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|Highlights||Bogotá Gold Museum, Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, Coffee Plantation, Traditional cooking class, Wax Palm Planting Ceremony, Chiva Bus Tour, Traditional Horse & Carriage ride through Cartagena|
|What to Expect||Guaranteed small group, maximum 24 passengers. This fast-paced, escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip.|
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Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
Colombia, with its amazing architecture, geographical diversity and warm hospitality is rapidly becoming one of the highlights of South America, and is the only South American country to boast two coast lines on the Pacific and Atlantic (Caribbean) oceans. From modern and exciting Bogota in the Andes Mountains, to the rural culture of the Coffee Triangle, to the Caribbean coast of Cartagena, experience the rich pre-Colonial, Colonial and Republican history and culture. Your Colombian tour package experience will be one that lingers on long after you arrive back home.
Day 1: USA/Bogotá. Your exciting tour to Colombia begins today as you depart for Bogota. Colombia's capital city is located in the Andes at an elevation of 8,612 feet above sea level, and boasts year-round mild weather. Upon arrival, after clearling custom formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Hotel Hilton Bogotá. Dinner provided.
Day 2: Bogotá. After breakfast, begin a walking tour of the city, with a visit to Bogotá’s beautiful and charming Old Town, La Candelaria. Here you'll find blocks of colonial architecture dating back to the early 1500's when the Spanish conquered the city. Continue on to Simon Bolivar Square, the first public monument in the heart of the historical area of Bogotá. Later, explore the Gold Museum, and marvel at its astonishing collection of pre-Hispanic gold work, which is the largest collection of its kind in the world. Leave the city and drive to the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral and Mine for a tour of the underground Roman Catholic Church, constructed inside of a salt mine 200 meters underground. The Twelve Stations of the Cross are carved into the salt rock. Aside from being a popular tourist attraction, the Cathedral is an important place of pilgrimage in Colombia. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 3: Bogotá & Coffee Triangle. This morning transfer to the airport for a flight to Colombia’s famous Coffee Region – Triangulo Del Cafe. Arrive in Armenia founded in 1889, located between a lush valley and one of the highest expanses of the Cordillera Central Mountains. Transfer to your hotel for check-in. Then, you will take a tour of a coffee plantation, and learn about the coffee process from seedling to tasty coffee cup. Return to your hotel, and join the chef who will take you on a culinary adventure where you will learn how to make, and then enjoy, a regional delicacy. Accommodations: Hotel Del Campo. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 4: Coffee Triangle & Cocora Valley. Depart for the heart of the coffee region, and learn about the culture and people of pueblos, and the Valle Cocora, with its lush Swiss-like landscape. Visit the village of Salento, where you’ll have an opportunity to browse the stores for hand-made crafts and souveniers. From Salento, take an exciting ride in an open-topped jeep known as Willys from Salento to the Cocora Valley. Take part in a ritual wax palm planting ceremony. The wax palm is the national tree and symbol of Colombia, and can grow up to 229 feet tall, making it the tallest palm tree in the world. Although most palm trees prefer a tropical climate, the wax palm tree can flourish at the cooler temperatures associated with higher altitudes.
After lunch at a typical local restaurant where fresh trout is the specialty, meet a typical Arriero. Learn about the instrumental role played by the Arriero worker, who transported coffee, corn, wheat or maize on pack animals, during the development of Colombia’s coffee production. The Arriero are still common in the coffee-growing region of Colombia. Return to your hotel where you will enjoy a typical regional dance demonstration, then dinner. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Coffee Triangle & Cartagena. This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight from Armenia to Cartagena via Bogota. Located along the Caribbean Coast Region, Cartagena's colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
Upon arrival, start your visit of Cartagena with a drive from the airport to the city of Cartagena. Enjoy lunch at a typical restaurant. Starting at the Puerta Del Reloj, enjoy a walking tour of the narrow streets of the historic city center, with its flower-covered balconies, cafes, bars and restaurants nestled among the brightly colored colonial buildings. Drive to San Felipe Fort, and tour the slave-built fortress. Set atop a hill with a commanding view of both land and sea, San Felipe Fortress was commissioned by the Kingdom of Spain to protect Cartagena from invading European countries and marauding pirates. Continue to La Popa Convent. Explore the convent’s treasures, from the lovely image of the La Virgen de la Candelaria to its flower-laden patio.
This evening, join other tourists and locals and have fun on a typical Chiva Papayera tour. In a highly decorated traditional Colombian bus, also known as a Chiva, crank the music up, partake in local drinks like rum or the local firewater Aguadiente, and let the party begin, as you drive through the city! The adventure continues at a local night club with an included snack. Later, return to your hotel. Accommodations: Sofitel Santa Clara. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 6: Cartagena. Spend a day at leisure exploring Cartagena’s remarkable center, including examples of colonial architecture as well as museums, historic monuments, and libraries. Explore the fashionable districts of El Centro and San Diego with their chic cafes, trendy nightclubs, beautiful plazas and elegant residences.
Tonight join your fellow travelers for a Palenquera Show. Palenqueras are fruit sellers who line Cartagena’s streets dressed in traditional Colombian clothes. They represent the African slaves struggle for freedom against their Spanish overlords in the Cartagena region. Continue with a traditional horse and carriage ride around the historic walled city ending at a local restaurant for dinner. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Mangroves Swamps & Fishing Culture, $100. This morning, experience life in a local fishing community as you visit the village of La Boquilla, located in the mangrove swamps 30 minutes east of Cartagena. The villagers, many of whom are of African descent, will perform a dance and serve coconut milk as refreshment. Steered by local fisherman, you will have the opportunity to canoe through the Cueva Del Manglar, a rich and bio-diverse ecosystem inhabited by kingfishers, white herons, and pelicans. Enjoy a demonstration of traditional fishing methods, using handmade nets and weights to catch fish and crustaceans. Before departing the village, the local population will perform another short dance before you board your vehicle for the return drive to your hotel. This excursion is available locally and requires a minimum of 5 passengers.
Day 7: Depart Colombia. Today bid adios to Colombia as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA. Breakfast provided.