This private itinerary is an excellent introduction to some of Colombia's most spectactular colonial towns, cultural gems and natural beauty. Starting in Colombia's capital, Bogota, explore the old and new districts, and then head to the highlands of the coffee region, home to some of the world's best-loved coffee beans. Take a flight to Colombia's Caribbean coast to explore Colombia's colonial highlight, Cartagena, before relaxing on the tropical beaches of Tayrona National Park.
Day 1 Depart the UK today on an overnight direct Avianca flight from Heathrow.
Day 2 Early morning arrival, check in immediately. In the afternoon, visit the historic district of Bogota, La Candelaria. Here you will see many old Spanish colonial properties with secluded gardens. Stop off at the Plaza de Bolivar where a statue of Simon Bolivar, the liberator, is situated and visit the cathedral. Stop at the Botero Museum which houses pieces of art by Fernando Botero as well as, Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Dali and Matisse. The world famous Gold Museum will also be visited; home to 32, 000 pieces of gold and many stones and ceramics.
Day 3 Drive via the underground salt cathedral at Zipaquira to the pretty town of Villa de Leyva. Built entirely of salt, the cathedral is broken up into 14 small chapels connected by tunnels, each chapel representing the Stations of the Cross and sculpted by a different artist. Through art, sculpture and light installations, the enormous underground church is an exceptional sight and a true feat of engineering. Villa de Leyva is one of Colombia’s most charming towns, said to be frozen in time, with its whitewashed buildings and dramatic backdrop of verdant rolling hills, it has been declared a national monument. It has one of the largest main squares in the Americas and is made up of Spanish-style houses, cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways.
Day 4 Visit the nearby fossil museum “El Fossil”, home to a fossilised kronosaurus of more than 120-million years old before returning to Bogota. Fly to Pereira for a three night stay in Colombia's coffee triangle at Casa de Huespedes Sazagua. The world’s third largest producer of coffee, Colombia's finest is found here; in mineral rich volcanic soils with the help of a pleasant climate and slight altitude, the conditions are ideal for coffee bean cultivation.
Day 5 You will start the day by visiting a coffee plantation to see first-hand the production process. From the farm, enjoy picturesque views of the coffee region’s famous rolling emerald green hills and of course enjoy a coffee tasting experience. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
Day 6 Free day in the coffee region to relax or we recommend taking an optional excursion to the Cocora Valley. Within the Cocora Valley, head into the cloud forest to learn about the biodiversity of its flora and fauna. Marvel at the palms towering up to 60m above and spot a great number of birds such as hummingbirds, the endangered yellow-eared parrot and the palm parrot.
Day 7 Fly to Cartagena via Bogota and stay 3 nights in Colombia's jewel in the crown. Located on the Caribbean coast, protected by its ramparts and fortifications, the interior of the historic centre has been preserved as a living museum. Once crumbling colonial mansions have been restored to their former grandeur, have been painted joyful Caribbean colours, and are overflowing with hot pink bougainvillea.
Day 8 On a guided tour, start with a panoramic view of the city from the Monastery and La Popa Church, explore the San Felipe Fortress, visit some of the city’s most ornate churches, its colonial treasures within the historic centre and visit the handicraft markets of the Bovedas, located in the archways of the city walls, once used as prison. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
Day 9 Today is at leisure. Cartagena is a delight to explore on foot. Soak up the Caribbean atmosphere, enjoy the freshest seafood and fresh juices, sip cocktails on rooftop bars overlooking the city’s picturesque rooftops out to the sea. Alternatively, visit the nearby Rosario Islands, for sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and snorkelling opportunities on its coral reefs. Perhaps take a sunset cruise or visit Colombia's national aviary - home to 138 species of birds..
Day 10 Land transfer to Santa Marta and on to Tayrona National Park for 3 nights at Tayrona Eco Habs.
Day 11 Day at leisure to relax on the beach or discover the many trails along the beach and in the National Park. Enjoy the jungle fringed beaches and warm Caribbean waters.
Day 13 Transfer by road to Santa Marta. Fly to Bogota and continue by overnight flight direct to London.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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