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National Parks of Colombia

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  • 13 Days

Andrés Mesa

Colombia Tours

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National Parks of Colombia

Located along two oceans, bordering the land bridge between the Americas and housing a great variation in altitudes, it is not altogether surprising that geographically-gifted Colombia boasts the fourth greatest abundance of biodiversity of any country on the planet.

International arrival to Bogota

Bogotá introduction Vibrant and diverse Bogotá, the country’s capital and commercial back-bone. Colombia's bustling metropolis is a mix of old and new, trendy and traditional, stately and charming. Home to a dazzling array of museums, churches, colonial mansions and stately buildings Bogotá has a fine balance between its historical past and its movement in to the future. This city in central Colombia is located at an elevation of 2,650 m./8,660 ft. on a mountain rimmed plateau high in the Cordillera Oriental of the Andes Mountains. The city lies only 4°36' north of the equator. Bogotá was founded on the 6th of August 1538 by the Spanish conqueror Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. The new city became the vice-regal capital of New Granada in 1717. It was captured by Simón Bolívar in 1819 and was the capital of the independent nation of Great Colombia (which included modern day Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela). It became the capital of New Granada (later renamed Colombia) in 1830 when Great Colombia was dissolved. The city initially grew slowly because Bogotanos (cachacos) wished to preserve their old culture. They cherished their churches, convents, homes (built in the ornate Spanish colonial style) and the National University, founded in 1573. They also prided themselves on speaking the purest Spanish in the New World. The city however expanded rapidly after 1940 as large numbers of rural Colombians migrated there in search of greater economic opportunities. It is sometimes called the Athens of South America. Bogotá is now Colombia's largest financial, political, and cultural centre. The National University of Colombia and many other universities located there make Bogotá the nation's chief educational centre. Bogotá is for many people the gateway city in to Colombia, and a fine start point for your Colombian adventure. Read more

Bogota/Morrison84/3Nights

Full-day tour to Chingaza National Park

Chingaza National Natural Park is within an hour's drive of Bogota and spans over two Colombian departments, Cundinamarca and Meta, and lies within the Orinoco River basin, providing 80% of the potable water utilized in Bogota. Part of a rich páramo environment, Chingaza National Natural Park offers you the chance to see some rare, but exceptionally beautiful animals such as the spectacled bear, the Andean condor, the páramo tapir, and the puma, as well as the chance to explore ancient and sacred Muisca land and sites, including a few majestic lakes. Additionally, the park is said to hold over 2,000 plant species, many unique to the area! Read more

Bogota/Morrison84/3Nights
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Full-day tour to Chicaque Natural Park

You will be met by your Bilingual guide and escorted to the Parque Nacional Chicaque located about 40 minutes south of Bogota. The park has been dedicated to the provision of Eco Tourism since 1990 and the cloud forest protected by the park has an amazing biodiversity of flora and fauna including an extensive array of plant life, bird life and over 20 different mammal species. You can explore Oak forests, waterfalls and spectacular view points as you transverse some of the 18km of track and pathways through the park. The walks vary in length from between 25 minutes to 2 hours depending on your requirements and ability. Read more

Bogota/Morrison84/3Nights
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Guided transfer to Villa de Leyva

Lake Guatavita is something of an enigma and has been the subject of countless myths, stories and legends over the centuries. This circular lake is located in the mountainous highlands outside of Bogota in what appears to be a meteor crater. The origins of the crater are unclear but it is reputedly one of the sacred lakes of the Muisca people and widely believed to be the basis of the legend of El Dorado. According to legend, the Muisca celebrated rituals here, in which the Zipa or chieftain (named "El Dorado" by the Conquistadores) was covered in gold dust and performed sacred ceremonies. Venturing out onto the water on a ceremonial raft made of rushes, the Zipa would then dive into the lake, washing off the gold. Gold trinkets, jewellery and other precious offerings were then thrown into the waters by worshipers. To date, a few gold and silver artefacts have been found at bottom of the lake, lending credence to the legend, but after multiple research investigations over the centuries – including partially draining the lake – no hard evidence has been discovered to prove that this is, in fact, the location of the mythical “El Dorado”. The quest goes on… This tour offers an overview of the geography of the lake and an insight into some of the myths and legends that surround this location. It is not hard to see why the lake has so intrigued the ancient Musica, the Spanish conquistadores – and, indeed, us today. Villa de Leyva introduction Villa de Leyva is Located some 150 kilometres north of Bogota, about four hours by car, passing through stunning savannah landscapes on the way. With its myriad of winding cobbled streets, lined on either side by orange roofed white washed houses, and surrounded by mountains, the village is a charming place to while away a few days. With scarcely a modern building in site and boasting one of the largest cobbled-stoned squares in South America this village where time stands still is a great place to see a snap shot of historical Colombia preserved in its entirety. The Hosteria del "Molino de la Mesopotamia" used to be an old mill but has been turned into a hotel packed to bursting with antiques and older than the village itself. You can also visit the birthplace of Antonio Ricaurte and the house in which Antonio Nariño lived. The latter translated the 'Rights of Man' into Spanish and both men became important figures in the Independence Movement. Just outside Villa de Leyva, there are some wonderful walks and excursions that can be made within half a day or a day. Alternatively you can take in some of the other sites such as visiting ancient giant Fossils, Muiscan observatories and indigenous sites or simply out on horseback to enjoy the enchanting scenery. Read more

Villa de Leyva/Getsemani/2N
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Full-day trekking Iguaque National Park

The Muiscas, the ancient tribes people who inhabited the area high above Villa de Leyva considered the Lago (Lake) Iguaque to be the birthplace of mankind. They believed that the goddess Bachuè emerged from lake holding her new-born child. When the child grew the goddess and her son set about populating the earth. In old age the two evolved into serpents and returned to the lake forever. It’s easy to see why this area is so fascinating with its wealth of indigenous folklore and history. Today this birthplace of mankind is know by the more modest name of the Santuario de Flora y Fauna de Iguaque. There are 8 lakes found inside the park, including the principal lago Iguaque all resting at altitudes of between 3550masl and 3700. This important “Paramo” or mountain highland is home to numerous plants and animals, including the famous Frailejon, a strange mountain like cactus endemic to the Andean region. A good pair of walking boots and jacket are a must but the rewards for the brave trekker are amazing views and scenery in one of the most unique parts of the Andes. Read more

Villa de Leyva/Getsemani/2N
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Private transfer to Bogota

Coffee region introduction The coffee region for many people is the heart and soul of Colombia, its cultural epicenter. With every turn, a spectacular panorama changes your perspective, from the rolling hillsides of fertile coffee plantations to plunging valleys and bold elevations. Campesino or rural life continues as it has done for centuries harvesting coffee, plantains (a type of Banana) and many other fruits in this lush and fertile land. A visit to the Coffee region permits you to experience the tranquility of the region. It also offers the opportunity for adventure or for friendly encounters with locals going about their daily lives. Staying in one of the many fincas or haciendas provides an opportunity to get a feel for the areas ambience and harmony and a great place to rest after a day exploring. Three departments make up the “Triángulo Del Café”. They run in a North to South line following the Central Andean Cordillera. Caldas is the most northerly of the departments, then heading south to Risaralda and in turn Quindío. All three are flanked by the snow capped peaks of the Parque Natural los Nevados to the east. The climate is reflected by the extremes in altitude, from the harsh temperatures and savage beauty of the surrounding mountains at 5000 m.a.s.l, to the sultriness of the Rio Cauca. The Rio Cauca is the largest watercourse in the region and the second most important in Colombia. The river begins from its source in the department of Cauca to its mergence with the Rio Brazo and then onto its connection with the Rio Magdalena further north. As the name suggests the coffee region is the home to the famous Colombian coffee but there is far more on offer in this amazing part of the country. At your arrival to hotel, you will have a introducting walking tour of the surrounding area of the hacienda, and enjoy the coffee and cacao plantations. Read more

Coffee Region/Venecia/2N
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Day tour to Los Nevados National Park

The Los Nevados Nation Park is a landscape of mountain ranges, dormant volcanoes, hot springs, and recent memories of tragic eruptions. The highest range of the three ( Nevado del Ruiz, Nevado de Santa Rosa and Nevado Tolima ) , is del Ruiz (5231m) erupted in 1985, completely destroy one village. The journey will take you by road out through Manizales and into the stunning scenery of the highlands of the department of Caldas. The journey by road will be approximately 2 hours before reaching the park entrance, from here its unpaved roadway to the final car park. Your guide will explain the climates, flora and fauna, and history of this savage but beautiful landscape. There are some amazing photo opportunities at every corner of the winding road. During the first stages you will see the Frailejon plants; this is a herb endemic to the Andean Region. You will stop further up the mountain at El valley de Las tumbas (Valley of the Tombs) and walk to the edge of the valley where sounds reverberates around the rock formation until almost returning back to where they originated. Then a steep curving climb higher up the mountain and onto the parking area and the start of the 1200 metre climb to Del Ruiz. The walk is slow but rewarding as you reach the edge of the glazier and, weather permitting, you will be greeted by superb views across the mountain ranges and valleys below. Read more

Coffee Region/Venecia/2N
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Cartagena

Cartagena introduction Founded in 1533 by Pedro de Heredia, Cartagena was formerly the Caribbean gateway port used by the Spanish. Here they would store the riches plundered form the interior before they were transported back to the old world. It is not surprising therefore that the city was a draw for buccaneers and pirates who attempted on many occasions to take the city, most notably by Sir Francis drake in 1586 who "mercifully" agreed not to level the city in return for 10 million pesos that he carted back to England. It was after the attack by Drake that plans were made to fortify the city and work on the defensive walls began. These walls still stand today and mark the boundary between the old and new parts of the city. The walls and fort took a total of 200 years to build and complete and the Spanish finished them just 25 years before Colombia gained Independence. Cartagena eventually won its Independence in 1821; a full 3 years after Bogota had been liberated. Cartagena's rich history, diverse culture and energy absorbs every visitor allowing them a glimpse into the past and a chance to relax in superb surroundings. This passionate and vibrant city with some of the best preserved colonial architecture in all of South America exudes character, mix in African rhythms and indigenous influences with the Spanish colonial splendor and Cartagena is truly an amazing destination. Your afternoon is at leisure Read more

Cartagena/DonPedro/1N
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Transfer to Rosario Islands

Rosario island & San Bernardo archipelago introduction The Rosario Islands are formed of 23 separate coral Islands. It´s one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia, created to protect one of the most important coral reefs of the Caribbean Colombian Coast. This marine habitat creates one of the most diverse and richest marine ecosystems in Colombia. The Park has an extension of 120.000 marine and land hectares, and is associated with marine pastures, mangroves and the numerous species of algae and animals that have their habitats in the area, all of which feed the numerous corals and fish life that inhabit the reefs. The Rosario Islands are approximately at one hour ride from Cartagena in motor boats. The route from Cartagena takes you through the Bahia de Cartagena and into the open sea through the Bocachica strait, and passing between the Colonial forts of Bateria de San Jose and Fuerte de San Fernando. Read more

Isla Grande/Majagua/2N
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Day at leisure at Rosario Islands

You will have plenty to keep you occupied with a free day in Rosario Islands, you might want to arrange a excursion to the aquarium, do snorkelling, diving or just relax at the beautiful beaches at Isla Grande

Isla Grande/Majagua/2N
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Transfer to Tayrona National park

Tayrona introduction Located approximately 4 and a half hours driver from Cartagena following the coastal road North East Parque Nacional Tayrona is paradise perfected. The park sits at the edge of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, the highest costal mountain range in the world and stretches over 35 miles from near to Santa Marta in the West to Rio Piedras in the East. The National Park is everything you could want from a picture post card beach location. Palm fringed beaches and golden sand that stretch out in front of you. This tropical beach paradise has a back drop of lush green rain forest. There are numerous paths that link the various beaches and bays, which make perfect walking trails to while away the days in paradise. This is an amazing place to sit back and relax, amble the beach and jungle trails and spot the local wildlife. Although the sea can be choppy in parts there are several swimming locations to cool down from the tropical heat. For photographers the area is divine with plenty of fantastic scenery and images to capture. The National park was once home to the indigenous Tayrona Indians and archaeological remains can still be found, the best preserved of these is the Pre-Hispanic village of Pueblito, believed to have been the site of a major Tayrona settlement. Covering an area of 37,000 acres of which 7,000 correspond to coastal waters, Tayrona Park has a dry tropical climate with temperatures which vary between 59°F and 84°F. The majority of the park is covered by virgin tropical forest and inhabited by over 100 species of mammals, 200 species of birds and 50 species of reptiles. The Paujil, a kind of hen, is often represented in Tayrona gold work and is indigenous to the area, as is the majestic condor which nests in the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Monkeys can often be seen along the fringes of the beaches, especially around the Ecohabs. This is a place where nature and tourist co-exist. Read more

Tayrona/Ecohabs/2N
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Full-day tour to Tayrona National Park

It’s time to get your walking boots on and get ready to hit the costal paths, for those who prefer a more sedate pace horses can be arranged to carry you or your bags. Depending on your exact requirements the walk can be 30 minutes or so to one of the main beaches, where you can sit under hanging palms and watch the waves roll up the shore or a walk of a couple of hours or so to one of the main swimming beaches also located here are a number of great locally run restaurants for a nice lunch. Remember that during your walk you can look out for some of the Kogi tribes’ people who still live in the park, plus the array of flora and fauna that you will pass during your trip. As you walk your guide will be on hand to explain not only the culture and history of the park but also about the wildlife that you may see on the way. Wherever you finish your walk you have the same trip back to the pickup point then transfer back to the hotel and time to reminisce over your trip to on one of the most unspoilt beaches of the region. Read more

Tayrona/Ecohabs/2N
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Home!

Goodbye Colombia!

Departure day

ACCOMMODATIONS

Day in trip
Location
Hotel
Day 1
Location Bogota
Hotel Morrison84
Day 4
Location Villa de Leyva
Hotel Getsemani
Day 6
Location Coffee Region - Caldas
Day 8
Location Cartagena de Indias
Day 9
Location Rosario Islands
Day 11
Location Tayrona National Park

TRIP PACKAGE

Package includes

  • Transfer from/to the airport
  • Transport during the tour
  • Accommodation
  • Local guides
  • Information services
  • Entrance fee

Package excludes

  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa, consular 76fees or any other formalities.
  • Tips
  • Beverages
  • Additional journeys and transfers

BEST MONTHS

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