Colombia In the Heart of It
Discover Bogota’s vibrant Paloquemao Market and Candelaria, the city’s playground for foodies, and in the afternoon, enjoy an art tour to experience Bogotá’s fascinating emerging art scene, meeting artists. Fall into the rhythm of Medellin as you travel with your guide by public transport. Jump into activity with paragliding as well as quad biking. Visit the village of Guatape, famous for its church and the beautiful, colorful paintings that decorate the village homes. Take in the classic colonial city of Cartagena and explore the historic walled city. Lean salsa dancing from a local and sample some of the country’s renowned rums. Spend two days on spectacular Bari Island, relaxing or sailing or taking a cooking class or one of the other activities available on this stunning island
While the world has been changing, we have been exploring.
Price starts at $700 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
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Day 1: Bogota , Colombia
Welcome to Colombia! On arrival in Bogota, you clear immigration, collect luggage and proceed through customs. Continue to the arrivals hall where you are met by a representative from Big Five Tours & Expeditions. You are greeted, assisted with your luggage, and escorted to the waiting vehicle for transfer to your hotel for check in. After a short rest, transfer to W Hotel to enjoy a special Gin & Tonic experience. Return to your hotel by private transfer. Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina (B)
Day 2: Bogota
After breakfast at the hotel, with your guide head over to the Paloquemao Market and Candelaria – Bogota’s playground for foodies. This market is the capital’s entry point for most food coming from around the country. It works as a wholesale market for all incoming products from the different regions, merging the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, the fertile Andes and the tropical jungle in one place. The market is divided into sections: flowers, meats and fish, fruits and vegetables, and aromatic herbs. Here, you have an opportunity to taste the unique and wonderful products of Colombia and enjoy the fragrance of exotic blooms.
After the market, you expand your exploration of the city center, capturing the flavor of its history and museums. You discover the emblematic district of La Candelaria, an area well known for conserving its colonial and republican architecture. This almost mythical setting is alive with stories of fantastic characters leading the most heroic and romantic tales of the city.
From Bolivar Square, you will see the National Capitol, Prime Cathedral, Palace of Justice, City Hall (Lievano Palace), and the House of the 20th of July, where the cry for independence took place. At this point you will have the option between visiting the representative Gold Museum, an extraordinary place to experience the goldsmith culture of the indigenous ancestors or you can opt to see the Botero Museum, a museum of artistic expressions. It also hosts the private collection of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
Enjoy lunch followed by an afternoon art tour with Giovanni Randazzo. Home to numerous museums, galleries, and full of incredible young artists, Bogotá is considered the most interesting emerging art scene in Latin America. Painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers and musicians have worked hard over the last 10 years to make the cultural landscape of Bogotá the most diverse of the country. Art studios offer you the opportunity to meet a group of successful Colombian artists in their own studios, learn about their practice and listen to their stories while having coffee or a glass of wine, accompanied by some typical Colombian culinary surprises. Talk to the artists about their production process, their experience in the field and the ideas that inspire their creativity. Return to your hotel late this afternoon. Four Seasons Hotel – Casa Medina (B)
Day 3: Bogotá / Medellin
You have an early transfer this morning after breakfast. At the Bogota airport you are assisted with check-in procedures for your flight to Medellin. On arrival, collect your luggage and proceed to the arrivals hall where you are met by your representative and assisted with your luggage and escorted to the waiting vehicle for transfer to the city. Begin your city tour, visiting Casa Museo de La Memoria. Continue to Comuna 13, one of the most important places marking the beginning of the social transformation of this city. With your local guide, you begin a fun afternoon getting into the rhythm of city as you travel by the Metro and Metro Cable and public escalators. Enjoy a gastronomic tasting and participate in a social experience at the Hip Hop School. Stop at Parque Biblioteca San Javier. With this tour we contribute to a foundation to help the children of the zone stay away from the violence. Marriott Hotel Medellin (B)
Day 4: Medellin
After breakfast at the hotel, you set out early for a thrilling adventure – paragliding! Yes, this morning you join your guide for a panoramic drive to the Miradores San Felix from where you will begin a 20-minute paragliding adventure. Enjoy the magic of flight. You need no previous experience to participate. You fly in tandem with an experienced instructor who controls the paraglider while you relax and feel the thrill of flying. Important: Weather conditions determine the safety of the flight. The instructor will be the only person to decide when it is appropriate to go.
After flying the skies, you now get to rumble the earth on a quad bike in San Pedro de los Milagros. On this tour, you enjoy panoramic views of 80 Avenue, Ciudad Universitaria, San Cristóbal, Dairy Zone and San Pedro de Los Milagros. Here you will have the chance of going on a one-hour adrenaline adventure on a 4×4 bike. You will receive a short introduction on driving the bike and will always have the support of a guide to ensure you have a safe ride. Later, enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch with a picturesque landscape to relax from your adventurous day. Return to the hotel with the evening at leisure. Marriott Hotel (B,Box Lunch)
Day 5: Medellìn / Guatapè
After breakfast, you set out for Guatape, taking in the views of the stunning green mountains and blue lakes. Continue to the village of Guatape, famous for its church and the beautiful, colorful paintings that decorate the houses of the village. After a traditional Colombian lunch on the waterfront of the Guatape Reservoir, explore the lake on a boat ride.
This afternoon check in to your hotel for a night in the Mush • Room, a delightful domed, semi-panoramic habitat with a unique view of the lake and in the middle of endemic vegetation. It has an outstanding king size bed, orthopedic mattress with pillow-top, high quality linens, minibar and natural ventilation system.
Tonight relive a favored childhood memory… a bonfire! Listen to the sound of the firewood creaking in the flames as the atmosphere begins to warm up. Sip a good bottle of wine or other refreshment and grill some marshmallows – what a treat. Bosko – Mush Room (B,D)
Day 6: Guatapè / Cartagena
Watch the sun rise and the reflections in the water. This morning there is time to explore the varied native species of flora and fauna. Connect with your surroundings. Maybe go fishing from the floating dock this morning or set out to photograph one of the world´s biggest monoliths, or go paddling in the waters that surround these mountains.
At noon, you transfer to Medellin airport, and assisted with check-in procedures for your flight to Cartagena. On arrival in Cartagena, collect your luggage and proceed to the arrival hall, where you are welcomed and assisted with your luggage. You are escorted to the waiting vehicle for your transfer to your hotel. A luxurious small hotel lovingly restored and reimagined for a new generation of travelers, exquisite Casa San Agustín echoes Cartagena’s fresh contemporary style and colorful Caribbean sensibility. Early this evening, after a short rest, take a short, four-minute walk to Tcherassi Hotel & Spa for a rum tasting. A rum expert will lead you through the world of rum-making. You discover the meaning of each rum flavor through its aroma. The tasting begins with a mini welcome cocktail, followed by a mixture of Colombian rum, aguardiente and rum infusions; some paired with different kinds of Colombian chocolate. You sample rums made for shooting, sipping and mixing into cocktails, ranging in age from four to 27 years. You will learn the history of rum and its distilling process, while enjoying a few light bites. Return to the hotel. Casa San Agustin Hotel (B)
Day 7: Cartagena
After breakfast at the hotel, you and your guide set out to discovery this colonial gem of a city. Begin with 360° views of the city, the port and the sea beyond from ‘La Popa’ Monastery and Church constructed in 1606. Continue to San Felipe, the first castle-fortress built on San Lázaro Hill to defend the city from pirate attacks. Walk the fortress to see the castle tunnels, underground galleries and passageways. Continue to the Walled City, a UNECSO World Heritage Site for a short workshop of the literary Menu of Gabriel García Marquez.
Then visit San Pedro Claver Convent and Church compound built mid-17th century. The Vaults, archways built within the walled city, were used until late 1700s to store armament and later as prison in the 21st century. Nowadays, it’s an artisans’ center to appreciate local handcrafts.
You finish your tour at Oh Lala Bistrot with lunch and a cooking lesson. Learn to cook the best Caribbean recipes of Colombia in a warm and convivial atmosphere in the very heart of Getsemani, the coolest neighborhood of Cartagena. The Ohlala Bistrot offers a three-hour cooking workshop, under the tutelage of French Chef Gilles Dupart, his wife Carolina and a team of strong-willed Caribbean women. This is an opportunity for them to share the more emblematic and tasty recipes of the region and showcase the colorful variety of local ingredients.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted with a refreshing coconut lemonade and a platter of snacks to get you into the gastronomic mood. During this short tasting, the chef will introduce you to the exotic dishes you will learn to prepare a wide range of 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 at the table to enjoy the fruit of your labor. At the end, all the participants receive a printed summary of all the recipes used in class. Return to your hotel for a short rest before dinning and dancing this evening.
About eight o’clock, prepare for salsa, the Insider Salsa Experience – this is Colombian Salsa with Locals! For the sturdy, you will set out on a four-hour bar hopping tour outside the city center. It begins in Donde Fidel to warm up and begin the fun. You walk to the statue of Joe Arroyo, a famous salsa singer from Cartagena, and hop on our bus to go to La Charanga de Joseph Black, El Koreano and Vueltabajero, carefully curated salsa bars. You will be back in the city center by 12:30 to begin the fun (Cartagena nightlife is long!) At the end, return to your hotel by private transfer. Hotel Casa San Agustìn (B)
Day 8: Cartegena / Barù Island
Mid-morning, you transfer to the La Bodeguita Pier where you are assisted with the transfer to Baru. Check in to your hotel for next two nights. Seamlessly blending refined luxury and rustic charm, the environmentally friendly accommodations at Hotel Las Islas provide a home away from home in the heart of Colombia’s stunning Caribbean coast. Choose between seafront and treetop bungalows, each named for a Colombian island and featuring a wealth of thoughtful amenities including air conditioning, complimentary wireless Internet and premium bath products.
Your afternoon is at leisure to relax on the beach or by the pool or work out the kinks at the fitness center. This evening you can go on a sunset sail aboard a catamaran. Dine under the shade of a thatched umbrella on your private deck as you gaze out over the sea or the forest. Enjoy a leisurely soak in your Jacuzzi, or a swim in your private pool. Or stretch out on your plush pillow top bed and order room service after an eventful day in paradise. Hotel Las Islas (B,L,D)
Day 9: Barù Island
Today is yours to use as you please. Go to the hotel’s private island with its white sand beach where guests can opt to participate in activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and enjoying a Massage. The hotel also offers optional activities such as cooking class where you learn to make traditional dishes from the region such as ceviche, shrimp cocktail and fried foods with a local cook from Barú. Canoe with a guide through the mangroves or explore the village of Barú accompanied by local guides. At night, you can take part in the bio luminescent plankton night viewing tour of the beaches near Cholón, where swim in shallow waters near the mangroves to observe plankton from the floor of white sand beaches. Hotel Las Islas (B,L,D)
Day 10: Barù / Cartagena / Depart
You have a land transfer from Barú to Cartagena airport, where you are assisted with check-in procedures for your onward flight. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$700 per person per day.