Colombia Tour Plan

As a country that starts with C listed on, Colombia is inhabited by over 47 million people, around 8 million of whom live in the region of the capital Bogotá. Other metropolitan areas with several million residents are the cities of Medellín, which are also located in the Andes, and the “salsa city” of Cali. The official language in Colombia is Spanish.

Colombia 1

  • Day 1: Arrival in Bogotá (2,600 m)
  • Day 2: Bogotá city tour
  • Day 3: Parque Nacional Natural Chingaza (3,000 m), Páramo landscape
  • Day 4: Bogotá – Pitalito – San Agustín (1,620 m)
  • Day 5: San Agustín, Alto de los Idolos & Rio Magdalena
  • Day 6: San Agustín
  • Day 7: San Agustín – Neiva (440 m)
  • Day 8: We fly to Santa Marta
  • Day 9: Tayrona National Park
  • Day 10: Minca (650 m) – El Dorado
  • Day 11: El Dorado – Minca
  • Day 12: Santa Marta – Cartagena de las Indias
  • Day 13: The fishing village of La Boquilla
  • Day 14: Cartagena – Cooking class with visit to the market and rum tasting
  • Day 15: Farewell: Cartagena – Bogotá (2,600 m)

It is lively and very lively in Colombia’s large, old capital Bogotá. Only a good hour’s drive away, however, are very lonely Andean landscapes with mystical lakes and the typical highland vegetation of the Páramo.
We are often amazed on this trip. In San Agustín we discover mysterious underground figures and tombs. In the Tatacoa desert, we experience furrowed erosion landscapes in intense orange tones. We visit a family-run coffee finca and have time to swim on palm-lined Caribbean beaches or in rivers.

In the fishing village of La Boquilla, on the edge of the old colonial city of Cartagena, we get into our canoe. We cross the mangrove forest and its tunnels: the tunnel of friendship, love and happiness. Fishermen cast their nets here to catch crabs, with luck raccoons or green parrots show up on the shore. After the canoe tour, we are welcomed with a chilled coconut. In the village, psychologists and educators introduce us to the La Vecina social project.

In Cartagena we experience the Caribbean way of life and learn a lot about the colonial past of the entire continent: The city was the most important place for the Spanish conquest of South America.

Meals: B = breakfast / L = lunch / packed lunch / D = dinner

1st day:

Arrival in Bogotá (2,600 m)

Our guide greets us at the airport with a sign that says “Wander around the world” and we then drive to the hotel in the middle of the colonial old town of Bogotá.

No international flights are included!

Travel time: approx. 45 minutes (minibus)
Overnight in a hotel in the center of Bogotá
(- / – / -)

2nd day:

Bogotá city tour

Today we will visit all the important sights of the historic center of the Colombian capital: for example the Plaza de Bolívar with the government palace, the oldest district La Candelaria with the old colonial houses, the world-famous gold museum and the 3,152 m high mountain Monserrate, which we can reach by cable car. Colombia’s capital stretches out below us and has about as many residents as Austria: 7.9 million people live in the greater Bogotá area! It is a very dynamic and modern metropolis in terms of population, which houses many museums and venerable colonial buildings that are well worth seeing. Bogotá has many very pretty corners, but is never lovely or even touristically brushed off. “Poverty and prosperity are visible here side by side and create a somewhat rough, but very lively charm! ”, says WWW boss Christian Hlade about this city. “I never felt unsafe in Bogotá or all of Colombia.”

Overnight in a hotel in Bogotá
(B / – / -)

3rd day:

Parque Nacional Natural Chingaza (3,000 m), Páramo landscape

We leave Bogotá early in the morning for a day trip hiking in the Andes. Not far from the metropolis of millions it is suddenly very quiet and we dive into a lonely, natural landscape. The mountains of the Chingaza National Park northeast of Bogotá are a natural and cultural treasure of central Colombia. They protect the secrets of the Muiscas and Guayupes – both indigenous tribes who lived in the area. Today it is a refuge for the typical flora and fauna of the Andes. The predominant ecosystems here, the Andean forest and the tropical high-altitude vegetation of the Páramo, are home to a multitude of plant and animal species, including the spectacled bear, white-tailed deer, mountain tapir and puma. In the air, the Andean condor and Andean cliff bird can be found. El Frailejon (Espeletias) belongs to the typical Páramo vegetation.
On the well-developed circular route there are some quiet mountain lakes, which were important places of worship for the local Indians. This is where the legends of the gold country El Dorado have their origins: a priest painted with gold performed rituals on a raft, during which gold figures were sunk in the lake. Legends like these in particular fueled the devastating gold rush of the Spanish conquerors. From a vantage point we have an impressive panorama of the vast high mountain landscape with its flora that is strange to us: We are here at over 3,000 m above sea level!

Driving time: Bogotá – Chingaza National Park – Bogotá: approx. 5 hours
Hike: approx. 5 hours (+/- 500 m)
Overnight stay in a hotel in Bogotá
(B / – / -)

4th day:

Bogotá – Pitalito – San Agustin (1,620 m)

We fly to Pitalito and after a 1-hour drive we reach San Agustín – the center of an ancient culture that flourished between 100 BC. BC and 900 AD experienced. At that time, underground and surface graves and figures were created from volcanic rock, in which priests and important members of the indigenous community were buried. The extensive cult sites with hundreds of sculptures, some of which seem very puzzling, are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For many, this area is one of the most mystical places in all of South America. It is certainly the most important pre-Columbian site in the country.
In the afternoon we will visit the archaeological park of San Agustín on foot, starting with the small but very impressive museum. Afterwards we hike on simple paths through magical vegetation with bamboo forests, ferns, climbing plants and various tropical trees to the various mesitas, the cult places in clearings in the forest. We finally get to the sacred spring Lavapatos, where we are given further figures and the historical cult activities.

Flight to Pitalito
Travel time: Airport – San Agustín: approx. 1 hour (minibus)
Simple circular hike with cultural tour: approx. 3-4 hours
Overnight at the hotel in San Agustín
(B / – / -)

5th day:

San Agustín, Alto de los Idolos & Rio Magdalena

This day is full of other archaeological and natural highlights, including the Alto de los Idolos and Alto de las Piedras parks, the narrow point of the Rio Magdalena. We experience the Salto del Mortiño waterfall and visit an ethnographic museum and hike back to San Agustín.
Tonight we will feel just like Colombians and go to the Tejo to play. Tejo is a modern version of a South American Indian game called Turmequé, it was played in Colombia over 500 years ago. In 2000, the Tejo, which is traditionally drunk with alcohol, was officially declared a Colombian national sport. We let ourselves be surprised and enjoy a different kind of evening…

Travel time Isnos-San Agustín: approx. 1 hour (minibus)
Hike: approx. 3-4 hours (+/- 350 m)
Overnight at the hotel in San Agustín
(B / – / -)

6th day:

San Agustin

Today we can choose between hiking, horse riding, mountain biking or rafting!
In the morning you go – depending on your preference – either on horses, on mountain bikes or on foot (hike approx. 2-3 hours) to the archaeological sites El Tablon and La Chaquira. For those who want to experience something more adventurous, there is (optional and for a surcharge) the possibility of rafting on the Rio Magdalena, one of the main rivers in the country. Rafting here is a great adventure and the opportunity to experience the landscape crowned by the Macizo Colombiano massif from a different perspective. In the afternoon we visit the coffee finca Donde Lucho, which was awarded the “Tasa de Excelencia”. The coffee types on this finca are among the best in the country. The family business provides a personal insight into how coffee is planted, harvested and processed. Coffee and tropical fruits are grown organically here with enthusiasm. A prime example of sustainable agriculture!

Overnight at the hotel in San Agustín
(B / – / -)

7th day:

San Agustin – Neiva (440 m)

We drive from San Agustín via Neiva to Tatacoa. Together with our guide we go on a hike through the photogenic Tatacoa Desert, where wind, rain and erosion have shaped the orange-red earth into a magnificent landscape sculpture. The Tatacoa is only an hour’s drive from Neiva and extends in the valley of the Rio Magdalena to about 330 km². Strictly speaking, the desert belongs to the tropical dry forest. There are not only large cacti in the landscape, which is deeply riddled with crevices and gullies, but also sediments with fossil traces from different geological ages. The Tatacoa is therefore a popular travel destination, especially among geologists. The landscape is comparable to the canyons in the USA. It offers great contrasts for photographers, painters and all landscape lovers.

Travel time: approx. 4-5 hours (minibus)
Hike: 2-3 hours
overnight stay in the hotel in Neiva
(B / – / -)

8th day:

We’re flying to Santa Marta

We will go to Neiva airport and fly to Santa Marta via Bogotá. Santa Marta is the oldest still existing settlement in Colombia. In 1525 this small colonial town was founded by the Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas. Santa Marta is located directly on the sea. In the background rises the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountains in the world. In the evening, a short city tour through the alleys of the old town is on the program. We stroll past the Cathedral of Santa Marta, which temporarily housed the remains of the liberator and folk hero of Colombia, Simon Bolivar, who died here. The city’s old customs building was built in 1530, making it the oldest architect-designed building in Latin America. In 1543 pirates invaded the city, captured the building and stole, among other things, the Charter of Santa Marta. We stroll along the promenade and end our city tour at a bar in the bay of Santa Marta with a view of the sea.

Travel time: approx. 1 hour (minibus)
Overnight at the hotel in Santa Marta
(B / – / -)

Day 9:

Tayrona National Park

In the Tayrona National Park, Caribbean dream bays with sand, palm trees and first-class bathing opportunities await us! The extraordinary location between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which lines up the highest peaks in the country directly on the Caribbean Sea, the biodiversity as well as culturally and historically interesting places make this park a special place. We undertake a varied hike in the tropical dry and rainforest, cross gorges and climb over small rocks. The tropical vegetation with the giant trees, ferns and climbing plants as well as the rich bird life make us think of paradise when we look at the sea from here!
The archaeological site of Pueblito in the Tayrona National Park was closed to tourism in favor of the indigenous Koquí families living there and to protect the fragile nature, but our guide tells us about the indigenous population and the importance of the park. Finally, we descend to Cabo San Juan Bay. There we relax on the Caribbean beach and can swim in the sea. When we swim in the warm sea water, we can enjoy the panorama of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with the rainforest. We then return to the El Zaino park entrance, from where a car will bring us back to Palomino.

Travel time: approx. 1 hour (minibus)
Hike: approx. 5-6 hours (+250 m / -300 m)
Overnight at the hotel in Santa Marta
(B / – / -)

10th day:

Minca (650 m) – El Dorado

Today we drive to Minca, and on to the Aves El Dorado reserve (approx. 2 hours). Minca, the gateway to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, was declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1980. It has also been designated as a priority ecosystem in South America by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Minca is particularly popular for bird watching and hiking through very pristine jungle vegetation. We visit the El Dorado reserve, in the garden we can watch flocks of hummingbirds fluttering around the sugar water dispenser. Perfect for taking a photo of these speedsters! We visit the area around the reserve, which will also be our accommodation for tonight,

Driving time: approx. 3 hours (Jeep 4×4)
Hike: approx. 2-3 hours (+/- 200 m)
Accommodation with shared rooms in simple accommodation Campestre
(B / L / D)

11th day:

El Dorado – Minca

Today our day starts early with a hike to a lookout point at 2,600 m. We walk through lush green vegetation with ferns, climbing ferns and giant trees. At the viewpoint we have our breakfast and marvel at the view of the peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (5,775 m) and down to the Caribbean Sea. A rather bumpy drive brings us back to Minca. There we hike in about 1 hour through the Marinka valley to the waterfall of the same name. Since we are now only 650 meters above sea level, the flora and fauna are completely different from those in the mountains – with crops such as mango or coffee and tropical bird species such as the toucan. We have lunch on the way at one of the fincas or in Minca. We can refresh ourselves at the waterfall,

Driving time: approx. 2 hours (Jeep 4×4)
Hike: approx. 5-6 hours (+350 m / -400 m)
Overnight at the hotel in Santa Marta
(B / L / -)

12th day:

Santa Marta – Cartagena de las Indias

After breakfast we take our bus to the port city of Cartagena de las Indias. The core of the capital of the department Bolìvar with a population of 1 million goes back to one of the best preserved colonial settlements in South America. It was from here that the South American continent was conquered by the Spaniards, this was one of the main transhipment points for the slave trade in America, and this is where the gold stolen from the locals was finally stored and shipped to Europe. One of the most powerful fortifications at the time protected the city’s fairytale wealth. Pirates and privateers tried again and again to get at the gold stored here. The history of the city reads like a great adventure fairy tale. Today the almost completely preserved colonial old town with architecturally appealing patrician houses, palaces, squares, pompous inner courtyards, a mighty city wall and castle bears witness to all of this. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.

At the beginning of our city tour we visit the monastery La Popa, located on a hill 150 m above the bay, from where we have a perfect overview of the city. Then you will go to the fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, the largest fortress ever built by the Spanish in South America. The tour takes us through narrow, colorful streets with numerous colonial-style buildings. Street musicians, great pubs and Caribbean flair in elegant old walls make up the special mix of Cartagena. An individual walk on the crown of the city wall ends in the late afternoon at the atmospheric “Cafe del Mar” with a drink with a view of the sun sinking into the sea.

Travel time: approx. 4 hours (minibus)
Overnight at the hotel in Cartagena
(B / – / -)

13th day:

The fishing village of La Boquilla

Early in the morning we drive to the small fishing village of La Boquilla on the outskirts of Cartagena, about 30 minutes from the city center. Full contrast: on the beach of La Boquilla we will see the two facets of the city, because here – in one of the poorest parts of Cartagena – 5-star hotels and luxury apartments are currently being built. Without a transition, arm meets super-rich! Then the city turns into an undeveloped natural landscape – again with practically no transition – we get into a canoe and cross mangrove forests and the lagoon Cienaga de Juan Polo. The mangroves form tunnels, they are called “tunnel of friendship”, “tunnel of love” and “tunnel of happiness”. Birds, crabs, raccoons and green parrots cavort here. During our subsequent stroll through the village and along the beach, our guide tells us about the daily life of the people who mainly live from fishing. We visit the La Vecina Foundation and learn more about the Colombian school system and the situation in La Boquilla. Full of new impressions, we drive back to our cozy hotel in the city center.
The Caribbean nightlife in Cartagena de Indias is legendary. We definitely shouldn’t miss out on dancing salsa here! Latin American sounds can be heard from every corner, underlaid with a touch of African rhythms. A young team of dance teachers invites us to a salsa lesson. After a short time we have mastered the basic steps, and now we can start – we start the evening with fiery music.

Overnight at hotel in Cartagena
(B / – / -)

14th day:

Cartagena Cooking Class with Market Visit & Rum Tasting

Early in the morning we go to the Bazurto market, where a tourist seldom gets lost. We’re here to get the ingredients for today’s cooking class – right among the locals stocking up on fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, herbs and spices. Back in the center, we are greeted with a cocktail in the kitchen and immediately afterwards we start preparing lunch under the guidance of local chefs.
In the afternoon we can relax in the hotel or stroll through the alleys of Cartagena. On the last evening of our trip, we are invited to taste the most widely consumed alcoholic drink in Latin America: rum. We get to know its history, its origins and different production methods. We discover the flavors of the distillate from fermented and distilled sugar cane, hear pirate stories and let the evening fade away together.

Overnight at hotel in Cartagena
(B / – / -)

15th day:

Farewell: Cartagena – Bogotá (2,600 m)

In the morning we can enjoy the old town streets of Cartagena again on our own and buy souvenirs in handicraft shops.
We are then taken to the airport and fly to Bogotá, from where we will start our flight home to Europe.

No international flights are included!

Travel time: approx. 30 min. (Minibus)
(B / – / -)

Colombia 2