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.


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

Why we love this 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

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 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
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.
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bogota - Visit to Paloquemao Market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Salento - Cocora Valley and hike to Acaime Reserve
Optional Activities
  • Salento - Tejo game - USD1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Salento - Coffee tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
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
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Pablo Escobar Tour - COP50000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
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
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bogota - Gold Museum - COP3000
  • Bogota - Montserrate cable car - COP17000
  • Bogota - Museo Nacional - COP20000
  • Bogota - Bike tour - COP25000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Included Activities
  • Bogota - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

13 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Plane, private minivan, local bus

Accommodation

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

Dates & availability

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Important notes

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

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.

COMBINATION TRIP:
This trip is a combination of two of our most popular departures. As such the make up of the group and the tour leader may change on day 8.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 3 & 4 (Coffee Estancia), 9 (Tayrona National Park) and 10 & 11 (Guachaca Region) 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 Complete Colombia trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews in the last year.

Complete Colombia, November 2016

Miriam Kancha Guerra

Complete Colombia, September 2016

Helle Knudsen