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Southern Colombia

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Andrés Mesa

Colombia Tours

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Southern Colombia

Immerse into one of the most mysterious civilizations that existed in the world of which few is known. The southern part of Colombia, and specially San Agustin, is know as the capital of the archaeology in Colombia due to the important archaeological heritage in site.

DAY 1

Bogota

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. You will be collected at El Dorado international airport by a bilingual guide and private vehicle. You will then be transfered to the hotel where you will be spending the next two nights. 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/DeLaOpera/2nights
DAY 2

Bogota- Full day tour of La Candelaria,

Bogotá Paloquemao market, abundant with fresh food and flowers, offers a great insight into the life and customs of Bogotanos. The market is the second largest market in the city and one of the most important retailers in the country, where 750 merchants and a labyrinth of stands offer a large variety of fruit, vegetables, diary products, meats and flowers, one of Colombia’s biggest exports. The market was originally established in 1946 in the slaughterhouse district and didn’t move to its current location until 1967. However, it remained an empty warehouse for five years until the government decided to bring all the private markets together in one single location. The market is a sensory overload for tourists who are unfamiliar with the huge variety of tropical fruits or finding a product on a stall that is normally half the size and three times as expensive in their local store such as the avocados as they are some of the biggest and the best you will ever find! Florists from the surrounding countryside fill their stalls with Helicons, Carnations and Lilies, to name but a few of the dozens of species that colour the market. The tour will finish at Donostia restaurant where they specialise on fresh organic food and you will have the chance to participate on a cooking demonstration. After this tour, your next stop will be La Candelaria. La Candelaria is Bogota’s heart and soul, from its humble beginnings this is the oldest part of the city and the Plaza Bolivar (Main Square) are high on any visitor’s agenda. The Square is the focal point of this historic part of the city. Surrounding the square are several important Colonial and Republican style buildings including the Palace of Justice and Colombian Congress. The Plaza is also home to the Mayor’s office and the Primary Cathedral of Bogota that dominates an entire corner. Standing proud in the plazas centre is a statue of Simon Bolivar (Founder of Colombian independence) the first public monument to be erected in the city. As you wander the streets of La Candelaria away from the main square, your guide will not only explain the history of Bogota but also the intricacies of current Read more

Bogota/De La Opera/2 nights
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DAY 3

San Agustin

Famed for its mysterious Pre Colombian stone figures carved out of and into the rock, this is one of Colombia’s more unusual and spiritual locations. In addition San Agustin is a great location to enjoy some of Colombia’s finest rural landscapes, with green hills, sub tropical flowers and freshwater streams. The statues themselves for which the region is so famous date from 3300BC, and are carved in the likeness of men, animals and the god’s of the Pre Colombian peoples. Little is known about the culture and civilizations that made and carved these statues, leaving the visitors with their own ideas and imagination about these ancient statues. Many of the figures have been moved to an archaeological park outside of the town, but many remain at their original locations set amongst the rolling green hills. The town of San Agustin has developed a vibrant tourism industry around the stone figures, although still keeps its rural charm and personality. You will be collected at Benito Salas national airport by a bilingual guide and private vehicle for a transfer to the hotel in San Agustin. During the transfer you will make a stop in the Tatacoa desert.Somewhat out of place in the mountains and lush plains of the department of Huila is the Tatacoa desert. This 370sq KM area of scrub and bizarre rock formations dotted with cactus and other sparse desert vegetation sits just 50KM from Neiva. The two mountain ranges that the desert sits between starve it of water and hence this slightly out of place desert phenomena exists due to local micro climates and geographical conditions. Read more

San Agustin/ Akawanka Lodge/
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DAY 4

San Agustin - Full day tour

The first part of the day will be spent visiting the Parque Arqueológico the principal park in San Agustin containing the most important and largest display of the stone statues. Almost nothing is know about the exact history of the site, or its primary uses, thought its believed that the stone carving are meant to be in memory of the dead, probably the elders or chiefs or the region. Why the culture that made these sculptures disappeared again is unknown, even more amazing is that all the statues have remain in such perfect condition despite the thousands of years and troubled history of this area. You will visit the Ceremonial Spring of Lavapatas. The source Lavapatas ceremonial sculpture is the biggest of Augustinian cultures and a monument of magical and religious character. The source consists of a complex maze of canals and pools carved into the stone bed of the creek which combine high relief depictions of snakes, lizards, salamanders, iguanas, chameleons, frogs and turtles mixed with faces and human forms. For St. Augustine culture has symbolized power a sacred site dedicated to religious ceremonies and ritual baths. You can meet native and endemic species of flora and fauna. Then have the opportunity to visit the beautiful natural view, the megalithic sculptures Alto "Lava legs". The people who lived in St. Augustine, of which very little is known, created a quiet sanctuary surrounded by jungle and mountains: the Forest of Sculptures. Some of his statues show beings with jaguar features, fundamental symbol of the life force from the American people. To finish the day visit the Archaeological Museum which includes significant samples of the work of the sculptor ancestral village. Then continue onto the village of Obando, a small village two miles from San Agustín, proudly holds a great treasure: ancient underground tombs which were carefully restored and can now be visited. Concrete stairs descend to them and provide access to the enigmatic and gloomy inside. After resurfacing from the tombs, you will visit the Archaeological Museum, housed in a small traditional hut with a thatched roof. The museum features a variety of medium and small-sized stone statues as well as several pieces of ancient pottery found in the region. It also has a small shop selling handicrafts, sweets and traditional foods. The last visit will be the Magdalena River Strait, which is a particularly fierce and beautiful section of the Magdalena River where the river is forced through a narrow gap. The Strait boasts a landscape of great natural beauty located a few kilometers away from the urban area of the Municipality of San Agustin. The waters in this part of the river are of a beautiful light green color and clear enough to observe the sandy river bed only a few feet below the surface. Read more

San Agustin/Akawanka Lodge
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DAY 5

Popayan

La Ciudad Blanca or White city is well known throughout Colombia and as tourism expands through the south of Colombia its charms are being discovered by those from outside Colombia too. Without doubt one of the country’s most charming and well preserved Colonial cities. The town surrounded by undulating countryside and sitting at 1737 Masl was once a transfer and stopping point for the treasure being transported by the Spanish crown from Quito to the Caribbean coast. The town was founded in 1537 by Conquistador Sebastian Belacazar. The old part of the town is a criss cross of quaint streets and white washed colonial buildings, plaza and churches. It’s a great place to explore and ponder Colombia’s colonial past. You will be collected from the hotel you are accomodated in San Agustin and transfered to Popayan. Read more

Popayan/DanMonasterio/2Night
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DAY 6

Popayan - Full day city tour & Purace

A tour of the city of Popayan is focused around a number of the famous churches in the city. To include the Church of San Franciso the city’s oldest and most beautiful church famous for its high alter. Other Church includes that of Santa Domingo, San José and San Agustin and La Ermita famous for frescos that still remain on the walls. There are a number of museums in the city also worth a visit including the Museum of religious art, and the natural history museum. Additional to the churches and museums, any day trip in Popayan should also include a walk up to the Morro (hill) de Tulcan. This short hike provides great views over the city. Next, you will part to Purace National Park. Parque Purace is located 45KM East of Popayan on mostly unpaved roads. This is one of the few places in Colombia where its possible to spot condors. The park has amazing mountain scenery and on a good day you can see the summit of the Purace Volcanoes rising to 4750masl. One of the main attractions of the park apart from the general scenery are the Thermals sulpha springs of San Jose. The bubbling springs are naturally heated but unfortunately not for swimming in due to the high sulphur content, however they make for great photography moments and the many different colours of algae that grow make this an unusual sight. Read more

Popayan/DanMonasterio/2Night
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DAY 7

Coffee Region

The coffee region for many people is the heart and soul of Colombia, its cultural epicentre. 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 tranquillity 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. You wil be collected by a bilingual guide and private vehicle to be transfered from Popayan to Armenia. Read more

Armenia/BosquesSaman/3Nights
DAY 8

Coffee Region - Day tour to Filandia

This tour takes in the culture of the region along with the stunning natural beauty of the Cocora Valley. This tour will take you from the far northeast of Quindío to the beautiful Valle Cocora where the magnificent Wax palm grows, in one of its few natural habitats, then onto the first settlement in Quindío of the modern era. As you enter into Filandia, the first stop, you know you are in the Coffee region of Colombia. The main square has not changed in appearance or in character in decades. Filandia does not have an attraction to visit; Filandia is the attraction. A coffee break in one of the many small coffee shops will allow you to take in the quaintness of uninterrupted lines of brightly painted houses in this traditional Pueblo of the region. The guide will explain about the culture and people of the region and how small pueblos (Villages) like this form the back bone of rural agricultural life, if you want to feel like you are seeing Colombia then look no further. From Filandia you will drive to the Valle Cocora (Cocora Valley). Part of the wider Parque Nacional Los Nevados, the valley is located on the eastern limits of Quindío along the central Andean range. The valley has a unique landscape like a lush version of a Swiss valley. It has been regarded by Colombia as a sanctuary for its national symbol; the Wax Palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense). The Palms cover the Mountain range, which is now protected and declared monument to protect the tree itself and the endemic species that depend on it. The valley is spectacular and great for walking or horseback rides, either way this stunning mountain scenery will not fail to impress. Salento is a municipality in the north eastern part of the department of Quindío. It was the first settlement in Quindío of modern times dating back to 1850, and the first municipality founded in the department. This picturesque town boasts a number of fine houses of traditional architectural style. Rimmed by distant snow capped mountains Salento has a real rural traditional feel Read more

Armenia/BosquesSaman/3Nights
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DAY 9

Coffee Region - Half day cupping

Coffee makes this region tick; it’s the heart and soul of the region and its culture. This journey will take you through some stunning scenery, carpeted rolling hills of lush green coffee, plantain and yucca. Before you even arrive you will have been part of the tapestry of this enchanting region. As campesinos (local rural workers) pass by on their way to work in the fields, and children walk to school or wait for the morning bus, you can start to imagine how life is for these rural Colombian populations. Today is time to see the plant that keeps the world energised up close and personal. With a tour of one of the regions coffee plantations we see the whole process from seedling to coffee cup and every part in between. We learn about the trials and tribulations that face the regions coffee growers and how their whole way of life is affected by this simple bean. From the planting to the picking to the toasting and the tasting your life as a coffee drinker will never be the same, once you have tasted the elixir of life from Colombia. Read more

Armenia/BosquesSaman/3Nights
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DAY 10

Coffee Region- Departure day

You will be collected at the hotel by a bilingual guide and private vehicle to get transfered to El Eden national airport for your departure flight.

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ACCOMMODATIONS

Day in trip
Location
Hotel
Day 1
Location Bogota
Day 3
Location San Agustin
Day 5
Location Popayan
Day 7
Location Armenia
Day in trip
Location
Hotel
Day 1
Location Bogota
Day 3
Location San Agustin
Day 5
Location Popayan
Day 7
Location Pereira
Hotel Sazagua
Day in trip
Location
Hotel
Day 1
Location Bogota
Day 3
Location San Agustin
Day 5
Location Popayan
Day 7
Location Armenia

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

More information

  • Meal Plan:
  • Breakfast: 10
  • Lunches: 4
  • Dinner: 0
  • All transfers and tours include water & coffee break

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