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. Head into the serene highlands of Colombia's famed coffee region and discover the sweeter, softer side of this much misunderstood country. 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. 
 


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

Why we love this trip

  • 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

  • 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

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

Is this trip right for you?

  • 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 protectionThe 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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

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 around your hotel. After that, you're free to go exploring.
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.
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 40 minutes) 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 lots of 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)
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 San Javier. 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. 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
  • Subway and metrocable to get to Plaza Minorista Market and San Javier Medellin and back
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning starts at approximately 8am with a pick-up. We head about 17km out of of Medellin to a flower farm in Santa Elena which is located slightly higher than Medellin at 2500mts above sea level. Here we will meet a local "silletero" (chair maker) and his family. The silletero makes the flower "silletas" (flower display) that competes every year in the Medellin "Fiesta de las flores". A local guide will take us through the history and the evolution of the "silleta" culture. We'll see where the flowers grow and witness how a small silleta is made.
This afternoon you'll have some free time to explore Medellin. Perhaps visit the Museo de Antioquia to see some of Botero's famous works or get more modern at the beautiful Museo de Arte Moderno.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Medellin - Flower Farm tour
Optional Activities
  • Pablo Escobar Tour - COP60000
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)
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.

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 - Volcan de Lodo El Totumo - COP50000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning take a shared van transfer (approximately 5 hours) North of Cartagena to Guachaca, our home for the next two nights. The remainder of the day is free.

Included Activities
  • Tayrona National Park - Entrance fee
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you have an included Full day visit to Tayrona National Park.
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. Later, head back to Guachaca where we'll spend the night.
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. 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. Mid afternoon take an included flight from Santa Martha to Bucaramanga (approximately 3.5 hours including a stop in Bogota) From Bucaramanga transfer approximately 3 hours to Barichara.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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.
Today is a free day in Barichara. You may choose to take an optional excursion to San Gil which is only approximately 30 minutes drive away.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today we will take a public bus to Bogota Via San Gil (approximately 8 hours)
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Plane, Private Bus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Van

Accommodation

Hacienda (2 nights), Hotel (14 nights)

Included activities

  • Subway and metrocable to get to Plaza Minorista Market and San Javier Medellin and back
  • Medellin - Flower Farm tour
  • Tayrona National Park - Entrance fee
  • Bogota - Montserrate cable car
  • Bogota - Gold Museum

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.

TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK CLOSURE –28th January - 28th February 2018
Tayrona National Park will be closed from 28th January 2018 to 28th February 2018 as a result of discussions between the park operators and the local indigenous people regarding the ecological recuperation of the ecosystem. Trip departures starting on the 3rd and 17th of February 2018 will not visit Tayrona National Park and instead visit ‘Sierra e Mar’ a tropical rainforest with a similar landscape to Tayrona. The included hike will offer a big diversity of fauna and flora as well as having the option to swim in crystal clear fresh water rock pools.

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.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 3 & 4 (Coffee Estancia) and 10 & 11 (Guachaca Region) where you will be in shared 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 9.

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 Best of Colombia trips score an average of 4.9 out of 5 based on 10 reviews in the last year.

Best of Colombia, October 2017

Ken Horowitz

Best of Colombia, September 2017

Miguel Mateos Etneo