Colombia highlights,individual trip 20 days, Bogota, Cartagena,Medellin, botero
In our programs, you travel completely independently without a tour guide. Southamerica planet takes on the task of booking and paying for all hotels / transport / and tours in advance. For all excursions there is an English speaking guide who will explain you to the places visited. At the airport / for an easy start / there is someone with a name sign with your name and takes you to your first hotel. You will receive vouchers for all hotels by email.
Our prices are without international flight / we also can purchase at good rates, or you can arrange those yourself. You just provide us with your flight number and planned arrival and departure time, so we know when to send someone to meet you at the airport.
There are also 2 domestic flights in the trip. (Exclusive, best to buy together with international flight)
Character of the trip
This is a gentle journey. This trip is suitable for all ages, for open-minded people! A positive attitude is very important! Leave your western glasses at home and enjoy the beauty of this country. Accept that it is different from home, we come to admire the country, not to change! We can offer this tour in 3 *** hotels – hostals – finca or 4 * hotels / centrally located. A combination of nature, walking, beach, coffee plantations and culture.
* All bus transport (excluding flights)
* All hotels to your needs with private bathroom, all very neat and centrally located. All hotels are designed for double rooms, except in the national park Tayrone share your bungalow with 4 persons) if you want a single room, there is an extra charge and you must report this when booking.
* Breakfast is included throughout the trip!
* Your lunch and diner and drinks.
* optional excursions
* The entrance fees (tayrone park included)
* Insurance. Everyone is obliged to take out travel insurance before you start this tour. Southamerica planet can also arrange insurance at competitive prices.
* Local and International flights
* Bogota with beautiful museums
* The salt cathedral
* Desert tatacoa
* San agustin images
* Coffee plantations
* Sleeping on a Finca
* Medellin bustling city
* Tayrone park
* Unforgettable Cartagena
Day 1 departure to Bogota
International flight to Bogota and upon arrival transfer to hotel in the Colonial section of La Candelaria.
Day 2 Bogota City tour
Bogota, a beautiful city with a lot to do. We have 2 full days to discover this city.
City tour, including Monserrate
You will be picked up from the hotel by a local guide and begin a tour of the city. First you walk through La Candelaria, the historical center of Bogotá, and then you visit the famous Gold Museum and the Botero Museum (closed on Tuesdays). You also take the cable car to Cerro Monserrate, where you have the best view of Bogotá at an altitude of 3000 meters. You will return to the hotel in the afternoon.
Day 3 Tour Zipaquirá & Guatavita
You will be picked up at the hotel and taken to the village of Zipaquirá (1.5-hour-drive). In Zipaquirá, you will visit the special Salt Cathedral, built in the tunnels of a salt mine at 190 meters below the surface. The construction of this cathedral began in 1930 with the erection of an altar by the workers of the salt mine. Slowly, the cathedral evolved into the current cathedral, where no fewer than 3000 people can attend service on Sunday. The tour takes you along the so-called ‘Way of the Cross’, a path that depicts Christ’s last journey, and leads down to the altar in the mine. After the visit to the cathedral, the driver will take you to Lake Guatavita, a lake at about a 1.5-hour-drive from Bogotá. This perfectly circular lake, on top of a mountain half an hour from the eponymous village of Guatavita, used to be a sacred place for the indigenous Muisca. The legend goes that the village chieftains sank many golden objects to the bottom of the lake as a sacrifice to the gods. As a result, the myth about the promised ‘El Dorado’ being there grew bigger and bigger. Reason enough for the Spaniards and other conquistadors to search the lake for the pot of gold. The Spanish-speaking guide will tell you all about the Muisca and the history of Guatavita during the walk to the lake. After the tour, the driver will take you back to Bogotá.
Day 4 Transport Bogotá-Neiva
You will be picked up at the hotel for transport to the city of Neiva, a 7-hour drive. As you descend the mountains, you will feel how the temperature rises quickly.
Day 5 Tour Tatacoa desert with Spanish speaking guide
In the early morning, you will be picked up by a driver and a local Spanish-speaking guide for a visit to the Tatacoa Desert. After a 15-minute drive, you will start the hike through the Cuzco gorge, the red part of the desert. The guide will tell you about the special geological formations of this area, and about the local flora and fauna. Afterwards, you will visit the surreal moonscapes of the gray part of the desert, where you will also have the opportunity to cool down in Los Hoyos, a natural swimming pool in the middle of the moonscape.
After this dip, you will continue to San Agustín, a 6-hour drive via the city of Neiva and through the Andean landscapes of the Huila department, passing through various villages and along the Magdalena River
Day 6 Tour Archaeological Park + surrounding by horse
A local guide and driver will pick you up at the hotel for the 15-minute drive to the entrance of the San Agustín Archaeological Park. During this half-day tour you will walk through the Sculpture Forest, a cloud forest where various statues of San Agustín have been placed along the path. You will also visit the park’s museum and the amazing Lavapatas source, where rock drawings have been carved into the stone riverbed. Furthermore, You will walk across different plains with statues and tombs of mysterious pre-Columbian communities, and you will climb a hill for a wide view of the entire area. After the visit to the archaeological park, you will continue to explore the area of San Agustin by car. The tour ends back at the hotel.
Day 7 Transport San Agustín – stop by hot water springs Coconuco (entrance fee included) – Popayán
You will travel by private transport from San Agustín to Popayán, a journey of approximately 5 hours. You will drive straight through the Puracé National Park and enjoy beautiful views of the páramos and volcanoes of this nature reserve. You will make a stop at the hot water springs in Cocunuco, that´s on the way to Popayán. Because the road is largely unpaved, the duration of the journey depends on the condition of the road that day.
Day 8 Visit to the indigenous market in Silvia / only Tuesdays
Early in the morning, you will be picked up at the hotel for the drive to the town of Silvia, at 2600 meters altitude in the mountains. Silvia is known for its market on Tuesdays, when the indigenous Guambianos from the area descend to the town to sell and trade their wares. The Guambianos are one of the most traditional indigenous peoples of Colombia, with their own traditional clothing, agricultural techniques and language. If you want to take a photo, you better ask for permission first. In the afternoon go back to Popayán
Day 9 Transport from Popayán to the Coffee Region
You will be picked up at the hotel for a 7-hour drive to the coffee region. You will descend the mountains into the lower Valle de Cauca, where you will drive past the sugar cane plantations and pass the city of Cali until the road starts to wind again as you enter the green mountain landscapes of the coffee region.
Day 10 Free day at the Coffee Region
Enjoy a day off in the coffee region. Visit a coffee plantation and learn about the entire process of producing coffee: from coffee tree to a cup of coffee. You can also go hiking, horse riding or cycling in the beautiful mountain setting, explore one of the many charming villages or relax in the thermal baths.
Day 11 Tour Salento, Cocora & Filandia
A local guide will pick you up at the hotel in the morning for the day tour to Filandia, the Cocora Valley and Salento. You will start with a visit to the dozing coffee village of Filandia, at an hour’s drive from Salento. First, you will go for a tour of the colonial streets of the village, and then you will climb the viewpoint for a view of the village and the surrounding area with the snowcapped volcano tops of Los Nevados in the distance. After a traditional lunch in the village and a visit to an atelier where handwoven baskets are made, you will continue towards the Cocora Valley. Arriving in the Cocora Valley, you will be welcomed with a traditional canelazo, a herbal tea with aguardiente. The eco-guide who is specialized in this nature reserve will be waiting for you to give you some information about the Cocora Valley. Afterwards, you will start the hike through the green valley with its iconic wax palms. The path can be quite muddy, so put on good shoes. In Salento the guide will take you for a walk through the colorful streets with its traditional whitewashed Paisa houses that have balconies in all colors of the rainbow. After the tour, you will be brought back to the hotel.
Day 12 Flight Pereira – Medellín
You will be picked up at the hotel for a transfer to the International Airport in Pereira. Flight from Pereira – Medellin with Avianca at 12:00 PM
Arrival at José María Córdova International Airport in Rionegro. When leaving the airport, look for a sign with your names. The transfer to the hotel in Medellín will take one hour.
Day 13 City tour with guide and local transport like metro and metro cable ( Or optional guatape )
A local English-speaking guide will pick you up at the hotel for a 4-hour tour of the city of Medellín. You will take the metro for 20 minutes to get to the city center. Here you will visit, among others, the square of the famous Colombian artist Botero, with a special collection of his characteristic ‘chubby’ statues. After the tour of the center, you will take the cable car up to the Santo Domingo district, where you will walk to the viewpoint for the best view of the city. Santo Domingo was still considered a no-go area with a lot of poverty and gang violence in the nineties, but thanks to the innovative city policy it changed into a pleasant working-class neighborhood. After the tour, the guide will accompany you back to the hotel
Day 14 Flight Medellín to Santa Marta
Pick up at the hotel for the transfer to José María Córdova International Airport in Rionegro, a one-hour-drive. Flight Medellín to Santa Marta with Avianca at 11:30 AM
Arrival at Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta. When leaving the airport, look for a sign with your names. Transfer to the hotel in Palomino.
Day 15 Day tour to Tayrona park with transport and guide
Day tour to the Tayrona Natural Park. After the early transfer from the hotel to the park entrance, a local guide will take you for a walk through the jungle. Have your camera ready, because you will be able to spot capuchin monkeys, colorful toucans, and other exotic animal species. You will walk to the most beautiful white beaches of Tayrona, where you can swim, eat some fresh fish or just relax and enjoy the Caribbean view. In the afternoon, you will be brought back to the hotel. The total duration of this tour is 7 hours. Take along plenty water and sunscreen and put on comfortable shoes.
Dag 16 Free day in Palomino
Enjoy a day off in the care-free coastal village of Palomino. Walk on the long beach, rest in a hammock while listening to the tides of the Caribbean sea, drink from a coconut, stroll through the sandy streets of the coastal village where local creatives sell beautiful jewelry and hand-made bags, and eat some fresh fish
Dag 17 Transport from Palomino to Cartagena
Transport from Palomino to Cartagena takes 6 hours. It’s a pleasant drive along the coast with views of both the beautiful mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the Caribbean Sea. The cities of Santa Marta and Barranquilla are also on this route, by the way.
Dag 18 City tour Cartagena
An English-speaking guide will pick you up at the hotel in the morning, after which you will start exploring the old, colonial town centre on foot. You will pay a visit to the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, the biggest colonial fortress ever built by the Spaniards. Visiting the huge, stone fortress with a maze of dark alleys, towers and cannons is an adventure in itself. You could easily imagine that you’ve traveled a few centuries back in time. It can get quite hot in Cartagena, so take along sufficient hydration and protection against the bright sun. The city tour takes 4 hours.
Day 19 Free day in Cartagena
Enjoy a day off in Cartagena. Both in the old, walled-in city center and in Getsemaní, the city district just outside, there is always something new to discover. Marvel at the remarkable murals in the streets, drink a fruit juice prepared by the Palenqueras in their African dresses, eat coconut rice with fresh fish in one of Cartagena’s many good restaurants, dance salsa and drink a cocktail overlooking the sunset. The beach is also pretty close by, for those who prefer to rest.
Optional tour: Tour to the Rosario island
In the morning, you will be picked up and taken to the harbor, where you will sail with a fast motorboat to Isla Grande, the largest island of the Rosario Archipelago. After a reception with a refreshing welcome drink, you will have the private beach all to yourself. But the island is also great for water sports such as diving, snorkeling and paddle boarding. These optional activities can be organized on site by the hotel. A typical Colombian lunch is included. At the end of the afternoon, you will take the same boat back to the port of Cartagena, where the driver will take you back to the hotel.
Day 20 International flight back home
A driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you to Rafael Núñez International Airport in Cartagena, a short 15-minute drive.
* National flights: Pereira-Medellín (Avianca) and Medellín-Santa Marta (Avianca)
* All transport as mentioned with Spanish speaking driver
* Overnight stays in hotels in your preferred quality with breakfast
* Tours as mentioned with English speaking guide, transport and entrances:
* City tour and Monserrate in Bogotá
* Entrance fee of Cathedral of Salt in Zipaquirá
* Tour Tatacoa
* Tour San Agustín
* Entrance fees of Termales Coconuco
* Day tour Salento & Valle de Cocora & Filandia
* City tour in Medellín with public transport
* Day tour to Tayrona
* City tour in Cartagena
* 24/7 assistance
* International flights
* Travel and cancellation insurance
* Personal expenses
* Tours listed as optional
* Tours & meals not mentioned