On this highlights tour of Colombia, experience a great sample of everything this Caribbean treasure has to offer. From lively Bogota, to fascinating coffee country, and finally to beach-side Cartagena, this itinerary shows what there is to love about Colombia at a relaxed, yet active pace.
Welcome to Colombia! Upon arrival into Bogota, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure to begin discovering this marvelous city on your own. (This service is on a private basis.)
When you try to dream up the perfect city, you think of crisp moderate weather, Andean mountain peaks, vibrant colors, beautiful architecture, incredible people, rich South American food, and a nightlife that will not quit. It doesn't take long for travelers to realize that Bogota is the urban playground they've been seeking their whole lives.
La Candelaria is the cultural center of the city, where colonial architecture now houses museums, bars, restaurants and hotels. Locals are rightfully proud to call Bogota their home, and celebrate this fact nightly as drum beats, delicious gastronomy and generous drinks take over the streets. Life is a party, and Bogota is the host.
Today's exploration begins at La Candelaria. Located in Bogota’s heart and soul, this is the oldest part of the city. The Plaza Bolivar (Main Square) is the focal point of this historic part of the city. As you wander the streets of La Candelaria, your guide will not only explain the history of Bogota, but also the intricacies of current Colombian culture and daily life. There will be time for a refreshment stop in one of the local coffee houses to take in the culture.
After a visit to the Botero Gallery, you will continue to the Gold Museum, which houses one of the finest collections of Pre-Hispanic gold in the world. This is absolute must see in Bogota, houses more than 35,000 pieces of pre-Colombian gold work in the collection. Many of the works are said to be unsurpassed by goldsmiths of today and it’s easy to see why, when studying the examples. This golden raft is one of the focal points of the display and was the driving force in the Spaniards quest to find El Dorado. A three course lunch will be awaiting you at the museum, after your exploration.
Following lunch, proceed on a short drive or walk to the base of the hill, that leads up to the view point and monastery of Monserrate. This viewpoint summit can be reached by either funicular railway or cable car. From the highest point, you will be rewarded with the contrast of the city's terracotta tiled roofs, all the way to the high rise business sector, for a sight you'll never forget! (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Bogota and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Pereira. Upon arrival in Pereira, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
We will visit one of the most attractive coffee estates, Café San Alberto, to witness the daily activity on this traditional hacienda. Coffee cupping with an expert will bring our senses to a higher level. This excursion has been specially designed for those who want to dive deep into the cup, while enjoying one of the best views over the Quindio Valley and probably the best coffee as well.
Welcome to Colombia's majestic Coffee Country. Quindio is the region in Colombia most well known for mass coffee bean growth, so whether you're staying in Armenia, its capital, or a countryside hacienda, activities here are likely to involve the popular cash crop. Rolling green hills, perpetually tropical green, are continuously worked by a plantation community of locals who are only too happy to feed the coffee drinkers of the world. Locals are very proud of the culture they've worked hard for, and the region's few towns are lined with small cafes serving the goods.
Your guide will arrive at your hacienda this morning and take you on a tour of the surrounding region.
This tour will take you from the far northeast of Quindío to the beautiful Valle Cocora where the magnificent Wax palm grows, in one of its few natural habitats, then onto the first settlement in Quindío of the modern era. As you enter into Filandia, the first stop, you know you are in the Coffee region of Colombia. The main square has not changed in appearance or in character in decades. Filandia does not have an attraction to visit; Filandia is the attraction. A coffee break in one of the many small coffee shops will allow you to take in the quaintness of uninterrupted lines of brightly painted houses in this traditional Pueblo of the region. The guide will explain about the culture and people of the region and how small pueblos (Villages) like this form the back bone of rural agricultural life, if you want to feel like you are seeing Colombia then look no further.
From Filandia you will drive to the Valle Cocora (Cocora Valley). Part of the wider Parque Nacional Los Nevados, the valley is located on the eastern limits of Quindío along the central Andean range, and has been regarded by Colombia as a sanctuary for its national symbol; the Wax Palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense). The Palms cover the Mountain range, which is now protected and declared monument to protect the tree itself and the endemic species that depend on it. The valley is spectacular and great for walking or horseback rides, either way this stunning mountain scenery will not fail to impress. Salento is a municipality in the north eastern part of the region of Quindío. This picturesque town boasts a number of fine houses of traditional architectural style. Rimmed by distant snow capped mountains, Salento has a real rural traditional feel.
Your tour today also includes a latte art activity at Café Jesus Martin. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Pereira and transferred to your accommodations in Medellin. (This service is on a private basis.)
Contained in a bowl-shaped valley between two mountain skylines, Medellin's crowded urban sprawl reaches up into the skies around you. What was once the setting for the drug violence of the 80's and 90's is now home to a population moving proudly into a peaceful and prosperous new century. A powerful economy is helping them reach that admirable goal, and with it comes public arts projects and neighborhood beautification.
Locals here hold themselves a little apart from the rest of Colombia. It may be the moderate temperatures, or the Andean culture, but Medellin holds itself to a more European ideal. You'll hear less Caribbean drums here, and more western music. The people are definitely still Colombian though, so expect bars packed with beautiful people, restaurants overflowing with good food and a hopeful energy difficult to find anywhere else in the world.
Medellin has undergone a major positive transformation in the past 10 years, one of the main pillars of which is urban architecture. The construction of parks, pedestrian zones, museums, transport systems, libraries and schools, public spaces has not only improved the city’s public spaces, but has also had a strong positive influence on its social dynamics. Today's tour will begin in the working-class neighborhood of San Javier, famous for its open-air electric escalators. The escalators were built in 2011 to replace the 350 stairs leading to the top of a steep hill and thus to improve the local residents‘ mobility. Your guide will take you around the neighborhood and give you some special insight into some of the social initiatives that are taking place in the area. After visiting the San Javier library park, you will have the opportunity to ride on the aforementioned electric escalators and enjoy a beautiful view of the city from the top of the hill.
The city tour will also take in all principal sites and locations of this fascinating location. These sites will include the “Plaza Botero" the famous Botero sculpture park where many giant sculptures of Colombia most famous artist and Medellin born sculptor Fernando Botero are exhibited. A ride on the city’s famous metro and cable car system to reach Santo Domingo.
Lastly, you will experience the development of a integrated transport system - instrumental in Medellin's transformation into one of the world’s most progressive cities. Take a ride in the cable care system to the barrio of Santo Domingo highlights the role of transport in transforming troubled neighborhoods. Once one of the most dangerous and inaccessible barrios of Medellin, Santo Domingo has become a shining example of how access to integrated public transport can change the environment and provide local residents with opportunities. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Medellin and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival in Cartagena, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
One can certainly take a tour of Cartagena's historic sites, and we encourage our travelers to partake in such a tour. But Cartagena is about slowing down to a Caribbean pace. The city will seduce you, and slowly, it will ask you to stay longer, and wandering its maze-like streets, you may be tempted.
Rivaling Cusco, Peru for its colonial atmosphere, Cartagena is a beautifully preserved time capsule with a marimba and drum-based soundtrack. Open air cafes offer cooling respite from the humid heat, and beaches laced with tanned locals encourage you to join. Everyone in Cartagena seems to be celebrating something, and it takes one a few days to realize: they're simply celebrating life, and this is the norm here. How could you not want to stay?
Embark on a half day tour of Cartagena visiting the Inquisition Palace & San Pedro Claver.
Carved from a colorful history rife of piracy, sultry Caribbean heat, with fusions of African, indigenous and European culture, Cartagena is Colombia’s living, breathing and pulsating museum. Absurdly photogenic La Heroica (Heroic city) awards even the laziest of travelers. Color splashes every corner, balconies overflow with blossom, and energy seeps beneath the ancient wooden doors of hotels, restaurants and Casa Privadas. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today you will go on a private, half day tour of Cartagena. Visit Castillo San Felipe, named in honor of King Philip IV of Spain. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the castle has since served Colombia as a location for social and cultural events in honor of foreign delegations and presidential summits. Make a stop at Convento La Popa, about 2km beyond Castillo San Felipe. This convent, originally built in 1607, sits on the highest point of the city, and offers magnificent views of the surrounding area. After, you will explore the nearby Manga district. Whereas most of the city is built in a Spanish colonial style, this area features a hodge podge of early 20th century buildings, from Islamic to avant garde. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Cartagena and transferred to the airport in good time for your departure flight home. Buen viaje! (This service is on a private basis.)
The top spot to stay in La Candelaria, de La Opera is on a lovely cobblestone street adjacent to the Teatro Colón. Enjoy live-music shows on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as complimentary use of the pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna. The hotel is two restored colonial homes, and the results are impressive. The restorations give the buildings their original, colonial glory. All guest rooms are decorated Italian style. The spacious, beautifully decorated suites are well worth a splurge. The terrace restaurant, El Mirador, offers great views of La Candelaria, as do most of the hotel's rooms.
The hotel prides itself in creating an atmosphere dedicated to ecotourism in Salento, Quindio, an area that is part of the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia. This region was recognized in 2011 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which is a testament to the outstanding example of sustainable production and cultural landscape of Salento. The lodge is set in a beautiful coffee house that is more than 100 years old, surrounded by 100 acres of amazing landscape. It is located three kilometers away from the town of Salento on the road to the Cocora Valley.
In Hotel Park 10 you will feel the warmth of your home. The highly qualified staff will offer an unforgettable service and the luxurious facilities are designed for your utmost comfort. This boutique property features grand decor, spacious rooms and lovely amenities. From the tropical outdoor space, to the wood interiors, sparkling tiled floors and elegant brickwork, there is something to be appreciated, everywhere you look on property. On site, there is a delicious restaurant, relaxing spa and fitness room.
Featuring 23 beautifully designed luxury guest rooms and a perfect central location, Anandá Hotel Boutique offers an intimate retreat in the heart of the city. Located in the historic center of Cartagena de Indias, just a few blocks from Santo Domingo Square, this beautifully restored colonial house is the perfect destination for romantic vacations and honeymoons or a relaxing corporate gathering. Designed to instill a deep sense of peace and tranquility, the accommodation at Anandá exudes charm with every detail, from two-story suites with private balconies to smaller rooms with Jacuzzi tubs and private terraces. Onsite amenities include a pool, two terraces, and a third with a Jacuzzi, day beds, a gym and a Grand Salon. Carmen Restaurant offers contemporary cuisine with a fusion of ingredients and preparations from all over the world. The menu is inspired by fresh products and modern cooking techniques, providing a variety of options from local grouper, octopus and artisan cheeses, to duck, steak and the best pork belly you’ve ever tasted.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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