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Discover Colombia

from $3,449.00

Discover Colombia’s natural beauty and cultural heritage

  • Reviews 7 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely
    1/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    5 - 16
All about the Discover Colombia.

Colombia is a vast country still largely undiscovered despite its amazing variety of landscapes and culture. On this journey from the Andes to the Caribbean we experience the contrasts between cosmopolitan Bogota, colourful Cartagena, and welcoming rural towns. After soaking up the atmosphere of Villa de Leyva and walking amid giant wax-palms in the the Zona Cafetera, we’ll learn what it takes to produce the finest coffee and finish off our Colombian experience with a relaxing stay on the Caribbean coast.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts and 3 lunches
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Uncover the historical delights of Colombia’s capital city
  • Explore Villa de Leyva’s colonial center
  • Learn all about coffee production on a farm tour in the lush Coffee Zone
  • Walk amid wax palm trees in Cocora Valley
  • Unwind on a Caribbean beach
  • 12 nights hotels with en suite facilities
  • Some leisurely walks
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by internal flight and private minibus
  1. Day 1 Start Bogota.

    Land only passengers can arrive at the hotel in Bogota this afternoon/evening. There are no included activities today. There will be a message waiting with information about tomorrow’s meeting time once the group flight and tour leader have arrived.Accommodation: Hotel Augusta or similar*Standard Hotel*

  2. Day 2 Free morning; afternoon tour of La Candelaria district.

    Passengers on our Avianca group flight will have flown overnight and arrived today in the early hours of the morning. The morning is free to rest and in the afternoon the group will meet up in the hotel lobby before setting out with the tour leader on a walking tour of La Candelaria district where the hotel is located. Today we’ll have an introduction to Bogota and Colombia in general, with the walking tour including a visit to the much celebrated Gold Museum.Accommodation: Hotel Augusta or similar*Standard Hotel*

  3. Day 3 Morning walking tour including Monserrate viewpoint; free afternoon.

    This morning we’ll have breakfast in the hotel and then set off once more to continue exploring this fascinating capital city. We’ll visit the museum exhibiting works from famous Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, and then get a cable car up to Monserrate viewpoint high above the city. Back down in the city, we learn about the diverse cultures of Colombia whilst visiting the Paloquemao market. This afternoon is free for you to do as you please – you may wish to visit one of the artisanal markets, go on a graffiti tour, or do a cookery class. Your tour leader will be on hand to give advice and assistance.Accommodation: Hotel Augusta or similar*Standard Hotel*

  4. Day 4 To Villa de Leyva via the salt cathedral in Zipaquira.

    We leave Bogota this morning and drive northwards for about an hour and a half to Zipaquira, where we’ll visit the unique Salt Cathedral. This subterranean cathedral was carved out of the salt bedrock in an old salt mine. We will have a guided tour, following the carved stations of the cross to reach the main part of the cathedral, which has the capacity for over 8000 worshippers. Continuing onwards by road, we should arrive at the beautiful colonial town of Villa de Leyva in the late afternoon.Accommodation: Hotel Meson de Los Virreyes or similar*Standard Hotel*

  5. Day 5 Walking tour of Villa de Leyva; visit fossil museum.

    This morning we will have a walking tour of Villa de Leyva, taking in the main plaza and the most important and significant colonial buildings, and get an insight into the town’s history and the local culture. We will also go to the Fossil Museum, home to an incredibly well preserved 12-metre long fossilised Kronosaurus discovered by a local farmer. The afternoon has been left free for further exploration of the town’s cobbled streets and craft shops, or to simply relax in the laid-back cafes and restaurants.Accommodation: Hotel Meson de Los Virreyes or similar*Standard Hotel*

  6. Day 6 Fly to the 'Coffee Zone'; travel to Salento.

    We drive back to Bogota (approx. 4hrs depending upon traffic) today to catch a short flight to Armenia, in the heart of Colombia’s ’Coffee Zone’. From here it’s a fairly short drive (approx. 1 hour) to the quaint town of Salento, a municipality in the north eastern part of the department of Quindío. This colourful and picturesque mountain town boasts a number of fine houses built in the traditional architectural style from the region. Surrounded by distant snow-capped mountains, Salento has a very special feel, and this evening we recommend visiting one of the music bars around the main town plaza.Accommodation: Hotel Salento Real or similar*Standard Hotel*

  7. Day 7 Walk amid the wax palm trees of Cocora Valley.

    Today we’ll board ’Jeep Willys’ to drive out on the scenic route to the wonderful Cocora Valley. Part of the wider Parque Nacional Los Nevados, Cocora Valley is located in the central Andean range, just outside of Salento. The valley has a unique landscape and has been regarded by Colombia as a sanctuary for its national tree; the Wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense). The tall Palms cover the valley, which is now protected and declared as a monument to protect both the tree itself and also the endemic species that depend on it. The spectacular valley is great for walking as well as taking photos from some of the viewpoints. We’ll do a two hour walk, and if anyone prefers not to walk on the rough terrain then there are a couple of cafes’ in which to wait and enjoy a freshly prepared coffee.Accommodation: Hotel Salento Real or similar*Standard Hotel*

  8. Day 8 Coffee tour; orchid farm visit; fly to the port city of Cartagena.

    This morning we visit a coffee plantation near the town of Chinchina (approx. 1.5 hours drive), where we will find out about the whole production process from seedling to cup, as well as learning about the plantations themselves and the many workers who rely on coffee for their livelihoods. Naturally, we will have the chance to sample some of this glorious coffee. We will also visit a nearby Orchid Farm before going to the airport in Pereira and catching a flight to Cartagena via Bogota. Upon arrival we’ll transfer straight to our characterful hotel in the vibrant Getsemani district, part of the historic centre and close to the walled city.Accommodation: Hotel Casa Mara or similar*Standard Hotel*

  9. Day 9 Walking tour of Cartagena old town.

    Today we explore the beautiful colonial centre of Cartagena on foot, wandering through narrow streets and colourful plazas to discover some of the city’s historical gems, including the Puerta del Reloj (clock tower gate), Plaza de los Coches, Plaza Bolivar, and the church of San Pedro Claver. After a break for lunch and an escape from the heat of the day, we resume our tour of the city this afternoon with a visit to San Felipe Fortress. San Felipe dominates the old town and is the largest Spanish fort in the Americas, and its solid construction allowed Colombian forces to successfully defend the city against frequent attacks in the 17th and 18th centuries. Tonight is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the lively nightlife of this Caribbean gem of a city.Accommodation: Hotel Casa Mara or similar*Standard Hotel*

  10. Day 10 Morning mangrove canoe tour; free afternoon.

    In the morning we will transfer by vehicle to La Boquilla fishing village about 20 minutes outside of Cartagena. After an introduction from a local guide, we will board canoes along with local guides who will take us on a 1 hour ride around the tropical mangroves of Ciénaga de La Virgen. Along the way our guides will explain the endemic birdlife and talk about the way of life for people who live here. Once the canoe ride is over you will have some time to visit the village and then we’ll head back to Cartagena. If you prefer to stay at the beach in La Boquilla, you could do this and take a taxi back later on.This afternoon has been left free for further exploration of the city or simply soaking up the atmosphere by sitting in a shaded plaza. Tonight we’ll enjoy our third and final night in Cartagena.Accommodation: Hotel Casa Mara or similar*Standard Hotel*

  11. Day 11 Morning at leisure; transfer to Palomino on the Caribbean coast.

    We leave Cartagena behind early this morning as we set off on a long journey eastwards and follow the coastline in the direction of Santa Marta, passing Tayrona National Park and then onwards to our next destination Palomino. We should arrive late afternoon and check in to the hotel opposite a peaceful Caribbean beach in time for sunset.Accommodation: Finca La Jorara EcoHotel or similar*Standard Hotel*

  12. Day 12 Free day to relax on the beach; optional day visit to Tayrona N.P.

    A full day to relax on the beach or at the hotel and enjoy the tranquil setting. There are some hiking trails in the area around the hotel that can easily be followed. Alternatively you may choose to do an optional excursion to explore and hike within the nearby Tayrona National Park.  Please ask your tour leader and they will help you to arrange it. (Minimum 3 participantants required in order to run this excursion)Accommodation: Finca La Jorara EcoHotel or similar*Standard Hotel*

  13. Day 13 Transfer to Santa Marta; fly to Bogota; trip ends.

    Our final morning, we transfer to Santa Marta to catch our flight to Bogota which will arrive in time for the evening flight to London. If not travelling on the international group flight please be aware that you will probably not be back in Bogota till at least 17:00. The land only portion of the trip ends upon returning to Bogota.

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Where you stay

Hotels

12 nights hotels with en suite facilities. This trip offers a good standard of accommodation throughout the trip. We’ll spend 12 nights in hotels with en suite facilities that are located in interesting areas, for example in Bogota we stay in the historic ‘Candelaria’ district and in Cartagena within the ‘Getsemani’ district. Some of the hotels have swimming pools. The final two nights feature a beach hotel on the Caribbean Coast, the perfect way to end the trip! Please note this is an EcoHotel which does not provide hot water.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 3 lunches.

Please note that Colombia is not very vegetarian friendly, especially in rural areas, where meat forms a major part of the diet and many soups are often made with a meat base or products. However in Bogota and Cartagena there are a wide range or restaurant and eating choices, to cater to all needs. Breakfast is provided everyday and is usually eggs (fried, boiled or scrambled), bread or arepas (thick corn pancakes), local cheese, tea or coffee and a fruit juice. In Tayrona National Park the principal restaurant has a great menu of locally caught fish, with meat and vegetable options.

This trip is graded leisurely.

It is not activity based however there are several city tours on foot, as well as a day walk in Cocora Valley, and canoeing in mangroves while at the Caribbean coast. The itinerary visits some of the main cultural and natural highlights of Colombia. We travel by private minibus and take three internal flights to allow you to experience as much as possible of this beautiful and diverse county in a short space of time. You should be aware that there are some fairly long road journeys involved in the itinerary, with the longest being from Cartagena to Palomino (along the Caribbean coast) which can take 5-6 hours. We mostly stay in mid-range 3 star hotels throughout the trip, and free time is built in to each destination in order to ensure that the itinerary is relaxing as well as insightful. Altitudes: Bogota is at an altitude of aprrox. 2640 metres above sea level and is the highest destination visited on the itinerary. It is rare to feel any adverse affects at this altitude. In the coffee region we’ll be staying at approx. 1895 metres above sea level in the town of Salento and apporox. 2150 metres above sea level in Villa de Leyva.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

DISCOVER COLOMBIA

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being grounded in Bogota for 2 additional nights due to farming protests and roadblocks restricted us from travelling to Villa De Leyva, which enabled me to see, firsthand, the people's resistance against its own government.  Waking up surrounded by mountains in Manizales at the Palestina Ecohotel left me breathless. Arriving in the Caribbean, in beautiful Cartagena and being welcomed by a wet, yet very warm tropical storm. The rain at no point could get in the way of this perfect city.  Tayrona NP and the hammock experience ! Apart from the hammock not being the most comfortable bedding I’ve ever slept in, this experience is unforgettable - as you fall asleep to the sound of wildlife and nature. Topped off the following day by a swim at a pristine, secluded beach. Absolute paradise !
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan really was perfect for this trip. He is so passionate about his country and is incredibly experienced. His local knowledge in all cities was the best I’d ever had on any tour. He knew the best restaurants (very well priced), hideouts and most importantly he knew where to find the best coffee. He became one of the group members early on yet remained aware of each group member's whereabouts at all times. There's no doubting our experience was made better with Juan leading the way !!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember, Colombia is only just opening up to tourists ! Be flexible for itinerary changes, lack of water pressure and on the odd occasion, no hot water (Mostly in the Caribbean areas)  Take a wet proof jacket and a lot of sunscreen. The climate is very different from North to South.  **IMPORTANT ADVICE** DO NOT go horse riding in the Cocora Valley !! This is the alternative to a 5 hour hike and not worth the risk even if you are an experienced rider. It is very wet, slippery, muddy, rocky and STEEP terrain. It's certainly not the best ground to fall on, let alone from a further 2 meters up !! (Pack hiking shoes)
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although this tour doesn’t include places like Cali, Medellin, San Andres, Providencia, San Agustin, Popayan, the Amazon, Ciudad Perdida etc etc etc. it STILL offers so much !! Take some extra time and see more if you need to, or simply go back the following year.  As they say over there, "The only risk is wanting to Stay !"

Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Discover Colombia AAK

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Salento in the coffee region. One of the most beautiful Village's and location I've travelled to. Small independent coffee grower tour that shows how a small family business survives in a very competitive global market. Very interesting, educational and enjoyable tour!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was fantastic Always on hand to answer questions or assist you when needed. Very informative and articulate
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book the trip as soon as you can................. Don't book a hammock at the end of your trip in the Tayrona national park, people were bitten quite badly by insects. Upgrade to a Cabana instead.

Reviewed On 11/11/2019
5/5

Colourful Colombia

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Salt Cathedral was extraordinary, central Bogota has some great historical buildings, but my favourites were the whitewashed Villa de Leyva and Salento with its brilliantly painted houses. Plus full-on Cartegena of course....indescribably beautiful.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    We were spoilt - we were a group of just eight and in addition to the kindly and very lovely and experienced Juan Carlos we had livewire Lina, who was shadowing him. The perfect combination!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Only the usual Exodus stuff - be prepared for anything...early starts, torrential thunderstorms, roadworks delays, far too much good food. Consider flying Air France/KLM as their timings are far more civilised than the direct Avianca flight from London. Go a day early if you can, and maybe do a bit of independent travel at the end.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go!

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Wonderful Tour

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Salt Cathedral, Coffee tour, Cartagena.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

A fabulous trip!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many highlights but for me Villa de Leyva was very special. It's main square (apparently the largest public square in Colombia) had no huge statue and/or water feature in its centre as you would expect from a square of this size (just a very small statue) and was also completely unevenly cobbled all over. Surrounded on all four sides by low rise, white washed buildings, with a beautiful backdrop of green mountains behind, gave it a very special quality and made it quite clear that this was a Latin American town not a European one. When 6 men on horseback unexpectedly appeared in the square, galloped round two sides and out again it made it just perfect! Guitarists abound in cafes and on street corners adding to the atmosphere. Bogota was a surprise. I was expecting it to be a fairly nondescript city, just used as a starting point for the trip, but it was a real delight. The old city was fascinating to explore with beautiful buildings, interesting museums and lively street life. The Cocora Valley was stunning - a really beautiful area. Cartegena we knew would be lovely and it certainly didn't disappoint. Oh, and the Salt Cathedral! Simply amazing!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan Carlos was friendly and very knowledgeable about his country. He suggested some good places to eat and in Cartegena introduced us to Colombian street food which not only was delicious but also extremely good value! He was particularly helpful to me when my suitcase failed to turn up at the start of the trip. I wasn't reunited with it until three days before the end of the holiday but Juan Carlos spent a lot of time emailing and telephoning people trying to locate it for me. He helped me fill in endless forms and accompanied me to the airport to pick it up when it finally appeared.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wear long trousers and use insect repellent in the coffee plantation! We had a great time picking coffee and exploring the plantation but I was badly bitten!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Colombia is a beautiful country - lush and green, with stunning scenery. The towns are so pretty with their colourfully painted houses and the people are friendly and welcoming. I would have liked to have seen more of the country, a three week trip would have been great.

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