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, aromatic coffee plantations 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.


There will be significant changes to the Colonial 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 12 days and add new destinations in San Gil and Barichara. We've also added an extra night in Bogota at the end of the tour. In order to accommodate this change Villa de Leyva has been removed from the itinerary.

The 2017 itinerary will operate as follows:

Days 1-2 Cartagena
Day 3 Tayrona National Park
Day 4 Guachaca Region
Day 5 Guachaca Region / Overnight Bus
Days 6-7 San Gil
Days 8-9 Barichara
Days 10-12 Bogota

Cartagena, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
404kg pp per 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
  • Step back in time in the cobbled alleyways of Villa de Leyva. This village is quite possibly Colombia's finest arena of perfectly intact colonial architecture
  • Bogota is the treasure trove of Colombia's rich history – the ideal place to end your adventure. Stay on and explore its museums, galleries and excellent Paloquemao Market at your leisure


Bienvenidos! Welcome to Colombia. 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. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. 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.

Notes: 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


7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Plane, Private minivan, Local bus
Hotel (7 nights), Hammock (1 night)
Included activities
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk
  • Tayrona National Park - Entrance fee
  • Bogota - Orientation walk


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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information. On the following nights the single supplement isn't available:
Day 3: Tayrona National Park
Days 4-5: 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 Colonial Colombia trips score an average of 4.48 out of 5 based on 48 reviews in the last year.

Colonial Colombia , October 2016

Colonial Colombia , October 2016