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The Colombian Pacific Explorer

Colombia is the only South American nation with two ocean coastlines, so be an explorer and visit them both.

Tour Plan

Although this tour visits both coasts, it takes its name from the largely unexplored Pacific coast and you will spend 3 nights in Bahía Solano or Nuquí. Flights to Bahía Solano only depart from Medellín so this tour also give the visitor the chance to know this innovative and forward looking city with its pleasant year-round spring like climate and friendly people.

The coffee zone is a logical stopover on the way to Medellín. Whilst it is popular and firmly on the well trodden trail, this tour offers the chance to experience it in the most authentic way possible, staying in a working coffee finca. For the newcomer to Colombia, the coffee zone is unmissable.

The tour concludes in the city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast. Contrast the two coasts, the isolated exclusivity of Bahía Solano with the hustle and bustle of the walled city of Cartagena, Colombia’s most popular tourist destination. Cartagena’s popularity is by no means a lucky coincidence, its romantic narrow colonial streets, spectacular sunsets and great restaurants are going to ensure its position as Colombia’s number one destination for many years to come.

Climate

This tour takes you from the cool highland climates of Bogotá, onwards to the slightly warmer climate of Villa de Leyva. Through the spring-like climate of the coffee zone and Medellín. On to the tropical destination of Bahía Solano and finally to the Caribbean where temperatures can reach up to 40°C

Group sizes

This trip is available for groups of 2 people and upwards. Local English or Spanish speaking guides will be provided at the destination.

Day 1

You will be met by one of our representatives at Bogota’s El Dorado Airport and taken by private transfer to your hotel in La Candelaria, Bogota’s historic colonial centre or in the walkable Rosales neighbourhood.

Bogotá is 2640m above sea level and if you happen to have arrived on a flight from Europe, you will have landed early evening. The evening of day 1 has no formal plans to allow you to relax, acclimatise to the altitude and adjust to the time difference.

Day 2

Your chance to get to know our capital city, we begin the day with a journey to the top of Monserrate, the Cerro overlooking the Bogotá Savannah. At a height of 3150m the mountain affords spectacular views across Bogotá and great photo opportunities. Normally we will ascend the Cerro by cable car, subject to local conditions we can also guide you up to the peak by foot.

We continue in the afternoon with a walking tour through the colourful façades of La Candelaria including an extended stop at the Botero Museum, an intimate art museum housed in colonial buildings that boasts not only many great works by Colombia’s Fernando Botero but also his own collection of masterpieces by Chegall, Max Ernst, Renoir, Picasso and Monet.

Onwards through Bogotá we take in the impressive Plaza Bolívar, Casa Nariño and Bogotá’s Gold Museum before taking you back to your hotel.

Day 3

We depart by coach in the morning towards Villa de Leyva. On the way we stop off at the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. An amazing underground cathedral built in a disused salt mine. We arrive in the charming town of Villa de Leyva in the afternoon where you will spend the night in a charismatic colonial hotel in the town centre. The evening is yours to explore this exquisite colonial town and to take advantage of one of the many great restaurants that the town has to offer.

Day 4

At 9.30am your English speaking guide will meet you at your hotel for a half day tour to the attractions within the vicinity of Villa de Leyva. Depending upon the preferences of your group, we will focus the tour around nature, with a trip to El Paso de Ángel or La Periquera or if you prefer a cultural experience, we will take you to the monastery Ecce Homo or El Fosíl.

Day 5

In the morning we will collect you from the hotel and drive you back to Bogotá’s airport from where you will fly to Armenia, the capital of Colombia’s Quindío department and one of the city cornerstones of the coffee zone. From the airport of Armenia you will be transferred to your home for the next 3 nights. A delightful coffee finca set in a valley. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the warmer climate, walk around the finca or relax in the pool.

Day 6

A full day outing to the town of Salento and the imposing Cocora Valley. Salento is one of the quaintest towns in Colombia with its well preserved colonial houses, handicrafts shops and traditional restaurants, many of which serve excellent local trout. You have the option to walk through the Cocora Valley, be sure to take your camera because Cocora is a sight to behold. It is one of the only habitats of the wax palm, the world’s tallest variety of palm tree and the national tree of Colombia.

After the full day outing we return to your finca. We aim to get you back by 4.00pm so that you can see the workers return from the hills with the day’s harvest of coffee.

Day 7

Your chance to immerse yourself in the coffee culture. We take you to El Mariposario, one of Colombia’s most extensive natural highlights, following a typical lunch we will take you for a coffee tour at the San Alberto coffee estate. San Alberto is a small production boutique coffee brand.

Day 8

After breakfast we transfer you back to the airport for a flight to Medellín, the city of the eternal spring and the home of all things Paisa.

Formerly infamous for its cocaine-fuelled gangsterism, those days are long gone and now Medellín is a thriving innovative city that is more commonly known for its culture, the artist and sculptor Fernando Botero and the multi-grammy winning Juanes.

From the city’s airport you will be transferred to your hotel in the upscale Poblado neighbourhood. In the afternoon you will be collected from your hotel for a tour of Medellín’s formerly notorious Comuna 13 area and innovative measures to engender social inclusion such as the MetroCable to Santo Domingo.

The evening is yours to enjoy the mild weather and sip a drink in a local bar as Medellín’s high society passes you by.

Day 9

A full day outing Guatapé and El Penol, Guatapé is one of Antioquia’s many charming towns and is surrounded by lakes. El Peñol is a huge monolith which rises from the lakes. El Peñol can be scaled by stairs. Those that reach the peak can experience the vast and beautiful Antioquia landscape.

Afterwards we return you to Medellín once again for another chance to make the most of the city’s lively and sophisticated nightlife.

Day 10

Hotel pick up and transfer back to the airport. From there you will fly to Bahía Solano airport and be met by the staff of the El Almejal lodge. They will take you to your accommodation for the next 3 nights. The wooden cabins of El Almejal eco-lodge on the immaculate El Almejal beach.

Whilst there you can visit the lodge’s turtle conservation project, walk through the lush green coastal jungle, whale-watch (between July and October) or simply relax on the deck in a hammock.

Day 11

Early in the morning you will leave in a launch to search for whales for a full day. In the unlikely event that you do not see whales, an additional outing will be programmed. Retire to the lodge for dinner and relaxation.

Day 12

After breakfast you will visit conservation and organic cultivation projects. The reserve with its low elevation of just 30 metres above sea level affords visitors a spectacular view of the seascape merging with the coastal tropical jungle.

Guides will explain the jungle species and ecosystems. You will return to the lodge for lunch, the afternoon is free to relax.

Day 13

You will be transferred by motor launch 40 minutes to Utría, one of Colombia’s most remote natural parks. After a technical induction by the park’s representatives you will be able to walk through mangroves and swim in the tranquil emerald green waters of the cove. On the return you will stop to visit one of the Pacific coast’s few coral beaches. Ideal for snorkelling.

Day 14

Transfer back to the airport for you flight to Cartagena. For many Cartagena is the highlight of Colombia, a magical and romantic city brimming with history and culture. From the city’s airport you will be collected and taken to your accommodation in the walled city. A well preserved 300 year old colonial house, itself the historic backdrop for your time in this UNESCO world heritage site.

The night is yours to explore the cosy alleys and character-filled streets of the city. Watch the dancers in Plaza Santo Domingo or check out the city’s excellent bars and restaurants.

Day 15

A day in Cartagena with a tour of the city guiding you through the streets of the old town, the Getsemaní district and Plaza Trinidad.

Day 16

The last full day of the trip and you are taken on a full day boat excursion to the Rosario Islands. In the Rosario Islands there are great opportunities for snorkelling, pristine white sandy beaches that gently fold into a crystal blue Caribbean Sea. You return to the marina at about 5.30pm leaving you enough time to walk to Cartagena’s iconic Cafe del Mar to watch the sun set.

Day 17

The end of the tour and we transfer you from your hotel back to Cartagena for onward flights.

Day 3

Visit the Salt Mines of Nemocón instead of the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá.

Day 8

Spend a third night in the coffee zone and visit the Thermal Springs of Santa Rosa

Day 10 or 14

Spend an extra night in Medellín and visit Santa Fé de Antioquia and Puente de Occidente.

Days 10 to 13

Stay in the El Cantil lodge at Nuquí instead of the El Almejal lodge in Bahía Solano.

Day 17

Extend your trip with a visit to Parque Tayrona or Mompox

Destination information

This tour visits the following destinations. Click the links below for more comprehensive information on each destination.

Bogotá.

The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá.

Villa de Leyva.

Coffee zone.

Salento and Cocora.

El Mariposario

San Alberto coffee tour

Medellín.

Bahía Solano.

Cartagena.

Photographs