Connect with local cultures and communities on this unforgettable 12-day Colombian itinerary. Starting in the capital of Bogotá and ending on the magical Caribbean coast, you'll set out on a series of excursions and experiences that help support local businesses and strengthen the country's peace process. Tour Bogota's colorful food market, stargaze in the Tatacoa Desert, and sample coffee in a mountain village. After discovering Medellín's dynamic street art scene and learning to cook like a local in Cartagena, spend your final day relaxing on the white sand beaches of an island resort.

Highlights

  • Savor the colors & flavors of Bogotá's largest food market
  • Go stargazing in the Tatacoa Desert
  • Visit a mountain coffee farm & discover the bean-to-cup process
  • Tour Medellín's vibrant Comuna 13 neighborhood
  • Learn to cook like a local in Cartagena

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Bogotá! Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá Farmers Market Excursion & Walking Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Weaving Peace Experience Bogotá
Day 4 Fly to Neiva - Tatacoa Desert Tour & Astronomy Workshop Neiva
Day 5 Rural Colombia Farm & Coffee Tour Algeciras
Day 6 Demining Hearts Experience - Fly to Medellín Medellín
Day 7 Discover The City of Eternal Spring & Comuna 13 Medellín
Day 8 Day Trip to El Peñol & Guatapé  Medellín
Day 9 Fly to Cartagena Cartagena
Day 10 Cartagena Walking Tour & Local Cuisine Party Cartagena
Day 11 Day Trip to Isla Tierra Bomba Cartagena
Day 12 Depart Cartagena  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Bogotá!

Bogotá Cathedral

Welcome to Bogotá, Colombia! Upon arrival, a driver will meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel.

Bogotá is a diverse and multicultural city with a blend of modern and colonial architecture, infused with the green spaces of its many parks and the eastern mountains overlooking the sanctuaries of Monserrate and Guadalupe. Colombia's biggest city has culture to spare, and its regional gastronomy has made it a global foodie destination. If you feel like exploring, head out on foot to the cobblestone streets of the La Candelaria neighborhood, where trendy restaurants and colonial-era landmarks are located. You'll also find excellent museums, shopping, and street food ranging from empanadas to exotic fruit salads. 

Day 2:  Bogotá Farmers Market & Walking Tour

Experience the sights, sounds & smells of the Plaza de Paloquemao market

This morning, you'll discover Colombia’s vast diversity of food, culture, and geography with a visit to Bogotá’s largest and most traditional market, the Plaza de Paloquemao. On this guided gastronomic experience, your expert guide will show you around the different sections of the market, introducing you to the local vendors and sharing their stories. While exploring the market, you'll get the opportunity to sample delicious local specialties such as fruit juices, snacks, and pastries, followed by a tasting of Colombia’s most exotic fruits. Working closely with the vendors at Paloquemao, the tour helps support English workshops and employment projects, allowing shop owners and vendors to offer unique and personal experiences to travelers and create a sustainable work environment at the market.

In the afternoon you'll explore more of the city with a guided walking tour starting in the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria. Whether you’re a fan of colonial architecture or an amateur photographer, this area is the ideal place to wander, spotting colorful facades and detailed wrought-ironwork along the way. Enjoy roaming its charming streets, stopping at sights such as the ornate, 19th-century Colón Theater and the historic San Carlos Palace. Nearby, you'll find Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church and the center of the city, Bolivar Square. You'll visit the city's renowned Gold Museum, which features the largest collection of Pre-Columbian gold artifacts in the world, before ending the day with a breathtaking cable car ride up Montserrate Hill

Day 3: Weaving Peace Experience

Learn about Colombia's history & rebirth with a visit to community-focused businesses

Today's Weaving Peace tour will help you to understand key moments of Colombia's history, focusing especially on its rebirth and bright future, told through the voices of true peace weavers who have built new paths of hope for the country. 

After more than 50 years of conflict and eight million victims, Colombia's 2016 Peace Agreement brought an end to a painful chapter in the country's history. Today, Colombia is in a crucial moment that will define the path for the coming decades. Stops on today's tour include museums and exhibits as well as three gastronomic shops that fuel the peace process in unique ways. Throughout the day, you'll get the chance to engage with indigenous and other community members to discuss the important events that took place in these areas, and how creative and social entrepreneurship projects are helping to weave peace across all groups of Colombian society.

You'll visit Café Wuasikamas to meet members of the Inga indigenous community and taste their prize-winning coffee blend that supports farmers who replace illicit crops with fairtrade agro-products. The next stop is Distrito Chocolate, which works with farmer cooperatives that support thousands of families to turn from illegal coca farming to cultivating cacao for delicious chocolate. The tour wraps up at Salvo Patria, an incredible restaurant with a food rescue philosophy that works with rural inhabitants to reactivate the land and produce sustainable food. 

Day 4: Fly to Neiva - Tatacoa Desert Tour & Astronomy Workshop

The stunning landscapes of El Cuzco—the Red Desert

Bid Bogotá farewell today, as your driver picks you up for a transfer to the airport. Here you'll catch an hour's flight south to Neiva, the capital of Huila Department in the Magdalena River Valley. After meeting your guide, you'll then transfer another 22 miles (35 km) to the village of Villavieja, the gateway to the Tatacoa Desert. Rich in fossils, Tatacoa is the second largest arid zone in Colombia and is excellent for hiking and horseback riding amid rugged rock formations. Start with a historic tour of the Villavieja and visit its Paleontological Museum, then go for a walk on the trails of El Cuzco (the Red Desert) a place of fascinating geological history and special beauty.

After checking into your hotel and enjoying dinner, head back out into the desert for an astronomy workshop under the stars. La Tatacoa offers some of the clearest and darkest night skies in Colombia, and tonight you'll observe the heavens through the modern telescopes of the Astronomical Observatory, under the guidance of a professional astronomer.

Day 5: Rural Colombia Farm & Coffee Tour 

Taste local fruit & coffee as you tour the farms of Algeciras & Las Morras

Today takes you south to the town of Algeciras, where you'll be greeted with a delicious traditional lunch and leave your bags at the hotel. Then it's on to the beautiful mountain village of Las Morras, whose fertile landscapes produce exceptional coffee and produce. Here you'll tour a coffee farm and learn about the process of sowing, growing, and picking quality beans. 

Next, you'll visit another local farm to taste fresh fruit freshly harvested from the plants and visit beautiful fields of granadilla, gulupa (a type of passionfruit), blackberry, and tree tomato. Here you'll stop for an exquisite, locally-grown lunch overlooking the stunning agricultural landscapes.

Finally, descend to the village to learn about the next stage of coffee—its preparation. Here at a café attended by an expert coffee grower and coffee connoisseur, you'll discover the different preparation methods and how to appreciate good coffee. This experience will make you aware of the many flavors and aromas present in a cup that reflect the conditions of Colombian soils and the careful processes of coffee growers.

The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the town or relax at the hotel. To end the day, a delicious locally-grown dinner awaits.

Day 6: Demining Hearts Experience - Fly to Medellín

Meet the heroes working to remove the mines left over from Colombia's conflicts

Colombia's peace agreements have transformed the country and changed the lives of its people. Today you'll learn more about the important work still taking place in Algeciras, as hope, peace, and reconstruction are being forged from teamwork and reconciliation. This morning you'll be picked up and driven to the base camp of the Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas for breakfast, before learning about the complex demining process. Witnessing a unique scenario of cooperation between victims, ex-soldiers, and guerrillas, you'll see the cautious procedure required to demine an area and meet some of the heroes responsible for this risky work. 

In the afternoon you'll be transported to the airport in Neiva, to catch your onward flight to Medellín. Once one of the most notorious cities in the world, Medellín is now known as one of the safest places in South America, as well as one of the most innovative. The hub of Colombia’s medical and tech sectors, the city is nestled in the Valle de Aburrá and offers breathtaking views in every direction. A modern and efficient metro runs north to south with sky gondolas reaching the heights of the surrounding Andes Mountain range. 

Upon arrival, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Day 7: Discover The City of Eternal Spring & Comuna 13

Medellín's Plaza Botero

Discover the "City of Eternal Spring" this morning with a guided tour of Medellín. You'll start in Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a traditional small Antioquian town, which boasts sweeping views over the city from Natibura Hill. Your next stop is Plaza Botero in the city center, where you can visit the exaggerated sculptures of Fernando Botero, one of Colombia´s most famous artists.  Afterward, admire the world’s largest collection of his paintings in the adjacent Museum of Antioquia, home to a collection of pre-Hispanic, colonial, and contemporary art. 

Continue to Berrío Square, considered the heart of the city that was built in 1680. From there it's on to Junín Passage, a pedestrian avenue bustling with street vendors, small shops, and lively local life. After a stroll down this little rambla, the tour ends in Plaza de Bolívar, a central square that's home to the breathtaking Cathedral of Medellin and a popular gathering place for local tango singers and musicians.

Comuna 13 has become a synonym of transformation and resilience and a definite must-visit for travelers in Medellín. This afternoon, you'll embark on a guided tour of this inspiring place, visiting three different neighborhoods within the Comuna and learning its history directly from the impressive artists who led impactful projects to transform Colombia’s most feared district. You'll hear emotional stories of hope deeply embedded into the city's streets, all while perusing its dynamic art and graffiti scene. Visit a local music studio where will teach you how to play percussion, then get loose and learn how to dance with one of the neighborhood's best dancers who will have you learning steps in no time.

Day 8: Day Trip to El Peñol & Guatapé 

View from the top of El Peñol de Guatapé
The view from the top of El Peñol de Guatapé

Today takes you through the municipality of Peñol to reach the Andean hill town of Guatapé. This small resort town offers a peaceful break from the city, while also featuring a stunning panoramic view of nature and the surrounding scenery from the top of its dramatic hilltop setting.

Start with a visit to the iconic Rock of Guatapé, where you can climb 649 steps to reach the viewpoint with a 360-degree view of the Guatapé reservoir and its neighboring lands. Then, you will be transferred to Guatapé itself, known as the most colorful town in Colombia. Make sure to keep your camera close—it's hard to find a street that isn't worthy of being admired and photographed! Enjoy a walk through the streets, where a specialized guide will explain the town's unique culture and lead you past its traditional houses and zocalos (city squares) This memorable excursion includes a boat ride in the reservoir and a ride in a typical three-wheeled motochivas taxi.

Later in the afternoon, you will be transferred back to Medellín.

Day 9: Fly to Cartagena

Cartagena
Cartagena, Colombia's "Pearl of the Caribbean"

After breakfast, you'll be transferred to Medellín airport for your flight to Cartagena. This picturesque colonial city on the Caribbean Sea is rich in culture, architecture, romance, and pirate history. Upon arrival, you'll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Cartagena is the sum of its incredible parts—diverse architecture, vibrant nightlife, cultural festivals, exuberant landscapes, magnificent beaches, and outstanding gastronomy. It is a fantastic city that guards the secrets of its history in its walls and balconies, its buildings, and its narrow, cobbled streets.

Day 10: Cartagena Walking Tour & Local Cuisine Party

Colorful balconies in Cartagena's Old Town

The charm of Cartagena goes beyond the intriguing streets of the Old Town. On today's tour, you will visit the most significant treasures of the city accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Discover the magic of its streets, churches, architecture, and squares, as you experience the warmth and discreet charm of its neighborhoods. 

See the beautiful Republican and Moorish-style architecture of Isla de Manga, and continue to Cerro de la Popa to visit an antique monastery and get a stunning panoramic view of the city. Next, it's on to the showstopper of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, the largest military architectural structure left by the Spanish in America.

After lunch, stroll through the cobblestone streets and colonial houses of the Old Town, and visit the famous Plaza del Comercio and Plaza de Bolivar. Stop at the Naval Museum to learn more about Cartagena’s pirate history, and end at the city's iconic San Pedro Claver Church, which was built in the second half of the 17th century and exhibits religious art and history.

Later in the afternoon, you'll get the chance to learn more about Colombian cuisine and try making it yourself. The warmth and tastiness of Cartagena’s food is largely thanks to the generosity of its people. A local family will open the doors to their home and kitchens so you can learn how to create authentic dishes. Guided by a local cook, you'll connect with Cartagena and its gastronomic culture as you prepare to sit down to an unforgettable meal.

Day 11: Day Trip to Isla Tierra Bomba

Unwind at an island resort near Cartagena

Escape from the heat and hustle of Cartagena today and sail to an island paradise for a day of sun, sand, and relaxation. After a quick transfer to the docks, a 30-minute scenic boat trip takes you to the nearby island of Tierra Bomba and the Blue Apple Beach Club, a Balearic-inspired beach club, restaurant, and boutique hotel. Here you can spend the day kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving through the turquoise waters, or just lay back and relax on a secluded beach. 

For lunch, savor a 3-course meal against the backdrop of spectacular island scenery, returning to Cartagena in the afternoon via speedboat.

Day 12: Depart Cartagena

Sunset over Cartagena

It's time to say goodbye to Colombia! Enjoy your last morning in Cartagena with a leisurely breakfast and walk along the sea. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your connecting flight home. Safe travels!

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