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The combination of excellent hotels with a small group is the way I like to travel. I would highly recommend Odysseys to everyone I know.

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Peoria, AZ
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Bogota sightseeing, including Gold Museum and Paloquemao market
  • Visit to Salt Cathedral, Zipaquira
  • Armenia and the Coffee Triangle
  • Breathtaking Cocora Valley scenery and cloud forest walk
  • Coffee plantation tour and tasting
  • Medellin touring
  • Flower-growing town of Santa Elena
  • Lunch with a local family
  • Cartagena’s Spanish Colonial architecture and atmosphere
  • Walking tour through Cartagena’s old city
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Bogota, Colombia We arrive today in the Colombian capital and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities or meals planned; on our own we can explore the area surrounding our hotel or simply relax. Dinner tonight is on our own.

Day 2: Bogota After a briefing this morning on the journey ahead, we set out to discover Bogota, one of the largest cities in Latin America. Our first stop is colorful Paloquemao, Bogota’s major market visited by restaurant chefs as well as locals shopping for meat, fish, and exotic produce from around the world. Then we continue on a walking tour through the nearby colonial district of La Candelaria. Founded in 1538, La Candelaria became the core of Bogota as the city grew up around it. Our tour includes the Gold Museum, featuring the world’s largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold work; and the Botero Museum, housing paintings and sculpture by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s foremost living artist, along with his collection of mid-19th-century works by such artists as Corot, Renoir, and Monet. Tonight we gather for a welcome dinner. B,L,D

Day 3: Bogota/Zipaquira We begin this morning in the Usaquén neighborhood, whose colonial buildings, trendy restaurants, and flea market draw Sunday morning visitors. Then we travel north through the center of Colombia’s flower-growing industry to the town of Zipaquira, where we tour the “Salt Cathedral” – an underground church built inside a salt deposit. A functioning Roman Catholic church (not an actual cathedral), the Salt Cathedral is considered an architectural and engineering marvel, having been carved from the halite rock of subterranean tunnels. Then we stop for lunch at a local restaurant and have time to admire the historic city center. We return to Bogota mid-afternoon, with the remainder of the day at leisure. B,L

Day 4: Bogota/Armenia (Coffee Triangle) Early today we fly to Colombia’s heartland: Armenia and the Coffee Triangle, where some of the world’s best coffee grows in the fertile valleys surrounded by snow-topped mountains. Upon arrival we visit a coffee plantation for a tour and to learn about Colombia’s role as a top producer of some of the finest java on Earth. We savor a coffee tasting, learning first-hand how to analyze the aroma, flavor, and body of good coffee. Then we continue on to our intimate hacienda, where we dine tonight. B,L,D

Day 5: Armenia/Cocora Valley Today we embark on a full-day tour of this pastoral region, beginning in Cocora Valley, in the Central Cordillera of the Colombian Andes. One of the last remaining homes of the giant Quindio wax palm tree, Colombia’s national tree, Cocora Valley is part of the larger Los Nevados National Natural Park. We reach a cloud forest, where we set out on an easy hike for outstanding views and to get up close to the diverse biome here at an altitude of about 6,000 to 8,000 feet. We may see the Andean condor and several species of hummingbird that live here. Then we continue on to Salento, a tranquil and picturesque town with much of its traditional architecture intact and where we enjoy a tour through Bolivar Square with its colorful balconies and handcraft shops. Late this afternoon we return to our lodge, where we dine tonight. B,L,D

Day 6: Armenia/Medellin We fly this morning to Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city known for its social and political advances. Upon arrival we head downtown for lunch before embarking on a panoramic tour of the “City of Eternal Spring,” so named for its temperate climate. Then we visit the Museo de Antioquia, Colombia’s second oldest museum with a noted collection of pre-Columbian, colonial, and modern art, as well as paintings and sculpture by native son Fernando Botero. Late this afternoon we reach our hotel; dinner is at a local restaurant. B,L,D

Day 7: Medellin We get to know Medellin in more detail today – and learn why in 2012 it was named one of the 200 most innovative cities around the world. This morning’s city tour features a walk around Botero Square, the inviting sculpture plaza melding art, nature, and culture, with 23 outdoor works by Fernando Botero. We also visit Cerro Nutibara for lovely panoramic views; and get a close-up look at some of Medellin’s vibrant neighborhoods. Our tour ends in time for lunch on our own and an afternoon at leisure to explore this lively city as we wish. Tonight we dine together at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 8: Medellin/Santa Elena Today we visit nearby Santa Elena, a typical – and beautiful – colonial town where traditions related to Colombia’s flower-growing prowess live on. After touring here, we enjoy lunch with a local family. Next we board the Medellin Metrocable, the city’s iconic gondola that traverses a 1.2-mile route to the Santa Domingo barrio to Biblioteca España, Medellin’s treasured ultra-modern library complex. Then we descend by Metrocable to the city center. We return to our hotel late afternoon; dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 9: Medellin/Cartagena We fly this morning to Cartagena, where upon arrival we set out on a city tour. An important center of political and economic activity during the Spanish Colonial era, Cartagena today remains a center of economic activity for the Caribbean, as well as a major city and beach resort. Tour highlights include 16th-century San Felipe Fort, strategically located atop San Lazaro hill to defend against attacks by land or sea; and Las Bovedas, archways – formerly dungeons – built into the city walls that now house artisan shops and boutiques. Dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 10: Cartagena Today we explore Cartagena’s emotional heart: the walled colonial city (Ciudad Amurallada), a UNESCO World Heritage site that has remained vital – and alluring – for almost 500 years. Our morning walking tour takes in the 12-foot-high city walls, winding cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings bedecked with flowers, and intimate plazas. Then the remainder of the day is at leisure for independent exploration. Lunch today is on our own in this vibrant seaside city; tonight we take a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride to our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 11: Depart for U.S. We transfer this morning to the Cartagena airport for our flight to the U.S., where we connect with our return flights home. B

Please note: The high altitudes of Bogota (8,700 feet) and the Coffee Triangle (7,900 feet) could pose problems for travelers with certain health conditions. Please consult your physician if you have concerns.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 10 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and unrated hotels
  • 23 meals: 10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2018/2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

2019Mar 222018Oct 19
Dec 7
2019Feb 152019Jan 11
Miami$3,198$3,298 $3,498 $3,598
Atlanta, Dallas,
Houston, New York,
Orlando, Tampa
$3,498$3,598 $3,798 $3,898
Baltimore, Boston,
Charlotte, Chicago,
Cincinnati, Cleve,
Denver, Detroit,
Los Angeles, Minn,
Phil, Wash, DC
$3,598$3,698$3,898 $3,998
Phoenix, Port (OR),
San Francisco, Seattle
$3,698$3,798 $3,998 $4,098

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $203, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $995. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days before departure. All 2018/2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

A visa is not required for this tour.

Accommodations
    NH Andino Royal, Bogota / Days 1-3 / Superior First Class

    The NH Andino Royal is centrally located in Bogota’s Zona Rosa entertainment district, in close proximity to the many restaurants and boutiques in the Zona T pedestrian zone. The 70-room hotel’s amenities include a restaurant and bar, fitness center, sauna, massage room, terrace, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry service. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Casa San Carlos Lodge, Pereira / Days 4-5 / Not rated

    The distinctive Casa San Carlos Lodge is built primarily of locally sourced materials, including the hardy bamboo columns that comprise the lodge’s exterior.  With views across the property’s grounds and the rolling landscape, the lodge fits seamlessly into its natural environment, and offers a restaurant focusing on homegrown ingredients, poolside bar, outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, wraparound porch with ample seating areas, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each of the 22 guest rooms reflects the lodge’s natural setting with carved wooden accents and local artwork, and features private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    NH Medellín Royal, Medellin / Days 6-8 / Superior First Class

    The NH Medellin Royal enjoys a prime location in El Poblado, one of Medellin’s most upscale neighborhoods, close to shopping and dining. Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, outdoor terrace pool, fitness center, Jacuzzi, spa, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry and dry cleaning services. The 125 contemporary air-conditioned guest rooms feature private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Tcherassi Hotel and Spa, Medellin / Days 9-10 / Deluxe

    Set in a refurbished colonial building and sitting within the old city walls, the Tcherassi Hotel + Spa was conceived by experienced architects Alvaro Barrera and Richard Mishaan, who was named by Architectural Digest as one of the top 100 world designers.  Elegant in design, the hotel also offers guests modern amenities including two restaurants, a bar and lounge, cafe, boutique, spa, pool, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry and dry-cleaning services.  Each of the 42 air-conditioned guest rooms has a private bath with hair dryer, minibar, coffee maker, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Cartagena – On Your Own

2 days/2 nights for $395 total price
Single Supplement: $355


Discover more of this alluring Caribbean city at your own pace.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • 2 nights’ accommodations at Tcherassi Hotel + Spa (Deluxe)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information..

Extension not available on Oct 19 departure.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Juan David Camacho

“Juan David was the best!! His knowledge and humor and love of his country were exceptional.”
Alix Johnson & Tom Parton
Whittier, NC

Alejandra Hernandez Ortiz

“Alejandra was The Best! She was courteous, good natured, and took very good care of all of us on the trip. She was always accessible.”
Emelie Pico de Philippi
Guaynabo, PR

Leon Pardo

“Our tour guide, Leon Pardo, was excellent. He was very professional, kind, understanding, and articulate.”
Hazle Robinson
Terre Haute, IN

Diego Parra

Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director

John Murcia Parra

“An outstanding guide and individual! Cannot rave enough about his attentiveness, professionalism, and care.”
Joanne & Howie Adams
Tucson, AZ

Karen Zuniga

“Karen was fun loving, joyful, and knowledgeable. She was a delight to have as our tour director.”
Judith Zucker
Plantation, FL

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edith Grossman (Translator)
Love in the Time of Cholera
A glorious tale of great love consummated after fifty years, nine months and four days, memorably set in a dusty 19th-century town on the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

Kate Cathey
Culture Smart! Colombia
A concise and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

Andrew Dier
Moon Colombia
A practical guide in the Moon series, packed not only with travel necessities (hotels, restaurants, sights), but also with a good overview of history and destinations throughout Colombia.

National Geographic Society
Colombia Adventure Map
A colorful travel map at a scale of 1:1,525,000.

Rachael Moloney
Wallpaper City Guide Bogota
A stylish, thin (it fits in your back pocket) city guide compiled by the design magazine Wallpaper’s local reporters. Well-organized, with chapter tabs, many photographs and of-the-moment recommendations.

David Bushnell
The Making of Modern Colombia, A Nation in Spite of Itself
A leading historian of the region, Bushnell traces the political history of Colombia from before the arrival of the Spaniards through independence and reform in the 19th century, then through to the 1980s in this thoroughly enjoyable, incisive portrait of a nation.

Elisabetta Illy, Santo Versace (Foreword)
Aroma of the World: A Journey into the Mysteries and Delights of Coffee
A beautiful book for the coffee lover, this heavily illustrated compendium is equal parts history and travel journal, detailing the passage of the coffee bean from origination to current status as an icon of modern living.

Matthew Restall
Latin America in Colonial Times
This scholarly primer considers the history of the continent from the arrival of the first Conquistadors in the 16th century to the dying embers of empire 300 years later, giving equal weight to the histories of the colonial rulers, the African slaves brought over to work in the New World and the indigenous groups whose lives and lands were forever changed by conquest.

Robert Harvey
Liberators, Latin America’s Struggle for Independence 1810-1830
Focused on the heroism and derring-do of seven legendary men, Harvey tells the story of Simon Bolivar, General Jose de San Martin and other greats in the fight for independence.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
News of a Kidnapping
In 1990, fearing extradition to the United States, Pablo Escobar – head of the Medellin drug cartel – kidnapped ten notable Colombians to use as bargaining chips. With the eye of a poet, Garcia Marquez describes the survivors’ perilous ordeal, depicting the keening ache of Colombia after nearly forty years of turmoil.

Jason Wilson
The Andes
Starting out in Cuzco, heart of the Inca Empire, Wilson spreads north and south along the Andes, including excerpts from South American literary giants, travelers and his own impressions.

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Matthew Restall
The Conquistadors, A Very Short Introduction
This provocative book by two leading historians explores who the conquistadors were and what made their adventures possible.

Silvana Paternostro
My Colombian War, A Journey Through the Country I Left Behind
Following a privileged childhood in the coastal city of Barranquilla, Paternostro saw Colombia erupt into a horrifying civil war. Now an acclaimed journalist living in New York, she travels back to her homeland to interview family members, military leaders, and others in this gripping travelogue.

Marie Arana
Bolivar, American Liberator
In her accessible biography of the “George Washington of Latin America,” Marie Arana follows the remarkable leader through his struggles in six Latin American countries.

Hector Abad
Oblivion, A Memoir
Written by his son, this searing memoir celebrates the life of a Colombian doctor who fought against oppression and inequality and who was murdered by paramilitaries in 1987.

Michael Jacobs
The Robber of Memories, A River Journey Through Colombia
Inspired by a chance encounter with Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Cartagena, the adventurous Michael Jabobs travels to Baranquilla to journey 1,000 miles across western Colombia on the great Magdalena, the “river of our lives.” He captures the conflicts, troubled past and spirit of isolated communities along the way.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edith Grossman (Translator)
Living to Tell the Tale
Garcia’s celebrated memoir, as captivating, warm and spirited as any of his fictional tales, covering his youth in Aracataca, memorably recast as fictional Macondo on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The breathtaking, life-altering, much-celebrated tale of life and love is on most everyone’s list of the greatest books of all time, ours included. Its setting and themes are universal.

Juan Gabriel Vasquez
The Secret History of Costaguana
Set in early 20th century Colombia, this thoroughly postmodern novel revolves around the fictional Colombian exile Jose Altamirano and his connection to Joseph Conrad and his novel Nostromo, inspired by the history and people of Colombia.

J.C. Kricher, Mark Plotkin (Introduction)
A Neotropical Companion
From plants and animals to birds and bugs, it’s all here in this wonderfully written overview of the ecology, habitats, plants and animals of Central and South America.

Adrian Forsyth, Ken Miyata
Tropical Nature
Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.

Martin D. la Pena, Maurice Rumboll
Birds of Southern South America & Antarctica
With color plates, range maps and brief descriptions, this is a compact regional guide.

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