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ULTIMATE COLOMBIA

Highlighting
Cosmopolitan Bogota
Historic Villa de Leyva
Leticia in the Amazon
Armenia & the Coffee Region
Charming Cartagena

16 Days

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Locally Hosted Independent Tour

Suggested Departure Day:
Friday

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ITINERARY (Subject to change without notice):

Day 1 - USA - Bogota: Upon arrival in Bogota, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, Four Seasons Casa Medina, in Zona G (for Gastronomy), the destination for the best restaurants in Bogota. Balance of day at leisure.

Day 2 – Bogota:   A full day is needed to visit this city, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in South America with a population of about 8 million. It is truly a city that beautifully combines modern skyscrapers next to historical colonial buildings. At some 8600 ft above sea level, the days are temperate and evenings cool. Highlights will include main Plaza Bolivar, lined by the National Cathedral, National Capitol Building; Casa Narino (Simon Bolivar’s home, now a museum); the historical “La Candelaria” with its narrow slopping streets, colonial buildings with clay tile roofs; the Fernando Botero Museum, famed Gold Museum. Also take the teleferico up some 1500 ft. to Monserrate, which has been a pilgrimage site since it’s founding in 1640, and offers a fantastic overview of the city below. Lunch will be included on the day’s tour.  (B/L)

NOTE: Gold Museum is closed on Mondays; Botero Museum is closed on Tuesday (itinerary may be adjusted)

Day 3 – Bogota:  Today you will head in the opposite direction, south, to the western slopes of the Andes ranges. Coming down from the cooler Sabana Plateau to a more temperate, warmer climate turning the panorama to lush tropical vegetation, ideal for the famed coffee of Colombia. En route you will see greenhouses full of plant, flowers and cultivated orchids. Stop at a coffee finca to see how the “bean” is cultivated, harvested, processed and even turned into a delicious coffee liquor. Lunch will be included en route.  (B/L)

Day 4 – Bogota-Villa de Leyva: Today you will depart the modern bustling capital and drive northward in the “colonial heartland,” and the charming town of Villa de Leyva. En route you will stop at the Andalusian-styled town of Guatavita and at the historic Puente (Bridge) de Boyaca where Simon Bolivar defeated the Spanish army on August 07,1819 (The Battle of Boyaca), gaining the country’s independence. Continue on to Tunja, founded in 1539 and considered a very historically rich city with various museums, churches and convents. A lunch stop will be made before heading to Leyva and your quaint Posada de San Antonio, just a couple of blocks off the main square.  (B/L)

Day 5 – Villa de Leyva: Full day visiting the interesting town and surroundings. Founded 1572, Villa de Leyva, much of the architecture and character have changed little…Spanish style small winding, cobblestone streets lined with orange roofed white-washed buildings, flower laden balconies, graceful arches and balconies. Even with all its colonial cache, it is a town with French restaurant and bakeries, Dutch speaking bars, Italian pizzas, Austrian strudel and Lebanese kibbe! At over 2000 meters above sea level boasting a temperate climate, it is quiet, peaceful and is said to have been an inspiration to poets and writers. Another highlight of the area is a visit to “El Fossil” Museum, so named because a 7 meter long prehistoric, marine-like reptile, believed to be a “kronosaurus, was found at this spot in 1977. Visit the House of Narino (Antonio Narino was a political and military leader of the Colombian independence movement). Also visit the Luis Acuna Museum (Acuna is considered one of Colombia’s most important artist of the 20th Century).   The museum showcases his and other artists works. Lunch included en route.  (B/L/D)

Day 6 – Villa de Leyva-Bogota:  Leisurely return to Bogota with visit to nearby beautiful town of Raquira, home to local artisans, producing some of the country’s best earthenware pottery. A stop also is made at the Sacred Ecce Home convent in the desert-like area of La Candelaria. Continue to the magical and spiritual underground Salt Cathedral at Zipaquira, built some 600 feet within a salt mine with 14 small chapels representing the stations of the cross. Lunch en route before arriving at the Bogota Sofitel Victoria Regia.   (B/L/D)

Day 7 – Bogota-Leticia:  Morning transfer to the airport for the flight into the capital of the Colombian Amazon region, Leticia, literally on the tri-border of Colombia, Peru and Brasil. Transfer to your hotel Decameron Decalodge Ticuna. In the afternoon, depart by motorlaunch to Yahuarcaca Lake where you will have your first encounter with the Amazon region. Here you will find the giant La Ceiba tree, different bird species and various plants such as the giant lotus, commonly known as the Victoria Regia.   (B/L)

Day 8 – Leticia: Today leave by boat to Puerto Alegria (which is in Peru!) where the muddy waters of the Amazon join up with the black waters of the  Cayaru River. It is on this river, rich in flora, fauna and fresh water doplphins,  that we travel upstream to Bella Vista, a Ticuna Indian village. Here there will be an opportunity to view daily village life, maybe even have time to fish. The region also abounds with a wide variety of birds.  Lunch included before returning to Leticia.    (B/L/D)

Day 9 – Leticia:  Your host will drive you to Tarapaca and the community of the native Huitotos. Learn about native myths, folklore, legends and culture. There will also be an ecological walk through the nearby jungle to learn about the area's flora and fauna.  Arrive at a natural pool with time to have a refreshing swim and a typical lunch before returning to your hotel.   (B/L/D)

Day10 – Leticia-Bogota-Armenia: Transfer to the airport and board flight to Bogota, where you will change aircraft for flight into the heart of the country’s coffee growing region, Armenia. Your accommodations for the next three nights will be at the charming Hacienda Bambusa. Armenia is the capital of the department of Quindio; and along with Risaralda and Caldas, it forms the country’s “coffee crossroads". In recent years, ecological, rural tourism, has become an integral part of these departments’ economies, in particular if coffee related, for it is coffee that has given the region its historical, cultural and economic importance. (B/D)

Day 11 – Armenia:  Your local host will show you some of the highlights of the Coffee National Park. As you drive through the countryside, pass numerous colorful flower-bedecked farms and homes on rich agricultural and cattle farms. One of the first things one should do upon entering the park is climb the wooden watch tower for incredible views of the valley with the Cordillera Central in the distance.  Then visit the museum where you will see not only the history of the coffee but of the social life of the “cafeteros” as well where exhibits tell of stories and legends through artifacts and mementos. On the Garden Walk is an impressive collection of nearly the entire country’s plant life, including orchids, fruit trees, fern, palms, bromeliads. There is even a Coffee Varieties Garden with selections from around the world. There is also Quimbayan Indian Cemetery and a Willy Jeep Display.  These vintage WWII vehicles are still used today to carry down bundles of picked coffee beans from remote, hard to reach mountainous locations.. From the park, continue to the Quimbaya Museum of Armenia with its pre-Hispanic collection of artifacts from primarily the Quimbaya culture, but also of the Embera and other amerindian civilizations. There are some 390 gold pieces,104 pottery pieces, 22 stone sculptures along with carved woods and textiles. . Also stop at the Botanical Garden of Quindio with its butterfly shaped butterfly garden; there is a hanging bridge into the forest, an ecological path, a maze and a museum. Lunch included today  (B/L/D)

Day 12 – Armenia:  Today’s visit will take you to Recuca, a coffee plantation that will present a roundup of the “bean” from planting, harvesting, drying, threshing, roasting and grinding by YOU “role playing” as a grower.  Continue on to the charming colonial town of Salento...only one road in, one road out.  This sleepy town fringes on some of the country’s most spectacular  scenery, which only gets better as you head into the Cocora Valley, home to the national tree of Colombia, the Palma de Cera (wax palm) which grows over 60 meters in height. The valley is in the central Andean mountains and is considered a wildlife sanctuary as well.  It is good for hiking, bird watching, horseback riding. Lunch included en route. (B/L/D)

Day 13 – Armenia-Bogota-Cartagena: Transfer to the airport for flight to Bogota and connect with flight to the Caribbean coastal city of Cartagena de Indias, among the most beautiful colonial cities in South America. The old Walled City is immaculately preserved with beautiful plazas, churches, boutique shops, quaint restaurants and old restored buildings. Your hotel will be the Sofitel Santa Clara Cartagena. (B)

Day 14 – Cartagena: Founded in 1533 , Cartagena was the only port in Spanish South America until Buenos Aires was founded. The morning city tour highlights will include the Convent of La Popa, on a hilltop overlooking the bay, visiting the monastery and the chapel of “La Virgen de La Candelaria.” Visit the enormous fortifications at San Felipe, built in the 17th century to protect the city from English, French and Dutch pirates. The walled city has the best preserved colonial architecture, declared a “Patrimony of Humanity.” Here we find Las Bovedas (the old dungeons) now boutique shops and handicraft stores, numerous plazas, churches, and restaurants. Afternoon at leisure.  (B)

Day15 – Cartagena:  Full day excursion to one of the 27 off-shore islands known as the Rosario Islands, about 45-minutes by boat from Cartagena. You arrive on Isla Grande with lush vegetation, humid forests and internal lagoons. Spend the day on white sand beaches with marine coral floors. Lunch included.  (B/L)

Day16 –Depart CartagenaUSA: Your local host will call for you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your return flight home.  (B)


RATES and DETAILS:

SAMPLE LAND RATE PER PERSON: (All rates subject to change without notice)
YEAR Single Occupancy Twin Occupancy - P/P Triple Occupancy - P/P
2017 Request $13,800 to $14,400 Request
2018 Estimate 10% increase
Plus Air fares and USA Departure Taxes
PAYMENTS: By credit card; special form required & must carry Card Holder's signature
Deposit - Per Person 2nd Deposit - Per Person Full Payment Due
$1000 in order to confirm To complete 30% deposit
upon confirmation of all space
65 days prior departure
CHANGES:
After reservations confirmed If new documents are required
$100 per change $100 per change + $100 re-issue documents
CANCELLATIONS: (Exact fees depend on room-cabin occupancy)
Cancelled Between Up to 91 days 89 to 61  days 60 to 31 days 30 to 00 days
Fees Per Person $1000 30% 50% 100%
TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE: Highly recommended
RATE INCLUDES:
  • Hotel accommodations with hotel taxes and service charges
  • Meals as indicated, table d'hôte basis
  • Transfers as indicated, with English speaking guide
  • Luggage handling at airports
  • Sightseeing as indicated, with English speaking guide
  • Surface and overland travel as indicated
RATE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
  • Air fares
  • USA and Foreign airport departure taxes
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips to drivers, guides, hotel bellboys, ship's personnel
  • Meals not specifically indicated as included
NOTE: Information was last updated January 2, 2017.  Information & rates subject to change.
Responsibilities, Terms & Condition