CLASSIC COLOMBIA 10D/9N
Day 1 Bogota
Private transportation with Spanish-speaking driver and English/Spanish-speaking guide.
Upon arrival at the International Airport El Dorado, you will be met by our representative and will be taken to your hotel. Our guide will assist you at the hotel with the registration procedures (check-in) and give you a detailed itinerary of all the services included in your trip. You will also receive information about our office contact details including our 24 hour emergency phone number.
Bogotá is Colombia’s capital city with approximately 8 million people; it is a cosmopolitan center of sophistication and has become an epicenter of business, politics and entertainment. The city has been transforming itself into a surprising tourist destination and welcoming city. Bogotá has a thriving nightlife, superb al fresco dining and bar culture as well as international shopping. Its privileged location and international airport makes it highly accessible and functional as a main gateway to destinations throughout the country.
Day 2 Bogota – City Tour with Monserrate Hill and Paloquemao
The tour starts with an early morning visit to the Paloquemao’s Market. This is one of the largest and most important markets in the country. Paloquemao presents the perfect mix of the old and new Bogotá and offers a great insight into the life and customs of the people from Bogotá. You will find a large variety of flowers, exotic fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, cheese, medicinal herbs as well as typical food. Everything is fresh and arrives daily to Bogotá from all regions of Colombia. You will have the opportunity to live a unique cultural experience, tasting some exotic fruits and enjoying a small snack during the visit.
Afterwards visit the famous and well preserved historical colonial quarter of La Candelaria. Steeped in history, this area is a must for photographers with its splendid colonial architecture; you will want to take the opportunity to capture the sights and sounds of this fascinating part of Bogotá. Walk through the streets permeating with the heady atmosphere of the past, as revealed by the library of Luis Angel Arango and down to the prominent Plaza de Bolivar, the heart of Bogotá, where locals and visitors mingle amongst the magnificent and foreboding structures. You will want to discover the history of this old part of the city by visiting the Cathedral, the Congress Palace, the Cardinal’s Palace, the colonial churches of El Sagrario and San Agustin, the Independence House, the Palace of Justice and the City Hall which are all located in this impressive square.
Continuing to the east, on top of the forested mountains, you will find “Cerro de Monserrate”. This mountain has a white catholic church located at the top and has been a site of worship since 1657. On a clear day you will have the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular view of the city. You also might see snowcap of “Nevado del Tolima” on the far west side.
The tour then follows with a visit to the “Museo del Oro”, the most important gold museum in the world and a ‘must see’ when traveling to Bogotá. This museum displays one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian gold. Galleries on three levels display exquisitely crafted pieces dating back nearly 2.500 years. Visit the vault-like room on the top floor where the most treasured pieces are displayed, as well as the Offering Room, where passengers enter a black circular area that is gradually illuminated with indigenous music playing in the background; the light begins to dawn, and finally a remarkable display of gold offering collection is discovered.
The tour ends with a visit to the “Museo de Botero”, housed in a renovated colonial mansion. The works on display are all donated by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous contemporary artist. Around 120 pieces of his own work are displayed at the museum including his famous sculptures, paintings and drawings. His work is well-known for the ‘proportionally exaggerated’ fat figures. In addition to his work, his personal collection by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí, Degas, Chagall, Matisse, Monet and Giacometti are also exhibited.
Day 3 Bogota – Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral/Villa de Leyva
Driven through the northern residential area of the city, and through the fertile plateau to the small town of Zipaquirá. Experience this extraordinary architecture where the Stations of the Cross and three naves are eerily illuminated along with other sculptures and cavernous pools; all hewn from the salt mine tunnels under the Halite Mountains. Though a popular tourist destination it is still a place of pilgrimage for the local community.
The next stop is at the town of Sutatausa. In the center of the town lays the colonial church of Sutatausa. Here admire the excellently preserved and unique wall paintings made by an anonymous artist during the XVII century. The paintings show, among others, a native woman dressed with Indian textiles, which probably were worn during Sunday service.
After the tour a short drive to a traditional Andean restaurant where lunch can be purchased.
Following lunch (not included) a one hour drive to the town of Raquira, famous for its pottery, colorful buildings and colony of artisans. Before entering the town, there will be an opportunity to a visit to one of the factories where clay pots and decoration are made by the community. Visitors will observe the different processes of production of this traditional handicraft. Have cameras at the ready as there will be free time to stroll around this quaint and colorful ‘pueblo’ (town) to take pictures of the uniquely decoratively hand-painted buildings.
Close to Raquira rests Monasterio La Candelaria the first convent built in Latin America in the year 1604. There will be a short tour of the convent to stroll around the cloisters to see exhibits of artworks and antiques before setting off for Villa de Leyva in the late afternoon. Transfer to your hotel for overnight stay. Overnight.
Day 4 Villa de Leyva – Walking tour/Coffee Cultural Landscape
The morning is dedicated to a walking tour of Villa de Leyva, a colonial town founded in 1572 and designated a national monument. The town has kept its grand colonial charm boasting the finest examples and best preserved colonial architecture with its wooden balconies, arches and heavy wooden and brass laden doors in contrast to the wish-washed buildings; all this colonial beauty despite the march of time and attrition.
Enjoy the quiet surroundings and solitude of its streets and the easygoing life of its friendly inhabitants. All together, a relaxing setting that takes the visitor back to another era.
After lunch (not included), continue to Bogotá’s airport to take your flight to the Coffee Cultural Landscape.
Arrival and transfer to the hotel for checking in and overnight.
Day 5 Coffee Cultural Landscape – Filandia, Salento & The Cocora Valley
Join us for a visit to the traditional village of Filandia, where you will enjoy a tour around the small town. You will visit main attractions like the Plaza de Bolívar, the colonial streets and houses as well as the typical “fondas” (restaurant-bars) for a taste of the local liquor of the region. Next visit Quindío’s Viewpoint for an amazing view of the Coffee Triangle.
Continue with a visit to the beautiful Cocora Valley located in the department of Quindío. This majestic valley is home to the wax palm, Colombia’s national tree and the tallest variety of palm tree in the world. These palms can measure up to 190 feet tall and live more than 120 years.
Be amazed by the natural beauty and diversity of fauna and flora that you will encounter throughout the valley. Once you arrive, you will be welcomed with a typical cocktail called “canelazo”. Afterwards you will visit the misty forest where our guide will explain to you the importance of protecting and conserving this beautiful ecosystem. It is a great opportunity to take some pictures.
The tour continues with the “Ritual de la Palma”, a way to help preserve the wax palms. Visitors from all around the world have helped plant future wax palms at the park; you will also be able to grow your own palm tree for eternity.
Next, you will visit the town of Salento. Founded in 1842, Salento was one of the first settlements in the Quindío state and still today, it preserves its colonial bahareque architecture. Salento’s centuries buildings are awash in harmonious color, especially along Calle Real, the main street lined end to end with restaurants, bars, handicrafts shops and souvenir stores.
A typical lunch with smoked trout is included at the Cocora Valley.
Transfer back to selected hotel and overnight.
Day 6 Coffee Cultural Landscape – Combia Inspiration tour & Butterfly Garden
Breakfast and after that, transfer to Armenia to do a shared (escorted by our private tour guide service) Inspiration Coffee Tour at Hacienda Combia.
Hacienda Combia is a coffee farm that has developed a unique tour, composed of nine stops that recreates the essential elements, environmental conditions and technical processes that are needed to grow Colombia’s high quality coffee.
Weaving a basket for collecting coffee, getting into a bird’s nest or feeling a relaxing water current under your feet, are some of the creative activities that this tour offers, with the aims of developing a sensory connection between the visitor and the coffee cup soul.
After lunch, the next stop will be at Quindío’s Botanical & Butterfly garden. Ten hectares of Andean forest, harboring 850 native flora and approx. 180 butterfly species: a 2 kilometers soft walking tour surrounded of color, movement and life.
The garden has a vast diversity of flora and fauna, including 500 species of plants, 1500 species of butterflies and 126 species of birds. Also, you will find one of the most beautiful butterfly gardens of the world with 2000 specimens of 60 different native butterfly species.
Join us for an adventure full of magic and natural beauty, you won’t regret visiting the amazing Botanical Garden of Quindío.
Once finished the tour, you will be transferred to the airport to take your flight to Cartagena.
Check-in and overnight in Cartagena.
Day 7 Cartagena’s Colonial Tour & Real Food, Real People, Real Places Tour
The tour begins with a visit to the “Convento de la Popa”, where the city’s highest point is located and you can enjoy the best view of the beautiful city of Cartagena. The Augustinian Monks built this convent in the 17th century. Initially it was just a small wooden chapel, but later it was replaced by a strong construction, which still remains.
Continue with a visit to the “Castillo de San Felipe”. The Spaniards built this castle in the 1600s and it is the greatest and strongest fortress ever built in a Spanish colony. Located at the top of San Lázaro hill, its purpose was to protect and guard the city’s landward side from any attack or invasion. This fortress provides a complex system of tunnels connected with strategic points to distribute provisions and facilitate a possible evacuation. Additionally, the tunnel’s architecture was built so that any noise would echo along them, in order to make internal communications easier and hear even the slightest sound of the enemies approaching.
Afterwards, a walk through “Las Bóvedas” is included. These 23 vaults were built in the 18th century and they are considered the last major colonial construction made within the city walls for military purposes. The vaults were used as storerooms for munitions and provisions by the Spaniards, and later on, they became jail cells. Nowadays, they are used as crafts markets where you can find handicrafts, antiques, galleries, jewelry, clothing and souvenirs, among other things.
At the end of the tour you will take a walk through the inner walled section of the colonial city. Discover Cartagena’s rich history and beautiful colonial architecture where you will admire the old houses, stunning balconies and different little squares. You will know more about the culture of Cartagena and its interesting architecture as you walk through the different cobbled streets and plazas; each street has a different story to tell. You will also see this city alive, with its students, vendors, and all the people that live there.
In the afternoon, we invite you to enjoy a delicious and colorful experience where you will be able to taste some of the local flavors of the city and learn about its culture. This walking tour through the inner walled section of the colonial city will let you experience Cartagena like a local resident in a neighborhood where people live, eat and shop.
This experience takes you to discover different sites and people from the colonial city, with whom the local residents relate on a daily basis as they pass by and stop for breakfast, lunch, dinner or typical snacks.
Featuring seven authentic food stops with different delicious tastings, you get to escape the crowds and taste the best of what the city has to offer.
Along the way, your guide will entertain and tell you stories and insights into Cartagena’s culture and history. Take a break from being a tourist and discover the real Cartagena with us!
Day 8 Cartagena/Tayrona National Park Surroundings
Private transfer from your hotel in Cartagena to your selected hotel in Tayrona National Park surroundings with English-speaking guide. This transfer is around 5 hours length, and the suggested start time is 9:00 am.
This impressive national park, which is one of Colombia’s most renowned natural treasures, lies at the Caribbean coast near to Santa Marta. It has some of South America's loveliest coastline and is dotted with beautiful beaches, swamps, forests, and mountains in close proximity. Actually, Colombia’s higher peak is located here, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with 5.775 m.a.s.l., at just 42 kilometers from the coast, being also the world highest coastal range.
Due to this, a stunning variety of flora and fauna represents diverse tropical eco systems between the mountain and the sea. It consequently boasts fascinating wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas and more than 400 species of birds.
This magical place is also home of several indigenous communities, which descend from the Tayronas and have declared this place as world’s bellybutton. The Lost City or the Pueblito Chairama, are part of the living legacy of these ancient people that you might visit during your trip as hiking tours.
The Park is located at 1 ½ hours at north, by car from Santa Marta and at 5 hours from Cartagena. In the surroundings, there are several hotels with an eco-lodge focus, which offer comfortable rooms inside the overwhelming atmosphere of this natural paradise.
This is the ideal place to enjoy the Caribbean beaches with a plus of history, sport and nature.
Overnight at selected hotel.
Day 9 Tayrona NP Surroundings (day at leisure)
Day at leisure to enjoy this natural paradise by your own! We will be glad to suggest you selected excursions available in this destination.
Overnight at selected hotel.
Day 10 Tayrona National Park Surroundings/Santa Maria Airport
Private transfer from Tayrona NP Surroundings to Santa Marta’s airport with English-speaking guide.
Transportation airport / hotel / airport.
Nights of accommodation in single / double rooms.
Entrance fees and activities as described in the program.
Meals as described in the program.
Private services with local English-speaking guides