Tailor-Made Holiday

Colombia - Capital, Culture, Coffee and Coast

The heart of Colombia, from Bogota to Villa de Leyva and Cartagena plus the Rosario Islands

15 days

from £10,545pp (excluding flights)

This ten-day holiday to Colombia takes in a host of highlights, from the grand colonial churches and street art of Bogota to the coffee growing regions and the UNESCO world heritage city of Cartagena. Add on a few nights and charter a yacht to explore the beaches and turquoise waters of the Rosario Islands.

  • Explore the colourful cobbled streets, churches and museums of Bogota
  • Visit Villa de Leyva, a colonial village frozen in time
  • Ride on a WWII Willys Jeep and learn about the Colombian coffee making process from plantation to cup
  • Wander the charming streets of Cartagena old town and sail to the white sandy beaches of the Rosario Islands

Bogota

Spend two days in Bogota, Colombia’s capital city, exploring the art lined cobbled streets, ancient churches, colourful markets and fascinating museums.

Villa de Leyva

From Bogota, travel overland to the colonial town of Villa de Leyva, set in a peaceful mountain valley. Almost untouched by time, this photogenic whitewashed village is brimming with convents and churches. Nearby are artisan villages plus the pre-Columbian archaeological site of Infiernito. Visit on a weekday for peace and quiet or on a Saturday morning for the very traditional farmers market.

Colombian Coffee

Colombia is known for producing some of the finest coffee in the world. Spend time in and around the fertile valleys of Armenia, exploring the coffee region on foot, horseback or by former US Army vehicle, otherwise known as Willys Jeep. Learn about the coffee growing process and how to make the perfect espresso.

Cartagena

The coastal city of Cartagena has a beautiful old town full of churches and brightly coloured colonial houses. Explore convents, palaces and museums before spending the day with a local chef, buying ingredients from the vibrant Bazurto market before returning to her house to cook up a feast.

Rosario Islands

What better way to end a holiday to Colombia than to charter your own private yacht and set sail to explore the Rosario Islands, an archipelago made up of over 40 islands located some 20 miles off the coast of Cartagena. Explore the beaches, mangroves and Caribbean waters around the islands with time to kayak and swim from the yacht.

The price quoted above is based on two people chartering the Ocean Phoenix yacht for exclusive use. For a group of four to six people, the from price would reduce by approximately a third.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 10545 £ 850
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Domestic flights
  • International flights
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary

what is excluded

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Bogota overnight

Day 2

Graffiti Art Tour By Bicycle
Bogota is home to many renowned artworks but perhaps less recognised are the street artists. Historic central Bogota holds great architectural and cultural interest but it's the highly imaginative and colourful graffiti and murals of the modern zones that are the main focus of this tour. They often convey strong social and political messages relating to current and past injustices. This tour is exciting to do by bicycle, and gives the chance to immerse oneself in the city atmosphere.


Dinner at Club Colombia
Dinner is included at Club Colombia this evening, one of Bogota's finest restaurants that specialises in tasting menus of new and traditional Colombian cuisine. You will be transferred to and from the restaurant and can be dropped off elsewhere following your meal, if stamina permits.

The vehicle will be available to you for three hours.

Bogota is rapidly developing into one of Latin America's most interesting and cosmopolitan capital cities.

Rivalling London for size, this sprawling metropolis is still fringed with shanty towns to the south. However, beautiful churches, engaging museums, cultural events and gastronomic experiences fill the centre of the city, while the cool mountain air and smattering of public parks make for a relaxed and genial atmosphere. The Baroque and Spanish colonial architecture and plazas of historic La Candelaria neighbourhood are some of Bogotá's big draws while the modern uptown zone is packed with restaurants, bars and cafes that buzz with a new generation of Rolos enjoying an era of peace and stability.


You will be staying at Casa Medina, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Full day Bogota Tour
First head to La Plaza de Mercado Paloquemao, one of the biggest and most recognised local markets in Bogotá, where all traditional produce and ingredients of Colombian cuisine can be found.
Continue with a walking tour through the historic centre of La Candelaria. This antiquated barrio is of great architectural and cultural heritage. Visit the Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great liberator Simon Bolivar is located. This Plaza, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes, as a marketplace, a bullring and a gallows. The visit continues with the Botero Museum, a colonial house exhibiting some of Fernando Botero´s works of art and pieces from his own personal collection that includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí Matisse, Monet and Giacometti.
Next is the Gold Museum which has a permanent exhibition of some 32,000 pieces of gold, 20,000 stones, ceramics and textiles all precious to the Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures.
A traditional lunch is included, after which you will continue north travelling on the Carrera 7, one of Bogotá’s principal Avenues (called the Vía Real del Comercio in colonial times) used as the main exit to the north to the salt mines.
The trip will end in Usaquén, a colonial district that was formerly a town in its own right but has now been absorbed by the city. Appreciate the atmospheres of a barrio that is slightly rural, colonial in style and at the same time modern. Take in the colonial plaza and wander through its narrow streets to find small boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.
Return to your hotel.


You will be staying at Casa Medina, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Drive from Bogotá to Villa de Leyva via Zipaquirá


Depart Bogotá and journey to Zipaquirá, passing through a region rich in the cultivation of roses and carnations. The journey will take approximately an hour. Zipaquirá is a salt mining town that is most famous for its incredible underground cathedral. Explore this amazing subterranean complex, created within a disused salt mine. Opened in 1995, the beautifully lit caves are decorated with carved crosses, altars and statues.
Afterwards, continue on to Villa de Leyva, which is around two hours away.The route passes through a region of dairy farming and if time permits, your guide will stop at one of the roadside restaurants for you to taste some of the delicious regional produce. You can also stop at the small town of Sutatausa to visit the fascinating old Spanish church. Only very recently, stucco was removed from the interior walls to reveal frescos that were painted by the Spanish and the enslaved indigenous community. Your guide will describe the process by which the Spanish converted the local population to Catholicism.


Declared a national monument in 1954, Villa de Leyva contains some of the finest examples of Spanish colonial architecture in Colombia. The town is beautifully preserved and modern architecture is almost completely absent amidst the cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings.

Among this array of colonial buildings, the town's square stands out. The largest in Colombia, this flagstone construction is vast in comparison to Villa de Leyva's modest size.


You will be staying at Posada de San Antonio, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Explore Villa de Leyva and surrounding region
Full day privately guided tour of this colonial jewel and nearby towns and villages. Start today by visiting the Saturday market. Taste some of the dishes being cooked up at the edge of the market to sustain the vendors. If you like spice, buy a bottle of the home-made chilli sauce - fiery perfection! The town's sights include its enormous plaza surrounded by Spanish style houses, the maze of small alleys, perfectly-preserved cobblestone streets and a seventeenth century parochial church. Other local attractions outside of town include the Museo El Fósil, which houses a gigantic 110 million-year-old marine fossil, identified as a kronosaurus, Ecce Homo Monastery, the pre-Columbian archaeological site of Infiernito and a variety of local towns and villages, each famous for a particular craft, industry or market.


You will be staying at Posada de San Antonio, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Drive from Villa de Leyva to Bogotá via the Convento del Santo Ecce Homo


Depart Villa de Leyva and travel to Bogotá, which is approximately three hours away. En route, stop at the Convento del Santo Ecce Homo. Founded by the Dominicans in 1620, this was an important point of evangelisation in a region populated by indigenous communities. The convent is built from local rocks and is notable for the small fossils that are visible throughout its stonework. If you have time, it may also be possible to visit the National Monument to Simon Bolivar. Lunch is included.

Fly Bogota to Armenia


Take an early evening tour is the estate in search of birdlife.


You will be staying at Hacienda Bambusa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Full day Valle del Cocora & Filandia Tour
Full day excursion to the Valle de Cocora and the traditional towns of Filandia and Salento. Today's excursion includes a thrilling drive in a traditional Willys Jeep through the stunning Cocora Valley. You'll then switch to horseback for a 90 minute trek in the foothills of the Los Nevados mountains. This ride takes you through cattle pastures and into the temperate rainforest, which is well known for numerous bird species such as hummingbirds and the endangered parrot - the Palmero. Colombia's emblematic tree, the Palma de Cera de Quindio (Wax Palm) which can reach 60 metres in height is also found in this area of Cocora. You will be able to view hundreds of these impressive palms poking out above the jungle. The Cocora Valley is home to many species of orchid and some 16 species of hummingbird.

Afterwards, tuck into a delicious lunch of locally produced smoked trout. The pretty town of Filandia is famous for its 'antiqueno' architecture and basket weaving, while Salento is a colourful and vibrant place with brightly painted colonial houses and flower strewn balconies


You will be staying at Hacienda Bambusa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Coffee Show with a Barista & Half Day City tour in Pereira
Morning visit to La Morelia coffee plantation, located at El Caimo, a town 10 minutes away from Armenia. A professional barista will explain the preparation of a good espresso, cappuccino, macchiato or a mocaccino, and the traditional and non-traditional ways to relish the flavours. After a typical lunch, continue to Pereira for a half day city tour. This is the 'city without doors' and tradition has it that nobody here is treated as an outsider. Visit the historic centre on foot where one can appreciate Republican architecture that contrasts with environmentally aware buildings and regenerated areas. Head on to the Plaza de Bolivar to see the statue of the great Liberator, created by Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt and erected in 1963. Other highlights include the cathedral, the lake park, and the commercial area. Also visit two typical haciendas of the region and then a traditional bar for a liquor tasting session. Dinner is included at the charming Hacienda Castilla, before transferring to the airport for your onward flight.

Fly Armenia to Cartagena


You will be staying at Casa San Agustin, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

Full Day of Sightseeing in Cartagena
Begin with a visit to the impregnable Castillo de San Felipe, the strongest fortress ever built in a Spanish colony and constructed to defend the city from frequent pirate attacks.

Afterwards explore the old city and visit the Convent and Church of the San Pedro Claver, the Museo del Oro and the Inquisition Palace. This palace - the meeting place for the Spanish Inquisition - contains a prison and torture chambers that were reserved for heretics.

Finish with a visit to the Santo Domingo church and the imposing cathedral, whose dome rises prominently above the rooftops.

One of the most vibrant and colourful cities in South America, Cartagena should not be missed. Founded in 1533 by the Spanish, the city was one of the most important ports in South America, sending plundered riches back to the mother county whilst attracting an eclectic combination of African and Caribbean cultures. This mix lives on and can be seen through the love of music and dance that the city's inhabitants thrive on today.

A meander through the old city's labyrinth of lively streets and plazas, all encased within several miles of thick, fortified, sea walls, is like a step back in time.

This is a captivating, vibrant city and veritable highlight for any visit to Colombia.


You will be staying at Casa San Agustin, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Full day visit to local markets and Bazurto cooking class
Familiarising yourself with local cuisine is a shortcut to the heart of any culture. Start this tour with a traditional dish and beverage from Cartagena in Bazurto local market.

Continue by shopping for lunch ingredients in this, the most typical and colourful local market in Cartagena. Visit small stalls selling fish, vegetables, fruits, spices and grains to complete your shopping list.
Then, meet a local traditional cook and transfer to Torices, a neighbourhood near the historic centre. Before the cooking class, which will be done in the backyard of the cook's house, you will receive a typical welcome drink. Participate during the class in all aspects of lunch preparation including starter, main dish and non-alcoholic drinks.

After this, sample a variety of typical local sweets. Transfer back to hotel. The whole experience will last around 5 - 6 hours.

Recent guests have suggested just a light breakfast is required this morning to save room for the delicious meal you will be creating.


You will be staying at Casa San Agustin, Bed & Breakfast

Day 11

Transfer to the jetty to board your private yacht.


Ocean Phoenix Charter - Explore the Rosario Islands
Spend time cruising around the Rosario Islands, an archipelago made up of over 40 islands located some 20 miles off the coast of Cartagena. The area is now a national park. Explore the beaches, mangroves and Caribbean waters around the islands with time to kayak and swim from your private yacht.


You will be staying at Ocean Phoenix, Full board

Day 12

Cruising and exploring the Rosario Islands


You will be staying at Ocean Phoenix, Full board

Day 13

Cruising and exploring the Rosario Islands


You will be staying at Ocean Phoenix, Full board

Day 14

Fly Cartagena to Bogota

Fly Bogota to London overnight

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Hacienda Bambusa

Hacienda Bambusa

The hacienda is built of bamboo guadua and clay tiles, in the typical style of the houses in the coffee region....

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Casa Medina

Casa Medina

Converted into a hotel in 1988, this National Historic Monument, which combines French and Spanish architecture, was built in 1945 by Don Santiago Medina....

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Casa San Agustin

Casa San Agustin

Casa San Agustin is located in the historic centre of Cartagena and effortlessly combines traditional Spanish colonialism and Cartagena's Caribbean coast with modern day living....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Colombia

James Armitage, Travel Expert

"The help and great knowledge James offered really made the holiday special"

"James listened and managed our expectations and therefore made sure we were prepared for all eventualities when going on our holiday to Brazil"

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John Faithfull, Travel Expert

"Personalised service. Seemed to really want to get it right for us. Very impressed when I first called and John spent 40 minutes finding out what we wanted to do and tailoring it for us."

"The expertise that John has really gave us faith in where we were going, the regions, the hotels, the trips. John knew about it all, he described them in detail, and when we asked for different regions he was straight in there with suggestions and ideas. The way the whole trip was planned and presented to us, never any pressure to book or any problem to change plans /ideas."

"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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