Located in South America, Colombia shares a border with Peru and Venezuela and is home to endless coffee plantations. The Amazon rainforest and the Andes Mountains attracts travelers from all over the world. The capital city of Bogota is famous for diverse foods and restaurants, while Cartagena owns a 16th-century castle and coral reefs for you to explore. Join this Latin America journey from Bogota to Cartagena highlighting several colonial cities.
Take in Bogota's beautiful street art
Ride a cable car over vast canyons
Enjoy biking through historic Cartagena
Enjoy a horseback ride in San Augustin
A feisty nation with some of the most beautiful landscapes, adventurers have been attracted to Colombia for many years. This two week Latin America journey, all done on the comfortable private vehicle and four internal flights, will take you to some of the country’s famous sites as we travel through colonial cities, walk through wildlife-rich national parks which hide sun-kissed beaches and reveal the attractive ancient stone monuments of San Agustin.
We start our tour in Bogota, formerly known as Santa Fe de Bogota. It is the capital and the biggest city in Colombia with a population of seven million. We will be staying in the Candelaria district a beautiful location within walking distance of many of the famous sights including the main square - Plaza Bolivar, the Cathedral, and Simon Bolivar's house. You may like to take the funicular to Monserrate for the excellent city views or visit the world famous gold museum. A suggested activity would be the graffiti tour where you can explore some of the popular street art that decorates the city’s walls. It is also worth touring the Botero Museum to view some of the artist’s work depicting people and objects in large formats.
Leaving Bogota we travel to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, a beautiful cathedral built underground within the tunnels of a salt mine. It is always a place of pilgrimage especially on Sundays can attract 3000 people to worship. After exploring this outstanding church we will continue our journey, traveling to the quaint town, Villa de Leyva. This charming town was established in 1572 which has been protected, with virtually no modern architectural wonder at all, as a National Monument by the Colombian Government. You'll have time to enjoy its beautiful colonial plaza, exploring the narrow streets and private courtyards. Enjoying talking to some of the locals, Colombians are some of the friendliest people in South America and are always happy to show you their culture and lifestyle. This is also a famous area for experiencing hiking and mountain biking.
Leaving Villa de Leyva, we travel back to Bogota where we board a short flight to Neiva. From here we will travel for an hour to Villavieja, a small city which is the gateway for exploring the Tatacoa Desert. We visit the desert, which boasts magnificent rock formations and wonderful red sand. Villavieja itself is a charming authentic Colombian town which you have the evening to explore after you have viewed the sunset in the desert.
We have a spectacular journey, driving for approximately seven hours to San Agustin, an area famous for the pre-Columbian sites with many beautiful statues. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, very little is known about the communities that carved these statues apart from the few traces of their existence that they left behind. The next day we will have a guided tour through the San Agustin Archaeological Park. There are hundreds of these statues to view spread over a vast area as well as several ancient burial sites. The pre-Columbian community was probably replaced by a new group of people who arrived Colombia from the Amazon region in the late eighth century bringing in more complex agriculture practices. The parks also have some excellent views of the valley. When you are not exploring the archaeological site, you can enjoy the outstanding green landscape, hike through the hills or go for a jeep tour.
Today we make our way to the airport to board a flight for the lively city of Cali. A short flight helps us to cut down on travel time allowing you plenty of hours to experience this fascinating and energetic place. Popular for their obsession with salsa, Cali has a large Afro-Colombian culture and a passion for Latin music. Admire La Ermita, a church renowned for its Gothic style architecture before soaking up the vibrant atmosphere in the Barrio de San Antonio area. Here you can get superb views of the city from the top of the hill as well as having a host of restaurants and bars. Cali also has the ideal climate for growing all sorts of fruits and you will find vendors selling everything from green mango to more a cross between a raspberry and blackberry with several more exotic fruits on offer. Or why not try the local cuisine of pandebono, a cheesy bread found in bakeries and cafes throughout the city. In the evening, follow the attractive sounds of the city and join in with a nightclub salsa dance as the locals enjoy the night away. If dancing is not your thing, you can still enjoy the atmosphere by viewing a local show!
Today morning we take off our dancing shoes and head to the more serene archaeological ruins of Taironaka. After a short flight, we arrive in the early afternoon with lots of time to explore these ancient wonders. Taironaka is a relatively unknown area in northern Colombia and the ideal place to get off the beaten track. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the beautiful nature reserve is home to a lush and tropical landscape that echoes Colombian charm.
Cartagena is one of the most popular colonial towns on the continent and where the film Romancing the Stone was shooted. You have time to wander the attractive narrow streets decorated with wooden balconies and hanging plants. There are many interesting sites to view such as a trip to Castillo San Felipe and the fortress on San Lazaro Hill. Beneath this fortress is a number of tunnels and there are still cannons placed along the battlements. Also worthwhile is a visit of La Popa hill to the colorful convent with superb views over the city. The Boca Grande area of Cartagena is where Colombians come for their beach vacation and it is full of shops, nightclubs, and bars. Near Cartagena is the Volcan de Lodo El Totumo, a strange mud volcano where you can relax and wallow in the mud, which is believed to contain healing properties and good treatment for the skin.
Your Latin America journey comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have extended your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights. We will transfer you to the airport in case you want to catch your home flight.
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