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Signature Colombia: Culture and coffee

Day 1

Arrive in Bogotá and transfer to hotel.
 
Bogota
You’ll be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel in the capital. Bogotá is a city of sparkling prosperity, oppressive poverty, and everything in between. Its centre is awash with splendid colonial churches, fascinating museums, futuristic architecture and lively universities. Its population is diverse and engaging and its cultural life vibrant and seductive. 
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Bogota

Day 2

City tour with Gold Museum.
 
Bogota Gold Museum
On your first full day there is a guided exploration of the city with a walking tour of the historic core, the colonial Candelaria colonial district.

Set off from the Plaza de Bolivar, where the Cathedral and Congress buildings are located, continue on foot through the steep colonial streets towards the Gold Museum for a visit to this extraordinary, well-displayed collection of pre-Columbian artefacts housing more than 34,000 gold pieces. It’s arguably the most impressive museum of its kind in the world.

In the evening there's an ascent of the steep hill towering over Bogotá, with a white church at its peak. The path up is quiet throughout the week, but on Sundays city dwellers depart en masse to climb or take the funicular railway or cable car to visit this place of pilgrimage. From here, at 3,152m, you’ll have splendid views. You'll be driven to the cable-car/funicular railway station at the base of the mountain. Visit the church, the 14 stations of the Cross, handicraft and souvenir stands, and pause to enjoy the sunset. Take the cable car/funicular railway to return to the city.

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Bogota Gold Museum

Day 3

Drive to Villa de Leyva via Zipaquirá salt cathedral.
 
Villa de Leiva
3-4hrs’ drive from Bogotá, Villa de Leyva is a well-preserved colonial highland town steeped in history, popular among Colombian and foreign visitors alike and busy at weekends.

En route call in at Zipaquirá, home to a centuries-old salt mine, which is still functioning. Nearly 200m beneath the earth is an extraordinary, mysterious salt cathedral, its vast pillars and walls made from glistening salt. There are 14 stations of the cross sculpted by different Colombian artists.

During the week, you can wander alone through Villa de Leyva’s vast, cobbled main square, winding narrow streets lined with picturesque whitewashed houses bedecked with flowers. The little town sits in a hilly landscape peppered with the sites of pre-historic remains, some of which you can visit.

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Villa de Leiva

Day 4

Discover Villa de Leyva and its surroundings, including el Fosil.
 
Horse riding
Head into the surrounding countryside and visit El Fósil, a 7m fossil of a marine dinosaur found in the area. Continue to the Dominican convent of Ecce Homo and the archaeological site of El Infiernito. An optional horse riding trip to a beautiful waterfall in the surrounding hills is also available.
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Horse riding

Day 5

Fly and drive to the coffee region.
 
Coffee region Colombia
Drive back to Bogotá via the Boyacá Bridge, where Simon Bolívar and his troops won the most important battle against the Spanish, sealing Colombia’s independence. Fly onwards to Armenia in the coffee region on the western slopes of the Cordillera Central. It has a pleasant, warm climate, and lovely bucolic scenery; with a mountainous, lush, green landscape of shiny coffee bushes interspersed with enormous bamboo jungles and banana plants.

You spend a couple of days in this beautiful, relaxing region, with walking trails, horse riding opportunities, zip-line canopies and colourful flora and fauna and fresh coffee omnipresent throughout.
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Coffee region Colombia

Days 6-7

Excursions from the coffee farm.
 
Colombian chivas

Spend time at one of the region’s very best coffee fincas and learn about the intricacies of coffee production, from the picking of the coffee cherries to the various stages of processing, sorting, grading, roasting and the final brewing of the beans. You’ll also visit the Quindio butterfly farm, whose vast glass butterfly house is home to over 50 different species, and wander around the botanical gardens whose orchid collection is particularly impressive.

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Colombian chivas

Day 8

Drive to Salento and Filandia
 
Salento
Drive to Salento, a charming, traditional and picturesque village set in high in the Andes, its houses adorned with balconies bursting with flowers, and wonderful views of the Cordillera Central emerging from behind elegant colonial buildings.

Hike through the cloud forest to explore Valle de Cocora, a valley full of hundreds of wax palms, the only palm found at this altitude in the Andes and the national tree of Colombia. Follow a well-marked path up the valley and look out over the mountains' lush foothills, and the cultivated patchwork patterns made up of a dozen shades of green. Continue to Filandia, one of the most quintessential villages of the coffee region.

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Salento

Day 9

Walking tour of Cartagena.
 
Cartagena
Transfer to Pereira airport and fly via Bogotá to Cartagena de Indias on the Caribbean coast. Founded in 1533, the city quickly blossomed to become the main Spanish port in the Caribbean, and a gateway to the north of the continent.

Treasure plundered from native inhabitants was stored here until the galleons could ship it back to Spain, and it therefore became a tempting target for pirates. In order to protect their booty, the Spanish constructed an elaborate system of ramparts, which encircle the town.

Today, the walled centre has changed very little, allowing a glimpse of 16th- and 17th century Spanish architecture and town planning. Enjoy the shade provided by the buildings in these labyrinthine, cobbled streets, and explore the monasteries, palaces, churches, plazas and imposing mansions whose balconies are heavy with flowers.

Beyond this, the city opens up: an eclectic and seductive mix of Caribbean and African influences produces a vibrant street life, with fruit stalls lining the roads and pulsating rhythms emerging from cars and houses. A guided tour will help you soak up the atmosphere of this unique city.

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Cartagena

Day 10

Excursion to the Rosario Islands.
 
Colombian Caribbean beach
A full-day excursion takes you to the Rosario Islands, a group of some 30 offshore islets, with white, coral sand and dense mangrove vegetation.

Make your way independently (by foot or taxi) to the colonial hotel Santa Clara on Plaza San Diego in the old town. At the dock, continue by boat (sometimes choppy and bumpy, 1 hr) to the archipelago of El Rosario, 35km south of the Bay of Cartagena. 

The surrounding reefs have a huge variety of fauna, and the whole area has been declared a national park. Spend your time wallowing in the warm, turquoise waters, or sipping coconut milk from the husk beneath the shade of a palm tree.

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Colombian Caribbean beach

Day 11

Transfer to the airport for flight home.
 

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

Tailor-made holiday

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today. Signature Colombia: Culture and coffee

  • Galapagos on land - Finch Bay 4 days from £645pp

    How do you round off a busy holiday in Ecuador, Peru or Colombia? You might think a trip to the Galápagos Islands a trifle ambitious – not to say costly. And a cruise may well be. But if you have a few days to spare you can stay at a congenial hotel on one of the larger, more interesting and varied islands, Santa Cruz, where in addition to a wide array of the famous trusting Galápagos wildlife, you can experience the verdant volcanic highlands, the white sand beaches and the shops and restaurants of the laid-back capital Puerto Ayora.

    The property has a beautiful setting at Punta Estrada, across the bay from the town.

    Day 1: Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. Transfer to your hotel Finch bay, on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora.

    Days 2,3: You have two full days where your wishes are catered for individually. The hotel organises an impressive choice of activities and excursions including snorkelling, diving, sea kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and day trips by boat to surrounding islands. We recommend a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station which is home to 11 species of tortoise.

    Day 4: Depart for the Ecuadorian mainland and connect with your international flight.

    Breakfast only.
    NB: the cost of flights from Ecuador, Peru or Colombia to the Galápagos Islands are not included in the price.

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Signature Colombia: Culture and coffee

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Signature Colombia: Culture and coffee

11 days from £2,335pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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