Colombia Rediscovered

Travel with alumni and friends from October 5 - 15, 2018 on a small group adventure to Colombia.

Colombia

Once and again a treasured destination, Colombia warmly welcomes visitors to experience its wealth of indigenous cultures, evocative Spanish Colonial heritage, lush landscapes, and Caribbean sun. Colombia is back – and our small group is poised to discover its many jewels, from Bogota and the Coffee Triangle to Medellin and Cartagena, with some hidden gems along the way. Travel with alumni, friends and participants from a cosponsoring alumni association on this small group adventure to Colombia. Limited to just 24 people, this program is sure to fill quickly. Please contact the Alumni Travel Study Program office for more details and to reserve your place today.


Dates & Prices:

Tour Dates: October 5 - 15, 2018

Tour Prices:  from $TBA per person (excluding international airfare)*
                     from $TBA total price from Miami  ($TBA air, land & cruise inclusive plus $TBS airline taxes and fees) *

A limited number of single rooms are available on a request basis for an additional supplement of $995 per person.

*All rates are per person based upon double occupancy. Airfare from other cities is available. Airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and
departure fees are subject to change until final payment is made. Please see the brochure or contact us for more information.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Bogota, Colombia

We arrive today in the Colombian capital and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities or meals planned; on our own we can explore the area surrounding our hotel or simply relax. Dinner tonight is on our own.

Day 2: Bogota

After a briefing this morning on the journey ahead, we set out to discover Bogota, one of the largest cities in Latin America. Our first stop is colorful Paloquemao, Bogota’s major market visited by restaurant chefs as well as locals shopping for meat, fish, and exotic produce from around the world. Then we continue on a walking tour through the nearby colonial district of La Candelaria. Founded in 1538, La Candelaria became the core of Bogota as the city grew up around it. Our tour includes the Gold Museum, featuring the world’s largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold work; and the Botero Museum, housing paintings and sculpture by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s foremost living artist, along with his collection of mid-19th-century works by such artists as Corot, Renoir, and Monet. Tonight we gather for a welcome dinner. B,L,D

Day 3: Bogota/Zipaquira

We begin this morning in the Usaquén neighborhood, whose colonial buildings, trendy restaurants, and flea market draw Sunday morning visitors. Then we travel north through the center of Colombia’s flower-growing industry to the town of Zipaquira, where we tour the “Salt Cathedral” – an underground church built inside a salt deposit. A functioning Roman Catholic church (not an actual cathedral), the Salt Cathedral is considered an architectural and engineering marvel, having been carved from the halite rock of subterranean tunnels. Then we stop for lunch at a local restaurant and have time to admire the historic city center. We return to Bogota mid-afternoon, with the remainder of the day at leisure. B,L

Day 4: Bogota/Armenia (Coffee Triangle)

Early today we fly to Colombia’s heartland: Armenia and the Coffee Triangle, where some of the world’s best coffee grows in the fertile valleys surrounded by snow-topped mountains. Upon arrival we visit a coffee plantation for a tour and to learn about Colombia’s role as a top producer of some of the finest java on Earth. We savor a coffee tasting, learning first-hand how to analyze the aroma, flavor, and body of good coffee. Then we continue on to our intimate hacienda, where we dine tonight. B,L,D

Day 5: Armenia/Cocora Valley

oday we embark on a full-day tour of this pastoral region, beginning in Cocora Valley, in the Central Cordillera of the Colombian Andes. One of the last remaining homes of the giant Quindio wax palm tree, Colombia’s national tree, Cocora Valley is part of the larger Los Nevados National Natural Park. We reach a cloud forest, where we set out on an easy hike for outstanding views and to get up close to the diverse biome here at an altitude of about 6,000 to 8,000 feet. We may see the Andean condor and several species of hummingbird that live here. Then we continue on to Salento, a tranquil and picturesque town with much of its traditional architecture intact and where we enjoy a tour through Bolivar Square with its colorful balconies and handcraft shops. Late this afternoon we return to our lodge, where we dine tonight. B,L,D

Day 6: Armenia/Medellin

We fly this morning to Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city known for its social and political advances. Upon arrival we head downtown for lunch before embarking on a panoramic tour of the “City of Eternal Spring,” so named for its temperate climate. Then we visit the Museo de Antioquia, Colombia’s second oldest museum with a noted collection of pre-Columbian, colonial, and modern art, as well as paintings and sculpture by native son Fernando Botero. Late this afternoon we reach our hotel; dinner is at a local restaurant. B,L,D

Day 7: Medellin

We get to know Medellin in more detail today – and learn why in 2012 it was named one of the 200 most innovative cities around the world. This morning’s city tour features a walk around Botero Square, the inviting sculpture plaza melding art, nature, and culture, with 23 outdoor works by Fernando Botero. We also visit Cerro Nutibara for lovely panoramic views; and get a close-up look at some of Medellin’s vibrant neighborhoods. Our tour ends in time for lunch on our own and an afternoon at leisure to explore this lively city as we wish. Tonight we dine together at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 8: Medellin/Santa Elena

Today we visit nearby Santa Elena, a typical – and beautiful – colonial town where traditions related to Colombia’s flower-growing prowess live on. After touring here, we enjoy lunch with a local family. Next we board the Medellin Metrocable, the city’s iconic gondola that traverses a 1.2-mile route to the Santa Domingo barrio to Biblioteca España, Medellin’s treasured ultra-modern library complex. Then we descend by Metrocable to the city center. We return to our hotel late afternoon; dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 9: Medellin/Cartagena

We fly this morning to Cartagena, where upon arrival we set out on a city tour. An important center of political and economic activity during the Spanish Colonial era, Cartagena today remains a center of economic activity for the Caribbean, as well as a major city and beach resort. Tour highlights include 16th-century San Felipe Fort, strategically located atop San Lazaro hill to defend against attacks by land or sea; and Las Bovedas, archways – formerly dungeons – built into the city walls that now house artisan shops and boutiques. Dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 10: Cartagena

Today we explore Cartagena’s emotional heart: the walled colonial city (Ciudad Amurallada), a UNESCO World Heritage site that has remained vital – and alluring – for almost 500 years. Our morning walking tour takes in the 12-foot-high city walls, winding cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings bedecked with flowers, and intimate plazas. Then the remainder of the day is at leisure for independent exploration. Lunch today is on our own in this vibrant seaside city; tonight we take a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride to our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 11: Depart for U.S.

We transfer this morning to the Cartagena airport for our flight to the U.S., where we connect with our return flights home. B

Included Meals noted each day: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
 
This trip involves full days of sightseeing and significant amounts of walking. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour. 
 
Tour Price Includes:

  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 10 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and unrated hotels
  • 23 meals: 10 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of a profesional tour director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers


What’s not included:
 Passport, visas and associated fees; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance;  baggage charges on aircraft; discretionary gratuity for tour director; International airfare and transfers and baggage handling to/from hotel on day of arrival and/or departure if you have booked as a “land only” participant; any overnight on land due to flight schedule(s); meals, alcoholic or other beverages and all other services not specifically mentioned in the “Included Features” section of the program brochure.  

Accommodations:


NH Andino Royal , Bogota / Days 1-3 / Superior First Class

The NH Andino Royal is centrally located in Bogota’s Zona Rosa entertainment district, in close proximity to the many restaurants and boutiques in the Zona T pedestrian zone. The 70-room hotel’s amenities include a restaurant and bar, fitness center, sauna, massage room, terrace, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry service. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Mirador de las Palmas , Armenia / Days 4-5 / Not rated

Overlooking the Quindio Maravélez Valley, the Mirador de las Palmas offers intimate lodgings in the heart of the Coffee Triangle. The 24-room hacienda features a variety of amenities including a restaurant and bar, rooftop terrace, garden, hot tub, sauna and steam room, outdoor pool, massage treatments, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, game room, and gift shop. Guest rooms have private bath (shower only), fan, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone. Please note that while this is one of the best hotels available in this region, you will find the hotel’s quality to be lower than at other sites on your tour. Your room will be clean and comfortable but not luxurious, and it does not have air conditioning.

NH Medellín Royal , Medellin / Days 6-7 / Superior First Class

The NH Medellin Royal enjoys a prime location in El Poblado, one of Medellin’s most upscale neighborhoods, close to shopping and dining. Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, outdoor terrace pool, fitness center, Jacuzzi, spa, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry and dry cleaning services. The 125 contemporary air-conditioned guest rooms feature private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Bastión Luxury Hotel , Cartagena / Days 8-10, Extension / Deluxe

Situated in Cartagena’s old walled city, the Bastión Luxury Hotel occupies a remodeled 16th-century building next to historic Santo Toribio Church and near other attractions and restaurants. The 51-room hotel’s amenities include a restaurant and bar, rooftop terrace, fitness center, spa with sauna and massage treatments, outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms blend contemporary décor with colonial touches and feature private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, ceiling fan, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.