Explore the cobbled alleys of Cartagena, a World Heritage-listed town that combines Caribbean splendour with irresistible old-world charm.. Embark on a spectacular guided hike through the Cocora Valley, home to hummingbirds and the world’s tallest palm trees.. Spend a couple of days learning about the world’s favourite bean during a stay on a traditional coffee estancia deep in Colombia’s coffee country.. Discover the new face of Medellin – an arts and culture haven that’s bursting with trendy cafes, epic views and the best nightlife in Colombia – salsa anyone?
Head into the serene highlands of Colombia’s famed coffee region and discover the sweeter, softer side of this much misunderstood country. Learn how to roast the perfect blend during a tour of a working coffee plantation, be beguiled by the laidback pace of charming Salento and spend some time getting acquainted with the sophisticated air and raucous nightlife of Medellin. Then trade the country’s lush interior for its coastal spoils and wind the adventure up with a spell in oh-so-romantic Cartagena – the perfect end to this exceptional Colombian adventure.
Breakfast Included: 8 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 2
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Bogota! Situated at 2644 metres, Colombia's lofty capital is a charming, yet hectic, mix of old and new.. With a wealth of cosy cafes, interesting museums and old churches, cosmopolitan Bogota is full of surprises. Your adventure begins with an orientation walk of Candelaria at 1pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where your group will be meeting. There will be a formal welcome meeting at 6pm for the whole group including those that missed the orientation walk. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. After, why not go out for a group dinner?
This morning, immerse your senses in the flavours and colours of Colombia on a visit the famed Paloquemao Market, home to Bogota’s biggest selection of exotic fruits, fresh vegetables and food stalls – perhaps indulge in a delicious Arepa (Colombian style tortilla). Around lunch time take a short flight (1 hour) to the coffee region and transfer (approximately 40 minutes) to the beautiful village of Salento. Take the time to stroll through its quaint streets and admire the colours of 'paisa' architecture at its best. For some local food, trout is the way to go. There are lots of ways to enjoy it, but it's most often served with a rich, garlicky cheese sauce. Colombia's national sport, tejo, is a popular pastime in Salento. Think bocce with gunpowder! This evening, try your hand at this fun activity with the group – made even better with a free beer in hand!
Travel by jeep out to the magnificent Cocora Valley, home of the towering wax palm (Colombia's national tree). Spend the morning walking among the region's incredible scenery, perhaps hiking up to Acaime Reserve where colourful hummingbirds feed. The hike to Acaime (approximately 5 hours) is quite strenuous, with some steep and slippery sections, so you'll need good walking shoes as well as plenty of water and snacks. A generous boxed lunch will be provided. If you'd rather take it easy, you can explore the valley as you please, then take a jeep back to town. Later, travel deep into Colombia's coffee region for a two-night stay in a traditional coffee estancia, where you'll have a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about this wonderful bean.
Thanks to its tropical altitude and fertile volcanic soil, Colombia is one of the world’s largest coffee producers. You’ll get to know this addictive little bean a whole lot better on a guided tour of the coffee plantation and processing centre. Dig into the history of the plant, learning the inside story of the industry that's long buoyed the country's economy. See how the beans are grown, harvested, processed, dried, roasted and ground, and then sample firsthand what all the fuss is about. Try different types of coffee grains and get a lesson on preparing different types of coffees – finishing it all off with a steaming cup of freshly brewed joe. Afterwards, relax amid the estancia's beautiful surrounds of sloping green hills and valleys.
This morning we will leave the Coffee Estancia and take a 1- hour transfer to the small town of Chinchina, where we will then board a comfortable public bus for the journey to Medellin (approximately 6-7 hours). Along the way, learn a little more about the town's interesting recent history. Having spent the 1980’s and 90’s with an international reputation as one of the world's most dangerous cities (due to Pablo Escobar's infamous drug cartel), Medellin has turned itself around to become one of the most exciting cities in South America. And with some of the country's finest museums, parks and architecture (as well as a much safer and comfortable atmosphere now) it's easy to see why its popularity is increasing. On arrival, explore this beautiful city on a an orientation walk with your leader, followed by free time this evening – why not check out some of Medellin’s famous nightlife!
Today you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Medellin and its surrounds during a cable car ride up to Santa Elena. Sail up the mountain over brick houses, watching as the corrugated metal roofs give way to vistas of green valleys and forested peaks.Thanks to the elevation, things are usually a little cooler up here. Enjoy an include tour of a Flower Farm and when back in Medellin partake in a barrio transformation tour. This evening, you might want to search out one of the city's lively salsa bars (many count Medellin's nightlife as the best in Colombia).
Today is a free day. You'll have some free time to explore Medellin. Perhaps visit the Museo de Antioquia to see some of Botero's famous works or get more modern at the beautiful Museo de Arte Moderno.
Fly to Cartagena (approximately 1 hour), one of South America's most historic cities where you’ll have free time to explore the old city. This inner walled town is the main attraction in Cartagena – it's packed with beautiful churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions. This town, founded in 1533 by Spaniard Don Pedro de Heredia, was a major centre of early Spanish settlement in the Americas. Its gold and silver exports made it a popular target for pirates, and its walled fort (now on UNESCO's World Heritage list) was built to protect both shipping and the slave trade. Perhaps visit San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the largest of the fortresses, or head out of town for a mud bath at Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. The nearby group of tiny coral islands and stunning expanses of Playa Blanca (White Beach) reveal the hidden beauty of Colombia's Caribbean coast. Maybe end this adventure people-watching in the heart of Getsemaní at Plaza de la Trinidad, where kids play football and singers strum their guitars. This evening, if you're feeling like an authentic Colombian meal and supporting a great cause in your free time, why not do both by dining at one of Cartagena's hippest restaurants, Restaurante Interno. Housed in a women's prison, the restaurant opened in December 2016 with the aim of giving inmates nearing the end of their sentences a second chance and job-ready skills, and to have a better chance of reintegrating into society on their release. It has since become one of the hottest spots in town (graced by local celebrities and even the Colombian President), prices start at USD $30, so while not a budget option, it is a unique experience and the money is going to a good cause.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you can depart the accommodation at any time.