- Visit the historic center of Bogotá, Colombia's capital
- Stargaze under the mesmerizing Tatacoa Desert sky
- Take a coffee tour on a local farm in San Augustín
- Hike through the beautiful Farallones de Cali National Park
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogotá, Historical Walking Tour||Bogotá|
|Day 2||Fly to Villavieja, Visit Tatacoa Desert's Astronomical Observatory||Villavieja|
|Day 3||Day Trip to the Tatacoa Desert||Villavieja|
|Day 4||Transfer to San Agustin, Coffee Tour on a Local Farm||San Agustín|
|Day 5||Visit San Agustín Archaeological Park & Horseback Archaeology Tour||San Agustín|
|Day 6||Jeep Tour in San Agustín||San Agustín|
|Day 7||Transfer to Popayán, Gastronomy Tour||Popayán|
|Day 8||Day Trip to Puracé National Park||Popayán|
|Day 9||Transfer to Silvia, Visit Silvia & the Guambiano-Misak Community||Silvia|
|Day 10||Transfer to Cali, Tour of the Gold Museum & City Market, Salsa Lessons||Cali|
|Day 11||Day Trip to Farallones de Cali National Park, Pico de Loro Hike||Cali|
|Day 12||Day Trip to the Natural Reserve Nirvana & Hacienda El Paraiso||Cali|
|Day 13||Cali's Colonial Country Houses Tour, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá, Historical Walking Tour
Welcome to Bogotá! Your driver will transfer you to your hotel from the airport on arrival, where you can unpack and unwind before exploring. Begin your adventures in Colombia's sprawling, high-altitude capital with a half-day walking tour. Visit the historical center in the La Candelaria neighborhood, walking past top attractions and learning from your guide along the way. Start at the main square, Plaza de Bolívar, where the national and local government headquarters are located, followed by visits to the Congress Building and Justice Hall.
From Bogotá's largest cathedral, the neoclassical Catedral Primada, you'll head on foot to the Gold Museum, which has an impressive collection of pre-Columbian goldsmiths from Colombia's native communities. The tour finishes at the Museo de Botero, one of Latin America's most important art collections, comprising over 200 works donated to the city by the renowned Colombian painter Fernando Botero.
Day 2: Fly to Villavieja, Visit Tatacoa Desert's Astronomical ObservatoryToday, fly from Bogotá to Neiva, where you'll transfer to Villavieja, a village close to the Tatacoa Desert. Due to the absence of light pollution and its proximity to the equator, the desert sky is clear most of the year, making it an ideal place for stargazing. At nightfall, you are invited to relax on the desert floor while looking up at the sky and listening to a talk on astronomy. During the excursion, you'll see various celestial bodies more closely from the observatory's telescopes and have a chance to take incredible photos.
Day 3: Day Trip to the Tatacoa Desert
Today's adventurous guided tour in the Tatacoa Desert begins in Villavieja, where you'll take a tuk-tuk up to the entrance of the desert. From there begins a two-hour horseback ride during which you can admire the landscapes of this tropical dry forest and learn about the different species of vegetation. Continue to the mineral water pool, where you can enjoy a relaxing bath in the middle of this arid landscape.
Return to Villavieja for lunch, then head out to explore the Magdalena River by boat, accompanied by a local who will share his fishing secrets. Afterward, walk through the gray and ochre desert and wait for sunset. Pass one of the desert's most characteristic landscapes due to its geomorphology. Your guide will show you key formations originated by water and wind, including the cathedrals, the Tower, the Wishing Tree, and the labyrinths. Finish the day with a glass of cactus wine at the Cuzco Viewpoint while observing the impressive starry sky of the desert.
Day 4: Transfer to San Agustin, Coffee Tour on a Local Farm
Transfer from Villavieja to San Agustín for a coffee tour of a local farm. Coffee is an essential product for the economy in San Agustín and other towns in this region, where the best specialty coffees in Colombia are currently produced. On this guided tour, you'll visit an organic coffee farm where you can authentically learn about the bean production process from start to finish.
Your host is Luis Alejandro, owner of Finca La Cabaña, who proudly and humbly shows visitors the success of his work and that of his father, who began growing coffee here more than 50 years ago. At the end of the tour, Luis will invite you to taste some of his fantastic specialty coffees, where all your senses will be engaged.
Day 5: Visit San Agustín Archaeological Park & Horseback Archaeology Tour
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Visit the impressive San Agustín Archaeological Park on a half-day tour. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a number of pre-Columbian statues and artifacts. Start with an archaeological museum visit, followed by a walk in the park where you can meander among gigantic stone idols and sacred tombs peeking out from the jungle rainforest. In the afternoon, enjoy the most famous horseback ride in San Agustín, led by an expert local guide who will take you through a circuit that runs through four archaeological sites.
Ride to La Pelota and El Purutal, each home to statues placed near where they were found, two of which retain their original color that is believed to have been characteristic of other monoliths in the area. Continue to El Tablón, an archaeological site where five female statues are exhibited, and a small ethnographic museum organized by the residents of El Tablón township. Next is La Chaquira, a site with human and animal figures carved into volcanic stone that look toward the impressive Magdalena River canyon.
Day 6: Jeep Tour in San Agustín
Spend the day touring the surroundings of San Agustín with your guide in a Jeep. Start at the Magdalena Strait, the narrowest point of Colombia's main river, which offers views of the scenic Andean forest. Just a few miles from here is the small town of Obando, where you'll see tombs similar to those of the Tierradentro Archaeological Park in Cauca, as well as a small museum that houses pieces that are even older than those found in San Agustín. The most famous is perhaps a replica of the Winged Fish goldwork, as the original was moved to the Gold Museum in Bogotá.
The journey continues to the Alto de Los Ídolos park, the second site with the highest density of tombs and statues of the Augustinian culture after the San Agustín Archaeological Park. Then, head to the Alto de las Piedras to see El Doble Yo, the enigmatic megalithic stone statue. On your way back to San Agustín, you'll pass by an impressive waterfall almost 656 feet (200 m) high called the Salto del Mortiño.
Day 7: Transfer to Popayán, Gastronomy Tour
Today, you'll transfer from San Agustín to Popáyan for a gastronomic tour. Popayán is a city with fascinating gastronomic traditions as a consequence of both the geographical and social diversity, as well as the history of the Cauca department. Its Gastronomic Congress, which has been held since 2003, brings together more than 30,000 visitors, as well as the declaration granted by UNESCO as a Creative City of Gastronomy (the first in the world), further endorses this delicious facet of the White City.
Tour through the streets of Popáyan's historic center on foot, where you'll learn more about the gastronomic culture of the Payanese, its festival, and the historic UNESCO declaration. Try famous pipián empanadas, hervidos, carantantas, aplanchados, Eduardo Santos (dessert with the name of a former president), and salpicones.
Day 8: Excursion to Puracé National Park
Today, you'll explore Puracé National Park, with two options available. The first doesn't require much walking and leaves Popayán at 8 am. A local guide from the Indigenous council will take you to the most emblematic sites of the Park: the Andulbio Lagoon, the Piedra del Cóndor (where it's common to see the Andean condor), the Valley of the Frailejones, the Bedón Waterfall, ending with a visit to the San Juan hot springs, a source of natural thermal water. You'll return to the city around 4 pm.
The second option leaves at 6 am and involves an ascent to the Puracé Volcano. You'll drive to a sulfur mine for a two-hour hike of approximately 2.8 miles (4.5 km) to the volcano's summit. Walk around the volcano's crater, and if the weather is favorable, you'll be greeted with a spectacular panoramic view over the Andes, from where you'll see the Pan de Azúcar Volcano and Popayán. Descent and drive back to the city for a 4 pm return. It's also possible to combine the two options—you'll head out at 4 am and return at 5 pm, excluding Piedra del Cóndor.
Day 9: Transfer to Silvia, Visit Silvia & the Guambiano-Misak Community
Today, visit the town of Silvia, located north of Popayán, where the headquarters of the Indigenous Reservation of the Guambiano-Misak community that inhabits the surrounding villages is located. In the central square, meet your local host, who will share the customs and history of her community and accompany you to the Sierra Morena path.
Visit Casa Payán, an interpretation center of the Misak culture self-managed by the community, as well as its garden of medicinal plants. Continue to their pharmacy, where naturopathic medicines are issued and given out to patients. In addition to learning about the life and history of this Colombian Indigenous community, and the beautiful landscape of the natural environment where they live, you'll help to generate an additional income that directly supports their survival and the dissemination of their cultural heritage.
Day 10: Transfer to Cali, Tour of the Gold Museum & City Market, Salsa Lessons
Today, you'll take a private transfer from Silvia to Cali. Begin your time here with a visit to the Calima Gold Museum, which houses pieces of goldsmithing and ceramics from the pre-Columbian communities that inhabited this region of Colombia. Continue to the Plaza de Mercado Alameda, where you'll try local fruits like lulo and chontaduro, before heading toward one of the city's salsa schools, where you'll have the opportunity to learn some local dance steps and enjoy a small private show by professional dancers.
Day 11: Day Trip to Farallones de Cali National Park, Pico de Loro hike
A challenging but beautiful hike up Pico de Loro awaits you today. After a one-hour journey in a 4WD vehicle from Cali to the entrance of Farallones de Cali National Park in the village of El Topacio, you'll do a short warm-up before starting the ascent up the mountain.
From here begins an intermediate-level walk of 5.5 miles (9 km), in which the path is not fully demarcated, having some points where the branches and roots of the trees will serve as support to get up. After crossing a beautiful, well-preserved, dense cloud forest, you will reach the peak known as Pico de Loro. If the weather allows, there will be an incredible panoramic view of the Central and Western Andean ranges, the Cauca River, Cali, and even Nevado del Huila. Descend and return to Cali.
Day 12: Day Trip to the Nirvana Natural Reserve & Hacienda El Paraíso
Today's full-day excursion begins with a visit to the Nirvana Natural Reserve, located on the Central Mountain Range 24.85 miles (40 km) from Cali and 4,921 feet (1,500 m) above sea level, in an area that preserves an invaluable sample of flora and fauna. The reserve has a botanical garden, a nursery, native forests, ecological trails, trout farms, a museum of roots, and crafts made of curly cumin bark.
After lunch, the tour continues to Hacienda El Paraíso, a beautiful sample of rural colonial architecture and where the protagonists of Jorge Isaac's romantic novel, "María," lived.
Day 13: Cali's Colonial Country Houses Tour, Depart
Finish your trip with an artisanal wine tour made from grapes in Santa Elena. Learn the winemaking process step-by-step, from the vine to production to table service. Then enjoy the opportunity to bottle your own wine, followed by a typical Colombian lunch. Afterward, continue to Caña Museum, where the sugar industry's history, culture, and development are shown between ranches, sugar mills, and gardens.
The time has come to transfer from your hotel to the Cali airport for your flight home. Safe travels, and see you next time!
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