The Caribbean Coast

COL-44 / 14-day trip

Caribbean Coast
OVERVIEW

Colombias Caribbean coastline is more than 1800 km long and its not only home to the country’s best beaches, but also to 3 different Indian tribes, a vast dessert, the highest Coast Mountain Range in the world, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Caribbean Bounty Islands and to some of the most important Colonial cities in the continent, Santa Marta, Cartagena and Mompox.

All that and much more will be visited during this complete Caribbean Journey.


Day 1 Arrival to Bogota
Day 2 Guajira Desert & Punta Gallina
Day 3 Guajira Desert & Cabo la Vela
Day 4 Guajira Desert & Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Day 5 Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta & Visit to Indian Tribes
Day 6 Tayrona Natural Park 
Day 7 Santa Marta & city tour
Day 8 Cartagena & city walk
Day 9 Cartagena & city tour
Day 10 Mompox
Day 11 Mompox & city tour
Day 12 Golfo de Morosquillo & Beach 
Day 13 Optional tour to San Bernardo Islands 
Day 14 Departure
ITINERARY
Day 1

Arrival in Bogotá
Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Flight to Riohacha – Punta Gallina
Morning flight to Riohacha. Meeting with the guide and start of the journey in a 4×4  towards Uribia. From here the journey through the desert begins. During this trip you will appreciate the vast desert landscape, interrupted only by small Wayuu settlements. Lunch in a local rancho.
Arrival to Punta Gallina and check in to the hostel. In the afternoon, visit the beach Medano de Taroa and the most northern lighthouse of South America in Punta Gallina. 
Back to the hostel where dinner is served. Depending on the local fishing, you may have the option of lobster (has to be ordered some hours before) which is highly recommended.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Cabo la Vela
Morning visit to enjoy the beautiful beach of “Punta Aguja”, there is the optional boat ride to Hondita Bay to spot pink flamingos (this tour is not included, but can be ordered the night before). After lunch, departure from Punta Gallina crossing once again La Alta Guajira’s deserts, until the Cerrejon Railroad (Cerrejon is the biggest open sky coal mine in the country), from where the road to Cabo la Vela starts. The last section, is more inhabited that the desert up North, and here lies one of the only windmill parks in the country.
A 2-3 hours desert road trip from Punta Gallinas is what it takes to get down to El Cabo de la Vela, located on the Wester coast of the Guajira peninsula, South from Punta Gallinas. It has a some best beaches, very little visited, only crowded during the Colombian holidays. Otherwise, an idyllic spot to relax and enjoy the nature. The place is great to get lost in the many bays, desert trails and also exploring the local cuisine and traditions. The place is inhabited by the Wayuu indigenous group and it is possible to sea the traditional fishermen work, bringing the sea harvest a shore in the early mornings.
El Cabo is also very popular for those into kite surfing, its permanent wind currents make it ideal for this sport. For those interested, it is possible to take a short course or rent the gear (not included).
Again taking a walk up to “El Cabo” lighthouse to enjoy the sunset, it is a must.
Night in rustic lodge.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Cabo la Vela & Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

After breakfast en Cabo la Vela, visit to Manaure. This place is famous for its salt flats and salt production and it’s a interesting visit.
Afterwards, we will leave the desert and head Southwest through the Caribbean coastline. Check in to a charming and authentic Eco lodge located in the outskirts of the Tayrona National park.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 5

Visit to Indian Community
Today we will get to know some of the native Indian tribes, that live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
About the tour:
The indigenous Kogui, who are said to be the direct descendants of the ancient Tayrona civilization, inhabit the valleys of the Palomino, Don Diego, San Miguel and Ancho rivers. Their population is estimated to be more than 10,000 members and all of them are living at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Our so-called “Elder Brothers” take care of the natural treasure of the Sierra, a mountain that in their culture represents the center of the world and source of all life. Even today they naturally take the role of guardians of cosmic balance and are considered one of the most valuable ancestral cultures on the planet.
From our lodge we drive along the beautiful and colorful coastal road to the town of Rio Ancho. Here we are welcomed by a community guide and after a short introduction we start our trek (9km, approx. 2h) through the tropical rainforest, bordering parts of the Ancho River, until we reach the village of Tungueka. After a tour through the village, where we get to know the way of life of this ethnic group, we have a brief cultural exchange with the leaders of the village. We continue to the river, where we enjoy a delicious picnic on a beautiful rock. There is time for a delightful swim in the river before starting our trek back to Rio Ancho.  Return to the hotel by the and of the day.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Tayrona National Park
Visit to the Tayrona National Park, one of the most famous parks in Colombia. Pick up at your hotel and drive to Tayrona National Park. Once in the park, we will start our light hike to the Arrecife’s area an iconic place within the park. We will walk by a well marked path that starts in in a tropical forest and ends at the characteristic Caribbean beaches. Lunch will be held at a local place, where they prepare traditional fish. Afterwards, there will be time for a dip in the warm sea before returning to the car and driving to Santa Marta, where we will spend the night.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 Day 7

Santa Marta & City Tour
In the morning hours there will be a 3 hour city tour in Santa Marta, actually the first established town in Colombia by the Spanish in 1534. The tour will visit the most iconic places in the city like: The Cathedral where Simon Bolivar was buried before he was moved to his birth place and last resting place in the city of Caracas. A walk through the colonial streets of the city’s crowded downtown. The gold museum, even though a much small collection in comparison with Bogota’s, it offer a great insight into the native culture inhabiting there surrounding areas. The seaside promenade and the pier and the Plaza Bolivar.
The tours ends around noon. Free afternoon.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 8

Cartagena & city walk
Morning transfer to Cartagena. In the late afternoon or early evening, enjoy a city walk in the old town of Cartagena with private guide. During this walk you will get familiar with the architecture and the history of the old town and you will visit the main squares and buildings. There will be plenty of photo opportunities and you will also appreciate the beautiful evening illumination of this romantic city.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 9

Cartagena & city tour
In the morning, you will continue to explore historic Cartagena by visiting the San Felipe Fortress, the most technically advanced military building during Spanish colonial times, as well as the old “Popa” Monastery where you will have a wonderful view of the city. Between these two places, visit the popular marketplace of Bazurto, where fruits, vegetables and fish are traded by the locals, most of them descendants of the slaves of the colonial times. Cartagena is perhaps Colombia’s most beautiful and interesting town. It was founded in 1533 and during the colonial period, was the main Spanish port on the Caribbean coast and primary gateway to South America to receive slaves and to send treasures to Europe.
In the evening there will be free time for shopping, and perhaps to enjoy a drink on the old fortress walls, overlooking the sunset on the Caribbean. 
Activity duration: City tour – 4 h
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Mompox
Today we will visit another cultural and historical jewel, Mompox, that is declared Heritage of Humanity by the Unesco. Mompox was very important during the colonial times, as it was a river port used by influential families that ran away from Cartagena during pirate attacks. It is located in the Magdalena River delta, and it is still used as a waterway connection to Cartagena through the Dique Cannal. Big amounts of gold and precious gems were stored here, which leaded to the development of a superb gold craftsmanship that remains nowadays.
The remote location of Mompox makes it a far less frequented than Cartagena and the city has conserved its interesting colonial history.
Arrival in the beginning of the afternoon. Check in to hotel and free time to explore the town.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 11

Mompox
Full day tour in Mompox and surroundings.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 12

Golfo de Morosquillo
Departure from Mompox and drive to Golfo de Morosquillo. Here you will find some of the most beautiful and remote beaches of the country.
Arrival to the Natural Reserve, Sanguare, and check in to a very nice beach lodge.
Afternoon free to enjoy the nature and beach.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13

Optional tour to the archipelago of San Bernardo
We recommend a boat trip to the Archipelago of San Bernardo. The tour can be organized directly at the hotel according to availability. Its a very recommended experience with great snorkeling possibilities and some visits to very interesting Caribbean islands. Amongst visits you will visit Santa Cruz del Islote. Its significant population compared with its small size results in its being the most densely populated island on Earth.
Return to the beach lodge in the afternoon.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14

Departure
Pick up and transfer to Cartagena’s Airport. Flight to Bogota for international connection in the evening. End of services
Included meals: Breakfast

PRICING
COL-44 – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.

INCLUDED

  • Local English speaking guides during tours (No guide during tour to San Bernardo)
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • 1 night in shared double rooms in Bogota
  • 2 nights in rustic lodges in La Guajira
  • 2 night in shared double rooms in Rio Don Diego
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in Santa Marta
  • 2 night in shared double rooms in Cartagena
  • 2 night in shared double rooms in Mompox
  • 2 nights in shared double room in Beach-lodge
  • All entrance fees
  • Mentioned activities/tours in private services
  • Meals as specified in the day to day itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

  • Domestic and international flights
  • Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list
HOTEL LIST

BOGOTA: Hotel Casa Deco or similar

PUNTA GALLINAS: Posada Sandra (no website) or similar

CABO DE LA VELA: Posada Apalache or Rancheria Utta (no website) or similar

TAYRONA AREA: Tayrona Paradise or similar

SANTA MARTA: Hotel Boutique Casa Del Farol or similar

MOMPOX: La Casa Amarilla or similar

CARTAGENA: Hotel 3 Banderas or similar

GOLFO DE MORROSQUILLO: Sanguaré Natural Reserve

MAP

Overview:


Caribbean coast:

Tags: Colombia, Nature & Culture, Tayrona, Cartagena, Caribbean