Expert-Led Group Tour

Colombia - Amazon, Andes and Archaeology

14 days

from £5,295pp
  • Journey from Colombia's rejuvenated capital, Bogotá, to the iconic colonial city of Cartagena.
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Agustín.
  • Visit the perfectly preserved town of Villa de Leyva, a colonial jewel.
  • Discover the spectacular Andean scenery, friendly local people and energetic rural markets.

Visit remote archaeological sites in the Andes, Amazon and northern tropical forests to see exquisite stone sculptures, rock paintings and tombs and to learn about the indigenous cultures that crafted this legacy. Explore Spanish colonial heritage in Bogota, Villa de Leyva and Cartagena as well as taking the opportunity to view wildlife in the Llanos/Amazon region.

While the focus of this tour is on indigenous and colonial history, you will also experience an exciting modern Colombia that is emerging from a difficult few decades with positivity, energy and an eye firmly set on a bright future. Bars and restaurants in Bogota are full, displaced coffee farmers are returning to their small holdings in the south and Cartagena buzzes with Colombian and international visitors.

It's a fresh start and a thrilling time to be in Colombia.


This specialist tour offers you the opportunity to be in the vanguard of visitors that are re-discovering this remarkable country. Colombia is home to some of the most important pre-Colombian archaeological sites in South America, dating back thousands of years and interconnected through a timeline of migration, colonisation, development and war.


The group will be joined by a selection of Colombia's foremost historians, archaeologists and anthropologists who will provide an account of their work and a privileged insight into ancient and colonial history.


Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers.  Visiting as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay the single supplement.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single supplement will apply.


We use a good standard of accommodation throughout, occasionally in historic buildings. Sometimes the accommodation will be functional but always clean and en-suite. 


Yes, all internal flights are included starting from Bogota and ending in Cartagena.


You ideally need a moderate level of fitness to participate. Bear in mind that you will need to negotiate flights of steps, inclines and uneven surfaces. Wellington boots will be provided, if required.


Colombian food is very diverse, each region of the country having its own characteristic dishes. Dishes and recipes are handed down from generation to generation, influenced by not only indigenous Colombian culture, but Spanish, African and Arab cultures as well.

Bandeja paisa is the hearty national dish of Colombia. It comprises of Colombia’s staple ingredients - rice, plantain, an arepa (corn cakes), avocado, ground beef, chorizo, black sausage and fried pork rind, there’s a fried egg thrown on top for good measure. This rather intimidating plate of calories and carbohydrates is generally accompanied by a rich bean soup.  Good luck!


Colombia is a year-round destination however August is within the dry season and a perfect time to travel to Colombia. The days will be warm and the evenings in Bogota and San Agustin, slightly cooler.

Departing on:
  • 25th August 2018

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
25th Aug 2018 7th Sep 2018 £ 5,295 £ 1,050 £ 880 Juan Ortiz Limited
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation as indicated
  • Accompanied by expert guides throughout
  • All activities as detailed in the itinerary
  • Domestic economy flights
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and porters.
  • Meals as indicated
  • Transportation throughout

what is excluded

  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • All items of a personal nature
  • International flights
  • Meals other than those shown
  • Travel Insurance (mandatory)
  • Visas (where applicable)


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Suggested group flights
The suggested group inbound flight for this tour is:

Avianca Airways AV121, scheduled to depart London Heathrow at 22:40 on Friday 24th August 2018, arriving into Bogota airport at 04:05 on Saturday 25th August 2018.

An arrival transfer will be provided to connect with this flight. You will be met at the arrivals hall by a member of our local team and transferred to the Hotel de La Opera in Bogota.

For those making their own way to Bogota and not taking the suggested group flight, the starting point for the group is the Hotel de La Opera in Bogota. Please speak to one of our team should you need help organising an arrival transfer. You will meet with the rest of the group for a short briefing at the arrival hotel - meeting time to be confirmed in your final documentation.

Gold Museum
Visit the Gold Museum and spend around three hours touring its fascinating artefacts before ascending to Cerro Monserrate for panoramic views of the city and to watch the sunset.

Dinner will be at a restaurant in La Macarena neighbourhood where you will be joined by a regional expert who will accompany the group for the next few days.

Bogota is rapidly developing into one of Latin America's most interesting and cosmopolitan capital cities, the city is at a high elevation of 2640m.

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.

dinner included.

You will be staying at Hotel de La Opera, Dinner only

Day 2

Paloquemao market, Zipaquira Salt Cathedral and Bogota city tour
An early start this morning to capture the hustle and bustle of Paloquemao, the capital's largest market, to learn about rural culture and sample various local foods with the locals.

After time at the market transfer to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral (a journey of around one hour and tour the site and undergound chapels. Lunch in Zipaquira before transferring back to Bogota.

In the afternoon enjoy a tour of Bogota visiting the Botero Museum, Plaza de Bolivar and La Candelaria. Return to hotel to freshen up before transferring to the Andres DC restaurant for dinner with Alvaro Botiva Contreras, Colombia's foremost rock art expert.

Evening presentation with Alvaro Botiva Contreras, Colombia's foremost rock art expert.

breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Hotel de La Opera, Dinner only

Day 3

Morning in Bogota
Today enjoy a morning lecture on San Jose del Guaviare, discussing the history of the Karijonas of the Amazon basin and the archaeological discoveries and future investigation plans for the Serrania de La Lindosa. Afterwards, walk to the nearby Museums and Exhibitions of Architecture (otherwise known as MUSARQ), to see an archaeological exhibition before heading to the National Museum.

Lunch at museum restaurant.

Fly Bogota to San Jose del Guaviare

Evening presentation on Eastern Tukano culture at Panure indigenous reserve.

You will be staying at Hotel Aeropuerto San Jose del Guaviare, Full board

Day 4

Visit Cerro Azul
Transfer along unpaved roads to Cerro Azul site, a journey time of just under two hours, followed by a 40 minute walk to the paintings. Observe the wall painting and discuss history of the Karijonas of the Amazon basin and archaeological finds, the first ancient Amazonic man found was in the Colombian Amazon basin, and investigation plans for the Serrania de La Lindosa.

Transfer back to the hotel for a presentation on Llanero culture before dinner at the hotel.

Guiana Shield rock formations
In the early afternoon, transfer to the rock formations that are part of the Guiana Shield. Located between the Guaviare and Caquetá rivers, the eroded rocks of the ancient Guiana Shield are exposed, these giant rocky outcrops are thought to be some of the oldest rocks on the planet. The park also has impressive biodiversity. Moreover, there is evidence of ancient human inhabitants living in the area as seen in the rock art.

Breakfast at Hotel Aeropuerto, packed lunch at site and dinner in San Jose del Guaviare.

You will be staying at Hotel Aeropuerto San Jose del Guaviare, Full board

Day 5

Fly San Jose del Guaviare to Bogota

Drive from Bogota to Sogamoso (Road Journey)

Welcome dinner with Margarita Silva
Welcome dinner with Margarita Silva, Sogamoso Museum and Monquira Archaeological Park Director, at Hacienda Suescun.

You will be staying at Hacienda Suescun, Full board

Day 6

Visit the Eliecer Silva Celis Museum
An early start to arrive at the Eliecer Silva Celis Museum of Sogamoso at 07:30. This museum houses the most complete collection of Muiscan artefacts on the continent. The Muiscan culture that inhabited the Cundi-Boyacense Plateau dates back from between 310-800 AD until the arrival of the Spanish in 1537, when the Muiscans were decimated by disease and war brought by the Spanish.

The Muiscan culture was highly skilled in the crafting of gold and this, in large part, led to their downfall. The museum dates back 70 years and is situated on the site where most of the artefacts were found, home to the Muiscan Chieftain 'Sugamuxi'.

The outside exhibits include human burial grounds near to the 'Templo del Sol' or 'Temple of the Sun'. The temple was the main religious centre for the Muiscans who worshipped the Sun. Gold was of immense religious importance due to its properties in being able to reflect the light of the sun.

A ritual will be held and an ancestral song will be sung in the temple which has been handed down the generations by the local elders of the region.

Return to Suescun for lunch and an afternoon at leisure to enjoy the hacienda.

breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Hacienda Suescun, Full board

Day 7

Drive from Sogamoso to Villa de Leyva (Road Journey)

An afternoon tour of Villa de Leyva
Explore the streets, visiting the cathedral, Convent of San Francisco and Convent of Carmen. Also pay a visit to the various museums within the town.

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.

breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Posada de San Antonio, Full board

Day 8

Monquira Archaeological Park
Explore the Monquira archaeological park where the various upright carved stones and monoliths were thought to be foundations of temples, but after much investigation it was deduced that the stones were actually part of the most important solar observatory in South America. Walk around two main Holy Grounds, observing the stone layout and nearby tombs thought to have been made around 1-2,000 BC which were then re-used by the Muiscas.

Transfer to Bogota (journey time of around 4 hours)

Packed lunch provided en route.

You will be staying at Habitel, Full board

Day 9

Fly Bogota to Pitalito

Transfer from Pitalito to San Agustin (a journey time of around 1 hour)

Pitalito coffee farm
In the afternoon, visit a local organic coffee farm. Colombia is well known for high-quality coffee, is the second largest producer of coffee in the world and the largest producer of washed and Arabica coffee. Coffee from the Pitalito region is known for having high acidity, medium to good body and stone fruit notes.

Afterwards, continue onto the strait of the Magdalena River to see where this magnificent river reduces to just three metres wide.

Meet with local expert David Dellenback, author of 'The Statues of the Pueblo Escultor'

breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Akawanka Lodge, Full board

Day 10

San Agustin Archaeological Park
Located high in the Colombian Massif, where Central and Eastern Andean chains are still joined before splitting as they head north and where the rivers Cauca, Magdalena, Patia, Putumayo and Caqueta are born, the archaeological sites of San Agustin and Isnos are the focus for the next two days.

San Agustin Archaeological Park (established in 1931) covers around 116 hectares and includes a third of the 600 or so stone statues found in the region and half of the 40 burial mounds, making it the largest complex of pre-Columbian megalithic funerary monuments, burial mounds and statues in the world.

Walk around the various 'Mesitas' sites, in which lie various sarcophagi and statues, built for the upper-echelons of society. San Agustinian culture established itself around 100 AD after other cultures had inhabited the area. Given its great geographical importance where the Andes lead down into the Amazon basin, the site was a place of pilgrimage and worship for many other Colombian pre-Hispanic cultures.

Thanks to the wealth of history and archaeology found in San Agustín, it is one of the up-and-coming areas to visit in Colombia. It is here that the Magdalena and Cauca River valleys converged and where two ancient civilisations met to trade, worship and bury their dead. They disappeared long before the arrival of the Conquistadores, leaving hundreds of large statues, some nearly seven metres high and up to 5,000 years old.

It is a beautiful region with volcanic peaks, fertile valleys and the Tatacao Desert, with its towering cacti and numerous humming birds.

Lunch will be provided at the archaeological site and dinner at the hotel or in town.

Afternoon at leisure or further exploration of archeological sites in the area.

breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Akawanka Lodge, Full board

Day 11

Full day visit to Isnos and surrounding area
Full day private excursion to Isnos via the Magdalena which runs north all the way to the Caribbean coast. Set off to this rural town to view the Archaeological Parks of Alto de los Idolos and Also de las Piedras with their well preserved tombs and original artwork. Take in the breathtaking view of the Massif and the stunning waterfalls, Mortino and Bordones.

Lunch will be provided at the archaeological site and dinner at the hotel or in town.

Afternoon at leisure.

breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Akawanka Lodge, Full board

Day 12

Drive from San Agustin to Neiva (Road Journey)

Depart San Agustín and travel to Neiva, which is approximately five hours away.

Fly Neiva to Bogota

Fly Bogota to Cartagena

Meet with Monika Therrien.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Ananda Hotel, Full board

Day 13

Cartagena city tour
In the morning, begin a tour of the UNESCO site of Cartagena de Indias - the stunning walled city and port that once was the main thoroughfare for most of the gold, silver and slaves that arrived and left the continent during the Spanish colonisation. The old city has the most extensive fortifications of the Spanish conquest in the Americas and was given UNESCO World Heritage site status in 1984 for its original architecture and cultural symbols, beautifully preserved and recently restored and typical of Spanish colonial times. Numerous attempts through history to take the city had failed, but it wasn't until Sir Francis Drake attacked and took part of Cartagena in 1586, did the Spanish crown invest in the impressive walls that still stand today. The architecture ranges in antiquity. Older buildings, such as the cathedral, date back to the 16th century. All are prime examples of colonial times, with their intricate woodwork, small balconies, terracotta roofs and brightly coloured facades.

Continue through Isla de Manga or Barrio Manga where the Spanish 'casonas' can be viewed - immense and ornate mansions - many of them declared national monuments.

Continue to the Popa Monastery that has panoramic views of the city. Also visit Saint Philip's castle which is regarded as the greatest military fortress that the Spanish ever built. From here travel back to the walled city, along the stone streets and plazas, soaking up the atmosphere which is undoubtedly Caribbean.

Fort of San Sebastian
In the afternoon, visit to the Fort of San Sebastian de Pastelillo, with its 31 cannons. It was built on the site of the destroyed 'Boqueron' fort (Cartagena's first), strategically positioned to defend the entrance by water to the city and plazas. After finishing the tour, lunch will be held in the walled city where goodbyes will be said to Monika.

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.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

You will be staying at Ananda Hotel, Full board

Day 14

Day at leisure.

Suggested group flights
The suggested group outbound flight for this tour is:

Avianca Airways AV9551, scheduled to depart Cartagena at 19:50 on Friday 7th September 2018 arriving into Bogota at 21:20 on the same day. Connect with the Avianca Airways flight AV120 departing Bogota at 23:14 on Friday 7th September 2018, arriving into London Heathrow at 15:30 on Saturday 8th September 2018. A departure transfer will be provided to connect with this flight.

For those not taking the suggested group flight, please speak to one of our team should you need help organising a departure transfer.


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

Hotel de La Opera

Hotel de La Opera

Hotel de la Opera is located in the historic centre of the Colombian capital, near attractions such as the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), Teatro Colón and Palacio San Carlos....

View Accommodation

Akawanka Lodge

Akawanka Lodge

Akawanka Lodge is located in peaceful countryside just 1km outside San Agustin and offers tremendous views of the surrounding Andean scenery....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

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"

"James was brilliant and all the advice was spot on."

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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."

Read More

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

Tour expert

Juan Ortiz

Juan Ortiz
Juan is an ex-project engineer and manager from London who moved to Colombia to make a new life for himself in the travel business after experiences here that changed his life.

A lover of all things natural, he loves to share his knowledge and wonderment for Colombia with others. He is always looking for the next adventure in the middle of nowhere. Juan also loves writing and telling the world about what he has just seen. Juan is an avid birder and photographer.

As well as Juan, our Colombia group tour will be joined by some of Colombia’s leading experts:

Juan Ortiz - Tour host for whole trip

Byron Leon - Expert Guide in Bogota and Altiplano

Alvaro Botiva - Expert Guide in Guaviare

Margarita Silva - Expert Guide in Sogamoso and Villa de Leyva

Julio Marino Barragan - Expert Guide Pueblito Tayrona

Monika Therrien - Expert Guide in Cartagena
Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 4 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Juan Ortiz

Departure Date (S):

  • 25th August 2018

  • Active – The tour may involve daily walks and will have a faster pace in certain areas. Walks will be no longer than 6 hours. The pace of this tour will be quite busy, expect long travel days and very little time at leisure.

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