BEGIN IN BOGOTA
Welcome to Colombia and the start of your adventure. You will begin in its capital city Bogotá – a thriving metropolis of culture, friendly faces, museums, art galleries and national monuments including the Gold Museum, which holds the largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold.
Over the next few days, your private guide will show you around Bogota, including the dizzying heights of Monserrate Mountain, which reaches an altitude of 3,152 metres. Access the top by cable car giving you an incredible view over the city, allowing you to get your bearings. Explore the 17th century Monserrate Sanctuary catholic shrine at the top.
We’d also recommend planning your visit to coincide with a Sunday – this is when you can join fellow Bogotanos for the weekly get-together where main highways are shut allowing for skating and cycling to take place. Many of the streets come to life at this time with flea markets, cafes and street performers spilling over.
"Spending time in a capital city with a guide will allow you to get to grips with the country you're in - and there's lots to see and do in Bogota."
STAY: BOGOTA CASA LEGADO
Located in the heart of Bogota, in the residential Quinta Camacho neighbourhood, Casa Legado is a homely yet stylish family-run hotel. With modern, bright and airy interiors, it’s a very comfortable base with its greenery-infused courtyard, Thai massages on request, fireplaces for cosy nights and delicious, wholesome breakfast to set you up for the day.
Day 4 - 8
From Bogota you will wind your way northwards, stopping at Zipaquira salt cathedral to explore this extraordinary religious monument, submerged within the tunnels of an old salt mine. Staying in the town of Villa De Leyva near the mines will break up the journey and give you the chance to explore its cobbled streets and colonial architecture before eating at a traditional restaurant where meat is barbecued one metre underground.
Onwards to tranquil Barichara – known as one of Colombia’s most beautiful villages, surrounded by verdant greens. Barichara is a place to get active in nature and you will start with a cycle ride around countryside pathways that run alongside the river, observing village life and farmers at work. In the afternoon, visit a coffee hacienda and learn all about the process from bean to cup. The following day, slow the pace with a gentle walk along the Camino Real (Royal Path), built in the 1800s to connect Barichara with Guane, a small colonial town that has been perfectly preserved over time. On your way, enjoy interaction with the Guane indigenous people and their lifestyle.
"Get far off the beaten track, biking and hiking in Barichara's verdant nature."
STAY: CASA YAHRI
Found in a peaceful and stylish part of Barichara, Casa Yahri is a hotel with a small collection of villas, each with their own charm whether it’s a balcony, garden, jacuzzi or outdoor dining area. Draped in bougainvillea, Casa Yahri is an authentic stay where your hosts might engage you in a cookery class or artisan workshop.
Day 8 - 12
Flying back to Bogota for one night, you will then be transported by small plane to the very north of Colombia, where jungle meets the Caribbean Sea. The Tayrona National Park is rimmed by tropical beaches and islands and in its dense interior coffee plantations carve around indigenous people settlements and ruins of ancient civilisations lie shrouded in the jungle.
You will explore this pristine forest with a guide on a variety of excursions including hiking, swimming in waterfalls, kayaking and paddleboarding as well as spotting the residents of the forest such as exotic birds, howler monkeys, and small caimans and you may be lucky enough to glimpse rare creatures such as poison dart frogs and boa constrictors.
"Tayrona National Park, its wildlife and indigenous peoples will show you another side to this diverse country."
STAY: CASA BAMBU
With an unparalleled location just three kilometres within the Tayrona National Park yet also a few steps from the beach, Casa Bambu is that perfect combination of jungle lodge paired with luxe beach hangout. Rooms are simply but stylishly furnished with wooden floors and thatched roofs and the hotel also has a pool to cool off from the humid jungle temperatures.
Day 12- 14
The walled old city of Cartagena, on Colombia’s north coast with views of the Caribbean Sea, is one of the best-preserved colonial towns in Latin America and you’ll get to stroll the cobbled streets of the historical centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for three nights. The city thrums with life from salsa blowing on the breeze, cafes serving Colombian coffee all day long to the sheer abundance of cultural sights from iconic plazas, cathedrals and colourful houses.
You will have time to enjoy Cartagena’s lively café culture and restaurant scene as well as a walking tour with a guide to give you the background to this intriguing city. Founded in 1533 and said to be the setting for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s best-selling novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, the city is dominated by seven miles of thick city walls and forts once used to fend off pirates. Inside the walls lie the stately mansions, flower-filled streets, palm-lined plazas and centuries-old churches waiting to be discovered.
"Enjoy the cosmopolitan buzz of this attractive city, full of spots to sit and watch the world go by."
STAY: BASTION LUXURY HOTEL
Within the city walls of Cartagena lies Bastion Luxury Hotel, a charming, authentic colonial home with over 50 rooms and suites. It’s a peaceful retreat that helps recharge your batteries at this stage of your itinerary with lots of ways to relax including the outdoor pool, terrace, cocktail bar, sunset viewpoint and spa.
Hopping aboard a private boat, you will cruise towards the Islas del Rosario archipelago, located 50-minutes from Cartagena. On your way, stop at picturesque stops for swims in the azure Caribbean Sea and be amazed at the varied underwater life as you snorkel the warm waters.
Your destination is Isla Baru – a tropical paradise typified by palm trees, white sand beaches and a crystalline Caribbean Sea. Here life slows, with days spent on the beach or swimming, afternoons in a hammock, fresh fruit cocktails at sunset then dinners of just-caught seafood to round off the day. You can also try your hand at paddleboarding or visit the island aviary to see brightly coloured indigenous birds. With three nights here, you’ll have time to completely relax before your homeward bound journey.
"For your last few nights, enjoy the tranquil tropical paradise of Isla Baru."
STAY: AGUA BARU
Newly renovated, Agua Baru opens out onto secluded Cholon Bay on Isla Baru. With just three bedrooms and two bungalows, Agua Baru feels peaceful and intimate, backed by thick jungle with views onto the Rosario Islands. The perfect place to reflect on your fascinating trip to Colombia.