9 DAYS / 8 NIGHTS
Colombia is located in the northwest of the South America continent, sharing borders with Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. Colombia is the 4th largest country in South America and it’s the only South American country to boast two coast lines – on the Pacific and Atlantic (Caribbean) oceans it also shares Amazonian rain forest with Brazil and Peru also Los Llanos or vast plains area with Venezuela; 3 ranges of the Andean mountains run from the south to the north of the country.
With its pre-colonial, Colonial and Republican history Colombia has a wealth of cultural attractions. Nature and wildlife abound in its diverse landscapes and the spirit and warmth of the Colombian people will ensure your Colombian experience will be one that lingers on long after you arrive back home.
Day 1 – Cartagena
After a leisurely breakfast, meet your guide in the hotel lobby to begin your exploration of Cartagena on a half-day excursion that combines the experience of a local fishing community, exploring the mangroves by canoe, and a visit to one of the oldest convents in South America.
The fishing village of La Boquilla is located 30 minutes east of Cartagena in an area of mangrove swamps. Many of the villagers are of African descent and on arrival there will be a performance of dance and a refreshment of fresh green coconut milk will be served.
The Cueva Del Manglar is the Spanish name given to this protected mangrove ecosystem that is rich in birdlife, where you may encounter kingfisher, white heron and pelicans. You will glide through the mangroves in a canoe paddled by local fisherman. In addition to the birdlife, there is a wealth of flora and fauna to see in this rich mangrove ecosystem.
From the village, drive to La Popa Convent, located on the highest point in Cartagena, commanding excellent views of the bay, the old town below and the Caribbean Sea beyond. Initially a humble wooden chapel, it was later replaced with a more solid building that was fortified two centuries later. Enjoy the flower-filled patio and views that stretch all over the city, and wander through the cool patio and interior of the convent.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency
Day 2 – Cartagena
Enjoy the day at leisure to discover Cartagena at your own pace. The streets are abuzz with energy, where you can spend countless hours strolling the cobbled streets and people watching. Cartagena is an attraction in itself, but there are also plenty of local shops to occupy even the most ardent shopper. If you fancy a good walk, a trip down to the beaches of Boca Grande will let you soak up some sun and see how the locals enjoy their city beach.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency (B)
Day 3 – Cartagena – Medellin
Transfer from your hotel to the airport for your flight to Medellin. Upon your arrival in Medellin, you will be met by a representative from Aurora Expedition and transferred to your hotel.
Forget everything you have heard about Medellin as it is probably old news. It was the headquarters of one of the country’s most notorious drug cartels, but what the international media forgot to report was the cities remarkable turnaround. Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia and for years Medellin had a tarnished reputation, but the city has risen above this “Mala Fama” (Bad reputation) and is now one of most exciting cities in South America, and the advance in the security situation has been such that Medellin is now regarded as one of the safest cities in South America.
Medellin is the home town of Fernando Botero, one of Colombia’s most well-known artists. His oversized depictions of Colombian life, people and world issues are exhibited throughout the country, most notably in the Botero Museum in Bogota and Medellin’s own Museo de Antioquia. His sculptures are on display in the neighbouring Parque Berrio.
Embark on a half-day city tour visiting Santa Elena village, a traditional flower growing farm. The cultivation of cut flowers for export is an important industry in Colombia and one of the main centres of cultivation is in the cooler climate of the mountains surrounding Medellin.
Overnight: Du Parc Hotel (B/L)
Day 4 – Medellin
Medellin has undergone a major positive transformation in the past 10 years, one of the main pillars of which is urban architecture. The construction of parks, pedestrian zones, museums, transport systems, libraries and schools. Today’s full-day tour will take place in the working-class neighbourhood of San Javier, famous for its open-air electric escalators, which were built in 2011 to replace the 350 stairs leading to the top of a steep hill. Your guide will take you around the neighbourhood and give you insights into some of the social initiatives that are taking place in the area. After visiting the San Javier library park, you will have the opportunity to ride on the electric escalators and enjoy a beautiful view of the city from the top of the hill.
You will also visit Plaza Botero to see the sculptures of the country’s most famous artist. Enjoy a ride on the city’s famous metro and cable car system to reach Santo Domingo, which was once one of the most dangerous and inaccessible barrios of Medellin. Santo Domingo has become a shining example of how access to integrated public transport can change the environment and provide local residents with opportunities throughout the entire city. Wander the narrow, colourful streets and visit the community library with its striking contemporary architecture, an institution given to Colombia by Spain.
Overnight: Du Parc Hotel (B)
Day 5 – Pereira
After breakfast and checking out of your hotel, a private car will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Pereira (via Bogotá). On arrival, a representative from Aurora Expeditions will meet you and transfer you to Casa San Carlos Lodge. After checking into your accommodation, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, swimming in the outdoor pool or relaxing in the jacuzzi with views of the surrounding hills.
Overnight: Casa San Carlos Lodge (B)
Day 6 – Pereira – Cocora Valley – Pereira
Today’s excursion takes in the culture of the region along with the stunning natural beauty of the Cocora Valley. Travelling from the far northeast of Quindío to the beautiful Valle Cocora, where the magnificent wax palm grows in one of its few natural habitats, you’ll then move into Filandia, the Coffee region of Colombia. The main square has not changed in appearance or in character in decades. A coffee break in one of the many small coffee shops will allow you to appreciate the quaintness of uninterrupted lines of brightly-painted houses in this traditional village. You’ll learn about the culture and people of the region and how authentic little pueblos (villages) like this form the backbone of rural agricultural life.
From Filandia you will drive to Valle Cocora (Cocora Valley). Part of the wider Parque Nacional Los Nevados, the valley has a unique landscape like a lush tropical version of a Swiss valley. It has been regarded by Colombia as a sanctuary for its national symbol; the wax palm. The valley is spectacular and great for walking or horseback rides. Salento is a municipality in the north eastern part of the department of Quindío. This picturesque town boasts a number of impressive houses of traditional architectural style. Surrounded by distant snow-capped mountains, Salento has an authentic rural and traditional atmosphere.
Overnight: Casa San Carlos Lodge (B)
Day 7 – Pereira – Bogota
Continue your experience in the Coffee Region with a half day coffee culture tour at Hacienda Venecia. Coffee makes this region tick; it’s the heart and soul of the region and its culture. This journey will take you through some stunning scenery, carpeted rolling hills of lush green coffee, plantain and yucca. As campesinos (local rural workers) pass by on their way to work in the fields, and children walk to school or wait for the morning bus, you can start to imagine how life is for these rural Colombian populations.
With a tour of one of the regions coffee plantations, you will see the entire process from seedling to coffee cup. Learn about the challenges faced by the regions coffee growers and how their whole life is affected by this simple bean. Of course you’ll also get to sample some locally grown coffee!
Transfer from Casa San Carlos Lodge to Matecaña international airport for your flight from Pereira to Bogotá. Arrive in Bogotá and transfer to hotel.
Overnight: The Artisan D.C (B)
Day 8 – Bogota
Vibrant, cosmopolitan, historic and set in a beautiful location, Bogotá is Colombia’s pulsating capital city, its commercial heart, and cultural epicentre. Sitting at an altitude of 2,645 m (8,675 ft) above sea level just north of the equator, on a mountain-rimmed plateau, Bogotá enjoys the protection of the northern Andes, its views and subtropical highland climate. This bustling metropolis has a lot to offer, with a dazzling array of museums, galleries, churches, colonial mansions and stately buildings from various eras.
On this full-day tour of the city, visit Paloquemao market, abundant with fresh food and flowers, offering a great insight into the life and customs of Bogotanos. Afterwards, continue to La Candelaria, Bogota’s heart and soul. This is the oldest part of the city and a visit to Plaza Bolivar (Main Square) is a must for all visitors to Bogotá. Surrounding the square are several important Colonial and Republican style buildings including the Palace of Justice and Colombian Congress. The Plaza is also home to the Mayor’s office and the Primary Cathedral of Bogota that dominates an entire corner. Standing proud in the plazas centre is a statue of Simon Bolivar (Founder of Colombian independence) the first public monument to be erected in the city.
The Botero Museum or Donation is a permanent exhibition of works of art by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist who’s “oversized” art is instantly recognisable. There are several rooms over two floors with displays of his work. The museum not only houses work by Botero but also other world-famous artists such as Dali, Monet and Van Gogh. Next door is the Casa de la Moneda, or mint is home to a museum that takes you on a tour of the history of Bogotá through the currency and money used in Colombia.
Afterwards, visit the Gold Museum, situated on the northeast corner of the Parque Santander. The museum houses one of the finest collections of pre-hispanic gold in the world. This is a “must see” when in Bogotá, with more than 35,000 pieces of pre-Colombian gold work in the collection. End the day with a short drive (or interesting walk) from the centre of the old town to the base of the hill that leads up to the hilltop view point and monastery of Monserrate. The summit can be reached by either funicular railway or cable car, and from the top, you have impressive views across the city entire city.
Overnight: The Artisan D.C (B)
Day 9 – Bogota
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your onward travels.
Meals included: Breakfast
- Accommodation as mentioned
- Daily breakfast and other meals as outlined in the itinerary
- Airport transfers
- Sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary with English-speaking guide
- Entrance fees
- Domestic flights including taxes: Cartagena – Medellín – Pereira – Bogotá
Total price per person (Twin Share) from USD $3999.00
*Single traveller pricing available on request.
**Public Holiday Surcharges apply