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Day 1: Arrival in Bogota
Upon arrival in Bogota, Colombia's capital, we are met and transferred to our hotel. This evening, we have our welcome dinner.
Day 2: Exploring the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, Gold Museum & Colonial Bogota
We begin our day with a visit to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, an underground church built within the tunnels of a salt mine 200m (655ft) underground. After lunch, we will explore the very impressive Gold Museum, home to one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian gold work in the world. We then see Plaza de Bolivar (the city's main square), government buildings, the old colonial district known as La Candelaria and San Francisco Church.
Day 3: Bogota, Bahia Solano and El Almejal Reserve
After breakfast, we depart for the domestic airport for our flight to Bahía Solano via Medellín. We arrive in Bahía Solano and transfer by small cars towards El Valle, where the beach, El Almejal and the lodge are located. We will have a welcome orientation where we will receive information concerning our stay at the lodge.
Day 4: Whale Watching - El Almejal Reserve
Early morning departure from our lodge where we will board the boat to begin our whale watching experience. Be on the lookout for when they blow out 7 meter high water fountains and show us their massive tail fins! If we are not successful with spotting whales in the morning, another opportunity will be arranged in the afternoon.
Day 5: El Almejal Reserve
After breakfast we will walk to El Valle town for a canoe ride along the Tundó river. We will have the chance to appreciate the nature of the mangrove ecosystem and a dip in the river. We will return to the lodge for lunch and some time to rest. This afternoon we will enjoy a hike in the El Almejal Reserve. This evening we will enjoy a culture show performed by local dancers.
Day 6: El Almejal to Medellín
After breakfast we return back to the airport for our flight to Medellín via Bahía Solano. We will check in to our hotel and enjoy some time this afternoon to explore the city of Medellín, nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperate weather. Efficient metro cable cars link the city to surrounding barrios and offer views of the Aburrá Valley below.
Day 7: Medellín to Pereira
In the morning we explore downtown Medellín and the historical city center. Stroll through the hustle and bustle of downtown Medellín to the famous Botero Plaza with an exhibition of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, whose sculptures have become a landmark of the city. We will take the metro cable up to Santo Domingo, which was once a notorious area of gang violence in Medellín. The cable car was constructed to make the inner city more accessible to people from the outskirts, and allows visitors a glimpse into the lives of the marginalized population. While enjoying the spectacular view we will learn more about the transformation of Medellín from one of the most dangerous cities in the world to a fascinating melting pot of cultures, with possibly the friendliest and warmest people in the world. After the city tour, we continue on to Pereira and the heart of the coffee region.
Day 8: Cocora Valley – Salento and Ocaso Coffee Tour
The morning we will visit one of the most beautiful valleys in Colombia, the Cocora Valley. Here we will find the impressive “Palma de Cera”, the official Colombian national tree and one of the tallest species of palm trees in the world. We will have time to visit Salento, a picturesque village with artisanal shops. Afterwards we will visit ‘El Ocaso’, a coffee growing farm. This visit includes a technical and practical introduction to the whole coffee cultivation and the production process, from harvest to cup. In the afternoon we return to our hotel and have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Day 9: To Popayan; Indigenous Andean Market of Silvia
After breakfast, we start our long but beautiful day of driving from Pereira to Popayan, one of Colombia's most beautiful colonial cities. We will make several stops including Buga, famous for being the most important pilgrim church of Colombia. We also stop at Silvia, with its colorful local market, where the locals dress in their traditional Andean garb.
Day 10: Exploring the Colonial Charm of Popayan
Today, we explore the colonial plazas, churches, cathedrals and monuments of Popayan.
Day 11: Drive Over the Andes to San Agustin
After breakfast, we drive from Popayan to San Agustin, crossing the marvelous Purace National Park. Today is a long drive made nicer by spectacular mountain scenery. In the afternoon, we visit the famous strait of Magdalena. Here, the longest river in Colombia crosses a narrow throat just 2 meters wide.
Day 12: Ancient & Mysterious Statues of San Agustin
The Statues of San Agustin are an ancient wonder of Colombia. Spread over a vast area and clouded in mystery, the approximate 600 statues date from 1000 - 5,000 years old. The statues vary from small to giant (21'), from human figures to animals to part human and animal, and even pregnant women.
Day 13: Drive and Fly to Bucaramanga
We leave the beautiful and mysterious region of San Agustin and drive to Neiva for our flights to Bucaramanga (via Bogota). We will make several stops and enjoy sites enroute during our day of travel.
Day 14: To Colonial Barichara - One of Colombia's Most Beautiful Villages
In the morning, we drive to Barichara to explore this quaint and beautiful village. Founded in 1741, Barichara's colonial architecture of white-washed buildings and red-tiled roofs are simply stunning.
Day 15: Hike Camino Real, to Villa de Leyva
Before departing for Villa de Leyva, we hike the Camino Real to the small and sleepy one horse village of Guane. Along this stone path you can see the mountains and canyon in the distance while passing farms and horse ranches.
Day 16: Villa de Leyva
We continue our exploration of the history of Villa de Leyva through its colonial structures. This is a perfect town to meander about on foot. We will also visit a 160 million year old fossil and Ecce Homo.
Day 17: Villa de Leyva to Cartagena
We depart Villa de Leyva and drive to Bogota, where we continue to Bogota airport for our flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival in Cartagena we transfer to our hotel where the rest of the evening is at your leisure.
Day 18: Cartagena - Colombia's Colonial Gem
Today, we explore Cartagena, arguably the most beautiful colonial city in the Americas. Our exploration includes the Convent of La Popa, the highest point of the city with its impressive views of Cartagena. We continue to the massive fort of Castillo de San Felipe, with its history and mysteries hidden in its stone-walled tunnels. We visit the monument of Zapatos Viejos, the Old Shoes. However, most impressive is the huge defensive walls that surrounds the old city, which overlooks the sea and its well-preserved colonial architecture within these walls. Every street looks more beautiful than the last. During your exploration, you will see cathedrals, museums, plazas, restaurants and cafes. Cartagena has the best shopping in Colombia. Cartagena proudly deserves its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as you will never forget this wonderful destination.
Day 19: Depart Cartagena
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your departing flights.
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