12 NIGHTS/13 DAYS FROM £6,249 PER PERSON (EXCLUDING INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS)
Day 1 – Bogotá
Your Avventura Representative will meet you at Bogotá International Airport to take you to the Hotel Sofitel Victoria Regia.
Once you have had a chance to freshen up you will have an afternoon tour of this great city. Bogotá sits just north of the equator on a high plateau, ringed by the mighty Andes Mountains. You will visit the historic centre, now most famed for its nightlife, La Candelaria. This neighbourhood is the oldest part of the city and home to the main government buildings including the Presidential Palace and Congress. It is very much the cultural heart of the city with its universities, Colonial plaza, museums and churches all rolled up with an exciting bohemian feel.
The Gold Museum has the largest display of gold anywhere in the world and this priceless collection would not look out of place in the principal museums of Europe or North America. The vibrant and often politically charged street art scene is also fascinating and seeing Colombia’s social side through the eyes of the local street artists gives a different and interesting perspective on the city.
This evening, you will relax with a welcome cocktail at your hotel.
Day 2 – Bogotá to Los Llanos
It is an early start this morning to catch your six o clock flight to Yopal where there will be time for breakfast before driving the two and a half hours to Savannah Lodge. Set on a private reserve in the Llanos Orientales area of Colombia you are now in the Orinoco region, famed as cowboy country. After lunch, choose from several activities including nature walks and horse riding. If you would rather just relax, there are ample opportunities here, including taking it easy in one of the hammocks perfectly placed around the lodge.
This evening, you can relax and enjoy freshly-made cocktails as you watch the sunset before heading for a sumptuous dinner.
Day 3 – Los Llanos
The endless plains of the Los Llanos region are one of the country’s lesser known natural treasures. Vast plain, immense skies and superb wildlife spotting make this region a fascinating and rewarding stop. Added to this the unique llanero cowboy culture, they ride barefoot to round up the cattle.
Today you will have the chance to explore Los Llanos to its fullest and to see the nature of the region as close-up as can be. Activities include horse-riding with the local cowboys, four-wheel drive tours and bird watching There will also be the chance to join a wildlife safari across the open plains.
This evening there will be the opportunity to meet and mingle with the indigenous people who will sing and recite their music and poetry as you sit around your campfire.
Day 4 – Los Llanos to Barichara
After breakfast, you will have a few more hours to explore the vast savannahs of Los Llanos before it is time to make the journey back to Yopal for a local lunch before taking your domestic flight to Bucaramanga.
On arrival in Bucaramanga, capital of the Santander region, you will drive south to Barichara. The road takes in the stunning mountain scenery of the central and eastern Andean ranges and passes the spectacular Chicamocha canyon. You will arrive in the picturesque town of Barichara early in the evening. Often described as the most beautiful village in all Colombia and its best kept secret, Barichara is a stunning place to visit. Situated in a privileged location in the central Andean chain with stunning views across the nearby mountains and Rio/River Suarez valley. This quaint “time-stood-still” colonial village with its traditional cobbled streets and typical adobe houses and architecture allows a glimpse into Colombia’s more rural past.
Day 5 – Barichara
You will have an early start this morning to avoid the heat of the day as you take the walking trail from Barichara to Guane. This ancient route, known as the Camino Real, or Royal Way, is part of a wider, interconnection of ancient paths and trading routes around the region. often used by the Colonial Spanish and the local indigenous communities before them. The two and a half hour walk passes through wooded areas, open spaces and an abundance of nature ending in the village of Guane, Barichara’s even smaller and quieter cousin. There are flora and flora opportunities on the way, with bird life being especially abundant. There are several lookout points affording the most amazing views over the surrounding mountains and valleys. On arrival to Guane, depending on time there may be an opportunity for a short walk around the village and even a stop in the local village museum before the return trip by road back to Barichara.
After lunch, you will have a guided walking tour of Barichara. The only way to explore Barichara is on foot, wandering along its cobbled streets past the typical houses, churches and through its quaint plazas. This is a great opportunity to explore and understand more about the village’s historic importance to the region and to understand more about the people who still live their lives here. Two main points of interest are the villages two primary churches, the church of Immaculate Conception and the Santa Barbara Chapel. From the later there are great views of the village and mountains beyond from the slightly elevated plaza in front of the church.
Day 6 – Villa de Leyva
Following breakfast, your guide will meet you for your private transfer to Villa de Leyva.
With its myriad winding cobbled streets, lined on either side by orange roofed whitewashed houses and surrounded by mountains, Villa de Leyva is a charming place. With scarcely a modern building in sight and boasting one of the largest cobbled-stoned squares in South America, this village where time stands still is a great place to see a snapshot of historical Colombia preserved in its entirety.
In the afternoon, you will have a guided tour of the village seeking out the birthplace of Antonio Ricaurte (a heroic patriot during the War of Independence) and the house in which Antonio Nariño (another patriot, writer and revered politician) lived.
Days 7 – Villa de Leyva to Bogotá
Following breakfast, your guide will meet you for your private transfer to back to Bogotá. En route you will stop for a guided tour at one of the country’s most spectacular and artistic feats of engineering, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá.
For the beauty of its landscapes, the richness of its soil and the hidden jewel beneath the earth’s surface, Zipaquirá must be seen during a visit to Colombia. Zipaquirá is most famous for its cathedral carved underground in still functioning salt mines just west of the town. The subtle lighting reveals the fourteen Stations of the Cross as you descend into the mine, each station sculpted by a different artist. At the deepest point of the cathedral, 180 metres below the earth’s surface, you encounter the nave and the north and south aisles dominated by a 16m high central cross. The illumination and execution of the work is a tribute to modern techniques and years of work by miners and artists. Your guide will explain all about the cathedral’s construction and how it and the mine still function in harmony.
After a local lunch, you will continue your journey to Bogotá.
After settling back into your hotel, you will visit Monserrate monastery. Rising over three thousand metres above the city, the summit can be reached by either funicular railway or cable car. From the highest point the stunning views across the city are a wonder to behold. Your visit to this stunning location will conclude with a sumptuous dinner in a hilltop restaurant.
Day 8 – Bogotá to the Coffee Region
After breakfast, it is time to transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Armenia, one of the gateways to the Zona Cafetera, Colombia’s fabled coffee region. On arrival at Armenia airport, you will be met and driven to Hotel Hacienda Bambusa for a three night stay.
This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a walk around this marvellous property and have a chocolate/cacao presentation.
Day 9 & 10 – The Coffee Region
Colombia’s Coffee Region is spectacular with rolling green, coffee covered hillsides, dotted with brightly painted homes, and farm or fincas. It is another total change from the scenery of the first part of the trip and shows again the incredible diversity Colombia has to offer.
Colombia produces some of the world’s finest coffee, so much so that this area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most of the best crop goes for export because of its high value although there will be plenty of opportunities for you to taste a Colombian brew at its best. After breakfast at the hacienda you will visit the traditional, brightly painted colonial town of Filandia.
After lunch in a local restaurant you will learn more about the complete coffee process with a visit to Hacienda Bruselas where you will take part in a coffee cupping session where you can taste and smell the aromas of the different types of coffee produced.
Your final day at Hacienda Bambusa is at leisure for you to enjoy the ambiance and scenery at this wonderful location.
Day 11 – Coffee Region to Cartagena de Indias
Today you will fly from the Coffee Region to Cartagena de Indias via Bogotá. Cartagena was founded almost five hundred years ago when it swiftly became the most important port in the Americas. Gold and silver from all over the Spanish Empire came through here on its way back to Europe. One of the most beautiful cities in South America it is known for its cobbled streets, beautiful churches and atmospheric plazas and considered by many to be the jewel in the crown for South American colonial architecture. Your Hotel, Hotel Casa San Agustín, where you will enjoy a deluxe room, is situated within the old city walls of what is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This afternoon there will be a short introductory walking tour ending in a local bar for cocktails and sunset.
Day 12 – Rosario Islands
Today is a day to relax on the beach with a trip to the exquisite Rosario Islands off Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Your private boat tour will take you to Acasí Island where you can swim, snorkel or just laze in the sun. The sand gleams white and the water is purist, clearest turquoise. As part of a National Park (the only one to be largely underwater) the sea and land are beautifully maintained in what is a tropical paradise. Palm trees are wafted by the wind and thatch roofed huts adorn the beach so that you feel a world away from the city. There surely cannot be a better way to end your Colombian adventure.
Your final full day in Colombia will conclude with an evening run tasting class and a sumptuous farewell dinner.
Day 13 – Depart Cartagena des Indias
It is time to say goodbye to Colombia. After breakfast you will be driven to the airport for your international flight home.