ZOOM COLOMBIA

BOGOTA · CARTAGENA · COFFEE TRIANGLE

January 12-20, 2018 Itinerary
9 days from $4999

Day 1 ~ Bogotá
Arrival:         You will be met by a Zoom representative and transported to hotel for check-in. 

Evening:         Chilling at the W.  Every Friday night, resident DJ Nico and invitees spin it up in W Lounge. Sit back, relax, and sip on one of the fabulous signature cocktails, or move those hips dancing to the beats in Au Room until 5am. You´re invited! 

Accommodations:     W Hotel, Bogotá

 

Day 2 ~ Bogotá
Breakfast at the hotel

City Tour with Monserrate Hill and Paloquemao 

The tour starts with an early morning visit to the Paloquemao’s Market. This is one of the largest and most important markets in the country. Paloquemao presents the perfect mix of the old and new Bogotá and offers a great insight into the life and customs of the people from Bogotá. You will find a large variety of flowers, exotic fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, cheese, medicinal herbs as well as typical food. Everything is fresh and arrives daily to Bogotá from all regions of Colombia. You will have the opportunity to live a unique cultural experience, tasting some exotic fruits and enjoying a small snack during the visit. 

Afterwards visit the famous and well-preserved historical colonial quarter of La Candelaria. Steeped in history, this area is a must for photographers with its splendid colonial architecture; you will want to take the opportunity to capture the sights and sounds of this fascinating part of Bogotá. Walk through the streets permeating with the heady atmosphere of the past, as revealed by the library of Luis Angel Arango and down to the prominent Plaza de Bolivar, the heart of Bogotá, where locals and visitors mingle amongst the magnificent and foreboding structures. You will want to discover the history of this old part of the city by visiting the Cathedral, the Congress Palace, the Cardinal’s Palace, the colonial churches of El Sagrario and San Agustin, the Independence House, the Palace of Justice and the City Hall which are all located in this impressive square.

Continuing to the east, on top of the forested mountains, you will find “Cerro de Monserrate”. This mountain has a white catholic church located at the top and has been a site of worship since 1657. On a clear day you will have the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular view of the city. You also might see snowcap of “Nevado del Tolima” on the far west side.  

The tour then follows with a visit to the “Museo del Oro”, the most important gold museum in the world and a ‘must see’ when traveling to Bogotá. This museum displays one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian gold. Galleries on three levels display exquisitely crafted pieces dating back nearly 2,500 years. Visit the vault-like room on the top floor where the most treasured pieces are displayed, as well as the Offering Room, where passengers enter a black circular area that is gradually illuminated with indigenous music playing in the background; the light begins to dawn, and finally a remarkable display of gold offering collection is discovered. 

The tour ends with a visit to the “Museo de Botero”, housed in a renovated colonial mansion. The works on display are all donated by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous contemporary artist. Around 120 pieces of his own work are displayed at the museum including his famous sculptures, paintings and drawings. His work is well-known for the ‘proportionally exaggerated’ fat figures. In addition to his work, his personal collection by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí, Degas, Chagall, Matisse, Monet, and Giacometti are also exhibited. 

Lunch is included during the tour at a local restaurant.

Evening:         Welcome Dinner and Cocktails
This evening we welcome you to Bogotá with dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations:     W Hotel, Bogotá
Meals Included:     Welcome Dinner

 

Day 3 ~ Bogotá and Zipaquirá
Breakfast at the hotel

Zipaquira's Underground Salt Cathedral and tejo!  This visit begins with a panoramic view of the city and the vast plateau of the northern area of Bogotá. You will arrive at the small town of Zipaquirá where you will take an underground tour to discover the famous Salt Cathedral. Passengers will have the opportunity to experience the extraordinary architecture and engineering of this remarkable underground mine. This cathedral was carved inside an active salt mine, formed 250 million years ago under the Halite Mountains. Here you will find 14 small chapels that represent the Stations of the Cross and Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, a sanctuary, and a main cathedral. Although this is a popular tourist destination to be visited, this is also a place of pilgrimage for the local community.  

Afterwards continue to visit the town of Zipaquirá, which was founded on 1600 and still conserves its colonial heritage. Stop at the main square, where you will find whitewashed houses decorated with olive-green trims as well as the most important municipal buildings. 

Lunch is included during the tour at a local restaurant with a set menu.

Empanadas, pola, tienda and tejo! (2 hours)  This tour full of local flavor will show you some of the most representative and funnier traditions of the city. After lunch, you will be driven to a popular neighborhood seeking your first pola (beer) at a local tienda, the meeting point after a hard labor Saturday for thousands of workers. A tienda is a simple grocery store that also works as a pub with a few tables, a jukebox with popular hits, and that also serves, of course, cold beers.

With the aim of this first beer, the tour continues a few blocks ahead in the tejo course. Tejo, the national sport, is an indigenous heritage game of the native communities that inhabited the area where Bogotá were founded. This funny game consists of throwing a metallic mass that should explode little charges of gunpowder located at the other side of the track. The game’s official hydrating drink (how could it be otherwise) is beer, and to recharge your aim we invite you to enjoy a couple of empanadas con ají, beer’s perfect match.  Once finished with the tejo match, you will be transferred back to your hotel. 

Accommodations:     W Hotel, Bogotá
Meals Included:     Breakfast & Lunch

 

Day 4 ~ The Coffee Triangle
Breakfast at the hotel

Morning:         At leisure

Late Morning transport to the  airport for our flight to Pereira.  The Coffee Triangle is a perfect name for the “Zona Cafetera”, Colombia’s principal coffee-growing area. Shaped like an inverted triangle, this region is formed by the three departments of Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda. Its spectacular natural beauty makes it one of the most beautiful destinations to visit, combining lush green valleys, exotic wildlife, and a balmy climate. This is the perfect place to unwind and relax, while you sit back and enjoy the freshest coffee you'll ever taste.

We will visit the town of Salento for lunch and to enjoy this charming town. Founded in 1842, Salento was one of the first settlements in the Quindío state and still today it preserves its colonial “bahareque” architecture:  a system using mud, timber and bamboo to build a collection of one and two-story buildings, mostly white but with doors and window frames adorned in brightly painted colors, typical of the coffee growing area.  Salento’s centuries-old buildings are awash in harmonious color, especially along Calle Real, the main street lined end to end with restaurants, bars, handicrafts shops and souvenir stores. 

Later, we will be taken to our hotel for check-in. In the heart of the coffee cultural landscape, this hotel's traditional architecture celebrates more than three centuries of history and tradition. Framed by the scenic beauty of the region, you will fall in love with this charming boutique hotel. Restored and equipped with all amenities and contemporary comforts, the Hacienda Castilla offers locals and visitors a relaxing base to explore the Colombian coffee triangle from.

Accommodations:     Hacienda Castilla, Pereira, Risaralda
Meals Included:    Breakfast & Lunch


Day 5 ~ Pereira
Morning:         About an hour outside of Armenia lies the town of Buenavista, the smallest municipality in Colombia. There, up in the hills you will find a premium coffee producer: Hacienda San Alberto.  San Alberto has been producing coffee since the early 1970’s, so it came as no surprise when they decided to open their doors to the public and share this experience with the coffee lovers around the world.       

Tour around the beautiful Hacienda San Alberto and learn all about the coffee process from start to finish. You will get familiarized with the coffee bean germination process, visit the coffee nursery, walk around the coffee plantations and visit the processing plant. Afterwards we invite you to participate in an incredible experience that will awaken all your senses: a coffee tasting accompanied by our experts. A sip of coffee will never be the same again; you will learn to identify the characteristics and qualities that are present in a good cup of coffee.

Today we will enjoy a sensational lunch at an unassuming restaurant, but one that has captured the hearts and tastebuds of past Zoom Vacations Travelers.

Transfer back to hotel.

Accommodations:     Hacienda Castilla, Pereira, Risaralda
Meals Included:    Breakfast & Lunch


Day 6 ~ Pereira / Cartagena
Morning:         Departure for Cartagena, via Bogota

Arrive at the Rafael Núñez Airport where we’ll be met by our guide and transported to the hotel. 

Late Afternoon:     Explore the breath-taking colonial architecture, narrow cobbled streets and romantic air that is Cartagena. The city of Cartagena de Indias is a Caribbean jewel, being the first Spanish colony on the South American mainland and one of it’s most important ports. To this day it remains a vibrant and colorful city, inviting its guests to live the fairy-tale fantasy, if only for a few of days. 

Sunset Cocktails:  This evening, we enjoy the closing of the day at one of the most beautiful places to see the sunset in Cartagena.  We suggest proceeding direction to dinner afterwards.

Accommodations:     Bastion Luxury Hotel, Cartagena
Meals Included:    Breakfast, Lunch, 
 & Sunset Cocktails


Day 7 ~ Cartagena
Breakfast at hotel

Morning:         Cartagena City Tour
Begin the day with a visit to the “Convento de la Popa”, situated on the highest point in the city where you can enjoy the best view of Cartagena. When the Augustinian Monks first built the convent in 1607, it was a modest wooden chapel. Since then it was given a face-lift and looks more fabulous than ever. End the tour with a visit to the “Iglesia y Convento San Pedro de Claver”. Founded in the early 17th century by San Ignacio de Loyola, its name was changed to San Pedro de Claver, honoring the Jesuit priest who committed his life to ministering the enslaved people brought from Africa. The imposing stone façade opens up to baroque architecture with exquisite stained glass windows and a high altar made of the finest Italian marble. You’ll have a truly immersive experience into San Pedro de Claver’s impact on the Afro-Caribbean people of Cartagena. 

Afternoon:         Celebrity Cooking Class at Restaurante Maria
Enjoy a unique experience beside one of the most renowned chefs in Cartagena. Their recipes are inspired by the flavors, colors and freshness of Caribbean products and are designed to delight your palate. The dishes are prepared with authentic taste and are presented with an exotic twist. 

Evening:        Dinner on own account

Accommodations:   Bastion Luxury Hotel, Cartagena
Meals Included:     Breakfast & Lunch


Day 8 ~ Day Trip to Islas Del Rosario
Morning:         Time to get out of Cartagena and head to the beach! Bring your sunglasses, sunblock, and swimwear for a fantastic day on one of Rosario Islands, located just an hour from the city. We’ll take a water transfer to this stunning archipelago with small white sand beaches and crystal clear Caribbean waters. Once on the island, you can plant yourself on the beach, enjoy a walk around the island, sign up for a diving course in the coral reefs, swim at your own leisure, or relax with a massage on the beach. 

Afternoon:         Return to your hotel in Cartagena around 4:00 pm. Spruce up and get ready for the evening’s activities. We suggest you spend the afternoon with an international sommelier pairing the finest rums with the most aphrodisiac chocolates South America has to offer.

Evening:         Farewell Dinner

Accommodations:     Bastion Luxury Hotel, Cartagena
Meals Included:     Breakfast & Lunch


Day 9~ Departure

Prepare for your international return flight! Transfer to Rafael Nunez International Airport.

 

Space is limited. Call us today to book this tour:  773.772.9666.

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.
— Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombian Novelist
 

Air: International and domestic airfare not included.

Passports: Your valid passport should have at least two blank visa pages and should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure from the country you are visiting. 
Note: Passport pages titled "Endorsement Pages" are not visa pages.

Visas: For US citizens, it is not required to have an entry visa for tourist stays less than 90 days. You must present a valid U.S. passport to enter and depart Colombia, and on occasion travelers are asked to present evidence of “return or onward travel”, in the form of a plane ticket. 

While Zoom Vacations will assist when possible, please note that passport, visa, and vaccination requirements vary from country to country and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. If you are a US resident, you may click here for more information on passport, visa, and vaccination requirements for various countries..

*Land only Introductory rate, based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to change. Need a roommate? Zoom Vacations® is happy to match you with someone, at no additional charge. Or, you may pay a single supplement and go as a single.

Please read Terms and Conditions prior to booking.

For more information on entry and exit requirements, see here.