20099
Colombia
Bienvenidos a Colombia: A Renaissance in South America
Gain a comprehensive understanding of Colombia as you learn about paintings in Bogotá, cuisine in Manizales, coffee in Botero and the great writings of Márquez in Cartagena.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20099RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
3,629
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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12 days
11 nights
25 meals
11 B 9 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
Bogota
Andino Royal

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Bogota Introduction, The Gold Museum, Sunset at Monserrate
Bogota
B,L,D
Andino Royal

Activity note: Bogota's altitude is over 8,000 feet. Walks will be short distances and at a leisurely pace. Walking and standing in the Gold Museum, with some stairs. Access to Montserrate by funicular. Montserrate is situated at 9,800 feet of elevation and walking is limited to short distances.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel

Morning: 8:30AM: Meet your Study Leader and fellow travelers for a welcome and orientation to the program. Introductions, currency and other housekeeping issues will be discussed. Following orientation, depart by motorcoach for a full day exploration of Bogota. Begin at Mercado Plaza, the open air produce market. Learn about the many varieties of fruits and vegetables that will be featured in your meals in Colombia. Enjoy a walking tour of Bogota's Plaza Bolivar, the city's main square and home of Colombia's Congress, the Palace of Justice, and the Cathedral Primada. Your group leader will talk about the historic sites surrounding this beautiful old square.

Lunch: In the Gold Museum.

Afternoon: Field Trip "Pre-Colombian Riches at the Gold Museum": Be awed by the impressive collection housed in the Gold Museum, the largest collection of Pre-Hispanic gold anywhere in the world. The sheer diversity of the collection is staggering. The museum's centerpiece is the musical "Offering Boat," and is just one of many examples of Pre-Hispanic gold craftsmanship. End the afternoon with a journey by funicular up to the city's highest view point for a sunset visit to Monserrate, the site of a historic church famous for religious pilgrimages and for its beautiful view overlooking Bogota.

Dinner: At one of the fine restaurants at Monserrate.

Evening: Return to the hotel.

DAY
3
The Cathedral of Salt & Cajica Village
Bogota
B,L
Andino Royal

Activity note: Travel by motorcoach approximately 1.5 hours each way to the Salt Cathedral and Cajica.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel

Morning: Full day field trip to the Salt Cathedral. Journey outside of Bogota to the village of Zipiquira, where in 1951, salt miners executed an amazing feat of engineering by building a massive structure carved into the salt - a cathedral.

Lunch: Enjoy typical cuisine of the region in a restaurant in the village of Cajica.

Afternoon: Take some time to stroll through the village, known for its skilled potters, before returning to Bogota.

Dinner: Your choice to explore the many eateries just steps from the hotel in the Zona Rosa, one of Bogota's gastronomy neighborhoods.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Fly to Armenia, Colombian Coffee Production: Bean to Cup
Salento
B,L,D
Hotel Salento Real

Activity note: Please note that internal flights allow one carry on of up to 22 pounds and one checked bag of up to 44 pounds without additional charges. The documents for flights within Colombia are issued after you arrive on the program. Walking and standing on unpaved terrain at the plantation for 30 minutes. The altitude in Salento is 5,250 ft. Walking on cobblestone streets with a slight incline.

Breakfast: Early breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Fly to Armenia, in the Coffee Region, arriving mid-morning. Drive through the rolling hills to the hacienda of a coffee farmer and begin your discovery of coffee production, beginning with a presentation on the history of coffee. Continue with a visit of the plantation.

Lunch: Enjoy a typical meal of the region at the hacienda.

Afternoon: Leave the plantation and head into the village of Salento, where the story of this farmer's coffee production continues with the roasting, grinding and packaging processes. Walk through the picturesque cobblestone streets to the family's cafe to taste the finished product. Afterwards, take a stroll down the main street of Salento to admire the brightly painted balconies and arrive at the hotel for check-in.

Dinner: Light dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
The Cocora Valley
Salento
B,L
Hotel Salento Real

Activity note: The Cocora Valley is at 7,875 feet. The hike to the river and the Camino Real is 30 minutes each way, with an elevation change of 300 feet down and then back up, over a dirt-road that may be muddy in spots and has some rocky places. Light hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes are recommended.

Breakfast: Start your day with coffee, tea, juice, fresh seasonal fruits and your choice of yogurt, cereal and eggs.

Morning: Field trip into the Cocora Valley with its wax palms and spectacular views. Learn about the significance of the wax palm and participate in the planting of a tree donated by Road Scholar. Then, choose to take a short hike with your local expert to the Quindio River and the Camino Real, a section of the Inca Trail, taking in the beauty of the soaring wax palms and mountain landscape. Perhaps you'll get a glimpse of hummingbirds or some of the brightly colored endemic birds. Or, remain in the main area near the lunch restaurant to relax and enjoy the natural beauty. Watch for the hummingbirds that frequent the trees nearby. This area is a photographer's dream.

Lunch: Enjoy the specialty of the Cocora Valley, trout from the nearby river, crisply fried and served on a giant tostone. (chicken, beef and a vegetarian selection also offered)

Afternoon: Return to Salento and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure to relax, stroll the village, or even climb the many steps to the viewpoint on the hillside above. Reconvene in the late afternoon for a lecture on the impact of illegal groups on the coffee region, with your local expert.

Dinner: Your choice to explore the many local restaurants that line the main street and town square, which offer a variety of choices in local and international cuisine.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Bonsai & Orchids, Manizales
Manizales
B,L,D
Hotel Europa Manizales

Activity note: At the plantation, the walk from the coach drop off through the orchards is downhill on unpaved ground. Walking sticks are provided and those who do not want to walk will be driven in cars to the hacienda. Although the actual distance between Salento and Medellin is only 156 miles, the road is winding, single lane, with many speed bumps, and an average speed limit of 45 mph, therefore we break our journey with a night in Manizales. Our ride will be about 95 miles and stops are made in route.

Breakfast: Start your day with coffee, tea, juice, fresh seasonal fruits and your choice of yogurt, cereal and eggs.

Morning: Depart Salento and journey along the Coffee Route to meet the passionate horticulturist of the largest private collection of orchids in Colombia. This unique visit to a family farm and hacienda begins with a walk through their fruit orchards, with awesome views of the mountains that extend as far as the eye can see. Around the hacienda, examine hundreds of varieties of orchids from all over the world, including very rare species, an amazing collection of miniature orchids, carniverous plants and a collection of bonsai that are over thirty years old.

Lunch: Enjoy a home-cooked meal at the hacienda. Keep an eye peeled for the many species of hummingbirds.

Afternoon: Continue to Manizales, one of the oldest cities in the coffee region, with a wealth of history, ranging from the expansion of colonists from Medellin in the North to the indigenous cultures that existed here even before the European discovery of the "New World." Explore this city by coach and learn its history and how it is transforming to meet the needs of its residents. Meet with the charity foundation Pequeno Corazon, who provides services to children who need heart transplants and corrective surgery. Late afternoon arrival and check-in at the hotel. Please note that hotel selection in Manizales is limited. While we have selected the best available option and the service is excellent, the facilities may not meet our more sophisticated expectations.

Dinner: Light dinner in the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Through the Coffee Region to Medellin
Medellin
B,L,D
NH Collection Medellin Royal

Activity note: The drive takes about six hours with three stops en route: a morning rest stop, lunch, and an afternoon rest stop. Medellin is located at 4,905 feet.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast with juice, fresh fruit, arepa, eggs, yogurt, cereal, coffee and tea.

Morning: Depart to Medellin with a rest stop en route. The drive through the mountains takes in the landscape of the coffee region. The first stop of the day affords scenic views over the Cauca River.

Lunch: En route to Medellin, at a local restaurant in a picturesque location with a scenic viewpoint.

Afternoon: Continue the drive, climbing 5,900 feet in just over one mile, passing through the village of Santa Barbara. We leave the coffee bushes behind and enter a pastoral landscape and lower elevation. Arrive in Medellin and check in at the hotel. Reconvene for a lecture by your local expert on the city's inspiring transformation from having one of the world's highest murder rates to one of the safest cities in South America. This transformation has brought about socioeconomic change to residents that has permeated through all levels of society.

Dinner: Light dinner in the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Guatape Lake
Medellin
B,L
NH Collection Medellin Royal

Activity note: Drive to Guatape Lake is 1.5 hours each way on winding, but good condition, roads.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Field Trip "Journey to Guatape": Following the weekend footsteps of Antioquenos (residents of Medellin), journey out to the area of Guatape Lake to learn about this hydroelectric project begun in the 1970s and its impact on the city of Medellin. Located east of the city, the stunning lakes of Guatape are dwarfed by the monolithic rock of Penol, a 150 foot high geologic marvel looming over the water's edge. Walk through the village of Guatape to view the colorful zocalos - baseboard trim painted in the theme of each house or building.

Lunch: Enjoy grilled lake fish on the village's waterfront. (chicken or vegetarian option offered)

Afternoon: Take the views of the lake during a short ride on the small motorboats that ply the waters, then admire the views over the entire landscape, from the base of La Penol. Return to Medellin.

Dinner: Explore the flavors of Medellin on your own. Many restaurants featuring local and international cuisine and a shopping mall are located nearby the hotel, and suggestions will be provided.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Medellin, Its Art & Transformation
Medellin
B,L
NH Collection Medellin Royal

Activity note: Walking in the city up to a half mile at a time, rest stops available in some places. Travel by public transportation, cable car and escalator. Walking and standing in the museum.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Field trip by motorcoach to the heart of Medellin and the Museum of Antioquia. Examine the collection of 19th to 20th century Colombian paintings that illustrate the settlement of the coffee region and explore the works of native son, Fernando Botero. Walk through the Parque Berrio, home of some of Botero's oversized sculptures. Experience firsthand the hustle and bustle of downtown Medellin.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Experience the impact of the public transportation on residents of the city by taking the inspirationally clean, safe and modern metropolitan train. Connect directly from the Metro line to the famous Metro Cable. Not only are you greeted with amazing views, but you are taking part in a piece of Medellin's history. The cable car network was one of the factors influencing the regeneration of the city, providing thousands of residents with easy access to the downtown from the steep hillsides, to find work. Walk from the Metro a few blocks to the amazing escalator system that has transformed one of the city's poorest neighborhoods into the safest, best-kept area. Meet local youth who maintain and greet visitors to the escalators and the artists who create the colorful wall murals.

Dinner: Your choice to explore local flavors from the many eateries nearby.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Fly to Cartegena
Cartagena
B,L
Movich Cartagena De Indias

Activity note: There is no motorcoach access inside the walled city. Luggage will be transported to the hotel in small vans. The walk from the motorcoach drop off point to the hotel is 5-10 minutes over cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer by motorcoach to the Rio Negro Airport and fly to Cartagena. Upon arrival in the city, begin with a lecture, "All About Cartagena," to learn the considerable role that the city has played in the history of the Americas.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Field trip by motorcoach to "La Popa and San Felipe": Discover the hilltop area of La Popa on the highest point of the city. Enjoy the views of the Caribbean and over the walled city from the flower filled patio and explore the historic convent. Continue on to Castillo de San Felipe, which was created in 1536 and expanded by African slave labor over the following two centuries. In the late afternoon, check in at the hotel.

Dinner: Your choice to explore the many restaurants in the walled city. Suggestions will be provided.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Walled City of Cartagena & Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Cartagena
B,D
Movich Cartagena De Indias

Activity note: Walk to the lecture venue. After the lecture, up to 3 hours of slow walking over uneven and cobblestone streets. There will be rest stops. Note: Cartagena has a Caribbean climate: very warm, humid and possible passing rain showers.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: A lecture introduces the life and history of Colombia's most notable writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Learn of the inspirations for many of his works found in Cartagena and gain insight into the author's often overlooked works of journalism. Field Trip: Walk through the walled city of Cartagena with a local expert. Carved from a colorful history rife with piracy, sultry Caribbean heat, and fusions of African, indigenous and European culture, Cartagena is truly a living and breathing museum. Walk through the old town, passing under the symbol of Cartagena, the Puerto Del Reloj or "Clock Tower Gate" into the Plaza de los Coches. Your local expert divulges the legends and history of Cartagena from ancient times, up to the present. Stroll from the Plaza San Pedro Claver with its stunning church, on through Cartagena's own Plaza Bolivar.

Lunch: Your choice to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to wander the walled city, explore the Gold Museum, or relax at the pool.

Dinner: Farewell dinner in a nearby restaurant with musical entertainment.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Breakfast: Early continental breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Program ends. Transfer to the Cartagena Airport for return flights to the US.






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