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Charming colonial towns and the mystical mountains of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Personalised journeys from start to finish

Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel

Every detail taken care of

What's Included

  • Luxury accommodation
  • Internal flights and private transfers
  • All tours specified in the itinerary
  • Full support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
  • All meals included during your stay at Casa Galavanta
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Colombia is a hugely diverse country. On this 11-day trip you’ll get to explore its major cities, its lesser visited but wonderfully charming towns, and its beautiful northern mountain range.

Your adventure starts in Bogota, where you’ll learn more about Colombia’s tumultuous past as well as its current political position. Enjoy exploring the winding streets of La Candelaria with your expert guide who will bring the country’s history to life as you pass through the iconic Plaza Bolivar.

From Bogota you will  head to Villa de Leyva via the magnificent salt cathedral – a huge network of underground tunnels into which churches have been carved. Villa de Leyva is a real colonial treasure and a favourite weekend spot for many Colombians. Whitewashed buildings line its cobbled streets and you’ll get to discover its hidden corners with your local host.

A glorious drive through the coutryside brings you to Barichara, another of Colombia’s beautiful small towns. Enjoy time to wander along its streets and explore its squares, and hike along the Camino Real to the charming town of Guane. It’s then a short flight from Bucamarange to Cartagena, Colombia’s most handsome town, full of Caribbean spirit.

Cartegena was the inspiration for many of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novels and you’ll explore the city with a guide that specialises in the literary giant’s work. Cartagena is also a wonderful place to simply wander by foot and take in the sounds and colours that make this city so special.

Your final stop will be a wonderfully secluded private houses high up in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. From here you can hike, bird watch and horse ride to your heart’s content while enjoying the exclusivity that comes from having your own private home in the cloud forest.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-3

Bogota

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Meet and greet at Bogota airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Bogota

Accommodation in Bogota

Two nights in Bogotá Two nights in Bogotá

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.

Introductory tour with your local host Introductory tour with your local host

Together with your local host, you will explore the trendy neighbourhood surrounding your hotel, peek into quirky cafés, sample local treats, stroll along streets lined with designer boutiques and experience how locals truly enjoy Bogotá.

History and politics tour History and politics tour

Walk through the winding streets of La Candelaria and surrounding neighbourhoods with your local expert, who will offer fascinating stories behind the cobblestone streets, houses, plazas and cathedrals of this neighbourhood. Passing by government buildings, the iconic Plaza Bolivar, and the city centre's impactful street art, get insight into Colombia’s difficult past and the recent political and economic revival as told through the stories of the murals.

Private transfer to Villa de Leyva via the Zipaquirá Salt Catherdral Private transfer to Villa de Leyva via the Zipaquirá Salt Catherdral

Head north to Zipaquirá to see its famous salt cathedral. A complete church has been built into the a salt mine. Walk along the Via Crucis until you reach the imposing central nave. On a Sunday you might even find yourself in a Catholic mass.

Days 3-5

Villa de Leyva

Accommodation in Villa de Leyva

Two nights in Villa de Leyva Two nights in Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is one of Colombia’s best colonial treasures. Literally suspended in time, having been declared a national monument in 1954, the original whitewashed mansions and cobbled streets are marred by not one bit of modern architecture. This striking town is steeped in history from when the Muiscas people built their astronomical observatory here before the Spanish arrived, to the Dominican Santo Ecce Homo Convent built with local stones embedded with fossils. It is also home to one of the largest Plaza Mayors (main squares) in all Latin America.

Introductory tour with your local host Introductory tour with your local host

Walk along this beautiful colonial town's cobblestone streets with a local expert who can provide an in-depth understanding of the town's history, architecture and culture.

Scenic transfer to Barichara Scenic transfer to Barichara

This transfer takes approximately four hours, during which you will pass through the beautiful Colombian countryside.

Days 5-7

Barichara

Accommodation in Barichara

Two nights in Barichara Two nights in Barichara

Spend your time in this colonial town soaking up the well-preserved churches, getting involved with some adventure activities, hiking the old Camino Reales or horseback riding in the hills. There are lots of lovely cafes and squares where you can relax and soak up the atmosphere, as well as a great hands-on paper making museum.

Hike the Camino Real from Barichara to Guane Hike the Camino Real from Barichara to Guane

Explore the region while an easy downhill hike from Barichara to the quiet village of Guane. Along the way, you'll pass tobacco fields and cow paddocks, enjoy the view over the Valley of the Río Suárez and the powerful Cordillera de Cobardes. Don’t miss the little museum of fossils and relics of the indigenous Guane tribe in the small village.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Bucaramanga airport

Flight

Flight from Bucaramanga to Cartagena

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Cartagena

Days 7-9

Cartagena

Accommodation in Cartagena

colonial-architecture-cartagena
Two nights in Cartagena Two nights in Cartagena

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.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Cartagena Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Cartagena

Walk through Cartagena’s old city with a local expert specialised in the life and works of Colombia's remarkable Nobel prize winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Learn about Gabo's life as you gain insight into some of his most renowned novels. Visit the mystical places where Marquez found inspiration for his famous characters, settings and stories that made him the master of magical realism. Reading Love in the Time of Cholera and/or Of Love and Other Demons prior to this tour will really make it come alive!

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Days 9-11

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Accommodation in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Three nights in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Three nights in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

High up in the cloud forest in a private house with your own chef and host, how you choose to spend your time is up to you. There are lots of hikes that start from the house, fantastic birdwatching opportunities and horse riding. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included and you can join the chef in the kitchen if you want to pick up some Colombian cooking tips. Casa Galavanta's terrace overlooks the forest, the town of Sierra Nevada and the ocean and the sunsets here are epic.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Santa Marta airport

What's Your Dream Trip?
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Colombia's Hidden Gems

11-Day Example Trip
 
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    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.