DAY 1 | Bogotá

Arrival to El Dorado airport in Bogotá on an intercontinental flight. Reception and transfer to the hotel. Check-in. Overnight stay.

MEALS: – / – / –

DAY 2 | Bogotá –  Half Day City Tour

After breakfast, half day visit to the historic centre known as La Candelaria. This antiquated barrio is of great architectural and cultural heritage and is made up of old “stately homes” or large Spanish colonial buildings with iron windows, thick and sturdy wooden doors, balconies and internal patios with beautiful yet hidden gardens. Visit the Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great liberator Simon Bolivar is located. This Plaza, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes, as a marketplace, a bullring and a gallows. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, is constructed on the remains of the first church built in Bogotá in 1539 and houses an important collection of religious artefacts such as textiles and artwork that has been collected over four centuries. The Capilla del Sagrario is located just beside the Cathedral and is a gem of religious architecture and which houses valuable pieces of colonial religious art by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos. The Capitol, built between 1847 and 1926, shows its renaissance and neoclassical influences with its carved stonework and tall columns and, it is the first republican piece of civil architecture. The central area of the Capitol, known as the Salon Eliptico, is where congress meets and is the actual chamber for politicians and the Senate. In the internal plazas are busts of former presidents such as General Tomás Cipriano Mosquera, president on four occasions, and Rafael Núñez, the composer of the Colombian national anthem. Around the Plaza de Bolivar are the Palacio de Justicia, the Mayor of Bogotá’s offices called the Edificio Liévano, the oldest school in the county called San Bartolome and the Casa de los Comuneros, thus named to remember those who participated in one of the first independence movements towards the end of the XVII Century

The visit continues with the Museo Botero, a colonial house filled with works of art done by and donated by Fernando Botero in addition to artwork from his own personal collection that includes 

pieces by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí Matisse, Monet and Giacometti. Next is the Museo del Oro which has a permanent exhibition of some 32,000 pieces of gold, 20,000 stones, ceramics and textiles all precious to the Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures. The Museo del Oro is considered as one of the most important museums of its type internationally and it has been functioning since 1939. In 2007 it underwent a complete overhaul to make this an interactive museum that would awake senses to the objects on display and it belongs to the International Network of Museums (ICOM). Free afternoon for individual activities (we recommend visiting the city’s various museums). Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

Note: The Gold Museum is closed on Mondays and the Botero Museum is closed on Tuesday.

DAY 3 | Bogotá – Neiva – Tatacoa Desert – San Agustín

In the morning, transfer to the local airport for flight to Neiva. Arrival at Neiva airport and immediate transfer to the north to visit the town of Villavieja and the Paleontological Museum. Then, visit the Tatacoa Desert crossing crevasses eroded by wind and water.

The trip continues 217km to the south over a paved road until San Agustín. This scenic journey allows enjoying views of the extensive floodplains of the Magdalena River valley from 700MAMSL all the way up to 1730MAMSL and in balmy temperatures of 20ºC just as in San Agustín. After a journey roughly 6 hours arrive at San Agustin, check into the hotel. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 4 | San Agustín – Full Day San Agustín Archaelogical Park and Magdalena Strait

Morning visit to San Agustín Archeological Park, World Heritage Site declared by the UNESCO in 1995. See these enormous stone statues up close with your own eyes; how the each raised plateau is man-made and has been created specifically for the stone monuments, making where you are treading, holy and sacred ground. Walk on to the ceremonial Fuente de Lavapatas before heading up the hill to the Lavapatas terrace from which you can enjoy a remarkable view over the surrounding countryside. Also visit the small Museo Arqueológico. 

Then visit the wonderful Colombian massif and of the source of the Magadalena River, a spectacular rocky gorge that forces the river to pass through only 2.20 meters. Return to the hotel. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 5 | San Agustín – Popayán

After breakfast, leave on an approximately 5-hour unpaved transfer to Popayán, the capital of the department of Cauca. Enjoy the journey surrounded by the Andean scenery of mountains and high-altitude plains. Upon arrival check-in and. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

Note: An optional excursion to the Silvia market can be offered (only on Tuesdays).

DAY 6 | Popayán – Half Day City Tour – Cali 

Half day visit to the historic center of town founded in 1537, concentrating on Parque Caldas. Around the Parque Caldas are the main religious and government edifices, as well as the city’s original buildings such as the Torre del Reloj, considered one of the symbols of the city, built between 1673 and 1682 and set in 1737. Continue towards the Puente de Humilladero, built in 1873 to facilitate access from the city center to El Callejón (currently barrio Bolívar) up a steep rise, particularly for those pilgrims making the journey on their knees. The Morro de Tulcán, Popayán’s main archaeological site, is next and consists of a pre-Columbian truncated pyramid. Visit the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, a baroque style church designed by the Spanish architect Antonio García and commissioned by the Arboleda family, the Iglesia de San Francisco, considered the most beautiful baroque church in town, and the Panteón de los Próceres. Resting in the pantheon are the remains of some of the most illustrious sons of Popayán, including Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera and the botanist Francisco José de Caldas. Visit the Museo de Arte Religioso, which houses an interesting collection of religious art, and the Casa Museo Mosquera, the Settecento style house that belonged to General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera. 

Then, transfer to Cali, arrival after approximately 3 hours, arrival and check-in. Cali is the third largest city in Colombia. Officially known as Santiago de Cali, this is the capital of the department of Valle del Cauca and is a city that enjoys a warm climate, as well as being known for its exciting salsa and warm hospitality due to its friendly and good-natured citizens. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 7 | Cali – Half Day City Tour – Coffee Triangle

Half day visit to the most important historic and cultural sights in the city such as the Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura, built in the XIX century and known as being of a creole yet classic design with a

capacity for 1200 spectators; the Casa Proartes; the Centro Cultural; the Museo de Oro Calima, known for its fine golden ceremonial ornaments created by the Calima people in pre-Hispanic times; and finally, the viewpoint in Cali’s historical San Antonio district and for a breathtaking view of the city and visit the antique church of the same name. The Iglesia San Antonio houses some well preserved and interesting artwork and wooden sculptures from the Escuela de Quito. The visit continues also to the Iglesia Sebastián de Belalcazar and the Iglesia de la Ermita. Continuing to other interesting sights of the city such as the architectural complex of “la Merced”, the first construction in the city; the Plazoleta de San Francisco, striking with its Mudejar style tower; the Plaza de Caycedo, the city’s main square; La Tertulia Museum; and the monument to Cristo Rey on the Cerro los Cristales. Then, transfer to Pereira. After approximately 3 hours, arrival and check-in in a typical hacienda. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 8 | Pereira – Buenavista – San Alberto Plantation and Coffee Processing – Pereira

Half day visiting the coffee plantations along the steep hills typical of this area. On a secondary pathway view the green carpet of coffee plants that spread out as far as the horizon interrupted only by fincas and heliconia flowers

Visit to Hacienda San Alberto one of the coffee estates typical of the region and located near the town of Buenavista Quindío. The tour begins with an introductory talk about coffee, its preparation, toasting, the characteristics of quality and the properties that allows for such a variety of coffees in the world. The route continues through the plantations, appreciating the work of the coffee pickers as well as understanding the famous humid coffee that is characteristic of Colombian coffee. Walk through the coffee plantations and learn about the production system in minute detail, including the harvest, the drying to the sun and treatment in this land of volcanic terrain along the Central Andes Mountain Range which has been declared a world Heritage site by UNESCO and that offers the perfect climatic conditions for coffee growing.

The harvest in Colombia takes around a year, although the main period is between October and May/June. Most of the plantations in Colombia produce Arabica beans which produce a delicate and light tasting coffee which is widely recognized and consumed. The process begins from when the bean is planted and takes approximately 75 days to germination. The seedling is then placed in a plastic bag and placed in partial sunlight until its base dries. Two years after plantation the tree bears its first fruit which is harvested when the bean is red in color and dry and ripe. Once the fruit has been picked, the pulp is stripped away, and the bean is cleaned and dried in the sun (the big haciendas now use a special machinery to strip and dry the beans in a short period of time). The beans are exported or dried in preparation for sale, before being ground up and made ready for human consumption.  Free remainder of the afternoon for individual activities. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 9 | Pereira – Valle del Cocora & Filandia – Pereira

After breakfast, leave for the Valle de Cocora which is located in the central mountains of the department of Quindío. This makes part of the Parque Nacional de los Nevados and is the ideal place to marvel at the “Quindian wax palm” (Ceroxylon quincense), the national tree of Colombia. This tree can reach a staggering height of 60m. Around here a great number of species of birds live, in particular some types of hummingbird and the orejíamarillo or the palm parrot (Ognorhynchus icteroti) which is endangered. 

Upon arrival in the valley, either hiking or on horseback (not included), head into the cloud forest to enjoy the biodiversity of flora and fauna. On the return journey, cross the River Quindío while walking along an ecological pathway which takes one past the tallest wax palms in the world. Learn why the indigenous people here worshipped this tree. Then you can have a typical lunch (not included) and enjoy some free time here.

In the afternoon, continue 10km towards the traditional town of Salento to enjoy a city tour that visits the Plaza de Bolívar with its colorful balconies, the calle real, the handicrafts shops and the Cocora viewpoint.

Then, transfer to the traditional village of Filandia to enjoy a city tour that includes the viewpoint, the colonial homes, the Plaza de Bolivar and the coffee shops. Here, enjoy some time soaking up the regional atmosphere and perhaps some local spirits before returning to the hotel. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / L / –

DAY 10 | Pereira – Medellín

After breakfast, go on an approximately 6-hour transfer to Medellín. Arrival and check-in. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 11 | Medellín – Half Day Medellín’s Social Transformation Tour

Half day tour to visit those places that best represent the social transformation that has taken place in Medellín. The tour will show the symbolic areas of Medellín from the 1980s, when the city was one of the most dangerous in the world, up to today many projects that fostered the city’s change. 

Enjoy an exciting tour through the history and present of Medellin and learn more about the transformation of this fascinating metrópolis. 20 years ago, Medellin was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Back in the early 90s, when the hunt for Pablo Escobar took place, the head of Medellin’s drug cartel was at its peak. Thus, the reign of “El Patrón” came to its end. Until the turn of the millennium the struggles about Escobar’s successor continued, but since 2002 Medellin began to change. Intelligent local politicians started to invest heavily in infrastructure and public education. Today the “City of Eternal Spring” is one of the most innovative metropolises in the world.

Visit the barrio San Javier, which used to be one of the most unsafe suburbs of Medellín Located some 7km from the city centre, it is a clear example of the social transformation that has taken place in the last few years. Arrive here by the metrocable car that joins the north-east area with the city centre, which has been life changing to many of the inhabitants of Medellín.  Learn more about the city’s transformation after the death of Pablo Escobar and also get to know the innovative transport-system in the poorer neighborhoods at first hand. Explore Medellin’s newest invention: the electric stairways of the district Comuna 13, discover stories about its past by visiting the most important places marked by historical events and see some graffiti that symbolizes a form of expression of the community. Here it is possible to have a beautiful view over the city from the balconies of San Javier. 

Then, go on to La Plazoleta located in the city centre, in an area that fell into decline in the 1980s and today houses 23 sculptures of Fernando Botero, donated by this famous local artist in year 2000. Since that time, the city has undergone a social and cultural transformation around these works placed in a public space.Free afternoon for individual activities. 

Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 12 | Medellín – Cartagena

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Cartagena. Arrival in Cartagena, transfer to the hotel, check-in and overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 13 | Cartagena – Half Day Panoramic City Tour

After breakfast, half day visit to Cartagena starting with a panoramic view of the city from the Monasterio and Iglesia de La Popa. Formerly known as the “Popa del Galeon” and famous for resembling the stern of a galleon. Constructed in 1606 this church and monastery are located at a height of 140masl from where one can enjoy 360º views of the city and the sea as well as the port zone, one of the most important in the Caribbean. Continuing to the San Felipe fortress, erected in honor of the poet from Cartagena, Don Luis Carlos López, made famous for his sonnet “A mi ciudad nativa”. It was built on San Lázaro hill to defend the city from pirate attacks. Walk around the fortress and learn how the castle was constructed, the engineering feats, the tunnels, underground galleries and passageways. Then, go on to the Ciudad Vieja (old city) to visit the Convert and Church of the San Pedro Claver compound which was built in the middle of the XVII century and owes its name to the “apóstol de los esclavos”.

Lastly, follow to the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas, a collection of archways built into the city wall of Cartagena and that were used until the end of the 1700s to house armaments and then later as a prison in the XIX century. Nowadays it’s an artisan center to appreciate local handcraft. Return to the hotel and free remainder of the day for individual activities. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 14 | Cartagena – Full Day Archipiélago Islas del Rosario National Park – Cartagena

All day excursion to one of the islands of the Archipiélago del Rosario, located approximately one hour (45km) by boat from Cartagena. During the transfer, observe the impressive and beautiful landscapes of the islands with its clear waters and gentle breezes. Upon arrival to one of these islands, you will have free time to enjoy the beach, snorkel and relax. Lunch is served on the island and in the afternoon, return to Cartagena.

The Rosario and San Bernardo National Park is located in the Caribbean Sea and is ringed by coral reefs and lapped by clear blue waters and is the habitat for a large variety of marine fauna. Three ecosystems thrive here: coastal lagoons, the mangroves surrounding them, and tropical forest and the average year-round temperature is 24.7 ºC. 

In addition, this is one of 46 National Parks in Colombia and it was created to protect one of the most important coral reefs bordering the Colombian Caribbean coastline: the Nuestra Señora del Rosario archipelago as well as the islands of Tesoro, Rosario, Barú, Múcura and Maravilla.

Covering 120,000 hectares, the park consists of 23 coral islands and islets were formed some 5000 years ago, due to ancient volcanic activity that pushed up the continental shelf and create these coral reefs.

During the colonial period, the islands were peopled by African slaves who dedicated their time to fish and gather mollusks. Nowadays, the islands are a tourist destination for their natural wealth and beaches. Return to the hotel. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / L / –

Notes: This excursion can be offered in different islands and the place where it is taken varies according to the confirmation. On the return trip the boat will be going against the current, so it is possible for some water to splash into the boat. This being said, passengers may get wet. We suggest for you to sit on the right side of the boat.  

DAY 15 | Cartagena – Tayrona National Park

After breakfast, four to five-hour transfer to Tayrona National. Arrival and check-in. Rest of the day free to relax. Overnight day.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 16 | Tayrona National Park

Free day to relax on the beach or enjoy individual activities such as mini treks to Pueblito, snorkeling, or rent horses as a means of visiting other beaches.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 17 | Tayrona National Park – Santa Marta – Bogotá

After breakfast, 1-hour transfer to Santa Marta airport to take flight to Bogotá.

MEALS: B / – / –