Summary : From sun-drenched, white-sand beaches and vibrant cities to the towering, peaks of the Andes, Colombia offers travelers a wealth of natural and cultural highlights. This brand-new itinerary reveals the artifacts of ancient pre-Hispanic cultures, exquisite colonial architecture, amazing birds and wildlife, and a chance to explore pristine coral reefs. And, no tour would be complete without a visit to a coffee plantation to learn about the history, culture, and production of world-famous Colombian coffee. Join veteran Expedition Leader Jack Grove on an itinerary that explores Colombia's wealth of natural and cultural highlights.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
Board your independent flight to Bogotá. Upon arrival, transfer to the Sofitel Victoria Regia for a welcome dinner and overnight.
Today embark on a tour of Bogotá, Colombia’s capital and largest city. Visit the historic center and make a stop at San Agustín Church, the oldest colonial church in Bogotá, to view the fine Baroque altarpieces and splendid interior. Then peruse the extraordinary collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts at the Gold Museum, and browse the delightful displays of paintings and sculptures in the beautiful Botero Museum. A short drive takes you to the small colonial town of Cajicá for lunch and a chance to stroll the main plaza. After lunch, continue to the Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral. Considered to be a masterpiece of Colombian architecture, this underground church was built entirely within the tunnels of an abandoned salt mine. Return to Bogotá for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast depart overland through lush countryside to Lake Guatavita, thought to be the origin of the El Dorado legend. A walk around the circular crater lake offers splendid views and a variety of interesting plants and animals. Continue to the town of Guatavita which was constructed in 1967 when the original town was abandoned to create the Tomine Reservoir. Return to Bogotá for dinner and overnight.
Transfer to the airport for our short flight to Cali. Upon arrival, check in to Casa del Alferez and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon drive past sugar cane plantations flanked by leafy trees and mountain peaks to Hacienda el Paraiso. Renowned as the setting for Jorge Isaacs’ great romantic novel, Maria, the 19th-century manor house and its extensive gardens are preserved as a museum. Return to Cali for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast board your flight to Guapi. Transfer to the port and board a local boat for the scenic, hour-and-a-half cruise to Gorgona Island, with the chance to search for seabirds en route. After a brief stint as a prison, this island was declared a National Natural Park in 1984 due to a large number of endemic species and unique ecosystems. Check in to the Hotel Parque Natural, the only lodging on the island, for lunch and a chance to settle in. This afternoon, begin your exploration with a snorkel excursion to discover healthy coral reefs that are frequented by turtles. The surrounding waters are also famed for the large numbers of humpback whales that come here to breed from June to November.
Spend two full days exploring Gorgona. Park guides lead you on nature hikes through lush jungle, pointing out interesting species of flora and fauna. Visit the ruins of the old prison and learn more about the island’s intriguing history at the Visitor’s Center. Enjoy several opportunities to investigate the surrounding waters on snorkel and whale watching excursions. Meals and overnights at your hotel.
After breakfast, return to Guapi by local boat and board your flight to Cali. Make a stop at the home of Jorge Isaacs en route to Pereira. Check in to the Sazagua Boutique Hotel for dinner and overnight.
This morning, take a scenic drive through verdant valleys flanked by misty mountain peaks. Cocora Valley is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park and is the home of wax palm, Colombia’s national symbol and the world’s tallest palm. Hike through the spectacular scenery of lush hillsides covered with the towering, spindly palms, often piercing though ethereal mist and wispy clouds. Enjoy lunch in the park, learn about the importance of this tree to native peoples, and plant a wax palm sapling to commemorate your visit. On the way back to Pereira, make a stop in photogenic Salento, a colonial town with impressive views. Stroll the main plaza and browse the interesting craft workshops. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Today make a stop at one of the many coffee plantations that dot the fertile valleys to learn about this important cultural and economic commodity. After a coffee tasting and lunch, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cartagena. Check in to Casa san Agustin Hotel, and time permitting embark on a late afternoon walking tour. The walled old town reveals vibrant plazas flanked by impressive Spanish colonial buildings, and charming narrow lanes lined with flower-bedecked balconies.
Today you will tour the architectural highlights of Cartagena, including the Convent of La Popa, San Felipe’s Fort, and the Convent of San Pedro Calver. You will also have a chance to browse the colorful handicraft stores of Las Bovedas, where local artisans display their wares. After lunch, take a short drive to the fishing village of Boquilla. Join local guides aboard dugout canoes for a cruise through the maze of mangrove swamps, home to a number of unique plants and animals, and an amazing variety of birds. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, board a local boat for the Rosario Islands, a series of 40 islands protected as a National Natural Park since 1977. Explore by bike, or simply relax on a lovely white-sand beach. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel in the warm, turquoise waters. Return to Cartagena for dinner and overnight.
Transfer to the airport this morning for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.
Accommodations; group meals, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; guided excursions as stated in the itinerary; all internal flights; entrance fees for parks, reserves, etc.; all gratuities; emergency medical coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000)*; evacuation coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000)*.
All air transportation except as listed above; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.