Experience South America's best kept secret on this tour of Colombia

Discover South America's best-kept secret on this adventure through the verdant mountains and powdery beaches of Colombia. Discover Bogota's colonial heart, laze on palm-fringed stretches of Caribbean shoreline and meet the locals that make Colombia one of the world's friendliest countries. If you're looking for an adventure full of rhythm, music, colour and life, then jump onboard this trip and experience the best that Colombia has to offer.


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

Why we love this trip

  • Wander beneath the floral balconies of Cartagena, the World Heritage-listed town combining Carribean splendour and irresistable old-world charm

  • Tayrona National Park seems to have it all, from perfect beaches and mountain backdrops to wildlife-filled jungle. Laze in a hammock as dusky titi monkeys and red squirrels play in the treetops

  • Admire the colonial-era architecture of Barichara, considered by many Colombia's prettiest town

Is this trip right for you?

  • There's one night of camping – in the awesome Tayrona National Park. Be prepared for basic conditions in this jungle location. Sleeping in a hammock among the buzzing South American wild is sure to be well worth the lack of creature comforts.

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

Itinerary

Bienvenidos a Colombia! Welcome to Colombia. Cartagena is one of South America's most historic cities. The old city, particularly the inner walled town, is the main attraction – it's packed with beautiful churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. 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. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk in Cartagena after the meeting.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Your hotel in Cartagena doesn't provide hot water. Thankfully, this isn't much of a problem in the tropical heat on the coast.

Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip 7 days ago in Bogota on Best of Colombia (GGSSC).
Enjoy a free day getting to know Cartagena's Old City under your own steam. Shop for local handicrafts, head up to San Felipe de Barajas Castle (the largest of the city's fortresses), or perhaps head out of town to the Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. Instead of lava, this strange volcano emits a cream-like mud that is said to contain many healing properties. Enter for a wallow, then wash the muddy goodness off in the nearby lagoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cartagena - San Felipe de Barajas - COP20000
  • Cartagena - Day Trip to Playa Blanca - COP50000
  • Cartagena - Volcan de Lodo El Totumo - COP50000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a shared van early in the morning to Tayrona National Park, a protected plot of wilderness encircled by the massive Santa Maria mountain range on one side and picture-perfect Caribbean on the other. With the majority of the park only accessible by jungle trails, on arrival you'll need to walk for approximately one hour to tonight's accommodation: a sheltered camping area with hammocks. Small lockers are available for the safe storage of your valuables. Spend some time chilling out on the pure white sands, clambering along the boulders that strew the shore and taking dips in the warm waters. It can get quite cold here at night, so check the season and f necessary be sure to wear layers and bring a blanket or sleep liner. You'll also need a towel, insect repellent, a torch and small backpack for carrying your things in (your main luggage can be left at the park entrance).
Accommodation
  • Hammock (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tayrona National Park - Entrance fee
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Spend the day exploring Tayrona National Park or chilling out beachside before making the short drive into the Guachaca region. Your accommodation for the next night is a small, family-run hotel in a peaceful location. A range of walking trails start out from here, though the main attraction is the nearby beach. Just a short stroll from your hotel, this is the perfect place to kick back and relax seaside.
Accommodation
  • Family Posada (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a nice continental breakfast at the hotel, then spend the day relaxing. With the beach just a short walk away, you can come and go from the hotel quite conveniently. If you're feeling active, perhaps try some trekking. While the white sands and lovely clear waters of the beach are hard to beat, the hotel itself is also a nice place to spend some time, especially if the weather turns. You can take to one of the hammocks in the garden with a good book. In the evening afternoon transfer one hour to Santa Marta and catch an overnight bus (usually departs at 9:45pm) to San Gil (usually arriving at 11am).
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Following an overnight bus ride, arrive in San Gil (approximately 11am), Colombia's outdoors capital. Usually it is too early to check-in so drop your bags at reception and head out to town to stretch your legs and have some coffee in the local market. Rest up and relax in the afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Gil - Visit to local Market - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make the most of a free day here. For those looking to spend their time in San Gil a little more leisurely, there's the option of walking along the river, seeking out the town's best bakeries and cafes, or simply taking a seat in the town's 300-year-old plaza and watching local life meander by.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, pack a little bag including sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, towel and some cash, before hopping on a local bus to a town called Curiti (approximately 20minutes). The highlight attraction of Curiti is Pescaderito, a natural configuration of swimming holes and water slides formed from rock. It's a 45-minute walk from Curiti to the first pool but as this would be along a main road you will taking local tuc tucs to get there (15minutes), after which the pools only get nicer the further upriver you go.

In the afternoon transfer 45minutes to Barichara. With its quaint, cobbled streets, stuccoed houses and verdant backdrop of rolling hills, Barichara is widely considered the prettiest and best-preserved colonial-style village in all Colombia.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Gil - Pescaderito Swimming hole
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, set out on a two-hour walk along the Camino Real to the village of Guane. This ancient walkway, which was declared a national monument in 1988, was built by the indigenous Guane people many centuries ago. The trail starts off with a gentle descent down the rim of a canyon before crossing a valley filled with cacti. The walking is mostly downhill, and you'll likely spot a few fossils embedded in the stones that pave the trail en route. On arrival in Guane, refresh with a cooling drink before catching the local bus back to Barichara.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Barichara - Camino Real to Guane Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning (approximately 7am), transfer three hours to Bucaramanga for the short one hour flight to Bogota (usually departing around midday). Resting among emerald, mist-shrouded mountains, Colombia's cosmopolitan capital is certain to delight. Upon arrival your leader will take you for an orientation walk around the area of your hotel. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bogota - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, head up Cerro de Monserrate by cable car, where a 17th-century church overlooks the sprawling capital. Then meander through the colourful laneways of the city's historic heart, La Candelaria. Boasting a wealth of cosy cafes and colonial churches, this is a neighbourhood full of surprises. Next visit the Gold Museum to learn about the wealth this country once had. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bogota - Montserrate cable car
  • Bogota - Gold Museum
Optional Activities
  • Bogota - Museo Nacional - COP20000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Plane, Private vehicle, Local bus, Overnight bus

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights), Hammock (1 night), Overnight bus (1 night)

Included activities

  • Cartagena - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
  • Tayrona National Park - Entrance fee
  • San Gil - Pescaderito Swimming hole
  • Barichara - Camino Real to Guane Hike
  • Bogota - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
  • Bogota - Montserrate cable car
  • Bogota - Gold Museum

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Explore Colombia trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 3 (Tayrona National Park), 4 (Guachaca region) and 5 (Overnight bus) where you will be in shared accommodation.

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

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 Explore Colombia trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 15 reviews in the last year.

Explore Colombia, April 2017

Michael Motter

Explore Colombia, April 2017

Lazaris Fotoulla