If you want to explore the very best of Colombia, we have just the right trips for you!
This 12-day tour takes you to some of the best places within the country. Your trip of Colombia begins in Bogota. You’ll stay here overnight and explore the many beautiful sights within the country. After Bogota, we’ll send you on a private transfer to Pereira. From Pereira, we’ll take you to the Valle Del Cocora and then take you to one of the many beautiful coffee haciendas in the country on the fifth day.
From Pereira, we take a trip to the Manizales City and then over to Medellin, the hometown of the famed drug lord Pablo Escobar. You will stay overnight in Medellin; thereafter, we will take you on a city-wide tour of one of the most historical and significant cities in Colombia.
After Medellin, we move to Cartagena.
On the 12 day, we will take you to the Cartagena airport and your trip comes to an end.
Day 1: Arrive Bogota
Day 2: Bogota
Day 3: Bogota - Pereira
Day 4: Pereira - Valle del Cocora - Pereira
Day 5: Pereira - Coffee Process - Pereira
Day 6: Pereira - Manizales - Medellin
Day 7: Medellin
Day 8: Medellin - Santa Fe de Antioquia
Day 9: Medellin - Cartagena
Day 10: Cartagena
Day 11: Cartagena
Day 12: Depart Cartagena
Arrive into Bogota today.
Reception and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay. (Private Transfer)
After breakfast, half day visit to the historic centre known as La Candelaria.
This antiquated barrio is of great architectural and cultural heritage and is made up of old “stately homes” or large Spanish colonial buildings with iron windows, thick and sturdy wooden doors, balconies and internal patios with beautiful yet hidden gardens.
Visit the Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great liberator Simon Bolivar is located. This Plaza, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes, as a marketplace, a bullring and a gallows. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, is constructed on the remains of the first church built in Bogotá in 1539 and houses an important collection of religious artefacts such as textiles and artwork that has built over four centuries. The Capitol, built between 1847 and 1926, shows its renaissance and neoclassical influences with its carved stonework and tall columns and, it is the first republican piece of civil architecture. Around the Plaza de Bolivar are the Palacio de Justicia, the Mayor of Bogotá’s offices called the Edificio Liévano, the oldest school in the county called San Bartolome and the Casa de los Comuneros who participated towards the end of the XVII Century in some of the first movements towards independence from Spain and the formation of the Republic.
The visit continues with the Museo Botero, a colonial house filled with works of art done by and donated by Fernando Botero in addition to artwork from his own personal collection that includes pieces by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí Matisse, Monet and Giacometti. Next is the Museo del Oro which has a permanent exhibition of some 32,000 pieces of gold, 20,000 stones, ceramics and textiles all precious to the Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures. The Museo del Oro is considered as one of the most important museums of its type internationally and it has been functioning since 1939. In 2007 it underwent a complete overhaul to make this an interactive museum that would awake ones senses to the objects on display and it belongs to the International Network of Museums.
Free afternoon for individual activities. (B.) (Private Tour)
BOGOTA - PEREIRA
Private transfer from the hotel to Eldorado Airport for flight to Pereira.
Upon arrival, check in at the hotel and overnight stay. (B.) (Private Transfer)
PEREIRA - VALLE DEL COCORA - PEREIRA
After breakfast, leave for the Valle de Cocora which is located in the central mountains of the department of Quindio. This makes up part of the Parque Nacional de los Nevados and is the ideal place to marvel at the “Quindian wax palm” (Ceroxylon quincense), the national tree of Colombia. This tree can reach a staggering height of 60m.
Around this area one can view and enjoy a region where a great number of species of birds live, in particular some types of hummingbird and the orejíamarillo or the palm parrot (Ognorhynchus icteroti) which is endangered.
Upon arrival in the valley, either hiking or on horseback, head into the cloud forest to enjoy the biodiversity of flora and fauna.
On the return journey, cross the River Quindio while walking along an ecological pathway which takes one past the tallest wax palms in the world. Learn why the indigenous people here worshipped this mythical tree.
Stop at a trout farm and then enjoy a traditional meal of smoked trout. Enjoy some free time here.
In the afternoon, continue 10km towards the traditional town of Salento to enjoy a city tour that visits the Plaza de Bolívar with its colourful balconies, the calle real, the handicrafts shops and the Cocora viewpoint.
Then, transfer to the traditional village of Filandia to enjoy a city tour that includes the viewpoint, the colonial homes, the Plaza de Bolivar and the coffee shops. Here, enjoy some time soaking up the regional atmosphere and perhaps some local spirits before returning to the hotel. Overnight stay. (B.) (Private Tour)
PEREIRA - COFFEE PROCESS - PEREIRA
Half day visiting the coffee plantations along the steep hills typical of this area. On a secondary pathway view the green carpet of coffee plants that spread out as far as the horizon interrupted only by fincas and heliconia flowers.
The visit continues on to one of the coffee haciendas to see the plantations and the production system in minute detail, including the harvest, the drying to the sun and treatment in this land of volcanic terrain along the Central Andes Mountain range which is perfect for this crop. The visit to the property begins in the house with an introductory chat about coffee, its preparation, toasting, the characteristics of quality and the properties that allows for such a variety of coffees in the world.
The route continues through the grounds, appreciating its coffee plantations and the work of the coffee pickers as well as to understand the famous humid coffee that is characteristic of Colombian coffee.
Visit the main house on the property to enjoy the local typical architecture and history.
Taste different coffee brews and return to the hotel.
The harvest in Colombia takes around a year, although the main period is between October and May/June. Most of the plantations in Colombia produce Arabica beans which produce a delicate and light tasting coffee which is widely recognized and consumed. The process begins from when the bean is planted and takes approximately 75 days to germination. The seedling is then placed in a plastic bag and placed in partial sunlight until its base dries. Two years after plantation the tree bears its first fruit which is harvested when the bean is red in color and dry and ripe. Once the fruit has been picked, the pulp is stripped away and the bean is cleaned and dried in the sun (the big haciendas now use a special machinery to strip and dry the beans in a short period of time). The beans are exported or dried in preparation for sale, before being ground up and made ready for human consumption.
Then, transfer to Medellin and travel of 5 hour approximate, check in and overnight stay. (B. L.) (Private Tour)
Day 6 - PEREIRA - MANIZALES CITY TOUR - MEDELLIN
Half day visit of the city of Manizales, the capital of the Caldas department. Given its unrivalled geographical location nestled in the mountains and boasting a comfortable year-round climate, here one enjoys some of the most beautiful scenery in the region, such as snow-capped mountains, valleys and colourful sunsets.
The city appears as if poured onto the hills here as the topography is uneven and often abrupt in places that allows for views of the surrounding countryside.
This city has a great deal of cultural wealth and a long tradition of hosting festivals such as La Feria de Toros de Manizales that takes place in January every year and is considered as national heritage.
Manizales is also known as the “city of open doors” due to the hospitality that its citizenry show to visitors.
The tour begins in the historic centre, entry into the Cathedral which is rustic in design and displays a mix of styles such as neo-gothic, medieval and byzantine which is far from common in churches in Latin America. After climbing up the stairs to a height of 113m the visitor arrives at the Polish corridor and is greeted with views of the city and the Nevado del Riuz.
The visit continues on to the Plaza de Bolívar where the splendid sculpture of the “Libertador Cóndor” by Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt is on display. Transfer to the touristic balcony in the Barrio Chipre and enjoy views over the mountains before visiting the monument to the colonists. This sculpture is a massive work –created from 50 tons of bronze- of art by Luis Guillermo Arias paying tribute to the founders of this city.
Following along the Avenida Santander towards the Sector del Cable, this is one of the most traditional areas of the city with a great variety of restaurants, bars and discos in former warehouses, where in the past the old telegraph was located and linked Manizales with the city of Honda.
Enjoy some locally produced coffee and transfer to the Cerro de Oro from where there are further good views over the city.
Then continue to Medellin for about 5 hours, upon arrival, check in and overnight stay. (B.) (Private Tour)
Day 7 - MEDELLIN
Half day tour to visit those places that best represent the social transformation that has taken place in Medelln.
The tour will show the symbolic areas of Medelln from the 1980s, when the city was one of the most dangerous in the world, up to today many projects that fostered the cityÕs change.
Start the tour by visiting the Monaco building in the Poblado district, in the south-east of Medelln, where Pablo Escobar once lived until there was a terrorist attack against him. Continuing to Pablo Escobar district known also like ÒMedelln sin TuguriosÓ. Here there are approximately 700 houses donated to the poor by the notorious capo, who thanks to his charity work, won popular approval but changed the language and culture of both Medelln and the country in a violent way.
Following to barrio Santo Domingo Savio, which used to be one of the most unsafe suburbs of Medellin located some 7km from the city centre, it is a clear example of the social transformation that has taken place in the last few years. Arrive here by the metrocable car that joins the north-east area with the city centre, which has been life changing to many of the inhabitants of Medelln.
Santo Domingo Savio houses the Biblioteca Espaa Park, inaugurated in 2007. It is one of a series of 30 urban and social regeneration projects that helped transform the urban, social and cultural landscape of Medelln; a city with new spaces for culture, knowledge and lifestyle. The library is a space of social inclusion, cohabitation and access to a world of information. It is located on the border of Santo Domingo hill with an open view of the city, and comprises three box-shaped buildings, each one housing a different part of the library, the community services, and auditorium. Behind the Library stands a mural painted by the local inhabitants in commemoration of the victims of the violent past, symbolized by a new birth for everybody.
Then, go on to La Plazoleta located in the city centre, in an area that fell into decline in the 1980s and today houses around twenty three Botero sculptures donated by the artist in year 2000. Since that time, the city has undergone a social and cultural transformation around these works placed in a public space.
Return hotel and overnight stay. (B.) (Private Tour)
Day 8 - MEDELLIN - FULL DAY SANTA FE DE ANTIOQUIA
Leaving Medelln to the west and passing the Parque de los Tamarindos before arriving at the Puente de Occidente, a true work of masterful engineering which has permitted the cityÕs expansion and facilitated its communication with other areas.
The story behind this construction is that the engineer Jos Maria Villa sketched an idea for the project into the sand along the banks of the River Cauca. It was one of the first suspension bridges in South America and travelling along it you can admire the intricate work achieved here with the two towers lashed with cables hold the whole construction together.
After a journey of 1 hour and 15 minutes (70km) arrival at Santa Fe de Antioquia where it feels as if time has stood still since the colonial era. Founded in 1541 by Jorge Robledo this was the capital of Antioquia until 1826 when the government was moved to Medelln.
The narrow streets that run alongside the whitewashed buildings are still here for all to see. It is worth visiting the Santa Barbara church, the Museum of Liturgical Art, the Cathedral and the Juan del Corral Museum.
After lunch, return to Medelln with a break on the way to visit the small and wonderfully preserved town of San Jernimo, with its beautiful church and fine examples of architecture from both the Colonial and Republican eras.
On the journey back we will pass vendors selling exotic fruits such as pineapples, oranges, tamarind and mango.
Return to Medelln in the evening. (B. L.) (Private Tour)
Day 9 - MEDELLIN - CARTAGENA
After breakfast, transfer to the local airport for flight to Cartagena.
Upon arrival, check in at the hotel and overnight stay. (B.) (Private Transfer)
Day 10 - CARTAGENA
In the morning, start with a panoramic view of the city from the Monasterio and Iglesia de La Popa. Formerly known as the “Popa del Galeon” and famous for resembling the stern of a galleon. Constructed in 1606 this church and monastery are located at a height of 140masl from where one can enjoy 360o views of the city and the sea as well as the port zone, one of the most important in the Caribbean.
Continuing to the San Felipe Fortress, erected in honor of the poet from Cartagena, Don Luis Carlos López, made famous for his sonnet “A mi ciudad nativa” It was built on San Lázaro hill to defend the city from pirate attacks. Walk around the fortress and learn how the castle was constructed, the engineering feats, the tunnels, underground galleries and passageways.
Then continue on to the Ciudad Vieja (old city) to visit the Convert and Church of San Pedro Claver which was built in the middle of the XVII century and owes its name to the “apóstol de los esclavos”.
Lastly, continue to the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas, a collection of archways built into the city wall of Cartagena and that were used until the end of the 1700s to house armaments and then later as a prison in the XIX century. Nowadays it’s an artisan center where one can appreciate local handcraft.
After lunch, visit the city’s colonial district, starting in Bolivar Park, shaded by large trees and with four fountains the park has a statue of the great Liberator at the centre. Around the square is the Gold Museum, which exhibits a fine collection of archeological objects dating back to the pre-hispanic period; and the Inquisition Palace, recognized for its large baroque style door. The Inquisition held its meetings here and it was also the prison and torture chambers of presumed heretics, opponents of the Catholic Church.
The visit continues to the Santo Domingo Church, the Cathedral and ends at the Terraplenes and the Museum of the City’s Fortifications.
Return to the hotel. (B. L.) (Private Tour)
Day 11 - CARTAGENA
Free day for individual activities.
A full day tour to the Archipiélago Del Rosario is recommended.
Overnight stay. (B.)
Day 12 - DEPART CARTAGENA
Transfer to Cartagena airport for onward flight to your next destination. (B.) (Private Transfer)
We can offer you the possibility to extend this tour to other incredible destinations like:
- CUBA: Havana
- PANAMA: Panama Canal and Panama City
- PERU: Machu Picchu and Cusco
- ECUADOR: The Galapagos Islands
The below hand-picked properties feature good location, superior service, and all facilities necessary for a comfortable stay.
- Bogota: Atton Bogota 93
- Pereira: Hacienda San Jose
- Medellin: Patio del Mundo
- Cartagena: Afiz
- Hotel accommodation quoted in lead-in hotel guest rooms unless specified otherwise
- Hotels can easily be changed at the customer request. We have a wide selection so you can be assured of a great place to stay
- Occasionally due to circumstances out of our control, hotels quoted may not be available at the time of booking. In these circumstances when hotels are unavailable, South America Tours Pty Ltd will provide the best possible alternative.
- Accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary:
(B.) = Breakfast
(L.) = Lunch
(D.) = Dinner
- All transfers, transport, sightseeing and excursions as per the itinerary unless specified otherwise:
(Private Transfer / Transport) = Your own exclusive driver. No queuing for taxis, no stopping en route at tour booking agencies. All private transfers / transport are operated on a private basis – i.e., you won’t be sharing with others
(Private Tour) = Your own, personal tour guide and an exclusive vehicle
(Shared Guide) = Meet other like minded travellers and share the services of a guide / vehicle during the plan activity. Typical group size is 10 travellers which really works well and makes for a fun experience for all.
- Parks and monuments entrance
- Professional English speaking local guides throughout
- Service charges and taxes.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
- Air-tickets. We have access to wholesale fares and work closely with LATAM Airlines, contact us before organize your flights independently.
- Reciprocal fees and tourist visas are not included.
- Travel insurance
- Any items not specifically mentioned as included, phone call, laundry, tips, etc.
- Rates are subject to change and different rates may apply during holiday seasons and special events
- Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll want to know the details of all of your fights – flight times frequently change and we want to make sure your transfers and other arrangements are amended accordingly.
- You should ensure you have travel insurance in place to cover the possibility of unforeseen circumstances which result in the inability to participate in the tour
- All routes are subject to change without notice due to unexpected circumstances or weather conditions
- Certain countries require that you obtain official authorization (a visa) before entering the country. It is your responsibility for verifying and obtaining any necessary travel documents for entry and exit to the countries visited, as these requirements vary depending on the specific country and nationality of the traveler.