Begin your adventure in Colombia's Zona Cafetera coffee region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Cocorá Valley and its towering wax palms await. Then make your way to the Caribbean coast and the beaches of Parque Nacional Tayrona and learn about the Kogi people, who have lived in harmony with their environment for four centuries.

Highlights

  • Visit a working coffee farm and sample Colombia's best-loved export
  • Spend a day horseback riding through the mountains of the coffee region
  • Hike to the Pueblito Chairama ruins in Tayrona National Park
  • Go sea kayaking around Isla Barú off the Coast of Cartagena

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Bogotá - Flight to Zona Cafetera - Coffee Finca Pereira
Day 2 Hiking in Valle de Cocora - Explore Salento Salento
Day 3 Horseback Riding in Zona Cafetera Salento
Day 4 Flight to Santa Marta - Transfer to Tayrona Park Tayrona
Day 5 Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona - Pueblito Ruins Tayrona
Day 6 Transfer from Santa Marta to Cartagena ( optional PM city tour) Cartagena
Day 7 Sea kayaking Cartagena
Day 8 Depart Cartagena  

Day 1: Bogotá - Flight to Zona Cafetera - Coffee Finca

The Zona Cafetera
The Zona Cafetera

Today, after a full breakfast, transfer from your hotel to Bogotá's El Dorado Airport. You'll then catch a flight to either the Armenia or Pereira airports in Colombia's Zona Cafetera.

Upon arrival, you'll transfer to an organic, working coffee finca (farm) in this bucolic region. You'll immerse yourself in every step of the production process. Adding to the authentic experience is an overnight stay and even more demonstrations about this nation's legacy industry (Colombia is the third highest producer of coffee beans in the world). Yes, these do include frequent tastings.

Day 2: Hiking in Valle de Cocora - Explore Salento

The wax palms of the Valle de Cocora
The wax palms of the Valle de Cocora

Wake up with a hearty breakfast. From here, a car will pick you up and drive you to a trail in the Valle de Cocora, outside the historic town of Salento. As you make your way to the trail, you’ll find yourself in view of the distinctive Quindío wax palms, which are among the highest trees in the world and reach a height of up to 70 meters (230 feet). This protected cloud forest in the Andes is peppered with these soaring palms, which just happen to be Colombia's national tree.

The Valle de Cocora offers hiking opportunities second to none. The loop here takes you along dirt tracks through tropical forests and streams and up to lookouts providing some sweeping views. After the hike, head back to the colorful streets of Salento and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Despite Salento's rise in tourism (mostly backpackers) over the past decade, this magical place retains an old-world charm with colorful Paisa (Antioquian) architecture, street musicians, and an impressive range of handicrafts. 

Hiking time: 3 Hours (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 3: Horseback Riding in Zona Cafetera

Into the Valle de Cocora
Into the Valle de Cocora

Begin your day with a four-hour horseback riding tour. You'll enjoy panoramic vistas and pass along waterfalls before visiting a working coffee farm for a quick tour. 

You'll have the remainder of the day to enjoy the town of Salento as you see fit. Maybe head up to the mirador (lookout) above town and watch the sunset over Salento and the Quindío River Valley. Then enjoy a nice dinner in town.

Day 4: Flight to Santa Marta - Transfer to Tayrona Park

Colombia's Caribbean coast
Colombia's Caribbean coast

After breakfast, a car will pick you up and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Santa Marta, on Colombia's Caribbean coast. Upon arrival, you'll drive to the area just outside the entrance of Tayrona National Park where you'll stay overnight. 

You'll have rest of the afternoon to relax and enjoy your hotel, located on a peaceful spot overlooking the Caribbean Sea at the foot of the mountains. Wander down to the nearby beach, which has a beautiful sunset view.

Day 5: Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona - Pueblito Ruins

The ruins at Pueblito, in Parque Tayrona
The ruins at Pueblito, in Parque Tayrona

Leave your accommodation bright and early for a full day of hiking through the jungles of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (Tayrona National Natural Park). Tayrona Park is a protected area covering the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta foothills as they meet the Caribbean coast. Your destination is the archaeological ruins of Pueblito Chairama.

Relax and enjoy Pueblito—an archaeological site reached by forest trails. These Pre-Columbian ruins were home to the ancient Tairona people who once inhabited the area. Continue on to the pristine beach of Cabo de San Juan for a well-deserved dip in the sea before enjoying lunch. Afterward, walk back to meet your driver at the Park entrance and return to your hotel.

Day 6: Transfer from Santa Marta to Cartagena ( optional PM city tour)

Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia

Now it's time to transfer a few hours overland to Cartagena. Upon arrival, you'll enjoy a walking tour of this well-preserved Spanish-colonial fortress city. This will include breezing through the old neighborhoods of San Diego and Santo Domingo, with stops at landmarks like the Plaza de los Coches, Plaza de la Aduana, Parque Bolivar, and Plaza de Santa Teresa.  The rest of the afternoon and evening you can relax as you see fit, perhaps discovering the wide array of restaurants, Cuban & Caribbean-themed bars, and more.

Day 7: Sea kayaking around Isla Baru

Kayaking the Caribbean
Kayaking the Caribbean

This morning you’ll embark on a kayaking trip around Isla Barú, one of the gems of Colombia’s Caribbean. Located just south of the city of Cartagena, Barú was once part of the peninsula but is now separated by the narrow Canal del Dique, which runs inland and eventually connects to the Magdalena river. You’ll be exploring this canal and its attendant flora and fauna. The mangroves here are home to manatees, turtles, capybaras, and caimans. Some bird species you might encounter include hummingbirds, herons, and the yellow warbler.

Spend the remainder of the day relaxing. The best spot for this is also on Barú at Playa Blanca. This is generally regarded as Cartagena’s most beautiful beach, and the crystalline waters and soft white sands make a perfect spot to while away the afternoon hours.

Day 8: Depart Cartagena

Street in old town Cartagena
Street in old town Cartagena

It's time to say farewell to Colombia! After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy your last moments of Cartagena in a patio café. Or, if you haven't done so yet—take a walk around the city with an English-speaking guide to gain a new perspective of the city from a local. 

A tour like this covers Cartagena's cobbled maze of vividly colorful houses and ancient squares dating from the 16th century. Meander through the colonial neighborhoods of San Diego and Santo Domingo while learning about important historical sites like Saint Philip's Castle and Museo del Oro. Perhaps pay a visit to the Palace of the Inquisition in Plaza de Bolívar, which was once the seat of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and is now a macabre museum. 

A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home.