Days
12
Price from
$1,945USD

Is Colombia South America’s best kept secret? Ssshhh

No doubt about it, Colombia is one of the world’s friendliest countries. Never been there before? Let us paint the picture for you. Beaches, mountains, coffee plantations, grand old Spanish buildings, salsa clubs, exotic fruits, flower bouquets, hummingbirds, and smiles the size of your arm. Throw in a volcanic mud bath, and you've got yourself a holiday.


Start
Bogota, Colombia
Finish
Cartagena, Colombia
Country
Colombia
Code
GSCH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • First thing you gotta know about Bogota: how to pronounce it (emphasise the ‘ta’, not the ‘go’. Bogo-tahh. Now you’re talking). Second thing: head to the Paloquemao Market

  • La Cocora-cha, la Cocora-cha… Hike through the awesome Cocora Valley to check out colourful hummingbirds and the world's tallest palm trees

  • Get behind the scenes of the beans during a stay on a traditional coffee estancia located DEEP in Colombia's coffee country

  • Pablo Escobar and his crew no longer be meddlin’ with Medellin. Now this town is where it’s at. Hit the salsa clubs and ride the cable car up to flower-filled Santa Elena

  • Cartagena is one of Latin America’s most romantic cities. A fine place to finish up. Beach, anyone?

Is this trip right for you?

  • The Cocora Valley hike is pretty rigorous, so you'll need to be fit and have sturdy walking shoes. If you'd rather relax instead, you're free to opt out of this activity.

  • Colombia enjoys a stable climate all year round, but it can get pretty darn hot and humid in the north. Be sure to drink plenty of water and wear adequate sun protection, especially in Cartagena on the coast.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos a Colombia! Welcome to Colombia. Settle into your accommodation in Bogota, then meet your fellow travellers at a group meeting at 6 pm. Afterwards, take an orientation walk around this good-looking town. Check out the colonial-era buildings (not to mention the mountains on the skyline). Maybe head out for dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free morning in Bogota. Around midday, take a short flight (approximately 1 hour) to Armenia and transfer (approximately 40 minutes) to Salento. This is one beautiful village. Take the time to stroll through its quaint streets and admire the colours of the 'paisa' architecture. For some tasty local food, trout is the way to go. There are lots of different ways to enjoy it, but mostly it's served with a rich, garlicky cheese sauce. Colombia's national sport, tejo, is a popular pastime in Salento. Think bocce with gunpowder! If you're game, why not visit the local tejo hall and give it a go.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by jeep out to the Cocora Valley, home of the tall wax palm (Colombia's national tree). Spend the morning checking out the region's awesome scenery on foot, maybe hiking up to Acaime Reserve where the hummingbirds feed. The hike to Acaime (approximately 5 hours) isn't easy, it has some steep and slippery sections, so you'll need good walking shoes, plus plenty of water and snacks. If you'd rather take it easy, you can explore the valley on your own, then cruise back to town in a jeep. Later, travel deep into Colombia's coffee region for a two-night stay in an old-school coffee estancia.

NB: Lunch is not included during the hike, so stock up on food/snacks and plenty of water for the duration.
Included Activities
  • Coffee Region - Cocora Valley visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Thanks to its tropical altitude and fertile volcanic soil, Colombia is one of the world’s biggest coffee producers. You’ll get to know this addictive little bean a whole lot better on a guided tour of the coffee plantation and processing centre. Dig into the history of the plant, learning the inside story of the industry that's long buoyed the country's economy. See how the beans are grown and harvested, processed, dried, roasted and ground, and then sample first-hand what all the fuss is about. Try different types of coffee grains and get a lesson on preparing different types of coffees, finishing it all off with a steaming cup of freshly brewed joe. Afterwards, relax amid the estancia's beautiful surrounds of sloping green hills and valleys.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Jump aboard a comfortable public bus and head (approximately 6 hours) to Medellin. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk of this beautiful city. Having spent the 1980s and 90s with an international reputation as one of the world's most dangerous cities (no thanks to Pablo Escobar's notorious drug cartel), Medellin has turned itself around to become one of the most exciting cities in South America. And with some of the country's finest museums, parks and architecture (as well as a much safer and comfortable atmosphere now) it's easy to see why it's getting more popular.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit the Plaza Minorista Market with your leader. The market is split up into specific areas: flowers; fruit, vegetables, and herbs; and meat and fish. Maybe buy some exotic local fruits like feijoa, araza, guanabana, maracuya and lulo, some of which are rarely found outside of Colombia. After lunch, take in awesome views of Medellin and the surrounding areas on a cable car ride up to Santa Elena, a pretty town up in the mountains just east of the city. Sail up the mountain over brick houses, watching as the corrugated metal roofs give way to valleys and mountains (it may get a little chilly up here because of the elevation). Santa Elena is also known for its extravagant arrangements of colourful flowers, called silletas, which the local farmers are fond of strapping to their backs and parading through the city come August's annual flower festival. Back in Medellin, you might want to search out one of the city's pumping salsa bars (Medellin's nightlife may well be the best in Colombia).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Get out and about in Medellin. You might want to visit the Museo de Antioquia to see some of Botero's famous works or get more modern at the beautiful Museo de Arte Moderno. Or go further afield on an optional day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia. This 16th-century township has kept a lot of its colonial-era pizazz. The Bridge of the West, Metropolitan Cathedral and House of Two Palms are sure to provide nice photo-ops, and the plaza is also home to a daily market where vendors sell varieties of locally-grown Tamarind product (you can try a few samples). One of the best things to do here is just moseying through the cobblestone streets and taking in the local scene.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Fly to Cartagena (approximately 1 hour). Take a private transfer (approximately 5 hours) north to Palomino, a small town on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, in the Guajira region. It's about 40 minutes away from Tayrona National Park. This afternoon your leader will show you around Palomino town. For dinner, take the chance to feast on some fresh seafood like lion fish or prawns (Sua is a good place to go for dinner).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today and tomorrow are free days with no scheduled activities. Head to Tayrona National park one of the days, spend a day chilling on the beach on the other day. It's a tough life.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
Travel to Cartagena. Cartagena is one of South America's most historic cities. The leader will take you on a short orientation walk around the hotel. Afterwards, head out to explore the old city as you please (this is highly recommended). The inner walled town is the main attraction – it's packed with beautiful churches, monasteries, and mansions. Maybe visit San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the biggest of the fortresses, or head out of town for a mud bath at Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. Visit Playa Blanca (White Beach) and the coral islands, or people-watch in Getsemani, Plaza de la Trinidad, where kids play football and singers strum their guitars.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Finish in Cartagena.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Plane, Local bus, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hacienda (2 nights), Hotel (9 nights)

Included Activities

  • Coffee Region - Cocora Valley visit

Dates & availability

Trips were unable to load at this time.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Best of Colombia trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Jump to a departure month
Book this trip and make a difference to local communities. Along with carbon offsetting your trip, we’ll also contribute funds to our new social enterprise partner, Friends-International, on your behalf. Find out more

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.