Accomodation

4 * hotel

Duration

10 days / 9 nights

Subject to

availability

Rates

PP in DBL room

Colombia is an amazing land of contrasts and after being off the wish list for many travelers for some years it is rapidly becoming one of the highlights of South America. With its rich cultural history, amazing architecture, geographical diversity and the simple warmth and hospitality of its people it’s easy to see why this fascinating country is becoming an increasingly popular spot for overseas visitors. Located in the North West of the continent sharing borders with Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, Colombia is the 4th largest country in South America.

It’s the only South American country to boast two coast lines on the Pacific and Atlantic (Caribbean) oceans it also shares Amazonian rain forest with Brazil and Peru also Los llanos or vast plains area with Venezuela. 3 ranges of the Andean mountains run from the south to the north of the country.

With its pre Colonial, Colonial and Republican history Colombia has a wealth of cultural attractions. Nature and wildlife abound in its diverse landscapes and the spirit and warmth of the Colombian people will ensure your Colombian experience will be one that lingers on long after you arrive back home.

Day 1
Arrival Bogotá
Arrival at the airport and private transfer to your hotel.       Bogotá Introduction: Vibrant and diverse Bogotá, the country’s capital and commercial back-bone. Colombia's bustling metropolis is a mix of old and new, trendy and traditional, stately and charming. Home to a dazzling array of museums, churches, colonial mansions and stately buildings Bogotá has a fine balance between its historical past and its movement in to the future. This city in central Colombia is located at an elevation of 2,650 m./8,660 ft. on a mountain rimmed plateau high in the Cordillera Oriental of the Andes Mountains. The city lies only 4°36' north of the equator. Bogotá was founded on the 6th of August 1538 by the Spanish conqueror Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. The new city became the vice-regal capital of New Granada in 1717. It was captured by Simón Bolívar in 1819 and was the capital of the independent nation of Great Colombia (which included modern day Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela). It became the capital of New Granada (later renamed Colombia) in 1830 when Great Colombia was dissolved. The city initially grew slowly because Bogotanos (cachacos) wished to preserve their old culture. They cherished their churches, convents, homes (built in the ornate Spanish colonial style) and the National University, founded in 1573. They also prided themselves on speaking the purest Spanish in the New World. The city however expanded rapidly after 1940 as large numbers of rural Colombians migrated there in search of greater economic opportunities. It is sometimes called the Athens of South America. Bogotá is now Colombia's largest financial, political, and cultural centre. The National University of Colombia and many other universities located there make Bogotá the nation's chief educational centre. Bogotá is for many people the gateway city in to Colombia, and a fine start point for your Colombian adventure.
Day 2
Full day tour
Full-day tour including Paloquemao local market, visit to La Candelaria historic centre, Botero gallery & Gold museum. Bogotá Paloquemao market, abundant with fresh food and flowers, offers a great insight into the life and customs of Bogotanos. The market is the second largest market in the city and one of the most important retailers in the country, where 750 merchants and a labyrinth of stands offer a large variety of fruit, vegetables, diary products, meats and flowers, one of Colombia’s biggest exports. You will do a tasting of some of the most exotic Colombian fruits before heading to La Candelaria. La Candelaria is Bogota’s heart and soul, from its humble beginnings this is the oldest part of the city and the Plaza Bolivar (Main Square) are high on any visitor’s agenda. The Square is the focal point of this historic part of the city. Surrounding the square are several important Colonial and Republican style buildings including the Palace of Justice and Colombian Congress. The Plaza is also home to the Mayor’s office and the Primary Cathedral of Bogota that dominates an entire corner. Standing proud in the plazas centre is a statue of Simon Bolivar (Founder of Colombian independence) the first public monument to be erected in the city. As you wander the streets of La Candelaria away from the main square, 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 cities coffee houses. With your guide the next stop will be the Gold Museum which is situated on the northeast corner of the Parque Santander. The Museum is within the premises of the Banco de la Republica, and is one of the finest collections of Pre Hispanic gold in the world. This is a “must see” when in Bogotá, with 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 understand when you allow yourself time to study examples such as the Balsa Muisca (Offering boat). This golden raft is one of the focal point of the display and was the driving force in the Spaniards quest to find El Dorado. Your lunch will be at the museum on a private salon specially prepared for this. Then a short drive or interesting walk from the centre of the old town takes you to the base of the hill that leads up to the hill top view point and monastery of Monserrate. The summit can be reached by either funicular railway or cable car. From the highest point the view across the city will enable you to see the different sectors of Bogota. From La Candelaria and its terracotta tiled roofs to the high rise business sector and then on across the sabana (flat plains) and off in to the distance. The new convent is a pilgrimage site for many Colombians whom make their way past the fourteen Stations of the Cross until reaching the convent. There are a few artisan shops, with others selling snacks and refreshments.   Approximate tour duration : 8 hours. Day inclusions: Bilingual. guide/Transportation/Water/Entrances/Coffee break/Lunch.    
Day 3
Full day tour
Half-day tour to Zipaquirá village to visit the underground Salt Cathedral. For some this is a religious monument, others a celebration of engineering or maybe even an artistic masterpiece. One of the marvels of Colombia, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is well worth the visit. For the beauty of its landscapes, the richness of its earth and the hidden jewel beneath the earth’s surface, Zipaquirá is somewhat of a must during a stay in Bogotá. Travelling north of the city, through countryside once occupied by the native Muisca Indians, Zipaquirá is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Colombia. Zipaquirá is most famous for its Cathedral carved underground in a still functioning salt mines just west of the town. The subtle lighting pronounces the fourteen Stations of the Cross as you descend in to the mine, each station sculpted by a different artist. At the deepest point of the cathedral, 180 m below the earth’s surface, you encounter the nave and the north and south aisles dominated by the 16m high central cross. The illumination and execution of the work is a tribute to modern techniques and years of work from the miners and artists. Your guide will explain all about the cathedrals construction and how it and the mine still function in harmony. However you view this construction, you can’t fail to be impressed by its size and grandeur. Around the central square of the town of Zipaquirá the colonial buildings still hold their charm footed by brickwork paving and overlooked by the Cathedral Diocesana de San Antonio. Approximate tour duration : 5 hours Day inclusions: Bilingual guide/Transportation/Water/Entrances/Coffee break Half-day tour of Monserrate & La Quinta de Bolívar Bilingual guide & private vehicle A short drive or interesting walk from the centre of the old town takes you to the base of the hill that leads up to the hill top view point and monastery of Monserrate. The summit can be reached by either funicular railway or cable car. From the highest point the view across the city will enable you to see the different sectors of Bogota. From La Candelaria and its terracotta tiled roofs to the high rise business sector and then on across the sabana (flat plains) and off in to the distance. The new convent is a pilgrimage site for many Colombians whom make their way past the fourteen Stations of the Cross until reaching the convent. There are a few artisan shops, with others selling snacks and refreshments. From the monastery, you will continue in in your private vehicle to Quinta de Bolivar, which once would have been a country house on the outskirts of old Bogotá. Built in the late 17th century the house was gifted to Simon Bolivar, the liberator of Colombia from Spain, to be used whenever he stayed in the caplital. La Quinta de Bolívar, offers exceptional architectural value, being the last remaining country house that once encircled the colonial city of Santa fé de Bogotá and today is a museum with artifacts & objects belonging to Simon Bolivar and is also used as a venue for diplomatic and cultural events. Approximate tour duration : 4 hours. Day inclusions: Bilingual guide/Transportation/Water/Entrances/Coffee break.
Day 4
Flight to Medellin
Private transfer to airport. Domestic flight from Bogotá to Medellín (not included). Private transfer to hotel. Medellín introduction: Forget everything you have heard about Medellin as it is probably old news. It was the headquarters of one of the country’s most notorious drug cartels, but what the international media forgot to report was the cities remarkable turnaround. Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia and regarded as one of the most important, in business, politics, and fashion and of course nightlife! For years Medellin had a tarnished reputation, but has now risen above this "Mala Fama" (Bad reputation) and is now one of most exciting cities in South America. Its growth has been impressive over the past ten years, and the advance in the security situation has been such that Medellin is now regarded as one of the safest cities in South America. Medellin is famous for its "Feria de las Flores" which happens every August for a week. The Feria is a carnival atmosphere with processions of flower growers, music, dance and the arts. Medellin is also the home town of Fernando Botero, probably Colombia’s most recognised artist to date. His oversized depictions of Colombian life, people and world issues are exhibited throughout the country most notably in the Botero Museum in Bogota and Medellin's own Museo de Antioquia and his sculptures in the neighbouring Parque Berrio. Medellin is also famous for its metro and "Metro Cable" or cable car a remarkable piece of engineering, a great tourist attraction and a remarkable way the local government opened up and regenerated a previously underdeveloped part of the city. Medellin is vibrant, contemporary and well worth a visit for its vast selection fine restaurants, bars and if nothing else its people. The Paisa, a person from this region, is well known for his or her sense of pride and also the way they look. To sit at a coffee shop or bar and watch the people of Medellin walk by can easily take up a morning! Medellin is rapidly becoming a must on any Colombian itinerary.
Day 5
Full day tour
Full-day including city centre walking tour with Social Transformation & Street Art tour in San Javier. 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. The tour will take place in the working-class neighbourhood of San Javier, famous for its open-air electric escalators, which 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 neighbourhood 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. The development of a fully integrated transport system has been instrumental in Medellin's transformation into one of the world’s most progressive cities and a ride in the cable care system to the barrio of Santo Domingo highlights the role of transport in transforming troubled neighbourhoods. 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 throughout the entire city. Wander the narrow colourful streets and visit the community library with its striking contemporary architecture, an institution which was donated by Spain to the people of this once very troubled barrio, but which now is a calm and peaceful community. Approximate tour duration: 8 hours. Day inclusions: Bilingual guide/Transportation/Water/Entrances/Coffee break/Lunch.
Day 6
Full day tour
Full-day tour to Arví Park & Santa Elena to visit a typical flower farm. Located atop the spectacular mountains which surround the city of Medellín, and offering a perfect contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city, Arví Park is a stunning natural environment of 16,000 hectares which was developed for the enjoyment of the residents of the city and the surrounding villages. There are multiple trails of different lengths which can be enjoyed in a fresh cooler climate with bubbling mountain streams and pint forests. A spectacular cable car route links the park with the neighbourhood of Santo Domingo affording some of the best views of Medellin and the surrounding mountains. Alternative the park can be accessed by road from the Poblado sector of the city. After the visit to Arví, you will continue to Santa Helena where you will visit a typical flower farm. The cultivation of cut flowers for export is an important industry in Colombia and one of the main centres of cultivation is in the cooler climate of the mountains surrounding Medellin. Santa Helena is a small flower growing village located less than one hour from the city, but very close to Parque Arví, just 15 mins drive. During the festival is the Centre of activity when the cut flowers are woven into tapestries which are then mounted onto wooden frames which the inhabitants of the town will carry on their backs in the parade through the streets of Medellin. The flower carriers are known as “silleteros” or saddle men and generations of different families in Santa Helena have carried out this tradition over the years. Approximate tour duration: 8 hours. Day inclusions: Bilingual guide/Transportation/Water/Entrances/Coffee break/Lunch.
Day 7
Flight to Cartagena
Private transfer to airport. Domestic flight from Medellín to Cartagena (not included). Private transfer to hotel. Cartagena introduction Founded in 1533 by Pedro de Heredia, Cartagena was formerly the Caribbean gateway port used by the Spanish. Here they would store the riches plundered form the interior before they were transported back to the old world. It is not surprising therefore that the city was a draw for buccaneers and pirates who attempted on many occasions to take the city, most notably by Sir Francis drake in 1586 who "mercifully" agreed not to level the city in return for 10 million pesos that he carted back to England. It was after the attack by Drake that plans were made to fortify the city and work on the defensive walls began. These walls still stand today and mark the boundary between the old and new parts of the city. The walls and fort took a total of 200 years to build and complete and the Spanish finished them just 25 years before Colombia gained Independence. Cartagena eventually won its Independence in 1821; a full 3 years after Bogota had been liberated. Cartagena's rich history, diverse culture and energy absorbs every visitor allowing them a glimpse into the past and a chance to relax in superb surroundings. This passionate and vibrant city with some of the best preserved colonial architecture in all of South America exudes character, mix in African rhythms and indigenous influences with the Spanish colonial splendor and Cartagena is truly an amazing destination.
Day 8
Full day tour
Full-day walking tour of the historic centre with visit to inquisition Palace & San Pedro Claver Monastery & Museum. Carved from a colourful 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 travellers. Colour splashes every corner, balconies overflow with blossom, and energy seeps beneath the ancient wooden doors of hotels, restaurants and Casa Privadas. Your tour will take through the old town under the Puerta Del Reloj (Clock tower entrance), a symbol of Cartagena, into the Plaza de los Coches. Your guide will divulge the myths and legends, histories and stories of Cartagena from ancient times right up to the present. From the Plaza San Pedro Claver with its stunning Church, on through to the Plaza Bolivar; with its shady areas, where a fresh Lemon juice can be enjoyed whilst watching the world go by. Cartagena is steeped in history and a delight to stroll the streets with your own personal encyclopaedia of knowledge guiding you from one interest to the other. During the walk we visit the Inquisition Palace: In September 1610 the inquisition was established in Cartagena de Indias. Its jurisdiction covered the kingdom of Granada and Venezuela until reaching Nicaragua, Panama, Santa Domingo and the Barlovento Islands. The Inquisition adopted this building as their headquarters. The building itself is considered one of the most elegant and characteristic colonial constructions of its time, XVII century, in Cartagena de Indias. Throughout its interior visitors to the museum will find instruments of torture and prison cells. The inquisition used the location as its central command against criminals and never recognized the innocent. A short walk away and your final stop is a visit to San Pedro Claver Cloister, monastery and museum built in homage to the protector of slaves, San Pedro, and serves as reminder of the turbulent past of Cartagena and indeed the Americas. The Cloister where Pedro Claver lived and died has become a special place of silence, and reflection – a shrine to the life's work of this extraordinary man. Here, visitors will find examples of pre-Colombian ceramics, and an extensive museum rich with objects of religious art. Adjoining the Monastery is a beautiful baroque church, designed by German and Dutch architects. Here, at the high alter, within a glass encasement, lie the remains of Saint Pedro Claver, “the slave to the slaves. Approximate tour duration : 8 hours. Day inclusions: Bilingual guide/ transfer/ Lunch.
Day 9
Full day tour
Full-day shared premium day trip to Isla Grande in Rosario islands. This full day tour gives you the opportunity to discover one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the Caribbean. The fast motor boat departs directly from the pier and will take you on a 60 minute ride through the Bay of Cartagena to the beautiful crystal clear waters of the Rosario Island archipelago. This group of 27 islands is surrounded by coral reefs, and is the perfect location to go snorkelling and swimming from the pristine white sandy beaches. It´s one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia, created to protect one of the most important coral reefs of the Caribbean Colombian Coast. This marine habitat creates one of the most diverse and richest marine ecosystems in Colombia. The Park has an extension of 120.000 marine and land hectares, and is associated with marine pastures, mangroves and the numerous species of algae and animals that have their habitats in the area, all of which feed the numerous corals and fish life that inhabit the reefs. On arrival at the island you will have time to relax sunbathe and enjoy a swim and refreshment. You will be served a delicious lunch which consists of locally caught fresh fried fish, which is accompanied by coconut rice, plantains and salad, followed by dessert & all washed down with a refreshing soft drink and finished with Colombian coffee. After lunch you will have time to relax and enjoy a final swim in the Caribbean before returning to Cartagena on your speed boat. Approximate tour duration : 8 hours. Day inclusions: Bilingual guide/Transportation to pier/Shared boat transfer/Welcome drink/Lunch.
Day 10
Cartagena Departure
Private transfer to airport for your outgoing flight.
Included
All transfers listed in the proposal. All guides, entrances and tours listed in the proposal. All food and meals listed in the proposal. Accommodation.   RATE PER PERSON IN USD, BASED ON 2 PASSENGERS IN DOUBLE ROOM. SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY AND CHANGES.
Not Included
Meals are only included if specified. Domestic and international flights, airport departure taxes, additional fuel surcharges. Travel insurance. Items of a personal nature i.e. Laundry, mini bar consumables, etc. Tips for guides, driver and for hotel staff (Discretionary). Extra coffee breaks, water stops and snack stops. Any entrance fees, or cost incurred during “Free time”. Rates are not valid for Reveillon, Carnival, Champions Parade, Easter and National Holidays.

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