Experience the beauty and vibrancy of enigmatic Colombia

Head into the serene highlands of Colombia's famed coffee region and discover the sweeter, softer side of this much misunderstood country. Learn how to roast the perfect blend during a tour of a working coffee plantation, be beguiled by the laidback pace of charming Salento and spend some time getting acquainted with the sophisticated air and raucous nightlife of Medellin. Then trade the country's lush interior for its coastal spoils and wind the adventure up with a spell in oh-so-romantic Cartagena – the perfect end to this exceptional Colombian adventure.


Start
Bogota, Colombia
Finish
Cartagena, Colombia
Country
Colombia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGSS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Bogota is the treasure trove of Colombia's rich history. Explore its museums and galleries at your leisure, then tour its excellent Paloquemao Market

  • Embark on a spectacular guided hike through the Cocora Valley, home to hummingbirds and the world's tallest palm trees

  • Spend a couple of days learning about the world's favourite bean during a stay on a traditional coffee estancia deep in Colombia's coffee country

  • Discover the new face of Medellin, a city offering scenic cable-car rides, world-class cuisine and a pulsating nightlife

  • Explore the cobbled alleys of Cartagena, a World Heritage-listed town that combines Caribbean splendour with irresistable old-world charm

Is this trip right for you?

  • The Cocora Valley hike is quite rigorous, so you'll need to be fit and have sturdy walking shoes. If you'd rather relax, you're free to opt out of this activity and soak up the scenery at your leisure.

  • Colombia enjoys a stable year-round climate, but it can get particularly hot and humid in the north. Be sure to drink plenty of water and wear adequate sun protection, especially in Cartagena on the coast.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Colombia. With a wealth of cosy cafes, interesting museums and old churches, cosmopolitan Bogota is full of surprises. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where your group meeting will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Afterwards, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around your hotel. You're then free to explore as you please. Perhaps take the gondola up the Cerro de Monserrate, where a 17th-century church overlooks the town. Museo Nacional is a good option if you're interested in learning about life in Colombia before and after the Spanish conquest.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bogota - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
Optional Activities
  • Bogota - Montserrate cable car - COP17000
  • Bogota - Museo Nacional - COP20000
  • Bogota - Gold Museum - COP3000
  • Bogota - Bike tour - COP25000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Enjoy a free morning in Bogota. Around lunch time take a short flight (1 hour) to Armenia and transfer (approximately 40min) to the beautiful village of Salento. Take the time to stroll through its quaint streets and admire the colours of 'paisa' architecture at its best. For some local food, trout is the way to go. There are many ways to enjoy it, but it's most often served with a rich, garlicky cheese sauce. Colombia's national sport, tejo, is a popular pastime in Salento. Think bocce with gunpowder! If you're game, you'll have the option to visit the local tejo hall and give it a go.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Salento - Tejo game - USD1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by jeep out to the magnificent Cocora Valley, home of the towering wax palm (Colombia's national tree). Spend the morning walking among the region's incredible scenery, perhaps hiking up to Acaime Reserve where colourful hummingbirds feed. The hike to Acaime (approximately 5 hours) is quite strenuous, with some steep and slippery sections, so you'll need good walking shoes, as well as plenty of water and snacks. A generous boxed lunch will be provided. If you'd rather take it easy, you can explore the valley as you please, then take a jeep back to town. Later, travel deep into Colombia's coffee region for a two-night stay in a traditional coffee estancia, where you'll have a unique opportunity to learn first hand about this wonderful bean.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Thanks to its tropical altitude and fertile volcanic soil, Colombia is one of the world’s largest coffee producers. You’ll get to know this addictive little bean a whole lot better on a guided tour of the coffee plantation and processing centre. Dig into the history of the plant, learning the inside story of the industry that's long buoyed the country's economy. See how the beans are grown and harvested, processed, dried, roasted and ground, and then sample firsthand what all the fuss is about. Try different types of coffee grains and get a lesson on preparing different types of coffees, finishing it all off with a steaming cup of freshly brewed joe. Afterwards, relax amid the estancia's beautiful surrounds of sloping green hills and valleys.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will travel via comfortable public bus (approximately 6 hours) to Medellin. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk of this beautiful city. Along the way, learn a little more about the town's interesting recent history. Having spent the 1980s and 90s with an international reputation as one of the world's most dangerous cities (thanks to Pablo Escobar's infamous drug cartel), Medellin has turned itself around to become one of the most exciting cities in South America. And with some of the country's finest museums, parks and architecture (as well as a much safer and comfortable atmosphere now) it's easy to see why its popularity is increasing.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Medellin - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Medellin - Metrocable - COP1900
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make an early start and join your leader on a morning visit to Plaza Minorista Market. The market is divided into distinct areas: flowers; fruit, vegetables, and herbs; and meat and fish. Take the opportunity to buy some exotic local fruits like feijoa, araza, guanabana, maracuya and lulo – many of which are seldom found outside of Colombia.
After lunch, enjoy breathtaking views of Medellin and its surrounds during a cable car ride up to Santa Elena, a beautiful town nestled in the mountains just east of the city. Sail up the mountain over brick houses, watching as the corrugated metal roofs give way to vistas of green valleys and forested peaks. Thanks to the elevation, things are usually a little cooler up here. Santa Elena is also known for its extravagant arrangements of colourful flowers, called silletas, which the local farmers are fond of strapping to their backs and parading through the city come August's annual flower festival. Back in Medellin, you might want to search out one of the city's lively salsa bars (many count Medellin's nightlife as the best in Colombia).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Medellin - Visit to Parque Arví by Cable Car
  • Visita to Plaza Minorista Market Medellin
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day getting to know Medellin. Visit the Museo de Antioquia to see some of Botero's famous works or get more modern at the beautiful Museo de Arte Moderno. Alternatively, venture further afield on an optional day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia. This 16th-century township has maintained much of its colonial-era charm, its narrow streets and leafy central plazas providing plenty of places to relax away from the midday heat. The Bridge of the West, Metropolitan Cathedral and House of Two Palms are certain to impress, and the plaza is also home to a daily market where vendors sell various varieties of locally-grown Tamarind product (be sure to try a few samples). One of the greatest pleasures here is simply pottering through the town's cobblestone streets and taking in the local scene.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Pablo Escobar Tour - COP50000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Fly to Cartagena (approximately 1 hour). Cartagena is one of South America's most historic cities. The leader will take you on a short orientation walk around the hotel. Afterwards, we recommend you explore the old city by yourselves, particularly the inner walled town, is the main attraction – it's packed with beautiful churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions. This town, founded in 1533 by Spaniard Don Pedro de Heredia, was a major centre of early Spanish settlement in the Americas. Its gold and silver exports made it a popular target for pirates, and its walled fort (now on UNESCO's World Heritage list) was built to protect both shipping and the slave trade. Perhaps visit San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the largest of the fortresses, or head out of town for a mud bath at Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. The nearby group of tiny coral islands and stunning expanses of Playa Blanca (White Beach) reveal the hidden beauty of Colombia's Caribbean coast. Maybe end this adventure people-watching in the heart of Getsemaní, Plaza de la Trinidad, where kids play football and singers strum their guitars.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
Optional Activities
  • Cartagena - San Felipe de Barajas - COP20000
  • Cartagena - Volcan de Lodo El Totumo - COP50000
  • Cartagena - Day Trip to Playa Blanca - COP50000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your hotel in Cartagena doesn't provide hot water, which thankfully isn't a problem due to the tropical heat on the coast.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may be continuing on in Cartagena to start the second part of their trip – Best of Colombia (GGSSC).

Meals

8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Plane, Local bus, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights), Coffee Estancia (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Bogota - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
  • Medellin - Orientation walk
  • Medellin - Visit to Parque Arví by Cable Car
  • Visita to Plaza Minorista Market Medellin
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood

Dates & availability

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Important notes

PASSPORT:
We require full passport information at time of booking in order to purchase domestic flights which are included in the trip.

START TIME:
This trip starts with a Welcome Meeting at 2pm. If you are unable to find a suitable flight it is possible to book additional nights at the joining accommodation.

FINISH TIME:
There are no activities on the final day & you are free to depart anytime.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 3 & 4 (Coffee Estancia) where you will be in shared accommodation.
 

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Cafe Colombia trips score an average of 4.75 out of 5 based on 68 reviews in the last year.

Cafe Colombia, May 2017

Katherine Dailey

Cafe Colombia, May 2017

Jasmin Eisenring