Once you reach Colombia, your doubt about ‘what to do in Latin America’ will end, and you will feel highly excited. This South Ameican nation is rich in natural wonders, cultural heritage and undoubtedly a coffee lovers paradise. The beautiful mountains, hidden beaches, and cobblestoned cities of Colombia attract travelers from around the globe. Join this tour to explore the best of Colombia and experience the best nature, culture, and cuisine all in one journey.
Colombia is one of those pearls of South America that many tourists are still not aware of, but once you reach here, you will no longer ask ‘what to do in Latin America’. This ten-day tour is the perfect way to experience its mountains, hidden beaches, cobblestoned cities and so much more. Be fascinated by Bogota’s colonial-era center, relax on palm-fringed stretches of Caribbean shoreline and meet the locals that fame Colombia as one of the world's friendliest countries. While Tayrona National Park and the Guachaca region offer superb hiking trails, off-track swimming holes and powdery beaches located in the lush jungle, eye-catching cities like Barichara are a paradise to explore, and adrenaline-fuelled San Gil is just moments away. For an off-track tour in South America, that’s full of rhythm, music, color, and life, this Colombia tour is right up there with the best of them.
Bienvenidos a Colombia! Welcome to Colombia. Cartagena is one of South America's most historically well-known cities. The old city, especially the inner walled town, is the main attraction which is filled with magnificent churches, monasteries, plazas, and mansions. Your tour starts with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will be conducted. Your hotel is located in the lively Getsemani neighborhood, a part of the old town with a number of colorful street art and an authentic feel. After the meeting, head out for an introduction walk with your leader. This introduction walk may take place the next morning also.
Enjoy some free time today exploring Cartagena's Old City at your own pace. Explore local handicrafts shops, travel up to San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the largest of the city's fortresses, or perhaps move ad out of town to visit the Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. Instead of lava, this naturally strange volcano erupts a cream-like mud that is said to contain many healing properties. Go inside for a wallow, then clean the muddy goodness off in the nearby lagoon. If you want to relish an authentic Colombian meal and make a great cause in your free time, why not enjoy both by dining at one of Cartagena's coolest restaurants, Restaurante Interno? Housed in a women's prison, the restaurant started in December 2016 with the aim of giving inmates nearing the end of their sentences a second opportunity and job-ready skills to get a better chance of reintegrating into society after their release. It has since become one of the most popular spots in the town graced by local celebrities and even the Colombian President, it is a memorable experience and your money is going to a good cause.
In the morning, board a shared van and travel approximately for 5 hours north of Cartagena to Guachaca, your home for the next two nights. This is a wonderful region, enjoy the lush green mountains that collide with the rugged coastline, enjoy a cocktail or two with your group members or treat yourself to a comforting massage. It's the ideal jungle paradise in which to take the pace down a notch. Once you reach there, the rest of the day is free. Get yourself in a hammock with a book, or make a short walk to the beach and get a feel of that coastline. Your accommodation is a pleasant family-run guesthouse, simple and comfortable, nestled high in the jungle.
Head to Tayrona National Park, a preserved plot of wilderness surrounded by the massive Santa Marta mountain range on one side and the picturesque Caribbean on the other. Today’s plan involves a fair amount of hiking, so be prepared and make sure your trekking shoes are on. It takes an hour or two to hike to the first beach, with a few up and down portions, and if it rains it may turn a little muddy here and there. The reward, however, is not only the elegant beaches but the hike itself. The ambiance of the jungle, the beautiful scenery and the first glimpse of the sea make for an enchanting day out among nature. When it's all over and you have enjoyed enough adventure, we return to Guachaca for the night.
Enjoy a final morning in your jungle paradise, perhaps awake early to view the sunrise from the beach. After a delicious continental breakfast, set off for your flight from Santa Martha to Bucaramanga. From Bucaramanga, travel for approximately 3 hours to Barichara. With its charming cobbled streets, stuccoed houses, and pretty hills for a backdrop, Barichara is probably the prettiest and best-protected colonial-style village in all Colombia.
Today, spend your free time as you like.. Barichara is itself a nice place to wander around on foot, with its artistic environment and plenty of nice shops to explore. If you'd like to head out and get some activities, travel for approximately 30 minutes to San Gil, the adventure capital of Colombia. A visit to Pescadero swimming hole on the way is well worth, even if the water is a little chilled, it's an ideal spot to relax for an hour or two.
After breakfast, head out on a two-hour walk along the Camino Real to the village of Guane. The walk is excellent, full of picturesque mountain scenery. Declared a national monument in 1988, the ancient trail was built by the native Guane people. It starts off with a mild descent down the rim of a canyon before crossing a valley filled with cacti. The trekking is mostly downhill, and you'll likely view a few fossils fixed firmly in the stones that pave the trail en route. On arrival in Guane, get refreshed with a cooling drink, soak up the soft atmosphere and perhaps visit out the local church before boarding the local bus back to Barichara.
Today we travel for approximately 8 hours by local bus to Bogota via San Gil, so kick back and enjoy the lull as the view rolls by. There will be only the one stop along the way, so ensure you carry drinks and snacks for the journey. Your hotel in Bogota is nestled in the Chapinero neighborhood, one of the most culturally charming parts of town.
Today we'll visit a couple of essential local spots. One is La Candelaria, the historic center of the city. Boasting a wealth of elegant cafes and colonial churches, it's a neighborhood full of wonders. As well as loads of museums, art and delicious food to try, it's also just a wonderful town to walk around, an interesting blend of the old and new. We also visit the Gold Museum for an opportunity to learn about the wealth this country once possessed. Attractive and easy to navigate, the museum has 55,000 artifacts from several eras on display. Finally, it's time to visit Cerro de Monserrate by cable car, where a 17th-century church overlooks the charming capital. It's a superb place to view the sunset as the tour draws to a close.
The tour ends after breakfast this morning. From now you can share your sweet memories of Colombia with those thinking about ‘what to do in Latin America’.
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