Depart Sydney August 14, 2020
Book By Book by October 17, 2019
Final Payment May 14, 2020
- Flights Sydney-Bogota, Cartagena-Sydney
- Other departure cities available.
- Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
- All intra-flights: Bogota-Pereira & Medellin-Cartagena
- 10 nights accommodations
- 3 nights Bogota
- 2 nights Manizales
- 2 nights Medellin
- 3 nights Cartagena
- Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
- Hotel porterage
- All transfers
- 17 meals:
- 10 breakfasts,
- 3 lunches,
- 4 dinners
- Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
- Services of an English-speaking tour manager throughout
- Services of English-speaking local guides
- Entrance fees per itinerary
Note: Gratuities for tour manager and coach driver are included.
Explore Colombia, a country of great diversity, culture and natural beauty. Begin in the capital city of Bogotá, the heart of the country, and enjoy a tour of the colonial section of La Candelaria, stopping at Plaza de Bolivar where you will see the Cathedral, Palace of Congress, the Cardinal’s Palace and the colonial church of El Sagrario, plus visit the amazing Salt Cathedral and watch an energetic game of Tejo, the national sport of Colombia.
Depart for Pereira, a region of great natural beauty, charming colonial towns and welcoming people. In Cocora Valley see flocks of hummingbirds and endemic yellow-eared parrots, along with the tallest wax-palms in the world. Witness the beautiful traditional architecture of Salento, see colourful balconies and rows of handicrafts at Bolivar Square, and view breathtaking panoramas from Cocora Viewpoint.
Explore the lovely city of Manizales with its beautiful parks, mountain views, and streams. Walk to the Plaza Bolivar in the city center, highlighted by the massive Cathedral of Manizales, famous for its elaborate gold canopy and beautiful, large stained-glass windows. Afterward, visit the Hacienda Venecia coffee plantation to understand the complicated process of producing the world’s finest coffee.
Discover Medellin in the beautiful Aburra Valley, surrounded on four sides by lush green mountains and rugged peaks. Enjoy a city tour including a Metrocable car ride and a traditional lunch with a local family and experience their ways of living. With time at leisure, perhaps visit the very chic El Poblado neighborhood known for its trendy restaurants and clubs.
Fly to Cartagena, a magical city with richness of architecture, massive fortifications and wonderful sea breezes. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is considered one of the continent’s cultural treasures with its remarkably intact historic walled city. Enjoy a sightseeing tour plus time at leisure to discover the charm of this city with its Spanish colonial architecture, wonderful restaurants, and lovely squares and plazas.
Fly to Cuzco and transfer to the Sacred Valley of Incas. En route, stop in the small village of Chinchero for a weaving demonstration and enjoy a typical Peruvian lunch. Enjoy time at leisure in the Sacred Valley, scattered with ancient ruins, or perhaps choose to join the full day optional tour to Maras & Moray. Visit the impressive Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo, an ancient complex of temples and terraces towering high over the valley.
Embark on a full day excursion for Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend the afternoon viewing the ancient citadel before travelling to Cuzco. Enjoy “The Imperial City” by leisure and perhaps visit some of the numerous Inca monuments or investigate the culinary secrets of Andean cuisine.
Travel through the Andes Mountain Range to Puno, located on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, and stop at the Incan archaeological site of Raqchi. Take a boat trip to the floating Uros Islands, completely man-made structures still inhabited today.
Next fly to Iquitos, capital of the Peruvian Amazon. Upon arrival, embark on a thrilling boat transfer to our lodge in the midst of the Amazon River. The scenery is amazing – the Amazon is one of the planet’s richest and most bio-diverse regions. Continue on by boat to the remote village of the Yagua Indians where we learn about their culture and traditions so closely linked to the rainforest. Enjoy a boat ride to Fundo Neisser, a private reserve where more than five species of tropical primates are protected. A preservationist introduces us to some of the primates, an anaconda, a mata mata turtle, coati, or parrots. After lunch, return to Iquitos for the flight to Lima, where we spend our last night in Peru.
- Visit La Candelaria District renowned for its perfectly preserved Colonial architecture
- Stand before the impressive collection of pre-Hispanic Indian gold pieces at the Gold Museum
- View the paintings and sculptures of Fernando Botero, the famed Colombian artist
- Visit the amazing Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira built within the tunnels of a salt mine
- Tour a working coffee plantation in Manizales, center of Colombia’s Zona Cafetera
- Walk on an ecological path through the world’s tallest wax-palms at the Los Nevados National Park
- Discover Medellin in the beautiful Aburra Valley, named the “City of Eternal Spring”
- Visit Santa Elena birthplace of the ornate flower arrangements called “Silletas”
- Stay in magical Cartagena, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a true cultural treasure!
- Tour Cartagena’s Colonial District, view Bolivar Park, Santo Domingo Church and the Gold Museum
DAY 1, Friday – Depart for Colombia
Depart for Colombia, a country of great diversity, culture, and natural beauty. Arrive in the cosmopolitan capital city of Bogotá; transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the city independently, with its more than 60 galleries and museums
Overnight: Bogota ▲
DAY 2, Saturday – Bogota City Tour
After breakfast, visit the colorful Paloquemao market. Your knowledgeable Tour Manager will provide insight into the delicious and often overlooked Colombian cuisine. Hot tamales are a favorite staple here, stuffed with chicken and corn in a banana leaf. You may have a chance to sip freshly pressed tropical fruit juice or try other Colombian specialties. Continue to the colonial section of La Candelaria, stopping at Plaza de Bolivar, the city’s main square surrounded by the Cathedral, Palace of Congress, the Cardinal’s Palace and the colonial church of El Sagrario. On to the astonishing Gold Museum with its impressive collection of pre-Hispanic native gold crafts and to the Fernando Botero Museum, housing some of the major paintings and sculptures of this contemporary Colombian artist. The afternoon is at leisure to further explore the city or, join the optional Funicular Train Ride* that takes you up to Monserrate Mountain. At more than 10,000 feet above sea level, see outstanding views of downtown Bogota and visit the 17th-century church and its El Señor Caído Shrine. Tonight, enjoy a light dinner with your fellow travelers and an orientation meeting with your Tour Manager on the delightful journey of Colombia that awaits you
*Funicular train may be substituted with a cable car ride without notice
Optional: Monserrate Funicular Train Ride (PM)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 3, Sunday – Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
Depart this morning for Zipaquira. Upon arrival, visit the amazing Salt Cathedral, “The First Wonder of Colombia”, built within the chambers of a salt mine. Afterward, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Later, stop to play an energetic local game of Tejo*, the national sport of Colombia. Originally, gameplay consisted of hurling golden discs into a hole, at a distance of about 65 feet. However, the Conquistadors did make their own subtle improvement to the game – they added explosives. Today, the game is played with metal disks in fields across the country. Learn how to play and try your hand at throwing the disk. The afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, perhaps dine at one of the restaurants offering delectable Colombian cuisine or walk through the trendy Zona Rosa district, known for its lively pub scene or Parque 93, a commercial and recreational hub of the city
*Colombian laws prohibit all people under 18 from entering places where tejo is played
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 4, Monday – Flight to Pereira, Tour the Cocora Valley and Salento Tour
Depart Bogota on a flight to Pereira in the center of Colombia’s Zona Cafetera (Coffee Zone), a region of great natural beauty, charming colonial towns and welcoming people. Upon arrival, drive to the lush Cocora Valley, one of the most striking landscapes in Colombia, part of Los Nevados National Park. Here you may see hummingbirds and endemic yellow-eared parrots that made the park their home. Time for a walk in the valley before heading into the cloud forest to discover the biodiversity of the flora and fauna. Walk along an ecological pathway through the tallest wax palms in the world, the national tree of Colombia, reaching up to 200 feet tall. Enjoy lunch at a traditional restaurant and sample grilled trout – a local favorite before heading towards Salento with its beautiful traditional architecture. At Bolivar Square, see the colorful balconies and rows of handicraft shops. Before continuing to an approximate 3 hours drive to Manizales, linger at the Cocora Viewpoint to see the breathtaking panoramic views of the valleys below
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5, Tuesday – Tour a Coffee Plantation
This morning, explore the lovely city of Manizales with its beautiful parks, mountain views, and streams. Walk to the Plaza Bolivar in the city center, highlighted by the massive Cathedral of Manizales, famous for its elaborate gold canopy and beautiful, large stained-glass windows. Be sure to stop at a local café or shop to try some of the regional favorites. Afterward, visit the Hacienda Venecia coffee plantation to understand the complicated process of producing the world’s finest coffee. The highlight of the tour is a genuine coffee experience – you’ll analyze the aroma, flavor, and body of a great cup of coffee. After all, coffee is Colombia’s main agricultural export!
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 6, Wednesday – Medellin
Early wake up for a long drive* today but extremely rewarding. Depart Manizales for Medellin and admire the stunning scenery as you journey through coffee plantations, running rivers, and majestic mountain ranges. Discover Medellin located in the beautiful Aburra Valley, surrounded on four sides by lush green mountains and rugged peaks. Named the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its year-round mild temperatures, the city bustles with non-stop activity. Head first to Botero Plaza accented by the artist’s huge metal sculptures and home to the Museo de Antioquia with its outstanding collection of Botero’s paintings as well as other famous international artists. Continue to Barefoot Park, a delightful zen-inspired public area that encompasses a small bamboo forest and sandy areas. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon. The rest of the day is free to enjoy this lovely city on your own. In the evening, try a typical Antioquian dinner or, visit the upscale and very chic El Poblado neighborhood known for its trendy restaurants and clubs
*Due to road construction, the drive will take longer than expected, therefore, an early morning departure is necessary to make up for the delay
DAY 7, Thursday – Medellin City & Santa Elena
Today, see a different side of Medellin with a visit to the barrios. Witness the transformation of the city once known for its drug violence, to a safe venue to soak up culture and everyday life. Begin with a Metrocable cable-car ride that takes you high over the barrios offering a bird’s eye view of the city. Visit the barrio of Santo Domingo and the Biblioteca España,* an integral project to the city’s urban infrastructure improvement. This ultra modern library complex, on a hillside above the city consists of three buildings, covered in black stone tiles. Next, visit the Santa Elena area, near Medellin and one of the most typical “Antioqueño” towns, where the “Silleteros” tradition, linked to the flower production of the area, was born. Enjoy a traditional lunch with a local family and experience a unique opportunity to learn about the values and traditions of the Antioqueños. Afterward, continue with a visit to the town, including a flower production garden, where you’ll learn more about the “Silltero” tradition
*Biblioteca España is closed for an indefinite period of time, due to construction
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 8, Friday – Magical Cartagena on the Sea
A flight takes you to Cartagena (Cartagena de Indias), a magical city nestled on the Caribbean Sea with magnificent architecture, massive fortifications and fabulous sea breezes. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is considered one of the continent’s cultural treasures with its remarkably intact historic walled city. Upon arrival, time permitting, meet children at a local school before continuing to your hotel. The afternoon is yours to start your exploration of Cartagena either in the Old City with its maze of cobbled alleys, or at one of the volcanic beaches. Restaurants and open-air cafes abound on the lively coastline with superb cuisine and fish fresh from the sea
DAY 9, Saturday – Cartagena City Tour
This morning, see expansive views of the city, sea and the port zone as you make your way to the San Felipe castle-fortress built on San Lazaro Hill, the largest in South America, to defend the city from pirate attacks. At the walled city, walk through the multicolored houses and buildings of the Old City of Cartagena. Visit San Pedro Claver Sanctuary and Church built in the mid-17th century. Proceed to the city’s colonial district beginning at Bolivar Park shaded by large trees and a statue of the great Liberator in the middle. Surrounding the square is the Gold Museum, which exhibits its fine collection of archaeological objects dating back to the pre-Colombian period. The visit continues to Santo Domingo church, the Cathedral and ends at the Terraces. Pass by the house of the famous Nobel Prize Laureate novelist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Then, on to ‘the Vaults’, archways built within the walled city that were used to store armaments and later as a prison. Today, this entire area is a thriving artisans’ center with beautiful local handicrafts. The afternoon is at leisure to discover this charming city on your own or, participate in the optional Emerald Jewelry Workshop. Learn the art of jewelry making from trained craftsmen at FEJOCAR, a private non-profit jewelry school. Using .925 sterling silver and raw emeralds you will create jewelry. Upon completion of the class, you will receive a diploma and one piece of jewelry that you designed
Optional: Emerald Jewelry Workshop (PM)
DAY 10, Sunday – Full Day in Cartagena
Spend a full day at leisure in Cartagena to further explore the city on your own or, join the optional half day La Boquilla Mangrove. Embark on a tour of the mangroves of La Boquilla, a fishing village located twenty minutes north of Cartagena. Glide through the dense growth of mangroves, on an original wooden canoe and view up-close this rich and diverse ecosystem. In the afternoon perhaps, participate in the optional half day Bird-watching at the Colombian National Aviary. Visit the second biggest aviary in Latin America, and sixth in the world, that houses more than 1,750 birds, representing 135 species. During the tour, enjoy a refreshing drink or ice cream before returning to Cartagena. Tonight, a festive Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers marks the end of a truly wonderful adventure in Colombia
Optional: Half Day La Boquilla Mangrove (AM)
Optional: Half Day Bird-watching at the Colombian National Aviary (PM)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 11, Monday – Depart Colombia
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
▲ Due to the high elevation, travel in the Colombian highlands may cause some passengers to experience the temporary effects of altitude sickness. If you have any concerns about traveling to higher than your accustomed elevation, please consult your healthcare provider.
Hotel El Dorado, Bogota
This first class hotel is a five minute walk from Parque 93.
Estelar El Cable, Manizales
This superior tourist class hotel is located in a residential area close to the Torre Del Cable.
Hotel Estelar Recinto Del Pensamiento, Manizales
This tourist class hotel is a 25 minute drive away from the city center of Manizales.
Hotel Poblado Plaza, Medellin
This superior tourist class hotel is situated in the Poblado neighborhood of Medellin.Hotel Details
Monserrate Funicular Train Ride
Day #2 AUD$60.00
Board the Funicular Train that takes you up to Monserrate Mountain. After a short hike, reach the top of Monserrate. At more than 10,000 feet above sea level, see outstanding views of downtown Bogota. Visit the 17th century church and the “El Señor Caído” shrine that welcomes pilgrims all year long.
*This Optional Tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.
Pick-up and Drop-off at hotel. Approximate tour duration is 2 hours.
Emerald Jewelry Workshop
Day #9 AUD$39.00
Upon arrival, meet your main instructor and watch a video about Colombian emeralds to learn fascinating facts regarding these gemstones, including how they are mined and carved. Colombia is the world’s largest producer of emeralds. A hands-on class follows, where you use 925 sterling silver wire and Colombian emeralds to create three pieces of jewelry, a pair of earrings, a bracelet and a ring. At the conclusion of the class you will receive a diploma and one piece of jewelry that you created.
Pick-up and Drop-off at hotel. Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.
Half Day La Boquilla Mangrove
Day #10 AUD$60.00
Enjoy a tour of the mangrove swamps of La Boquilla, a fishing village located twenty minutes north of Cartagena. Take a ride on an original wooden canoe that glides through the dense growth of mangroves, providing a close up view of this rich and diverse ecosystem; you will observe different birds. Your guide will provide facts about the surroundings and talk about the flora and fauna that you will encounter. Afterwards, return to the hotel.
Pick-up details to be advised locally. Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.
Half Day Bird-watching at the Colombian National Aviary
Day #10 AUD$121.00
Depart Cartagena and travel south for about an hour through the picturesque countryside to the Colombia National Aviary, which houses more than 1,750 birds, representing 135 species. It’s the second biggest aviary in Latin America, and sixth in the world. This fascinating place, with its unique flora and fauna, aims to educate and create awareness about the diversity of birds found in Colombia. Take a walking tour through the three ecosystems, tropical rainforest, seaboard and desert. At the end of the tour, enjoy a typical Colombian coffee before returning to Cartagena.
Pick-up details to be advised locally. Approximate tour duration is 4 hours.
Entry and Visa information
Most Australian and New Zealand passport holders will not require a visa to enter Coumbia. Please check the Smartraveller Website for more information.
Entry requirements are your own responsibility, and you should check. Generally it is a good idea to have 6 months validity on your passport remaining at the end of your trip, though this is not a requirement in all countries. If your passport is due to expire please ask for more information before booking.