Colombian Art, Culture and Cuisine
Ceviche in Cartagena, Museums in Medellin and Botero's Bogota
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At a glance
Colombia is a staggeringly diverse country, every corner presenting its own unique vibe. Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena are three completely different cities, each one offering a different insight into both the country’s traditions and contemporary culture. A country’s food tells as good a story as any, and there will be plenty of opportunities to sample Colombia’s cuisine.
The capital is a thriving metropolis and the perfect place to start your journey. Head out to the vibrant Paloquemao market where locals come to shop from the mountains of colourful fruit and veg. Here you’ll try juicy lulo fruit, avocados as smooth as butter and freshly made arepas. Colombia is famous for its coffee and you’ll learn how caffeine gets it kick with a molecular coffee tasting.
Bogota is home to some incredible museums and galleries. As well as discovering the iconic works of Colombian heavyweight, Fernando Botero, you’ll go behind the scenes on a guided tour of the city’s independent art galleries with a local expert.
Your next stop is Medellin, a city that hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Its transformation in the last 25 years, however, has been miraculous. It is now one of Colombia’s most exciting cities and you can see first hand its transformation with a social innovation tour of one of its notorious districts, Comuna 13. You’ll notice throughout your time in Colombia that this is not somewhere that wants to forget. The Museo Casa de la Memoria is a wonderful example of sensitively recognising and honouring the past.
The final five days will be spent in the colourful city of Cartagena. This is such a great place to relax, soak up the vibrant atmosphere and indulge in some Caribbean cuisine. Learn how to whip up local dishes during a cooking class, hop from one ceviche restaurant to another and enjoy a tutored tasting of the most tropical of all spirits – rum.
Example Trip Itinerary
Meet and greet at Bogota airport
Private transfer to your hotel in Bogota
Accommodation in Bogota
- 62 rooms and suites
- Two restaurants
The beautiful Four Seasons Casa Medina was the creative vision of Santiago Medina Mejia, a Paris-educated artist and architect from Medellin. He salvaged local architectural treasures, such as stone columns and hand-carved wooden doors from two recently demolished colonial convents, to create was declared a monument by the country’s Ministry of Culture in the 1980s. The hotel features 62 rooms and suites, where beamed ceilings and aged leather accents coupled with fresh, contemporary touches making them a sophisticated blend of old and new. The hotel has two restaurants; the lively La Bodega that focuses on tapas and Colombian coffee, and Castanyoles Raciones y Tapas, where guests chave the option to dine in the beautiful glass atrium with Spanish tiles, living walls and drop lights. There is also a gym and a spa with treatment rooms, relaxation room and steam room.
- 102 rooms
- Small fitness centre
The Sofitel Victoria Regia is located in Bogota’s Zona Rosa district, with many of the capital’s top shops and restaurants on its doorstep. It takes its name from the beautiful water lily that can be found in the Colombian Amazon, and if you look up as soon as you enter the hotel, you’ll see a beautiful stained glass skylight inspired by the Victoria Regia. There are 102 rooms and suites, a blend of local Colombian character and classic French elegance. Basilic is the hotel’s in-house restaurant, serving exquisite Mediterranean cuisine using local ingredients. There is also a bar where guests can enjoy a drink before heading out to explore Bogota’s incredible foodie scene. For those that like to keep active while away, there is a small gym as well as treatment rooms where you can indulge in a massage or beauty treatment.
- 168 rooms and suites
- Fitness centre and spa
Located near the bars, restaurants and boutiques of Usaquén, is the W Bogota – a sleek hotel with a thoroughly contemporary feel. The W is inspired by the legend of El Dorado, a mythical chief who was covered in gold dust before setting sail on Lake Guatavita, into which his attendents threw gold and emeralds. There are several elements that allude to this magical tale throughout the hotel. There are 168 rooms, ranging from the Wonderful, Spectacular and Fabulous rooms to the impressive Marvellous, Wow or Extreme Wow suites. Decor is modern with splashes of bold colours and shimmering bathroom tiles. Beds are shaped like the raft aboard which the chief travelled across Lake Guatavita. Relax with a tropical fruit juice or a lulo mojito at the W Lounge. The lounge is the heart of the hotel and features delicate gold chain curtains and a huge graffiti mural depicting an interpretation of the El Dorado legend. For casual dining, head to The Market Kitchen which embraces the farm-to-table concept. There is a fitness centre that looks out over Bogota’s skyline as well as a spa with steam room, treatment rooms and hydrotherapy pool.
- 41 rooms (14 suites)
- Two bars
- Rooftop pool
- Health club
- B.O.G. is just 20 minutes drive from El Dorado International Airport
Located within Bogota’s exclusive business district, this is a modern boutique hotel with impeccable style. A contemporary design concept, which runs throughout the hotel, takes inspiration from Colombia’s most opulent exports: gold and emeralds. There is great attention to detail here, meaning B.O.G is well deserving of its Design Hotels membership. Their guest rooms and suites feature luxurious touches such as 500-thread count linens and bath products, exclusively produced for the hotel, and modern amenities such as complimentary WiFi and iPod docking stations also come as standard. B.O.G’s restaurant, La Leo, is superb and offers fusion dishes inspired and built on by traditional local recipes. Scan and choose from a fantastic cocktail menu whilst sitting at the rooftop Terrace Bar and pool, or there’s the Lounge Bar for a relaxing aperitif or two before you eat or to relax after a long flight.
Colombia's capital is as recognisable and enjoyable as any other in this continent. Packed with its colonial legacy, beautiful architecture, charming historical districts, museums recounting ancient to modern treasures and times, to sophisticated restaurants, shopping malls, local markets and much more. Your travel designer will advise you on how best to spend your time here and what aspects of Bogotá would suit you.
Early in the morning you will experience the excitement of the largest market of Bogota. Discover Paloquemao and its vast and colourful array of fruits, vegetables and flowers. This is where chefs and locals come to shop for some of the best ingredients in the city. Step off the tourist trail and meet friendly vendors, learn about traditional cuisine and enjoy tasting exotic fruits from Colombia’s most remote regions.
Today you'll explore independent art galleries in the neighbourhoods of Macarena and San Felipe with a local art expert who will share stories about the exhibitions, the artists themselves and the art scene in Bogota. Many of these galleries are hidden down quiet streets and behind unassuming facades and often the artist will be there and able to answer any questions and explain their work to you.
Visit maestro Fernando Botero’s impressive personal art collection where you will see the many masterpieces of his iconic voluptuous figures, alongisde works from renowned artists such as Dalí, Monet, Picasso and Matisse.
Enjoy a private coffee tasting session where you will be guided through its distinct flavours and aromas by a coffee specialist. Understand how the quality of coffee is affected by the cultivation process, and learn how to create the perfect cup using award-winning beans.
Private transfer to Bogota airport
Flight from Bogota to Medellin
Private transfer to your hotel in Medellin
Accommodation in Medellin
- Seven rooms
- Outdoor Jacuzzi
Patio del Mundo is a beautiful boutique hotel that is wonderfully quiet and tranquil despite being in the heart of Medellin’s popular El Poblado district. The hotel was originally a private house and features just seven rooms, inspired by a different corner of the globe. Each of the rooms – Africa, Santa Fe, Provence, Andalusia, Bali, India and Cartagena de Indias – are impeccably styled, some with Jacuzzis and others with small private patios. There is a small lounge and library decorated with handicrafts from across Colombia and a beautiful terrace where guests can enjoy breakfast. The lush gardens are filled with wild orchids and mango trees and a winding pathway lined with avocado and orange trees leads you down to a small decking area with a Jacuzzi. You are ideally located to explore the fascinating city of Medellin which has undergone a radical transformation in the last decade and there are plenty of great restaurants a short walk from the hotel.
- 166 rooms
- Two restaurants
- Lobby coffee shop and bar
- Fitness centre
- Outdoor pool
Located in the city’s popular El Poblado district, the recently refurbished Medellin Marriott is a great option for those wanting to be in easy reach of all this city has to offer. There are 166 rooms and suites, bright and spacious with a crisp, clean finish. Dining options at the hotel are great. Start your day with a wonderful breakfast in the large, light-filled lounge then enjoy a relaxed lunch or dinner at The Market or Nau, an Asian restaurant serving excellent sushi and noodles. There is a terrace at Nau where you can enjoy the balmy Medellin evenings. You’ll also find a fitness centre and spa at the hotel, as well as an outdoor pool on the fourth floor.
If ever there was an example of a city turning itself around, Medellin is a shining beacon. In the 90s it was one of the world’s most dangerous cities, but fast forward 25 years and it’s one of Colombia’s most diverse and exciting cities.
Nicknamed the City of Eternal Spring thanks to its consistently pleasant climate, the capital of Antioquia enjoys a favourable location between two Andean mountain ranges. There is so much going on here and its energy is undeniably contagious.
This tour focuses on the social and cultural transformation Medellin has undergone in recent years as it moves towards peace. In addition to visiting Medellin's downtown and famous Botero Plaza, you will also visit the neighbourhood which has undergone the most dramatic transformation; Comuna 13. By riding the escalators and metrocable, you can appreciate the magnitude and significance of this barrio, now inventively connected to the heart of the city. Your local guide will provide historical background on the neighbourhood’s complicated past, as you admire its colourful graffiti, emblematic of progression and change. You will also visit the centre of hip-hop and urban art founded with the intention of young people positively channelling their energies into artistic expression.
Learn about the city’s history at El Museo Casa de la Memoria. This museum is dedicated to Colombia’s years of war with the motto 'remember to not repeat'. It features works of local artists that have used art as an expression to communicate Medellin’s violent past. It will help you put events into perspective and admire even more this city that now stand stills as Latin America’s most innovative city.
Private transfer to Medellin airport
Flight from Medellin to Cartagena
Private transfer to your hotel in Cartagena
Accommodation in Cartagena
- 31 rooms and suites
- Restaurant and bar
- Swimming pool
- Bikes for hire
Casa San Agustin is a beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Cartagena’s vibrant old town. The hotel comprises three connecting 17th-century buildings, in the middle of which are the remains of an aqueduct which was used to collect rainwater for the walled city. There are 31 rooms and suites, some with their own Jacuzzi and small balcony. Rooms have maintained their colonial charm with dark wooden beamed ceilings and tiled bathrooms, but the soft blues and greens and natural fabrics add a fresh, contemporary edge. The large duplex prestige suite is ideal for small groups or families with two large en suite bedrooms, living room and small kitchen. There are beautiful orchids, Colombia’s national flower, in each room. The open-air swimming pool sits at the heart of the hotel with the aqueduct towering above. It is the perfect place to cool off and relax after a day exploring the city of Cartagena. There is a small rooftop terrace as well as a library, which features original frescoes uncovered during the renovation, where a daily afternoon tea is served. The Alma Restaurant is the perfect place to try traditional Colombian cuisine, with seafood casserole and ceviche perennially popular. The Alma Bar is a beautiful space and ideal for unwinding with a G&T. Breakfast can be enjoyed indoors or on the patio. The Aurum Spa is inspired by the gold Colombia is so famous for, and is a beautifully relaxing space where guests can indulge in a treatment.
- 51 rooms
- Rooftop swimming pool
- Small spa
Bastion Luxury Hotel is located in Cartagena’s charming old town in a restored 16th-century private home. A colonial aesthetic runs though the hotel balanced perfectly with more contemporary touches. Its 51 elegant rooms and suites have a neutral colour scheme and feel bright and fresh. Some come with a separate living area and outdoor terrace. The hotel’s restaurant, El Gobernador, showcases the best of Colombian cuisine and offers a nine-course tasting menu, while the patio restaurant offers more relaxed dining. El Gobernador also has a small patio which is a lovely space to enjoy breakfast. The rooftop terrace is a real highlight of the hotel with a good sized swimming pool, ample space to relax under a cabana and a bar where you can enjoy a drink and light bites as the sun goes down of the beautiful city of Cartagena. There is also a small spa with treatment room and outdoor Jacuzza and relaxation area, as well as a small gym.
- 103 rooms, 19 suites
- Two restaurants and one bar
With a history dating back to 1621, the former convent of Saint Clare of Assisi is now one of Cartagena’s grandest and most illustriest hotels. The Sofitel Santa Clara is still home to crypts, wells, confessionals and paintings which have been expertly resorted to fit its new life as a modern luxuiry hotel. At the centre of the hotel is a large courtyard filled with lush tropical plants and framed by the original stone arches of the convent. There are 123 rooms and suites, including four ‘iconic’ suites, two of which are insired by famous Colombian artists, Fernando Botero and Enrique Grau Araujo. More modern rooms complete with contemporary republican décor are available, many with views of the city wall and Caribbean Sea. There’s also the option of staying in the cavernous and colourful colonial rooms adorned with grand antique furniture. Enjoy modern cuisine with a Caribbean touch at the Santa Clara’s two restaurants, El Claustro and 1621, and make time to relax with a drink in the beautiful garden. The hotel is home to a large outdoor swimming pool as well as a spa and small fitness centre.
- Seven rooms
- Rooftop pool and terrace
Behind the doors of a typical house from the 17th century in the heart of Cartagena is Hotel Amarla, a beautiful space which we recommend booking as a private property. On entering the house, you’ll find yourself in a gorgeous lounge area characterised by whitewashed walls, large archways and wooden ceiling beams and filled with antiques and Colombian handicrafts. Part of this area is open-air and filled with tropical plants. There are seven rooms including their signature duplex suite with two bedrooms and bathrooms. One of the highlights of Hotel Amarla is the spectacular rooftop pool which overlooks the candy coloured dome of the cathedral. There is plenty of shaded space up here as well as a staircase that leads up to another small terrace which is a real sun trap. Views don’t get much better than this.
Cartagena is Colombia's coastal gem and its most romantic city. The warm Caribbean breeze gathers up sounds of salsa music and the scent of the flowers that cascade down from the balconies of the rainbow-coloured houses that line its cobbled streets. Steeped in colonial and nautical history, Cartagena boasts impressive ramparts, forts and bastions as well as plenty of Spanish-style architecture. This is a city made for exploring: wind your way through the historic centre passing carts laden with juicy fruit and women selling coconut candies under the shade of the arches that ring the plazas. There are also fortifications to explore, museums to discover and lots of rooftops from which to sit and watch the world go by.
A local chef will teach you how to make some of Cartagena's most typical dishes such as ceviche, seafood soup in coconut milk and white wine, coconut rice, plantain chips and a few other Colombian secrets. The menu can be designed based on your preferences. The classes take place at a private house in the old city with a beautiful open-air kitchen and a refreshing dip pool.
Alongside a local foodie, discover the very best ceviche in town in this unique safari supper-style experience. As one of the favourite dishes found on the Caribbean coast, you will find the freshest seafood and top quality ingredients by sampling three different dishes in three different restaurants. Bon appetit!
Enjoy a tasting experience in which your local rum expert will guide you through how rum is processed and aged, in order to recognise its unique characteristics.
Private transfer to Cartagena airport
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Colombian Art, Culture and Cuisine
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.