Walking in Colombia

COL-24-LT / 16-day trip / Grade: T2

Culture: Bogotá, Boyaca, Tatacoa desert, San Agustin, Popayan, Salento & Coffee Farm in Manizales
Light Trekking: Paramo of Oceta, Cocora Valley & Los Nevados National Park

Walking in Colombia 2
OVERVIEW

Walking in Colombia focus on the Andean region, combining cultural and trekking activities along the itinerary. The program starts visiting the charming state of Boyaca, north from the capital, which has some of the best-preserved colonial town still keeping their traditional way of life. Here we find a hidden jewel called Paramo de Ocetá, a relatively unknown highland with a fantastic circular hike through pristine nature.

Then we will travel back in time to the archeological sites of San Agustin and its beautiful natural sceneries in the Souther Huila’s state with landscapes ranging from desert to green highlands. We also will enjoy the traditional city of Popayan on our way to the Coffee area. At last, we will experience first-hand the coffee production, trek in the Los Nevados National park and enjoy the relaxing towns and landscapes that make this a-must-see in a trip to Colombia.

Trip’s highlights:

– Boyaca’s colonial towns

– Hike in Paramo de Ocetá in Boyaca.

– San Agustin archeological sites.

– Coffee area and the Cocora valley.

– Trek in Los Nevados National Park.


Day 1 Arrival in Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá – City tour
Day 3 Boyacá’s bridge & colonial towns of Nobsa & Monguí
Day 4 Trekking: Paramo of Ocetá
Day 5 Guatavita lake, Zipaquirá’s salt cathedral & Bogota
Day 6 Neiva – Tatacoa Desert
Day 7 San Agustin
Day 8 San Agustín’s archeological Parks
Day 9 Popayan
Day 10 Salento
Day 11 Cocora Valley
Day 12 Pereira – Trekking: “El Jordan” farm (3195 m)
Day 13 Trekking: El Otun Lake (3933 m)
Day 14 Trekking: “Corinto” farm (3652 m) – Coffee farm
Day 15 Coffee farm: Coffee tour
Day 16 Pereira – Bogotá Airport
ITINERARY
Day 1

Arrival in Bogotá
Arrival at Bogotá Airport and private transport to your hotel.

Day 2

Bogotá City tour: Historical downtown, Gold Museum & Monserrate
Full-day private city tour to the historic part of Bogotá. After breakfast, enjoy the historic center of the city on foot. You are right in the middle of the charming colonial area known as La Candelaria, and you will visit the world famous gold museum, the Plaza Bolivar and go by cable car to the Monserrate Sanctuary, at an altitude of 3152 m, overlooking the city. A quick visit to the museum of the famous Colombian artist Botero is also an option. Duration 6-7 hours.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Boyacá’s bridge & colonial towns of Nobsa & Monguí
Early departure from Bogota to the Northern state of Boyaca. The road trip is very interesting, leaving the metropolitan life of the capital and inmersing into rural Colombia. There will be a stop at the national monument: Puente de Boyacá, where the last battle of independence took place. Then onto the town of Nobsa, known for its traditional handicraft industry, being the “Ruana” or “poncho” one of the main products and a symbol of the Andean culture. This town also has one of the few wine productions in the country, which is more a curiosity than a wine tasting experience.
After Nobsa, an hour trip to the town of Monguí, the day’s final destination.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 4

Trekking: Paramo of Ocetá
Today we will visit the paramo of Ocetá, located in the vicinity of the village, and one of the best preserved and hidden jewels of the Paramo ecosystem in the country. After a good breakfast, there will be a short transfer in 4×4 vehicles to the trailhead. The trail follows a circular itinerary, which lasts about 5 hours including breaks. The trail will visit: El Pedrisco, Frailejones’ valley, Ocetá’s canyon, Stone town, La Laguna Negra’s viewpoint and the Penagos Waterfall. At the end of the tour, the vehicle will take the group back to the village. There will be time to enjoy a short tour around town, to appreciate the architecture and learn about religious history, in this very well-preserved colonial town.
Night in hotel.
Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 5

Guatavita Lake & Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral
Early departure and drive back towards Bogota. On the way, visit to the legendary Lake Guatavita. Hike around the rim, while exploring the Muisca’s legend of “El Dorado” and discuss the greed of the former Conquests.
Afterwards the road trip will head South to Zipaquira’s Salt Cathedral, an underground illuminated church built in an ancient and huge working salt mine. Arrival in the late afternoon in Bogota.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 6

Tatacoa Desert
Transfer to airport and flight to Neiva. Meeting with the guide and drive to Villavieja. Check in to hotel and some relax before heading into the Tatacoa desert. Explore the desert with stops at different sites of interest. In case of clear skies, we will also visit the astronomic observatory. Return to Villa Vieja in the evening.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 7

San Agustín
During the morning hours drive to San Agustin. Its a 5 h long drive that takes us through beautiful natural sceneries. Arrival to the country side hotel in the afternoon.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 8

San Agustín’s archeological Parks
After breakfast private excursion to the archeological park of San Agustín and the surroundings. We will start with the visit to the San Agustín Park. This is one of the most important archeological sites of Colombia with many huge stone figures of a civilization that already disappeared when Europeans arrived to America. In the afternoon we will continue exploring by visiting Alto de los Idolos and Alto de las Piedras. Return to the hotel by the end of the day. 
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 9

Popayan 
We will continue the journey to Popayán. The city is right in the middle of the rolling green hills of the Valle de Cauca.
Popayan is also known as the “White City” due to the elegant whitewashed colonial buildings. The spirit of the city is centered around the bustling university life.
At arrival check in to the hotel. In the afternoon, we will do a short city tour visiting all the major sights of the old city including beautiful churches (Iglesia San Francisco and Iglesia La Ermita) and visits to the old colonial mansion, Casa Mosquera, where Colombia’s liberator Simón Bolívar once stayed. Finally we will end the day with an ascent to the peak of El Morro del Tulcán to enjoy the view over the city.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Salento
Early departure from Popayan towards Salento. If you are lucky to be here a Tuesday, we will make a visit to the Silvia Marked. This is a very authentic market, mainly staffed by the indigenous Guambiano Indians, who live in the nearby areas and have largely maintained their traditional way of life. It is, by no means, touristy and its a great opportunity to learn more about the life style in the country site.
Continue to journey to Salento. It is a relaxed, colorful village surrounded by green mountains, and is the gateway to the Cocora Valley.
Arrival in the afternoon to El Cairo Reserve three kilometers away from the town of Salento on the way to the Cocora valley. El Cairo is an authentic renovated coffee house, that is more than 100 years old and its surrounded by 100 acres of amazing landscape.
Afternoon free to enjoy the settings.
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11

Cocora Valley
Full day excursion to Cocora Valley.
The guide will meet you in the morning and take you to a very interesting hike to the Cocora Valley. During this private tour you will get familiar with Colombia’s National Tree, the wax palm (Ceroxylon Quindiuense). Its the biggest palm in the world with heights up to 60 meters. The wax palm was qualified by the Alexander Von Humbolt Institute as “endangered” as well as the yellow-eared parrots that only make their nests in these palms.
The length and strength of the tour depends on the physical shape of the visitor and therefore the exact route will be determined together with the guide according to the interests.
Whether you are a Nature enthusiast or not, this day is very likely going to be one of the most beautiful memories you will bring back home.
Box lunch is included.
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 12

Pereira – Trekking: “El Jordan” farm (3195 m)
Early morning transfer from Salento to the city of Pereira (2 h), located at the heart of the Coffee area. Before heading into the mountains, there will be a short stop in Pereira to buy some snacks and any last minute things, that people might need. Then the drive takes about 2 hours by the margins of the Otun River, passing the rural areas of “La Florida” and “La Suiza”, until the head of trail known as “El Cedral” (2105 m). From this point, the group will follow a very nice trail with a moderate ascent rate for 2.5 h to “La Pastora” refuge, then the steepness will increase for 3.5 h, reaching the day’s goal “El Jordan” farm, located at an idyllic place between volcanic hills covered with dense vegetation and decorated with waterfalls of crystal clear water. This is one of the most beautiful days of the program, due to the changeable nature and weather.
Night in tent.
Ascent: 1090 m / Highest altitude: 3195 m / Distance: 13,6 Km / Activity duration: 5-6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 13

Trekking: El Otun Lake (3933 m)
Today’s hike continues up the same river valley, ascending as the landscape changes in to dramatic volcanic eroded terrain. After 2 hours, “El Bosque” crater valley opens up with its colorful crops and meadows surrounded with high basalt walls in a semi-circular shape. Here the group will take a short break to enjoy such scenery and grab a quick bite. The trail will keep on ascending by the valley, following a series of ridges that lead up to “El Mosquito “ lake. On the way, it is possible to get a first view of the distant volcanoes like: El Paramillo del Quindío and Nevado Santa Isabel. Once at the Mosquito Lake, the terrain will be much gentler until the Otun Lake’s drain. The Otun Lake is the biggest water mass in the national park and one of most beautiful too. From the drain, the hike will take about 35 min. to Otun’s camping spot (3933 m), which is located by the National Park’s huts.
The rest of the day is to enjoy the place, walk by the lake’s shores and get lost in the extent gardens of Frailejones, an endemic plant from the northern Andes.
Night in tents.
Ascent: 738 m / Highest altitude: 3933 m / Distance: 9 Km / Activity duration: 5-6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 14

Trekking: “Corinto” farm (3652 m) – Coffee Farm
Today’s itinerary can be done by one of the two trails that depart from the Otun Lake’s camping place. The guide will decide which trail to take according to the physical and weather conditions.

1. By the Western lake’s trail:
Morning hike back to the lake’s drain and then walk on a trail/dirt road that follows the Western margin of the lake up to the “La Asomadera” mountain pass (4139 m), the border between the states of Caldas and Risaralda and the best place to see the Otun lake, from this point another trail descend by a scenic gorge passing by a few local farms and pasture fields, losing altitude until reaching “Corinto” farm. There will be a transport waiting to take the group down (3 h) to a coffee farm in the Manizales area.
Night at coffee farm.
Ascent: 206 m / Descend: 478 m / Highest altitude: 4139 m / Distance: 13.5 Km / Activity duration: 5-6 h

2. By the Eastern lake’s trail:
This trail follows the Eastern shore of the lake and ascents towards higher Asomadera ridge, passing through well-preserved native vegetation gardens and scenic waterfalls. Once on the ridge, the trail descends by a series of small lakes down to the lower Asonadera pass, joining the Western trail, as described above, descending to “Corinto” farm. There will be a transport waiting to take the group down (3 h) to a coffee farm in the Manizales area.
This trail is more demanding than the other one, in time and physical effort, not in distance.
Night at coffee farm.
Ascent: 304 m / Descend: 585 m / Highest altitude: 4237 m / Distance: 13.2 Km / Activity duration: 6-7 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 15

Coffee farm: Coffee tour
Relaxing morning at the beautiful Hacienda Venecia, an authentic coffee farm with exclusive coffee production. The farmhouses now restored to a hostel and a hotel, featuring charming paisa architecture. The Venecia Coffee farm has won several prizes for its excellent coffee and for this day, it is included a coffee tour to see how the coffee is produced and processed, as well as how to make really good Espresso!
Night at coffee farm.
Activity duration: 3-4 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 16

Bogotá (2660 m)
Pick up at the coffee farm and transfer out to Manizales’ airport (45 min.). Upon arrival in Bogotá, transfer to hotel – End of services.
Included meals: Breakfast

PRICING
COL-24 – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


INCLUDED

  • Local English-speaking cultural guide from day 2 to 11
  • Local English-speaking mountain guide from day 12 to 14
  • Local assistant mountain guide ONLY for Los Nevados’ trek from 4 PAX on from day 12 to 14
  • Private transfers out and in in Bogotá
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • National Park entrance fees & archeological sites
  • 3 nights in shared double rooms in hotel in Bogota
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in hotel in Mongui
  • 1 night in shared double rooms in hotel in Villa Vieja
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in hotel in San Agustin
  • 1 night in shared double rooms in hotel in Popayan
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in hotel in Cocora Valley
  • 2 night in shared double rooms at Coffee farm in Manizales
  • 2 nights in shared tents at campsites
  • Shared coffee tour at coffee farm
  • Quality mountain tents – 2 pax per tent
  • Group common campsite equipment
  • Mules for group campsite equipment, food and pax personal gear (Packing and weight allowance – Information will be sent)
  • Included meals specified in the day to day itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

  • Domestic and international flights (see domestic approx. price above)
  • Personal camping equipment
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list
HOTEL LIST

BOGOTÁ: Hotel Casa Real 93 or similar

MONGUI: La Casona de San Francisco de Asis or similar

VILLA VIEJAHotel Yararaka  or similar

SAN AGUSTINEcolodge Hotel Akawanka  or similar

POPAYANHotel La Plazuela  or similar

SALENTO: Reserva El Cairo or similar

PARQUE NACIONAL LOS NEVADOS:

Finca El Jordan (no website) or similar
Otun Camping (no website) or similar

MANIZALES: Hacienda Venecia – Coffee Lodge or similar

MAPS

Overview:


Boyaca:

Southern Colombia:

Coffee area:

GALLERY
Tags: Colombia, Light Trekking, Cartagena, Coffee Area, Bogotá, Boyaca, Los Nevados, Cocora, Salento, Zipaquira, T3, Oceta, Mongui, Tota Lake, Guatavita