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Colombia is a country of diverse landscapes offering adventure travelers an exciting array of memorable outdoor experiences to learn about the country’s rich natural history and civilizations. This eleven-day itinerary of thrilling, stimulating excursions includes hiking, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting. Along the way, you'll try some of Colombia's traditional dishes, delve into the local culture and see some of the area's natural wonders.  Explore several of Colombia's interesting and historic cities, staying at boutique hotels.

From Bogota, the trip starts in the glorious Andes and the San Gil Valley, before heading to the northern coast to explore the picturesque beaches and bio-diverse tropical rainforest of Colombia’s most popular national park. It ends in the colonial city by the sea, Cartagena. Leave the crowds behind for a once in a lifetime journey to peaceful Colombia.

 

Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Bogota
On arrival into Bogota, you are met and transferred to your hotel in the city center.  
Day 2: Bogota City Tour & Villa de Leyva

Embark on a walk through La Candelaria, Bogota's historic district.  Explore Plaza Bolivar, San Francisco Church, and restored 300-year-old homes and public buildings.  Meander along a dynamic public pedestrian street full of restaurants, many of which have been owned by the same families for eight generations. Spend some time in Bogota's impressive gold musem.  After lunch, head to Villa de Leyva, enojying pastoral views and stopping at historic Boyaca Bridge, the scene of the battle that secured Colombia's independence from Spain.  This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner on the plaza. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Iguaque National Park

After breakfast, you will explore Iguaque National Park, sacred home of the ancient Muisca people and today a wildlife sanctuary in a large forest that protects hundreds of species of endemic plants and birds. This challenging yet rewarding hike offers spectacular mountain views of the area.  Time permitting, you'll visit paleontology museum where the country’s most important collection of fossils, dating back 150 million years, is housed, followed by a Dominican monastery.  Here you will learn about the region’s history through its religious culture as well as see Muisca Indian artifacts adorned with area fossils. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Barichara Valley Mountain Biking

A scenic drive takes you north to the heart of Colombia’s adventure sports region, the San Gill Valley, located in the Santander region, known for the mammoth strands of moss that hang from its trees. Today’s picturesque bike trip begins in Barichara at the top of a plateau riding downhill to the valley floor.  The route is mainly downhill and incredibly scenic. You’ll spend the late evening exploring the perfectly preserved Spanish colonial town of Barichara that was declared a National Monument in 1978. Its cobblestone streets, red tiled roofs and plazas will make you feel you have been transported to another era. (B,L)

Day 5: Juan Curi Waterfall & Camino Real

Today you’ll visit the stunning Juan Curi waterfall and the surrounding forest where you may swim in the natural pools walk under the misty veil of the falls.  After lunch, hike first along a four-mile segment of the historic cobblestone “El Camino Real” (Royal Highway), formerly used to export South American gold and exotic products back to the Spanish Crown. The hike takes you to Guane, a colonial town with a photogenic main square. Here you will visit the church as well as the museum of paleontology and archeology with a collection of over 10,000 fossils, a 700 year old mummy, and Guane cultural artifacts. You will spend another night at your colonial hotel in quaint Barichara. (B,L)

Day 6: Raft the Chicamocha Gorge & Coffee Tour

Today’s excursion on the Chicamocha River runs through a dry forest and canyon with towering 600-ft limestone walls. The Chicamocha Gorge, also known as South America’s Grand Canyon, is largely isolated with year-round warm, dry weather. Exciting class II-IV rapids ensure a thrilling and fun trip down the river. You'll finish out the day at Hacienda El Roble, home to 72 different varieties of shade-grown, organic coffee.  Learn every step of the coffee production process in Colombia, from the seed to the cup, during your coffee tour at the hacienda. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Tayrona National Park

Depart this morning for the Bucaramanga Airport for a quick flight ot Bogota and connection to Colombia's oldest town, Santa Marta.  From there, transfer 45 minutes to Tayrona National Park, one of the most stunning reserves on the Caribbean coast.  The park offers aquamarine waters, pristine beaches, tropical forests and archeaological sites in a diverse landscape that extends from the Sierra of Santa Marta all the way to snowcapped mountains. Spend the rest of your day relaxing on the beach and catch a breathraking Caribbean sunset over fine sands and warm crystal clear waters. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Hike to the Lost City of El Pueblito

Set off on horseback on the ascent to El Pueblito through the tropical forest of Tayrona National Park, where birds, monkeys, and other wildlife abound.  Once we reach the top, continue on foot to the ruins of a Tayrona city that dates from 300 A.D.  Explore the stone terraces, aqueducts and platforms that housed round stone homes in these Tayrona ruins.  You may glimpse the Kogis, an indigenous group that still lives in the area. An exciting descent down the trail and scrambling over boulders leads you to Cabo San Juan, Tayrona's famous beach, where you will enjoy a cold drink and a refreshing swim.  Round up the afternoon with a 90 minute hike along the beaches and tropical forest to the park exit. You'll return to the hotel by vehicle in the late afternoon for a well earned rest. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Tayrona to Cartagena

In the morning you head south along the coast to scenic Cartagena, South America’s main port during colonial times. On the way, we'll stop for lunch at the legendary La Cueva, the restaurant where Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombian Nobel Prize Winning Author, started his book "100 Years of Solitude." You will explore Cartagena’s perfectly restored colonial center of exquisite Spanish architecture enclosed within stone walls, its cathedral, plazas, gold museum and colonial houses, many of which have been transformed into elegant boutique hotels, cafes and restaurants. You are free this evening to explore this lively Caribbean city on your own. (B,L)

Day 10: Cartagena City Highlights & Food Tour

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 11: Cartagena - Home

In the morning, you will be transferred to the Cartagena airport for your 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.

Maps

Undiscover Colombia

Colombia MultiSport

Pricing
Per Person
$3,895

Domestic Airfare: $250

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: + $550
Single Supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy. 

Holiday surcharges may apply.

Included in tour cost
  • Mountain biking gear
  • Private transportation
  • Rafting equipment
  • 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)
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

Colombia MultiSport

Trip Dates
This tour operates year round with the best time being July, August and December through March. Can’t find a date that works for you in the list below? Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details.
Friday, March 16, 2018 to Monday, March 26, 2018
Available
Friday, April 6, 2018 to Monday, April 16, 2018
Available
Friday, May 25, 2018 to Monday, June 4, 2018
Available
Friday, June 29, 2018 to Monday, July 9, 2018
Available
Friday, August 24, 2018 to Monday, September 3, 2018
Available
Saturday, October 13, 2018 to Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Available
Friday, November 16, 2018 to Monday, November 26, 2018
Available
Friday, December 21, 2018 to Monday, December 31, 2018
Available
Friday, January 4, 2019 to Monday, January 14, 2019
Available
Saturday, February 2, 2019 to Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Available
Saturday, March 9, 2019 to Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Available
Saturday, April 6, 2019 to Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Available
Saturday, May 11, 2019 to Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Available
Saturday, June 8, 2019 to Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Available
Saturday, July 13, 2019 to Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Available
Saturday, August 10, 2019 to Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Available
Saturday, September 14, 2019 to Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Available
Saturday, October 5, 2019 to Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Available
Saturday, November 2, 2019 to Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Available
Saturday, December 7, 2019 to Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Available
Mesa de los Santos
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Barichara
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Bogota
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Cartagena
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Tayrona National Park
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.