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Classic Colombia (Not Your Usual Highlights Tour)

Created with Sketch. Bogota, Colombia
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9 days / 10 nights

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Tour Type

Daily Tour

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Group Size

6 people

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Day One – Ciclovia, Usaquen Flea Market, Coffee Tasting, and Monserrate

On your first morning in Colombia you will partake in one of Bogota’s coolest traditions: the Sunday ciclovia. Every Sunday, over 120km of roads are closed off to cars, as 2 million Bogotanos reclaim their streets to cycle, run, and walk their dogs. You will ride bikes from the hotel to the Sunday Flea Market of Usaquen (vehicle transfers will be provided for anyone who does not wish to cycle).

In Usaquen, browse the hundreds of market stalls selling everything from traditional artisan crafts to tasty Colombian snacks, before sampling a Bogota speciality for lunch: an ajiaco soup. After lunch, you will walk through Usaquen to Catacion Publica, an award-winning coffee shop, where there will be a coffee tasting activity for you to enjoy.

The day will finish off at Monserrate, one of Bogota’s most iconic destinations: a church perched on top of a sacred mountain, offering breathtaking panoramas of the city below. Ascend by cable-car or funicular railway, before marvelling at the view as the sun sets and the lights of the city start to come on. Tonight, dinner will be served in one of the hotel’s two excellent restaurants.

Day Two – Chicaque Natural Park Day Trip

An early start this morning as you take a day-trip to the perfectly preserved Andean cloud forests of Chicaque Natural Park. After a two-hour drive, and a hearty breakfast alongside the reserve’s hummingbird feeders, spend the morning hiking the well-marked trails through the verdant forests, keeping your eyes out for toucans, colourful butterflies, and even sloths.

Visit the Eagle’s Beak Hill, with its breathtaking views towards the distant snow-capped volcanoes of the Central Andes, before enjoying lunch and coffee at the Chicaque Lodge.

After lunch, the choice is yours: chill out in a hammock watching colourful tanagers from the terrace, take a horseback ride, or fly across the treetops at up to 70 kilometres per hour on Chicaque’s 340m zip line. In the early evening, you will drive back to Bogota for dinner and a well-deserved rest.

NB – a 4x4 is available for the drive down to the lodge if you are unable to hike.

Day Three – Fly into Pereira – Transfer to Hacienda Venecia – Coffee Tour

After a morning flight to Pereira, you will be driven to Hacienda Venecia, an authentic coffee farm with over 100 years of coffee-growing tradition and a beautiful boutique hotel, which will be your home for the next two nights.

After freshening up, head out on a coffee tour with the farm’s expert guides: learn the ins-and-outs of coffee production, pick your own beans, before enjoying a delicious coffee tasting session.

Following a traditional lunch in the hotel, the afternoon is free to take a hike through the coffee plantations, watch the birds feeding on bananas from your hammock, or take a refreshing dip in the pool. Of course, you could always spend the afternoon drinking more delicious coffee: you’ll never have a fresher cup!

Day Four – Day Trip to Los Nevados National Park and Thermal Baths

Hopefully you didn’t overdo it on the coffee yesterday, because it’s another early start on this wonderful day-trip into the high mountains of the Central Andes, where you will discover the magical ecosystems of the paramo, relax in natural thermal baths, and enjoy close-up sightings of some of Colombia’s coolest birds.

The two-and-a-half hour drive through the National Park passes through some of Colombia’s best preserved paramo – a stunningly biodiverse ecosystem of high-altitude moorland unique to northern South America – and past large glacial lakes like Laguna Negra. There’ll be plenty of stops to enjoy the clean mountain air and marvel at the remarkable views of the snowcapped Ruiz Volcano. After taking some time to search for the Buffy Helmetcrest hummingbird, one of Colombia’s most unique endemic species, you will carry on to Termales del Ruiz Hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, take the chance to enjoy the hotel’s facilities, including their natural hot springs and world-famous hummingbird feeders (keep an eye out for the sword-billed hummingbird, the only bird on earth with a beak longer than its body!).

The drive back to Hacienda Venecia passes through some of the most well-preserved Andean forest in the region, so there will be plenty of stops to look out for toucans and parrots, and to enjoy the panoramic mountain views. After a long day, enjoy a peaceful dinner back at the coffee farm.

Day Five – Transfer to Salamina

This morning, after a leasurely breakfast at the Hacienda, there will be a 2-hour road transfer to the lovely little Colombian Heritage Town of Salamina, where you will be able to explore an authentic small Colombian town, and get a real sense of the region’s architectural and cultural beauty.

Upon arrival in Salamina, lunch will be served at a lovingly-restored boutique hotel located in one of the town’s most traditional buildings; this is also where you will spend the night. After lunch, there will be a guided walking tour of Salamina – you will discover the town’s delightful old houses, famous carved wooden windows and doors, and visit architectural highlights like the church and cemetery. During the tour, there will be a stop at Salamina’s oldest bakery to sample some local snacks. Dinner will be served at another of the area’s nicest boutique B&Bs.

Day Six – Hike in the Samaria Valley – Transfer to Manizales

This morning you will climb about a traditional local jeep for the one hour drive through the mountains to the charming village of San Felix, with its colourful facades and friendly locals. There will be a stop in San Felix for coffee and snacks, before continuing to the Samaria Valley: the Cocora Valley might be famous for its giant Wax Palms, but Samaria is home to three-times as many of the 60m tall trees (Colombia’s National Tree), and sees a fraction of the tourists.

You will enjoy a guided hike through the woods of the valley, seeing the hundreds of Wax Palms in their natural, forest habitat (and even getting to see seedlings: it’s remarkable to see how something so tiny can grow into such a mighty tree!), and learn all about the trees from our guide, who runs a conservation project aimed at protecting and saving this endangered species.

After a hearty local lunch overlooking the valley of the palms, you will be driven by jeep back to Salamina to collect your bags before a transfer to Manizales, where there will be a night in a luxury hotel in the city.

Day Seven – Fly into Cartagena – Walking Tour

Today you will travel from Andes to Caribbean, and experience the remarkable contrasts that make Colombia such an exciting destination. After a morning flight from Pereira Airport to Cartagena, you will arrive at your luxurious boutique hotel within the walls of the Old City, before heading out to explore ‘The Jewel of the Indies.’ Enjoy a mouth-watering seafood lunch, before taking a guided visit to Cartagena’s finest artisan shop, where you can purchase some of Colombia’s most exclusive handmade crafts. Following this, there will be a walking tour through the magical streets of the city, where you will discover the rich and fascinating history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day Eight - Full-day excursion to Blue Apple Beach House

What’s a visit to the Caribbean without a day at the beach? This morning, a 30 minute boat trip will take you to Tierra Bomba Island, where you will spend the day at Blue Apple Beach House, an exclusive private beach club, with an excellent restaurant serving fresh, local seafood dishes. Lounge by the pool in a hammock, sample some cocktails at the bar, enjoy a rejuvenating beachside massage, or take a dip in the blue Caribbean waters: the choice is yours. After the return boat trip in the late afternoon, your evening is free to enjoy some more time in Cartagena.

Day Nine - Mangrove tour of La Boquilla – Free time in Cartagena

There’s more to Cartagena than just beaches and beautiful buildings, and today’s morning excursion to the mangrove forests of La Boquilla will prove that. After a 45 minute drive to the small fishing community of La Boquilla, you will take a unique tour through the mangroves. A local fisherman will be your guide, paddling a traditional canoe through the amazing tunnels formed by the mangroves and explaining all about the ecosystems, and the fisherman’s life in La Boquilla. Keep an eye out for spoonbills, herons, and even crab-eating racoons! After a refreshing coconut water by the lagoon, it’s back to Cartagena for one last afternoon: if there are any souvenirs you still need to buy, now’s the time.
Dress up nice this evening, as there will be a goodbye cocktail on the Old City walls at sunset, followed by a delicious dinner at Don Juan, one of Cartagena’s best traditional restaurants.

Day Ten - Fly back to Bogota

It’s time to wave goodbye to Colombia as you board your flight to Bogota to make the connections for international flights. Unless, that is, you have wisely chosen to extend your time in Colombia with a trip to the paradise Caribbean island of San Andres.

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Created with Sketch. Bogota, Colombia


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