Classic Colombia

Duration: 11 days

Highlights: Bogota, Coffee Region, Medellin, Guatape, Penol, Cartagena, Rosario Islands

Visit the classic places of Colombia, and embrace the beauty of nature, culture, and food.

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Day 1 - Welcome to Colombia!

On arrival to El Dorado International Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. Welcome to Bogota! Colombia’s capital city is a bustling metropolis and one of the highest capital cities in the world. Despite its tropical location, the altitude here at 2600 meters above sea level ensures a year-round spring-like climate where flowers are always in bloom. Bogota has a great variety of barrios or neighborhoods to explore from Candelaria, the historic district to the beautiful parks and café culture of the Zona Rosa and the spectacular views from the peak at Monserrate. Historic buildings exist side by side in modern skyscrapers and leafy parks interspersed by cycleways making for a surprisingly pleasant city to spend a few days, despite its size.

One of Bogota’s biggest attractions is its museums, especially the Gold Museum which houses one of the most impressive collections of Pre-Columbian art in the world with thousands of pieces of gold, precious stones, ceramics, and textiles. Also discover the Emerald Museum and the Fernando Botero Museum, a Colombian figurative artist of international renown. Stroll along the cobbled streets of Bogota’s historic Candelaria district only a short walk from the Gold Museum. In the evenings, the best place to be is the Zona Rosa which houses some lovely small hotels and has a vibrant pavement café culture. For a truly spectacular and romantic setting, head to the beautiful church on the peak of Monserrate Hill and dine in one of the beautiful historic buildings there overlooking the city.

Overnight: Four Seasons Casa Medina

Meal Plan:

Day 2 - Embrace the Highlights of Bogota

Make a morning visit to the largest food market in Bogota. Paloquemao market offers a vast array of Colombian fruits and ingredients. The popular food stalls serve local delicacies, and the flower market provides an amazing array of smells and colors to enliven the senses.
Continue with a tour with a visit to La Candelaria, the oldest part of the city with many colonial buildings still present. Nearby is the main square of Bogotá, the Plaza de Bolivar, surrounded by the cathedral and many government buildings.

Continue to the Botero Museum, housed in a restored colonial mansion. The collection includes many works by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, together with pieces by other artists

Overnight: Four Seasons Casa Medina

Meal Plan: B, L

Day 3 - Welcome to the Coffee Region!

This morning you will be at your hotel and transferred to El Dorado airport.

*Flight Bogota to Armenia under own arrangements.

The Coffee Region, founded on August 30, 1863, Coffee Region is part of the territory in 2011 UNESCO declared World Heritage Site: the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia. Mountains planted with coffee and bananas; and valleys where bamboos and sugarcane crops receive travelers from around the world.
In this region, visitors can practice adventure sports, relax in hot springs and visit nature reserves and some others cultural spaces. Is a destination designed for those who want to get in contact with the coffee culture in typical haciendas, some of them show visitors the full coffee process, known worldwide for growing the best smooth Arabica type coffee. 

On the slopes of the central mountain range, in the municipality of Buenavista, is the San Alberto farm, a blessed place, with wonderful landscapes and favorable soils for growing coffee. We will begin our tour with a short walk through the coffee mountains, which will take us to the coffee germinator, benefit and drying area. Later we will return to the terrace, where guided by the expert we will do a semi-professional cupping of two types of coffee, learning to differentiate its qualities. We finish our experience, enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee and a breathtaking landscape

Overnight: Hacienda Bambusa

Meal Plan: B

Day 4 - Visit the Cocora Valley and Filandia

We will visit one of the most emblematic sites of the coffee region, the majestic Valle de Cocora. Upon arrival and after an environmental interpretation of the site and its ecological importance, we will begin a short two-hour walk. Later we move to the municipality of Salento, we will have time to walk through its colorful streets, visit the Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint and local handicrafts; At the end of our tour, we will visit Filandia, another of the few remnants and an example of architectural conservation of the coffee region, we will walk through the streets of the town, visit the viewpoint, and enjoy a local drink in the town square.

Overnight: Hacienda Bambusa

Meal Plan: B

Day 5 - Medellin, the City of Eternal Spring

This morning you will be at your hotel and transferred to Matecaña international airport.

On arrival at the Jose Maria Cordoba International Airport, you will be met by a representative and transported to your hotel.

Medellin known as the city of eternal spring, rests in the fertile green hills of the Antioquia region. Temperatures comfortably resting at around 73-degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) all year round this city is a great reflection of Colombia’s renaissance.
In 2016 Medellin won the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize recognizing the city reformation through previous decades. The city now boasts telefericos (cable cars) and escalators connecting the upper barrios with the center of city, with previous “no-go” sections being the “go-to” areas for tourism, with award winning gastronomy, artists and designers. The main plaza’s are scattered with art work, the most famous arguable being Botero’s Torso de Mujer. For those wanting to escape the city and visit the surrounding lakes and rolling hills a visit to Guatape and Peñol is a must.

Overnight: El Cielo

Meal Plan: B

Day 6 - Explore the Highlights of Medellin

Explore the highlights of Colombia’s second most important city. Start with a visit to the Parque San Antonio, also known as La Plazoleta, where there are 23 sculptures by the famous local artist Fernando Botero.

Continue to the Museum of Antioquia, which features exhibitions of art dating from pre-Columbian times through to the modern day. Move on to one of the oldest parts of the city and the Plazuela de San Ignacio to see the baroque San Ignacio church and statues of historical figures. Visit several of Medellin’s beautiful public parks, including the modern Parque de las Luces, and pass by the Metropolitan Theatre and the government buildings in the Alpujarra area. A highlight is a ride on the Metrocable gondola lift system that connects the city to previously difficult-to-access mountainous and outlying districts. The ride affords views over the neighborhood of Santo Domingo Savio, once one of the most unsafe suburbs of Medellín.

Located some 7km from the city center, it is a clear example of the social transformation that has taken place during the last few years. Following many troubled years, notorious Medellín has blossomed into a stylish city and is today a shining example of social transformation and urban regeneration. Visit the neighborhood of Comuna 13, which has been drastically changed through its social transformation project.

Learn how it has improved the quality of life of inhabitants and visit public renovation projects, art murals, recreational and educational spaces, as well as a local business of a project participant to witness the positive impact it has had on their family’s life.

Finally, take a ride on the tram and new cable car, an infrastructure that has greatly improved the quality of life and accessibility of the community.

The city of Medellín offers a great variety of urban art due to the city’s transformation over the last 20 years. Nowadays, the city is so full of countless street art expressions, that the local authorities declared urban art a cultural landmark of Medellín. Graffiti is not only about strong artistic and cultural elements; it is a way of political expression. See the graffiti of Comuna 13 guided by some of the local artists themselves.
This tour gives you an insight into the history and daily life in this area and the importance of street art for social communication and identity.  

Overnight: El Cielo

Meal Plan: B

Day 7 - Guatape, a Magical Place

This morning you will drive approximately 2 hours east of the city to the picturesque resort town of Guatape.

Along the way, admire the breathtaking landscape of Antioquia. Guatape itself is famed for its colorful pastel-painted buildings, cobblestoned streets, and being located on a man-made reservoir. Dating back to the 1970s, the reservoir was created to provide hydroelectricity and the area is now home to a series of connected lakes. In the middle of the reservoir is the Peñol rock, thought to be a meteorite due to its enormous size. For the adventurous, climb up its 654 steps (optional, at an extra cost) to the top to get a fantastic view of the surrounding area. After lunch, explore the area further on a boat trip around the reservoir. In the afternoon, return to Medellin. The whole excursion will take around 8 hours. Typical lunch included at a local restaurant.

Overnight: El Cielo

Meal Plan: B, L

Day 8 - Cartagena, a Vibrant Port City

This morning you will be at your hotel and transferred to Jose Maria Cordova International Airport.

*Flight Medellin to Bogota: under own arrangements.

On arrival at Rafael Nuñez International Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. Exuberant, colorful, tropical, and beautiful - all describe beautifully Colombia’s crowning destination. This vibrant port city overlooks the azure blue waters of the Caribbean from fortress walls once used to protect its inhabitants from marauding pirates and buccaneers. Now the walled city is a maze of cobbled streets with colorful colonial houses on all sides, many of which have been converted into stunning intimate boutique hotels set around shady courtyards.

Its heady mix of sunshine, tropical surroundings and dazzling painted colonial architecture as well as a vibrant music and dance culture make this Colombia’s most precious jewel. Stroll the town by day and explore the museums, galleries, and emerald factories. For some dramatic panoramas of the city and the coast, head to La Popa church and the Fortress of San Felipe. At night you can head to one of many live music venues or perhaps sip a sundowner at a bar overlooking the ocean. Take a boat trip out to the archipelago of islands known as the Rosario Islands for superb snorkeling and diving.

You can even stay in charming rustic hotels on one of the islands for a day or two for complete seclusion and tranquility.

Cartagena is an open secret among travelers and celebrities. Within its walls there is a history of Spanish, African, Arab, and Chinese arrivals, and where their traditions and influences are seen each day. The most obvious is within the city’s food. Discover brilliant dishes showcasing the heritage and pride of these cultures served in small stalls on every corner of the old city.

What you are going to experience and learn is that travelers from all over the world came to Cartagena from separate colonies bringing recipe books that blended into an eclectic gastronomy. Discover street food havens unnoticed by outsiders, but cult by locals. There, on the street, let yourself be seduced at each stop by the melting pot of influences that each bite contains and the original versions of the recipes that have inspired the new Colombian cuisine.


Overnight: Casa San Agustin

Meal Plan: B

Day 9 - Castillo de San Felipe

The first visit will be to the Castillo de San Felipe. A masterpiece of Spanish colonial military engineering, the fort was built and reinforced during the 16th and 17th centuries to defend the city from pirate attacks. Walk around the fortress to learn about its construction and explore the underground galleries, tunnels, and passageways.   
Continue to Cartagena’s colonial walled city for a walking tour of the picturesque streets and plazas. Visit the imposing church of San Pedro Claver with its fine collection of stained-glass windows. In front of the church is a square with open-air cafes. Next, visit the Bolivar Park, shaded by large trees and featuring four fountains and a statue of Simon Bolivar. Stop at the Inquisition Palace, which has a magnificent baroque entrance hall and torture chambers where presumed heretics were tried and executed and visit the 16th-century cathedral.  The excursion lasts for approximately 4 hours.  

Overnight: Casa San Agustin

Meal Plan: B

Day 10 - Rosario Islands

Departing by speedboat from the city you will travel through the Bay of Cartagena and past the twin forts of the San Jose and San Fernando forts out into the Caribbean Sea. The Rosario Islands are an archipelago of small coral islands 35km from Cartagena. Surrounded by clear waters and some of the best coral reefs in Colombia, the area is now a National Park.
You will have the opportunity to relax on the white sandy beaches, and swim or snorkel before returning to Cartagena in the afternoon.

Overnight: Casa San Agustin

Meal Plan: B

Day 11 - Departure

This day you will be at your hotel and transferred to Rafael Nuñez international airport to take the international flight.


Meal Plan: B

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