DAY 1 | Bogota  

Arrival at El Dorado airport in Bogotá with an international flight. Reception and transfer to the hotel. Check-in. Overnight stay. 

MEALS: – / -/ –

DAY 2 | Bogota – Half Day City Tour with Monserrate

Enjoy a half day visit to the historic centre of Bogota known as La Candelaria. This archaic suburb has great significance in the country´s history due to its cultural heritage and is also a great example of Spanish colonial time architecture. Visit the main square Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great emancipator Simon Bolivar is located. The plaza, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes such as a marketplace, a bullring and it was also the place where many executions were held. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, is constructed on the same spot where the first church was built in Bogotá in 1539 and houses an important collection of religious artifacts such as textiles and artworks, collection that has been built over four centuries. The Capilla del Sagrario is located just beside the Cathedral and is a gem of religious architecture, it 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 was the first example of republican civil architecture. The central area of the Capitol, known as the Elliptic Hall, is where congress meets and is the actual chamber for politicians and the Senate. In the internal squares are busts of former presidents such as General Tomás Cipriano Mosquera, president over four terms, and Rafael Núñez, the composer of the Colombian National Anthem. Around the Plaza de Bolivar are buildings such as 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, named after the leaders that participated towards the end of the XVII Century in some of the first movements towards independence from Spain and the formation of the Republic.  

The visit continues with the Botero Museum, a colonial house exhibiting some of Fernando Botero´s works of art and in addition pieces from his own personal collection that includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí Matisse, Monet and Giacometti. Next is the Gold Museum 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 Gold Museum is considered one of the most important museums of its type internationally and it has been operating since 1939. In 2007 it underwent a complete renovation making it possible for visitors to enjoy an interactive experience. The Museum belongs to the International Network of Museums (ICOM).  

End the visit in the Santuario de Monserrate, a symbol of Bogotá. Ride the cable car or funicular up to it, at 500 mts above Bogotá (total of 3140masl). The site offers the incredible panorama of the city on one side and the Andes on the other. Overnight stay. 

MEALS: B/ – / –

Note: The Gold Museum is closed on Mondays and the Botero Museum is closed on Tuesday. On Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and Easter Week, Monserrate Sanctuary is very crowded by locals and tourists. We recommend booking tours on different days for a better experience. Lines for entry may take up to 2 hours. But if you wish to visit it one of these days, we offer the possibility of including a VIP entrance with which you will have direct access skipping the lines, for 14 USD supplement per person.

DAY 3 | Bogota – Zipaquira – Villa de Leyva 

Depart from Bogotá and head north, towards Zipaquirá. After a journey of roughly 1.15 hours reach the impressive Salt Cathedral, a true achievement of engineering. The name Zipaquirá refers to Zipa, the leader of the Muisca tribe and the chief of these rich salt mines. The excursion will begin by visiting the cathedral in a tunnel that passes the fourteen Stations of the Cross and continues on to the dome. The dome is lit in such a way that it allows one to contemplate the universe and the relationship between man and nature. Later, reach the enormous cross carved into the saline rock and finally the three naves of the Cathedral that represent the birth, life and death of Christ. In the central nave is the main altar, above which is the cross that measures 16m in height and 10m in breadth, made by the Colombian artist Carlos Enrique Rodriguez. This is the largest cross made from salt in the world. Next, we visit the mine where there is an excellent auditorium that can seat up to two hundred people, host film screenings and events such as fashion shows. The trip ends at a mirror of water where it is possible to experience the amazing visual effects of water on carved saline rock. 

Continue on a 2-hour trip to Villa de Leyva in the afternoon. Upon arrival to Villa de Leyva check in at the hotel.  

Villa de Leyva, one of the area’s most beautiful towns, was founded in 1572 by Hernàn Suàrez de Villalobos who named it after Andrès Dìas Venero de Leyva, the first president of Nueva Granada. In colonial times, Villa de Leyva played a central role in independence developments and the Viceroy and his entourage spent much time here. Today, the city is a colonial jewel with a main square measuring 14.000 m2 surrounded by Spanish style houses, small alleys, cobblestone streets and the XVII century parochial church. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 4 | Villa de Leyva and surroundings

Enjoy this colonial jewel visiting its cultural and ecological attractions such as the Colonial Art Museum; the Monastery and Convent del Carmen and the Museum of Maestro Acuña, which exhibits works of this important painter, sculptor and writer, who along with other artists, created the Bachue movement, which sought to recover the roots of our Chibcha ancestors. Then visit The Fossil Museum, founded in 1977 and located 5,5 km away from Villa de Leyva. The museum was built exactly at the place where a kronosaurus, a marine reptile of more than 120 million years and 20 metres in length, was discovered.

A few kilometres from Villa de Leyva, not to be missed is the Convento del Santo Ecce Homo founded by the Dominicans in 1620 and considered a most outstanding Spanish legacy. The pavement is made of local stone full of fossils and ammonites, and the chapel has a magnificent golden altarpiece with a small Ecce homo image.  Return to the hotel. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B/ – / –

NOTE: Only the Santo Ecce Homo, Museum of Maestro Acuña, and The Fossil tickets are included.

DAY 5 | Villa De Leyva – Barichara

Depart Villa de Leyva and travel for approximately 5 hours to Barichara. On arrival to Barichara transfer to hotel for check-in. Overnight stay. 

MEALS: B/ – / –

DAY 6 | Barichara – Half Day City Tour Barichara and Guane

This town was declared a National Architectural Monument in 1975 for the well-preserved urban structure and colonial Spanish-style architecture. The houses are expansive and encompass a cloister style design around internal gardens, intricate stonework and clay tiles on the rooftops. The cobblestone streets speak volumes for the culture and the population of this Santanderean town that is known for its cuisine, stonemasonry, weaving, tobacco growing and gathering “hormigas culonas”, large ants (fried up and eaten and considered an aphrodisiac).

Pick up at the hotel to start your trip to Guane, a small town located on a tiny plateau beside the hills and alongside the majestic Suarez River. This journey can be made by car or on foot (2 hour approximately) along the old Camino Real which extends 5km connecting the Guane with the town of Barichara. This ancient pathway was made by the pre-Columbian indigenous and it was paved in stones the German Geo Von Lengerke in 1867. While treading the footsteps of an ancestral culture, appreciate beautiful landscapes, valleys and fossils, besides seeing the way of life of the peasants and their crops. If you do it by car, after 20-minute drive, arrive in Guane. This perfectly preserved colonial village, with a pre-Columbian past, dating to the XVII century is at an altitude of 1100m. Visit Isaias Duarte Cancino Paleontological and Archaeological Museum to see fossils from the region, various pieces from the Guanes indigenous people, where a mummy of a girl stands out, religious antiquities and objects from different eras. Also, visit the Santa Lucia Church made in stone, the fossil and sabajón stores (typical drink of the region) and the Central Plaza.

The tour continues by car to Barichara for a tour on foot or by car in the town centre. The Plaza Principal is elegantly ringed by tall palm trees and leafy foliage, and on the western edge of the park is the Alcaldia, a truly colonial edifice with large balconies, internal stone columns and the monument to the Hormiga Culona in its central patio. The churches of note are La Inmaculada Concepción and San Lorenzo Mártie which have altars bathed in gold. At the top of the town is the Capilla de Santa Barbara built at the end of the XVIII century and on one side is a huge ceiba tree. This tree was scared to the indigenous Guane people that inhabited these lands prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The Parque para Las Artes Jorge Delgado Sierra is littered with interesting stone sculptures contributed by both local artists and international ones.

The Casa Natal de Aquileo Parra, the 11th President of Colombia, is today a small museum and also an elderly peoples’ recreation centre where they can work on handicrafts. There are outstanding viewpoints from which one can enjoy views of the Suarez river valley as well as the town’s streets and architectural offerings. Afterwards, visit the Casa de Arte de Oficios, where local artists display their works such as cotton and fique weavings. Return to the hotel and overnight stay.

MEALS: B/ – / –

NOTES: The walk from Barichara to Guane has a moderate difficulty level. The path is mostly descent with short climbs. It starts at 1,300 m.a.s.l. to 1,020 m.a.s.l. Suitable for any type of age. It is recommended up to 75 years old, with good physical and health conditions. Isaías Duarte Cancino Paleontological and Archaeological Museum in Guane is closed on Wednesdays, but the closing day may change without prior notice. On Tuesday in Barichara the churches, chapels, the cemetery and the Arts Park, are closed. We suggest not offering this tour Tuesday or Wednesday. Very often some tourist sites and workshops in Barichara and Guane closed without notice. These handle irregular opening hours and we cannot guarantee entry to all the mentioned sites.

DAY 7| Barichara – Visit to Chicamocha National Park – Bucaramanaga

Leave Barichara and head towards Bucaramanga making a stopover at the theme park which is part of the Chicamocha National Park approximately 1 hour from Barichara and on the road that leads to Bucaramanga. This is home of the majestic Chicamocha Cayon and in the background runs the river with the same name that created the second largest cayon in the world. 

The park extends for approximately 342 hectares. The heat of this region tempered only by a refreshing breeze is ideal for hiking the pathways and trails which lead to various attractions in this rugged and unique terrain. A cable car runs for 6,3km of the canyon over a period of 30 minutes. This is one of the largest and longest cable car rides in the world. Within the park it’s worth taking the time to visit the replica Santander town, the Guane Museum, the Monument to Santaderean culture, the Viewpoint and the Goat and Ostrich park amongst other things. Later continue the journey to Bucaramanga the capital city of Santander, with approximate travel time of 1 hour. Arrival at the hotel and check-in. Overnight stay. 

MEALS: B/ – / –

DAY 8 |Bucaramanga – Cartagena

Today after breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival at Cartagena reception and transfer to the hotel. 

Overnight stay.

MEALS: B/ – / –

DAY 9 | Cartagena – Mompox

Leave Cartagena in the early morning to go on a 6-7 hours journey to Mompox (330Km approximately). On the way, pass the towns of San Juan Nepomuceno; the imposing and majestic Montes de Maria that rise up from the savannah and San Jacinto, a famous town for its wicker artistry as the well-known “Vueltiao” hat. Continuing to Carmen de Bolivar, Plato, Nueva Granada, Santa Ana and arrival to Mompox. Then, after transfer to the hotel and check-in, have some time to relax and freshen up in your hotel and enjoy the wonders of Mompox, a magical place where time has stood still.

MEALS: – / – / –

NOTES: Does not include entrance or tour to any of the mentioned towns. There is the possibility of taking a ferry in the port of Magangue to Mompox. Ferries from Magangué to Mompox departs at 1pm and 4pm. Time schedule might change without previous notice. However, this transfer can not be guaranteed by the ferry seats and will generally be carried out by land.

DAY 10 |Mompóx and surroundings

The visit will start in moto-taxi, a local transportation of a motorcycle and cart hybrid that fits 4 to 5 people, among these antiquated streets through the main sights of this town, where it is possible to appreciate and study the colonial architecture, unique due to its blend of mudéjar and baroque styles.

The Calle Real del Medio stands out with its whitewashed walls and stately homes behind imposing wooden doors with latches and knockers all of varying styles and the finely carved wooden balconies that spill over with the flowering bougainvillea. The scenic Calle de la Albarrada runs alongside the river. It is recommended to visit the six colonial churches in town, the most striking of which is the Iglesia Santa Barbara in front of a plaza by the same name and beside the river.

Constructed in 1630 contrasts with its yellow and white paintwork and is unique in Colombia in that it has an octagonal Moorish and baroque bell-tower with balconies at the top. The Iglesia San Agustin houses the ornate golden Santo Sepulcro which is carried through the streets on the shoulders of the Nazarene Pilgrims during the Semana Santa processions. The other churches are the San Francisco, the Santo Domingo, the San Juan del Dios and La Concepcion.

Continuing to the Cementerio Central, perhaps the most interesting and atmospheric place to visit. Here it becomes clear that the old tales from Mompox are still very much alive. The white tombs are lined up one above the other and form walls of memories around a central chapel. Strolling here in the hours of dusk pass locals seated calmly in front of their homes enjoying the breeze in their rocking chairs.

Then, experience of such beauty frozen in time, visit the filigree workshops and observe how craftsmen make such intricate jewellery from threads of silver and gold, a tradition in Mompox that is passed down from generation to generation and is world famous.

Then go on a five minutes transfer by moto taxi to the boat launch. Embark a wooden boat with an outboard motor and head off to the Ciénega de Pijino located about 20 minutes away from Mompox. Upon arriving at the Cienega the trip continues on through these wetlands to truly appreciate the wide array of flora and fauna as well as to take a dip in the Magdalena River. Enjoy this encounter in a land so rich in bird life and on the small motorboat you get up close to exotic species such as howler monkeys, birds and iguanas all the while taking in spectacular scenery.

Return to the hotel and overnight stay.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 11 | Mompóx – Cartagena 

After an early breakfast transfer back to Cartagena (330Km approximately). After 6-7 hours journey, arrival to Cartagena de Indias.

MEALS: B / – / –

DAY 12 | Cartagena – Half Day City Tour Panoramic

Start 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 continue on to the Ciudad Vieja (old city) to visit the Convert and Church of San Pedro Claver which was built in the middle of the XVII century and owes its name to the “apóstol de los esclavos”. Lastly, continue 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 where one can appreciate local handcraft. 

Overnight stay. 

MEALS: B/ – / –

DAY 13 | Cartagena

Free day for individual activities. A full day tour to the Archipiélago del Rosario is recommended. Overnight stay.

MEALS: B/ – / –

DAY 14 | Cartagena – Bogotá

Breakfast and transfer to the airport for flight to Bogotá.

MEALS: B/ – / –