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We may need to adjust the cost of your trip to reflect any seasonal differences. Sometimes non-refundable deposits are required by local suppliers, which would be specified prior to booking. If you are unable to travel, we would secure a credit note for future travel from these suppliers, but you would not get a cash refund for these items. Flights that have already been issues will be subject to the rules of your airline. All other terms and conditions remain as standard.
 
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Warm regards

Claire Farley, Managing Director
2by2 for holidays that will change your life
2by2 for holidays that will change your life
Call 01582 766122

Colombia Holidays: Bogota + Salt Cathedral + Pereira + Medellin + Cartagena

Colombia: Bogota + Corcora Valley + Medellin + Cartagena
GPA12B
12 NIGHTS
FROM £2,395
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Colombia Holidays Bogota Salt Cathedral Pereira Medellin Cartagena

Most Colombia holidays start in Bogota with its impressive Gold Museum, before heading to the Salt Cathedral & colonial Villa de Leyva. Then head to Pereira in the lush Coffee Region, visit Solento & the giant wax palms of the Cocora Valley & Communa 13 in Medellin. Climb enormous El Penol Rock, before flying to historic Cartagena. All transfers, guides & sightseeing included.

Colombia Holidays Bogota Salt Cathedral Pereira Medellin Cartagena
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Colombia Holidays, Bogota
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Salt Cathedral
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Villa de Leyva
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Pereira in Coffee Region
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Cocora Valley & Salento
• 
Botanical Gardens
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Medellin
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Communa 13
• 
El Penol & Guatapé
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Cartagena
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Colombia Holidays, Bogota
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Salt Cathedral
• 
Villa de Leyva
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Pereira in Coffee Region
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Cocora Valley & Salento
• 
Botanical Gardens
• 
Medellin
• 
Communa 13
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El Penol & Guatapé
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Cartagena
Day 1
You will be met at Bogota Airport and transferred to your hotel in this high altitude city, located in a valley between the eastern and central Andes mountain ranges at 8,660 ft (2,640 m).
 
Check in and relax in this sprawling city that is the capital of Colombia.
Day 2
Today enjoy a full day private tour of Bogotá, with included restaurant lunch.
 
We start with a visit to the Gold Museum, the most important gold museum in the world, with a splendid collection of over 36,000 pre-Colombian gold and emerald pieces. Galleries on three levels display exquisitely crafted pieces dating back nearly 2,500 years. Two large carved stones from the San Agustin archaeological site can also be seen here. Visit the vault-like room on the top floor where the most treasured pieces are displayed, including the famous miniature golden raft.
 
We then walk through the cobbled alleys of La Candelaria, the historic Old Town. Here you will see many beautifully preserved Spanish colonial houses and churches that date back centuries, such as the church of Santa Clara that today contains the Museum of Colonial Art and the 17th century Church of San Francisco, the oldest surviving church in the city. View the library of Luis Angel Arango as we head for the main square - Plaza Bolívar - where you can see a statue honouring Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan military leader who played a key role in the revolution against Spain. View the Metropolitan Cathedral, Colón Theatre, Casa de Nariño (the presidential residence, which has an observatory in its gardens), the Congress Palace, the Palace of Justice and the Cardinal's Palace.
 
Time permitting we can also visit the small Botero Museum. Housed in a beautiful colonial mansion, it showcases a collection of artwork donated to the city by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous contemporary artist renowned for his proportionally exaggerated chubby figures. Around 120 pieces of his work are displayed here, including paintings, drawings and miniature sculptures. He also donated his personal collection of original artwork by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí, Degas, Chagall, Matisse, Monet and Giacometti which are also on display here.
 
At the end of the day we ascend Monserrate Hill by funicular or cable car, for panoramic views. The chapel atop this hill can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.
 
Note: When visiting churches and monasteries, women must not wear shorts or miniskirts and men must not wear shorts. The Gold Museum is closed Mondays and Botero Museum is closed Tuesdays.
Day 3
This morning your guide will drive you 4-hours to the old colonial town of Villa de Leyva, considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Colombia.
 
After 1.5-hours we reach the small town of Zipaquirá, which was founded in 1600 and still conserves its colonial heritage. Here we visit the amazing underground Salt Cathedral, built in a cavernous series of tunnels in the worked-out section of a productive salt mine. In this darkened underground environment, you will walk past 14 small chapels, each representing one of the 'Stations of the Cross' that tells the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Once you reach the main Roman Catholic cathedral, you can marvel at the workmanship that went into creating this remarkable church. Afterwards we walk through the charming main square of Zipaquirá, which is the home town of Tour de France winner, Egan Bernal.
 
We then continue driving northwards through fertile agricultural lands planted with crops such as onions, potatoes, corn and tomatoes. This is also a rich dairy-producing region. As the land becomes less fertile we arrive at the colourful colonial town of Ráquira (meaning 'City of Pots'), with its vividly painted facades and beautiful buildings. This town specialises in pottery and fine handmade ceramics, so in the shops around the main square you will find everything from ceramic bowls, vases, pitchers, children’s toys, piggy banks and dwarfs to Christmas decorations.  
 
In the afternoon we arrive at Villa de Leyva, one of the most charming colonial villages in all of Colombia and steeped in atmosphere. Declared a national monument in 1954, this photogenic village has been preserved in its entirety including its whitewashed buildings with terracotta tiled roofs, pine green doors and balconies decorated with flowers. Enjoy wandering around the Plaza Mayor, the largest in the country, and exploring the beautiful wide cobbled streets. You can also walk to the nearby Plaza San Agustín and view the house of Antonio Nariño, a famous journalist, political and military leader who played an important role in Colombia's independence.
 
Note: Please be aware that the Salt Cathedral will be extremely busy with local visitors over weekends.
Day 4
Today we explore beautiful Villa de Leyva. We start with a walking tour through the colonial town. We then visit the small but fascinating Fossil Museum, as this region high in the Andes was once located just above sea level and is a treasure trove of paleontological remains - from giant dinosaurs, mammoths, armadillos, alligators and sabre toothed tigers that used to roam here to huge sea turtles and a wide variety of marine life.
 
Our next stop is the Santo Ecce Homo Convent, founded by Dominican monks in 1620. This large stone and adobe building has a lovely courtyard and floors, paved with local stones that contain many ammonites (extinct marine molluscs) and other fossils.
 
We then visit the Marqués de Villa de Leyva, one of the few wineries in the country. This vineyard produces high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and award-winning Sauvignon Blanc in a tropical climate. You can walk through the vineyard, visit the wine cellar and taste one of the wines.
 
We then return to Ville de Leyva, with the afternoon free for you to explore independently.
Day 5
Today transfer 3.5-hours to Bogotá Airport for your onward flight.
 
Along the way we make a brief stop at Tunja, the site of the Battle of Boyaca Bridge, where forces led by Simon Bolivar decisively defeated the Spanish and assured the independence of Colombia in 1819.
 
We continue to Bogotá Airport where you will be dropped off for your onward flight.

You will be met by your guide at Pereira Airport and transferred to your hotel in the extremely fertile Coffee Region, with its year-round greenery, over-sized palm trees and magnificent bamboo forests.
 
Situated in a high valley between the central and western Andes mountain ranges, this verdant region receives a high rainfall and is an abundant producer of coffee, bananas, plantains, papaya, avocados and many other agricultural products. Farmers from this region are known as Paisas and have a reputation for hard work and getting things done.
Day 6
Today enjoy a full day excursion to the cloud forests of the Cocora Valley and the colourful colonial towns of Filandia and Salento, high in the Andes.
 
Our first stop is at the charming village of Filandia, where you can climb an observation tower for 360 degree views over the whole valley. Enjoy wandering through the cobbled streets to the town square, which is surrounded by brightly painted houses and has a beautiful church. The film ’One Hundred Years of Solitude’ based on the book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was filmed here, as well as a popular soap opera called ’Coffee, with the Scent of a Woman’.
 
We then continue 1-hour to the striking landscapes of the Cocora Valley, where Colombia's national symbol - the gigantic wax palm - can be seen. These are the largest palm trees in the world, measuring up to 200 ft (60 m) and living for more than 120 years, making for spectacular scenery. Enjoy a 2-hour hike through this magnificent reserve to a view site where, if you are fortunate, you may see Bolivia’s national bird - the enormous Andean condor - soaring on the thermals. The critically endangered yellow-eared parrot is also found here.
 
After an included restaurant lunch we drive back to Salento, one of the first settlements in Quindío state. Here you can explore the Plaza de Bolivar with its church and colourful balconies and the main street, Calle Real, with its many handicraft shops. This town is famous for its annual Yipao festival, when farmers parade and perform acrobatic tricks in their iconic (and hugely overloaded) Willys Jeeps.
 
Note: Wear good walking shoes today, as the descent from the view site is down a steep hill. If you do not wish to do the hike, you can still view the palm trees along the first part of the trail. Alternatively you can ride most of the way to the viewpoint, if requested in advance. A full day 7-hour hike is also available, including three viewpoints and seven hanging bridges, but this needs to be booked in advance and you will not have time to visit Filandia. Try and avoid weekends, when the park is very busy with local visitors.
Day 7
This morning we drive 1-hour to the Quindio Botanical Gardens in Calarca. In addition to its wonderful array of orchids, palms, ferns, guadua (bamboo) and other flora, you can visit the wonderful butterfly house that is shaped like a giant butterfly, climb the lookout tower and watch hummingbirds at the bird feeders.
 
Afterwards we visit a Coffee Farm to give you more insight into how coffee is grown and the lifestyle of the workers. Colombia prides itself on producing the finest Arabica coffee in the world, all of which is hand-picked. Learn how the plants are cultivated and how the beans are harvested, processed, sorted, dried and ultimately roasted before enjoying an excellent cup of Colombian coffee.
 
Note: The coffee fields are located on a mountain slope, so let us know in advance if you have any walking difficulties and we will arrange for you to be driven in a vehicle. Your driver today will only speak Spanish.
Day 8
Transfer to Pereira Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Medellin Airport and transferred to your hotel in this cosmopolitan city that is the second largest in Colombia and has a pleasant climate all year round.
 
Once known for the notorious drug cartels that controlled the city, today Medellin is transformed and is a major centre for art, fashion and culture. It is also a significant international flower-producing region.
Day 9
Today enjoy a full day private tour of Medellín - the 'City of Eternal Spring' situated in a valley between the central and western Andes mountain ranges, at an altitude of 4,900 ft (1,495 m).
 
Our tour starts with a visit to Nutibara Hill, which offers panoramic views over the city and a replica of a colourful traditional Colombian village.
 
Our next stop is the Comuna 13 neighbourhood, one of the poorest areas in the city and once a notorious area of gang and urban guerrilla violence. Here you will see the results of one of the most successful city regeneration projects in the world, with the introduction of motor cycle paths, elevators and cable cars, combined with various community projects. You can admire the marvellous street graffiti and watch young people performing break dancing. While enjoying spectacular views of the city, you will learn more about the transformation of Medellín from one of the most dangerous cities in the world, known for its political violence, drug lords and narco trade, into a fascinating melting pot of cultures with wonderfully warm and friendly people.
 
We then head into the city for a walking tour around Berrío Park where local musicians play traditional 'guasca' music. This was the historic heart of the city during Spanish colonial times but sadly none of these buildings have survived and today it is an urban plaza that is a meeting point for local residents. We stroll through street markets and past the lovely Gomez murals that portray the history of Medellin to the Botero Plaza. Here you can admire an amazing display of 23 famous sculptures of ’fat’ men, women and animals donated by Fernando Botero to his home town. About 100 examples of his work can be seen in the Antioquia Art Museum opposite this plaza, so ask your guide if you would like to see these (pay entrance fee locally).
 
We also visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria, the oldest church in Medellin, the Park of Lights, City Hall and old Railway Station.
 
After an included lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Botanical Gardens with their wonderful display of orchids and over 1,000 different plant species. Here you can spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the lake, tropical forest, orchid garden, palm garden, desert garden and butterfly house. There is also wonderful birdlife.
 
Note: Let your guide know if you would like to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest brick cathedral in the world, as it closes at 10.30 am (so you will need to visit this first).
Day 10
Today enjoy a scenic drive through the eastern highlands of Antioquia, as we drive 2-hours from Medellin through lush agricultural farmlands to the photogenic village of Guatapé.
 
Along the way we stop to view the enormous 656 ft (200 m) El Peñol Rock, a gigantic granite boulder with 740 steps that wind up to the top, offering sweeping views over the Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir. About half way up there is a shrine to the Virgin Mary and once you reach the top you can watch black vultures soaring on the thermals. If you do not wish to undertake this strenuous climb, which takes about 1-hour for the round trip if taken slowly, you can view the rock from the car park.
 
We then continue to Guatapé where you can wander around this small lakeside town viewing its lovely church on the main square and its many colourful houses, each with individually decorated ’zocalos’ - hand-crafted friezes representing something of importance to the owner. Some are simple such as sunflowers, lambs or doves; some represent businesses such as bread on a bakery, and others tell complicated stories. Afterwards relax on the lake shore and enjoy an included traditional ’bandeja paisa’ lunch - an interesting version of a fried breakfast that includes avocado and plantain. You can also try one of the refreshing local fruit juices.
 
In the afternoon enjoy a relaxing boat ride on this enormous man-made lake that was created as part of a major hydro-electric scheme, which now provides 30% of Colombia’s electricity. The dam flooded the original village of El Penol, which was relocated and you can see a recreation of this village. You can also see the remains of Pablo Escobar’s luxury lakeside mansion. We then return to Medellin.
Day 11
Transfer to Medellin International Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Cartagena Airport and transferred to this tropical port city, situated on the Caribbean coast.
 
Check into your hotel in this colourful city, whose magnificent 16th century walled Old Town is a World Heritage Site.
Day 12
This morning enjoy a half day private tour of the city of Cartagena de Indias, starting with a visit to the 17th century La Popa Monastery situated outside the Old Town on a hill that marks the highest point in the city, with spectacular views over Cartagena Bay and the modern high-rise city, as well as the Old Town. Dedicated to Our Lady of La Candelaria, this charming Augustinian monastery has a beautiful chapel with an ornate gold altar.
 
We then visit San Felipe Castle located on San Lazaro Hill, the largest Spanish military building in the New World dating back to 1536. It was built to guard the city’s landward side from invasion and has a complex system of tunnels connected to the Old City, used to distribute provisions and for a possible evacuation. The tunnels were built so that any noise would echo along them, making internal communications easier and allowing the citizens to hear even the slightest sound of an enemy advance.
 
Afterwards we enter the old walled city and walk through Las Bóvedas, a series of 23 vaults built in the 18th century and considered the last major military colonial construction within the city walls. The vaults were used as storerooms for munitions and provisions by the Spaniards and later they became jail cells. Nowadays they are used as crafts markets where you can find handicrafts, antiques, galleries, jewellery, clothing and souvenirs.
 
Our last stop is the church and monastery of San Pedro Claver, built in the early 17th century by the Jesuits. Pedro Claver, a Jesuit priest, was a defender and protector of slaves and lived in this monastery until his death. The rest of your day is at leisure to explore the charming Old Town independently.
 
Note: Short skirts should not be worn when visiting churches, monasteries and religious shrines. Colombia is the world’s largest producer of emeralds, so let your guide know if you would like to buy one and he will take you to a reputable store.
Day 13
Transfer to Cartagena Airport for your flight home.