Discover why Colombia is South America’s phoenixColombia
While Colombia offers up a certain unsavoury stereotype as a destination famous for Pablo Escobar and drug cartels, the reality is that this South American nation has plenty of sights, delights, activities, museums and incredible biodiversity that warrant greater investigation and positive recognition.
This 13-day adventure aims to break down those stereotypes and take you inside the country’s heart through its historic cities, people, culture, museums, national parks and beaches.
The journey starts in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s birthplace Bogota, with a walking tour and introduction to the history and intricacies of current Colombian culture. You’ll visit the Botero Museum, the Casa de la Moneda, where you’ll learn the history of Bogota through the currency, and the Gold Museum, which houses one of the finest collections of pre-Hispanic gold in the world.
A full day’s trekking in Chicaque National Park among oak forests and waterfalls should get the heart rate pumping and the senses activated as you play spot the spectacled bear, deer, tapir, puma, Andean condor, jaguar, woolly monkey, ocelot and toucan.
En route to Villa de Leyva, one of the few towns in Colombia to have preserved much of its original colonial architecture, a pit stop will be made at Zipaquirá, famous for its Salt Cathedral carved underground in a functioning salt mine.
During a full-day tour of Iguaque National Park you’ll see its eight lakes and numerous plants and animals – watch out for the famous frailejon, a high-altitude succulent that’s endemic to the Andean region.
The following days are spent leisurely exploring Medellín and the once troubled Santa Marta, Colombia’s first Spanish settlement. Once known as a hide-out for insurgents, Santa Marta is the gateway to the Tayrona National Natural Park and Colombia’s premier beach destination. The region was once home to the ancient Tairona culture, whose traditions still exist today among the highland indigenous peoples, including the Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa and Kankuamo tribal groupings.
The remaining three days are spent in Cartagena, where you’ll be welcomed into the fold by locals at La Boquilla fishing village. You’ll explore the mangroves by canoe, learning about life on the water and identifying the wealth of flora and fauna that inhabits this rich ecosystem.
Later a visit to the Colombia National Aviary, which features 2000 birds representing 140 species, should keep the budding ornithologists happy as they spot toucans, herons, harpy eagles, flamingos and Colombia’s national bird, the Andean condor.
The final day before the flight back to Bogota is a free day, but spending time soaking up the sun at Gente de Ma, a resort in the Rosario Islands and one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the Caribbean, is highly recommended. This group of 27 islands is surrounded by coral reefs, and is one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia. Soak it up.
- The vibrant culture of the country’s famous cities
- Exploring coast, mountains and rainforest
- Spotting toucans, tapirs, condors and jaguars
- Witnessing the transformation of a Medellín barrio
- Those jaguars don’t always like to be seen
- There aren’t more hours in the day to enjoy the sights
Group tours from AU$8700 a person.
Private tours start from AU$9080 a person (minimum two people).