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Best of Colombia, including Tayrone National Park


GRB13B
13 NIGHTS
FROM £2,494
International flights quoted separately
Experience the best of Colombia, starting in Bogota. Visit the Salt Cathedral & the colonial town of Villa de Leyva, before flying to the Coffee Region, where you will see the giant wax palms of the Cocora Valley. Continue to the photogenic Spanish port at Cartagena & visit Tayrona National Park. All transfers, English speaking guides and specified sightseeing included.
Photo Tayrona National Park Colombia Cartagena Santa Marta Bogota
• 
Bogota
• 
Monserrate Mountain
• 
Salt Cathedral
• 
Villa de Leyva
• 
Otun Quimbaya Reserve
• 
Coffee Region
• 
Salento
• 
Cocora Valley
• 
Cartagena
• 
Tayrone National Park
• 
Bogota
• 
Monserrate Mountain
• 
Salt Cathedral
• 
Villa de Leyva
• 
Otun Quimbaya Reserve
• 
Coffee Region
• 
Salento
• 
Cocora Valley
• 
Cartagena
• 
Tayrone National Park
Day 1
You will be met at Bogota Airport and transferred to your hotel in this sprawling high altitude city.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city of Colombia.
Day 2
Today enjoy a tour of the city, starting with a walking tour through the cobbled alleys of La Candelaria, the historic Old Town. Starting from the church of El Carmen, you will see many beautifully preserved Spanish colonial houses and churches that date back centuries, such as the church of Santa Clara that today contains the Museum of Colonial Art. In the main square, Plaza Bolívar, you can see a statue honouring Simon Bolivar - a Venezuelan military leader who played a key role in the revolution against Spanish rule.
 
There are also many beautiful buildings such as the neoclassical performance hall Teatro Colón and the 17th-century Church of San Francisco. View the presidential residence, Casa del Nariño, which has an observatory in its gardens, the National Capitol, the Palace of Justice, the Cathedral of Bogota and the Palace of the Archbishop.
 
After your tour, we suggest an independent visit to the Gold Museum with its splendid collection of over 36,000 pre-Colombian gold and emerald pieces (pay entrance fee locally - closed on Mondays). You can also visit the Museo Botero, showcasing the art of Fernando Botero (closed on Tuesdays).
Day 3
Today we leave Bogota and travel 1-hour to Zipaquirá.
 
Here we visit the amazing Salt Cathedral - a Roman Catholic Church built in the tunnels of a salt mine 200 metres underground. The temple at the bottom has three sections representing the birth, life and death of Jesus. The icons, ornaments and architectural details are all hand carved in the halite rock, with some marble sculptures.
 
After lunch (own account), we continue 3-hours to Villa de Leyva, one of the most charming colonial villages in all of Colombia and steeped in atmosphere. Declared a national monument in 1954, this photogenic village has been preserved in its entirety, including its cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings.
Day 4
This morning enjoy a guided walking tour of colonial Villa de Leyva, with its many whitewashed buildings. We start at Plaza San Agustín and continue to the house of Antonio Nariño, a journalist, political and military leader who played an important role in Colombia's independence.
 
We then travel 4-hours to Bogota Airport for your onward flight, stopping along the way at Tunja to see the site of the Battle of Boyaca Bridge - the definitive battle that marked Colombia’s successful fight for independence from the Spanish crown.
 
Note: Airport departure tax of $8 per person is payable locally.

You will be met at Pereira Airport and transferred to your hotel.
 
Check in and relax in this gateway to Colombia's coffee-producing region.
 
Day 5
Today enjoy a shared jeep excursion to the Cocora Valley and Salento, high in the Colombian Andes.
 
Travel 1-hour to the striking landscapes of the Cocora Valley, where Colombia's national symbol - the gigantic wax palm - can be seen. These surreal plants are the largest palm trees in the world. Take a guided walk in the magnificent cloud forest and wonder at the biodiversity of its flora and fauna.
 
After lunch at a local restaurant (pay locally), we visit the sleepy little town of Salento. Here you can explore the Plaza de Bolivar with its colourful balconies and the main street with its many craft workshops. Enjoy the panoramic viewpoint at Cocora before we return to Pereira.
Day 6
Today we suggest an optional excursion, travelling 1.5-hours to Risaralda in the heart of the Andean Mountains to visit the lush Otun Quimbaya Reserve.
 
Admire the landscape of the Otun valley, and enjoy a 2-hour level walk through this amazing flora and fauna sanctuary, where you can view more of Colombia's iconic wax palms and see a great variety of birds, butterflies and small mammals.
 
After lunch at a local restaurant (pay locally), you will have some free time to enjoy this rainforest and sub-Andean forest, before we return to Pereira.
Day 7
This morning enjoy a Coffee Tour that will give you insight into the lifestyle of workers on a coffee farm and teach you more about the history of coffee growing in Colombia.
 
Follow the production process, as coffee beans are harvested and brought to the cooperative where they are pulped and dried. You will have the opportunity to sort, toast and grind the coffee before enjoying an excellent cup of Colombian coffee.
 
After lunch at a restaurant (pay locally), transfer to Pereira Airport for your onward flight.
 
Note: Airport departure tax of $8 per person is payable locally.

You will be met at Cartagena Airport and transferred to this tropical port city, situated on the Caribbean coast.
 
Check into your hotel in this colourful city, whose 16th century walled Old Town is now a World Heritage Site.
Day 8
Enjoy a walking tour of beautiful Cartagena today, starting with a visit to the Convento de la Popa, the highest point in the city with spectacular views over Cartagena Bay. This 17th century Augustinian monastery served as a fortress during colonial times.
 
We then visit the Castle of San Felipe located on San Lazaro Hill, the largest Spanish military building in the New World dating back to 1536. It was built to guard the city’s landward side from invasion and has a complex system of tunnels connected with strategic points, used to distribute provisions and for a possible evacuation. The tunnels were built so that any noise would echo along them, making internal communications easier and allowing the citizens to hear even the slightest sound of an enemy advance.
 
We also visit the church and monastery of San Pedro Claver, built in the early 17th century by the Jesuits. Pedro Claver was a defender and protector of slaves and lived in this monastery until his death. Afternoon is at leisure to explore Cartagena independently.
 
Note: Shorts and short skirts should not be worn when visiting churches, monasteries and religious shrines.
Day 9
Transfer to the pier today for a full day excursion to the Rosario Islands in the Bay of Cartagena.
 
We sail 1-hour to this spectacular archipelago of 27 coral islands, with their crystal clear turquoise waters. The whole archipelago is a marine park and activities include swimming and snorkelling. There is an aquarium at San Martín de Pajarales and also an open-sea oceanarium (pay entrance locally).
 
Enjoy an included lunch at a local resort, before returning to Cartagena in the mid afternoon.
Day 10
This morning we travel 4.5-hours to Santa Marta, the oldest city in Colombia, founded by the Spanish in 1525 when the country was known as New Granada.
 
As we leave Cartagena, we visit El Totumo Mud Volcano, whose small crater contains a pool of therapeutic mud. We continue along the coast, travelling through a variety of Caribbean coastal landscapes and small local villages to Santa Marta.
 
On arrival in Santa Marta check into your hotel in this busy Caribbean port, that is today the gateway to Tayrona National Park.
 
Day 11
This morning you will be driven 1.5-hours to Tayrona National Park, one of the most famous parks in Colombia - spectacularly situated on the Caribbean coast, with thick rainforests that plunge into the Atlantic Ocean.
 
Covering an area of over 15,000 hectares, Tayrona National Park is one of the most fascinating ecological reserves in South America. Here you can walk for miles and miles along magnificent black, yellow and white sandy beaches, including famous Cañaveral and Arenilla, all the way to glorious Cape San Juan.
 
After lunch (own account) you will be transferred back to Santa Marta in the late afternoon.
Day 12
This morning enjoy a city tour of Santa Marta, overlooked by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta - at 5,775 m the highest coastal mountains in the world.
 
We start at the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, a beautiful 17th century hacienda where the liberator Simon Bolivar lived before he died. Our next stop is a monumnet to the best soccer player that Colombia has ever produced - Carlos Valderrama, fondly known as  'El Pibe' (The Kidd).
 
Our tour continues to the small fishing village of Taganga, with wonderful views over the Caribbean Sea. Our tour ends in the historic city centre, where you can explore its old cobbled streets and lovely colonial buildings. Your afternoon is free for independent sightseeing or relaxing at the beach
Day 13
Transfer 4.5-hours to Cartagena Airport for your onward flight.
 
Note: Airport departure tax of $8 per person is payable locally.

You will be met at Bogota Airport and transferred to your hotel in this sprawling high altitude city.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city of Colombia.
Day 14
Transfer to Bogota Airport for your flight home.
 
Note: International airport departure tax of $38 per person is payable locally.

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