Highlights of Colombia    *alt*

10 days days, from £1945
Natural World Safaris
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Description

As an up-and-coming destination, Colombia has much to offer and intrigue the intrepid traveller. Steeped in history with beautiful cities, not to mention the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cartagena, on this trip you can admire colonial architecture, cobbled streets and historic convents, go subterranean and explore an underground salt cathedral and take in the crisp mountain air, unique wax palm forests and rural plantations in coffee country.

What makes this trip extraordinary
* Visit Zipaquira, Colombia's famous underground salt cathedral.
* City tours of Bogota and Cartagena, two incredible areas with unique attractions.
* Experience the wax palm forests of Cocora National Park.
* Explore Colombia's coffee plantations. The vibrant towns and cities of Colombia are incredibly photogenic with colourful buildings and sprawling vegetation.

Itinerary


 Day by day



 Day 1 Bogota

You will kick off your safari in cosmopolitan Bogota, Colombia's capital city. After being met and taken to your hotel that is filled with colonial beauty in the heart of the historical La Candelaria district, you'll have the rest of the day to settle in and unwind. Overnight: Hotel de la Opera B


 Day 2 Bogota

After breakfast, you will start a guided tour of the historical quarter of Bogota, La Candelaria. The main plaza is surrounded by many of the city's colonial buildings, including the Cathedral, Congress and the Cardinal's Palace, all of which exude history and colonial heritage. Also located on the plaza are the House of Independence, Palace of Justice and City Hall, so there are a vast number of important buildings that your guide will talk you through. Overnight: Hotel de la Opera B


 Day 3 Bogota

This morning you will head out of the colourful city toward Cajica. This small colonial town has an elegant plaza and is known as a nearby country retreat for wealthy Bogotanos. This is an ideal setting for lunch so we will stop here (note that lunch is not included). You will then arrive at the incredible Zipaquira - Colombia's famous underground salt cathedral, carved into the tunnels of an old salt mine. Experience the extraordinary architecture of the cathedral, where the Stations of the Cross and three naves are eerily illuminated along with other sculptures and cavernous pools, all hewn from the salt mine tunnels under the Halite Mountains. Upon returning to Bogota you will relax and enjoy our last night in the capital. Overnight: Hotel de la Opera B, D


 Day 4 Bogota - Cartagena

Your journey will continue north after breakfast this morning, to the stunningly preserved colonial gem of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast. Arguably South America's most beautiful colonial city, Cartagena has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and understandably so. The city has an extensive old town, which is contained within fortress walls, holding a maze of narrow cobbled streets and colourful plazas that fill with salsa music into the evening. After being met and taken to your elegant hotel - an 18th Century converted mansion once owned by aristocracy, you can explore all that Cartagena has to offer independently. Overnight: Casa Pestagua B


 Day 5 Cartagena

Today you will enjoy a tour of this fascinating city, starting with La Popa Convent. Dating back to 17th Century this is the highest point of Cartagena located on a hill outside of the city and affords breathtaking views over the city out toward the Caribbean Sea. You will then visit Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, which many would say is the greatest of all the Spanish colonial forts, built in 17th Century to protect the city from attacking pirates. From here, you will be taken on foot on a brief tour of the intriguing walled city. The final stop on the tour will be at the San Pedro Claver Convent, whose courtyard is filled with trees and some religious as well as pre-Colombian artefacts. Overnight: Casa Pestagua B


 Day 6 Cartagena

Today you will get the chance to further explore the fascinating city of Cartagena at your own leisure. Much of the romantic city's charm is in its ambience, with the sounds of salsa filling the streets on a balmy early evening the sound of horse-drawn carriages against the cobblestone. The nearby island of Islas de Rosario and its archipelago of 27 small coral islands is also worthy of a visit. Overnight: Casa Pestagua B


 Day 7 Cartagena - Pereira

Today you will leave the Caribbean coast and beautiful Cartagena to the contrasting scenery of the coffee zone, flying to Pereira via Bogota. Pereira is in the heart of Colombia's coffee producing region and is the gateway for visitors to this area of the country, where you can explore the idyllic mountainous scenery, unusual wax palm valleys and coffee plantation. Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to the wonderfully historic Hacienda San Jose, where you can settle into your room in one of the oldest and most characterful estates of the area. Overnight: Hacienda San Jose Hotel B


 Day 8 Pereira

Today you will visit the small town of Salento, which features some fine examples of Bahareque architecture along its main plaza, which oozes rural Colombian atmosphere and where the friendly locals go about their business processing coffee and driving Willy Jeeps that are particular to the region. Afterwards you will continue to Cocora National Park, where you will witness the stunningly scenic wax palm forests - the national tree of Colombia and also the tallest palm tree in the world. Return to your hacienda to relax and unwind. Overnight: Hacienda San Jose Hotel B, L


 Day 9 Pereira - Bogota

Today you'll return to Bogota after a short onward flight where you can enjoy one final evening in the atmospheric La Candelaria district, reflecting on your encounters and adventures in one of South America's most captivating countries. Overnight: Hotel de la Opera B


 Day 10 Depart

After breakfast you will be met and transferred back to the airport in time for your onward flight home.