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Viva Colombia

Group Tour

14 Days From A$6,392

Overview

It’s no secret that Colombia gets our travel pulse racing. Packed with a wealth of heritage and natural wonders, the country has moved on leaps and bounds from its once nefarious past and boasts a dazzling array of landscapes from lush plantations to towering mountains, idyllic beaches and steamy rainforests.  For the adventurous traveller, the attractions are numerous.

On this trip we wander through the cobbled streets of Honda and romantic Cartagena, and head far from the ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

13 x Breakfasts
11 x Lunches
9 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses, cable cars, metro trains and a domestic flight.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in a combination of comfortable and characterful hotels as well a stunningly located hacienda in the coffee region. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability. Please also note that some of the colonial-style accommodation is more akin to faded grandeur rather than 5* opulence. Patience and a sense of humour will be duly rewarded!

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOURS STARTS IN BOGOTA

DAY 1: TOURS STARTS IN BOGOTA

For anyone arriving on the group flights which arrive into Bogota in the early morning we’ll provide a couple of “wash & change” rooms with breakfast until official check-in at 15:00 this afternoon. For everyone else, the tour will officially start mid-morning at the hotel from where we’ll set off on a gentle introduction to Colombia’s capital which will include the dazzling Gold Museum which houses one of the finest collections anywhere in the world.

Hotel Grand Park or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: BOGOTA

DAY 2: BOGOTA

We’ll have the full day to enjoy the many sights that Bogota has to offer including La Candalaria, Bogota’s oldest suburb, which boasts dozens of fine colonial buildings, churches and museums, including the Botero Museum. Here we can see the works of art by Fernando Botero, Colombia's most famous artist whose "oversized" art is instantly recognisable. We will also visit Paloquemao market, the second largest in the city as well as the hilltop look-out and monastery of Monserrate. This evening will be free for you to discover the culinary delights of the Colombia capital.

Hotel Grand Park or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 3: BOGOTA – HONDA

DAY 3: BOGOTA – HONDA

This morning we will drive to Zipaquira where we will visit the spectacular underground Salt Cathedral. The salt mines house an eerie and magnificent spectacle carved out directly from the rock salt. The cavernous cathedral, consists of a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers and can hold an impressive 8400 people. After a tour of the cathedral we’ll continue on to the picturesque riverside town of Honda which is renowned for its colonial architecture and 40 bridges. This journey takes us from the heights of the Eastern Andean range and Bogota plateau down to the hotter and more sultry weather of the Magdalena River basin.

Hotel Boutique Posada Las Trampas or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: HONDA - MANIZALES (COFFEE REGION)

DAY 4: HONDA - MANIZALES (COFFEE REGION)

We’ll have time this morning to discover the charms of the so-called ‘city of bridges’. Sitting astride the Magdalena River, Honda was once an important port during the colonial era but went on to lose its economic significance when transportation routes changed. Now part of the Network of Heritage Towns of Colombia, Honda is slowly (very slowly) being rediscovered again. Later we’ll head westwards and back up into the mountains on the central Andean chain as we make for the country’s famed coffee region. On arrival, for those that wish, there’ll be the option to take a leisurely 2-3hr afternoon walk downhill from a local viewpoint to the stunningly located rural, working coffee farm, which will be our base for the next two nights.

Hacienda Venecia or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: MANIZALES (COFFEE REGION)

DAY 5: MANIZALES (COFFEE REGION)

This morning we’ll get to see the workings of a coffee plantations as we see the whole process from seedling to coffee cup and every part in between. We’ll learn about the trials and tribulations that face the coffee growers and how their whole way of life is affected by this simple bean - your life as a coffee drinker will never be the same, once you have tasted the elixir of life from Colombia! However coffee is not the only bean of importance in Colombia as the country is home to some of the finest cocoa found anywhere on the planet. That fact alone should be sufficient reason for any avid chocoholics to place it at the top of their to-do list and this afternoon will be dedicated to learning more about the cultivation of this beloved crop. There will be an opportunity to see the plantations themselves, the raw cocoa fruit and all-important bean as well as the processes used to turn this into our beloved chocolate. At the end there will even be the option to create your own personalised chocolate bar!

Hacienda Venecia or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: MANIZALES - SALAMINA

DAY 6: MANIZALES - SALAMINA

Heading north from Manizales we avoid the main road to Medellin and instead take a quieter backroad which traverses some truly spectacular scenery and allows us access to the lesser visited northern coffee region. Here we’ll make for the colonial hilltop gem of Salamina with its very steep streets and the nearby village of San Felix. Here we will be able to take a stunning walk through an area rich with some of the highest and most extensive swathes of wax palms in the entire country. The wax palm has become a national symbol and with some reaching upwards of 200ft it is the world’s tallest palm tree. Later we’ll return to Salamina for our overnight in this historic town.

Casa Real or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: SALAMINA - AGUADAS

DAY 7: SALAMINA - AGUADAS

Continuing along the backroads of the northern coffee region, we’ll make for the town of Aguadas. This equally picturesque colonial town is not only part of the UNESCO listed coffee culture landscape but is also a famed centre for local handicrafts. As such, this afternoon we’ll have the opportunity to observe the skills involved in the making of the traditional aguadeño hat, a treasured symbol of the region made using fibres from the locally grown iraca palm. Later there’ll be time to explore the tranquil streets of the old town and to meet the friendly locals, for whom foreign visitors are still a relative rarity.

Sueño Dorado or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: AGUADAS - MEDELLIN

DAY 8: AGUADAS - MEDELLIN

A morning’s drive takes us to Medellin, known for its nightlife, lively culture and friendliness. On arrival we’ll take an orientation tour highlighting the incredible changes this city, whose name was once synonymous with drug cartels, has undergone in the last few years. Surrounded by mountain peaks, the city offers stunning scenery and, is known as the “City of Eternal Spring”. We’ll take the metro into the city centre to visit and wander amongst Botero sculptures in Parque Berrio. Although static works of art, we can watch the local Colombians climbing all over them and interacting with the sculptures the way Botero intended. The sculptures also include the pajaro de paz or ‘bird of peace’ sculpture, ironically damaged by a bomb by the insurgents and a reminder that Medellin was not always the trendy cosmopolitan hub it is today.

Hotel Lincoln or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: MEDELLIN

DAY 9: MEDELLIN

A full day in Medellin enables time to gain a greater appreciation for this fascinating city. We’ll start off by taking the outdoor escalators up the hill to the outer limits of the city and this bird’s eye view looking down on Medellin will help to put the entire city in to perspective. Once these barrios, or neighbourhoods, were no-go areas for even the police, but the city’s revival and revolutionary transport system has opened the city up to social and economic development in even the poorest parts. There is an immense pride in these local barrios and there will be opportunities to see a flourishing urban art and music scene, and to interact with the locals of Comuna 13 to get a better understanding of how these parts of the city tick and now contribute to Medellin’s vibrant cultural fabric. After lunch you’ll be free to head to explore more of this city for yourself, perhaps heading for the lively Parque lllaeras to see the hip and trendy of Medellin strut their stuff.

Hotel Lincoln or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10: MEDELLIN – SANTA MARTA

DAY 10: MEDELLIN – SANTA MARTA

A final morning in Medellin allows us time to take in the Santa Helena flower-growing region just east of the city. Although Medellin is famed for its yearly flower festival in August there is an entire year-round industry involved in the cultivation of a myriad of flower varieties. There will be an opportunity to visit one of the flower farms and see their spectacular blooms and how these are grown and cultivated. Later we will take a flight to Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast, one of the oldest surviving colonial towns in Colombia. Santa Marta will be our base for the next two nights enabling us access to the nearby beautiful Tayrona National Park.

Casa Bugambilia or similar
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 11: TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK

DAY 11: TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK

Today we set off for a full day trip into Tayrona National Park. This stunning marine and coastal park offers a variety of great trails and nature walks, and we’ll trek through the jungle and along the coast, before stopping at one of the pristine, golden sandy beaches for lunch. After some free time for swimming and relaxing we shall head back to our hotel and a free evening.

Casa Bugambilia or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 12: SANTA MARTA - CARTAGENA

DAY 12: SANTA MARTA - CARTAGENA

Heading southwest along the coast, we shall drive to the colonial town of Cartagena de Indias. For many, Cartagena remains a favourite destination in South America and after just a short time it’s easy to understand why. This afternoon we will take a guided walk through the historic walled city. The Spanish colonial architecture is some of the most impressive and holds some of the best preserved in South America with its imposing merchant’s houses, narrow streets, flower bedecked balconies stunning civic buildings and beautiful churches. Soaked in sunshine and steeped in history, Cartagena is liberally sprinkled with a wealth of wonderful old buildings that line the flower-filled streets.

Casa Helda or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13: CARTAGENA

DAY 13: CARTAGENA

With a full day to take in more of the charms of this stunning colonial city with its lavish cathedral and bustling plazas, we’ll spend the morning visiting La Popa Convent and Castillo San Felipe, the largest Spanish fortification in the Americas, and a structure which dominates the old town. Underneath there is a labyrinth of tunnels, some of which are lit and accessible to visitors. The afternoon will be free for personal exploration before we meet up for our final group dinner.

Casa Helda or similar
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 14: TOUR ENDS IN CARTAGENA

DAY 14: TOUR ENDS IN CARTAGENA

Although the tour officially ends after breakfast and rooms will need to be vacated by midday, those on the suggested group flights this evening will have most of the day free for wandering the streets of this delightful city at your own pace and perhaps taking in some last minute souvenir hunting.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Comuna 13 Barrios of Medellin

By visiting some of the poorer barrios (neighbourhoods) on the outer limits of Medellin we will be supporting the city's revival and transformation from being a one-time centre for drug cartels to now being a model for social development.  These barrios were once no-go areas for even the police, but today there is an immense pride in these local barrios and there will be opportunities to see a flourishing urban art & music scene, and to interact with the locals of Comuna 13 to get a better understanding of how these parts of the city tick and now contribute to Medellin’s vibrant cultural fabric.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
AV 121 London Heathrow (LHR) 22:40 Bogota Airport (BOG) 04:05
AV 9551 Cartagena Airport (CTG) 19:50 Bogota Airport (BOG) 21:20
AV 120 Bogota Airport (BOG) 23:04 London Heathrow (LHR) 15:45

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Colombia.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. 

NB. Please note that current US policy (subject to change) has stated that anyone wishing to travel via the USA must have a biometric passport. In addition, anyone who has travelled to several countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen or Somalia since March 2011, is required to apply for a US visa (rather than just an ESTA). If you are affected by this, the process is fairly straightforward and you can read more about it here:-
www.wildfrontierstravel.com/us-visa

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Rosario Islands

About an hour away by boat from beautiful colonial Cartagena lies the Rosario Islands, an archipelago that consists of 27 small coral islands and are great for swimming, snorkelling or beachcombing. Allow approximately 1-3 days.

Neighbouring Countries

For those with more time available, why not consider extending your stay to take in Ecuador. Ecuador has amazing sights to offer (not least the Galapagos Islands) so the possibilities are endless. Allow 7-21 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Travel to Colombia is really possible at any time of the year. The country enjoys an equatorial climate and can get hot and humid, but thanks to the Andean Mountain range there are many areas at an elevated altitude, which experience a more temperate climate. The coastal regions are also cooled by the sea breezes, but note it can be cold in the mountains and rain is always a possibility.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as all the walks are fairly undemanding (typically 2-3hrs in duration) and optional. Please be advised that on this trip vegetarians can be catered for but the selection and variety may be limited.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation, but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 10566 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION