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Colombian Plantations, Arts & Culture (6 nights)

Package Includes

  • Small groups of 10-18 travelers guaranteed
  • Round trip international flights Miami-Bogotá, Cartagena-Miami
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 2 intra-flights
  • 6 nights in First Class accommodations that evoke the local character
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 15 meals: 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 5 dinners (including a lunch with local fishermen, and welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions. Water, coffee and tea with all meals. Beer and wine included with dinner
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size of 10-18 travelers, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Delve into Colombian cuisine at the Palo Quemao food market and a cooking class at a historic colonial house.
  • Cheer on a game of Tejo, a disc-throwing competition and Colombia’s national pastime.
  • Sample the nuances of the country’s famed coffee bean during a private tour
  • Tour the tranquil Botanical and Butterfly Gardens at Quindio
  • Learn about Colombia’s most famous author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, during an exclusive talk.
  • Visit a local children’s foundation in the quaint fishing town of La Boquilla.
  • Savor the bounty of the Caribbean during lunch on the beach with local fishermen.

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    DAY 1, Saturday - Depart the USA/Arrive in Bogotá
    Depart the USA for Bogotá, Colombia. This evening, arrive in the Colombian capital, known as the “Athens of South America” for its many libraries and universities. We transfer to the Hotel de la Opera, comprised of two 19th-century houses where the bodyguards of Simon Bolivar – the famed liberator of Colombia – stayed while protecting their presidente. Bolivar ruled in the early 1800s from the Palacio de San Carlos, the ornate marble building a few doors away
    Overnight:
    Hotel de la Opera, Bogota
    Meals: Light Dinner

    DAY 2, Sunday - Enjoy a Day of Bogotá Culture
    We pay a morning visit to the Palo Quemao market. Our Tour Manager, an expert in Colombian food, offers insight into this delicious and often overlooked cuisine. Hot tamales are a favorite staple here, stuffed with chicken and corn and wrapped in a banana leaf. You may also have the chance to sip freshly pressed Amazonian fruit juice. Later, explore the cobblestone historic streets of La Candelaria, many of its houses adorned with bright patterns and vivid colors. La Candelaria Cathedral, for which the district is named, is also worth a visit. For lunch, we stop at a restored colonial house for a fun cooking lesson, where we’re sure to see some of the ingredients from the morning market put to delicious use. Naturally, we’ll savor the results. Then, spend the afternoon browsing the flea market – a bustle of local vendors selling locally made clothing and crafts. We end our afternoon at a Tejo tournament, a disc-throwing competition of pre-Columbian origin, second only to soccer in popularity. Dinner tonight is in Usaquen, enjoy a typical restaurant where you might try ajiaco soup and other local specialties
    Overnight: Hotel de la Opera, Bogota
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 3, Monday - Fly to Pereira/Enjoy Coffee Tasting, Botanical Gardens
    This morning, fly to Pereira. As part of the Colombian Coffee-Growers’ Axis, Pereira is considered by many to produce the best coffee in the world. You can be the judge as we will sample some for ourselves during a visit to a coffee hacienda, as we also learn the details of the harvesting process and traditional coffee selection. After lunch, we head to Quindio, where the main attraction is the Botanical and Butterfly Gardens. These gardens are home to 15,000 species of flora and 450 species of insects native to the region. We’ll have time to stroll its pathways and see some typical plants from local green trails and the Andean forest zone
    Overnight: Hacienda San Jose, Pereira
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 4, Tuesday - Explore Colombia’s Countryside: Salento & Valle Cocora
    We spend today amidst Colombia’s beautiful countryside enjoying the region’s authentic charms and unspoiled farmlands. We begin our exploration in the rural enclave of Salento, the first settlement founded in this fertile region. There was a time when this rural town lay on a main travel route to Bogotá; after that route was diverted, Salento became isolated and has therefore been able to retain its character and typical bahareque architecture. We’ll take some time to stroll the Calle Real (the Royal Road) to sample its simple beauty and peaceful ambiance. We continue into the lovely Valle del Cocora, part of the Los Nevados National Park. We’ll see a wide variety of plant life here, most notably the Quindio wax palm, recognized by its tall bare trunk crowned by a fan of palm fronds. This is Colombia’s national tree, and the park was created in 1985 as a wildlife sanctuary to protect it
    Overnight: Hacienda San Jose, Pereira
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 5, Wednesday - Fly to Cartagena/Visit La Popa and El Fuerte/Attend Talk on Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Fly to Cartagena this morning. Its walled old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its finely preserved colonial architecture. Its Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is said to be the greatest fortress ever built by Spaniards on colonial soil. Our hotel rests on the Plaza de los Coches near the entrance to the old town. Outside your door, colorful calles lead to the Plaza de Bolivar. Today, we’ll ascend hilltop La Popa, from where the 17th-century La Candelaria Monasterio overlooks the city and its bay. There will be time to browse this lovely church and its restored courtyard. We also stop at the nearby 16th-century Fuerte, an imposing rock fortress. Its turrets, cannons, and watch towers comprised the first security post that protected the old town from invasion by sea. Later, we learn about the “magical realism” of one of Colombia’s most famous writers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He put his country on the literary map with his brilliant novels, 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera among them
    Overnight: Hotel Urban Royal Puerta del Reloj, Cartagena
    Meals: Breakfast

    DAY 6, Thursday - Enjoy La Boquilla Fishing Village and Beach Lunch with Fishermen
    We begin our day with a drive to La Boquilla, where pescadores haul in the day’s catch for market. While here, we stop at a local children’s foundation to witness how the Cartageneros help improve the lives of local youth. For lunch, we join a hearty group of fishermen who still make their living from the sea. The beach is our dining room, and the freshly caught fish is on the menu. It’s the perfect chance to chat with locals and learn how life in Colombia has improved over the last several years. This evening, on a terrace overlooking the stunning Cartagena Bay, we enjoy a special farewell dinner – and toast this remarkable country
    Overnight: Hotel Urban Royal Puerta del Reloj, Cartagena
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 7, Friday - Depart for the USA
    Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
    Meals: Breakfast

    Dates & PricesLand OnlyAir & Land
    Dates & PricesLand Only
    Dates & PricesAir & Land
     
    This package is currently unavailable. Please check back later or call Discovery Tours for more information.

    Click a date to book online.

    *Not Included:
    Prices do not include optional tours and gratuities for guides/tour managers.


    Additional Information:
    Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfer, but does include flights Bogota-Pereira and Pereira-Cartagena.

    Entry Requirements:
    Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.


    Is This Trip Right for You?

    This is a moderately active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend 2-3 hours on our feet during tours. The pace is moderate, with 3 two-night stays. Some of our tours require walking over uneven surfaces. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.

     
    Getting Ready to GoAbout Your FlightsArrival and DepartureAccommodationsAt Your Destination


    Know Before You Go
    Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.
    Getting Ready to Go
    Passports and Visas
    It is each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel and a visa if required. Please check the information at www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has unstamped visa pages.

    Trip Preparation
    A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, driver’s license) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the originals while traveling, you'll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest medication for decongestion. As for the liquid containers, we suggest that you squeeze out excess air from those containers and place into Ziploc bags to catch any leaks.

    Cell Phones & Calling Cards
    You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally.

    When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel’s reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.

    Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another
    When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your country's Exit Code + destination Country Code + Phone Number.
    For most countries, the exit code is 00. Exceptions include the USA and Canada (011), Hong Kong and Cambodia (001), Australia (0011), and Russia (8 Pause 10*). For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If the international number you wish to call starts with a 0 (zero), you must drop this starting digit when dialing the number.

    Wireless Internet Access
    Passengers traveling with WiFi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the internet via a wireless network access point (or hotspot). WiFi access in hotels and/or cruise lines often involves a fee which, in some cases, can be very expensive. Passengers requiring internet access can often locate free WiFi hotspots such as libraries or coffee shops. Hotspots can often be located and planned in advance via an online search. Planning ahead may help avoid unnecessary fees.

    Staying Healthy While Traveling
    All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or theWorld Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.

    There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.

    • Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
    • Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
    • If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
    • Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
    • Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellant (for both active and warm destinations).
    • You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.


    Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment - Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at: http://www.dot.gov/office-policy/aviation-policy/aircraft-disinsection-requirements.

    Colombia - While no inoculations are required, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended, especially if traveling outside of major cities like Cartagena. Please consult your physician before traveling to Colombia.

    You may encounter mosquitoes in both urban and rural areas, especially during wet seasons. Travelers are encouraged to bring insect repellant and consider wearing clothing that adequately covers arms and legs.

    Bogota, situated at an altitude of 8,600 feet above sea level, may cause in some travelers temporary altitude discomfort. Those affected should avoid over-exertion, drink extra water, and eat lightly. We suggest you consult with your health care provider, who may recommend prophylaxis with acetazolamide.

    Climate & Clothing
    Colombia - In the highlands: Spring: 45°F-65°F; Summer: 50°F-70°F; Autumn: 45°F-65°F; Winter: 40°F–65°F. Along the coast: 55°F-85°F year round.

    Bring comfortable shoes, lightweight clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Sunscreen and a hat or sunglasses are also recommended. Some religious sites do not allow shorts or sleeveless shirts.

    Colombia Average Temperatures: http://www.gate1travel.com/weather/americas/default.aspx#colombia-weather