If you would like to truly discover Colombia’s natural beauty, its history and its culture alike, then look no further than our Authentic Colombia itinerary. Blending comfort with going off the beaten path, over the 18 nights you will experience both the highlights as well as the areas less travelled. You’ll begin your trip in Bogota, where you can choose to stay in either modern and trendy hotels in and around the lively “Zona T” area or in a charming boutique hotel in Bogota’s historical centre, La Candelaria. You can opt for a private tour of the city’s cultural highlights or simply absorb the vibrant arts and cafe scene, haute cuisine and bustling nightlife.
From Bogota you will fly down to Popayan for a multi-day, chauffeur-led road trip through the south of the country. The journey begins in Colombia’s ‘White City’ of Popayan, famed for its white-walled buildings and colonial masterpieces. Following a relaxing first night, you’ll set off to explore the buzzing market at Silvia, where indigenous Guambiano Indians converge each week to sell their fruits, vegetables, and kaleidoscopic wares, and onto a local healer for an insight into the medicinal properties of the region’s local plants.
From Sylvia, the journey winds south through rugged landscape to UNESCO-protected San Agustin archeological park, home to the largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America. The journey ends at Huila’s most impressive geographical wonder, the vast Tatacoa Desert, distinctive for its flaming ochre colouring and its labyrinth of wind-carved valleys that can reach 20 metres deep. The perfect location to star-gaze and end the road trip in reflection.
After a few days on the road you’ll head to Medellin, the city of eternal spring. You’ll stay at a boutique hotel in the charming Provenza neighbourhood, ideally located only a 5 minute walk from the city’s best cafes, shopping boutiques and restaurants. The leafy streets and laid-back charm of the place will quickly help dissolve any preconceived ideas you may have of the Medellin of old. We’ll take you on a custom tour of the city, which will include a visit to the bustling downtown to explore the famous Botero Plaza with its outdoor exhibition of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
You can also visit the Comuna 13 district, once one of the most dangerous districts of Medellin and get the opportunity to discover the city’s vibrant urban art and innovation scene.
From Medellin you will fly to Santa Marta, Colombia’s oldest city. An up-and-coming tourist destination, Santa Marta is in many respects Cartagena’s little sister, with a number of emerging boutique hotels and restaurants to choose from albeit with a more rustic, authentic feel. After a day of strolling through the old-town you can head straight towards Tayrona and its surrounding beaches. You’ll stay in chic, all-white beach-side cabanas, perfect for those looking for some barefoot luxury. Lying in your hammock, you’ll hear the sound of the waves breaking onto the sandy beach while you gaze up towards the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.You can walk or horse-ride through the famous Tayrona National Park, float gently down the serene Don Diego river in a rubber ring, or visit the indigenous ruins of Pueblito in the jungles of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
From Santa Marta you will journey almost an entire day by land and river to reach the mystically magical town of Mompos. The town that Gabriel Garcia Marquez referred to as a place “that does not exist”, due to it’s remote location, evokes a sense of a time gone by. As well as a historical tour, you’ll explore the rivers and the mangrove ecosystems of the area, while getting a glimpse of the local culture and the traditional rural life.
The final stop is Cartagena, Colombia’s main tourist destination and the jewel of the Caribbean, featuring the country’s finest and most luxurious boutique hotels. We’ll take you on a private guided tour of the historic sites and the magical places written about in many of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novels. For a touch of the local culture there’s the opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s rich musical heritage by visiting a nearby village to learn about the many Afro-Caribbean rhythms. As the sun dies down, take a walk through the romantic cobblestone streets of the old-town before dining in some of country’s best restaurants.