Specialists
Reviews for The Colombian Project
4.9

The Colombian Project

The Colombian Project was an idea to bring our passion, love, and knowledge of Colombia to the world. After 4 years of investigation and development, The Colombian Project was born back in July 2013. With over twenty years of combined travel experience in Colombia, our growth since then has been nothing short of remarkable.

The Colombian Project is an independent specialist nature, adventure, culture, history, and archaeology tourism tour operator that prides itself on its experiences, most of which are unlike anything on the market.

Our sole aim is to provide cutting edge experiences with excellent service, quality, and comfort, all delivered to the specification of our clients, in a way that ensures that the cultures and environments that we visit are preserved and sustained for the future. We tend to exceed expectations!

We are unique in Colombia.

Featured trips & expertise

Flowers growing in the window of a typical colonial house in Cartagena
Cartagena, Flower Festival, and the Colombian Amazon - 11 Days

Colombia's heritage extends from the shores of the Caribbean to the rainforests of the Amazon. This unique 11-day itinerary hinges on an event which takes place in Medellín every August: the Batalla de Flores, or "Festival of the Flowers," is one of the biggest spectacles in the entire country. So set aside some time at the end of summer and prepare for an excursion that you won't soon forget.

Taking a break with a stunning view
Trekking in Colombia's Zona Cafetera - 6 Days

In this itinerary, you'll embark on a high-altitude 4-day trek into Los Nevados National Park. You'll visit a working coffee farm and enjoy the unique scenery of the Páramo Eco-system here. While many travelers only see the Cocora Valley and Salento on a quick day trip, you'll get to know Colombia's Zona Cafetera from an in-depth perspective over the course of your 6 days in the region.

Paramillo del Quindío, PNN Los Nevados, Colombia
Colombia's Urban Cities & Zona Cafetera Trek - 15 Days

This itinerary starts and ends in two of Colombia's most exciting cities, the capital of Bogotá and the "city of the eternal spring," Medellín. In between, you'll embark on a high-altitude trek into Los Nevados National Park. In Bogotá, you'll get to know the food scene of the city before heading to the Coffee Region. You'll visit a working coffee farm and set off on a four-day trek through the central Andes. After your trek, you'll relax in the thermal pools outside of Manizales, with the still-active Nevado del Ruiz volcano as a backdrop. Then it's off to Medellín, where you'll get to know this dynamic city as you ride its Metrocable network of gondolas.

Valle de Cocora, Colombia
Colombia's Ancient and Modern Cultures - 12 Days

This all-encompassing itinerary combines Colombia's popular attractions with some roads less traveled. You'll begin your journey on the Caribbean coast. This leg will take you to Tayrona National Park, and the colonial fortress of Cartagena. Then fly to Medellín, and visit El Peñon de Guatape before heading to Colombia's mountainous Coffee Region. Here you'll hike, mountain bike, and birdwatch through sub-Andean forests. Next it's off to the archeological site of Tierradentro, with its ancient underground burial chambers before ending your stay in the colonial town of Popayán.

Paramillo del Quindío, PNN Los Nevados, Colombia
Colombia's Urban Cities & Zona Cafetera Trek - 11 Days

This itinerary starts and ends in two of Colombia's most exciting cities, the capital of Bogotá and the "city of the eternal spring," Medellín. In between, you'll embark on a high-altitude trek into Los Nevados National Park. In Bogotá, you'll get to know the food scene of the city before heading to the Coffee Region. You'll visit a working coffee farm and set off on a four-day trek through the central Andes. After your trek, you'll relax in the thermal pools outside of Manizales, with the still-active Nevado del Ruiz volcano as a backdrop. Then it's off to Medellín, where you'll get to know this dynamic city as you ride its Metrocable network of gondolas.

Valle de Cocora, Colombia
Colombia Nature and Culture Tour - 10 Days

This all-encompassing itinerary combines Colombia's popular attractions with some roads less traveled. You'll begin your journey in the "city of the eternal spring," Medellín, and visit El Peñon de Guatape, a landmark granite rock jutting hundreds of feet out of the ground. If you're a caffeine lover, get ready to visit Colombia's mountainous Coffee Region. You'll embark from this area and hike, mountain bike, and birdwatch through the adjacent sub-Andean forests. Next it's off to the indigenous archeological site of Tierradentro, with its ancient underground burial chambers. Learn about the civilization who built them, then end your stay in the southern colonial town of Popayán.

Recent Trip Reviews for The Colombian Project

Great itineraries for two weeks in colombia, Colombia - Aug 18 - Sep 1, 2018

Traveler: Carol L. - Local specialist: Juan Ortiz

Hi Juan, Sorry I have not been able to write a review before but I came back to a great pile of work with a deadline and I don’t like to miss deadlines and then I have been in hospital for an operation on my leg. Anyway now I have some time to devote to some feedback for you. The tour was great we only have few pointers to help with improvement :
1) I think it would help all travellers to have their internal flights, times, flight numbers and booking references would be really useful. We... read more

Hi Juan, Sorry I have not been able to write a review before but I came back to a great pile of work with a deadline and I don’t like to miss deadlines and then I have been in hospital for an operation on my leg. Anyway now I have some time to devote to some feedback for you. The tour was great we only have few pointers to help with improvement :
1) I think it would help all travellers to have their internal flights, times, flight numbers and booking references would be really useful. We have never done a tour before where we haven’t had those in advance of the trip.
2) It would be great if travellers attention could be drawn to last minute hotel changes. Our hotels in both Villa de Leyva and Medellin were changed and yes you did let us know but only in the small print in the tour schedule and contacts document it wasn’t on the trip plan. And some of the guides were not aware of the changes.
3) It would be good if the guides/ drivers knew where the hotel was we had 4 instances where the guides didn’t know. It all worked out in the end but it would have been easier for them all round if they had had better information or admitted they didn’t know and got more information.

Casa platypus in Bogotá was a really nice hotel,rooms were small and a little noisy but a great location and really pleasant. The guide in Bogotá and Villa de Leyva, German was very knowledgeable and good company.

The tour to Zipaquirá was excellent and the tour around Villa de Leyva was very good and had extra things added in.

The hotel in Villa de Leyva, Plazuela de San Augustin was excellent. Lovely room, great location and excellent breakfast.

The Hotel in Salento, the Salento Real was in a great location and was very pleasant with an excellent breakfast buffet. The driver from the airport, Alex was very good if a little confused as to where we were going.
The coffee tour in Salento / cocoa valley was excellent and far exceeded our expectations. Hilary was an excellent guide and made the experience both fun and interesting.
Dawhyni was an excellent guide for our walk in the coccora valley, he was very knowledgable about birds and animals and the surroundings and the walk was really lovely. He gave us excellent restaurant recommendations too.
The Hacinda Venezia was really beautiful and a wonderful place to stay. The guide to the PNN, Milton was again very knowledgable and a fantastic guide. The tour was amazing and a real highlight of the holiday.
The Hotel in Medellin was really very nice and in a really good location. The staff were very helpful although very worried about you going anywhere on your own. We were really dubious about the two tours we were doing in Medellin but they both turned out to be great. Thank you so much for your advice. Carlos Palau was quite a character and the guide who took us on the innovations tour, whose name escapes me right now, was really enthusiastic and knowledgable about architecture and social improvement.
Villa Maria in Tayrona was againa beautiful hotel with amazing food and really friendly staff. The walking trails within the hotel once you found them were really nice if a little tricky to follow and the food here was absolutely excellent.
We loved the walk with the guide Jaruen to Pueblito. He was really knowledgable about birds and history and knew some lovely secret beaches.
Hotel Alfiz in Cartegna was delightful and in an excellent location. The tour of Cartegna was really good the guide had very good historical knowledge.

Thank you very much for organising the tour and making all the suggestions that you did
Regards
Carol lewis

Colombia’s top 5 bird-watching destinations, Colombia - Aug 19 - Aug 23, 2018

Traveler: Stephen N. - Local specialist: Juan Ortiz

We had a busy visit to Colombia and just time for a day's birding from Medellin. We were put in touch with Juan Ortiz who was great. He made some great suggestions but told us frankly what was going to work with our flights, and what no. In the end we went birding in two parks above Medellin with Ivan Lau. It was a great day, we saw 50 different species of bird and Ivan was incredibly knowledgeable and patient.

What especially impressed me is that Juan and Ivan offered us more... read more

We had a busy visit to Colombia and just time for a day's birding from Medellin. We were put in touch with Juan Ortiz who was great. He made some great suggestions but told us frankly what was going to work with our flights, and what no. In the end we went birding in two parks above Medellin with Ivan Lau. It was a great day, we saw 50 different species of bird and Ivan was incredibly knowledgeable and patient.

What especially impressed me is that Juan and Ivan offered us more experiences than we had the time or energy for, all including in the price. They are real enthusiasts. And I learned a lot about the culture and history of Venezuela and Colombia during the day.

Very happy,
Stephen and Mary

Juan Ortiz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Stephen,

Thanks so much for confiding in us for your birding trip! It was our absolute pleasure to have taken you birding around Medellin, maybe next time you'll come for longer to see some more of Colombia's spectacular birds. I'm glad that we could have added in another site as making the most of your time is what it's all about. If you need anything at all regarding the lists, birds , sites etc then just let us know!

All the best,

Juan

Colombia birding tour excluding santa marta, Colombia - Jul 15 - Jul 30, 2018

Traveler: Mike W. - Local specialist: Juan Ortiz

The trip was fabulous. the guide (Alejandro Pinto) was superb. He has excellent knowledge of the local birds and was happy and helpful throughout despite being ill. The most memorable part was staying in Tatama. An excellent place. Good food and great hospitality.

Juan Ortiz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hello Mike, great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to write . Alejandro is certainly one of the best birding guides in Colombia and made all the difference during this trip. Tatama is a GEM, truly wonderful! It was great to have been able to share some of the trip with what was a fantastic group visiting some great locations and seeing some great birds. Adding to my life list was also an added bonus! :-)
All the best on your future birding adventures Mike, I hope that we can keep in touch. Juan

Group departure - birdwatching in colombia's andean ranges & magdalena valley - 16 days, Colombia - Jul 14 - Jul 30, 2018

Traveler: Karen H. - Local specialist: Juan Ortiz

The Colombian Project’s Eastern, Central, and Western Andean Ranges and Valleys 16-day tour exceeded my expectations! We visited a variety of birding areas, so the tour was a great introduction and sampling of the birds and birding in Colombia. Our bird guide, Alejandro, was energetic, enthusiastic, and located many hard to find birds.
I enjoyed dining at a variety of establishments, many of which included local fare, and staying in a variety of accommodation types, all of which were... read more

The Colombian Project’s Eastern, Central, and Western Andean Ranges and Valleys 16-day tour exceeded my expectations! We visited a variety of birding areas, so the tour was a great introduction and sampling of the birds and birding in Colombia. Our bird guide, Alejandro, was energetic, enthusiastic, and located many hard to find birds.
I enjoyed dining at a variety of establishments, many of which included local fare, and staying in a variety of accommodation types, all of which were clean and comfortable. Although there were a couple of long rides in between destinations, the large and comfortable van with big windows allowed for great viewing of the beautiful landscapes along the way.
I’m an avid birder and traveler, and this is one of my top experiences thus far - thanks to the Colombian Project’s planning, experience, and personnel!

Juan Ortiz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Karen!
Thanks so much for your kind words, it makes us VERY happy to know that you had a great time birding here in Colombia - it was also fantastic to share a portion of the trip with you all, we saw some great species and places along the way. All the best on your future travels and do let us know if you'd like to clear up some more Colombian endemics in the future, we are here to help!!
All the best,

Juan

Colombia birding tour excluding santa marta, Colombia - Jul 15 - Jul 30, 2018

Traveler: Colin W. - Local specialist: Juan Ortiz

Overall a great experience with very sociable and helpful guide, Aljandro really knows his birds.
I would have preferred to see more owls, nightjars and raptors but the forrest birds made for a superb trip.
Tx again KimKim

Juan Ortiz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Colin! It was great to meet you and spend some time with you birding around Colombia. I've taken on board your comments, they're very important to us and we'll see how we can adjust our itinerary (I also haven't forgotten your comment regarding an additional day at Rio Blanco) to be more inclusive with these groups of species you've mentioned. Can't wait to see the photos, all the best and good birding!!

Juan

Planning your trip to colombia, Colombia - Jun 16 - Jun 20, 2018

Traveler: Staci E. - Local specialist: Juan Ortiz

I had a great time in Colombia. Angel was a remarkable guide who was able to cater to our group in an expert way. Each driver was skilled and they were fun to talk with. The Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta was beautiful and all of the hotels that Juan recommended were great.

Juan Ortiz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Staci,

We're VERY happy to know that you had a great time in Colombia - Angel is certainly a great guy (and guide) and the Sierra Nevada is one of our favourite places, a truly unique place on this planet - it was a pleasure to be able to share it with you and help you plan your adventure. Until the next time!! Best, Juan

Dèjour

Trip to colombia, Colombia - May 17 - May 24, 2018

Traveler: Dèjour O. - Local specialist: Juan Ortiz

Dear KimKim,

Please update the rating scale. Only having five stars from poor to great does not allow me to rate how I genuinely want to. And my words do not provide justice to my overall experience in planning and booking my trip with the services I received from my local specialist.

In the past few years, I faced many tragedies. The first one was dealing with my oldest brother's suicide. Then I encountered looking after my grandfather for six years and witnessing him die with his... read more

Dear KimKim,

Please update the rating scale. Only having five stars from poor to great does not allow me to rate how I genuinely want to. And my words do not provide justice to my overall experience in planning and booking my trip with the services I received from my local specialist.

In the past few years, I faced many tragedies. The first one was dealing with my oldest brother's suicide. Then I encountered looking after my grandfather for six years and witnessing him die with his battle with cancer. After that, I lost the relationship with my mother and two youngest brothers. And finally, I endured a breakup with my ex-partner.

Traveling has become therapy for me. Each time that I have gone outside of the United States, I flew with others who knew how to communicate fluently in Spanish. And going to Columbia by myself and barely knowing and able to speak Spanish, I knew was going to be a challenge.

On May 11, 2018, I contacted KimKim to plan a trip to Medellín, Columbia. My travel dates were May 17, 2018, to May 24, 2018. No one responded to me, and I urgently reached out to KimKim again, on May 14, 2018. Finally, later on, that same day, Juan Ortiz, my local specialist responded.

Juan organized this last minute trip and assisted me 24/7. He was honest, polite, and upfront with me. ATTENTION KimKim, Juan deserves a trip on the house for going over and beyond serving and making me a fulfilled and happy customer.

My four-day adventure started on Friday when I went on the Pablo Escobar tour. I was mind blown by Carlos, who is one of the two remaining officers that served during the years that Pablo was alive. Saturday, I met my main and magnificent tour guide, Marcelo. That day I went on an Innovation tour of Medellín. Medellín has so many environmental and collected community organizing that I want to create in my hometown, Bethlehem, also known as the Lehigh Valley, in Pennsylvania. Sunday, I went to the Rio Claro Reserve. The Rio Claro Reserve brought me up and also down. It brought me up because it is an environment where I can see myself losing myself and escape from the madness of the world. Rio Claro brought me down because there is a need for new zoning laws to be reinforced. It will be devasting for Rio Claro to be taken over by the industrial invasion. I did not finish my tour small. I completed my journey with a big bang, on Monday and going to Guatapé. Guatapé was breathtaking, and no one has lived until they visit this beautiful "peace on earth." The last two days I was left to explore and have some me time.

KimKim, if there is a way to update your rating scale with all of the stars in the universe it will be a tremendous help. Then the range would be more accurate. Visiting Medellín, Columbia, alone was nerve wrecking. Notably, having uninformed people plant negative seeds into my head about going alone and the dangers that I might encounter. Everyone that I met including the Conquest 33 Hotel representatives treated me like family. Thus far, this has been the most memorable trip I have experienced. On June 1, 2020, please be my travel agency to plan my trip to South Africa.

Greatly appreciative and humbled,

Dèjour

Juan Ortiz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dejour,
Thank you for your deeply felt letter I am at the same time humbled (and I speak for both myself and our team) to have been part of a journey that has given you joy during a period of heartache. I am glad and proud that your experience in this country, one that itself is going through a period of change and reconciliation, has provided part of the therapy that you were looking for. It was our absolute pleasure and anything you need here or whatever just let us know. Take care of yourself and keep discovering. J

Colombia andes, amazon & caribbean, Colombia - Aug 14 - Aug 25, 2017

Traveler: maria t. - Local specialist: Juan Ortiz

The quality of the tours was amazing. Everywhere we went, we had dedicated drivers. The only thing I would change is the hotel in Cartagena. It felt a little run down and dirty. Otherwise, everything else was perfect! My favorite stay was in La Jorara.

Juan & his team made themselves available 24 hours a day, even when we had a flight delay.

Juan Ortiz, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Maria,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this! We're so happy that it all worked out as you wanted and we've taken on board your comments on the hotel in Cartagena - we'll be feeding that back to them to see what can be done. I'll also let La Jorara know the good news! In the meantime it makes us very happy to know that your Colombia adventure was everything you wanted , it was a pleasure being able to put this together for you and Michael, please send him my regards.

Until the next time!

All the best

Juan