Get to know the beauty and wonder which Colombia has to offer. Take in the culture of Colombia’s capital, Bogota, the history that lies within Villa de Leyva, the wonderful water of Santa Marta, and the beautiful sensory experience of the city Cartagena. If you are looking for a complete tour of Colombia, this is an experience you cannot miss!
You will have a private transfer from the airport to your selected hotel in Bogotá for the next 3 nights. Be aware of the sign with your name on it.
Understand Colombia’s most important historical events, focusing on its rebirth and future through the city, geography, and the voices of true Peace Weavers.
In this tour you will get to know Bogotá in a different way. You will start your experience in the iconic Bogota National Park, where you will see a relief map of Colombia to get to know the immensity of the Colombian territory and to understand the complexity of the regions of the country, separated by mountains and diverse ecosystems. Then you will visit Distrito Chocolate, a local chocolate company in which a small group of peasants who some years ago were affected by the war and were dedicated to the cultivation of coca, today they bet on building peace in Colombia and produce cocoa to transform it into a very special chocolate. Afterwards you will visit the Historical Centre of La Candelaria where you will take a tour in which you will learn some historical facts about the origins of the political and armed conflict in Colombia. As part of the peace agreement between the Colombian State and the former Farc guerrilla, it was agreed to create some memorials to honour the victims of the conflict. You will visit one of the memorials in honor of the victims located in the centre of Bogota. At the end of the tour you will have lunch in a local restaurant.
With this experience you will get to know the history of Colombia in a better way and you will be supporting initiatives and efforts of communities that are betting on change and peace in Colombia.
The next day, prepare to be amazed by natural beauty.
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 kilometers 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.
A private transfer will take you from Bogota to Villa de Leyva, during which you will visit the Salt Cathedral.
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
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 this, you will continue on to Villa de Leyva where you will stay the night. The next day, you will have a chance to further explore the wonderful 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.
La Periquera Hike Tour
The river La Cebada in its course creates spectacular cascades through a narrow canyon with bromeliad-covered walls that stick out the puyas and carnations from the air (Tillandsia sp.). The tour through the canyon will lead us to see the oak (Quercus humboldtii) and gaque (Clusia multiflora) forests that used to be a constant throughout the region many years ago, thus the importance of preserving them. Throughout the hike, besides being surprised by enormous bromeliads, orchids, and diverse high Andean trees, you will be amazed by the beauty of the waterfalls and their thrilling sound, but at the same time in calm and restful waters. You can also admire a wonderful view of the Iguaque range, the Saquenzipa valley, and in the background, part of Villa de Leyva.
A trip through the canyon of medium demand, with an accumulated unevenness of 250 meters. Suitable for any age up to 72 years old in good physical condition. Rough terrain with some ups and downs. 40 minutes by car per trip. Average walking time of two hours.
Private transport from Villa de Leyva to Barichara.
At only 5 kilometres from San Gil, in the town of Pinchote, you will visit a traditional ranch of the region where you will do the horseback riding. Once you are in the urban area of Pinchote, to get to the farm, you will take an unpaved road for a few minutes. Once at the farm, you will be hosted by local farmers and people from the region who will provide you with information about the horseback ride and will guide you for you to have a good experience riding your horse. On this ride, you will cross rural roads and admire the beauty of the landscapes of Santander. You will pass through fields where there are crops of corn, beans, coffee, and tobacco. This experience is authentic, you will get to see a little bit of the agricultural work of the region and enjoy a walk like at other times. After the tour of the hacienda, you will return to the main house for a snack and hydration.
The next day, you will venture to San Gil for a day of activities.
Rafting on the Suárez 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 need a sense of adventure and plenty of adrenaline.
Canyoning in Juan Curí Waterfalls
At only 25 kilometers 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 70 metres high where you will find sections of wall or rock, freefall 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 suprise 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 night.
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).
City Tour – Santa Marta
Before you leave to move on to Cartagena, a city tour of Santa Marta is a necessity. The City of Santa Marta, privileged for its location between the sea and the Sierra Nevada, is the oldest existing city in Colombia and the second oldest in South America. Every Samario will proudly say that he lives at the most beautiful Bay of the American continent. Undoubtedly, Santa Marta stands out among the most precious destinations in Colombia for combining the authentic atmosphere of a colonial coastal city with the maximum diversity that nature can offer – and all just around the corner.
The City Tour starts with a visit to La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, a place of historical importance where the Liberator Simón Bolívar died in December 1830. Here you visit the old sugar mill of Don Joaquín de Mier and see artefacts including the bed where the Liberator died. During a tour through this well–preserved old sugar plantation, you learn all about Simon Bolivar and the Colombian history. You will continue to the centre of Santa Marta, where you visit the oldest Cathedral in the country, then stroll through the old, colonial centre with its rich history – pirate attacks, the importance of the port during the banana boom, the Gold Museum Tayrona (closed on Mondays), San Francisco Church, Simón Bolívar Park, the Parque de los Novios, and the Seaside Promenade of the city with its city beach, monuments and port.
After the tour, you will transfer to your hotel in Cartagena for the next 4 nights.
Cartagena City Tour
Cartagena de Indias is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in America. Its historical centre, walled by fortifications built in the colonial era, retains its original architecture and is shown today in a myriad of colours that fill it with Caribbean life and joy. Its fascinating history as one of the pearls of that era, a place of collection of great treasures and the largest slave port in the colonies, gives immense importance to this World Heritage City. The stories about those pirate attacks of great magnitude are present in each of the fortifications that remain intact to this day.
The City-Tour begins with a visit to the Fort of San Felipe de Barajas, the largest fortification built by the Spanish in their colonies. In a one-hour tour you will be able to appreciate this masterpiece of military architecture in coral stone and will learn about the defense strategy of the city in relation to its topography. Then you will go on to the historical centre to visit the San Pedro Clavér Convent Museum, former Jesuit Cloister (1605) and home of the so-called “Slave of the Slaves”. To finish, you will make a tour of approximately 2 hours through the main squares, churches and streets of the city. You will also walk over the city walls to have the best views of the city and to know the most important bastions.
Visit to the Bazurto Market & Cooking Class
The Bazurto market is a traditional market offering fish, meat, fruit, clothing and is as important in Cartagena as the La Popa Convent or the Castle of San Felipe. It is a very traditional market, barely visited by tourists. You can buy food or traditionally prepared Colombian dishes or just enjoy the local market of Cartagena in the early hours. Let this “underground” part of Cartagena enchant you; it is ideal for an adventure. You will walk through a maze of alleys, where the tour guide will introduce you to all kind of fruit, herbs, vegetables, fish, seafood and meat. There are also a spice market and natural healing pharmacies.
Gastronomy is an important part of the local culture and the Cartageneros are proud of their Caribbean cuisine. Apart from tasting it, what would be better than learning how to prepare seafood, coconut rice and other specialties of Cartagena´s cuisine? The cooking class takes place in a colonial house in the city centre or in Getsemaní. The Chef will give you a presentation about the ingredients before showing you how to prepare typical dishes. The class takes about three hours. Afterwards, you will all eat together.
The next day, Day 13, is your penultimate day in Colombia.
Tour through the mangroves
This tour leads you to the small fishermen village La Boquilla and it is highly recommend for nature lovers. On the beach of La Boquilla, you will see the two facets of the city, because in one of the poorest parts of Cartagena, 5 star hotels and luxurious apartments are built at the moment.
After arriving in the fisher village of La Boquilla (about 30 minutes from the Cartagena city centre), you will get on the canoe and cross the mangrove forest and the lagoon Ciénaga de Juan Polo. You will go through some natural mangrove tunnels (Tunnel of Friendship, Love and Luck). At the lagoon, you will see fishermen working. The perfect word for describing this gorgeous scenario is peace. The mangrove forest offers great flora and fauna. Among other things, you may see different species of birds and crabs and with a little luck, a coon or a green parrot may appear on the riverbanks.
After the canoe tour, you will receive a cold coconut. Then, you will take a walk through the village and along the beach whereas the English- speaking guide will tell you more about the daily life of the people that live mainly of fishing. You will get to a restaurant, where you can have lunch and try the typical local dish: fried fish with coconut rice, plantain and salad. After lunch, you can take a dip in the Caribbean Sea or relax on the beach. Transfer back by taxi.
Unfortunately, this marks the end of your Colombian adventure. A private transfer will take you from your hotel to the airport for your departing flight.