Days
14
Price from
FR2,175CHF

Discover a country in bloom on this special flower-filled journey through enigmatic Colombia

Like a green shoot emerging from the earth, Colombia has put its past as a no-go zone of Pablo Escobar and cartels behind it to blossom into one of South America’s most exciting up and coming destinations. Join Peregrine for a special trip that shows off the verdant side of this beautiful country, spending extended time in Medellin during its famed flower festival. Begin by discovering the colonial heart of Bogota, then travel into the heart of coffee country and Salento, before spending time on a coffee plantation in the lush Cocora Valley. Once notorious for a reputation built on the coca plant, Colombia has longer had renown as an exporter of live flowers. You will travel to Medellin, a centre of the trade, and see a flower festival held since 1957 – the Feria de Las Flores – and witness the spectacular parade of silleteros. Finish with the chance to embrace the Caribbean coast from the beautiful walled old town of Cartagena. This trip is the perfect chance to be a part of one of south America’s most unique and colourful festivals, as well as spend time with the locals that make Colombia one of the world's friendliest countries.


Start
Bogota, Colombia
Finish
Cartagena, Colombia
Country
Colombia
Style
Peregrine
Code
PSFM
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • In Medellin, witness the elaborate displays of the Feria de Las Flores, spend time with the local flower farmers, and experience the festive atmosphere of the ‘City of Eternal Spring’

  • Wander the historic heart of Bogota, Colombia’s cosmopolitan city filled with cafes, museums and old churches

  • Travel into the serene highlands of Colombia’s coffee country, discovering the secrets of the industry with a stay on a coffee estancia

  • From the World Heritage-listed Old Town to the maze of the colourful, chaotic Bazurto Market, discover how Cartagena is a place to feel as much as do

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Colombia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm, where you will meet your guide and fellow travel companions. Until that time you’re free to explore. Bogota rests among emerald, mist-shrouded mountains 2,640 metres above sea level and has over seven million inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities at altitude in the world. Perhaps get your first taste of the city with a meander through the colourful laneways of the city's historic heart, La Candelaria. A good way to get to know your new travel companions is by getting together for an optional dinner tonight.
Accommodation
  • Bogota Virry Park Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bogota - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Bogota - Graffiti tour - Free
  • Bogota - Bike tour - COP25000
  • Bogota - Montserrate cable car - COP17000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception.
Embark on a city tour of Bogota. This surprisingly cosmopolitan city has an abundance of cafes, museums and old churches, making it a delight to explore. Visit the Gold Museum and the Botero art museum. You will also have time to explore on your own – perhaps ride up the gondola on Cerro de Monserrate to see the 17th century church that looks out over the expansive metropolis below, or visit the Museo Nacional, a good option if you're interested in learning about life in Colombia before and after the Spanish conquest.
Accommodation
  • Bogota Virry Park Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bogota - City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will visit Paloquemao Market before taking a short flight west to Armenia – the gateway to Colombia’s coffee zone – and transfer to the beautiful village of Salento. Take the time to appreciate rural Colombia – stroll through the colourful streets, enjoy the breathtaking mountain views, and admire the colours of 'paisa' architecture at its best. Be sure to sample some of the local food, with trout the regional speciality. There are many different ways to prepare and enjoy it, but it is most commonly served in a rich garlic and cheese sauce.
Accommodation
  • El Mirador de Cocora Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bogota - Visit to Paloquemao Market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Begin the day by taking a jeep out to the magnificent Cocora Valley, where you’ll experience the magic of the giant wax palm (Colombia’s national tree). You will spend the morning walking among the region's incredible scenery and, if you're feeling active, there will be time to hike up to Acaime Reserve where colourful hummingbirds come to feed. The hike to Acaime (approximately 5 hours) is quite strenuous, with some steep and slippery sections, so you'll need good walking shoes, as well as plenty of water and snacks. If you'd rather be more relaxed, you can explore the valley as you please, then take a jeep back to town. In the afternoon, travel deep into Colombia’s remote and beautiful coffee region for a two-night stay in a traditional coffee estancia. Here you’ll have the unique opportunity to learn first hand about the world’s most popular bean.
Accommodation
  • Hacienda Venecia or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Thanks to its tropical altitude and fertile volcanic soil, Colombia is one of the world’s largest coffee producers. You will find out more about the bean on a guided tour of the coffee plantation and processing centre. Dig into the history of the plant, learning the inside story of the industry that's long buoyed the country's economy. See how the beans are grown and harvested, processed, dried, roasted and ground, and then enjoy sampling then for yourself. Try different types of coffee grains and get a lesson on preparing different types of coffees, finishing off with a freshly brewed cup. Afterwards, relax amid the estancia's beautiful surrounds of sloping green hills and valleys.
Accommodation
  • Hacienda Venecia or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Manizales - Coffee Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will transfer (approximately 6 hours) to Medellin. Having spent the 1980s and 90s with an international reputation as one of the world's most dangerous cities (thanks to Pablo Escobar's infamous drug cartel), Medellin has turned itself around to become one of the most exciting cities in South America. With some of the country's finest museums, parks and architecture (as well as a much safer and comfortable atmosphere) it's easy to see why its popularity is increasing. Look out for some Antioquian staples to try for dinner – mondongo, a tripe stew, or bandeja paisa, a plate full of beans, rice, chorizo and more.
Accommodation
  • Art hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll take an orientation walk of this beautiful “city of eternal spring” with your leader. Along the way you’ll see how social politics, buildings and constructions have transformed the city into a model metropolis, and learn a little more about the town's interesting recent history. You will also make a visit to the beautiful botanical garden (Jardin Botanico de Medellin), a 14-hectare green retreat in the city. You can join your leader in a walk around, or spend as much time here as you wish. The garden is home to a number of different habitats, birds, wandering iguanas, butterflies and fish, as well as a vast greenhouse filled with orchids. This evening perhaps stop by one of the city’s numerous energetic salsa bars, or follow the designer set to the chic nightlife of Parque de Lleras.
Accommodation
  • Art hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Medellin - Orientation walk
  • Medellin - Visit to Botanical Garden
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
While Medellin gained a notorious reputation built on the coca plant, for longer it’s actually had fame for other types of flora – specifically flowers. Colombia is the second largest exporter of live flowers in the world after Holland, and Medellin is a centre of the trade. Since 1957 the city has held a festival that celebrates this – the Feria de Las Flores. Since the end of the control of the cartels, the city has turned the festival into a major cultural event. There are numerous events on during the festival, including music, dancing, and fireworks, but the major drawcard is the parade of silleteros. This is where flower farmers and local people parade enormous flower arrangements on their backs through the streets. The silleteros are large wooden disks strapped to the back, once used to carry the sick from St Elena (a beautiful town just east of Medellin nestled up in the side of the mountains) down to Medellin, and also reportedly by slaves to carry the wealthy up to the mountains of Antioquia. They were then repurposed to carry flowers down to market and now used to feature elaborate floral displays for the parade. You’ll get an entrance ticket to the one of a kind 3-4 hour Desfile de Silleteros (flower parade) and witness the 500 or so silleteros carry their stunning displays.
Accommodation
  • Art hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Medellin - Entrance to the silletero parade
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will travel out to an area where the flowers are grown and meet some of the campesinos (‘peasant farmers’), who are the ones that create some of the flower displays. They are the embodiment of Antioquian culture and it’s considered a great honour to be a silletero, a tradition and livelihood passed down through the generations. You will visit a real flower farm, talk with the farmers, hear their stories, and understand the importance of the flowers and traditions. While you sample local snacks, you’ll see how these beautiful, and surprisingly heavy, displays are constructed, and no doubt wonder how they are carried the long distance of the parade route.
Accommodation
  • Art hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Elena - Flower farm visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a free day to enjoy some of the hundreds of cultural events and activities on offer around the festival. In recent years there have been nocturnal concerts in the cultural park, classic car and horse parades, dance performances, theatre, concerts by some of Colombia’s favourite artists, special markets and more. Your leader can help with organising tickets to any events that need booking. Outside of the festival you can visit the Museo de Antioquia to see some of Botero and Picasso’s famous works, stroll the verdant public parks, or visit the old steel mill that has been transformed into the beautiful Museo de Arte Moderno. Whatever you choose, be sure to soak up the unique festive atmosphere that envelops the city.
Accommodation
  • Art hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Medellin - Metrocable - COP1900
  • Pablo Escobar Tour - COP50000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy another day to take in the festivals events or choose to explore another side to the city with a Pablo Escobar focused tour. Take a tour around his old haunts and hear the story of Colombia's most infamous drug kingpin and the wealthiest criminal in history – at his cartel’s peak, Escobar was bringing in $240 million a week. The neighbourhood of Santo Domingo was once the land of Escobar, and you can now take a cable car ride up to the transformed neighbourhood, sailing up the mountain to see the new library park that dominates the hillside. You might also choose to travel outside of Medellin to explore the nearby charming old town of Santa Fe de Antioquia. This 16th-century township has maintained much of its colonial-era charm, its narrow streets and leafy central plazas providing plenty of places to relax away from the midday heat. The Bridge of the West, Metropolitan Cathedral and House of Two Palms are certain to impress, and the plaza is also home to a daily market where vendors sell various varieties of locally-grown Tamarind products.
Accommodation
  • Art hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will fly from Medellin to Cartagena (approximately 1 hour). Cartagena is one of South America's most historic cities. This town, founded in 1533 by Spaniard Don Pedro de Heredia, was a major centre of early Spanish settlement in the Americas. Its gold and silver exports made it a popular target for pirates, and its spectacular walled fort (now on UNESCO's World Heritage list) was built to protect both shipping and the slave trade. You’ll join your leader for a short orientation walk in the area surrounding your accommodation. Afterwards, perhaps take some time to explore the old city, walking along the fortified walls next to the Caribbean. Enter the centro historico (the inner walled town), which is filled with beautiful churches, monasteries, plazas and antique mansions. Cartagena also has famously late-night nightlife for those interested too.
Accommodation
  • Tres Banderas Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Cartagena - San Felipe de Barajas - COP20000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll take a walking tour of the old city and enjoy a visit to the bustling Bazurto Market. This is truly one of those markets that’s an assault on the senses, a colourful, chaotic maze where pelicans watch fishermen prepare their catch and the sound of machetes on coconuts competes with the rapid Spanish of the vendors. Cartagena is a place to experience as much as a place to do things, so take some time to simply soak up the ambiance of this unique city. Today there’ll also be the option to visit San Felipe de Barajas Fortress, the largest fortress built by the Spanish in their colonies. Beginning in the 16th century, convoys of ships loaded with expensive cargo sailed from Cartagena to Spain, making the area attractive to pirates – the fortress made the city undefeatable from both land and sea. The top of the fort offers panoramic views across the city. There’s also the chance to travel out of town to relax in the mud bath at Volcan de Lodo El Totumo – the caldera of this mini volcano has been turned into a unique place to bath in hot grey aluminium, calcium, and magnesium mineral mud. Perhaps gather together your fellow travellers for one final taste of Colombian cuisine tonight.
Accommodation
  • Tres Banderas Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bazurto Market Tour
Optional Activities
  • Cartagena - Day Trip to Playa Blanca - COP50000
  • Cartagena - Volcan de Lodo El Totumo - COP50000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This Colombian adventure comes to an end today after breakfast.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

13 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Plane, Willy Jeep

Accommodation

Coffee Estancia (2 nights), Hotel (11 nights)

Included Activities

  • Bogota - Orientation walk
  • Bogota - City Tour
  • Bogota - Visit to Paloquemao Market
  • Manizales - Coffee Tour
  • Medellin - Orientation walk
  • Medellin - Visit to Botanical Garden
  • Medellin - Entrance to the silletero parade
  • Santa Elena - Flower farm visit
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk
  • Bazurto Market Tour

Dates & availability

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Essential Trip Information

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