Colombia is an amazing land of contrasts and is rapidly becoming one of the highlights of South America. With its rich cultural history, amazing architecture, geographical diversity and the warmth and hospitality of its people it’s easy to see why this fascinating country is becoming an increasingly popular spot for overseas visitors. Sharing borders with Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama and Peru, Colombia is the 4th largest country on the continent and is the only South American country to boast two coast lines on the Pacific and Caribbean. Nature and wildlife abound in its diverse landscapes and the spirit and warmth of the people will ensure your fantastic 15 day tour is a memorable one.
Your tour begins in the vibrant and diverse capital city Bogota. 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, the city has a fine balance between its historical past and its future. Bogota is for many people the gateway to Colombia, and a fine starting point for your adventure. Overnight in Bogota
Walking tour of La Candelaria
You will be met at your hotel by an English speaking guide for a walking tour through the streets of La Candelaria, which is Bogota’s heart and soul. From its humble beginnings this is the oldest part of the city and the Plaza Bolivar or Main Square are high on any visitor’s agenda. As you relax in a cafe and wander the streets away from the main square and explore other parts of this historic hub, your guide will explain the history of Bogota and the intricacies of current Colombian culture and daily life.
Bogota to Villa de Leyva
Today your guide will accompany you as you transfer to the attractive colonial village of Villa de Leyva. En route you'll stop at Zipaquirá to admire the spectacular Salt Cathedral, an underground church in the tunnels of a salt mine.
Villa De Leyva
Today you'll enjoy a half-day walking tour of Villa de Leyva's historic centre. The town is officially designated as a National Monument and, as you wander along the cobbled streets, between the whitewashed buildings, you'll get a real sense of having stepped back in time.
Today you'll transfer back to Bogota for your flight to Pereira, in Colombia's coffee region. You'll be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.
Half Day Coffee Tour
This tour will give you a true impression of the life and culture of the Coffee region. Today you will see how this simple bean affects every part of the area. From quaint towns and stunning views, this is an insight into the "Triangulo Del Café". You will visit the settlements of Cordoba, Pijao, and Buena Vista, enjoy a typical lunch and learn about the coffee process. You will travel through coffee covered hills and valleys. During the day many of the local inhabitants work the slopes and you will get to meet them.
Full day tour of Filandia, Valle Cocora and Salent
You will be collected by your guide and driver to start a tour which takes in the culture of the region along with the stunning natural beauty. You will travel from the far northeast of Quindío to the beautiful Valle Cocora where the magnificent Wax palm grows. As you enter Filandia you will see that the main square has not changed in appearance or character in decades. A coffee break here will allow you to take in the quaintness of lines of brightly painted houses. From here you drive to the Cocora Valley, a unique landscape which is like a lush version of a Swiss valley. Rimmed by distant snow capped mountains, Salento has a real rural traditional feel.
Fly from Pereira to Cartagena
Today you will fly to Cartagena, which 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. The city was a draw for buccaneers and pirates. Sir Francis Drake in 1586 "mercifully" agreed not to level the city in return for 10 million pesos that he took back to England. 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 has some of the best preserved colonial architecture in South America.
Walking tour of the Historic Centre
Today a guide will take you on a walking tour through the streets of the historic centre. Carved from a colourful history, Cartagena is Colombia’s living, breathing and pulsating museum. Colour splashes every corner, balconies overflow with blossom, and energy seeps beneath the ancient wooden doors of hotels and restaurants. Fresh fruit juices and seafood stalls are rich pickings within the myriad of cobbled streets. From the Plaza San Pedro Claver with its stunning church, to the Plaza Bolivar, with its shady areas, Cartagena is a real gem.
Free day in Cartagena
Cartagena is a fascinating place to spend some free time. You can wander the cobbled streets, explore the colonial alley ways and enjoy a cool fruit juice from a local street vendor or a coffee in a side walk cafe. There are great opportunities for people watching during the sultry heat of the day as the local Costeñons go about their daily life. As the sun sets the city takes on a different beat. The heat and hustle of the day submit to the rhythms of the evening, as the beats of Salsa reverberate from every door making it a truly romantic location after dark.
The Caribbean coast
Today you can choose between a four to five hour trip along the Caribbean coast to Santa Marta or Parque Tayrona. Set in a beautiful bay, Santa Marta is the oldest town in Colombia. The city boasts a great location, neighbouring the Sierra Nevada and Tayrona National Park. Here you can absorb the nightlife with a cold Aquila beer and Caribbean fish dish in one of the many restaurants. Parque Tayrona is paradise perfected. The park sits at the edge of a mountain range and has everything you could want from a picture postcard beach location.
Full day tour to Parque Tayrona
If you are staying at Santa Marta you will be picked up by your guide for a full day tour of Tayrona National Park. On the way you will pass along the foothills of the famous Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta the highest coastal mountain range in the world. In the park you can go walking, horse riding or swimming off the beautiful beaches. If you are already staying in the park, you can relax and enjoy some of the many activities on offer.
Full day at leisure
In front of you the Caribbean ocean with its well preserved coral reef, bays, inlets and to the side an extensive coast of fine beaches and scenery. Time can be spent relaxing on the private beach at the Ecohabs in a hammock, or wandering the beach and jungle trails, a true picture perfect beach paradise. In Parque Tayrona you can spend an action packed day seeing all the sights on foot or horseback.
Santa Marta to Bogota
Today there is more time for relaxation in this paradise location before you are picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your late morning or early afternoon flight back to Bogota. There you will be met by one of our tour representatives and taken to your city hotel in the modern stylish north of Bogota. In contrast to your first nights in the city, your final night will be spent in a more contemporary style hotel in the Zona Rosa. Here you will be able to walk to the many restaurants, bars, shops and nightclubs in this neighbourhood.
End of tour
Today your wonderful 15 day Classic Columbia tour comes to an end. Time for some last minute sightseeing or shopping in the capital city before you are picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your onward flight or to begin your journey home, taking with you so many memories from this fascinating South American country.