Colombia is a country of astonishing contrasts, from the buzzing cities of Bogotá and Cartagena, with their rich culture and picturesque colonial architecture, to the lush tranquillity of the rural coffee region. This tour is the ideal introduction to this fascinating country, taking in the very best of Colombia's historical sites, verdant natural landscapes and warm hospitality.
Your holiday begins as you arrive in Bogotá and transfer to your hotel, after which you're at leisure to rest up or begin exploring this vibrant city, sometimes called the Athens of South America.
Today you'll enjoy a half-day walking tour with your bilingual guide. You'll start in the La Candelaria area – the oldest part of the city – where you'll visit the Plaza Bolivar, or Main Square, home to the Palace of Justice and Colombian Congress, as well as the Mayor’s office and the Cathedral. You'll visit the Botero Museum, dedicated to Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist, but also featuring works by Dali, Monet and Van Gogh, before heading to the Gold Museum to see one of the finest collections of pre-Hispanic gold in the world. Along the way, your guide will regale you with stories of the history of Bogotá, as well as giving you fascinating insights into modern Colombian culture and daily life.
Today you'll take an excursion to Zipaquirá, north of Bogotá, to visit its famous Salt Cathedral, carved underground in a still-functioning salt mine. As you descend, you'll see the 14 Stations of the Cross before reaching the nave, dominated by an enormous, 16-metre central cross. After admiring this amazing edifice and learning about how it was constructed, there'll be time to stroll around Zipaquirá's charming central square to admire the colonial buildings and the Cathedral Diocesana de San Antonio, before returning to Bogotá.
This morning you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Colombia's Coffee Region. Widely considered to be the heart and soul of Colombia, the Coffee Region offers spectacularly lush landscapes of rolling hills and deep valleys, and a rural way of life largely unchanged for generations.
Coffee plantation tour
Today you'll take a tour of one of the region's coffee plantations, to see the whole process of making your morning pick-me-up, from planting to picking to toasting and tasting. Along the way you'll have a chance to admire the stunning scenery of lush green coffee, plantain and yucca plants.
Today's full-day tour will explore the stunning natural beauty of the Cocora Valley. You'll begin in the small town of Filandia, with a coffee in the main square, before driving to the Valle Cocora (Cocora Valley). Part of the wider Parque Nacional Los Nevados, the stunning, lush valley is located along the central Andean range, and is filled with wax palms, Colombia's national symbol. Finally you'll head on to picturesque Salento, Quindío's oldest modern settlement, to admire the traditional houses and the views of distant snow-capped mountains.
This morning you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Cartagena. This fantastically colourful city boasts some of South America's best-preserved colonial architecture, as well as a vibrant cultural life.
Today you'll take a half-day walking tour of Cartagena. The town was founded by the Spanish in 1533 as a Caribbean gateway port, and was a magnet for buccaneers and pirates for over 200 years. Your tour will take you through the old town, under the Puerta Del Reloj (Clock Tower Entrance), into the Plaza de los Coches. Along the way, your guide will keep you enthralled with myths and legends, histories and stories of Cartagena from ancient times right up to the present. You'll stroll through the Plaza San Pedro Claver, with its stunning church, and through to the Plaza Bolivar, where you can sip a drink in the shade while you watch the world go by.
Today you're at leisure in Cartagena. You'll want to spend some time just people-watching in the lively city streets, and this is also a great chance to pick up some souvenirs, or to relax on the beaches of Boca Grande.
Today your unforgettable holiday comes to an end as you transfer to the airport for your onward flight.