ANCIENT COLOMBIA

COL-51 / 20-day trip

Bogotá, Boyaca, Los Llanos, Tatacoa desert, San Agustin, Popayan, Salento, Cocora Valley, Coffee Farm, Cartagena & Tayrona National Park

Ancient Colombia 1
OVERVIEW

This journey is a perfect choice for the traveller who wants to see a little of everything, and experience the diversity of this amazing country.
The tour takes you to some of the most ancients cultures in the country, but also to areas where the development has not taken place and where the people still live in a traditional way adapted to the natural settings. As a contrast you will also see some of the most developed areas of the country.
The tour includes a lot of natural experiences during the entire trip and ends with a touch of luxury in the Tayrona Natural Park.


Day 1 Arrival in Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá – Full day city tour
Day 3 Guatavita Lake & Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral
Day 4 Villa de Leyva
Day 5 Los Llanos & Juan Solito
Day 6 Wildlife Safari
Day 7 Hato Aurora & Ranching
Day 8 Return to Bogota
Day 9 Tatacoa Desert
Day 10 San Agustin
Day 11 San Agustín’s archeological Parks
Day 12 Popayan
Day 13 Salento
Day 14 Cocora Valley
Day 15 Coffee Tour
Day 16 Cartagena & city walk
Day 17 Cartagena & city tour
Day 18 Tayrona Natural Park
Day 19 Tayrona Natural Park
Day 20 Departure
ITINERARY
Day 1

Arrival in Bogotá
Reception at the airport and transfer to 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

Guatavita Lake & Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral
Early departure and drive to the legendary Lake Guatavita, 1-2 hours from Bogotá. Hike around the rim, while exploring the legend of the Muisca Indians and discuss the greed of the former Conquests.
Afterwards we will continue to Zipaquira’s Salt Cathedral, an underground illuminated church built in an ancient and huge working salt mine. Then lunch in Zipaquira before continuing to Villa de Leyva.
Arrival in the late afternoon.
Included meals: Breakfast 

Day 4

Villa De Leyva
During morning hours there will be a short city walk in Villa de Leyva to appreciate the colonial architecture of this “manchego” style town, reminiscent of the Don Quijote era. If it is Saturday, you will have the chance to visit the colourful local market full of fruits, typical gastronomy and local farmers. Later, visit the surroundings of Villa de Leyva such as the ancient solar observatory and the Paleontological Investigation Center.
In the afternoon return to Bogota.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 5

Los Llanos – Juan Solito Farm
After breakfast, transfer to airport en Bogota. From here, flight to Yopal. Meeting with the transfer service that takes you on a 4hr drive out on the real countryside of Colombia. On this ride, you will experience how the land becomes more and more remote, and the only interruption in the lowland is the herds of cattle. The isolated location makes for an adventurous experience and good chances to see wildlife.
Arrival to Juan Solito for lunch. Juan Solito is a traditional former cattle farm accommodated to receive tourism. It is part of Hato la Aurora, a reserve that covers 16,000 hectares. Given the remote location, the lodge offers some great wildlife viewing, especially of native and migration birds, caiman, wild pigs, deer, capybara, anteaters and and cats such as puma, jaguar, ocelot and jaguarundi. Reptiles such as iguanas and huge anacondas (5-7m in length) are abundant too. During the stay at Juan Solito, you’ll get a feel for the way of life in los llanos too, with its distinctive traditional music, food and cowboys.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Wildlife Safari
Activities will be arranged on the lodge the night before and the activities depend on the season.
Today we recommand to do a wildlife Safari in 4×4.
The tour starts after breakfast with a exciting river crossing in canoes. Once safe on the other side, the Safari tour in a pickup-van begins. During the tour in the natural reserve we will observe the flora and get to spot some wildlife such ad capibaras, white tail deer, crocodiles, wild horses, herons, curlews, little owls, double-striped thick-knee curlews, jabiru storks, a wide variety of ibises among many other bird species.
A popular stop during the safari is by a beautiful lake, where the local staff will feed the caimans. We might also be lucky to see other reptiles such as iguanas and/or turtles.
Afterwards we will continue our tour in the reserve while spotting some more wildlife and birds. The landscape is green savanna and there will be plenty of photo oportunities during the tour.
Lunch in the nature.
Before returning to the lodge, we will do stop to do some fishing in the local way by the river bank.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7

Hato Aurora & Ranching
Today we recommend horseback riding to the Hacienda “Hato Aurora”.
At Ecolodge Juan Solito, there are beautiful well-tamed horses, completely familiar with their land, which implies more safety for our riders during their adventure. This is an activity suited for all ages and you don’t need to be a trained rider.
The tour might go to the hacienda Hato Aurora, where the ranching is still been done in the traditional way. Here we will enjoy the lunch and also get a glimpse of the daily at the farm. “Siesta” in a hammock in the garden, before returning back to the lodge.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8

Return to Bogota
Morning departure from Juan Solito, then flight from Yopal to Bogota.
Transfer to hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 9

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 10

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 11

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 12

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 13

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 14

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 15

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 16

Cartagena & City walk
We leave the coffee farm and head for the Caribbean! Transfer to the nearest airport and domestic flight to Cartagena. From the airport you are picked up and driven 20 minutes to a hotel in the historic part of Cartagena. In the late afternoon/early evening, walk the old town of Cartagena with a private English-speaking guide. It is a romantic city, full of legends and history, immaculately preserved by an impressive 13 km long stonewall. The old part of the city is a declared World Heritage Site, with its maze of cobble alleys, huge balconies, massive churches and charming plazas. There will be plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to appreciate the beautiful evening illumination of this romantic city.
Included meals:Breakfast

Day 17

Cartagena & City tour
In the morning, meeting with the guide and continue exploring historic Cartagena. Start the tour by visiting the San Felipe Fortress, the most technically advanced military building during Spanish colonial times, then visit 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 was, during the colonial period, 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.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 18

Tayrona & Ecohabs
Morning transfer to Tayrona National Park. This is one of the most famous natural parks in Colombia with some of the most beautiful beaches of the Colombian Caribbean coast, right at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world´s highest coastal mountain range. The park has a protected area of 150 km2 of land and 30 Km2 of sea, being the second most visited park in the country. Due to its privilege location, there is a huge biodiversity and also archeological ruins like “Pueblito”.
Stay at the very authentic Ecohabs inside the Natural Park. Arrival to the Park around lunch time. The location of the Ecohabs is very special and which implies a small hike in order to get there. Therefore we recommend only to bring the most necessary luggage.
Check in and afternoon to enjoy the beaches.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 19

Tayrona & Ecohabs
Full day to explore the beaches on your own within the Natural Park. The park has well-marked paths which makes it very easy to explore and enjoy the iconic Caribbean beaches such as “Arrecife”, “La Piscina” and “El Cabo San Juan” and the nature of the place. Lunch and dinner can be ordered at the Ecohabs.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 20

Departure
Pick up at the hotel and transfer out to Santa Martas Airport (1 h). Flight to Bogota for international connection in the evening. End of services
Included meals: Breakfast

PRICING
COL-51 – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.

INCLUDED

  • English speaking local guide during all tours (in Juan Solito, only Spanish speaking guide)
  • Private transfers out and in in Bogotá
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • All activities with entrance fees
  • National Park entrance fees & archeological sites
  • 4 nights in shared double rooms in hotel in Bogota
  • 1 night in shared double rooms in hotel in Villa de Leyva
  • 3 nights shared double rooms in hacienda in Yopal
  • 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
  • 3 nights in shared double rooms in hotel in Cocora Valley
  • 2 night in shared double rooms in hotel in Cartagena
  • 2 night in shared double rooms in hotel in Tayrona N.P.
  • Shared coffee tour at coffee farm
  • Included meals specified in the day to day itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

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

BOGOTA: Hotel Casa Deco or similar

VILLA DE LEYVAPosada San Antonio or similar

CASANARE: Juan Solito or similar

VILLA VIEJAHotel Yararaka or similar

SAN AGUSTIN: Ecolodge Hotel Akawanka or similar

POPAYAN: Hotel La Plazuela or similar

SALENTO: Reserva El Cairo or similar

CARTAGENAHotel Tres Banderas  or similar

PN TAYRONATayronas Ecohabs or similar

MAP
Tags: Colombia, Nature & Culture, Tayrona, Coffee Area, Tierradentro, Boyaca, Cocora, Zipaquira, San Agustin, Tatacoa desert, Popayan, Los Llanos, Catagena