Day 1: Bogotá – Arrival
The Colombian capital is located in the very center of the country at approx. 2650 meters above sea level in an area known as the Savanna of Bogotá (Sabana de Bogotá). The east side of the city is flanked by the Cordillera Oriental, which are foothills of the Andes Mountains. In terms of area, Bogotá is Colombia’s largest city: It extends more than 40 km from north to south, and 20km from east to west. It is not only the main economic and industrial center, but also the political heart of the country: The National Legislature, the Supreme Court of Justice and the residence of the President of the Republic (Casa de Nariño) reside here. With its 8 million inhabitants, the city is Colombia’s most populous and the huge cultural offer is among the best and largest in the country – Bogotá is home to numerous museums such as the famous Gold museum or the Botero museum, theatres and libraries.
Private transfer from Bogotá airport (BOG) to Hotel in the historic center- with Bilingual guide
Dinner included (depending on arrival time!)
Day 2: Bogotá
FD City Tour with Paloquemao, Monserrate & Botero Museum – with Bilingual guide
In the morning visit to the public market of Paloquemao, then city tour with visit to the colonial old town, the Plaza de Bolivar and the surrounding government buildings, churches worth seeing, the Botero museum and a cable car ride to the mountain Monserrate, from where one has a great view on Bogotá, In the afternoon detailed visit to the Gold Museum.
Day 3: Bogotá – Villa de Leyva
About 170 m / 3.5 hours
Located only four hours from Bogota, Villa de Leiva is a fascinating, small, colonial town. Founded in 1572 and home to many important politicians, artists and wealthy families of the colonial period it is steeped in history and is extremely well-preserved. The enormous plaza mayor (the largest in Colombia) is flanked on all sides by red-tiled, white houses and most of the streets are cobbled. The town is perfect for wandering at a leisurely pace taking in the atmosphere of times gone by and browsing in the handicraft shops. There are also a number of small, but interesting museums. This region of Boyacá was once under the sea surface and a large number of marine fossils can be seen in the area. The scenery of the surrounding countryside is rather Mediterranean in appearance, olives, oranges and curuba are grown in the region.
Our day starts with an overland transport from Bogotá to Villa de Leyva vía Zipaquirá, visiting the unusual Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira. This unique building was constructed approximately 120 meters underground in a former salt mine. Stop en route to visit the pretty village of Ráquira, famous for its handicrafts, the best place in Colombia for buying pottery. We continue towards Villa de Leyva, one of the most beautiful and well-preserved colonial towns in South America. Upon arrival in Villa de Leyva, transfer to our hotel.
Day 4: Villa de Leyva
We stroll through the village of Villa de Leyva visiting the central plaza with its churches, restaurants and handicraft shops, afterwards we visit the “Ecce Homo” Dominican convent, constructed in the XVII century and continue to a fossil discovered just outside the town, which has been dated at more than 150 million years old, finishing in the Casa de Terra Cotta.
Day 5: Villa de Leyva – Tunja – Bogotá – Girardot
About 300 km / 6 hours
Girardot is a city with over 100.000 inhabitants located in the department of Cundinamarca about 3 hours southwest of Bogotá. Year-round tropical and hot climate attract tourists from Bogotá especially on the weekend escaping the capital’s rainy weather. People search distraction here in the many hotels and resorts, water parks, swimming pools and the Río Magdalena – also excursions in the field of eco-tourism are possible.
After breakfast departure from Villa de Leyva towards Bogotá taking an alternative scenic back-road via Tunja, capital city of the department of Boyacá; we first stop at the most important monument in Colombian history: the “Boyacá Bridge”. On that bridge Simón Bolívar fought and won his most decisive battle against Spanish settlers.
When entering Bogotá we pay a visit to the foundation Hogar de Paz where we learn about their project to support adolescents who don´t get much support from their families.
Afterwards we cross Bogotá and drive south to Girardot. Here we have a relaxed night at our hotel with pool.
Lunch and dinner included
Day 6: Girardot – Tatacoa Desert – San Agustin
About 300 km / 6.5 hours
The Tatacoa Desert is located very close to Neiva in the department of Huila. It is a striking landscape of eroded cliffs and gullies, sculpted by the infrequent rain. Because of the dry, clear conditions, lack of light pollution and location in close proximity to the equator, Tatacoa is a great spot for stargazing – the skies above both the Northern and Southern hemispheres are spread out for all to see. Tatacoa isn’t really a desert, although the thermometer states otherwise – it can hit 50°C at times. It’s technically a semi-arid dry tropical forest.
In the morning we drive towards Neiva and enter the desert of Tatacoa.
Afterwards we drive through a scenic landscape to San Agustin, the arecheological hotspot of Colombia where we spent 3 nights.
Day 7: San Agustín
San Agustín is a village in the southern department of Huila, which is located 227 km from Neiva and counts a population of around 30,000. The village was originally founded in 1752 by Alejo Astudillo, but attacks by indigenous people destroyed it. In 1790, Lucas de Herazo y Mendigaña founded the present village. The temperature averages 18 °C year-round. The area is very well known for its pre-Columbian archaeological sites, known as the San Agustín Archaeological Park, which generates significant revenue to the economy due to the high volume of tourists, both Colombian and foreigners. In 1995, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.
Today we visit the San Agustín Archaeological Park, which is formed by the “Mesitas” and the “Fuente Ceremonial de Lavapatas”. We end the day with a visit to the Archaeological Museum.
Day 8: San Agustín
Today we head to the famous strait of the Río Magdalena. Here, the longest river of Colombia narrows and is just 2 meters wide.
The afternoon is free, so take your time to relax.
Day 9: San Agustín – Popayán
About 140 km / 4.5 hours
Popayán is the capital of the Cauca department. Founded by Sebastian de Belalcazar in 1537, Popayán is located in the Valley of Pubenza between the Western and Central Cordillera in the southwest of the country. The old and historic center of Popayán is considered one of the most beautiful and best preserved in Colombia as well as in all of Latin America.
In the morning we travel to Popayan. We stop at the Village Isnos where nearby we will find some more impressive tombs and statues at Alto de los Idolos. We continue our Journey from San Agustin to Popayan (4-5 hours), crossing the beautiful Puracé National Natural Park. We will observe some more Colombian landscapes as the Andean cloud forest and the Paramos. Arrival in Popayan, also known as the white City. In the afternoon walking tour through Popayan.
Day 10:Popayan – Silvia – Coffee Region
About 360 km / 6.5 hours
Armenia is the capital of the Departamento Quindío located in the Coffee Triangle 290 kilometers west of Bogotá. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, nature and ancient cultures, the region is a key player in Colombia’s rich coffee culture. For anyone interested in nature and culture, Armenia and the Quindío department will be a highlight of their trip.
Transfer from Popayan to the Coffee Region with a stop in Silvia, where -on Tuesdays- the Guambiano come together dressed in their native costumes to offer and buy their products at the market and to meet with each other. This takes place at the famous market in Silvia, which creates a special opportunity to see and meet these ancestral groups that are proud of their culture. After this visit we will continue to the Coffee Region with another short stop in Buga, where the famous Basilica del Señor de los Milagros is located. Further transfer to our coffee finca in the heart of the Coffee Region.
Day 11: Coffee Region
Half Day Coffee Process Hacienda Combia – SIB, with English Speaking Guide
Visit to the coffee growing farm Combia including a technical and practical introduction to the whole coffee cultivation and production process with a special didactics.
Day 12: Armenia – Valle de Cocora – Salento – Armenia
About 56 km / 2.5 hours
Full Day Cocora Valley and Salento – with English Speaking guide
With breathtaking landscapes, this is one of the most beautiful valleys in Colombia. Here one will find the impressive “Palma de Cera”, the official Colombian national tree and one of the tallest species of palm in the world. On the way back to Armenia, we visit Salento, a picturesque village with artisanal and crafts shops.
Day 13: Armenia – Támesis
About 200 km / 5 hours
Támesis is a town and municipality in the southwestern region of Antioquia. It is bordered by the Andes, Jardín municipality to the south and the Caldas department to the south. The municipality is located between the San Juan river, which is called Docató (meaning “stone river”) by the natives, and a branch of the Western Cordillera. Jardín is identified by its preserved colonial architecture, lush vegetation, and abundant rivers and streams. Among others, rivers that flow through Jardin include San Juan, Claro, and Dojurgo. Trout that is caught in the local rivers is a popular dish in the area.
Private transfer from Armenia to hotel in Támesis – Just Transport
Day 14: Támesis
Option 1: Full Day Tour – Gold & Archaeology
Through a beautiful landscape you travel down the valley of the Cauca River to the Puente Iglesias bridge. On the banks of the Cauca River you will meet traditional gold washers and learn more about their daily work. Try to wash gold on your own and interact directly with the artisanal miners. In the afternoon you enjoy spectacular views over the vastness of the Cauca River Valley and visit the idyllic mountain village of Támesis, known as the green coffee balcony. A guide will lead you through a tour of Támesis to visit the archaeological sites. Támesis is known as one of the places with the greatest density of indigenous pre-Hispanic petroglyphs in Colombia. Observe different types of petroglyphs and learn some of their significances.
Option 2: Chocolate & Archaeology (Instead of Gold-Mining, we do a Chocolate-workshop)
In the morning you visit an organic cacao plantation and learn more about the process of chocolate
production, the harvesting and processing – from the tree to the cup. The family run cacao farm produces organic chocolate and the owners do a lot to keep the traditional sustainable way of cacao farming alive. In this workshop you also make your own chocolate.
Day 15: Támesis – Jérico – Medellín
About 220 km / 5 hours
Medellín, the capital of the department of Antioquia, is located in northwestern Colombia and lies cradled in the Aburra Valley, bisected by the Medellín River which runs north to south. With its year-round warm temperatures, it is also known as the “City of Eternal Spring”. It´s population is about 3 million, which makes it the second largest city of the country. In addition, the city stands out as one of the major cultural centres in Colombia: It hosts numerous nationally and internationally recognized events such as the Flower Fair and the International Poetry Festival.
In the morning we drive to Jérico. Its’ town centre with its’ 16 chapels is considered one of the most beautiful in Antioquia. Jericó is also famous for its handicrafts and the manufacture of small leather goods. Explore the historic centre of Jericó with its traditional facades and visit the village museum, which explains the pre-Columbian culture through a comprehensive exhibition of findings in the region. The tour also includes visiting a workshop of carriel, the typical leather bags of the locals. Just a few walking minutes further we visit the Botanical Gardens and the Cristo Rey monument, from which you get amazing views of both the town and the surrounding mountains, valleys and rivers.
From here we continue to Medellin.
Day 16: Medellín
Half Day visit to the city – Private, with English Speaking guide
This tour takes you to the most important touristic sights of the “City of Eternal Spring” in just 4 hours. Explore downtown Medellin and the historic centre and listen to local musicians and the traditional Guasca music while visiting the Parque Berrio. Stroll through the hustle and bustle of downtown Medellin to the famous Botero Plaza with an exhibition of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, whose sculptures have become a landmark of the city. Take the Metro Cable up to Santo Domingo, which has once been a notorious area of gang violence in Medellin. The cable car was constructed to make the inner city more accessible to people from the outskirts and allows visitors a glimpse into the lives of the marginalized population. While enjoying the spectacular view you learn more about the transformation of Medellin from one of the most dangerous cities in the world into a fascinating melting pot of cultures with possibly the friendliest and warmest people in the world. Duration: approximately 4 hours.
Day 17: Departure/Onward Journey
Private transfer from the hotel to the Airport (MDE) – Only driver
From the airport you continue your onward journey either back home or to one of the additional optional destinations (see extensions).