Latin America Journeys Guru | Travel Design
Colombia, few people do realize that Colombia has everything you can imagine of Latin America hidden in one country, and that nowadays it is a safe country to explore. It has the highest potential for an absolutely amazing holiday of whole South America, it has the Caribbean coast, absorbed African culture and rainforest, the Pacific coast, intact indigenous peoples with their traditions, the Andes in three mountain chains, the coffee zone, active and sleeping volcanoes, high mountains with glaciers, paramo's, flat lands with cowboys, cattle and abundant wildlife as in the Brazilian Pantanal, the huge vastness of the Amazon rainforest with waterfalls that can compete with the Iguazu waterfalls, abundant birdlife, colonial history & villages, arts & handicrafts representing the variety of many countries in one, salsa, African mapale, vallenato and cumbia (and not to forget the Colombian reggaeton at the Caribbean): the only risk of this holiday is wanting to stay, el riesgo es que te quieres quedar ! The people of Colombia belong to the most welcoming, beautiful and warm hearted people of Latin America, many people won't be able to match this with the image they have from Colombia, but it really is, be invited to explore this amazing country and its people with us.
This individual holiday of 27 days is a sample itinery and can be tailor made in all ways. We have chosen for a larger itinery of 27 days to show the variety of Colombia in one single roundtrip. We can make shorter itineries, more focused on culture, special theme travels as for bird watchers, photographers or beach lovers, family holidays with kids, all as you wish. We do work on tailor made basis but we can also offer travel modules of three or more days and classical roundtrips. All itineries can be offered with public and private transport, for traveling with public transport you need to speak some Spanish and be an experienced traveller, with private transport the costs are significant lower when traveling with 4 together and all is taken care of.
To give an idea of more options in Colombia:
- Walking, hiking and/or horseriding in the Cocuy mountains (5-7 days)
- Walking at Los Nevados NP between volcanoes, lagoons and glaciers (2-5 days)
- Extension to La Guajira desert and Caribbean coast after Tayrona NP (4 days), Wayuu indigenous culture
- Trekking to the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) at the Sierra Nevada and meeting of Kogui culture in the mountains (5 days)
- Meeting with the Tayrona people after a visit to the NP Tayrona (3 days extra)
- Wildlife in los Llanos – Casanares province at ecolodge Hato Aurora (filmed by BCC & Animal Planet), with capybaras, 325 bird species, caimans, deers, anacondas of 7m long, jaguars, safaris, piranha fishing, walking and horse riding, traditional life of vagueros
- Colombian cowboys & cattle farming
- Visit Cano Cristales, beautiful coloured river famous from photography books, from Yopal-Villaviciencia this can be combined by small plane after a stay at the hacienda Hato Aurora for instance
- Special birdwatching tours staying among others in lodges of Pro Aves evt. mixed with other excursions
- Diving holidays and PADI certification via dive school at Cartagena de Indias
- Luxury Travel at the Caribbean and/or Pacific coast in the best ecolodges available with whale watching and boutique hotels, fincas and spas in the coffee zone and Cartagena, honeymoon at the Caribbean
- Travel with private guide into the Vaupes region, this is all pristine Amazonian rainforest off the beaten trek with amazing waterfalls and wildlife
- Adventurous and special tailor made travel combining Venezuela's tepui highlights with traveling upstream into Colombia at Inirida rainforest with private guide
- Private guided roundtravels or Group travels through Colombia with Latin American expert speaking fluent English and Spanish
Featured activities: Meeting the authentic Colombia, being in nature, culture & meeting the people of Colombia. Walking in mountains, visiting coffee haciendas, beachlife, colonial villages & history, cumbia & salsa, horse riding, bird & whale watching, snorkelling, diving, learning Spanish.
Shortlist of some important festivals - January: Carnaval de Blancos y Negros in Pasto & Feria de Manizales (coffee zone), February: Carnaval de Barranquilla (of the carnavals highly recommended), March: Easter (Semana Santa) in Popayan, April: Festival de Vallenato in Valledupar, May: the San Pedro and Bunde Tolimense festival in Espinal, Wayuu culture festival in Uribia (La Guajira), June: Bambuco national folk festival in Neiva & festival del Mar in Santa Marta, August: Feria de Flores in Medellin, September: World Salsa festival in Cali, October: the World Coleo Encounter in Villavicencio (cowboy – vaquero festival) , November: Carnaval de Cartagena & Reina National de Belleza (Miss Colombia) in Cartagena de Indias, December: Feria de Cali. For more details on all Colombia festivals, the data and how to add a specific festival in your itinery, please contact us.
Individual tailor made tours with public transport or private transfers, and/or with standard modules integrated. Group roundtravels with a tourguide tailor made. Sample itinery of 27 days.
Day 1: Arrival at Bogota, welcome and transfer to hotel in Colonial area La Candelaria, hotel Abadia Colonial
Day 2: City tour Bogota. In the morning guided walk through the colonial area La Candelaria. Main monuments and squares, visit the Gold & Botero Museum, visit Cerro Monserrate , overnight Bogota. Alternative: city tour on bike.
Day 3: To Laguna de Guatavita for an ecological guided walk to the holy lake of the Muisca Indians, ecosystems of semi-paramo (2800-3100m) and paramo (+3100m). Continuation to the colonial town of Villa de Leyva, overnight in or near the colonial center, hospedería San Carlos.
Day 4: Free day in Villa de Leyva to explore the colonial town & the surroundings. Optional excursions are: horseback riding, visit to the desert of ‘la Candelaria', cultural and archeological tour with museums, hike to Parama Iguaque, ecological walks in the surroundings and/or to waterfalls, city tour.
Day 5: From Villa de Leyva to Barichara, free midday to explore the beautiful colonial town of Barichara on your own. Night in hotel in colonial center, La Nube Posada.
Day 6: In the morning a guided walk of 3 hrs over the ‘Camino Real' from Barichara to Guane. In Guane free time before returning to Barichara.
Day 7: From Barichara to Caño de Chicamocha. Cable car from one side to the other side of the Chicamocha Cañon to ‘Mesa de los Santos'. Continuation to Giron where we will stay in the colonial town, Chill Out Hotel Boutique.
Day 8: From airport Bucaramanga flight to Neiva. Transfer to the village of Villavieja, hotel Villa Paraiso.
Day 9: Guided walk in the Tatacoa Dessert in early morning , visiting the sand formations and swim at natural pool. In the afternoon we continue to San Agustin where we stay in a nice hacienda just outside the town, hacienda Anacaona
Day 10: In the morning visit to the archeological park of San Agustin in company of a local guide. The tour is about 4 hours and we visit the sites Mesa A, B, C and ‘Lavapatos'. We also go to the nearby archeological museum and the ‘Bosque de Estatuas'. Rest of the day free to wander around in the town of San Agustin or to see more of the beautiful surrounding. Second night in San Agustin. Optional midday: 3 to 5 hours horse ride in the surroundings of San Agustin after the visit to the archeological park to see surroundings and some more archeological sites, rafting on the Magdalena River, or a jeep tour in the surroundings.
Day 11: To Popayan via the paramo and with some views at the Puracé Volcanoe. After arrival in Popayan free afternoon and evening to explore the ‘White Colonial Town' of Popayan on your own. Night in Popayan close to the main square, hotel la Plazuela.
Day 12: Free day at Popayan to explore more of the colonial town or the surroundings. Optional: tour to the Paramo de Puracé, the hotsprings of San Juan and spot the largest bird of South America, the Condor.
Day 13: To Salento, with a possible visit to Silvia and the Indian market depending on the day, hostal Ciudad de Segorbe.
Day 14: Tour in Willys to Valle de Cocora, ecological walk with a local guide through the valley. This valley is known for its palm trees ‘Palma de Cera' which can reach heights of 70m. On our way back we will visit a local coffee farmer to learn a little bit about the local coffee process. Optional horseback ride instead of hike in Valle de Cocora.
Day 15: From Salento to hacienda Venecia. This is a large operating coffee farm where we will stay in the traditional and very beautiful coffee hacienda with stunning views over the coffee fields. In the afternoon we get an explanation about the coffee process. Difference with the former coffee tour is that this farm produces not only for self sustaining, but for consumption in Colombia and export as well, you stay in the traditional coffee finca Venecia (not in the hostel).
Day 16: From airport Pereira flight to Nuqui via the town of Quibdo in the department of Choco. After arrival at Nuqui short boat ride over the sea to the accommodation at the beach of the village Termales, Posada Mar y Rio (can also be upgraded).
Day 17, 18 and 19: Stay at Posada Turistica Mar y Rio. Inclusive are 3 meals a day, ecological walk to hotsprings and a little waterfall. During the months of June (end) till October (beginning) you can see the whales passing by. Boat trips to see the amazing whales closer can be included. Other activities are fishing, boat trips, hikes and ecological walks in the Pacific rainforest.
Day 20: Boat back to Nuqui and flight to Medellin, boutique hotel in the modern area called ‘El Poblado'. In the afternoon a short city tour with visit to the center of Medellin, Botero, a ride in the metro and metro cable to the neighborhood of Santa Domingo, optional visit to street children project.
Day 21: From airport Medellin direct flight to Santa Marta, from here to NP Tayrona. From the entrance of the NP Tayrona walk for 45 minutes through the jungle to the sector of Arrecifes where we will stay in cabins in the park and close to the beach of Arrecifes. As an option we can also stay in the very luxury ecohabs close to the entrance of the Tayrona Park. These ecohabs are located on the jungle hills of the Tayrona Park overlooking the sea, Cabañas Arrecifes, or upgrade to Ecohabs.
Day 22 and 23: Free days in the Tayrona Park to relax, to enjoy the many beaches or to make some hikes in the park. There is a hike of 4 to 5 hours (return) from Arrecifes to the Archeological site of ‘el Pueblito'. These terraces are from to former Indian culture of the Tayronas. Optional hike can be arranged with the reception of the cabins, with the local guides in the park or be done on your own.
Day 24: Walk back to the entrance of the Tayrona Park and to Cartagena. In Cartagena we will stay in the colonial town of the walled city in the area called ‘San Diego'. Late afternoon and evening free to explore the colonial town, hotel 3 Banderas. On the way to Cartagena a stop can be made in case of private transfer at the mud volcano Totumo for a very special mudbath and swim in the river.
Day 25: City tour Cartagena de Indias in the morning, guided walk through the colonial town visiting the neighbourhoods of San Diego, Calamari and Gestemani, walk over the old city wall. Rest of the day free to explore more of the city and her surroundings by yourself. Optional extension in afternoon visiting the ‘Castillo San Felipe de Barajas' (fortress) and the convent of ‘Cerro de la Popa'.
Day 26: Free day in Cartagena. The hotel of 3 Banderas also has accommodation on the island of ‘Tierra Bomba' on the beach in front of the modern area of ‘Bocagrande'. In coordination with the reception you can switch one night in the colonial town for one night in the beach hotel. Optional: a tour on this free day to Islas del Rosario, Playa Blanca, Volcan de Totumo, visiting a social children project with mangrove tour at Boquilla, tour to African village of Palenque, etc.
Day 27: To airport of Cartagena and international flight back home. Holiday extensions can be made eg to Mompox, for colonial culture, history and silver handicrafts, to Monteria for staying at a traditional cattle farm, to La Guajira (in combination with Tayrona Park) for desert, Caribbean beaches and Wayuu indigenous culture.
Individual tailor made tours with public transport or private transfers, and/or with standard modules integrated. Group roundtravels with a tourguide tailor made. Sample itinery of 18 days.
Day 1: Arrival on the airport of Santa Marta. Here an driver will be waiting for you to bring you to your hotel in Santa Marta. The travelling time will take you in about 30 min.
Options to stay: Hotel la Casa (comfortable), Hotel Rodadero Beach (standard)
Day 2: A free day to discover the oldest colonial town in Colombia. Enjoy the sun on the beach of or make an walk on the lively boulevard. It is also possible to visit Hacienda Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino the beautiful country house where liberator Simon Bolivar died.
Day 3: Today you will go to the most beautiful and famous beaches of Colombia. In the morning your transport will pick you up from the hotel to bring you to the entrance of National Park Tayrona. The trip will take in about one and a half hour. Surrounded by dense jungle you will stay close to the white beaches of the park.
Options to stay: Cabaña on the beach of Arrecifes (comfortable), 45 min walking from the parking space, Ecohab on the beach of Carnaveral (luxury) 15 min walking from the parking space, for both options horses can be rented for personal tranbsport and luggage.
Day 4: A day to relax or explore. You can enjoy the beaches while you hear the sound of the jungle and when you look behind, you see the snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta emerging from the jungle. It is also possible to make daywalks into the mountains and visit the former Indian village of Pueblito. Second night in Tayrona National Park.
Day 5: In the morning you go to the exit of the park where your transport is waiting for you. A 30 min drive brings you to Taironaka. Build on the lands of the Indians this Eco lodge combines history and nature. After a 15 min boat ride upriver you will enter the Eco lodge. Here you will stay in comfortable cabañas (huts) close to the Don Diego river.
Day 6: An day to relax in Taironaka. Visit the museum of the Kogi Indians and make a trip on the Don Diego river in tubes. Floating in the tubes you will encounter animals like monkeys, toucans and probably an Babilla, after some time you will reach an remote beach where you have time relax a bit before an boat will bring you back to the lodge.
Day 7: In the early morning transport to Uribia, the capital of the Wayuu Indians. Here you will have lunch and you will have time to visit the local market. After lunch you will go to Manaure to see the salt planes. In the late afternoon you will arrive at Cabo de la Vela. Here you will stay in Chinchorros in an simple cabin or hammock at the beach. Options to sleep: Simple cabin or hammock.
Day 8: Whole day to spend at the marvelous beaches like playa de Pilon, playa Ojo de aqua and in the afternoon so will see the sun go down form a lighthouse. Second night in cabin or hammock.
Day 9: Early transfer to the sanctuary Flora and Fauna Los Flamengos. You will make a boat trip through the lagoons to see the flamingos.
Los Flamencos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary is the ideal place for watching flamingoes and other exotic tropical birds. It is located on the Caribbean coast in a dry tropical forest area to the west of the peninsula of La Guajira, in the municipality of Riohacha. On this wide coastal plain, dominated by the colors of the desert, there is an abundance of salty lagoons, many of which become salt during dry seasons. The elegant flamingoes and their exotic tower-shaped mud nests, which can reach a height of sixty centimeters, are the main attraction of the Sanctuary, a site that also offers the possibility of coming into contact with the rich Wayúu culture. It is also a place for enjoying the sun and the beach, hiking, or simply hanging around in a traditional ranchería (village) or going fishing with the locals.
After spotting the birds, your transport brings you to Ecolodge La Roca, an Ecolodge close to the beach. Options to stay: nice cabin close to the beach (3 meals included) at Ecolodge La Roca, or at Playa Koralia.
Day 10: Free day to relax at the beach and enjoy the Caribbean nature, Ecolodge La Roca, or at Playa Koralia.
Day 11: Travel from the beach La Roca / Koralia to Colombia's most famous town: Cartagena de Indias. On your way you will make a stop to visit the Volcano Totumo, and mud volcano where you can take a spectacular mud bath floating in a beautiful scenery. This transfer takes in about 6 hours (the stop in Totumo not included). In Cartagena you will stay in the old historic center.
Options to stay: Hotel 3 Banderas (Standard), Hotel Don Pedro de Heredia (comfortable), more luxury hotels on request
Day 12: Free day to explore to beautiful and colonial Cartagena on your own, or with a local guide for a half or full day.
Cartagena has had an interesting confluence of cultures for over 500 years that include the pre-Columbian native aborigines, the Spanish, the Africans and the Arabs. All of this framed within one of the most beautiful cities in the Caribbean, which brings together the most important cultural events in the world. Its historic center, known as the "Walled City", was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984. Cartagena is a city rich in cultural expressions and folklore, you find here a fusion of cultures, sounds, dances, traditions, foods and lifestyles. This unique diversity inherent to the city is one of its main attractions that makes this the Jewel of the Caribbean. Its multicultural and cheerful ambiance will always make you wish to come back and taste more. Cartagena is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. The beaches are within walking distance of the ancient walls of the Historic Center, locally referred to as El Centro (Down Town). The beaches extend around the peninsula of Bocagrande and Laguito.
Day 13: Transport to the quiet and beautiful colonial town, Mompox with its famous silver handicrafts. You will travel about 4 hours depending if it is with public transport or private.
Founded in 1540 on the banks of the River Magdalena, Mompox played a key role in the Spanish colonization of northern South America. From the 16th to the 19th century the city developed parallel to the river, with the main street acting as a dyke. The historic centre has preserved the harmony and unity of the urban landscape. Most of the buildings are still used for their original purposes, providing an exceptional picture of what a Spanish colonial city was like. You stay in the historical center.
Options to stay: Hotel Boutique Bioma (Comfortable), Hotel Casa Amarilla (standard)
Day 14: Free day to explore Mompox on your own, or with a local guide for a half or full day.
Day 15: Transport back to Cartagena de Indias. In Cartagena you will have the same hotel as before.
Day 16: Daytrip to the Islands of Rosario, evt in combination with snorkeling and/or scuba diving. You will depart in the early morning and may bring a visit to several Islands, have an typical lunch on one of the islands and visit the famous Playa Blanca. In the late afternoon you will be back in Cartagena.
Day 17: Last free day in Cartagena.
Day 18: Transfer to the airport of Cartagena.
Unique Kogui Tour in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Day to day program with 4 day Kogui Tour with a local Kogui guide.
Hotels, Lodges & Pousadas depending of availability & budget, to be filled in on moment of quoting and booking.
Day 1: Arrival at Santa Marta airport and private transfer to the hotel in the historic center of the city. Rest of the day off.
Day 2: Free day in Santa Marta. Take a walk through the historic center, visit the last resting place of freedom fighter Simon Bolivar (La Quinta de San Pedro de Alejandrino) or relax at one of the many beaches in the area.
Day 3: Pick up in the morning at your hotel in Santa Marta by our local Kogui guide. From here we go with a 4WD (private transport) to the village of Palmor (900m), a drive of almost three hours. After arrival lunch in the village and a short walk (20 minutes) through the area to a farm for an introduction to local products such as honey and sugar cane and its production process. Return to Palmor for a short walk through the village and night in a simple local hotel. Dinner is included.
Day 4: Breakfast in Palmor and departure by 4WD to Cherua (an hour and a half), a village at an altitude of 2200 meters. Here we are greeted by the local Indian community and we get an explanation of the Kogui culture and customs from our local guide. From Cherua we walk for about three hours to a local coffee farm where on the way we have the opportunity to see many different bird species and perhaps even monkeys. If it is a nice clear day we also see the snow peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Typical local lunch at the farm and in the afternoon a tour of the farm where you can learn more about the coffee production process in this region. Stay at the farm in hammocks.
Note: mule available for luggage and support.
Day 5: Wake up early for breakfast and departure for the walk to Satey, a particularly traditional community in the Sierra Nevada. People from outside need special permission to come in here. During the walk, enjoy the spectacular views, waterfalls and the unprecedented tranquility and nature in this unique region of Colombia. It is also possible to take a refreshing dip at a waterfall or in one of the many rivers that flow down here. In the afternoon we return to the coffee farm for overnight stay. Snacks and water included.
Note: mule available for luggage and support.
Day 6: Breakfast at the farm and walk back to Cherua where we return to Palmor by 4WD. After lunch in Palmor departure for Tayrona NP (entrance included). On arrival in Tayrona NP it is still an hour's walk (or half an hour on horseback for an additional charge) to the stay in the park.
Note: mule available for luggage and support.
Day 7: Free day in Tayrona NP. Visit the various beaches in the park or take the brisk walk to Pueblito, a former settlement of the Tayronas.
Day 8: Free day in Tayrona NP. Visit the various beaches in the park or take the brisk walk to Pueblito, a former settlement of the Tayronas.
Day 9: Walk back to the entrance of the park where transport is ready to take you to Cartagena.
Day 10: In the morning you will explore the historic center of the city on a guided walk. In the afternoon you will visit a school project in the fishing village of La Boquilla, just outside Cartagena.
Day 11: Enjoy a day off in Cartagena. Explore the walled colonial center, visit Castillo San Felipe or La Popa, for example, or relax on the beach.
Day 12: Transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Bogotá. On arrival transfer to the hotel and the rest of the day free to discover the city itself.
Day 13: Free day in Bogotá. Take a stroll through the historic center of La Candelaria, visit one of the many museums and view the city from Cerro Monserrate. With Zipaquirá, Laguna Guatavita and Chingaza NP you can also make beautiful day trips.
Day 14: Transfer to the airport for intercontinental flight back to home.
The 4 day Kogui tour in the Sierra Nevada is quite basic with an overnight stay in a hammock, but without any doubt an exceptional and authentic experience that is reserved for few people and for sure also not very known. Price for this tour is therefore only with local Spanish speaking guides, for adding an English speaking guide from Bogota there is an additional cost. For Santa Marta, Cartagena & Bogota you can select the comfort & luxury of the hotels you prefer together with our team. All tailor made.
NP Cocuy, Hato La Aurora, NP Tayrona
Day 1: Arrival at Bogota airport and transport to colonial Candelaria quarter, hotel Abadia Colonial for the night.
Day 2: City tour Bogota visiting la Candelaria, the most important monuments and squares, Gold Museum, Botero Museum and Monserrate by cable car. Second night in hotel Abadia Colonial
Day 3: Tour to the Paramo de Chingaza, hike of 4-5 hrs at an altitude of 3000 - 3500m. Paramo ecosystems occur only in the Andes (mainly in Colombia) and are high mountain biomes with lakes and a vegetation characterized by huge rosette plants (frailejones). Tour includes a typical lunch at a local farm house. Third night in Bogota.
Day 4: Transfer to airport Bogota and domestic flight to Yopal. Transfer to Hato la Aurora ecolodge in los Llanos, some stops at local villages. Night at the ecolodge in private nature reserve of a typical Colombian family of the Llanos region with local music & ambiance.
Day 5 and 6: We have 2 days to make safaris on foot, by horse and by safari truck according to preferences and options. We travel to the mother hacienda in the middle of the reserve and have lunch there. Stay at Hato la Aurora ecolodge, all meals and excursions are included. The climate change of the Llanos is extreme. During the rainy season from May to October, parts of the Llanos are flooded. This turns the woodlands and grassland into a temporary wetland, comparable to the Pantanal of Central South America. This flooding makes the area unique for its wildlife. Both the BBC and Animal Planet have been filming at this reserve of Hato la Aurora.
Day 7: Free morning at ecolodge for walking excursion and wildlife observation nearby the lodge, in midday return to Yopal at 350 m altitude with some stops along the way. Night just outside city center of Yopal.
Day 8: Travel to Monqui and night in colonial village. Along the way time to visit Laguna la Tota, the Temple of the Sun in Sogamoso, which was a religious center of the Muiscas Indians and have a local wine tasting. Monqui is situated at 2900 m altitude and gives us a good start for acclimatization for the high mountains to come. It features well preserved colonial architecture and has been declared the cutest town of Boyacá.
Day 9: Travel through the beautiful Andes to Cocuy village at 2750 m altitude, overnight in cosy village at the main square.
Day 10: Transfer up to Cocuy National Park, breakfast at cabins overlooking snow peaks, and hike to Valle de Lagunillas at 4300 m altitude in 2-3 hrs. Luggage will be transported by horses or porters and a cook will accompany us for the preparation of the meals in the Sisuma cabins. This day will be an easy day to acclimatize to the high altitude, the walk is mainly flat. All meals and luggage transport are included. Cabins are 1-2 shared rooms for the group.
Dag 11: The strongest day, a beautiful climb up to Pulpito del Diablo (4900m) and the glacier at the feet of the Pan de Azucar (5250m). If the weather conditions are good we can walk a little on the glacier. An ascent to the top of Pan de Azucar is possible when the weather allows but will have to be requested specially, a mountain guide and climbing gear are not yet included. Return to Valle de Lagunillas, second night in Sisuma cabins.
Day 12: Short hike back to entrance of the park Cocuy and long transfer to the famous colonial village Villa de Leyva, stay in beautiful hotel with spa.
Day 13: Hike through the surroundings of Villa de Leyva visiting the Candelaria desert. Time to visit the village. Second night Villa de Leyva.
Day 14: Travel back to Bogota airport for domestic flight to Santa Marta at the Caribbean coast. Overnight on the beach of Taganga village, time to visit Santa Marta in afternoon.
Day 15: Transfer to the tropical forest of NP Tayrona, start hike from Calabazo through the tropical forest, visiting Pueblito along the way, which is a small archaeological site of the Kogui culture, to the Caribbean beaches of Arrecifes. Night in cabins sector Arrecifes. Beach cabins are shared by 3-4 persons.
Day 16: Free day at the beaches of NP Tayrona for beachtime, snorkeling or more walking through the rainforest. Second night Cabañas Arrecifes.
Day 17: Hike to entrance of the NP Tayrona and transport to Cartagena. Visit on the way to project that support street children in suburb Cartagena. We may visit the Totumo mudvolcano along the way as well or have a canoe trip through the mangroves near Cartagena. Night in historical center Cartagena.
Day 18: City tour in the morning and free afternoon in Cartagena. We make a walk through the colonial center visiting the neighborhoods of Calamarí, San Diego and Getsemaní. In the afternoon time free to explore the city on your own. Second night Cartagena.
Day 19: Transfer to airport for international flight and end of the trip. Or holiday extension for more days at Cartagena, la Guajira, beach, snorkeling or diving holiday.
Tailormade for all tastes and styles
Day 1: Arrival at Bogota airport and transport to Hotel Abadia Colonial for the night.
Day 2: City tour Bogota visiting la Candelaria, the most important monuments and squares, Gold Museum, Botero Museum and Monserrate by cable car. Second night in Hotel Abadia Colonial.
Day 3: Private transport in the morning from Bogota to Fusagasuga. Here we visit the oldest Coffee Hacienda of Colombia, Hacienda Coloma. Short walk through coffee plantations and explanation about coffee process. Continue in transport to Neiva where we stay in the Hacienda Hospedería Matamundo.
Day 4: Transport to Villavieja and the Tatacoa dessert. Together with local guide we make an ecological walk in the (semi)dessert to observe the different sand formations and typical flora and fauna of this region. In the early afternoon continue in private transport to San Agustin where we will stay in the Hacienda Anacaona just out side the village.
Day 5: Tour in the morning to the archeological park of San Agustin. We visit Mesa A, B and C, Lavapatos and the nearby archeological museum and ‘Bosque de Estatuas’. Rest of the afternoon free. We can organize optional activities such as jeep tour in surroundings, rafting on Magdalena River, visiting watrefalls, Sucan Cane farm, local coffee farm. Horse ride, ect. Second night in Hacienda Anacaona.
Day 6: Private transport from San Agustin via the Paramo de Puracé to Popayan. Arrival in the afternoon in Popayan and short city walk with local guide to get to know this beautiful colonial city. We spend the night in Hotel la Plazuela at one block from the center square.
Day 7: Early morning transport to the mountain village of Silvia. Here we visit the Local Indian Market which only can be visited on Tuesdays. In the afternoon continue to Cali where we stay in the Hotel Boutique San Antonio. In the night we organize a salsa show. This show is by little children who receive lessons in a social project. Most of these children come from very poor neighborhoods and the money paid for these shows is invested in the project of these children.
Day 8: Transport from Cali to the Coffee region where we will stay in the Hacienda San José just outside the town of Pereira. This is one of the most beautiful Haciendas of this area, former a coffee hacienda, now turned into a luxury hotel. Rest of the afternoon free to enjoy the Hacienda, it’s surroundings and/or pool.
Day 9: Tour to the typical village of Salento and Valle de Cocora. We go to Salento in private transport from where we continue in Willys (typical jeeps from this region) to the Cocora Valley. Ecological walk to observe the Palma de Cera (highest palm trees in the world) and the flora and fauna of this region. In the afternoon back to Salento, some free time in the village and at the end of the day back to Hacienda San José for the night.
Day 10: Transport to Medellin. A long but beautiful drive. On the way we will stop and have lunch at a viewpoint over the Cauca River. In Medellin we will stay in the neighborhood of ‘El Poblado’ in the Hotel Poblado Boutique.
Day 11: In the morning we will visit a social project for poor children in Medellin. This project helps children from the street by giving them football and other sport activities. Also activities with music and theater. After the visit we continue for a city tour Medellin visiting the city center, the Botero Museum and a trip in metro and metro cable to the neighborhood of ‘Santo Domingo’ for stunning views over Medellin. In the evening/night we go to a Tango Bar for some nightlife and Tango shows of local people. Second night in Hotel Poblado Boutique.
Day 12: Transfer to the airport of Medellin and welcome at the airport Santa Marta. Transport to Palomino beach area. Here we will stay in nice comfortable cabins and rooms at the beach in an ecohotel.
Day 13: Early morning transport to NP Tayrona and hike from the beach Cañaveral to beach Arrecifes. Here we will stay the rest of the day enjoying the beach. For the trekking lovers we can continue to other beaches such as ‘la Piscina’ and/or ‘Cabo de San Juan’, or for those who like to do the 4 to 5 hour hike to Pueblito to visit the archeological site of the Tayrona culture. At the end of the day back to the eco beachhotel for the night.
Day 14: Transfer to Cartagena. On the way we will stop at the local fisherman village of ‘la Boquilla’ where we visit a social project for poor children of Cartagena. This project is a school for the poorest children of Cartagena and the fisherman villages around the city. In the afternoon continue to Cartagena where we stay in the hotel Casa India Catalina for the night.
Day 15: City tour Cartagena of half a day. We make a walk through the colonial center visiting the neighborhoods of Calamarí, San Diego and Getsemaní. In the afternoon time free to explore the city on your own. Second night Hotel Casa India Catalina.
Day 16: Free day Cartagena. We can organize optional activities such as boat trips to the Islas del Rosario for snorkeling and/or diving excursions, Playa Blanca or a trip to the mud Volcano of Totumo. Third night in Cartagena.
Day 17: Transfer to the airport of Cartagena and international flight back home.
Tailormade birdwatching tours at top locations
For birdwatching a 'must see' is probably 'El Dorado' near Santa Marta and very beautiful to add would be the reserve Hato Aurora for both birdwatching & wildlife safaris.
These 2 programs were developed especially for groups of birdwatchers and can be tailor made in all ways.
Proposal birding, fauna, and culture trip with wildlife safaris at Hato Aurora included.
– 13 days –
This trip of 13 days (in Colombia), has a focus on birding and fauna, but is also suitable for nature lovers in general, and will have some extra dimension because of the cultural aspects. We visit almost all ecosystems including paramo (above de 3300m), cloud forest, sub-tropical, and tropical areas. The highlight for animal and nature lovers will be at the end, with our stay in an ecolodge deep into the department of Casanare, where we have a great variety of animals (including mammals), as well as birds.
Day by day description:
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1 – Arrival at Bogota airport and welcome by our host and driver. Transfer to hotel in the colonial area of Bogota, called ‘la Candelaria’ for the first night.
Day 2 – City tour in Bogota. We do a hike in the colonial area of ‘la Candelaria’ visiting the most beautiful and important monuments. Also visit to Gold Museum, and the Botero Museum. IN the afternoon we take the cable car up to Cerro Monserrate for stunning views over the capital. Back to the hotel in the (late) afternoon and second night in Bogota.
Day 3 – Early morning private transport from Bogota to Honda. Normally this is a 5 hour drive, but we will have some stops on our way. One of these stops will be at ‘Jardin Encantado’ for birding (mostly honeybirds). We go all the way from the Eastern Andes Range into the Magdalena Valley. As going from Bogota at 2600m to Honda (400m), we will have various ecosystems, and we will have a special birding guide in the bus this day to be able to advise some stops for the clients, and have some extra information. In Honda we saty in the colonial center of the village for the night.
Day 4 – Early morning transport from Honda to Manizales. Normally also about 4 to 5 hours, but again we will have some stops. One of them will be the Los Nevados Park where we will visit the ‘Laguna Negra’ for some birding. The ecosystems are going to change as we go up from the Magdalena Valley, all the way to the paramo (over 3500m), and back to the cloud forest of Timanu. This day we will still have a special birding guide in the bus for recommendations and extra information. In Manizales we will stay at the bird reserve of Tinamu for the night.
B, L, D
Day 5 – Full day in Tinamu for birding. For the real die hard birders, we can do a short birding tour in the morning and in the afternoon have a transport to the bird reserve of Rio Blanco for some extra birding in the bird reserve of ‘Aguas de Manizales’. This activity will be offered as optional. Second night in Tinamu.
B, L, D
Day 6 – Transport from Tinamu (Manizales) to the authentic village of Jardin Antioquía, This trip is about 5 to 6 hours, so after arrival we have time to explore the village of Jardin. At 16:00 we will do a short birding tour to a private birding reserve just outside the village with possibility to spot the ‘Cock of the Rock’. Night in the village of Jardin.
Day 7 – Full day tour in special jeeps to the bird reserve of ‘Orejamarillo’. This reserve is administrated by the foundation of ‘Pro-Aves’ and together with an experienced bird guide, we will spend the day looking for birds. In the afternoon we return to Jardin for the second night in the village.
B & L
Day 8 – Transport to the airport of Medellin (Rio Negro) and flight to Yopal. This flight will have a short stopover in Bogota. In Yopal we will have a transfer to hotel in the city center. In the afternoon we will have a short tour just outside Yopal to spot some birds.
Day 9 – In 4x4 jeeps (3 to 4 persons per jeep) we continue our trip over a dirth road into the Los Llanos. We will go all the way to a small village called ‘Montañas de Totumo’, which is a 5 hours drive, where we will stay in an ecolodge. After arrival we will do a short hike around the ecolodge for both spotting fauna and birds. Night in ecolodge.
B, L, D
Day 10 and 11 – Two full days of activities at the ecolodge. We will do hikes, horse rides, safaris in jeeps, and a boat trip of the Ariporro River. This is really THE highlight of the trip. The area of Casanare, and especially around the ecolodge where we stay, is famous for the variety of animals (including mammals) and birds. If we go in the summer time (between December and March) we can also include a special activity where we go looking for Anacondas. In the evening we will also include some aspects of the traditional culture of Los llanos. Not only the food, but we will also do live music, poems, and dancing (Joropo) with the local people.
B, L, D
Day 12 – Morning free time at the lodge and after the lunch we return in 4x4 jeeps to Yopal. From here we have direct flight back to Bogota. Last night in Bogota we will do in other area of the city. We stay the last night in the northern part of the city, where you find more restaurants and bars.
B & L
Day 13 – According flight schedule a transfer to the airport of Bogota and international flight back home. End of the trip organized.
(Soft) Birding tour – 15 days & 14 nights
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1 - Arrival at Bogota airport and welcome by our tour leader and driver for transfer to Hotel Casa Deco. After check in we have time to relax, no program today. First night in Bogota in Hotel Casa Deco.
Day 2 - 09:00 start of city tour Bogota. We start with a walking tour in la Candelaria, visiting the most important monuments and squares, Gold Museum and Botero Museum. After a typical lunch in local restaurant, we continue in transport to Cerro Monserrate where we go up to the mountain hill in cable car for views over the city. Return to the hotel in the afternoon and 2nd night in Hotel Casa Deco.
B & L
Day 3 - 07:00 Day tour to the Nature reserve of ‘Parque Chicaque’ at just one hour south of Bogota. We leave early to be able to see as much birds possible. Besides the Tour leader we will also count on the skills of a professional bird guide in the park. The park has an ecosystem of Cloud Forrest and we will decent from +/- 2700m to 2200m to a valley. Depending on the physical shape of the group we can return hiking over other path or get back in 4 wheel drive. During the trip we will have a lunch box included. In the afternoon we return to Bogota for the 3rd night in Hotel Casa Deco.
B & L
Day 4 - 08:00 private transport from Bogota to Jardin Encantado, a bird reserve at 1,5 hours from Bogota. Here we have a guided visit to the bird reserve and possibility to do some Honeybird spotting at a breeder. We continue in private transport for another 3 to 4 hours to the Colonial town of Honda, where we will stay at the hotel Belle Epoque. If we don’t arrive too late, we can make a short walk in the colonial town of Honda with our tour leader. Night in Hotel Bouitique Belle Epoque.
Day 5 - 07:00 morning walk alomg the Magdalena river to spot some birds of the Magdalena Valley. WE continue in private transport for 4 to 5 hours going up from the Magdalena valley all the way to the Paramo, and donw to the city of Manizales. On our way we can make several stops for bird watching along the road. In Manizales we stay at an authentic Coffee Hacienda, called Hacienda Venecia. Here we have dinner included. Night at Hacienda Venecia.
B & D
Day 6 - 05:00 Today a tour for the real bird watchers to the bird reserva of ‘Rio Blanco’. We leave very early to arrive on time to see the morning birds. We make a walk in the reserve with a professional bird guide and lunch is included during the tour. In the afternoon we return to Hacienda Venecia for dinner and the second night at the Hacienda. If there are some people in the group that want to relax, we can also change the tour to Río Blanco for a half day coffee tour on the Hacienda. It’s also possible to split the group, so some people stay at the hacienda, while others do the Rio Blanco tour. When staying at the hacienda, the lunch is not included.
Day 7 - 08:00 Long bus ride (+/- 6 hours) from Manizales to the most beautiful town of the Antioquia department, ‘Jardin’. Although a long bus ride we will enjoy this day as we have private transport, stunning views over coffee fields and mountains, and we can stop wherever we want to take pictures of a short break for a drink and/or lunch. In Jardin we will stay at the Hotel Valdivia Plaza on the center square of the town. In the afternoon time to wander around in the streets of Jardin, pick one of the many terraces. We will also go to a local nature reserve close to the town where we can spot the ‘Cock of the Rock’. Night at Hotel Valdivia Plaza.
Day 8 - 05:00 early morning tour to the bird reserve of ‘Loro Orejamarillo’ which is administrated by the organization of ‘Pro-aves’. This organization uses the income of entrance, transport and guides in the bird reserve to maintain and expand their bird reserves by buying land, reforestation, and maintenance of the reserves. The reserve is about 1,5 hour away from Jardin and we will make a trip in 4x4 and by walking together with the tour leader and professional bird guide of the park to spot the ‘Yellow eared Parrot’. But there are over 195 other species of which the Taganger Finch, Red-bellied Grackle and the Chesnut Wood-quail, are protected species in the reserve. During our tour we will have a lunch included in the reserve. At the end of the day back to Jardin for the second night in Hotel Valdivia Plaza.
B & L
Day 9 - Early morning (depending on flight time) private transport to the airport of Medellin, which is about 3,5 hours driving. From here we take a direct flight (only possible with Avianca) to Santa Marta. Welcome at the airport of Santa Marta and transport for another 1,5 hours to the small town of Minca, located in the outskirts of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. If we don’t arrive too late, we still have some time for birding nearby the hotel. Night at Hotel Minca.
Day 10 - 09:00 Transport in jeeps 4x4 to the nature reserve of ‘El Dorado’. Also this nature and bird reserve is administrated by ‘Pro-aves’, and by staying in this nature reserve we are supporting the protection of the birds in El Dorado bird reserve and other bird reserves of Pro-aves. After arrival we will have a walk in the surroundings of the cabins together with the tour leader. Both lunch and dinner are included at the El Dorado bird reserve. Night in cabins (sharing 2, 3 beds at each room, unless requested for a single room).
B & L & D
Day 11 - 05:00 Tour in private 4x4 jeep into the park and getting to the best places for birding. There are registries of 337 different species of birds of which at least 19 are endemic. Just to name some of them; Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Bush-tyrant, Blossom-crown, Santa Marta Antpitta, Black Froted Wood-quail, White-tipped Quetzal en de Golden-breasted Fruiteater. We will be with the tour leader and professional bird guide of the reserve to try to spot as much as possible. After a full day we return to the cabins for the second night including lunch and dinner.
B & L & D
Day 12 - Morning free to wander around yourself close to the cabins and later (around 10:00) in private 4x4 jeeps to Santa Marta (2,5 hours) and continue in private transport to Cartagena (4 to 5 hours). Here we stay at the hotel India Catalina in the colonial center of Cartagena. Depending on arrival time, we can still make a short walk together with our tour leader in the colonial town of Cartagena. Night ion Hotel Casa India Catalina
Day 13 - 08:00 Tour to the small fishing village of ‘la Boquilla’ which is one of the poorest areas of Cartagena. We will visit a school project that supports poor children by facilitation free education and lunch to the children. By visiting this project we give our support. Then we continue with a local fisherman on a canoe through the mangroves with a lot of possibilities for birding. We get to a local beach where we have a typical lunch (fried fish) included and in the afternoon we return to Cartagena by canoe and private transport. Second night in Hotel casa India Catalina.
B & L
Day 14 - Free day in Cartagena. You can relax, visit the town on your own, or go to the nearby beaches. But this day we can also offer optional tours. If we haven’t seen enough from the colonial town, we can offer a city tour in Cartagena. This is a half a day walking tour visiting the areas of Calamarí, San Diego, and Getsemaní. Other option is a full day trip to Islas del Rosario. There are different optios, some of them including aslo a visit to Playa Blanca on Isla Baru. We can organize group tours, but if group wants, we can also do tours in private speedboat/sailing boats. City tour is with our toure leader and has no extra costs, the other option depends on the tour booked. 3rd night in Hotel casa India Catalina.
Day 15 - In the morning tour to Castillo San Felipe de Barajas and after continue to the airport of Cartagena. If the flight leaves in the (late) afternoon, we will ask the hotel to keep one room with late check out to be able to store luggage and to take a shower and change before going to the airport. End of a wonderful trip by taking the plane back to Europe, leaving from Cartagena.
Tailormade with normal boutique to top luxury hotels
COLOMBIA'S HIGHLIGHTS AND THE AMAZON in 12 DAYS
Colombia is a breath-taking country, which is just being discovered by tourism and travelers. During this journey, you will experience the beauty of Colombian nature and culture. The itinerary takes you through different climates and landscapes ranging from the green highlands to the warm Car-ibbean coast. And everything is complemented by authentic encounters with hospitable Colombians. Beside the travel program you will always have the opportunity to take a relaxing break from everyday life in one of the cozy hotels.
• Gold Museum in Bogotá - on the path of El Dorado
• pink dolphins - unique in the Amazonas
• Valle de Cocora - the tallest palm trees in a cloud forest
• Medellin - the so-called city of eternal spring
• Cartagena - Colonial architecture, pirates and the sea, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 1 Bogotá
Welcome to Bogotá! Your guide or driver will wait for you at the airport. It is recom-mended to change money directly at the airport. The most convenient is to withdraw money from the ATM. They are located after exiting the customs area in the arrival lobby. Your guide will be pleased to assist and look after your luggage. Subsequently you will drive to the hotel and can have some rest after your flight.
Day 2 Bogotá ( B )
In Zipaquirá, a small city located approx. 1 hour north from Bogotá you will visit the Salt Cathedral. Marvel at the imposing underground cathedral. It is a complete church built inside a former salt mine. Learn more about the religious significance of the place and the importance of the salt for the region and its history.
During the walking tour of Bogotá, you will enjoy the contrast of the modern and his-torical part of the city. You will see the most important buildings from the colonial era in La Candelaria, the old town of Bogotá, as well as the government district around Pla-za Bolívar with its Cathedral, Palace of Justice, Parliament and Town Hall. Visit Bogotá’s famous museum of the artist Fernando Botero, with its outstanding collection of con-temporaneous art. Experience how the unique emeralds were traded. The Gold Muse-um is a highlight, with its unique collection of pre-Columbian gold jewelry. If the weather is nice you will drive to Monserrate where you have a spectacular view of the big city.
Day 3 Bogotá - Leticia ( B / D )
Transfer from your hotel in Bogotá to the airport on time for your flight.
Transfer from the airport to your hotel in Leticia.
The tour starts from the airport Leticia to the river. With the boat, you go to the Yoi-Ecolodge, a beautiful lodge inside the Amazon region. Explore more about the flora and fauna and observe the different animals of the Amazon in their usual surround-ings. A local guide accompanies you through the setting of the lodge and shows you the local nature and animals. Furthermore, you will do night walk and experience the Amazon from another perspective.
Bogotá - Leticia (Duration of the flight 2h)
Day 4 Leticia ( B / L / D )
Today you will travel by boat through the Amazonas river. On your way, you will have the chance to visit two indigenous communities and to learn about their heritage and traditions. A tour on the Tarapoto Lake will give you the chance to try traditional fish-ing. Back on route, you may glance some of the famous pink dolphins.
Day 5 Leticia ( B / L / D )
Arrange with you guide what kind of activity you want to do today. Go for an easy hike and gaze at the Ceiba, a big tree in the Amazon region or get to know more about the Ticuna tribe. The tribal elder will greet you and tell you about their traditions and tales.
Day 6 Leticia - Salento ( B )
You go back to Leticia by boat to get your flight to Bogotá.
Transfer from the airport to your hotel in Armenia.
Armenia - Salento (Private car/van, Distance 30.0 km, Duration 45min )
Leticia - Bogotá (Duration of the flight 2h)
Bogotá - Armenia (Duration of the flight 1h)
Day 7 Salento ( B )
You will visit the Cocora valley, located at an altitude between 2000 and 2400m (6.500 and 7.900ft) this cloud forest is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park and the principal location of the national tree and symbol of Colombia, the Quindío wax palm. The journey is meant to be walking for about 60min but if you want to travel a longer distance your guide will arrange horses to discover the valley! On your way back from the mountains, you will have lunch in the restaurant that overlooks the valley so you can enjoy the view while eating.
You will visit the charming town of Salento. The town is easy to discover, walk through the Calle Real street until you reach the stairs (250 steps*) that will take you to el mira-dor (look-out point) Alto de la Cruz. From the view point, there are extensive views of the Cocora valley and many of the mountains of the Los Nevados National Natural Park.
Day 8 Salento - Medellín ( B )
Transfer to the airport in Armenia on time for your flight.
The driver will pick you up at the International Airport and drive you to your hotel in Medellin.
Salento - Armenia (Private car/van, Distance 30.0 km, Duration 50min )
Day 9 Medellín - Cartagena ( B )
The guided tour of Medellín starts at Pueblito Paisa, from where you can enjoy a won-derful view, over the city. The next destination is the historic center of Medellín. At the Parque Berrio you can listen to local musicians playing traditional Guasca music. Then visit the Plaza Botero, where you can see an exhibition of the Colombian artist Fernan-do Botero. The tour continues through the busy streets of the center of Medellín to the Parque Bolivar, one of the most beautiful places of the city. Immerse yourself in the exciting story of the transformation of Medellín, which was once one of the most dan-gerous cities in the world and has transformed into an exciting cultural place.
Transfer to the international airport of Medellín on time for your flight.
Meet and greet with the driver at the airport and transfer to your hotel in the center of Cartagena.
Medellín - Cartagena (Duration of the flight 50min )
Day 10 Cartagena ( B )
To get to know the city better you start with a visit to the hill of La Popa. At this highest point of Cartagena, Augustinian monks built a monastery in the 16th century. From here, you have a perfect view of the bay of Cartagena and the most important colonial port city of the Spaniards South America. Then visit the Fort San Felipe, which was built by the Spaniards to protect the rich city of Cartagena against attacks from the mainland. Cartagena was the place, where the looted treasures of the Incas by the Spaniards and the gold and silver treasures from the mines of Peru and Bolivia were stored for shipping to Spain. Thus, the city was repeatedly the object of desire of many pirates. In the labyrinthine corridors of the fortress, you feel transferred back to the pi-rate’s time. From the fortress, you walk through the colonial Old Town. If desired, you can stop for a cold fruit juice drink. During a walk through the well-preserved old town, visit the important historic buildings and churches. Get an overview of the city and try to orient yourself to be able to walk through the city on your own in the after-noon, go souvenir shopping at the city wall and admire the sunset from the Café del Mar on the city walls.
Day 11 Cartagena ( B )
Enjoy this day in Cartagena at your free disposal. Explore the old town or spend the day at the beach.
Day 12 Cartagena ( B )
Transfer to the airport in Cartagena on time for your flight home.