• Overview
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  • Pricing
  • Dates
  • Hotels
  • Trip Reviews
  • FAQ
On this week long tour, you will explore two very different cities, the capital city of Bogota located high in the Andes and the vibrant walled in city Caribbean city of Cartagena on the coast.   In the capital, you will learn about the history of Bogota and the intricacies of current Colombian culture and daily life.   Carved from a colorful history rife of piracy, sultry Caribbean heat, with fusions of African, indigenous and European cultures, Cartagena is Colombia’s living, breathing and pulsating museum. The city is absurdly photogenic with colorful splashes on every corner, balconies overflowing with flowers, and energy seeps beneath the ancient wooden doors of hotels, restaurants and private homes.   To balance out the big cities, spend a couple nights in the quaint 16th century village of Villa de Leyva.  This entire village of cobblestone streets, tiled-roofs and whitewashed buildings was declared a National Monument in 1945 in part because of the thousands of fossils used in its construction.   
Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Bogota
A representative meets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel located in the city center.
Day 2: Bogota City Tour
After breakfast, head to La Candelaria, Bogota’s historic district. Explore Plaza Bolivar, San Francisco Church, and restored 300-year-old homes and public buildings. Discover why Bogota inspired the legends of El Dorado on a trip to the Gold Museum, with more than 33,400 pieces of pre-Colombian gold on display. Explore the  Botero Gallery, which houses a permanent exhibition of art by Fernando Botero as well as other world famous artists such as Dali, Monet, and Van Gogh.  For lunch, try traditional Colombian cuisine followed by a visit to Monserrate where you will to take in the amazing views of Bogota’s skyline. (B,L) 
Day 3: Bogota - Villa de Leyva
First stop today is the Paloquemao Market, known as a popular street food hotspot due to its variety of delicious foods and fresh produce, including just-harvested fruits and vegetables, fresh-picked flowers and more. After grabbing a snack, we’ll head to Usaquen Market on Sundays, before heading to Villa de Leyva. Enjoy pastoral scenes of the countryside and a stop at Boyaca Bridge, the scene of a battle on August 7, 1819 that secured Colombia’s independence from the Spanish. Walked the quiet cobblestoned streets and dine at a restaurant of your choice. (B,L)
Day 4: Villa de Leyva
Declared a National Monument in 1945, you’ll explore this village full of cobblestone roads, tiled-roofs and whitewashed buildings. Walk through the main plaza, said to be one of the largest in South America, and see the main church which dominates the square. This afternoon, visit the Paleontological Museum, home of the most important collection of fossils in South America. Visit the nearby Dominican monastery, a historic and well-preserved building that hosts a collection of religious and colonial art.. Strolling around this evening, you’ll find numerous boutiques selling local handicrafts and enjoy dining at one of the many restaurants that line the main plaza. (B,L)
Day 5: Villa de Leyva - Bogota - Cartagena
Today, drive to the Bogota airport for your flight to Cartagena, a colorful walled in city on the Caribbean Sea. You’ll arrive in the late afternoon. As evening sets in, have a sunset drink before dinner and enjoy the vibrant nightlife in this sultry Caribbean city. (B,L)
Day 6: Cartagena Highlights
This morning you will visit San Felipe de Barajas Fortress, a Spanish architectural masterpiece built to defend the city from pirates seeking local treasures. Next you’ll explore La Popa Monastery, a church on the highest point in the city with breathtaking 360-degree views. From there you’ll head back to Cartagena to explore the Old Town on foot. During this excursion, we’ll sample local delicacies while you learn about the city. Walk the scenic plazas and streets adorned with flowers, try the best “arepas de huevo”, fresh made lemonade and the famous “patacones” of Getsemany. We’ll wrap the day up with the best typical sweets of the city. (B,L)
Day 7: Cartagena - Bogota - Home
After your final breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Bogota where you connect with your international flight home. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

The most pleasant time to visit Colombia is in the dry season, between December and March or in July and August. The dry season also gives visitors a better chance to savor local cultural events because many festivals and fiestas take place during these periods.

Altitude
Colombia's proximity to the equator means its temperature varies little throughout the year. However, the temperature does change with altitude, which creates various climatic zones ranging from hot lowlands to freezing Andean peaks - you can experience completely different climates within just a couple of hours of travel. As a general rule, the temperature falls about 6ºC (43ºF) with every 1000m (3281ft) increase in altitude.

Two Seasons
Colombia has two seasons: verano or la sequia (summer, or dry), and invierno or temproada de lluvia (winter, or wet). The pattern of seasons varies in different parts of the country, and has been greatly affected over recent years by El Niño and La Niña. For example, in the Andean region there are two dry and two rainy seasons per year. The main dry season falls between December and March, with a shorter and less dry period between July and August. This general pattern varies throughout the Andean zone.

Los Llanos
The weather in Los Llanos has a more definite pattern: there is one dry season, between December and March, while the rest of the year it's wet. The Amazon doesn't have a uniform climate but is generally quite wet year-round.

Classic Colombia

Pricing
Per Person
$2,295

Domestic Airfare: $215

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: +$395
Single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in a double occupancy. 

Holiday surcharges may apply.
Included in tour cost
  • Private transportation
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)

Classic Colombia

Trip Dates
This tour operates year round with the best time being July, August and December through March. Please contact us for details.
Saturday, March 17, 2018 to Friday, March 23, 2018
Available
Saturday, April 7, 2018 to Friday, April 13, 2018
Available
Friday, May 25, 2018 to Thursday, May 31, 2018
Available
Saturday, June 30, 2018 to Friday, July 6, 2018
Available
Saturday, August 25, 2018 to Friday, August 31, 2018
Available
Saturday, October 13, 2018 to Friday, October 19, 2018
Available
Saturday, November 17, 2018 to Friday, November 23, 2018
Available
Friday, December 21, 2018 to Thursday, December 27, 2018
Available
Saturday, January 12, 2019 to Friday, January 18, 2019
Available
Saturday, February 9, 2019 to Friday, February 15, 2019
Available
Saturday, March 16, 2019 to Friday, March 22, 2019
Available
Saturday, April 13, 2019 to Friday, April 19, 2019
Available
Saturday, May 11, 2019 to Friday, May 17, 2019
Available
Saturday, June 8, 2019 to Friday, June 14, 2019
Available
Saturday, July 13, 2019 to Friday, July 19, 2019
Available
Saturday, August 10, 2019 to Friday, August 16, 2019
Available
Saturday, September 14, 2019 to Friday, September 20, 2019
Available
Saturday, October 12, 2019 to Friday, October 18, 2019
Available
Saturday, November 16, 2019 to Friday, November 22, 2019
Available
Saturday, December 7, 2019 to Friday, December 13, 2019
Available
Bogota
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Cartagena
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Villa de Leyva
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
colombia travelMy two friends and I just recently returned from our trip to Colombia. This is our third trip to South America in recent years and was without question our best trip directly because of our guide Nicolas Mejia. He was outstanding and incredible in every way and made our 11 day excursion a trip of a lifetime. From his expert knowledge about all aspects of Colombia to taking us to the most amazing restaurants, Nicolas fully immersed us in all aspects of Columbian lifestyle and culture. He helped create one of most authentic experiences we have ever had and even introduced us to his entire family. He always took the time to answer every question we had and always went the extra mile to create the most perfect experience wherever we were. Whether we were was hiking El Pueblito and the Lost City of the Tayrona People or mountain biking the Santa Fe Antioquia or white water rafting down the Cauca River, the totality of experiences were both exhilarating and serene. The famous philosopher Confucius once said, “Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand forever”. Thanks to Nicholas we have more of an understanding of Colombia and all its beauty than we could have ever hoped for. Thanks again for an amazing and unforgettable experience. Very truly yours, Mark Mailman (Colombia Trip).

colombia cultureOur deepest gratitude to Nicolas Mejia for his hospitality, generosity, kindness, and his commitment to excellence in all aspects of our discovery of Colombia.  His passion for Colombia and the outdoors was contagious. He managed masterfully for our 10 days exploration to be  an unforgettable experience with in times presentations of the Colombian history and culture, other days great hikes in Iguaque and Tayrona National Parks, with emphasis on breathtaking views of unique Andean and Caribbean landscapes; mixing the discovery of master pieces of Fernando Botero  and stunning street art, unforgettable gratifies  in Bogota. In terms of food culture, we got to experience different variety of Colombian cuisine, local fruits and vegetables, coffee but also the unique cacao of Colombia with the best dark chocolate ever. Great conversations while traveling between different regions about traditions, Colombian cinema, music... In terms of organizing our stay in Colombia (arrival, transfers, hotels, restaurants, departure..) it was a seamless and pleasant experience for the entire trip. Nicolas discretely monitored the safety for both of us in terms of hiking in altitude and yet making sure the thrill and excitement were there. He introduced us to fine restaurants in every town we visited. The icing on the cake was discovering the night life in Cartagena, the salsa clubs and helping my husband with organizing the best birthday party!!  Finally a great way of ending each day was getting every night the pictures of the day. It was too short of a visit to a vast country with such a rich culture, yet it was a magical experience. Merci Nicolas! - Massy Safai (Colombia Tour)

colombia travelThank you Southern Explorations for organizing our trip to Bogota & Medellin Colombia.  The personalized service exceeded our expectations.  All of our guides were very friendly, knowledgeable and a true joy to be around. The hotels were comfy and located in just the right spot for us to really experience the cities and towns on our tour.  Everything went so smoothly we were able to really relax and enjoy the trip.  We can’t wait to book another trip with SE. - Cecilia Uribe (Bogota & Medellin Tour)

 
This is the second time we have travelled to South America using Southern Explorations as our tour organizer. This second trip was as fantastic and well-run as the first. We had no issues at all and saw and did everything we had contracted for. Our guide, Alfredo Meneses, was always a gentleman while at the same time knowledgeable and well-informed about the places we were visiting. We also had local guides, Christian Rojas and Nicolas Mejia, were kind, sensitive, equally knowledgeable, and endlessly patient!! This was a truly memorable trip, thanks to the work of Southern Explorations but also because Colombia is such a spectacular and as yet generally undiscovered country! - Fred & Karen Leitner (Colombia) 

Hi Justin,
What a fabulous trip!!!!!  We absolutely loved everything about it!!!  Your itinerary was perfection and having Alfredo as our guide was so important to the success of our trip!  Alfredo is by far the best guide we've ever had anywhere!!!  His knowledge is encyclopedic and his enthusiasm for traveling and exploration is addicting!  It also helps that he's a world class athlete!  All of the people who were added to the trip for our benefit were terrific!  So fun, knowledgeable, thoughtful and kind, just wonderful people trying to help us have a great time!  Thank you so very much for another perfect trip!!!!!  We wouldn't have changed anything!  We love Colombia and had such an amazing time!!!
 
Hugs,
Carol & Rick Abrams (Colombia Multi Sport)

 

Colombia - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer both active and cultural tours that visit colonial cities, the coffee region, the Caribbean coast and the three Andean cordilleras. These itineraries vary in length and level of accommodation. Our Adventure Travel Coordinators would be happy to chat with you to help you find the itinerary that best meets your needs and interests.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to put together a custom Colombia tour for you if our current itineraries are not quite what you are looking for. We can also add extensions onto any of our existing tours.
Q: Is Colombia safe?
A: Colombia has changed dramatically from the times of Pablo Escobar. Generally speaking, Colombia is a safe place to visit.  There are, of course, parts of the country that are not safe, but you will not venture to these areas on our tours.  You should practice the same safety precautions in Colombia that you would anywhere in the world (leave valuables at home, don’t wear flashy jewelry, etc). Listen to and take the advice of your guide, but relax and enjoy your trip.
Q: When is the best time to go to Colombia?
A: Colombia is a year-round destination, but the best months to visit for optimum weather are July, August and December through March.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: Temperatures in Colombia remain stable throughout the year due to its proximity to the Equator. Cartagena and the Caribbean coast are hot and humid, with averages in the mid-80s.  In the higher elevations you can expect a range of temperatures from 40s at night to 80s in the day, depending on the region.  Rainfall varies in the Andean regions with two wet seasons and two dry seasons each year. The driest months are from December to March and July to August. In the low-lying areas of Colombia, rain is more consistent year round. Please see the weather tab on your specific trip for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like on a Colombia tour? 
A: A typical day in Colombia will vary from tour to tour, but you can generally expect to start your excursions right after breakfast, with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. A lunch break is included and you’ll retire to your accommodations in the late afternoon, with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Colombia? 
A: Our Colombia trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do we need to visit Colombia?
A: Most of our Colombia trips are between one and two weeks, depending on how much of the country you would like to see.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For the best guide availability and selection in hotels, we recommend booking three to six months in advance. December through March are especially popular times for Colombia travel, so more advance planning is ideal. For the Christmas holiday season and the week prior to Easter, we recommend booking a year in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We only hire guides who are native to the destination and licensed or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels including boutique properties and larger business-style hotels. Throughout the rest of the country we work with a combination of historic haciendas, small traditional hotels and remote lodges. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Eight travelers is the maximum for our Colombia trips, but the majority of our departures are private.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal, which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary. This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.