DAY 1 | Bogotá
Arrival to El Dorado airport in Bogotá on an intercontinental flight. Reception and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay.
DAY 2 | Bogotá
Half Day visit to local markets and cooking lesson and half day City Tour. Leave in the morning in the company of guide who is an enthusiast for local markets and Colombian cooking traditions. Head to La Plaza de Mercado Paloquemao, one of the biggest and most recognized local markets in Bogotá, where all traditional produce and ingredients of Colombian cuisine can be found. Try some of the exotic fruits, local doughs, and Colombian cheese. Known to the vendors and the local cooking techniques; visit the flower market and the popular food stalls to feel a true local experience. At the end, buy the ingredients to cook a traditional dish. Head to La Candelaria for a cookery class and lunch.
In the afternoon, enjoy a half day visit to the historic centre of Bogotá known as La Candelaria. This archaic suburb has great significance in the country´s history due to its cultural heritage and is also a great example of Spanish colonial time architecture. Visit the main square Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great emancipator Simon Bolivar is located. The plaza, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes such as a marketplace, a bullring and it was also the place where many executions were held. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, is constructed on the same spot where the first church was built in Bogotá in 1539 and houses an important collection of religious artifacts such as textiles and artworks, collection that has been built over four centuries. The Capilla del Sagrario is located just beside the Cathedral and is a gem of religious architecture, it houses valuable pieces of colonial religious art by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos. The Capitol, built between 1847 and 1926, shows its renaissance and neoclassical influences with its carved stonework and tall columns and, it was the first example of republican civil architecture. The central area of the Capitol, known as the Elliptic Hall, is where congress meets and is the actual chamber for politicians and the Senate. In the internal squares are busts of former presidents such as General Tomás Cipriano Mosquera, president over four terms, and Rafael Núñez, the composer of the Colombian National Anthem. Around the Plaza de Bolivar are buildings such as the Palacio de Justicia, the Mayor of Bogotá’s offices called the Edificio Liévano, the oldest school in the county called San Bartolome and the Casa de los Comuneros, named after the leaders that participated towards the end of the XVII Century in some of the first movements towards independence from Spain and the formation of the Republic.
The visit continues with the Botero Museum, a colonial house exhibiting some of Fernando Botero´s works of art and in addition pieces from his own personal collection that includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí Matisse, Monet and Giacometti. Next is the Gold Museum which has a permanent exhibition of some 32,000 pieces of gold, 20,000 stones, ceramics and textiles all precious to the Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures. The Gold Museum is considered one of the most important museums of its type internationally and it has been operating since 1939. In 2007 it underwent a complete renovation making it possible for visitors to enjoy an interactive experience. The Museum belongs to the International Network of Museums (ICOM). Overnight stay.
DAY 3 | Bogotá – Half Day art tour – Pereira
After breakfast, enjoy a half day art tour with Federico Ruiz, an Art Dealer and specialist with a 12 year experience in Colombian modern and contemporary art market. He represents a portfolio of 12 artists and is well established as one of the most solid and respected actors of the field. He has clients and collectors in New York, Tokyo, Brazzaville, Miami, Caracas, Buenos Aires and Bogota.
The tour includes the visit to 3 galleries (modern and/or contemporary art).
The day starts by visiting downtown galleries where you can find places like NC-art, Alonso Garcés Gallery, Valenzuela Klener Gallery, Odeon Space. In Barrio San Felipe are 12.00 and Flora and at the northern side are located: La Cometa Gallery, El Museo, LGM arte, La Galería, Galería Zero, Casas Riegner Gallery, Nueveochenta. Federico chooses the galleries which in his opinion present the most interesting art works at the time of the tour. We will do our best to assure that the artist is present for a guided tour and talk about his work. (This service may not always be available since it depends on the artist’s availability).
Then, departure to El Dorado airport to take a flight to Pereira. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and check in. Overnight stay.
DAY 4 | Pereira – Hot air balloning – Full day Valle del Cocora – Pereira
This is the ultimate experience in the coffee region, overflying it on a Hot Air Balloon.
Start your tour early in the morning, (at approx. 5:30 am) as it is during this time of the day that offers the most appropriate weather conditions for the flight. Participate in the process of inflating the balloon which takes around 30min to complete and at the same time taste a hot cup coffee with typical pastries from the region. Then, start your journey giving you an opportunity to appreciate from above the beautiful landscape of the Colombia Coffee Region. The flight takes approximately 45 min.
The balloon can be controlled in the process of ascending and descending, however since the balloon does not have a steering wheel it is the wind that dictates the direction of the flight, hence no flight and landing spot are the same making the flight even more fascinating.
The balloon driver is in constant communication with the land support team that is following closely by and that will pick up the passengers once the balloon has landed. Passengers will receive a flight certificate of the experience and the tour will finish at approximately 11am.
Then, leave for the Valle de Cocora which is located in the central mountains of the department of Quindio. This makes up part of the Parque Nacional de los Nevados and is the ideal place to marvel at the “Quindian wax palm” (Ceroxylon quincense), the national tree of Colombia. This tree can reach a staggering height of 60m. Around here a great number of species of birds live, in particular some types of hummingbird and the orejíamarillo or the palm parrot (Ognorhynchus icteroti) which is endangered.
Upon arrival in the valley, either hiking or on horseback (not included), head into the cloud forest to enjoy the biodiversity of flora and fauna. On the return journey, cross the River Quindio while walking along an ecological pathway which takes one past the tallest wax palms in the world. Learn why the indigenous people here worshipped this tree. Stop at a trout farm and then enjoy a traditional meal of smoked trout.
Enjoy some free time here.
In the afternoon, continue 10km towards the traditional town of Salento to enjoy a city tour that visits the Plaza de Bolívar with its colorful balconies, the calle real, the handicrafts shops and the Cocora viewpoint.
Return hotel and overnight stay.
DAY 5 | Pereira – Half day Coffee process – Cartagena
Half day visiting the coffee plantations along the steep hills typical of this area. On a secondary pathway view the green carpet of coffee plants that spread out as far as the horizon interrupted only by fincas and heliconia flowers.
Visit to Hacienda San Alberto one of the coffee estates typical of the region and located near the town of Buenavista Quindío. The tour begins with a visit to the main house where you will be able to appreciate local typical architecture and history while at the same time enjoying an introductory chat about coffee, its preparation, toasting, the characteristics of quality and the properties that allows for such a variety of coffees in the world. The route continues through the plantations, appreciating the work of the coffee pickers as well as understanding the famous humid coffee that is characteristic of Colombian coffee. Walk through the coffee plantations and learn about the production system in minute detail, including the harvest, the drying to the sun and treatment in this land of volcanic terrain along the Central Andes Mountain Range which has been declared a world Heritage site by UNESCO and that offers the perfect climatic conditions for coffee growing. At the end enjoy a coffee tasting session.
In the afternoon, transfer to the airport to take a flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival, check in and overnight stay.
DAY 6 | Cartagena – Panoramic City Tour & Half day
Gabriel Garcia Marquez literary menu
Start with a panoramic view of the city from the Monasterio and Iglesia de La Popa. Formerly known as the “Popa del Galeon” and famous for resembling the stern of a galleon. Constructed in 1606 this church and monastery are located at a height of 140masl from where one can enjoy 360º views of the city and the sea as well as the port zone, one of the most important in the Caribbean. Continuing to the San Felipe fortress, erected in honor of the poet from Cartagena, Don Luis Carlos López, made famous for his sonnet “A mi ciudad nativa”. It was built on the San Lázaro hill to defend the city from pirate attacks. Walk around the fortress and learn how the castle was constructed, the engineering feats, the tunnels, underground galleries and passageways. Then, go on to the Ciudad Vieja (old city) to visit the Convert and Church of the San Pedro Claver compound which was built in the middle of the XVII century and owes its name to the “apóstol de los esclavos”. Lastly, follow to the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas, a collection of archways built into the city wall of Cartagena and that were used until the end of the 1700s to house armaments and then later as a prison in the XIX century. Nowadays it’s an artisan center where you can appreciate local handcraft.
Behind the walls of Cartagena, discover centuries of history, culture and flavors stirred by the fusion of Spanish, African slaves and migrants of 19th century. Typical food inspired one of the most important writers in Colombia and literature Nobel winner prize, Gabriel García Márquez mostly known for his book One Hundred Years of Solitude.
During this 4 hours walking tour visit 13 favorite places of this beloved writer. In 9 different stops, taste traditional Caribbean food referenced in literary works by “Gabo”. Listen to the stories of the people who knew him and his work, while you taste a variety traditional cuisine. End your culinary adventure in the 17th century building that was the setting for the story of impossible love of Mary Servant of All Angels and Father Cayetano Delaura. Overnight stay.
DAY 7 | Cartagena
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to take the departure flight.