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

Bienvenidos and welcome to incredible Colombia, a country of surprising contrasts and sultry rhythms. Explore this enigmatic region on Intrepid's Complete Colombia tour, visiting the thriving capital Bogota, learning about local production on a lush coffee plantation, strolling cobbled streets of quaint colonial towns, soaking up the atmosphere of the 'City of Eternal Spring' and experiencing spectacular scenery in Tayrona National Park. Whether it be thrilling adventures, delicious cuisine, wildlife spotting, or just some rest and relaxation, Colombia has something for everyone.


There will be significant changes to the Complete Colombia itinerary in 2017.

In order to improve our trips we regularly review feedback from past travellers and our local operations team. As a result of that process, we've decided to extend the overall trip duration to 19 days and add new destinations in San Gil and Barichara. In order to accommodate this change, Villa de Leyva has been removed from the itinerary.

We will also spend two nights at a traditional estancia in Colombia's coffee region (replacing two nights in Salento). Your stay will include a tour of the coffee plantation and processing centre, as well as a lesson on preparing different types of coffee. We will stay an extra night in both Medellin and Bogota, so you have more time to explore these cities.

The 2017 itinerary will operate as follows:

Day 1 Bogota
Day 2 Salento
Day 3 Cocora Valley Hike / Coffee Estancia
Day 4 Coffee Estancia
Days 5-7 Medellin
Days 8-9 Cartagena
Day 10 Tayrona National Park
Day 11 Guachaca Region
Day 12 Guachaca Region / Overnight Bus
Days 13-14 San Gil
Days 15-16 Barichara
Days 17-19 Bogota

Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
804kg pp per trip


  • Explore the cosmopolitan streets of Bogota, Colombia's charming capital
  • Spend time in Colombia's picturesque coffee-growing heartlands
  • Visit the charming 'City of Eternal Spring'
  • Experience wild, remote beauty and incredible wildlife in Tayrona National Park
  • Relax among Leyva's winding whitewashed villas and colonial cobblestone plazas


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 2 pm. 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 in downtown Bogota. 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.

Notes: 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception.
Make an early start and join your leader on a morning visit to Paloquemao Market. The market is divided into distinct areas: flowers; fruit, vegetables, and herbs; and meat and fish. Take the opportunity to sample some exotic local fruits like feijoa, araza, guanabana, maracuya and lulo – many of which are seldom found outside of Colombia. Later, take a short flight to Armenia and transfer 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.
Take a jeep out to the magnificent Cocora Valley, home of the towering wax palm, the national tree of Colombia. Spend the morning walking among the incredible scenery. You will hike up to Acaime Reserve where colourful hummingbirds come to 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, return to Salento, where's there's time for further exploration. Take the chance to visit a tejo hall and try Colombia's beloved national sport – it's like bocce with gunpowder! Enjoy dinner with the group in a local restaurant.
Today you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at Colombian coffee production. Head out of town to the Jesus Martin coffee plantation and processing centre. Here you'll be taken through what happens at farm level, learning a thing or two about the grain itself and the hard work that goes into its harvesting (approximately 3–4 hours). Then you'll be shown in depth how the beans are processed in the small factory (approximately 2 hours). Lastly, at the store, you'll see the final product, richly aromatic, and enjoy a tasting. Kick back, relax and enjoy a cup or two.
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.
Enjoy a free day to explore Medellin. A great short trip is to take a cable car to St Elena, a beautiful town just east of Medellin. It's nestled up in the side of the mountains. The town is known for its immense arrangements of local flowers (silletas). It's usually a little cooler up there, thanks to the elevation. Alternatively, venture further afield with an optional day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia. This 16th-century township boasts some of the best-preserved colonial buildings in the region. Here the Bridge of the West, Metropolitan Cathedral and the House of Two Palms are sure to impress.
Today we fly to Cartagena (approx 1 hour). Cartagena is one of South America's most historic cities. The old town area, particularly the inner walled town, is the main attraction – it's packed with beautiful churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions. 
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.
Enjoy a free day in Cartagena. Wander the old city, enjoy Caribbean views from the impressive city walls, or perhaps enjoy a drink in one of the many bars and cafes. Visit San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the largest of the fortresses built to protect the city. Alternatively, venture out of town to the Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. This strange volcano emits a cream-like mud instead of lava, and you can take a bath in it. The mud is said to contain many healing properties. There's a lagoon nearby you can take a dip in afterwards to wash.
Take a shared van to Tayrona National Park. Discover its unreal landscapes, with the massive Santa Maria mountain range plunging dramatically down to the Caribbean Sea. Wild and untouched beaches are scattered along the coastline, bound by sea-sculptured boulders and reachable only by jungle trails. On arrival, you will walk (approximately 1 hour) to the camping area, where you will sleep in hammocks. Small lockers are available for the safe storage of valuables. Spend some time spotting monkeys and squirrels and relaxing on the nice white sands. It will get quite cold here at night, so be sure to wear layers and bring a blanket or sleep liner. You'll also need a towel, insect repellent, a torch and a small backpack to carry your things. Your main luggage can be left at the park entrance.
Spend the day exploring the national park or relaxing on the beach before travelling the short distance to your base in the Guachaca region. Your accommodation for the next two nights is a small family-run hotel in a quiet location. Here a variety of decent walking trails are on offer. The main attraction, however, is the beach, so take the opportunity to relax. It's just a short walk to the shoreline from your hotel.
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 kayaking, rafting, surfing or 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 in, especially if the weather turns. You can take to one of the hammocks in the garden with a good book.
Today is a long travel day as you head back to Santa Marta for a flight to Bogota (approximately 1.5 hours). From Bogota you will travel by minvan to the charming town of Villa de Leyva (approximately 4–5 hours). This old village has some gorgeous colonial architecture which, unlike in many other Colombian towns, has been well preserved over the years. Stroll around at your own pace, chat to the locals, and make the most of the many photo opportunities.
Enjoy a full day of free time in Villa de Leyva. Be sure to visit the mercado municipal, where a traditional farmers market offers a wide array of excellent fresh produce and some tasty local snacks. If you're feeling active, make the short hike to the 'sagrado corazon' lookout for some nice views over the village – it's a Jesus statue up in the hills on the east side of the town. It takes about an hour to get to the top, and there are some steep parts, so bring your walking shoes. Another good option is to visit the Pozos Azules just outside of town. Here you can take a short circular walk around some luminous blue sulfuric pools.
Head to Bogota by private minivan (approximately 4–5 hours). With a wealth of cosy cafes, interesting museums and old churches, cosmopolitan Bogota is full of surprises. It's also one of the largest 'at altitude' cities in the world (at 2,640 metres above sea level and with a population of 7 miliion). While you're here, be sure to visit the Paloquemao Market, where you'll find exotic local fruits like feijoa, araza, guanabana, maracuya and lulo – many of which are seldom found outside of Colombia. The Gold Museum is also highly recommended.
Take an orientation walk in Bogota with your leader, after which the day is yours. Your trip comes to an end here. If you're departing, make sure not to book your flight for any earlier than 4 pm.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


13 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
Plane, Private minivan, Local bus
Hotel (13 nights), Hammock (1 night)
Included activities
  • Bogota - Visit to Paloquemao Market
  • Salento - Cocora Valley and hike to Acaime Reserve
  • Salento - Coffee tour
  • Medellin - Orientation walk
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk
  • Tayrona National Park - Entrance fee
  • Bogota - Orientation walk


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Important notes

The itinerary of this trip was updated on 18 January, 2016. The current itinerary is different to what is advertised in the 2016 brochure.

A Single Supplement is available on this trip except on the following nights:
Day 9 Tayrona National Park
Days 10-11 Guachaca Region

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes


Our Complete Colombia trips score an average of 4.45 out of 5 based on 11 reviews in the last year.

Complete Colombia , September 2016

Complete Colombia , July 2016