Traveling privately and staying in the country’s finest hotels, our fine Trip Leaders will take you deeper inside Colombia’s history and its modern spirit as this friendly nation sheds its past.
Day 1 – Welcome to Medellin, Colombia
Upon arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the stylish Medellin Marriott Hotel. Meals B
Day 2 – In + Around Medellin
Founded by the Spanish in 1616 in the lovely Aburra Valley, Medellin is the country’s second largest city. Following its turbulent years in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, this historic city has emerged as a leading example of South American progress and civic pride. Trace Medellin’s development across the centuries and recent decades as you explore the historic center of town. In Parque Berrío, you’ll mingle with residents listening to the traditional Guasca melodies of local musicians. Then discover the whimsical sculptures of Colombian artist Fernando Botero that grace a landscaped city plaza in the heart of the city. Then ride the Metro Cable Car up to the Santo Domingo neighborhood and take in the views of the city as our guide shares further insight into Medellin’s amazing transformation over the years. Accompanied by local artists, you’ll see colorful evidence of this urban transformation on a specially arranged guided walk that showcases some of Medellin’s vibrant street art. Meals B
Day 3 – Onward to Bogota
This morning you’ll journey to the small village of Santa Elena. Here in the mountains outside of the city, the soils and climate are ideal for growing beautiful tropical flowers that are both exported and showcased in the Feria de Las Flores – an annual Flower Festival in Medellin. Spending time here with some organic flower farmers offers insight into their daily life and farming traditions. Return to Medellin and we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to Bogotá where you’ll be met and escorted to the luxurious Sofitel Victoria Regia. This evening, you’ll get to know the lively spirit of the city as you join friendly residents at a popular café that also serves as a neighborhood grocery store; usually with just a few tables and maybe a jukebox, these small establishments can be found throughout the city and offer an authentic experience of Colombian life. You might even join some of the locals for a round of tejo, a lively game popular with city residents. This evening, you’ll dine atop Monserrate Hill. Meals B+D
Day 4 – Life and Culture in Bogota
An early morning visit to the Paloquemao Market is a great way to experience daily city life. With colorful flowers, exotic fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, seafood and herbs arriving here on a daily basis from all regions of Colombia, this is one of the largest and most important markets in the country. Next, you’ll explore La Candelaria, Bogotá’s finely preserved Colonial district. In Plaza de Bolivar, the vibrant heart of the city, you’ll see historic landmarks like the Cathedral, Cardinal’s Palace and San Agustin Church.
Next up is the Museo del Oro, with its large collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. A staff expert will lead your tour, offering insight into the significance and history of the museum’s collection - with some objects dating back nearly 2,500 years. On the top floor, a vault-like room displays a priceless ensemble of ancient gold artifacts. Your sightseeing ends at the Museo del Botero, housed in a renovated Colonial-era mansion. In addition to a wonderful collection of Fernando Botero’s own contemporary works, the museum includes the personal collection donated by this respected local artist – including paintings by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí, Chagall and Monet. Meals B
Day 5 – Fly to Cartagena
You’ll be escorted to the airport this morning for your included flight to Cartagena. You’ll be escorted to the Sofitel Santa Clara Hotel. Situated in a restored convent, our luxury hotel blends Cartagena’s rich Colonial heritage with elegant French luxury. Meals B
Day 6 – Discover Cartagena
Cartagena was once one of the wealthiest ports in the West Indies. It’s recognized today as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being one of the most extensive and complete fortified cities in the Americas. Along with Havana and San Juan, Puerto Rico, it was an essential link in the West Indies’ sea routes and provides a unique look into important chapters of world exploration and maritime trade in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. You’ll learn more about this rich heritage this morning as you tour San Felipe Fort, built in the 1600’s atop San Lázaro Hill to protect the city’s landward side. At the Church and Convent of San Pedro de Claver, founded in the early 17th century, you’ll find a handsome stone façade with Baroque flourishes and a fine ensemble of stained glass windows.
Inside the historic old walled city, you’ll mingle with residents in shops and eateries, sampling a variety of local specialties – both sweet and savory. This specially designed walking tour reveals not just the history of Cartagena, but the lively modern spirit of its residents. Meals B
Day 7 - Depart Colombia
You’ll be escorted to the airport for your onward flight. Meals B