Colombia’s Nature & Culture Mosaic

COL-45 / 16-day trip

Colombia’s Nature & Culture Mosaic
OVERVIEW

On this trip you will enjoy some of Colombia’s greatest and most iconic natural wonders, while experiencing the colorful patchwork of cultures that have developed in the different parts of the country.

Each region visited in this trip is very unique, and we will take you from Highland to Lowland, to historical towns, vibrant cities and remote villages. The tour starts in Bogota, then continues to the iconic natural phenomena known as the river of five colors, or Caño Cristales. From here we head to the lush green coffee area where we will visit Cocora Valley and learn all about coffee growing. We then head to the Caribbean, where we will visit some of the country’s best beaches in Tayrona Natural park and the legendary city of Cartagena. The journey ends with a few days at a very idyllic beach lodge with a great private beach far from the crowds.

The tour starts and ends in Bogota’s international airport.


Day 1 Arrival in Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá – Full day city tour
Day 3 Caño Cristales
Day 4 Caño Cristales
Day 5 Caño Cristales
Day 6 Coffee Area & Salento
Day 7 Cocora Valley
Day 8 Coffee tour
Day 9 Santa Marta & city tour
Day 10 Tayrona Natural Park
Day 11 Cartagena & city walk
Day 12 Cartagena & city tour
Day 13 Caribbean beaches
Day 14 Caribbean beaches
Day 15 Caribbean beaches
Day 16 Departure

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR DOMESTIC FLIGHTS TO CAÑO CRISTALES:
There are no flights guaranteed on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from Bogotá. We will check availability upon request. The flights to Macarena have a weight restriction of 10 KG check-in luggage and 5 KG hand-luggage per PAX. We recommend to store extra luggage at the hotel.

Due to the strict control of the park authorities, the visits mentioned below are only guidelines. The exact visits and the order will be determined upon arrival to Macarena.

Since May 2016 it is mandatory to have the yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter the park, please make sure to bring it along.

ITINERARY
Day 1

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

Day 2

Bogotá – Full day city tour
Full day private city tour to the historic part of Bogotá. After breakfast, enjoy the historic center of the city on foot. Meeting with the guide in the hotels lobby. Start the tour in the charming colonial area known as La Candelaria. From here visit the world famous gold museum, the Plaza Bolivar and go by cable car to the Monserrate Sanctuary, at 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

Caño Cristales
Early morning transfer to meeting point in the airport in Bogotá (normally it’s a 5 AM). Transfer to the charter flight and fly to La Macarena town (sometimes with stops in Villavicencio). Briefing and hotel check in. Upon arrival to Macarena there will be an information meeting by the park authorities in order to get familiarized with the fragile and special ecosystem of Caño Cristales. Afternoon visit to either Cristalinos, El Mirador or Caño Piedra (depending on the schedule from the National Park). There you will have atypical box-lunch provided by the local staff. Return to the town of La Macarena at about 3:30 PM.
Included meals: Breakfast, Box-lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Caño Cristales
Today you will have a full day visit to different spots along the Caño Cristales. The tour starts with a short 20 minute boat ride on the Guayabero River, where we will have our first contact with the local nature. If lucky, we will spot caimans, iguanas, river turtles and parrots along the riverside. After that we will take a 4-wheel drive transport for another 20 minutes that will take us to a place called Manantial de Cajuche. From this point we will start our hike into the natural park.

The hike should last about 4 hours, but everything depends on the group’s rhythm and how long time it is used during the breaks for swimming. As this is a new place for tourism, it is important to prepare the clients for a quite relaxing and flexible time schedule! During this day and according to the assignment of the Park authorities, we will visit 3-5 of the places listed below during the hike. Some of the other places not visited this day, might be visited one of the other days.

  • La piscina del turista (The tourist swimming pool), excellent place for taking a dip in to the lovely waters of La Macarena.
  • La Silla de Tinigua (Tinigua’s Chair)
  • Tres Espejos (Three Mirrors)
  • Pozo Cuadrado (Square pool)
  • Las Escaleras (The Ladder)
  • Karol Cristal swimming pool
  • Caño Escondido
  • Cascada de la Virgen (The Virgins fall)
  • Cascada de Piedra Negra (Black stones fall)
  • Los Ochos. (The eight)
  • Acuaducto Romano (Roman Aqueduct)
  • El tapete Rojo (the red rug)

After the activities, we will return to Macarena village. Here there will be a folkloric show in order to enjoy and learn more about the local traditions of the area. Also there will be a local cuisine tasting and dance with music for a relaxing evening.

Included meals: breakfast, box lunch, dinner

Day 5

Caño Cristales
In the morning there will be a visit to either Cristalinos, El Mirador or Caño Piedra (depends on the schedule from the national Park), for a opportunity to enjoy the amazing settings and natural wonders. Return to Macarena for a last lunch, before we head back to Bogotá. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel in Bogotá.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Coffee Area & Salento
Transfer to airport and flight to Armenia. Pickup and transfer to Reserva El Cairo.
You are just in the middle of Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia. This region was recognized in 2011 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which is a testament to the outstanding example of Sustainable Production and Cultural landscape of Salento.
You will be staying in an authentic renovated coffee house, that is more than 100 years old, surrounded by 100 acres of amazing landscape. The hotel is located three kilometers away from the town of Salento on the way to the Cocora valley.
Afternoon free to enjoy the settings.
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7

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 8

Coffee tour
After a well-deserved rest, its time to find out why the Colombia coffee is considered to be one of the finest in the world. Pick up from the hotel in the morning and transfer a traditional coffee farms in the area. Here you will learn a lot about the entire coffee production from seed to the final product. It also includes a very pedagogic coffee tasting to learn about the different types and qualities of the local coffee. The tour lasts approximately 2 hours. Afternoon free for your own plans.
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9

Santa Marta & City Tour
Time to leave the coffee area and head for the Caribbean!
Pick up at the hotel and transfer to airport. Flight to Santa Marta (via Bogota). Transfer and check in to hotel in the colonial part of the town. In the afternoon there will be a 3 hour city tour in Santa Marta with visit to the Cathedral where Simon Bolivar was buried before he was moved to his birth place Caracas. We will also visit the seaside and the pier, Plaza Bolivar, and the Gold Museum.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Tayrona National Park
Visit to the Tayrona National Park, one of the most famous parks in Colombia. This is a full-day program with guide and private transport, departing form your hotel around 8 am and returning in the late afternoon. The trip includes an hour drive to the entrance of the park, then few minutes more to the parking lot, from where 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 back.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11

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 12

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 13

Caribbean beaches
Today we will leave the vibrant city and head southwest along the Caribbean Coast line down to Golfo de Morosquillo. Here you will find some of the most beautiful and remote beaches of the country.
After 3 hours drive, arrival to the Natural Reserve, Sanguare, where we will check in to a very nice beach lodge.
Afternoon free to enjoy the nature and beach.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14

Kayac, beach, hike & bioluminescent plankton.
After breakfast we get ready for a tour in Kayacs.
First we will padle around 20 min open sea along the coastline, untill we will find a narrow entrance to the lagoons.
Paddle through the Mangrove until reaching the main lagoon. Here we will observe the fragile and interesting ecosistem within the quit waters while enjoying the natural settings.
Return to the lodge before noon.
Lunch and time to enjoy the beach.
During the hours in the afternoon, there will be a guided tour in the dry forest. Its a very different ecosystem and the guide will show us how the flora has adapted to the very spare precipitation in this area.
Return to the lodge for dinner.

Depending on the time of the month, it is possible to participate in a night tour in order to see the bioluminescent plankton. It’s a kayac tour held in the evening or in the early morning hours, depending on the position of the moon.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience bioluminescent plankton yet, it’s a really one-in-a-life-time experience to see how suddenly the water light up in the sark just by any movement within the water.
This tour is not included, but can be organized on the spot with the hosts.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15

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 16

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

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR DOMESTIC FLIGHTS TO CAÑO CRISTALES:
There are no flights guaranteed on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from Bogotá. We will check availability upon request. The flights to Macarena have a weight restriction of 10 KG check-in luggage and 5 KG hand-luggage per PAX. We recommend to store extra luggage at the hotel.

Due to the strict control of the park authorities, the visits mentioned below are only guidelines. The exact visits and the order will be determined upon arrival to Macarena.

Since May 2016 it is mandatory to have the yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter the park, please make sure to bring it along.

PRICING
COL-45 – 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
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • 3 nights in shared double rooms in Bogota
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms at hotel in Macarena
  • 3 night in shared double rooms in Salento
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in Santa Marta
  • 2 night in shared double rooms in Cartagena
  • 3 nights in shared double room in Sanguare Beach Lodge
  • All entrance fees
  • Domestic Flight: Bogota – Macarena – Bogota (charter flight)
  • 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
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list
HOTEL LIST

BOGOTA: Hotel Casa Deco or similar

LA MACARENA: Hotel Punto Verde or similar

SALENTO: Hotel Reserva El Cairo or similar

SANTA MARTA: Hotel Boutique La Casa Del Farol or similar

CARTAGENA: Hotel 3 Banderas or similar

GOLFO DE MORRPSQUILLO: Reserva Natural Sanguare or similar

MAP

Overview:


Bogota and Caño Cristales:


Coffee area:


Caribbean coast:


Tags: Colombia, Nature & Culture, Tayrona, Cartagena, Coffee Area, Caribbean, Bogotá