Bogota to Bogota
On this diverse two-week trip we experience the contrasts between the lively and cosmopolitan capital, Bogota, the atmospheric cobbled streets and well-preserved colonial buildings of Cartagena, and the laid-back and welcoming countryside. Explore the rolling hills of the central Coffee Zone, as well as taking time out to relax in hammocks near the superb Caribbean beaches of Tayrona National Park.
the Coffee Zone, Cartagena, Tayrona National Park's beautiful coastal scenery
• Local transportation, internal flights
• 12-night hotel, one night hammock with shared facilities
• Tour leader, local guides
• Most meals
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Day 7: Walk amid the wax palm trees of Cocora Valley; coffee tour.
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 town in which to wait and enjoy a freshly prepared coffee.
Day 8: Orchid farm visit; fly to Medellin.
This morning we will visit La Romelia Orchid Farm where you will enjoy more than 6000 orchid plants, an interesting variety of carnivorous plants and around 122 species of wild birds. The farm has spectacular surrounding mountain views and you will also find many other crops like yucca, citrus and avocado. After lunch we will transfer to Pereira and catch our flight to Medellin via Bogota. On arrival we will be picked up from the airport and should arrive late afternoon and check in to the hotel in the opposite a peaceful Caribbean beach in time for sunset.
Day 9: City tour of Medellin.
Today we take to the streets to discover Medellin, visiting the botanic garden, city centre, Botero square and Antioquia Museum, a wonderful art museum. Medellin is a busy city situated in a narrow but very fertile valley, between two Andean mountain ridges. This region is famous for its coffee plantations, butterflies, orchids and mild climate, giving it the nickname as the 'City of Eternal Spring'.
Day 10: Visit flower farm in Santa Elena; fly to Cartagena.
Today we visit a flower farm in Santa Elena to witness the wonderful variety and colour of this famous region. The flower farm we visit has rows and rows of dahlias, geraniums, pansies, petunias, orchids, anthuriums, begonias, lilies and more. Colombia is a huge exporter of cut blooms, supplying around 60% of the flowers in the USA. Afterwards, we take a flight to Cartagena where we'll spend the next few nights.
Day 11: 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.
Day 12: 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.
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 until at least 17:00. The land only portion of the trip ends upon returning to Bogota, and we recommend making any onward travel arrangements for the following day.
Operated by Exodus Travels. Prices will be quoted in CAD. Departure dates available year round, prices may vary, please contact us for details. Other conditions may apply. Trip style Cultural. Activity level: Leisurely.
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