The Real Colombia - 9-Day Cultural Adventure

In nine days, explore the ice-capped summits of the Sierra Nevada to the white sand beaches of the tropical Caribbean coast to discover a range of indigenous and contemporary cultures, as well as astounding biodiversity. Drive across city centres and take scenic mountain roads through the famous coffee region. Experience Colombia’s warm climate and culture by river and sea on rafting and sailing expeditions. 


Highlights

  • Unique city visits to Bogota, Medellin, Santa Marta, and Cartagena
  • Visit five unique ecosystems including tropical rainforests, rare Páramo alpine tundra, and pristine beaches and reefs
  • Experience cultural tours in the coffee regions with stays at Spanish haciendas
  • Trek, raft, paraglide, sail, snorkel with option to scuba dive or sea kayak with professional, multi-lingual guides

Overview map

Map of 9 day Colombia Itinerary
Map of 9 day Colombia Itinerary

Overview

“The whole world is falling apart but Colombia is falling together. With three great branches of the Andes fanning out northward to the wide Caribbean coastal plain, the rich valleys of the Cauca and Magdalena, the sweeping grasslands of the eastern llanos and the endless forests of the Chocó and Amazons, Colombia is ecologically and geographically the most diverse nation on earth. A naturalist need only spin the compass to discover plants, insects, and even animals unknown to science.

More bird species than any other nation, nearly 2000, Colombia in terms of biodiversity is second only to Brazil in the world. Known as the land of 1000 rhythms (ethnomusicologists have in fact identified 1025), Colombia is the birthplace of cambia and vallenatos, the nursing ground of a kind of salsa that has swept the world. Colombia is the home of 57 unique indigenous cultures in the Amazon alone, and the Colombian Amazon, the size of France, is, without a doubt, the most undeveloped and beautiful region of the entire basin.”

- Wade Davis, author of One River

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Bogota city tour Bogota
Day 2 Colombia’s coffee region Spanish hacienda
Day 3 Trek through the cloud forest Medellin
Day 4 Medellin city tour Spanish hacienda
Day 5 Raft the Green River Tierra de Agua Eco Hotel
Day 6 Sail through Parque Tayrona Sailboat
Day 7 Snorkel, Sea Kayak, or Scuba Dive Taironaka Tourism Ecolodge
Day 8 Visit the Taironaka Tourism Ecolodge Cartagena
Day 9 Cartagena city tour  

Detailed itinerary

Our suggested 9-day itinerary starts and ends in Bogota. If you’re interested in a shorter or longer trip, it is possible to build a custom trip adding outstanding cultural and adventure travel in Colombia.

Day 1: Unique city tour of Bogota and Stay in historic downtown

Bogota
Plaza de Bolivar, Bogota

Fly to Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport. Stay at a beautiful hotel in the historic, downtown neighborhood, “the Candaleria”. Spend the day on a unique custom city tour including visits to the Museo Botero or to Carlos Jacanamijoy’s painting studio. Tour the famous Gold Museum and the Monserrate volcano to enjoy a view of the city at sunset. In the evening, experience Colombia’s varied cultural attractions including restaurants, theaters, and music venues.

Day 2: Explore Colombia’s coffee region and stay at a Spanish style hacienda

Fly to vibrant Pereira, one of the three cities comprising Colombia’s “coffee triangle”. Roam the lively, European-style streets of the city before driving through mountain roads to one of Colombia’s most famous coffee “fincas”, or estates. For most of the day, learn about the industry’s history and coffee making process as you taste a diverse range of coffee. Stroll through the plantation and take in stunning panoramic views. Stay at a gorgeous Spanish style hacienda and experience authentic Colombian fine dining.

Day 3: Trek through wax palm cloud forests and stay in Medellin’s cultural center

wax palms
Wax palm cloud forest

Start your morning with a drive trough breathtaking Andean topography, where the “Valle De Cocora” reveals a river flanked by steep mountains. Near the eco-tourism haven of Salento, take an incredible trek to a surreal landscape pegged with the slender, towering Colombian national symbol, the “palma de cerra “ (wax palm). Fly to Medellin and stay at a luxurious hotel in the heart of Medellin’s salsa dancing and musical cultural hub, “Poblado”.

Day 4: Innovative city tour of Medellin: the city of eternal spring 

Begin the day visiting the illustrious Botanical Gardens and the iconic collection of bronze sculptures at Botero Plaza, the fascinating “Casa de la Memoria” museum, the indigenous site of Nutibara Hill, and the urban renewal project “Pueblito Paisa”. Leave the city driving towards the east to The Pristine Samana Watershed. Stay at a beautiful Spanish hacienda style hotel with a great view over the city and experience Colombia’s fine dining.

Day 5: Raft the Green River and bathe in a tropical rainforest waterfall

Take a comfortable, modern passenger van and drive one hour to the canyon of the Green River, “Rio Verde”, located in the east side of Medellin near the small town of San Francisco. Access the canyon by hiking for an hour while mules transport your gear. Join a professional team of multi-lingual raft and kayak guides on a self-supported river expedition on a pristine river in a tropical jungle paradise. Enjoy a captivating descent on exhilarating class IV whitewater.  The river is named after its clear, translucent verdant water. If it interests you, we can set you up with a fishing guide and equipment in this ideal place to fish. Visit waterfalls, lagoons, and secluded beaches ideal for wildlife and birds. More bird species than any other nation, nearly 2000, Colombia in terms of biodiversity is second only to Brazil in the world. At the end of the second day, spend the night at Eco Hotel, “Tierra de Agua” in Cocorna.

Day 6: Sail in the Caribbean Sea up the coast of Parque Tayrona, Santa Marta

Tayrona
Beautiful coastline of Tayoran Parque

Fly to Santa Marta, a coastal city known as “the Pearl of the Americas”. Upon arrival, sail up the coast to Chengue Bay and visit the Parque Tayrona via the sea, a route hardly anyone knows! From your private, chartered sailing boat, take in views of the Caribbean Sea and the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Experience Colombia’s delicious seafood (or other local cuisine) on a white-sand beach with a relaxing ambiance and Afro-Caribbean music. Enjoy a romantic stay aboard the sailboat under the stars or relax at a beautiful, beachside Habana.

Day 7: Snorkel, Sea Kayak, or Scuba Dive from your Chartered Sailboat

Explore the Caribbean coast by sea kayaking, snorkeling, or scuba diving from the sailboat. Continue to sail and explore the various bays and secluded beaches along the untouched, protected coastline. End you sailing trip at the Santa Marta marina, a drive to Taironaka Tourism Ecolodge and Archeology site on the Don Diego River (45 min). Enjoy delicious food prepared by chefs at the lodge’s restaurant.

Day 8: Visit with Arhuaco weavers at the Taironaka Tourism Ecolodge and Archeology Site; take in a journey along the coastline of Barranquilla and Cartagena

After a relaxing breakfast, receive the visit indigenous women weavers from the Arhuaco tribe and the TEJER Association. Discover their ancestral way of art and learn more about indigenous culture of the Sierra. In the afternoon, drive the Caribbean coastline from Santa Marta to Cartagena and visit Barranquilla along the way. Stay in a beautiful hotel in the picturesque, historic city center of Cartagena.  Enjoy world-class restaurants, shops, and the city’s famous nightlife.

Day 9: Cartagena City Tour, Beach Day, Fly Home.

Cartagena
Streets of Cartagena

On your final day, depart from historic city center after a brief city tour for a day of relaxation on Cartagena’s most beautiful white sand beach. Return to your hotel before departing to your final destination via Bogota. Your final day itinerary may change based on flight availability.

Best season

Colombia is a year-round destination, particularly along Medellin and the Caribbean coast, where dry, warm weather is prevalent for nearly the entire year. The dry season in Colombia is from December to March with wetter months in April to June and again in October and November. These weather variations are only noticeable for a traveler in the highlands, where nights become chilly in areas of higher altitude.

Transport & logistics

Your transport and logistics will be taken care of with the highest of standards to ensure you enjoy “smooth sailing”. All tours throughout the trip come with a reliable, personable multi-lingual guide and driver in a safe, comfortable passenger van or 4X4 vehicle. Airport pick-up and drop-off are included as well as any inbound personal transport needs. In the rare instance that your itinerary changes due to weather (on the river or ocean), our guides will adapt and provide you with a different, yet incredible, option.

Accommodation & meals

Colombians know how to relax and dine well and so will you by the end of this trip! During your city visits, stay in contemporary and comfortable hotels situated in cultural centers. In the mountainous coffee regions, enjoy Spanish-style haciendas. In the tropical jungle, experience hammock camping while on expedition. On the coast, experience luxurious eco-lodges.

To guarantee maximum authenticity, you will enjoy gourmet meals sourced from local ingredients. In the cities, enjoy the country’s best selection of traditional and contemporary cuisine in restaurants. On expeditions, enjoy meals prepared by a French chef or a local dishes prepared by Colombian chefs.

 

Recent Trip Reviews

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The real colombia - 9-day cultural adventure, Colombia - May 12 - May 22, 2017

Traveler: Catherine L. - Local specialist: Nathalie Clavel

Nathalie was awesome and she gave us everything we asked for and the price was perfect!!! We had an awesome time and a lot of that was KimKim making all our arrangements!! It is so nice to get off a plane tired and just see s sign with your name on it!!! Love it!! And even my friends said we will use KimKim again for future travels!! Thank you so much for a great trip!!!