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2by2 for holidays that will change your life
2by2 for holidays that will change your life
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Essential Colombia and Peru: Machu Picch + Cartagena

Colombia & Peru: Bogota + Machu Picchu + Cartagena
GPP12B
12 NIGHTS
FROM £2,295
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Holiday Colombia and Peru Bogota Villa de Leyva Machu Picchu Cartagena

Combine the cultural highlights of two fascinating countries on this holiday to Colombia and Peru. Starting from Bogota in the Andes, visit the Gold Museum, Salt Cathedral & pretty colonial Villa de Leyva. Then fly to Cusco & the Sacred Valley of the Incas to view the magnificant citadel at Machu Picchu, before visiting the old walled city of Cartagena. English speaking guides & all specified sightseeing included.

Holiday Colombia and Peru Bogota Villa de Leyva Machu Picchu Cartagena
• 
Holiday: Colombia and Peru
• 
Bogota
• 
Salt Cathedral
• 
Villa de Leyva
• 
Cusco
• 
Sacred Valley of Incas
• 
Vistadome Train
• 
Machu Picchu
• 
Cartagena
• 
San Felipe Castle
• 
Holiday: Colombia and Peru
• 
Bogota
• 
Salt Cathedral
• 
Villa de Leyva
• 
Cusco
• 
Sacred Valley of Incas
• 
Vistadome Train
• 
Machu Picchu
• 
Cartagena
• 
San Felipe Castle
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 del 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 display 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
Enjoy a morning at leisure in Villa de Leyva.
 
In the afternoon we transfer 3.5-hours to Bogotá. 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.
 
Afterwards we continue to Bogotá, where you will be dropped off at your hotel situated near the airport.
Day 6
Take the free hotel shuttle to Bogota Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Cusco Airport and transferred 2-hours to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
 
Check into your hotel in this region that is renowned for its many ancient Inca ruins, including the amazing citadel of Machu Picchu. Balance of the day is at leisure to rest and acclimatise to the altitude.
Day 7
Today enjoy a full day tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
 
Our first stop is at the fortress at Ollantaytambo, built to protect the northern entrance to the Sacred Valley from invasion and later the centre of Incan resistance against the Spanish. The fortress and walled terraces of this town provide some of the finest examples of Incan architecture, with the six rose-coloured monoliths of the Temple of the Sun being particularly outstanding. The village itself is the best surviving example of Inca urban planning, with stone-paved streets that have been used since the 12th Century.
 
We then drive to the archaeological site at Moray, where the Incas built enormous circular agricultural terraces on steep hills by hauling topsoil up by hand from the lower land, thereby generating much higher crop yields than would have been possible at such high altitude. This site is believed to be a former agricultural laboratory, an astronomical observatory or a place of worship - or maybe all three. We also stop at the Racchi viewpoint, for one of the best views of the Sacred Valley.
 
After an included lunch in a local restaurant, we continue to the Maras Salt Pans, a complex network of nearly 5,000 pre-Inca salt pans that have been hand-harvested by local families for thousands of years. The salt is formed when water from a spring that permeates these pools is evaporated by the intense sun, forming thick crystals in a variety of colours. The naturally pink ‘Sal de Maras’ is one of the finest salts in the world, getting its beautiful hue from trace elements in the spring water.
Day 8
Today transfer to Ollantaytambo Station for the air-conditioned Vistadome or InkaRail 360 train to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu - an amazing 1.5-hour journey to this magnificent mountain top city situated in a beautiful cloud forest, that was abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911.
 
This legendary Lost City of the Incas is without a doubt one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. Built on the summit of Machu Picchu (meaning "Old Peak"), on a natural saddle between steep forested mountains, it overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba River some 7,972 ft (2,430 m) above sea level. With its giant walls, terraces and ramps that appear to have been cut naturally out of the rock escarpments, Machu Picchu's history remains shrouded in mystery as the Incas did not leave any written records.
 
At the gateway town of Aguas Calientes, leave the train and board the bus for the 40-minute ride up to this 14th century citadel for a guided tour. Here we visit the Main Plaza, Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, Royal Quarters, Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds. We suggest you take a packed lunch (to avoid queues at the restaurant). Afterwards return by bus to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo Station, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the Sacred Valley.
 
Note: You must take your passport with you today, as this will be needed to gain entrance, which is restricted to 4-hours (based on either a morning or afternoon schedule). It is mandatory to enter with a guide and you cannot take selfie sticks, tripods, umbrellas, food or alcohol onto the site. You may not wear high heels or hard soled shoes and smoking is prohibited. If you leave the sanctuary for any reason (eg for lunch), re-entry will not be permitted. Only one bag not exceeding 11 lb (5 kg) is allowed as hand luggage on the train, so your main bags need to be left in luggage store at either your Cusco or Sacred Valley hotel, for later collection by yourself or our ground handler. From January to June parts of the rail track may be impassable at times due to mud slides, when a bus transfer will be substituted.
Day 9
Today transfer 2-hours from the Sacred Valley to the city of Cusco.
 
Along the way we stop at Chinchero, a small picturesque Andean village that was an important Inca outpost at the end of the 15th Century. The villagers here have preserved their traditional Andean spinning and weaving techniques, so you can see textile artisans at work and learn about their techniques. You can buy handcrafts at the market in the town square, visit their small traditional church and see their Inca ruins.
 
After an included lunch, we continue to Cusco, where you will be dropped off at your hotel.
Day 10
Today enjoy a half day shared tour of the magnificent colonial city of Cusco, built on Inca foundations and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Comprising a fascinating mix of colonial churches, monasteries and extensive pre-Columbian ruins, almost every central street in this city has remnants of Inca walls.
 
We start with a visit to the San Pedro Market, where you can explore the colours, flavours and traditions of modern Cusco. We then visit the impressive Temple of the Sun (Koricancha) whose walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold. On the site of this ancient Inca palace and centre of worship of the Sun God, the Dominicans ordered a church to be built, which survives to this day.
 
We walk along the cobbled streets to the Plaza de Armas, the central plaza around which you will see many magnificent colonial buildings - including the Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Walking down well-preserved Loreto Street you can see the remains of Incan palaces, as well as old colonial buildings. If you walk down Hatun Rumiyoc, a cobbled street near the Archbishop's Palace, keep an eye out for the famous 12-sided stone that fits so perfectly you can't even insert a coin.
 
We then leave the city and visit the impressive walled fortress of Sacsayhuaman (meaning 'speckled falcon') on the northern outskirts, believed to have been both a military and ceremonial centre. This enormous Inca structure has massive walls of hewn stone and is strategically located on a hill overlooking the city. We also visit Qenko (meaning 'zigzag') where the sun, moon and stars were worshipped and Puca Pucara (the Red Fortress), which may have been a "tambo" or rest and lodgings for the Inca. Finally we visit an art workshop, where you will be able to see artists working in silver, paint and wood - the perfect place to see Andean art.
 
In the evening savour the local cuisine. If you are feeling adventurous you can try guinea pig - a local speciality.
 
Note: Cusco is situated at high altitude (11,150 ft / 3,400 m), so walk slowly. The Temple of the Sun is not open on Sunday mornings & religious holidays. You will need to carry your passport to gain access to the site at Sacsayhuaman.
Day 11
Transfer to Cusco 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.