Colombia is a rich with possibilities for all types of travellers, whether you are travelling with family, friends, a couple or solo, the nation is full of exciting things to do. This particular trip aims to offer you a taste of everything, as you travel through colonial towns, modern cities, and beautiful scenery on a 10 day adventure.
You will have a private transfer from the airport to your selected hotel in Bogotá. Be aware of the sign with your name on it.
Sumapaz – The biggest Paramo on Earth
Have you ever heard about the best-kept secret of Bogotá “El Dorado”?. This is the jewel of the crown. Let me introduce you to the biggest Páramo in the world: Sumapaz, the heaven’s door. If you want to knock at its door, this is the place to go. This adventure is about the importance of water, wild animals, endemic plants, mountains and about where the oldest guerrilla FARC was born ideologically. We’ve got all the ingredients in our highlight spot in the city; the only part that is missing is you!
So what is exactly a Paramo? People describe it as a moorland, wetland or high plateau. Certainly, it ́s all of it. Besides, it is an unique kind of ecosystem only found in Colombia, Perú, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. You are invited you to hike 6 kilometres through its endemic vegetation at 3.600mts high above the sea level. You will get to know the best of rural Bogotá, you will have the opportunity to try a typical lunch in addition to some fruits.
This is a responsible and conscious tour where you will support local families living in rural Bogotá, who are guardians and protectors for many decades of this fragile ecosystem. Ecotourism has become an interesting option to generate income and new dynamics, instead of agricultural activities that affect the ecosystem.
The next day, more adventure awaits you as you travel from Bogota to Villa de Leyva,
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
You will be taken by private transport from Bogotá to the small town of Zipaquirá, which is about 1.5 to 2 hours away.
The Salt Cathedral was built in a quiet part of a still active salt mine. On entering the salt mine you can still admire the salt crystals that have formed on the walls. The tour is divided into two parts, the first part is based on the story of Jesus Christ. The second part of the tour takes you to the impressive part of the salt mine where the actual cathedral was built. Marvel at how the huge galleries were converted and now form a capelin.
After your visit to the Salt Cathedral you will continue your trip to Villa de Leyva.
The Historical Centre of Villa de Leyva
You will take a walk through the quiet streets of Villa de Leyva that will reveal a series of stories gathered during its 445 years of age. From the Colonial era to the Conquest, the period of Independence, the early years of the Republic, and modern times. This city, declared a Heritage Site, has always had a leading role in the main events of the country. That is why chroniclers, nobles, independence heroes, and many public figures have chosen it to live, leaving their mark, stories, and legends.
It is a passive – contemplative – cultural route, ideal for any age, even for the elderly. Short walks within the Historical Centre, visiting the main streets and important buildings.
After this tour, you will return to your hotel and spend the night. The next day, you will explore Barichara.
Royal Road of Lengerke
The province of Santander is famous for its natural diversity, its culture, and the warmth of its people, but also its history. It is one of the regions of Colombia that has more colonial villages in the country, also, it is a historical region that has been important since pre-Columbian times until these days. After the independence of the Viceroyalty of New Granada from the Spanish Empire in 1821, the new Republic of Colombia had many civil wars and different forms of geographical and political organisation. In the mid-nineteenth century, Colombia was a federal republic made up of sovereign states. At that time, the Sovereign State of Santander was a strategic region because it was a place of obligatory crossing between the centre of the country and the Caribbean. By 1852, the German engineer Geo Von Lengerke was expelled from his country and decided to take exile in Colombia in the State of Santander.
On today’s tour, you will hike part of the road that Lengerke built between the villages of Barichara and Guane. To start with, you will arrive at the charming town of Barichara, declared a Colombian heritage town and known as the most beautiful town in Colombia. In Barichara you will take a trail of about two hours to the village of Guane. During the tour, you will be able to appreciate nature, the stunning mountains around the Chimamocha Canyon, and imagine how the commercial exchanges were during the Spanish colony and the 19th century in the region. The tour ends in the small colonial town of Guane, a territory that was part of the domain of the indigenous leader of the pre-Columbian community Guane before the arrival of the Spaniards. If you like history, adventure and want to experience an authentic place inhabited by hard-working folks, this is a recommended tour for you.
Day 6 is full of adventure, starting with rafting.
Rafting on the Suarez River
In the heart of the mountains of Santander, is located the town of San Gil, which is known as the city of extreme sports in Colombia. The hot climate, the natural richness, the rivers, and the impressive mountains have all the conditions for the practice of adventure sports, so that you may enjoy the rush of adrenaline and the sensations at the utmost.
From San Gil, you will have a transfer for a few minutes to the bank of the Suarez River where you will find the boats and the equipment to perform the activity. You will have a technical safety talk where all techniques and recommendations will be explained to you. A specialised guide is going to accompany you on the raft. This activity is advisable for people between 18 and 50 years old, who preferably have had previous experience in rafting activities or are adventurous in spirit. Get excited as you descend on the Suárez river and embark on a 24km rafting route. You will spend 5 hours navigating level 1, 2, 3, and 4 raging rapids. At the half way point you will take a well-deserved break on a ravine where you can appreciate the crystal-clear waters and enjoy a snack before continuing to challenge the turbulent waters. This expedition will certainly require a sense of adventure and plenty of adrenaline.
Canyoning in Juan Curí Waterfalls
At only 25 kilometres from San Gil, on the road to the village of Charalá, you will find the Juan Curí Ecological Park. This natural reserve is famous for its adventure spaces where you will find trails, lush forests, and streams that shape waterfalls where you can practice canyoning routes. From San Gil to Juan Curí, the trip takes around 40 minutes. The region boasts a warm climate, therefore you will enjoy the streams of this adventure.
Let yourself be amazed by the stunning beauty of Juan Curi waterfalls, starting with a walk of 35 minutes where nature captivate your senses. At the point of departure, the adventure begins descending more than 70m high where you will find sections of wall or rock, free fall and a section of canyoning. While doing the descent you will feel the waterfall of Quebrada La Chorrera and enjoy at the end a deserved bath in a natural pool.
People are required to be at least 10 years old for this activity. This is a recommend experience for adventurous travellers who enjoy the adrenaline of the heights.
A private transfer from Barichara to Bucaramanga is the first act of the day. During this you will have a surprise stop Chicamocha National Park, and cable car through the Chicamocha Canyon.
Afterwards, a flight will take you from Bucaramanga to Santa Marta where you will then be taken to your hotel for the 3 next 3 nights.
The next day, take a trip to the nearby national park.
National Park Tayrona
The foothills of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountain range on earth, dip their toes right into the sea, in which bays and coves of singular beauty are to be found. The white sandy beaches in this park are bordered on one side by tropical dry forests and on the other side by the crystal clear and blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, making the Tayrona Park one of the most beautiful in the country. Here you can find a variety of trails that pass the rainforest and the tropical dry forest, and have some amazing archaeological sites on their way.
You will leave Santa Marta to take the scenic coastal road and reach the eastern entrance of the park after approximately 1 hour. From the Cañaveral sector, you begin a walk through the tropical dry forest until arriving at the sector of Arrecifes (about 1 hour). Here, you will have a short break and time to refresh, before you continue to Arenilla Beach, the Piscina Beach and Cabo San Juan (about 1 hour), where you have time to enjoy some beach time. At about 4 p.m. you start your walk back to Cañaveral where your car awaits (approx. 2 hours), and you return to Santa Marta (approx. 1 hour).
For your penultimate day in Colombia, enjoy a day of relaxation and wonderment.
Taironaka Natural Reserve
Taironaka is an authentic natural paradise located on the banks of the Don Diego River and in the foothills of the imposing Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This extinct indigenous settlement still has trails and terraces of the Tayrona civilization and today it is still frequented by their descendants, the Koguis. The reserve marvels the visitor with its exuberant flora and offers the opportunity to enjoy a river of crystal clear waters.
From Santa Marta you will be taken along the interesting coastal road until reaching the Don Diego river bank after approx. 90 minutes. From here, you will continue by boat upstream until reaching the reserve. As a welcome you will enjoy some delicious “patacones” with a traditional panela water. You will visit the small Tayrona Museum to learn a little about the history and way of life of this culture until today. You will get to visit a typical bungalow of the Koguis Indians called bohío and you continue walking to pre-Hispanic terraces to a small viewpoint (roundtour aprox. 45-60min). You will have time to enjoy a swim in the Don Diego River or take one of the optional activities. Around 4pm, return to Santa Marta.
Hike to Don Dieguito and Tubing
You will walk along a path of exuberant nature bordering the Don Diego River. After approx. 1 hour you will reach the mouth of the Don Dieguito River in Don Diego River. Here you can enjoy a bath at the union of the rivers, one of the hot waters, and one of the somewhat cold waters. After taking your lunch (lunch-packet) you will go tubing down the Don Diego River on floats to reach the reserve in approx. 30 minutes.
Los Cocos Beach
If you are interested in a visit Los Cocos Beach, it is possible to do so without any extra charge. If you decide this option, it is suggested to finish the tour in Taironaka around 1 pm and afterward you can visit the beach on the road to Santa Marta. Los Cocos Beach is located 20 minutes from Taironaka and there you are free to enjoy the breeze, the sea and have lunch (lunch not included). At around 4 pm you will return to Santa Marta.
Unfortunately, this is the final day of your adventure. From your hotel you will have a private transfer from your hotel to the airport in Santa Marta.