Colombia : Classic Tour
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From $3,490.00 / person
Based on double occupancy
Located 2600m above sea level at the base of the Guadalupe and Monserrate mountains is Colombia’s capital and one of South America’s leading cultural destinations. Patrons of the arts are spoilt for choice with the city’s museums, art galleries, stage theatres and national monuments. So impressive is Bogota’s collection of libraries and academic institutions that the city has earned itself the nickname “The Athens of South America”. The historic district of La Candelaria boasts many of these sites as well as stunning historic architecture and numerous hotels and hostels that make it an ideal setting for travellers wanting to take in the essence of the city.
The Coffee Triangle
Colombia is known to produce some of the world’s best coffee – in a picturesque mountain region called the Zona Cafetera - meaning the Coffee Triangle. Encompassing the Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío regions, Zona Cafetera has embraced tourism and offers a wide range of authentic hotels or traditional farmsteads, from which travellers can tour the area’s emerald-green hilltops, fertile valleys and famous high-altitude coffee plantations. Visitors can spend time on the farms, learning about the coffee growing process, which is especially fun during the harvest seasons that run from April to May and October to December. Those looking for a laid-back local experience will enjoy the sleepy little backpacker town of Salento in the Quindío department, while nature lovers shouldn’t miss trekking in the breathtaking Valle de Cocora and visiting the Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados, one of Colombia’s most famous national parks.
The tiny hamlet of Cócora, approximately 11km east of Salento, consists of little more than a handful of small shops, hotels and restaurants serving some of the region's most sumptuous culinary delights, including the area’s famous trout. From Cócora a well-trodden path leads into a misty, pristine valley which boasts a surreal cloud forest, dotted with some fascinating ruins of pre-Columbian tombs and dwellings. This idyllic, emerald valley hosts an abundance of magnificent plant life including orchids, bromeliads, heliconias and of course the postcard-perfect towering wax palm trees for which the valley is known. This stunning, surreal landscape is home to an impressive array of rare wildlife such as endangered mountain tapirs, spectacled bear, puma, sloths, and mountain lions along with a multitude of bird species like toucans, eagles, motmots and, perhaps most notably, the yellow-eared parrot, which nests in the hollow trunks of the wax palms themselves. The Cocora Valley is a dynamic, tranquil hikers’ paradise small enough to traverse on foot in one day although guided horseback rides are also a popular option.
This Caribbean coastal city offers visitors a mix of the enchanting old and the exciting new. Step into the cobbled streets of the walled city, a World Heritage Site with 400 year old stone walls covering 13km, and explore an intricate maze of pastel homes, colonial architecture, churches, and historic sites such as the Palace of the Inquisition. Outside the old city lies the chaotic bustle that is typical of South American cities, an experience best sampled by visiting the Mercado Bazurto central market. To the south of the city, tourists are treated to trendy cafes, restaurants and a buzzing nightlife.
In the center of the western region of the Columbia, located in a small valley that descends from a part of the western Andes mountain chain, the picturesque university city of Pereira typically serves as a convenient base to explore the nearby postcard-perfect town of Salento. The region is backed by an exquisite landscape of lush, green undulating hills dotted with coffee plantations producing some of the world’s best coffee. It is also known as the gateway to Parque Ucumarí and Santuario Otún Quimbaya, a pair of impressive nature reserves; and the relaxing thermal springs of Santa Rosa and San Vicente. However Pereira itself has a charm of its own. Its cafe culture, nightlife and entertainment scene are bolstered by its large spirited student population and the city boasts a number of fascinating museums, state-of-the-art shopping malls, and some interesting landmarks such as the Bolivar Desnudo Monument and the Viaduct built in honor of former president Cesar Gaviria This clean, modern, and well organised city has so much more to offer than just its incredible coffee.
The longest mountain range in the world, the Andes stretches along the western coastline of South America from Venezuela to Argentina. The Northern Andes, however, encompasses only Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. The area boasts some of the richest tropical montane forests on earth and is home to a myriad of species including most of the world’s spectacled bears. Seven different eco-regions can be found along the way, as well as numerous charming colonial towns, Inca ruins and of course, Bogota – Colombia’s capital city and the third highest city in South America, sitting at 2,640 metres (8,660 ft) above sea level.
Spreading down inland from its coastal capital of Cartagena, the Colombian department of Bolivar lies in the north of the country. In Magangue, take scenic ferry rides along the river, explore colonial architecture and learn about the art of gold filigree, before heading towards the historic Santa Cruz de Mompox; or explore the lush Botanical Gardens in Turbaco to meet parrots, frogs, and monkeys. In the capital, meander through thirteen kilometres of the UNESCO-listed Old Town, dance the night away on a party bus or learn to salsa at one of the many clubs, or while away the day sunbathing on gorgeous beaches or watching fishermen bring in their catch. See 280 species of birds at the Wildlife Sanctuary Los Colorados, or delve into Colombian heritage by visiting the house of Rafael Nunez, four-time president and composer of the national anthem.