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Hola Colombia
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Looking to explore all the colours of Colombia? From bustling cities, to lush coffee plantation towns, charming cobblestoned retreats, and idyllic beaches, this 18 day extravaganza brings you the very best of this vibrant country. Whether you're taking a hot air balloon over the 'coffee zone', kicking back on the Caribbean coastlines of Palomino or soaking up some culture in cute colonial towns, there's no better way to explore Colombia in all its glory. Say hola to the adventure of a lifetime.

  • Duration: 18 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure:
  • Physical rating: Easy
  • Supplier Tour ID: 326/251138
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Bogota, Colombia
  • Finishes: Santa Marta, Colombia
  • Age requirement: 18 - 35
You will Visit
  • Bogota
  • Villa de Leyva
  • San Gil
  • Salento
  • Medellin
  • Cartagena
  • Palomino Beach
  • Tayrona National Park
  • Santa Marta

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Bogota to Villa de Leyva via Zipaquira

Arriving today in the bustling hub of Bogota, you'll meet your Contiki crew and head north - don't worry we'll be back to this colourful city for some in-depth exploring.Our first stop is Zipaquira, a charming colonial town famed for its salt mines and stunning salt cathedral. We'll drop by the salt cathedral, an underground shrine bathed in beautiful blue light, before continuing on to our home for the next two nights...We're in Villa de Levya, a stunningly preserved historic town. It's time to get some much-deserved rest as we have a whole day of exploring tomorrow.

02

Day 2: Villa de Leyva

This morning we'll explore the whitewashed colonial buildings and charming cobbled streets of this village that hasn't changed all too much since the late 1600s. Set high in the Andes, it's prized for its beautifully preserved architecture and its central Plaza Mayor - believed to be the biggest in Colombia and South America. The afternoon is yours to enjoy - opt for some scenic horseriding, walk to the Pozos Azules or simply stroll the cobblestones and soak in all of that historic beauty.

03

Day 3: Villa de Leyva to San Gil via Barichara

Adios Villa de Levya - we're headed to the adventure capital of Colombia, San Gil! Adrenaline junkies, this will be your paradise.We'll make a quick stop in picturesque Barichara for a lunch. This lovely little town will charm us with its unique architecture and eye-widening natural beauty. Those who are up for it can join on a 2-hour hike along the Camino Real to the equally charming village of Guane. Or, if you're looking for something a bit more relaxing, Barichara's historic streets will make you swoon, and you can happily spend a few hours wandering aimlessly. With plenty of pretty cafes, boutique craft shops and insta-worthy street scenes, there's plenty to see and do.This evening we arrive in San Gil, ready for an adventure of a lifetime.

04

Day 4: San Gil

Get ready for a day of blood-pumping excitement in the Colombian capital of extreme sport. Choose from paragliding, canyoning or rafting and get the pulse racing. If you're looking for something a bit more grounded, check out the refreshing local swimming holes or the lazy lawns of Parque Gallineral, which is only a short walk from town. This afternoon we'll get together and swap stories of our adventures.

05

Day 5: San Gil to Bogota

Today we won't waste a single second as we head back to Bogota on a speedy internal flight.Now we have a chance to explore Colombia's beating heart properly, with a locally guided tour the perfect way to get stuck in.

06

Day 6: Bogota

We'll get out and about bright and early this morning on bikes, checking out Colombia's colourful capital. We'll head to the historic centre before admiring Bogota's famous street art, showcasing artistic interpretations of the country's past and present. Now you're more familiar with the city, the afternoon is yours to explore - opt into a graffiti workshop, visit the Botero Museum, have lunch at the Mercado La Concordia and sample the local cuisine or head over to Park 93 and try some world class coffee and refreshing ice-cream. If you fancy a visit to the Cerro Monserrate, you'll be rewarded with some spectacular views of the sprawling metropolis below.

07

Day 7: Bogota to Salento via Zona Cafetera

Today we say goodbye to the hustle and bustle of Bogota and take a speedy internal flight to the gorgeous Zona Cafetera (coffee zone)We're here in the coffee zone, which, as well as producing some of the tastiest, most iconic coffee in the world, is also arguably one of the most beautiful regions in Colombia. A visit to a coffee farm is a no-brainer, and we don't disappoint. Learn the A-Z of this invigorating bean on an included tour of an authentic coffee plantation and have a chance to pick and taste ripe berries or buy some world-class roasted beans for yourself.It's off to Salento, framed with lush green mountains and decorated with traditional paisa architecture. Get to know the town tonight on a walk through the charming streets or maybe check out a game of Tejo - the Colombian national sport.

08

Day 8: Salento and the Cocora Valley

You can choose to start your day in Salento in the best way possible with an eye-widening hot air balloon flight over the lush coffee region, with unparalleled views of distant Andean peaks, fields of coffee, plantain, and bamboo. For the trekkers among us you’ll be up early too to head to the Cocora Valley for a hike among the breath-taking sights of hundreds of giant Wax Palms, the tallest palm trees on earth at up to 60 meters tall. This afternoon, grab a much deserved coffee and chill out in the square or check out the local artisan craft shops in town. Tonight, dig eat into the regional specialty – trout.

09

Day 9: Salento to Medellin

Rise and Shine – its an early morning start as we make our way to Medellin.The second city of Colombia, Medellín has transformed itself perhaps more than any other city in the world. Though its violent, tumultuous past is well-known, today the city is modern, innovative, and culturally rich. Named the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its nearly perfect weather, you’ll find parks, plazas and a café culture where you can sit and soak in all those rays and historic vibes.

10

Day 10: Medellin

Put your walking shoes on today as we have a full day of adventuring ahead of us. Using Medellin's efficient public transport system, we'll tour the city via metro, cable car and on-foot. Along the way we'll check out Plaza Botera, Santo Domino and Communa 13, as well as the bustling local market. As the sultry evening draws in, anyone for Salsa lessons?

11

Day 11: Medellin

Now that you know Medellin so well, it's your day to do your own thing! Check out Arvi Park for a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city (easy on public transport) or stay local and wander the city - the Museo de Antioquia or Casa de la Memoria are equally impressive. For an incredible day getaway, take a day trip to Guatapé, a vibrant, cute and impossibly colourful disney-like town. Climb the 650+ stairs for peerless vistas of the surrounding landscapes, or just wander the colourful town - trying the regional badeja paisa, and a cerveza, naturally.

12

Day 12: Medellin to Cartagena

Adios Medellin! The coasts of the Caribbean are calling, and our flight today takes us to the storybook beauty of Cartagena, considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Americas.On arrival we'll head straight to the fortress Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Built strategically by the Spanish in 1536 on the hills of San Lazaro, it dominates the landscape whether you approach on land or by sea. Today, there's no need to defend against pirates and foreign invaders, but the awe-inspiring fortress still sparks the imagination, offering dreamy views of the city below. In the afternoon we'll head to the walls of the Old City, where we'll have an authentic dinner at Cafe del Mar and watch the sunset. Pure bliss.

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Day 13: Cartagena

This morning we’ll beat the heat on a walking tour of the Old City. Steeped in history and fables, this city was once among the most important trading ports in the colonial Americas. It's an invigorating overload of the senses as we wander through the Old City – colourful buildings, riotous blooms of flowers, iconic plazas and vibrant street vendors everywhere you look. It's little wonder that the Pulitzer Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez's writings were influenced by this city's mystery and romance. Grab a delicious limonada de coco (Coconut Lemonade) to cool off before we head to the local market to pick up our supplies for our Afro-Caribbean cooking class. Delicious.

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Day 14: Cartagena to Palomino Beach

With Cartagena in the rear-view mirror we head out of Palomino Beach, where we'll enjoy laid-back vibes and cafes and chill out. Driving north along the coast, we'll be floored already by Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on one side and the Caribbean on the other.This afternoon, we'll unpack, unwind, and compare snaps of all the spectacular sights we've seen.

15

Day 15: Palomino Beach

Rise and shine - just kidding, in this place life moves at a decidedly slower pace. No ATMS, limited Wi-Fi - just poolside bliss, cold cocktails, pure white beaches and stress-free vibes. If you're looking for a bit of activity, rent bikes or opt in for some tubing down the Palomino River.

16

Day 16: Palomino Beach to Tayrona National Park

Strap on your hiking shoes and lather on the sunscreen, because today we're visiting the spectacular Tayrona National Park.Famed for its stunning white sand beaches, lush green jungle and turquoise waters framed by the iconic Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, this place is simply unmissable. Our hike, the Pueblito Trail, winds through the jungle (eyes peeled for monkeys, parrots and the ever-elusive jaguar) to a small indigenous community, before snaking up to Cabo San Juan beach. Here you can jump in the crystalline waters to cool off. Tayrona's our home for the night, where we'll sleep in tents under the starlit skies. Does it get any better than this?

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Day 17: Tayrona National Park to Santa Marta

Soak in all that beauty for the last time as we leave Tayrona behind and head south to Santa Marta.Upon arrival, we'll visit the 17th Century Hacienda, La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandro, the place where Simon Bolivar (the revolutionary who lead Latin America to Independence from Spain) famously died. We'll then walk the historic city centre, before sharing some laughs and memories over dinner tonight.

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Day 18: Santa Marta

This adventure wraps up this morning where we'll say hasta luego to our new friends. Colombia, thanks for the memories. We'll never forget you.

Inclusions:
      Food
    • You can expect to refuel with hearty breakfasts, lively lunches and delicious dinners from us but we'll also give you the opportunity to sample some of the best local cuisine. You'll taste it all - from simple street eats to gourmet fare
      Staff
    • Your experienced Trip Manager will always be on-hand to show you the ropes and make the best recommendations - whether it be for eats, activities or providing local knowledge. Our TM's and guides in Latin America are always multi-lingual locals, who love nothing more than showing you their spectacular backyards
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Tour Highlights:
  • Villa de Leyva: Villa de Leyva walking tour
  • Bogota: Locally guided bike tour of Candelaria
  • Salento and the Cocora Valley: Trek the Cocora Valley
  • Medellin: Locally guided City Tour
  • Cartagena: Locally guided Walking Tour,Afro-Caribbean Cooking Class