We’re thrilled to invite you to join Almaz Journeys co-founders Greg Tepper and Joe Sandillo in Colombia in January 2022. For this Founder’s Trip small group journey, we’ve leveraged our connections in Bogota and Cartagena to offer you an in-depth look at this fascinating country’s past, present and future.
Starting in Bogota, we’ll explore the booming capital’s colonial history, sample the vibrant art scene, and learn firsthand about the tremendous progress of the last two decades. Then it’s on to Cartagena – the crown jewel of the Caribbean – for a look at the dazzling architecture, distinct cuisine and culture of Colombia’s coast.
We also have a few enticing pre- or post-tour extension options available, for those with more time. This tour is a guaranteed departure, but has a minimum of 6 participants in order to be hosted. Please contact us for more information on trip operation with under 6 participants. Exact order of tour activities subject to change for operational considerations.
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Day 1January 14, 2022
Arrival into Bogota
Arrivals into Bogotá today from the U.S. Bogotá can be easily reached via nonstop flights from major U.S. gateways such as New York, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
For city lovers, a visit to this booming capital of 8 million inhabitants – and situated at 8,660 feet above sea level – is an absolute must. Both the political and financial capital of Colombia, Bogota offers you a thriving dining and cocktail scene, rich colonial history, a vibrant arts scene, great shopping, some charming park-filled neighborhoods, and the country’s top boutique hotels.
Your private driver and English-speaking Almaz Journeys guide will greet you as you exit Customs at Bogota’s El Dorado International airport, for your private transfer to the Four Seasons Hotel Bogota.
After check-in, you’ll have the evening to settle in and adjust to the altitude before the start of group activities tomorrow morning. If you arrive early enough to have dinner, we’ll be happy to assist you with dinner suggestions and reservations.
Day 2January 15, 2022
Exploration of Bogota
After breakfast, we’ll gather in the lobby to meet our English-speaking guide and driver and begin our exploration of the Colombian capital. Today’s exploration will give us a sense of the city’s history, as well as its place in Colombian society and in the context of the events of the last century. We’ll begin this morning by walking the streets of La Candelaria, the historic center of Bogotá. While here, we’ll have a curator-led visit to the Botero Museum, which is dedicated to the work of the greatest Colombian contemporary artist known for his signature style of painting oversized people and objects.
After lunch at one of Almaz’s favorite restaurants in La Candelaria, we’ll spend the afternoon learning about Colombia’s peace process and implementation, including some background on what led to the conflict as well as a visit to a high-altitude coffee business run by a community that has directly benefited from the peace process.
We’ll head back to the hotel afterward for some time to rest and freshen up before our group’s welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Day 3January 16, 2022
Further Exploration of Bogota
After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll head north to the historic Usaquén for a brief guided visit as well as a private coffee tasting, to learn about and taste Colombia’s most famous export. Then, a bit of free time to explore the Sunday market before gathering together for lunch.
For those who’d prefer a more active morning, we can arrange (additional cost applies) for a guide to take you out biking with locals on the ciclovia. Every Sunday and holiday morning, Bogotá closes more than 60 miles of streets for use only by pedestrians and bicyclists. Bogotá was actually a pioneer for this, and it’s a terrific way to experience the city. This tour would end in Usaquén in time for you to join the group for the transfer downtown.
This afternoon, we’ll head back downtown for a special visit to the Gold Museum with one of their in-house experts. This museum houses an incredible pre-Spanish collection and is a must for any visit to Bogota. Afterward, we’ll take a private funicular up to the Montserrate sanctuary, symbol of the Colombian capital. With a peak over 10,000 feet above sea level, this is without question the best place for panoramic views of Bogotá and the surrounding valley. Tonight, we’ll cap off our Bogota visit this evening with a private dinner prepared just for us by a local chef.
Day 4January 17, 2022
Off to Cartagena
We’ll check out and head to the airport for the flight (not included) on to Cartagena, a short 90-minute nonstop flight to Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Our local Cartagena guide will welcome us on arrival for transfer to the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Hotel, a beautiful five-star property housed in a former 17th century convent.
After check-in and lunch, we’ll gather with our guide to begin with a walking tour through the historic walled city’s colorful streets and majestic squares reflecting a variety of influences – Moorish, colonial, military, Arabic, and Spanish and North American – that have made Cartagena what it is today.
To cap off our first afternoon in Cartagena, we’ll enjoy a sunset cocktail from a terrific vantage point overlooking the old city.
Evening at leisure, but we’ll provide numerous dinner suggestions and be happy to make advance reservations.
Day 5January 18, 2022
Exploration of Cartagena
This morning, we’ll explore the historic yet evolving Getsemaní neighborhood, followed by a private cooking class to learn about – and taste – the unique flavors of coastal Colombian cuisine born of Spanish, African and indigenous influences.
After enjoying a delicious lunch we’ll head back to our hotel mid-afternoon for a bit of time at leisure.
Later this afternoon, we’ll gather again for a tasting journey through Colombian rum, led by one of the best local mixologists, followed by dinner together at one of our favorite restaurants in Cartagena.
Day 6January 19, 2022
Further Exploration of Cartagena
This morning, a specialist guide will give us a look at the city through the lens of the work of Nobel prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose works of ‘magical realism’ often capture the essence of Colombia and particularly its coast. We strongly recommend reading at least one of his novels or watching a film adaptation to truly enjoy this morning. We can gladly provide a suggested reading and viewing list in advance of the trip.
Afterward, we’ll have some free time in the afternoon for lunch and to explore and shop independently.
To close out our stay in Colombia, we’ll gather late afternoon for a beautiful sunset cruise around Cartagena bay by private catamaran, followed by a farewell dinner.
Day 7January 20, 2022
After check-out today, transfers to the airport for your flight onward (Air not included.)
If you’re not ready to go home yet, there’s more to explore in Colombia – or if you’re flying Copa, how about a stopover in Panama beforehand? Below are four private tour extensions to consider, and we can gladly customize for you:
Private Journey PricingPer Person
From Price Per Person
|Double room || |
|Single room || |
- Grand Premier King/Twin room at Four Seasons Hotel Bogota for three (3) nights
- Superior King/Twin room at Sofitel Legend Hotel Santa Clara in Cartagena for three (3) nights
- Please contact us for room upgrade options at both hotels.
- Breakfast daily and service charge in all hotels
- Lunch days 2-5 (includes one beer/glass of wine per person.)
- Dinner days 2, 5 and 6 (includes two beers/glasses of wine per person)
- U.S. tour leader accompanying the group for all included activities and meals
- Local host English-speaking guides in both Bogota and Cartagena, for all sightseeing and airport transfers as described
- Private group transportation for sightseeing and airport transfers as described, with bottled water.
- Entrances for all sights and experiences specifically included in the group’s itinerary
- 24-hour in-country emergency contact
- Advance assistance with restaurant selection and reservations for meals not with the group.
- Air travel. (Please contact Almaz Journeys before booking internal Bogota-Cartagena one-way flight, to ensure travel with the group.)
- Gratuities for guides, drivers, and hotel staff.
- Recommended travel insurance. (Please contact Almaz Journeys for a quote if interested.)
- Any other item or service not specifically included in the itinerary