Colombia's Hidden Gems

Duration 11 days
Price guide
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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 beautiful northern mountain ranges. Your adventure starts in the capital Bogotá, before a drive north to the charming whitewashed town of Villa de Leyva via the magnificent salt cathedral. Continue through glorious countryside to Barichara, another of Colombia’s beautiful small towns for cultural immersion and outdoors activities. Next, Cartagena, a vibrant coastal city with Caribbean influence and an electric atmosphere. Finally take the mountain roads to your very own private villa in the lush green cloud forests of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta for hiking, bird watching and much more.

Trip highlights

  • A bespoke and private exploration of Bogotá
  • Luxurious private vehicle for drives through the countryside
  • Hiking the legendary Camino Real to Guane
  • A unique literary tour of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Cartagena
  • A private home in the cloud forests Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Bespoke trips with Jacada

We design one-of-a-kind journeys incorporating luxury in all its forms. Our bespoke trips include:

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers
  • Private tours and experiences
  • Full support from your travel designer and concierge
  • Help with restaurant recommendations and reservations
  • Days 1–3 Bogotá
  • Days 3–5 Villa de Leyva
  • Days 5–7 Barichara
  • Days 7–9 Cartagena
  • Days 9–11 Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Colombia’s Hidden Highlights
Price guide
  • Days 1–3 Bogotá
  • Days 3–5 Villa de Leyva
  • Days 5–7 Barichara
  • Days 7–9 Cartagena
  • Days 9–11 Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Itinerary in detail

Every Jacada trip is tailored to your personal preferences and interests. Below you’ll find a sample itinerary to inspire your own custom-designed journey.

Days 1–3

Two nights in Bogotá

Colombia’s capital Bogota is as recognisable and enjoyable as any other in this continent. There’s 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.

We highly recommend that you’re first excursion is with one of our friendly local hosts. They’ll be able to help you get orientated in the city by exploring the trendy neighbourhoods surrounding your hotel, peeking into quirky cafés, sample local treats, stroll along streets lined with designer boutiques and experience how locals truly enjoy Bogotá.

Explore Bogotá

A 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.

A pause in Zipaquirá en route to Villa de Leyva

A guided tour to the underground salt cathedral

Toda you’ll depart Bogota by car and head north, bound for Villa de Leyva, but with a stop in Zipaquirá to see its famous salt cathedral. The Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral is a complete church that has been built into 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

Two nights in Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is one of Colombia’s most charming towns. 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 the Muiscas people who 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.

Spend your days enjoying a variety of activities after an initial introductory tour with one of our brilliant local hosts. Our hosts are experts in the area and will show you all the highlights, personalising the tour to your own interests too.

Discover rural Colombia

A scenic transfer to Barichara

Hop into your luxury private vehicle with your driver and make your way deep into the Colombian countryside. Rural life here holds its own distinctive culture and it’s common to see farmers on horseback herding cattle, meandering through the country lanes. Drive through rolling hills, stopping in small villages and roadside restaurants for refreshments. This journey will take around half a day, depending on how often you stop.

Days 5–7

Two nights in Barichara

Spend your time in Barichara soaking up the laid back atmosphere, visiting the well-preserved churches, trying your hand at paper-making in a small local factory and getting involved with 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 appreciate rural Colombian culture.

Explore Barichara's glorious countryside

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.

Days 7–9

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.

Discover a literary history in Cartagena

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Cartagena

Walk through Cartagena’s old city with an expert guide to discover the life and works of Colombia’s remarkable Nobel prize winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Gain insight into some of his most renowned novels by visiting the places where he found inspiration fpr his stories that made him the master of magical realism. We recommend reading his novels prior to your visit to Cartagena.

Days 9–11

Three nights of exclusivity the cloud forests

High up in the cloud forests of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta you’ll stay in your own private house with your own personal chef and dedicated 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.

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your adventure

How it works

  1. Simply click ‘Start Planning’ or give us a call.
  2. We’ll get in touch within 24 hours and work with you to perfect the details of your trip.
  3. Sit back and relax while we plan a bespoke itinerary for you.

Why book with Jacada

Pesonalised design

We’ll plan your trip around your personal interests, tastes and preferences, providing honest advice based on first-hand knowledge.

Authentic experiences

Our expert guides and brilliant Concierges are hand-picked for their ability to bring your destination to life with care and passion.

Positive Impact

We seek out unforgettable experiences that benefit both local communities and the environment.