Colombia: Coffee & Culture
Medellin – Coffee Country – Salento – Bogota – Villa de Leyva – Cartagena – Tayrona National Park
This two-week holiday to Colombia showcases the highlights of the country, from the fertile valleys of its Coffee Country to the colonial colour of Cartagena. You’ll also learn about some of the country’s murkier recent history in Medellin, go hiking in the Cocora Valley and discover bustling Bogota. Top it all off with some time lazing beside the turquoise waters of the Caribbean coast. This diverse itinerary will suit those in search of a Latin American adventure.
- Discover Escobar-era history and see the recent transformation of beautiful Medellin
- Visit Coffee County and sample a variety of fresh blends
- Plant your own wax palm in the stunning Cocora Valley
- Explore vibrant Bogota
- Take a walking tour of colonial Villa de Leyva
- Wander the colonial Caribbean jewel of Cartagena
- Relax on the coast at Tayrona National Park
See the highlights of Colombia on this 2 week suggested itinerary
Head first to Medellin, once the haunt of Colombia’s drug-trafficking kingpins but now the ‘most innovative city in the world’, according to the Wall Street Journal. Take a tour to learn more about this happy transformation, including a visit to the tomb of Pablo Escobar – familiar to any fan of the Netflix series Narcos. Ride the cable car up to Cerro Nutibara, Medellin’s natural viewpoint, where you visit a replica ancient township. Then hit the bars and restaurants of the trendy El Poblado quarter.
Travelling via the pastel-coloured town of Jardín – renowned for a milky fudge which comes in flavours from mango to basil jam – you’ll journey into Colombia’s UNESCO-protected Coffee Cultural Landscape. At Hacienda San Alberto, a premium producer, fascinating farm tours conclude with an expert-led tasting experience, in which you’ll learn to differentiate flavours and characteristics in top-notch coffees. Bring a camera: all around are tumbling terraces, rain forested Andean peaks and kaleidoscopic birds.
Overnight: Coffee Country
Visit the brightly-painted village of Filandia for an opportunity to frequent a typical fonda – a homely local restaurant-bar crammed with curios and paintings. Sample some fiery, anise-flavoured aguardiente before moving on to the beautiful Cocora Valley, and its tall, mist-ribboned wax palms, Colombia’s national tree. Plant your own palma as part of a conservation scheme, then settle down to a smoked-trout lunch. Next visit the town of Salento, known for its colourful colonial bahareque architecture, where you overnight.
Now comes Colombia’s capital. Famed for its shopping, dining and nightlife, buzzing Bogotá also contains a splendidly–preserved historic neighborhood in La Candelaria. You’ll visit that on a guided tour, before ascending the Cerro de Monserrate mountain and inspecting its dazzlingly white catholic church – and equally photogenic views. Over at the Museo del Oro, gold masks and carved animals, some 2,500 years old, are gobsmacking, as is a nearby gallery dedicated to contemporary artist Fernando Botero. Admire his sculptures, including a huge human hand, alongside works by Picasso, Dali, Monet and more.
Leaving Bogotá, you’ll soon be hiking to beautiful Lake Guatavita, an idyllic lagoon which may have inspired the El Dorado legend. Supposedly, Muisca tribal members had liberally chucked gold and jewels into the lake during ceremonies; conquistadores later searched greedily for this treasure, but to no avail.
Continue north to the preposterously pretty Villa de Leyva, where whitewashed walls, terracotta-tile roofs and pine-green doors adorn every flowery street. The evening is dedicated to a walking tour through the colonial town.
Overnight: Villa de Leyva
The next day sees you arriving at Zipaquirá and its famous Salt Cathedral, 14 chapels remarkably carved into an ancient mine, before returning to Bogota for your flight to Cartagena.
Long an inspiration for painters, writers and musicians, the Caribbean colonial jewel of Cartagena continues to thrill visitors today. Staying in the historic centre, you’ll first tour its highlights: baroque convents, craft markets held in old jails and mighty Castillo de San Felipe – the greatest fortress ever built by a Spanish colony. A second day comes with options: you can either delve into Cartagena’s dance scene courtesy of a merengue or bachata lesson – or simply wander about this fairytale port, drinking it all in, and perhaps revisit the castle at sunset.
Finish the trip by transferring by car to Tayrona National Park for a fix of Caribbean slumber. Set in seclusion just beside the park, Villa Maria Tayrona is one of the best eco-hotels around. It boasts an outdoor pool, air-conditioned rooms, hammocks, a restaurant, a private beach area and – most importantly – a snoozy, sedative atmosphere.
Take free shuttles to the park to visit waterfalls or trek along Rio Don Diego watching for red howler monkeys. Alternatively, just spend your time in horizontal, heavenly repose.
Overnight: Tayrona National Park
It’s time to head home, hopefully armed with a tan and some golden souvenirs. Perhaps you could watch Narcos on the overnight flight back? By now you’ll know it’s only half the story.
From £3,795 per person
Price is based on travel in mid-season, 14 nights, B&B including guides, transfers and flights.
All of our itineraries are tailor-made to your specific requirements and therefore prices do vary. The above is an indication only. Prices will vary depending on the season of travel and the standard of accommodation used. Please contact us for a quotation and to discuss your holiday requirements in more detail.