Private Journeys

Signature Colombia: Culture and coffee

14 days from £3,400pp

(based on two people sharing & excluding flights)

Colombia

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Bogotá and transfer to hotel.

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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Stay at - La Opera

Day 2

City tour with 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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Stay at - La Opera

Day 3

Drive to Villa de Leyva via Zipaquirá salt cathedral.

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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Stay at - Posada de San Antonio

Day 4

Discover Villa de Leyva and its surroundings, including el Fosil.

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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Stay at - Posada de San Antonio

Day 5

Fly to the coffee region.

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 Pereira 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.

Colombian coffee region

Stay at - Hacienda Venecia

Days 6

Tour a traditional working coffee farm

Today you’ll learn about the intricacies of coffee production on a private tour around one of the region’s very best coffee fincas. In the lush farmlands surrounding this charming colonial finca, you’ll learn how the beans are cultivated, harvested, processed and roasted before being ground into premium highland coffee.

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Stay at - Hacienda Venecia

Day 7

At leisure in the coffee region

There are lots of activities on offer at your coffee finca, some more strenuous than others. Set out and explore the eight self-guided hiking trails that wind their way through the coffee plantations to dramatic viewpoints. It’s a great spot for bird watching too – 260 species have been recorded – and there is a a field guide at your disposal. Artisan chocolate and rum workshops can also be arranged or you can just relax by the outside pool.

Hummingbirds

Stay at - Hacienda Venecia

Day 8

Fly to Santa Marta; continue to Tayrona National Park

A short flight takes you to the colonial city of Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast. From here it’s an hour by road to the incredible Tayrona National Park, tropical jungle swoops down to exquisite sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise seas. You’ll spend three nights staying in a comfortable cabaña with spectacular ocean views.

Providencia

Stay at - Maloka Barlovento

Days 9-10

Exploring Tayrona National Park.

Spend a day trekking on a guided tour, exploring a variety of trails through the humid rainforest and tropical dry forests of Tayrona. You’ll arrive at unspoiled beaches fringed by coconut palms and strewn with vast, smooth boulders, stopping off at mysterious archaeological sites along the way. Over 100 species of mammal inhabit the region, so keep an eye out for monkeys swinging overhead.

You’ll have a day at leisure to further explore and enjoy some downtime. Wander barefoot along white sand beaches, unwind in a hammock and sip cocktails as the sunset glimmers over the Caribbean Sea.

Tayrona National Park

Stay at - Maloka Barlovento

Day 11

Continue along the Caribbean coast to Cartagena.

A private transfer takes you to the crowning jewel of Colombia’s Caribbean coastline, the historic walled city of Cartagena.

cartagena

Stay at - Hotel Alfiz

Day 12

Walking tour of Cartagena.

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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Stay at - Hotel Alfiz

Day 13

Excursion to the Rosario Islands.

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 dock and 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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Stay at - Hotel Alfiz

Day 14

Transfer to the airport for flight home.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

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    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

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    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

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