Cultures of Colombia | Trip Itinerary
Note: This tour is a suggested, customized itinerary that is very flexible. We can make changes in hotels, excursions and destinations to suit your travel dates, style and budget. Suggested arrival day is on a Friday.
Day 1: BOGOTÁ
Arrival in Bogotá. After clearing customs and immigration, you are met by our local representative and transferred to your selected hotel. Check in for a three night stay.
Bogotá is the capital of the Republic of Colombia. The city is located on the high plateau called ‘Sabana de Bogota’, at an altitude of 2640 meters (8600 feet) above sea level, surrounded by the eastern range of the Andes. It was founded in 1538 by the Spaniard Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada. Since that time and mostly since the end of World War II, Bogotá has grown rapidly to a real metropolis. The actual population of the city is about 7 million inhabitants. Because of the fast-growing development of Bogotá, you will see many contrasts, such as skyscrapers standing side by side with old houses of one level or high-powered automobiles sharing a modern expressway with mule carts.
Day 2: Half Day BOGOTA CITY TOUR, La Candelaria Historical district, the Botero Museum and Gold Museum. Option to make this a full day tour to include EITHER Monserrate viewpoint and monastery OR the Botanical gardens.
Morning pick-up at your hotel for the approximately 20-minute drive to the historical center of Bogota. Begin with a walking tour through the historical heart and soul of the city, with the Plaza Bolivar (Main Square) as the focal point. Surrounding the square are several important Colonial and Republican style buildings. As you wander the streets of La Candelaria away from the main square, enjoy the unique and diverse architecture as your guide explains the history of Bogota along with the intricacies of current Colombian culture and daily life. After a refreshment stop in one of the city’s coffee houses, your tour continues with visits to two of the most important museums of the city.
The Botero Museum is a permanent exhibition of paintings and sculptor by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist whose "oversized” art is instantly recognizable. In addition, you’ll find pieces of Botero’s private art collection featuring world famous artists such as Picasso, Dali, Monet and Van Gogh.
Next stop will be the nearby Gold Museum. This museum displays one of the finest collections of Pre-Hispanic gold in the world. Many of the works are said to be unsurpassed by goldsmiths of today and it’s easy to understand when you allow yourself time to study examples such as the Balsa Muisca (Offering boat). This golden raft is one of the focal points of the display and was the driving force in the Spaniards quest to find El Dorado. After this visit you’ll be transferred back to your hotel, with the remainder of the afternoon & evening to enjoy Bogota on your own.
We offer two options to extend this tour into a full day excursion; with time for lunch on your own in the historical center.
Option #1: Monserrate Hill: A short driver from the city center brings you to the base of the hill that leads up to the view point and monastery of Monserrate. Ascend to the summit by either funicular railway or cable car. From the highest point the view across the city will enable you to see the different sectors of Bogota--from La Candelaria and its terracotta tiled roofs to the high-rise business sector and across the sabana (flat plains) and off in to the distance. The new convent is a pilgrimage site for many Colombians whom make their way past the fourteen Stations of the Cross until reaching the convent. There are a few artisan shops, with others selling snacks and refreshments.
Option #2: Botanical Gardens of Bogota: After free time for lunch, meet your guide for the short driver to Bogota’s botanical gardens. These extensive gardens contain more than 18,000 plant species (including hundreds of different orchids) representing all of the varied eco-systems present in Colombia. You’ll also find five collections dedicated to the conservation of plants that are considered endangered species in the Andean region
NOTE: The Gold Museum is closed on Mondays and the Botero Museum is closed on Tuesdays. Order of visits this day may change due to weather, operational schedules, etc.
Day 3: Morning Half day tour (with option to combine option #1 with either #2 or #3 for a full day excursion). Your choice to visit one of Colombia’s most popular tourist sites; hike around a lagoon famous for its Muisca Indian legend of El Dorado; or hike a nature reserve for bird watching and learning about the local flora and fauna. Afternoon return to Bogota for free time to explore the local Sunday flea market of Usaquen (Sundays) or other sites of the city.
Option #1: ZIPAQUIRA SALT CATHEDRAL This tour commences with a drive through the northern residential area of the city and through the fertile plateau to the small colonial town of Cajicá, where there’s a short stop at the main plaza. Your tour continues to the town of Zipaquirá famous for its underground salt cathedral. Experience the sights extraordinary architecture 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. Though a popular tourist destination, it is still a place of pilgrimage for the local community.
Option #2: SACRED LAKE OF GUATAVITA. This is where the legendary ancient Muiscas Indian ritual of the Golden Man, "El Dorado" was born. Covered in gold dust, the chief of the tribe would leap from the ceremonial raft into the sacred lake as masked shamans chanted and sprinkled the waters with gold and emerald offerings to their gods. This ritual disappeared long before the arrival of the Spanish, but the legend enticed hordes of conquistadors and looters to this lake in the Colombian Andes. They reasoned; a gold-covered man must surely be from a city of gold.
There will be some time to walk around the lagoon and reflect on the myth which Colombia can claim as a credible source of El Dorado above any other South American country. The tour will then continue to the town of Guatavita Nueva, built completely in 1967 in colonial style architecture when the old town was submerged by Tomine reservoir, constructed to contain water for Bogotá. NOTE: The Natural Park where the lake is located is closed on Mondays
Option #3: ENCENILLO BIOLOGICAL RESERVE— Located about an hour outside Bogota, you’ll explore this private nature center run by the local community. Locate at 9,000’-10,500’ elevation, the importance of the Encenillo Reserve lies in the fact that there are natural relics of high Andean encenillo forests, scientifically known as Weinmannia tomentosa, characteristic of the Colombian Eastern Cordillera.
Other typical plant species of the encenillo forest are orchids, bromeliads and bryophytes. The reserve is a refuge for fauna represented in mammals such as coatis, armadillos, páramo foxes and numerous species of resident and migratory birds.
Accompanied by a guide from the center and your private bilingual guide you’ll explore the diverse flora and fauna of the area. The reserve has four trails of medium to low difficulty, which allows people of all ages to enjoy its wonderful landscapes and natural attractions.
DAY 4: BOGOTÁ – LETICIA – CALANOA LODGE
After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be met by our local driver and transferred to airport for your morning flight to Leticia. (not included in your trip cost; our office can assist you with all of your airline tickets needed for this trip. On arrival at Leticia airport, you’ll be met by our local bilingual guide and escorted for the transfer to the pier. A motorboat will then take you the 35 miles/about 1.5 hours deep into the Amazon rainforest to the Calanoa Natural Reserve, arriving to the Calanoa Lodge. Time to settle in to your cabin for your 4-night stay. Tonight enjoy an evening jungle walk and night time nature experience. (B, D)
Calanoa Jungle Lodge offers plans that are respectful with the local communities, responsible with nature and generous with our guests, to make of your visit an unforgettable experience. We have designed an itinerary for you that encompasses the nature, communities, research and uniqueness of the Amazon rainforest.
The visitors’ cabins have a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor and a loft, with a capacity for 6 people each. The cabins are fully covered with mosquito screen, and each bed has its own mosquito net for extra protection from bugs. A board path connects the cabins with the dining/social pavilion, and has an observation platform ideal for birds and monkeys watching.
For more details about Calanoa Lodge please visit our “Accommodations” page for descriptions and photos. (B, D)
DAY 5: Morning visit to Mocagua village and tribal community, see the local painted murals and ethnic designs, part of a community project to preserve local traditional art. Some information on this project:
MURAL PAINTING IN MOCAGUA-This project is based on the concept that with the promotion of art and traditional culture, supported by projects of sustainable management of the forest and river resources, we can contribute in a significant way to the economic wellbeing of a community, to the strengthening of cultural and ethnic identity and to environmental conservation.
It is art for conservation, an experience of public and communal art, painting the houses facades with relevant motives to the families indigenous clans.
Lunch. PM walking tour in the jungle along to the Matamata river on the border of the Amacayacu reserve, plus canoe ride along the river tributaries (Note water level, seasonal dependent), along the way spotting all the local wildlife, flora and founa. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Full day Amazon activities to include - Morning walking tour on the Mocagua Island, part of the Amacayacu reserve, examining some of the unique species found on the island. Lunch. Afternoon boat trip, wildlife spotting but primarily in search of the Pink Dolphins; Sunset River Safari (B, L, D)
Day 7: Full day tour to visit San Martin de Amacayacu by private boat and walking tour through the forest. In the afternoon enjoy a fishing activity. (B, L, D)
Day 8: River transfer from Calanoa Lodge to the boat dock in Leticia and a short land transfer to the airport to check-in for your flight to Bogota.
You have the option to connect to other areas of Colombia; add time in Bogota or connect directly home via a late evening flight. our staff is happy to help with any additional arrangements you may need (B)
B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner
Any day-we recommend beginning on Friday or Saturday to allow for best museum visits + discounted weekend hotel pricing (quoted) in Bogota.
From $1650 pp
First Class Hotels:
From $1700 pp
From $1750 pp