño, a small town upriver from Leticia. Kids will be amazed to see these quirky dolphins, which look rather different from any sea dolphins they may have seen before with their distinctive rosy hue.
Day 5: Transfer to Villa de Leyva
Fly back to Bogotá today, then continue overland on a roughly three-hour drive to Villa de Leyva, northeast of Bogotá. Along the way, stop at the pottery capital of Colombia, Ráquira, also known as the "Ceramics Town." Brightly painted facades, a jumble of craft shops, and stacks of freshly fired mud and clay pots welcome visitors to the main street. Kids may notice that it looks rather like "Encanto's" Casita Madrigal.
Take a stroll down the street, where you'll find everything from ceramic bowls, jars, plates, and toys to Christmas decorations. If you like, you can buy high-quality artisanal handicrafts for a great price, and little ones can pick out a meaningful souvenir to take home with them. Continue to your hotel in Villa de Leyva and spend the evening relaxing in this charming town, which you'll explore further tomorrow.
Day 6: Amasijos Workshop, Tour Villa de Leyva
Travel from Villa de Leyva to Santa Sofía, where you'll visit a local farm with a charming house that looks like it came straight out of "Encanto." If you or your kids liked the look of the food served in the film, you'll love learning how to make it yourself today during a cooking class in which you'll prepare amasijos, or baked corn flour snacks. Learn more about the history of the Indigenous Muisca people through their food legacy. Practice preparing amasijos and cooking them in a wood oven surrounded by beautiful nature.After your workshop, return to Villa de Leyva, which provided inspiration for "Encanto." Check out the main park and admire the colonial-era architecture surrounded by mountains. Visit workshops where ruana clothing is made; this is the poncho-like garment that Bruno wears in the film. You'll then visit a chocolate market where you and your kids can taste a delicious, warm cup of cocoa accompanied by bread and cheese—a perfect way to end the day.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Transfer to Barichara, Arepa Cooking Lesson
This morning, transfer overland to Barichara, a town around 4.5 hours north of Villa de Leyva. Enjoy the views en route, particularly of the mountain Cordillera de los Cobardes and surrounding peaks as you near Barichara.After your arrival in Barichara, you and your kids will get another chance to put your culinary skills to the test during a three-hour arepa-making class. You may recall that in "Encanto," this traditional dish has the ability to heal wounds and sadness. Arepitas, as they're affectionately known, are made by soaking and pounding dried corn in a pilon, a large mortar and pestle. They are a staple in Central and South America, especially in Venezuela and Colombia. Stand in Julieta's shoes as you create your own arepitas with love, passion, and dedication.
Day 8: Hike the Camino Real
It's time to get active today after the previous day's long car journey and food-focused activities. After breakfast, hike to the edge of town, where you'll start the Camino Real ("Royal Path"). Walk along this path for around two hours (you can go at your own pace to accommodate your kids' needs) until you reach the small colonial-era village of Guane. Along the way, enjoy picturesque views of the canyons, as well as the solitude in the peaceful countryside.
In Guane, visit the Museum of Paleontology & Archaeology, which displays ceramics and jewelry made by the Guane Indigenous people, as well as fossils that are millions of years old and mummified remains that are believed to be around 700 years old. You can also check out the attractive Chapel of Santa Lucia in Guane's main square. Return to Barichara on a moto-taxi, a journey of approximately 35 minutes, to save yourself the hike back. Relax and enjoy the views of the Río Suarez Canyon along the way. Spend the late afternoon and evening at leisure.
Day 9: Transfer to Medellín, Free Time to Explore
Say goodbye to Barichara today as you drive approximately 3.5 hours north to Bucaramanga, then fly southwest to Medellín from there. It may feel surprising to arrive in one of Colombia's largest cities again after several days in the countryside, but Medellín is an inviting place. It's known as the "City of Eternal Spring" for its moderate climate and is surrounded by mountains.
After checking into your hotel, you may have the energy to start exploring some of the city's sights. Start in Parque Lleras in the El Poblado district, where you'll find trendy restaurants and boutiques. For views, catch a ride on the cable car, or soak in the fresh air at the Parque de Bolívar. Plaza Botero is a favorite with kids and art-loving families, as it features more than 20 quirky sculptures by renowned local artist Fernando Botero.
Day 10: Transfer to Pereira, Colombian Coffee Tour
Leave Medellín for a flight to the Zona Cafetera or "Coffee Region" this morning, a mountainous landscape south of the city that produces Colombia's world-famous coffee. In "Encanto," kids are sometimes shown drinking coffee. While your kids might not be into coffee themselves, they're sure to enjoy the gorgeous natural landscapes around here, as well as learn more about coffee production—from a purely scientific point of view!After you've had a chance to settle into your hotel, head out into the UNESCO-listed Coffee Cultural Landscape. Learn about the whole production process, from the seed to the cup. A family of coffee producers will welcome you to their coffee plantation, where you'll take a tour and gain a greater understanding of what it takes to produce coffee. From the village of Altagracia, head up the lookout tower to admire the picture-perfect landscape. Travel along the roads built by coffee growers in a Jeep to another coffee farm, and learn why Colombian coffee is of such high quality.
Day 11: Valle de Cocora Nature Walk
Explore more of the otherworldly landscapes of the Coffee Region today. Salento is a town in the Andes that's popular for its coffee estates and verdant scenery. To the east of Salento lies the Valle de Cocora, where lofty wax palm trees grow, home to rare parrots and other birds. Ceroxylon quindiuense palms are Colombia's national tree, and you'll have to see them to believe them, with some towering as high as 200 feet (60 m.) Tour this magnificent landscape with a naturalist guide. Look out for the diversity of fauna and flora, and give back to the landscape through which you travel with a ritual planting of some palm trees.
After the planting, return to Salento, a heritage town characterized by its colorful traditional architecture. Stop for lunch, then continue to Filandia, another small town where you can wander the colonial-era streets and check out craft shops. You'll also get to visit the La Colina Iluminada lookout point, which offers a panoramic view of the mountains of the Coffee Region. Finally, visit a traditional basket workshop, where the kids will enjoy learning the art of making baskets using vegetable fibers.
Day 12: Transfer to Cartagena, Street Food Tour
Leave the coffee-covered mountains behind today as you fly north to Colombia's Caribbean coast and the city of Cartagena. This city is different from everywhere you've been so far, with a distinctly relaxed vibe that combines centuries of history, culture, and flavors.
After settling in at your hotel, head out into the city on a street food tour. Your kids will enjoy dining in this casual manner, with life on the streets going on around them. Explore seven street food spots popular with the locals but that mostly go unnoticed by travelers. To cap the day off, end with some good music. A vallenato folk music group will entertain you, and you might even feel like getting up to dance and sing Colombia mi Encanto!
Day 13: Beach Day at Barú & Rosario Islands
You can't visit the Caribbean without spending some relaxing time on the beach. Enjoy quality downtime with your family today, starting with a transfer to Barú, about an hour from Cartagena. Barú is a peninsula often called an island, bounded by the Bay of Cartagena, the Dique Canal, and the Caribbean Sea. There, enjoy a typical breakfast in a local family home and see how ordinary Colombians live.
From Barú, take a boat to Isla Grande in the Rosario Islands archipelago. These islands are an integral part of one of Colombia's most important national parks. As such, the islands and surrounding waters are well preserved and protected, so you can enjoy them as nature intended. Stop at one or two spectacular spots to try some snorkeling before heading to a beach for some relaxation time. Refuel at lunch with fresh fish prepared the local way. You can spend the afternoon as you wish before it's time to head back to Cartagena.
Day 14: Depart Cartagena
It's time to say goodbye to Cartagena. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, and transfer to Rafael Núñez International Airport in time for your flight. Your return flight might be a good time to rewatch "Encanto" and reminisce about your fabulous family trip!