If you want to experience the highlights of both Culture and Nature in Colombia, then this trip is for you!
In addition to the well-known popular places, you will also visit Santander, with Barichara as the highlight. A unique place known as the most beautiful village in Colombia. With several craft workshops and a rich history. You will also visit the unique landscape of a Paramo with the funny-looking ‘frailejón’ plant.
The trip ends with a few days of relaxing in the Caribbean Sea on Isla Mucura. If you are not a fan of the beach, you can also exchange those days for Mompox, San Basilio de Palenque, or Medellín, for example.
- Villa de Leyva
- Barichara, Chicamocha en Paramo
- Coffee Region, Salento
- Isla Mucura
Arrival in Bogota. Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel to recover from the flight. Choose a traditional hotel in La Candelaria or a more modern hotel in the hip Chapinero or Parque 93 district near the city’s best restaurants.
Culture and History tour La Candelaria
Today you will get to know the heart of Bogotá. Explore the most beautiful neighborhood of Colombia’s capital, La Candelaria. Admire the colorful street art. Visit the museum of Colombia’s famous painter and sculptor, Fernando Botero, famous for his proportionally exaggerated paintings and sculptures. Admire the beauty of pre-Columbian gold at the Gold Museum. In the afternoon you will visit Monserrate, a beautiful viewpoint over the city.
Bike tour or Fruit Market and Usaquén
Option 1: Half-day bike tour
Discover Bogotá in a fun and dynamic way. You’ll see some of the city’s best street art, visit a small coffee roaster, sample exotic fruits at a traditional market, and even play tejo, Colombia’s explosive national sport!
Option 2: Fruit tour Paloquemao
In the morning you will visit Paloquemao, a large traditional market where vendors sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, aromatic herbs, meat and fish. Let your senses enjoy the smells, colors and the daily hustle and bustle of the market. The market’s origins date back to 1946. Colombia is known for its variety of unique fruits, such as lulos, granadillas and guanabanas to name a few, and Paloquemao is the place to try all these delicious fruits. You can taste up to 15 different fruits, most of which you have never heard of before.
In the afternoon you will continue to the Usaquén district in the north of Bogotá. Usaquén still has the small-town atmosphere it was before it was incorporated as a suburb of Bogotá in 1954. On the east side of the main square is the Church of Santa Bárbara Usaquén, which dates from the mid-17th century. Walk the narrow streets, buy handicrafts and visit the boutiques, bakeries, local bars and elegant restaurants serving traditional local or international cuisine.
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
In the morning departure from Bogota to Zipaquira (in about 1.5 hours depending on traffic). Here you will visit the largest rock salt deposit in the world, where you will find a gigantic cathedral built in a salt mine – the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Built 200 meters underground in the tunnels of an old salt mine, this impressive Roman Catholic church has been declared Colombia’s first miracle and is still used as a church.
After a tour of the Salt Cathedral, continue to Villa de Leyva.
Villa de Leyva
Take a walk through the town with the local guide. Villa de Leyva has an ambiance that makes you feel like you are in another time. Of course you will visit Playa Mayor, the largest square in South America. The town is also known for its traditional handicrafts and you can see, for example, how wool is woven in the old-fashioned way into all kinds of clothing. Visit the Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, built in 1604. Learn about the struggle for independence at the Museum Antonio Nariño, who played a leading role in the independence of Spain and died at Villa de Leyva in 1824. You can also visit the San Francisco Monastery, founded by the Franciscans in 1614.
Villa de Leyva
Free day in Villa de Leyva.
– El Fósil Museum 5 km outside Villa de Leyva you can visit the El Fósil Museum, here you will find the most complete fossil of the Pliosaurus and 500 other pieces of the paleontological heritage of the region.
– Monastery of Santo Ecce Homo, located 8 km from Villa de Leyva, with one of the oldest buildings in the region, built by Dominicans in the 17th century. You can admire the beautiful architecture and various religious works of art. You will see the beautiful garden and caves where the first monks lived.
– Raquira, Ráquira is considered the craft capital of Colombia. It is known for its artisanal products, characterized by their work in clay, the weaving of bags, baskets, clothes, hammocks, pottery, all of great beauty.
– Casa Terracota, a special house made from clay by the Colombian architect and ceramist Octavio Mendoza Morales.
In the morning departure to Barichara. Upon arrival in Barichara you can try a local lunch such as ‘Carne Oreada’; the indigenous people used this technique to preserve food. The meat is cut into slices, seasoned with good salt, spread out and aired in the sun and then hung on poles on top of the wood stove so that it smokes a little.
Barichara is known as the most beautiful town in Colombia for its beautiful colonial architecture, quiet cobbled streets, adobe houses and craft workshops and craft shops. While walking through the town you will see impressive churches, chapels, cemeteries, sculptures and parks. On the outskirts of Barichara you will visit great viewpoints of the Suarez Canyon.
Camino Real to Guane
In the morning you start early with a walk on part of the Camino Real. This path was part of an indigenous path of up to 23,000 km long. This section of the path was renovated 150 years ago by German immigrant Geo von Lengerke. You walk from Barichara to the village of Guane in about 5 kilometers. In Guane you return to Barichara by tuk tuk or you can walk back.
In the afternoon you will visit a number of craft workshops and shops. You will visit a craft factory where paper is made from the Fique plant, you can make paper yourself and take it with you as a souvenir. You will also visit the workshop where painting is done with colorful sand from the area, you can make your own painting or magnet for the refrigerator.
Tobacco Tour or Adventure
Option 1 Tobacco Tour: Over the years, tobacco has been one of the main sources of income in this region, but the use of tobacco has declined and there are few tobacco farms left. During this tour you will learn about the artisanal process from cultivation to processing the cigars. Followed by a gastronomic experience.
Option 2 Adventurous: You can also choose to visit nearby San Gíl where you can practice extreme sports such as water rafting, waterfall abseiling, canyoning and cave caving.
You leave Barichara in the morning for the Chicamocha Canyon. This valley is 2000 meters deep and 227 km long, making it deeper than the famous Grand Canyon. You will take a cable car down 1200 meters and up again on the other side. The cable car is 6.3 km long in total, making it the longest of its kind in the world! From the gondola you have an incredible view over the valley.
From the Panachi park you also have beautiful views and you can do optional activities on site such as: paragliding, zip lining, abseiling, a large swing that is released over the gorge and buggy riding. You can also choose to visit the water park.
After visiting the Chicamocha Canyon, it is about a 1.5-hour drive to the village of Girón, located next to Bucaramanga.
Páramo de Santurban
Today you will be introduced to a special appearance, a páramo ecosystem. You can find them at altitudes from 2,800 meters above sea level. Colombia has no less than half of all páramos in the world. The strange-looking plant ‘frailejón’ grows here, it looks like a plant from another planet. The frailejón grows 1cm per year, so you can tell how old it is by checking its height.
After a drive of about 3 hours you will start a walk of about 2 km to the lagoon. The walk is slightly uphill and due to the altitude and low oxygen levels it seems much more than 2 km. You have arrived at “Laguna Negra”, one of the largest freshwater reserves in the world, located almost 4000 meters above sea level. Arriving at the lagoon you will have the opportunity to take beautiful photos and if you want to continue walking, you can walk around the lagoon for another hour. After a good local lunch you will return to Girón.
To the Coffee Region
It’s time to leave Santander and visit the green mountain landscapes of the coffee region. From Bucaramanga you fly to Armenia or Pereira. There you will stay in a beautiful boutique hotel with a swimming pool.
Today you will visit the Cocora Valley. The famous and spectacular Cocora Valley is home to the tallest palm trees in the world, which are up to 60 meters high! Depending on your preference, you can take a shorter or longer walk (between 1 and 6 hours).
In the afternoon you will visit the characteristic town of Salento. This town is very traditional for the coffee region, enjoys beautiful colorful architecture and atmosphere.
Visit to local coffee farm
In the morning you leave for a coffee finca to learn all about the Colombian coffee culture. During the tour you will learn about the entire coffee process, from a seed to a brewed cup of coffee. Of course you have the opportunity to try Colombian coffee yourself.
Free time in the afternoon, or plan an optional activity such as horse riding or mountain biking.
Nature reserve and Filandia
Depart in time to go to the Reserva Bremen nature reserve. At this private nature reserve you will enjoy an amazing variety of species of flowers, trees, birds, hummingbirds and if you are lucjky you will encounter howler monkeys. You will take a 4.5 km walk through the Andes forest.
Then you go to the colorful village of Filandia. There you will visit a basket-making artisan workshop and learn about the traditions of the village.
To the Caribbean coast
You will be introduced to a completely different region of Colombia, the Caribbean coast. You fly to Santa Marta in just under an hour, a pleasant fisherman’s town with colorful and energetic people.
Enjoy a meal at one of the many nice restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. There are good restaurants with a Caribbean atmosphere around Parque de Los Novios, such as Donde Chucho Gourmet, Ouzo or Lulo.
Today you will visit Cabo San Juan in Tayrona Park, a place famous for the hill that stands in the middle of the sea. From the entrance of the park you drive another 5 km into the park where the walk starts. It is about a 2.5 hour hike through a mixed area between beaches and tropical forest along the beaches, to finally reach Cabo San Juan. Free time to have lunch and enjoy the beautiful beach. Take a dip in the sea. You walk back in the afternoon via the same path. Optionally, you can do the return journey on horseback.
You will be picked up from your hotel and drive to your hotel in Cartagena in approximately 4 hours. You drive over the beautiful Pumarejo bridge and past Barranquilla with a view over the sea. Along the way stop at Totumo Volcano. This is the smallest ‘volcano’ in the world that you can climb in 50 steps and on top you can take a real mud bath. Immerse yourself in the volcanic mud and feel the health benefits for your skin from the millions of minerals. Some people say it will make you look 10 years younger.
Stay in the historic center of Cartagena.
Explore the historic center with a guide who will take you to the special places and tell you about the past and present of Cartagena. Visit monuments such as Torre del Reloj and Don Pedro de Heredia, the founder of the city. During the tour you will notice the different influences – Romanesque, Moorish, Colonial, Military, Arabs, Spanish and North Americans – that shaped Cartagena. You will also get to know the Palace of the Inquisition, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, or the Sanctuary of San Pedro Claver, dedicated to the Spanish priest and missionary known today as “Slave of the Slaves” because he dedicated his life to caring for the Africans who were brought as slaves to the Spanish colonies.
You have the afternoon to yourself and you can walk around the city; take some fantastic photos, try one of the many seafood restaurants and shop in the many shops and boutiques.
We will recommend you some of the best restaurants in Cartagena.
A hidden secret in the Caribbean Sea, the beautiful Isla Múcura.
Stay in a beautiful lodge with all meals included, right on the beach. Enjoy the sun and tranquility, and if you want to do something active, there are options: catamaran trip, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling or diving, tennis, boat trip around the nearby islands of Titipan and Santa Cruz de Islote, cycling around the island or book a nice massage or Spa treatment.
Free day on the Island.
Terug naar huis
Unfortunately, your last day in Colombia has arrived. You return by boat from Isla Mucura to the mainland, Cartagena. And your transport to the international airport will be waiting for you at the port.
If a beachstay is not quite your taste, you can replace those days with, for example, a visit to San Basilio de Palenque, Mompox or add a few days to Medellín.