Emerald hills spiked with palms, pastel-hued colonial towns, and cloud forests teeming with exotic wildlife—Colombia bursts with natural beauty and cultural treasures that have been difficult to reach for decades. Witness the country’s reawakening while exploring vibrant cities from capital Bogotá to coastal Cartagena and cosmopolitan Medellín, and discover the lush "coffee triangle" deep within the crinkles of the Andes. Along the way, meet artists, dancers, and farmers who are contributing to Colombia’s inspiring renaissance.
Arrive in Bogotá and transfer to our hotel in the stylish Zona Rosa.
Join your private guide for a full-day city tour, beginning at the traditional Plaza de Paloquemao market. Ride a gondola to the summit of Cerro de Monserrate for a panoramic view of Bogotá, then stroll past the graceful plazas and Spanish colonial architecture of La Candelaria. Bask in the glow of more than 30,000 pre-Columbian artifacts at the extraordinary Gold Museum, take a behind-the-scenes tour of Teatro Colón, and examine the works of one of Colombia's most famous artists at the Botero Museum.
Take a scenic flight over the Andes to Armenia, a city in Colombia’s coffee triangle. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape in 2011, this small region of lush valleys produces some of the best coffee in the world. Sip on an award-winning blend at Café San Alberto, then witness the coffee production process from bean to brew at a local farm. After learning about the phases of coffee cultivation, harvesting, drying, and roasting, sample a cup while taking in your stunning surroundings. Settle into our hotel, nestled amid the Andean foothills.
Set out with your private guide on a hike through breathtaking La Carbonera and discover the rich biodiversity of the region. Stretch your legs beneath swaying Quindío wax palms, an endangered species and the national tree of Colombia; and look out for exotic birds and tropical flowers. Enjoy a picnic in this stunning setting, then visit the colorful colonial town of Salento.
Return to Armenia and catch a flight to Medellín. Upon arrival, travel to Alto de San Miguel, a nature reserve harboring 16% of the country’s biodiversity. Join a private guide for a hike through cloud forests intersected by crystalline rivers, and visit the AIUNAU wildlife rehabilitation center to learn about their conservation work and observe rescued armadillos, sloths, and anteaters. Continue to your hotel in the El Poblado neighborhood of Medellín.
Surrounded by emerald mountains and flower farms, the City of Eternal Spring is experiencing a resurgence after a turbulent late 20th century, when Medellín was ruled by notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. After a private tour of the city highlights, join a local artist to explore Comuna 13, a neighborhood that embodies the renaissance. Here, government- and NGO-sponsored art and music programs have transformed this one-time epicenter of drug violence into a safe and vibrant community where creative outlets have inspired healing and growth. Enjoy the afternoon to explore Medellín at your leisure.
Fly to the lively Caribbean port of Cartagena. Surrounded by the most extensive fortifications in South America and brimming with beautiful colonial architecture, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. Set out with your private guide to explore the historic center, strolling past colorful facades, balconies overflowing with bougainvillea, and bronze Botero sculptures. This afternoon, see sites that inspired Colombian author and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez on a private tour.
Travel southeast into the foothills of the Montes de María for a visit to Palenque de San Basilio. The small Afro-Colombian community was established by runaway slaves in the 17th century as one of several area palenques, or sanctuary settlements. San Basilio, which has been a home to the descendants of its original founders for the past four centuries, is the only palenque still in existence today. Learn about the community’s unique social, medical, and religious practices, as well as its oral and musical traditions with African roots—recognized collectively by UNESCO as a masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Return to Cartagena later this afternoon.
Board the ferry to Isla Majagua, an idyllic Caribbean isle in Colombia’s Rosario archipelago. Paddle Laguna Encantada on a canoe tour, then explore the island by foot or bike. This afternoon, step to the rhythm of vallenato music while learning a traditional Colombian dance from a local teacher. Enjoy time to relax on Isla Majagua’s sugar-white sands before returning to Cartagena later this afternoon.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch your flight home.