Colombia A Natural
The nature-rich Nuqui region along the lush Pacific coast offers hikes to the crystal-clear waterfalls, whale watching excursions and swims in natural pool and rivers. Travel to Pereira in the middle of a fantastic landscapes nestled in the center of the Coffee Culture in the Central Cordillera of the Andean mountains. Fly through the air on a steel zipline downstream along canyon walls and navigate down river in inflatable rafts. Enjoy a mud bath in a volcano! A private catamaran takes you on a full-day trip to the Rosario Islands and the coastal lagoons, mangroves and tropical forests. You have two days to relax on Baru Island, surrounded by turquoise waters and white-sand beaches.
Price starts at $550 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
Day 1: Medellin, Colombia
On arrival in Medellin, clear immigration and pick up your luggage. Go through customs and continue to the arrivals hall, where you are met by a representative from Big Five, who welcomes you to Colombia and assist you with the luggage. Settle in to the waiting vehicle for transfer to your hotel. Terra Biohotel
Day 2: Medellin / Nuqui
After breakfast, meet your guide for the drive to Enrique Olaya Herrera regional airport for your charter flight to Nuqui. On arrival, you are met by the staff of El Cantil Ecolodge and escorted to the pier where you will board a boat for transfer to the lodge for a three-night stay. At the lodge, you are presented with a brief orientation before going to your room where you will have time to relax.
Following lunch, join your guide on a short nature hike to the crystal-clear Waterfall of Love, afternoon, walk to a lovely little waterfall, Cascada del Amor, with its crystalline waters. A short stroll further into the jungle is another waterfall, Mellizas. Enjoy a walk along the beaches. El Cantil Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 3: Nuqui
This morning, you visit to a local village to explore the local culture and learn about the advantages and difficulties of living here. Then you enjoy a dip in the thermal baths. These natural hot springs in the middle of the jungle are a warm and healthy treat. It is especially welcomed after a hike to the Waterfall of the Four Charms, named for the four steps that the waterfall cascades over on its way down the mountain. The hike is about an hour hike away from the hot springs. Return to the lodge to relax.
The lodge is in a prime location for spotting whales between July and November, and whales can be seen right in front of the hotel as well as by boat. After lunch, head out for your first whale-watching excursion. Witness the stunning natural show of humpback whales as they pass close to the coastline. You will likely see them as they breach, seemingly weightless in mid-air for an instant moment. This evening enjoy dinner at the lodge. El Cantil Ecolodge (B,L,D)
Day 4: Nuqui
After breakfast, walk along the beach to Rio Terco, and hike up-river on a path surrounded by a beautiful jungle landscape, swim in natural pools and rivers of abundant fresh water. You will also have the opportunity for some great bird watching. The walk usually takes about three hours. Return to the lodge for lunch, followed by whale watching again this afternoon. You will have time to relax before dinner at the lodge. El Cantil Ecolodge (B,L,D)
Day 5: Nuqui / Medellin
Today, you transfer by boat and car to the Nuqui airport to board your charter flight to Medellin. On arrival, you are met and escorted to the waiting vehicle for transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Terra Biohotel (B)
Day 6: Medellin / Pereira
After breakfast, set out with your guide on a scenic seven-hour drive through the Andes to Pereira that includes stops along the way. Lunch is included. Arrive at your luxury lodge in the middle of a fantastic landscape that is nestled in the center of the Coffee Culture. With just 22 rooms, it was conceived and planned to provide a unique travel experience in its class as well as utilizing the most modern techniques of sustainable construction to blend in with its natural environment. Casa San Carlos Lodge (B,L)
Day 7: Pereira
Savor a full-day guided excursion in the Cocora Valley, one of Colombia’s jaw-dropping destinations in the Central Cordillera of the Andean mountains. “Cocora” was the name of a Quimbayan princess, daughter of the local chief Acaime, and means “star of water.” The valley is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park. You can hike and horseback ride through the remarkable cloud forest, where you will see Colombia’s national tree – the palma de cera. Stop for lunch at a restaurant for a typical Colombian lunch. Casa San Carlos Lodge (B,L)
Day 8: Pereira / Puerto Triunfo
After breakfast, join your guide for the seven-hour transfer to your hotel in Puerto Triunfo, with stops will be made along the way. Lunch is included. Near this town is the Hacienda Napoles, which was once owned by the famous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Hotel Campestre Los Colores (B,L,D)
Day 9: Puerto Triunfo / Medellin
Early this morning, join your guide for a visit to the Rio Claro Natural Reserve. Rio Claro is the perfect place to enjoy nature with a picturesque crystal river, canyon and tropical rainforest – A perfect place to unplug and relax. Rio Claro Nature Reserve is a private reserve and it’s a spectacular example of Colombia’s biodiversity. The reserve sits atop the remnants of a shallow sea and coral reefs. This is a marble canyon with a river running through it. And the sieve-like topography provides striking artistic evidence of six million years of hydropower. The karst formations include deep caves, stalactites, stalagmites, rock ripples and ladders. After the walk to Marble Beach, you will fly through the air on a steel zipline, secured with all the necessary mechanics to guarantee your safety. Zigzag downstream following the canyon walls, crossing from one platform to another, along three segments that span a total of 488 m/1,600 ft. This experience is one of the best and most intense ways of appreciating the canyon’s majestic views and the river’s transformative power.
Then navigate down river in inflatable rafts while enjoying the exuberant tropical rainforest that covers the entire canyon. Along the course, you will be totally immersed in the thick jungles that line both sides of the riverbank. An excellent opportunity for appreciating the amazing biodiversity offered by this region. The journey culminates at an imposing vaulted limestone ceiling that is testimony to the transformative powers of the river’s water cutting into the bedrock. Water droplets falling from gigantic stalactites that hang from a towering limestone cliff offer a breathtaking spectacle to the viewer. Enjoy easy Class I / II rapids. After lunch, commence the three-hour drive to Medellin with stops en route. Terra Biohotel (B,L)
Day 10: Medellin
Join your guide for a full day excursion through the eastern highlands of Antioquia. Your first stop is at the Peñol Boulder, a 200-m/656-ft high monolith accessed via a climb up 740 steps. Enjoy breathtaking views over the stunning surroundings of green mountains and blue lakes. Continue to the village of Guatape, known for its church and the beautiful, colorful paintings that decorate the houses of the village. This quaint town is the gathering place for the small farms of the area. It is also a growing recreational area. After a traditional Colombian lunch on the waterfront of the Guatape Reservoir, explore the lake on a boat ride with the opportunity to do some paddle boarding. Terra Biohotel (B,L)
Day 11: Medellin / Cartagena
After breakfast, join your guide for a visit to Comuna 13, a district famous for once being one of the most dangerous places in all Latin America. Today, this part of the city has evolved to become an example of the new social transformation. The construction of a public transportation system with cable cars, escalators, and meeting centers with libraries were the starting point for this amazing change. This commune was built on a steep slope of the mountains that surrounds the city. You ride up the mountainside in a cable car to enjoy panoramic views of the district. From there, you will get a glimpse of the government’s initiative… “techos una historia”… roofs and houses painted with huge graffiti. After having suffered the horrors of the war, the residents of the area are proud of their district. Your guide will explain this transformation and how the urban art represented has rescued hundreds of young people from an armed conflict.
You are transferred to the Medellin airport and assisted with check-in procedures for your flight to Cartagena. On arrival, collect your luggage and proceed to the arrivals hall, where you are welcomed and assisted with your luggage. You are escorted to the waiting vehicle for transfer to your hotel. Hotel Quadrifolio (B)
Day 12: Cartagena
After breakfast, meet your guide and set out to visit San Felipe Fortress, erected in honor of the poet from Cartagena, Don Luis Carlos López, made famous for his sonnet “A mi ciudad nativa.” It was built on San Lázaro Hill to defend the city from pirates. Learn how the castle was constructed as you explore the fort and its tunnels, underground galleries and passageways.
After a stop for lunch, you travel about an hour to the Totumo Mud Volcano, located northeast of Cartagena. Once there, climb the stairs to the top of the volcano and then descend into the crater for a unique mud bath. Who doesn’t like a mud bath? Here the sulphur, phosphates, magnesium and other elements bubble through the mud and are known for their restorative and curative properties. The mud’s density means that you can stay afloat and are in no danger of going under. After the mud bath, head to the nearby freshwater Totumo Lake to wash off the mud.
Return to the city where late this afternoon, you are escorted a short distance to Ohlala Bistrot, a warm and convivial restaurant located in the very heart of Getsemani. Under the tutelage of French chef Gilles Dupart, his wife Carolina, and a team of strong-willed Caribbean women, you will participate in a three-hour culinary lesson that focuses on the more emblematic and tasty recipes of the region and showcases the colorful variety of local ingredients. You begin by preparing a tropical fruit juice or mojito cocktail. As you enjoy your beverage, the chef will introduce each recipe – starters, main courses, and desserts. The restaurant´s unique approach combines fresh local products and traditional recipes with a refined French spin. After three hours of lively and enriching exchanges, you will sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor with your hosts. At the end, you will receive a printed summary of the recipes used in class. Hotel Quadrifolio (B,D)
Day 13: Cartagena – Rosario Islands – Cartagena
Head to the pier with your guide for the transfer to the pier where you will board a private catamaran for a full-day excursion to the Rosario Islands, approximately 40 km/25 mi. from Cartagena, about three hours one way by boat. This national park encloses a group of coral reefs and surrounded by a crystal-clear sea that hosts a great variety of marine life. Three ecosystems thrive – coastal lagoons, mangroves and tropical forests. Enjoy lunch followed by free time for swimming, snorkeling and relaxing. Late this afternoon, board the catamaran for transfer back to Cartagena. Hotel Quadrifolio (B,L)
Day 14: Cartagena / Baru
Today you drive with your guide about an hour to Baru for a visit to Colombia’s National Aviary, the largest one in Latin America. This six-acre nature preserve is home to an amazing array of more than 2,000 birds from 140 species. The design team went to great lengths to recreate the natural habitats of these birds while at the same time creating an atmosphere that allows you to get close to the birds. The habitats of the rarer (or more dangerous) species are enclosed but many of the birds are free to go where they want. Some of the feathered stars of the aviary include toucans, harpy eagles and Colombia’s national bird, the endangered Andean Condor. Some 15 species at the aviary are in critical danger of extinction. Dozens more are on the endangered species list. Experts care for these birds in hopes of helping the species survive.
You are transferred a short distance to the pier where you will board a boat for the 15-minute transfer to Las Islas, an oasis of comfort and relaxation, harmoniously coexisting with nature. It is set amid Baru’s wildlife, surrounded by turquoise waters and white-sand beaches. All of the bungalows boast stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and the Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo National Park’s waters. Give in to absolute repose and enjoy plentiful rest, with three restaurants, two bars, cafe/ice cream shop, spa, gym and aquatic activities center. Hotel Las Islas (B)
Day 15: Baru
Todays is at leisure to relax on the island’s white sand beaches, snorkel or dive the fascinating coral and marine life; view breathtaking sunrises and sunsets from one of the treetop venues. Palm trees, bright blue Caribbean sea, sandy beaches, fresh seafood and fruit juice, what more can you ask for? Hotel Las Islas (B)
Day 16: Baru / Cartagena
Say goodbye to this paradise as you board Las Islas’ boat for the 45-minute shared transfer back to the Cartagena pier. On arrival, you are met and escorted to the waiting vehicle for transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Hotel Quadrifolio (B,L)
Day 17: Cartagena / Depart
At a pre-arranged time, you are transferred to the Cartagena airport and assisted with check-in procedures for your international flight. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$550 per person per day.