Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Depart USA / Bogotá, ColombiaJuly 30
Board your independent flight to Bogotá. Upon arrival, transfer to the Sofitel Victoria Regia for a welcome dinner and overnight.
Bogotá / ZipaquiráJuly 31
Today embark on a tour of Bogotá, Colombia’s capital and largest city. Visit the historic center and make a stop at San Agustín Church, the oldest colonial church in Bogotá, to view the fine Baroque altarpieces and splendid interior. Then peruse the extraordinary collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts at the Gold Museum, and browse the delightful displays of paintings and sculptures in the beautiful Botero Museum. A short drive takes you to the small colonial town of Cajicá for lunch and a chance to stroll the main plaza. After lunch, continue to the Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral. Considered to be a masterpiece of Colombian architecture, this underground church was built entirely within the tunnels of an abandoned salt mine. Return to Bogotá for dinner and overnight.
Bogotá / Lake GuatavitaAugust 1
After breakfast depart overland through lush countryside to Lake Guatavita, thought to be the origin of the El Dorado legend. A walk around the circular crater lake offers splendid views and a variety of interesting plants and animals. Continue to the town of Guatavita which was constructed in 1967 when the original town was abandoned to create the Tomine Reservoir. Return to Bogotá for dinner and overnight.
Bogotá / Bahia SolanoAugust 2
Transfer to the airport for our flight to Bahia Solano via Medellin. Truly a nature lover’s paradise, this is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet with estimates suggesting that more than half of the known species of flora and fauna in the world can be found here. No roads connect Bahia Solano to the interior, which has helped to preserve these natural riches. Check in to El Almejal Hotel, for lunch, then spend the afternoon exploring the lovely beach and lush rainforest setting.
Bahia SolanoAugust 3 — August 4
From July to November, thousands of humpback whales congregate in the warm waters of the Colombian Pacific to breed. Board local boats to search for these leviathans. Learn about the local turtle conservation project and visit an organic garden. A short hike brings you to a viewpoint for fabulous vistas, then continue along forest trails with your naturalist guide to search for a wealth of wildlife while you learn more about this dynamic ecosystem.
Bahia Solano / MedellinAugust 5
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for our flight to Medellin. Winner of the 2013 Innovative City of the Year award, Medellin is one of South America’s most modern and affluent cities. Check in to the Royal Hotel and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. After this, visit Plaza Botero, which displays a number of sculptures by Colombia’s most famous artist and Medellin native, Fernando Botero. A gondola takes you on a panoramic ride to the ultra-modern Spain Library, where you can appreciate more spectacular views of the surrounding city. Continue to Pueblito Paisa, or “Little Town,” a replica of a typical turn of the century Antioquia town square, complete with a traditional fountain, church, the mayor’s office, a barber shop, and a one-room school house. Take a stroll through the glamorous Zona Rosa before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Medellin / PereiraAugust 6
This morning, board our flight to Pereira, Colombia’s principal coffee-growing area. Make a stop at one of the many coffee plantations that dot the fertile valleys to learn about this important cultural and economic commodity. Check in to the Sazagua Boutique Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Pereira / Cocora ValleyAugust 7
This morning, take a scenic drive through verdant valleys flanked by misty mountain peaks. Cocora Valley is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park and is the home of wax palm, Colombia’s national symbol and the world’s tallest palm. Hike through the spectacular scenery of lush hillsides covered with the towering, spindly palms, often piercing though ethereal mist and wispy clouds. Enjoy lunch in the park, learn about the importance of this tree to native peoples, and plant a wax palm sapling to commemorate your visit. On the way back to Pereira, make a stop in photogenic Salento, a colonial town with impressive views. Stroll the main plaza and browse the interesting craft workshops. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Pereira / CartagenaAugust 8
After breakfast, visit a ranch where paso fino horses are raised and trained. Meet the horses and their trainers and enjoy a short performance before transferring to the airport for our flight to Cartagena. Check in to Casa san Agustin Hotel, and time permitting embark on a late afternoon walking tour. The walled old town reveals vibrant plazas flanked by impressive Spanish colonial buildings, and charming narrow lanes lined with flower-bedecked balconies.
Today you will tour the architectural highlights of Cartagena, including the Convent of La Popa, San Felipe’s Fort, and the Convent of San Pedro Calver. You will also have a chance to browse the colorful handicraft stores of Las Bovedas, where local artisans display their wares. After lunch, take a short drive to the fishing village of Boquilla. Join local guides aboard dugout canoes for a cruise through the maze of mangrove swamps, home to a number of unique plants and animals, and an amazing variety of birds. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Rosario IslandsAugust 10
After breakfast, board a local boat for the Rosario Islands, a series of 40 islands protected as a National Natural Park since 1977. Explore by bike, or simply relax on a lovely white-sand beach. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel in the warm, turquoise waters. Return to Cartagena for dinner and overnight.
Cartagena / USAAugust 11
Transfer to the airport this morning for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.