Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Highlights of Colombia tour
Bogota Caribbean Highlights of Colombia Trip
Cartagena Medellin  Highlights of Colombia Trip

Highlights of Colombia

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
96%
Travel Style: For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
9 days
From: $ 1,930 $ 214 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Bogota - Take a cable car trip up Monserrate and visit the magnificent Salt Cathedral at Zipaquira
  • Cartagena - Wander around the cobbled streets of this picture-perfect colonial gem
  • Coffee Region - Walk in the wax palms of the Cocora Valley and visit a coffee plantation
  • Medellin - Discover innovative design and development in this diverse modern city

Short Description

This once-notorious country now has a reputation for having some of the friendliest locals in South America, a status that is well-deserved. This trip gives first-time visitors a taste of Colombia's diversity, from the towering Andes to the warm seas of the Caribbean. Explore the country's indigenous history at the fascinating gold museum in Bogota; hike amid the beautiful wax palms of the Cocora Valley and eat a typical lunch in colourful Salento; discover Medellin's regeneration and relax on the lovely cobbled streets of colonial Cartagena.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Cartagena

Destinations

Colombia

Cities & Attractions

Bogota Caribbean Cartagena Medellin

Activities

Cycling Hiking Trekking

Age Requirement

14

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 Join trip in Bogota

Bogota is set at an altitude of over 2,600m with the high ranges of the Cordillera Mountains lying to the east. The city's name comes from the Muisca indigenous people who inhabited the region before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1538, and the remnants of not only the Muisca empire but of Colombia's many other indigenous cultures can be found in the city's impressive Gold Museum. Bogota boasts grand colonial churches alongside futuristic architecture and a lively cultural scene. Arriving today we check-in to our hotel.

Meals Provided : None

Day 2 Take a cable car up Mount Monserrate; visit the Gold Museum

This morning we take the cable car up Mount Monserrate for magnificent views of the city. On our return we will spend time exploring the colourful colonial streets of La Candelaria and the city's lively central area. Walking under the balconied houses from where local residents often observe the comings and goings below, we'll cross the vast Plaza de Bolivar encountering some excellent examples of colonial architecture, such as the Catedral Primada de Colombia and San Bartolome College. The visit continues with the Museo Botero, a colonial house filled with works of art by the Colombian artist and sculptor Fernando Botero, famous for his abstract portrayal of people with large, exaggerated proportions. Finally, we will visit the Gold Museum, which is regarded as housing the finest collection of gold from Pre-Hispanic times.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 3 Discover Zipaquira's cavernous Salt Cathedral; fly to the Coffee Country

We'll head north out of the city this morning towards the small town of Zipaquira, a town that may normally go unnoticed if not for its extraordinary Salt Cathedral. This immense structure, carved out of solid salt, can accommodate over 8000 people and was part of the salt mines - a house of worship created as an easy way for miners to practice their religion while not disrupting their work. Curving and twisting tunnels descend into the Roman Catholic Church, passing 14 small chapels representing the Stations of the Cross, illustrating the events of Jesus' last journey. The immense cross in the central nave, lit from head to toe, has to be seen to be believed. After our visit we'll go directly to the airport, where we catch our flight to Armenia, the capital of the Quindio department and an important coffee growing centre, where we will spend the next two nights.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 4 Walk in the mountain landscape of the Cocora Valley

After breakfast, we spend time exploring the beautiful rainforest and creeks of the valley with the opportunity to see the multitudes of towering wax palms peppering the mountainsides. We will also visit the small and colourful town of Salento to see the very characteristic colonial architecture of this coffee growing region, enjoying a typical lunch in charming Salento. Smoked trout is particular to the area, usually served with plantain and rice, but you may also find yucca and arepas, a type of cornbread eaten by locals throughout the country.

Meals Provided : Breakfast & Lunch

Day 5 Visit a coffee plantation; drive to Medellin

This is one of the most attractive parts of the country and today we will take a trip out to a local coffee farm, located about 1.5 hours north-east of our hotel in the direction of Medellin. During the visit you will learn about the whole process from the planting of the beans all the way through the picking and roasting process, finishing off with trying the fresh coffee. The coffee in this region tends to be planted in rows extending up the mountainside, and we will be amazed by the physical work undertaken by the pickers in hauling their loads along, sometimes even strapped or tied onto the steep mountainside. In the afternoon we set off for our five hour drive to Medellin, stopping for dinner en route (not included).

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 6 Explore the giant Lake Guatape and colourful lakeside town

Today we drive out of the city to the picturesque lakeside town of Guatape, where the houses are painted in glorious pastel shades. The town is known as 'Pueblo de Zocalos' for the intricate paintings of animals, musical instruments, flowers and birds found on the lower half of almost every building in the centre. After discovering the cobblestoned streets and lakeside cafes, we visit the enormous rock of El Penol. This monolith is Guatape's most visited site, and the 650 step climb to the top is well worth it for the astounding views over the town, the lake and the mountains. After taking a breather on the top, we descend and return to Medellin.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 7 Discover Medellin on foot and by cable car; fly to Cartagena

Medellin has had a colourful history, yet since the death of its most infamous resident, Pablo Escobar, in 1993, the city has gone through comprehensive urban and cultural development. It now has a reputation for innovation and creativity and is representative of the country's social transformation, with growing industry and projects of social integration. Part of this innovation lies in the building of a cable car system allowing the residents of the poorer neighbourhoods on the steep mountainsides surrounding Medellin to easily commute into the city to work and trade. There is art all over the city - murals providing a flash of colour high up on building walls, or the bronze statues on Botero Plaza, donated by the famous artist himself. Our stay in Medellin is an opportunity to learn more about Colombia's recent, and fascinating, history. In the afternoon we fly to Cartagena on the Caribbean Coast. Our hotel is in the heart of the old-town, surrounded by the city walls and the perfect spot from which to wander to one of the city's many fine restaurants and bars. Music and nightlife is at the heart of Cartagena, and our Explore Leader can point us towards one of the many popular salsa bars, where bands are often found playing their lively music to locals showing off their moves on the dancefloor.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 8 Walk in the walled colonial city; free afternoon

Cartagena was founded in 1533 by Spanish conquerors as a main port to transport people and their goods into South America, and export gold, silver and all sorts of plants, animals, minerals and handicrafts from all over the continent across the Caribbean and on to Europe. It was also a slave port, a business which necessitated the construction of defences and massive fortified walls around the old city, now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today we will take a half day tour with our guide visiting, among other things, the San Felipe Fort, Convent de la Popa and the Convent de San Pedro Claver. There are plenty of things to do this afternoon, including a canoeing trip through in the mangroves to the fishermen's village La Boquilla, or a visit to the National Aviary where you can explore the different ecosystems of Colombia, and discover varied birdlife such as the harpy eagle, the Caribbean toucan, the pink flamingo and many other species. Alternatively, there are full day options (which would involve missing the walking tour), to enjoy the golden Caribbean sands at the beautiful Rosario Islands or to head to the fascinating African-influenced town of San Basilio de Palenques, home to descendants of communities of fugitive and escaped slaves from the colonial period of the 17th Century, and discover their rich culture. In the evening we can take a yachting trip to enjoy cocktails by sunset, a salsa class or a chocolate and rum tasting that will give you the chance to taste some of Colombia's finest produce.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 9 Trip ends in Cartagena

Our trip ends today in Cartagena. If your flight leaves in the evening, there will be a final opportunity to soak up the atmosphere in Cartagena's cobbled streets before departing. If anyone took a full day trip on the previous day, this is a good chance to explore the city. Alternatively, if you would like to extend your time in Colombia we also have an extension to Tayrona National Park, further along the Caribbean Coast, which is a park dense in green forest with excellent hiking trails as well as hidden beaches to explore.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 1,930
Price Per Day: $ 214 per day
Check Availability
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Nov-08-2019Nov-16-2019$ 1,930Yes13 Spaces Left Reserve
Jan-17-2020Jan-25-2020$ 2,130No16 Spaces Left Reserve
Apr-10-2020Apr-18-2020$ 2,060No16 Spaces Left Reserve
May-15-2020May-23-2020$ 2,060No15 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-06-2020Nov-14-2020$ 2,130No16 Spaces Left Reserve
Dec-18-2020Dec-26-2020$ 2,200No16 Spaces Left Reserve

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Explore!.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

73 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

96%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 55
Great 11
Average 3
Disappointing 3
Terrible 1
Value
4.5
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.3
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.4

Highlights of Colombia

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5.0
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Guide5.0
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I travelled as a solo traveller and was relieved to find that about half the boat was also solo travellers. It was a great adventure - on a ferry board for a week with the most amazing panoramic views around us every day. We were regularly out on smaller boats to see the bird cliffs up close, or to go onto land to walk around. We saw lots of amazing wildlife including walrus, blue whales, beluga whales, endless species of birds, and of course Polar Bears! The week went by too quickly. It was a great mix of wildlife and landscapes. Each day there was a different guide giving a presentation of everything from the biology of a polar bear, to the fauna found in the arctic circle. You could join in for as little or as much as you wanted. Definitely recommended.
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Super good tour guide, but the itinerary was rushed

5.0
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Junk on Halong Bay, Homestay in Mekong Delta. Hoi An Our tour guide, Long, was excellent and did a super job of mixing history and political context with what we were seeing. He went out of his way to add to the tour, actually taking us to favorite restaurant on his night off. The children loved him and we enjoyed his professionalism and his personal narrative of Vietnam. I felt that the itinerary was very rushed for a family tour. I understand the non family tour is longer and actually that would have been better for the family too. In particular a very busy day in Hue followed a mostly sleepless night on the train. We could have done with more time in Hue, or different activities. Hue was a bad day as the kite making was dull, crowded, and hot, then we didn't get to fly kites as we had not made them. In the end we had little time at the Citadel as we had to transfer into a small bus to navigate the streets.
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Excellent

5.0
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Guide5.0
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Mohammed was excellent!

Enjoy the trip

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The highlight of this trip was seeing Machu Picchu, which I loved it.

Great Tour Leader will come back in 2017

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A great tour leader - friendly, personable, approachable, knowledgeable of the local area, sights and people. We plan to come back and cycle with Andrew again in 2017.

Pleasant surprise experience

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation4.0
Meals5.0
It is hard to say because each outing was a pleasant surprise. The best experience was a workshop on feltmaking in Kazbegi town Georgia) where, as a group, we made the felt from scratch and created our own design. A great opportunity to discover a local craft. It is also an excellent example how this diverse group got along like a house on fire. In Armenia my fqvourite outing was the walk along the Garni river gorge with a local guide. The scenery was breathtaking.
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Details

Guides

Explore Tour Leader, Driver(s), Local Guide(s)

Age Notes

Min. Age: 14

Trip ID#:

explore_new-BCH

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast : 8
  • Lunch : 1
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