Art Culture & Cuisine of Colombia
Vacation type:Luxury Gold
Duration: 10 days
DAY 1WELCOME TO BOGOTÁ.On arrival at El Dorado International Airport, you will be welcomed and taken to the Sofitel Bogotá Victoria Regia. Situated in the buzzing Zona T area, you’ll find yourself just steps away from the city’s best shopping, nightlife and cafes. Meet your Travelling Concierge and fellow travellers for a glass of sparkling wine before transferring from your hotel to esteemed local restaurant, Criterion, run by the renowned Rausch brothers. Priding itself on its contemporary French cuisine with Colombian influences, indulge on sophisticated delicacies as you get to know your new travel companions.Hotel:Sofitel Bogotá Victoria Regia (Superior Rooms). Meals:Dinner with Wine
DAY 2HIGHLIGHTS OF BOGOTÁ.A full buffet breakfast awaits you at your hotel this morning. You are transported to the Gold Museum for a private before-hours guided tour by a Local Expert. You’ll see an extraordinary selection of pre-Hispanic gold work, ceramic and textiles from pre-Colombian cultures. Afterwards, take a guided walking tour of La Candelaria, a vibrant neighborhood in the heart of the city, where you’ll find the Primada Cathedral, Botero Museum and Bolívar Square. The latter is Bogota’s main square and hosts the statue of Simón Bolívar, which was sculpted in 1846 and was the first public monument in the city. Take a cable car to Monserrate Hill, where you’ll capture striking views of Bogotá from above. You’ll enjoy lunch at San Isidro restaurant before heading for a coffee tasting experience or ‘coffee baptism’ where you’ll learn about premium coffee products. If you are on a Chairman's Collection departure, today you will meet Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vasquez.Meals:Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 3PALOQUEMAO MARKET AND ZIPAQUIRA SALT CATHEDRAL.In the morning, take a guided tour of Paloquemao Market with a chef. Learn more about the area’s local ingredients and assist her with recipe shopping and lunch preparation. You’ll have a cooking demonstration at the chef's restaurant before sitting down to a delicious lunch made with your own hands. This afternoon, enjoy time at leisure in Bogotá. Ask your Travelling Concierge for tips on cafes, shops and museums to head to. Later, take an after-hours guided visit to the Salt Cathedral Zipaquirá, a fascinating underground Roman Catholic Church built within the tunnels of a salt mine. Transfer from Zipaquirá to Andres Carne de Res, a decadently decorated bar and restaurant, aesthetically an eccentric combination of Moulin Rouge and Alice in Wonderland. Expect bright lights, theatrical service and colorful ceramic cows.Meals:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine
DAY 4BOGOTÁ TO MEDELLÍN.Transfer from your hotel to the airport for your included flight to Medellín. On arrival you’ll head to a demonstration of Paso Fino horses. Journey to the quaint mountainside town of Santa Elena where you’ll have lunch at a local restaurant. Move on to your VIP visit of a local finca. While here you’ll meet the silletero or flower farmer, who will lead you around the property’s grounds while they talk to you about how flowers are cultivated and how Colombia has become the second largest exporter of cut flowers. Tonight’s meal is at Carmen restaurant, situated inside an elegant house in the popular El Poblado neighbourhood.Hotel:Medellin Marriott Hotel (Concierge Level Room). Meals:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine
DAY 5COFFEE COUNTRY.Today offers a full day VIP excursion through the Andes into paisa country. This vibrant region is made up of flower farms, a lush cloud forest and sprawling green mountains, dedicated to the region’s famous coffee beans. Visit Oro Molido’s La Sierra Coffee Plantation, one of Colombia’s oldest coffee farms. Perched in the Central Andean Mountains, it has a nearly perfect climate with warm days and cool nights. You’ll meet the owner of the farm and learn more about the industry, as you help plant a few coffee bushes before you sit down to a well-earned lunch with your hosts. Try the "Bandeja Paisa," one of the most popular Colombian dishes, made from refried beans, white rice, beef, chicharrón, chorizo, fried egg and banana. After lunch enjoy a coffee tasting and discover how processing, roasting and preparation all influence the coffee’s flavour profile.Meals:Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 6MEDELLÍN AND COMUNA 13 SIGHTSEEING.Wake for a before-hours private visit to the Antioquia Museum, housing one of the largest art collections of Fernando Botero. You'll be guided by his granddaughter, Alejandra Quintana, as you explore his iconic works. Meet a local personality and learn how Medellin overcame its dangerous history to become a model city and haven for American retirees. Following your meeting, you’ll have time to wander around Plaza Botero, before moving on to Comuna 13, using the city’s famous escalator system. Meet your expert guide Chota, a young graffiti artist who was born and raised in the neighborhood, along with a survivor of Comuna 13 when it was at its most dangerous. Notorious for Pablo Escobar turning it into the crime capital of the world, discover more about the area’s gruesome history and how it has reinvented itself into one of Medellín’s coolest neighborhoods. Transfer to the city’s Botanical Gardens, where you’ll sit down for a scenic lunch. The rest of the day is yours at leisure. You Traveling Concierge will be on hand to give you advice on where to head. Dinner this evening is at the esteemed El Cielo, an elegant restaurant created by Juan Manuel Barrientos, one of the top 50 chefs in Latin America. He is famous for bringing the art and science of molecular gastronomy to his home town of Medellín.Meals:Breakfast, Lunch with Wine, Dinner with Wine
DAY 7MEDELLÍN TO CARTAGENA.Wake early for your transfer to the airport, as you move on to your next destination, Cartagena. Once there, you’ll be picked up directly from the airport and taken for motorcoach sightseeing. Travel to the pretty fisherman village of La Boquilla, outside of Cartagena. Enjoy a folkloric show based on local afro-Colombian rhythms, before stepping onboard canoes to explore the mangroves and witness an artisanal fishing demonstration. Taste a traditional coconut drink before heading for lunch at Karibana Golf Club. Transfer to your hotel, where you’ll have superior rooms at the luxurious Sofitel Legend Santa Clara. Freshen up and enjoy some free time before a private guided visit to San Felipe Fortress, an impressive building constructed in the colonial era. Move on to a private guided visit to Las Bovedas and Conveto de La Popa which is located at the top of Mount Popa.Hotel:Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, Cartagena (Superior Rooms). Meals:Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 8CARTAGENA, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.Start your day with a guided walking tour of Old Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See its cobble-stoned streets and perfectly preserved 16th century colorful mansions. Visit the Inquisition Palace and the Church of San Pedro de Claver, before stopping at Plaza Bolivar and meeting with a palenquera fruit seller. Dressed in vibrant outfits, you’ll find them expertly balancing bowls of fruit on their heads. Lunch will be at the esteemed La Cevicheria, a once little-known spot, prized by locals. The venue came into the spotlight when the late Anthony Bourdain shot an episode of No Reservations there. Meet with chef Jorge Escandon and learn more about his friendship with Bourdain. Your afternoon is at leisure. Choose between three restaurants all within walking distance from your hotel for a Your Choice Dining evening in Cartagena. Head to Alma for a romantic ambiance and an open-air courtyard, to la Vitrola for an upbeat 1950s-era Havana vibe with live music, or perhaps dress up for a swanky dinner at Maria, which is known for its expertly crafted cocktails and inventive seafood dishes.Meals:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine
DAY 9LITERARY CARTAGENA AND A YOUR CHOICE AFTERNOON.Meet Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s niece Gabriela Garcia and learn about her uncle, a literary giant, who is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Most famous for his Masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, which was translated into 37 languages, he was awarded the literature Nobel Prize in 1982 for his novels and short stories. Learn about his international fame and his work’s strong connection with Cartagena. This afternoon, experience Cartagena Your Way by choosing from four activities, including a private Colombian rum tasting, a privatesalsa dance class, a private workshop on Colombian emeralds at the Emerald Museum or a private Caribbean cuisine cooking class with a local specialist. Later, your Celebration Dinner will be at Club de Pesca, one of the most traditional and famous restaurants in the city. Set in one of the colonial fortresses of the colony in the Bay of Cartagena, it has its own private dock, allowing guests to arrive for dinner by boat. Choose from a wide selection of Chilean, Argentine, Italian and Spanish wines as you toast to your journey with your fellow travellers one last time.Meals:Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
DAY 10DEPART CARTAGENA.Your luxury trip will come to an end after breakfast with an included transfer to Rafael Núñez International Airport.Meals:Breakfast
BOGOTA (TRADITIONAL) - COLOMBIA
A few steps from luxury stores, upscale restaurants and exclusive bars, this luxury French-style hotel of La Cabrera, Zona T, offers innovative Bistronomy proposals, cocktails and live music. Guestrooms standout by their French branded amenities like Lanvin or Hermès and the exclusive SOFITEL MyBedTM concept, for unrivalled levels of comfort. The hotel is home to wonderful relaxation spaces as well as an inbuilt spirit of attention to detail and a concierge service anticipating every visitors' needs.
MEDELLIN MARRIOTT HOTEL
COLOMBIA (CONTEMPORARY) - COLOMBIA
Situated in the heart of El Poblado, the city's Financial and Fashion District, this hotel is ideally situated. Modern rooms make a perfect retreat after a busy day. Indulge in relaxation at our luxury spa or outdoor pool boasting sprawling city views.
SOFITEL LEGEND SANTA CLARA CARTEGENA HOTEL
CARTEGENA (HERITAGE) - COLOMBIA
The Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is a hotel filled with stories. Housed in a former convent, it offers the perfect blend of colonial architecture and French luxury. Its privileged location is close to Cartagena's main tourist attractions. Enjoy the comfort of the rooms, as well as personalized service, gourmet cuisine and an upscale spa.
Colombia is home to some of the world's best coffee thanks in part to the "coffee triangle", located in the heart of the Andean Mountain Range. Travellers to this area can tour farms and taste an assortment of coffee beans.
The city of Cartagena, founded in the 16th Century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk down its cobblestone streets and enjoy the sight of colourful colonial buildings from one of the country's most historic cities. Bogota is Colombia's capital city and is known for its blend of contemporary style and historic roots. The city sits about 2,600 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest altitude cities in South America.
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is well worth a visit. A Roman Catholic church that sits nearly 200 metres underground within a salt mine, it is known as one of Colombia's architectural wonders.
Colombia's cultural heritage and geography have influenced the country's cuisine. Common ingredients in Colombian cuisine are seafood, tropical fruit, rice, maize, chicken, pork, goat and beef. Signature dishes include aborajados (fried sweet plantains with cheese), ajiaco (potato and corn soup), bandeja paisa (a platter of red beans, cooked pork, fried egg and plantain) and cuchuco (soup made with fava beans, potatoes, ribs and peas).
Colombian coffee is famous throughout the world for its high quality and unique flavours, many locals enjoy a cafe con leech, which is a hot drink that is half coffee and half heated milk. Other popular drinks include champus (a thick drink made from corn, pineapple and lulo), lulada (a lulo-based drink with a smoothie like consistency) and salpicon (which means 'large splash' and is made from diced fruit and soda).
Landscape and wildlife
Considered one of the world's mega diverse countries in biodiversity, Colombia is home to six different natural regions; the Andes mountain region, the Pacific coastal region, the Caribbean coastal regions, the llanos, and the Amazon Rainforest region. The country has an incredible amount of birdlife and is also home to between 10 and 20% of the world's plant species. In all, Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, only falling behind Brazil which is seven times larger.