Colombia

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Day 1: Arrival in Bogota

Upon arrival in Bogota, Colombia's capital, we are met and transferred to our hotel. This evening, we have our welcome dinner.

Dinner and overnight in Bogota.

 

Day 2: Exploring the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, Gold Museum & Colonial Bogota

We begin our day with a visit to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, an underground church built within the tunnels of a salt mine 200m (655ft) underground. After lunch, we will explore the very impressive Gold Museum, home to one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian gold work in the world. We then see Plaza de Bolivar (the city's main square), government buildings, the old colonial district known as La Candelaria and San Francisco Church.

We conclude our activities with a ride in a funicular railway or cable car to the top of Monserrate Hill, offering spectacular views of the city.

Dinner and overnight in Bogota.

 

Day 3: Bogota, Bahia Solano and El Almejal Reserve

After breakfast, we depart for the domestic airport for our flight to Bahía Solano via Medellín. We arrive in Bahía Solano and transfer by small cars towards El Valle, where the beach, El Almejal and the lodge are located. We will have a welcome orientation where we will receive information concerning our stay at the lodge.

Dinner and overnight in El Almejal.

 

Day 4: Whale Watching - El Almejal Reserve

Early morning departure from our lodge where we will board the boat to begin our whale watching experience. Be on the lookout for when they blow out 7 meter high water fountains and show us their massive tail fins! If we are not successful with spotting whales in the morning, another opportunity will be arranged in the afternoon.

Note the order of activities may change due to weather conditions.

Dinner and overnight in El Almejal.

 

Day 5: El Almejal Reserve

After breakfast we will walk to El Valle town for a canoe ride along the Tundó river. We will have the chance to appreciate the nature of the mangrove ecosystem and a dip in the river. We will return to the lodge for lunch and some time to rest. This afternoon we will enjoy a hike in the El Almejal Reserve. This evening we will enjoy a culture show performed by local dancers.

Dinner and overnight in El Almejal.

 

Day 6: El Almejal to Medellín

After breakfast we return back to the airport for our flight to Medellín via Bahía Solano. We will check in to our hotel and enjoy some time this afternoon to explore the city of Medellín, nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperate weather. Efficient metro cable cars link the city to surrounding barrios and offer views of the Aburrá Valley below.

Dinner and overnight in Medellín.

 

Day 7: Medellín to Pereira

In the morning we explore downtown Medellín and the historical city center. Stroll through the hustle and bustle of downtown Medellín to the famous Botero Plaza with an exhibition of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, whose sculptures have become a landmark of the city. We will take the metro cable up to Santo Domingo, which was once a notorious area of gang violence in Medellín. The cable car was constructed to make the inner city more accessible to people from the outskirts, and allows visitors a glimpse into the lives of the marginalized population. While enjoying the spectacular view we will learn more about the transformation of Medellín from one of the most dangerous cities in the world to a fascinating melting pot of cultures, with possibly the friendliest and warmest people in the world. After the city tour, we continue on to Pereira and the heart of the coffee region.

Dinner and overnight in Pereira.

 

Day 8: Cocora Valley – Salento and Ocaso Coffee Tour

The morning we will visit one of the most beautiful valleys in Colombia, the Cocora Valley. Here we will find the impressive “Palma de Cera”, the official Colombian national tree and one of the tallest species of palm trees in the world. We will have time to visit Salento, a picturesque village with artisanal shops. Afterwards we will visit ‘El Ocaso’, a coffee growing farm. This visit includes a technical and practical introduction to the whole coffee cultivation and the production process, from harvest to cup. In the afternoon we return to our hotel and have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Dinner and overnight in Pereira.

 

Day 9: To Popayan; Indigenous Andean Market of Silvia

After breakfast, we start our long but beautiful day of driving from Pereira to Popayan, one of Colombia's most beautiful colonial cities. We will make several stops including Buga, famous for being the most important pilgrim church of Colombia. We also stop at Silvia, with its colorful local market, where the locals dress in their traditional Andean garb.

We continue to Popayan for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 10: Exploring the Colonial Charm of Popayan

Today, we explore the colonial plazas, churches, cathedrals and monuments of Popayan.

Later in the day, we are going to play Tejo, Colombia's popular game and national sport near Popayan. This ancient sport was played over 500 years ago by the Indigenous groups in Colombia.

Dinner and overnight in Popayan.

 

Day 11: Drive Over the Andes to San Agustin

After breakfast, we drive from Popayan to San Agustin, crossing the marvelous Purace National Park. Today is a long drive made nicer by spectacular mountain scenery. In the afternoon, we visit the famous strait of Magdalena. Here, the longest river in Colombia crosses a narrow throat just 2 meters wide.

We continue to San Agustin for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 12: Ancient & Mysterious Statues of San Agustin

The Statues of San Agustin are an ancient wonder of Colombia. Spread over a vast area and clouded in mystery, the approximate 600 statues date from 1000 - 5,000 years old. The statues vary from small to giant (21'), from human figures to animals to part human and animal, and even pregnant women.

After breakfast, we visit several sites in the San Agustin Archaeological Park. We end the day with a visit to the Archaeological Museum.

Dinner and overnight in San Agustin.

 

Day 13: Drive and Fly to Bucaramanga

We leave the beautiful and mysterious region of San Agustin and drive to Neiva for our flights to Bucaramanga (via Bogota). We will make several stops and enjoy sites enroute during our day of travel.

Dinner and overnight in Bucaramanga.

 

Day 14: To Colonial Barichara - One of Colombia's Most Beautiful Villages

In the morning, we drive to Barichara to explore this quaint and beautiful village. Founded in 1741, Barichara's colonial architecture of white-washed buildings and red-tiled roofs are simply stunning.

Dinner and overnight in Barichara.

 

Day 15: Hike Camino Real, to Villa de Leyva

Before departing for Villa de Leyva, we hike the Camino Real to the small and sleepy one horse village of Guane. Along this stone path you can see the mountains and canyon in the distance while passing farms and horse ranches.

Later, we drive to Villa de Leyva, one of the oldest and loveliest towns in Colombia. The large plaza is surrounded by the church and white-washed buildings, many dating back to the late 1500's.

Dinner and overnight in Villa de Leyva.

 

Day 16: Villa de Leyva

We continue our exploration of the history of Villa de Leyva through its colonial structures. This is a perfect town to meander about on foot. We will also visit a 160 million year old fossil and Ecce Homo.

Dinner and overnight in Villa de Leyva.

 

Day 17: Villa de Leyva to Cartagena

We depart Villa de Leyva and drive to Bogota, where we continue to Bogota airport for our flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival in Cartagena we transfer to our hotel where the rest of the evening is at your leisure.

Dinner and overnight in Cartagena.

 

Day 18: Cartagena - Colombia's Colonial Gem

Today, we explore Cartagena, arguably the most beautiful colonial city in the Americas. Our exploration includes the Convent of La Popa, the highest point of the city with its impressive views of Cartagena. We continue to the massive fort of Castillo de San Felipe, with its history and mysteries hidden in its stone-walled tunnels. We visit the monument of Zapatos Viejos, the Old Shoes. However, most impressive is the huge defensive walls that surrounds the old city, which overlooks the sea and its well-preserved colonial architecture within these walls. Every street looks more beautiful than the last. During your exploration, you will see cathedrals, museums, plazas, restaurants and cafes. Cartagena has the best shopping in Colombia. Cartagena proudly deserves its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as you will never forget this wonderful destination.

Farewell dinner and overnight in Cartagena.

 

Day 19: Depart Cartagena

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your departing flights.

 
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