Marinilla – Armenia – Manizales – Cartagena
10 Days / 9 Nights
|Hacienda Bambusa||Armenia||2 Nights|
|Termales el Otoño||Manizales||1 Night|
|Las Islas||Cartagena||2 Nights|
- All domestic transport including ground, air, and water
- Transport to and from all airports and hotels
- Hotel and housing accommodations in each destination, minimum standard of 4-stars when available
- Admission to all indicated activities
- Guides and translators at each destination and activity (English and Spanish guaranteed, extra price for other languages)
- Monitoring of all flight schedules and troubleshooting of any issues that may arise
- 24-hour emergency contact numbers
- Colombian Travel insurance for each client that comprehensively covers health throughout the country, expatriation, and some luggage issues
- All breakfasts and lunches
- Dinner, wine/beer when indicated (Dinner in Cannúa, Bambusa)
- Accompaniment in each destination by a member of True Colombia Travel or a highly trusted and experienced partner with whom we have worked before, unless otherwise stated or indicated, or by client request
- Water or other refreshment during transport and most activities
- International travel between Colombia and any other nation
- Food, gifts, wine, beer, or liquor when not explicitly stated
- Purchases made by the client outside of the parameters of this proposal
- Changes to the itinerary not caused by activity of True Colombia Travel
- Evening travel/taxis during free time (unless otherwise indicated)
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to the beautiful Andes mountains of Colombia! With three ranges of the Andes running through the country, you’ll start your trip in the central section and near the “City of Eternal Spring.” A sprawling metropolis with a tormented and fascinating history, Medellín is a modern city with various distinct neighborhoods that comprise one of the now safest, richest, and most exciting cities in South America.
We’ll be waiting to greet you at the airport as you come through customs and ready to shuttle you over to Cannúa, the country’s first sustainable, high-end ecolodge.
Welcome to Colombia! You are going to have one of the most memorable trips of your life!
Day 2: Permaculture And Hiking - A Day In The Andes
Time to sleep in a little, you had a long day yesterday! Once you’re up you’ll have a gourmet breakfast with fresh-baked breads and a homemade arepa before heading out with Cannúa’s chief permaculturist. You’ll learn all about the philosophy of the hotel including Cannúa’s innovative bioconstruction that makes it the first hotel in the world built primarily out of compressed earth-bricks made on site. Permaculture is in the DNA of the hotel and present in the buildings, the gardens, and the enormous forest.
After lunch, you’ll enjoy even more delicacies! You’ll have a private chocolate tasting in which you’ll learn about the history of cacao and its importance in Colombia while you taste some of the best artisanal chocolate in the country. You’ll then have a little time to digest and rest before your next activity.
In the late afternoon, you’ll take a guided hike up Cannúa’s pre-Hispanic, indigenous trail. On the way, you’ll learn about this historic property, the indigenous and colonial importance of the region, and the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit Cannúa. The hotel has over 90 bird species that live there! On the way down, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable sunset as you reach for a glass of wine and rest before dinner.
Cannúa’s executive chef is one of the most accomplished chefs in Colombia, and he has designed Cannúa’s menu to function with the same philosophy of the hotel. It’s one of the most lauded restaurants in Antioquia, and you’ll be delighted by new flavors and modern dishes created from indigenous ingredients and distinctly Colombian bases. You’ll definitely want some dinner before your final activity of the evening!
Did you know that Colombia produces some of the finest ranked rums in the world? You’ll have a private rum tasting in which you’ll learn how rum was first created and its importance in Caribbean countries. You’ll also taste 5 extraordinary rums!
You’ll head to bed relaxed, inspired, and rejuvenated from this incredible day in the Andes.
Dinner Recommendation: Cannúa
Cannúas executive chef has investigated generations of antique Colombian flavors to create a modern menu that celebrates the diversity of Colombia’s food in a sustainable, creative, and delicious variety of plates.
Day 3: True Oriente - One Day In Guatape Like No One Else Does It
A popular weekend destination for Colombians, Guatape is a quaint town full of vibrant colors and crafts. Explore the history of eastern valley from the indigenous to the present, from art to electricity.
In the morning we’ll pick you up to head out toward Guatape. We’ll stop for a quick refreshment at an old replica of El Peñol, a town submerged to create the giant lake system that now helps generate 35% of the country’s electricity. While not stopping for long, you’ll gain an initial perspective of the immense lake system. Here we will give you an explanation of what the lake system is and why it exists before moving on to the main events.
As we arrive you’ll take a motor boat for an hour around the water to see the islands and the impressive country homes that line them.
After we return, we’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant that serves the area’s specialty: grilled trout cooked in garlic sauce, or you can try one of the other traditional dishes from the area. Once you’re finished, head out to explore the beautiful small town of Guatape. Explore the pueblo’s beautiful streets and alleys, learn about the re-construction of the pueblo and the stories of its “zocalo” friezes and about the importance of the nearby hydro-electric damn system. We’ll explain some quirks about the town, a bit about its history, and some fun shops and alleyways that lie among the cobblestone streets. Once you’ve enjoyed Guatape, it’s various shops, and its beautiful paths, arrive at “La Piedra,” a 70 million-year- old 200-meter rock with two-thirds of its height planted underground. Climb the 649 steps to the top and enjoy a refreshment while looking over the entire surrounding lake system. Afterwards we’ll head back to Cannúa for the evening.
Dinner Recommendation: Con Tradicion
Gourmet Colombian food from an internationally traveled chef, right in Marinilla
Day 4: True Bloom - The Colors And Tradition Of Antioquia
Have a fresh, delicious breakfast before heading to the eastern mountains of Medellín for a beautiful, colorful, and joy filled day. You’ll get a new glimpse into the incredible views, culture, and soil that makes the Andes of Antioquia one of the most famous regions of Colombia. It will be a day full of economy and culture!
Just outside Medellín in the peaceful town of Santa Elena you’ll encounter a treasure of a different kind: fields of flowers! The vast majority of flowers that are purchased the United States for Valentine’s Day are grown right here in this region and you’ll visit an enormous flower farm to learn about flower production and the cultivation process of export-quality flowers. Look for birds of paradise, hortensias, heliconias, orchids and various endemic trees. Also keep a look out for exotic birds like toucans and the beautiful split-tailed barrenquerro.
You’ll meet the workers of the farm and learn about their lives before dining on a local and typical lunch from the region. As you wander the streets of Santa Elena you’ll see people who are responsible for the production of the key ingredient in “la Feria de las Flores,” Medellin’s famed flower festival.
At the farm you’ll taste a bevy of local and traditional foods like sancocho, tamales, champú, and exotic juices. Afterwards, we’ll move over to a truly special and rare treat: the house of a family that has been participating for 44 years in Medellín’s world famous Flower Festival as “sillateros.” Sillateros carry enormous flower displays for nearly 4 kilometers on their backs in remembrance of the times of colonial slavery.
At the house you’ll see how the family cultivates various flowers in their home and how they create ornate and beautiful displays for the yearly festival. The family has won various awards and shown their displays across the country.
As the sun begins to set stop to sip on a delicious and sweet aguapanela – a drink made from sugar cane pulp and often accompanied with cheese and a sweet corn cake called an arepa de chocolo.
We’ll then head back to Cannúa to settle in for the night.
Dinner Recommendation: Con Tradicion
Gourmet Colombian food from an internationally traveled chef, right in Marinilla
Day 5: Hacienda Bambusa - The Magic And Tradition Of Cacao
Welcome to Hacienda Bambusa, a beautiful bamboo house located in the middle of plantain and cocoa plantations, where you can enjoy the charms of nature and take a resting break in the Colombian Coffee Region.
After a short flight from Medellín to Armenia, you’ll head to the Hacienda in time to explore the extensive cocoa plantation and visit the nursery where the yellow, orange and red tones of the cocoa trees come to life. Learn about the fermentation and drying process, by which the cocoa beans turn out ready for export and start the journey to transform into chocolate. Around Hacienda Bambusa, you will also find banana plantations and an amazing bamboo forest, that will invite you to get lost under its shade and relax for a while.
Of all the beverages we love in Colombia, surely few are as special as a delicious cup of hot chocolate. As you’ll learn, it forms a deep part of Colombian history, and is normal to drink in the mornings at breakfast or in the afternoon as a snack. At Bambusa, you will learn how to make a cup of hot chocolate just like Colombian grandmothers traditionally do at home. You will be able to see how the cocoa beans collected at the hacienda are mixed with aromatic ingredients and sugar as the Hacienda’s chef will accompany you during this process and teach you how to prepare surprising drinks using of other parts of the cocoa plant. This experience will take you through the flavors of Colombia, which fill the souls of those who let themselves be enchanted by this ancient beverage happiness.
Once you are done, you’ll head in to have a massage, the perfect way to start off an afternoon of relaxation after a day of Colombian tradition.
Dinner Recommendation: Bambusa
The Chef’s team aims to rescue the cultural identity of each Colombian region. Using contemporary techniques, each of the moments served in the evening menu mixes a variety of aromas and flavors from throughout our country. Every night at Bambusa is special and different. Dinners are carefully planned and set up in an original way every night
Day 6: Salento/Fredonia - Village Charm And Giant Wax Palms
After breakfast, take a short drive toward the charming village of Salento, a traditional and quaint village in the department of Quindio with artisanal shops, and plenty of views. This small colonial pueblo has remained relatively untouched by development and retains its traditional architecture and culture. Years ago, threatened by expansions of nearby mines, the people of the village decided to focus on tourism.
While the pueblo is beautiful, the biggest attraction lies in the nearby and stunning Cocora Valley, where towering peaks of the Andes are lined by 100-foot-tall wax palms (the national tree of Colombia). Hike or horseback ride through the valley as you weave through prairies, jungle, rivers and cliffs. You’ll have a few hours to spend in the valley hiking, walking, taking photos or relaxing with the views. Rest for a short time and take in a warm cup of aguapanela, hot chocolate, or chicha (a local drink made from fermented corn).
After the hike enjoy a traditional meal of trout grilled in garlic sauce and accompanied by a giant flattened plantain known as a patacón. The afternoon ends in Finlandia, another village full of balconies and a much quieter and cooler place. Here you can learn how the baskets with which the coffee is collected are made. Then, the unmissable viewpoint, a 27 meter (88 foot) tall structure that offers a panoramic view of the entire coffee region. On a clear day you can also see the “Nevado del Tolima” volcano, beautifully covered in snow in the distance.
You’ll then head back to Bambusa for another relaxing evening.
Day 7: Nevado Del Ruiz - Journey To A Planet Above The Clouds
In the morning wake up very early and put on your coat as you prepare to ascend up (in car) to nearly 14,000 feet in your climb toward El Nevado del Ruiz, an active volcano, home to an incredible array of animals, and one of the most important eco-systems in the world. This volcano is the source of the thermal waters that will fill the pools in your hotel.
Along the way we’ll stop to have breakfast, coffee, and some fresh made and piping hot chocolate (trust us, you’ll want it!). As you climb in altitude, you’ll begin to notice a change in temperature as we arrive to an ecosystem known as a ‘paramo.’ Los Paramos are responsible for an extraordinary portion of planet earth’s water conservation and oxygen production. Marked by bizarre plants called frailejones, which have an incredible ability to sip moisture from the air, you’ll feel as if you’ve gone to another planet – one inhabited by a striking variety of birds and the famed Andes bear.
As we climb higher, we’ll have to keep the windows down in the car as oxygen becomes more difficult to take in. You’ll also start craving some of the chocolate we have in the car, a wonderful and natural salvo for the lack of heat, and a perfect product to promote circulation and oxygen flow in your body.
Stopping at different points and old lodges, you’ll see where the mountain used to be covered completely by snow and glaciers (and were used to host the South American skiing championships in the 50s) but that now lie bare, gravely stricken by climate change.
As we climb, you’ll see incredible changes in the soil and the mountain as you feel like you are moving toward a new planet. At each stop you’ll learn about the science and history of where you are and have the chance to take photos of a place completely different than anywhere else in Colombia, and from most of the planet.
As we finally head down the mountain, we’ll stop at the Termales del Ruiz, a small hotel with a large thermal hot spring pool that was recently renovated and re-opened. Here you can wander their unique paramo-garden full of succulents, highland plants, and literally hundreds of exotic and multi-colored hummingbirds. Place a small container of sugar water on your hand and watch as the birds land on you and tranquilly drink. Afterwards, take a long dip in the pool before the drive back to Manizales.
Lunch and Dinner Recommendations: The restaurant at the hotel Termales el Otoño
Day 8: Cartagena - A Walk Through 500 Years Of History
As the sun rises on the beautiful and staggering Andes mountains, you’ll have a lovely breakfast before heading back toward the international airport for a short flight to the Caribbean coast and your final destination, Cartagena.
Once you arrive you’ll take a short 45-minute ride out to the region of Barú to stay at one of the highest-rated hotels in South America, Las Islas.
Reconnect and refresh your spirit amidst the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of Colombia’s Isla Barú. Hotel Las Islas is a sophisticated, environmentally conscious retreat, with luxurious accommodations and exceptional amenities. Settle into your immaculately appointed bungalow, with its views of the sea or of the neighboring Parque Nacional Natural Corales del Rosario y de San Bernardo. Visit one of the hotel’s restaurants and bars for locally sourced, expertly prepared cuisine. Relax by the freshwater pool, take in the views from the solarium or explore one of the many activities available at the hotel. Throughout your visit, you’ll enjoy the personalized attention of the hotel’s staff members, all of whom are committed to making your stay truly extraordinary.
Located both at sea level and within the trees, Las Isla’s exclusive bungalows include a furnished deck, air conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. The bathroom is stocked with premium Hermes products and a robe and slippers.
You’ll have the rest of the afternoon to relax and enjoy the ocean views on your second to last day in Colombia.
Day 9: Cartagena - A Walk Through 500 Years Of History
After your morning fresh tropical fruit juice head in to explore the famous walled city of majestic Cartagena.
You’ll be drive right in to the heart of the “ciudad amurallada,” the old walled city of Cartagena. Here you’ll encounter enchanting streets and plazas lined with gorgeous bright yellow and blue walls of buildings that define the colonial architecture of this 500-year-old city.
After getting settled, walk off the sleep as you discover the history of Cartagena. Start at the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, one of the largest Spanish colonial fortresses ever built. As you walk the walls and tunnel systems of the fort you’ll gain an understanding of why, despite several attempts by outside forces, the Castillo de San Felipe was never taken and always successfully defended. You’ll see ingeniously designed pathways, acoustic passages, and even false plazas created to confuse the enemy.
After lunch, you’ll head out on foot to explore Getsemaní, one of Cartagena’s most exciting and changing neighborhoods. You’ll learn a bit about the life of the people in this area and the relationship they have had with the main walled city. You’ll walk alleyways and see some of the famous street art in this bohemian neighborhood, before heading to the historic neighborhood of Manga, where you’ll see some of the most important colonial homes on the coast.
Finally, tour of some of the key landmarks in this city that was a key hub in Spain’s inter-continental empire and later instrumental to Colombian independence. You’ll walk through neighborhoods like the one Gabriel Garcia Marquez lived in and feel the atmosphere that helped inspire his magical realism. Stop by and check out the famous bóvedas, once a prison but now a collection of small artisanal and souvenir shops. Feel free to browse at your pace and head back through the streets to go shopping for emeralds, gold, jewelry, and high-end clothing.
After the sun goes down you can wander the beautiful lit streets of the walled city and experience one of the excellent restaurants that the city features.
Dinner Recommendation: Candé
The perfect complement for a day exploring the history of Cartagena is a night exploring the gastronomy of Cartagena. Candé serves exceptional, gourmet-quality coastal food giving you the best highlights of traditional flavors and dishes in Cartagena.
Day 9: Departure
On your final day, wake up early to enjoy your last morning in Colombia. Walk around the neighborhood, explore the old city walls, and enjoy some final bites of local cuisine. Explore Cartagena’s artisanal shops as we explain some of the traditional Colombian goods such as the “mochila” bags, a product hand-stitched by the indigenous peoples of the coast. Grab any last souvenirs or goods before we head to the airport and back home.
|Tour price per person||$4,950|