Colonial Towns of Colombia

14D / 13N

Are you ready to take a journey into the past, explore the magical present, and see how
tradition and modern life overlap? If so, then this excursion is for you! Take luxury tours
in Colombia, wandering through the historic colonial towns that decorate this country.

Wander the plethora of cobblestone streets, lined with colonial architecture in the cities of Bogota and Cartagena.
Experience local life in the quaint villages and towns of Colombia’s countryside, learning culinary and architectural
traditions maintained throughout the Andes. Go fishing with locals in coastal Cartagena, and relish this slow-paced
adventure that truly immerses travelers in the simple pleasures of Colombia.

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
DEC - MAR

IDEAL TRIP LENGTH
14 DAYS

Highlights

  • Explore Bogota’s historic Candelaria District.
  • Learn the history of Bogota and wander the lively Plaza de Paloquemao market.
  • Visit historic colonial towns in the Colombian Andes.
  • Mingle with the locals and learn about their traditions and customs.
  • Hike ancient paths created by the Guane indigenous people.
  • Explore Cartagena and discover the UNESCO-protected architecture with a private guide.
  • Stay at exclusive hand-picked accommodations.

Itinerary

Welcome to Colombia!

When your flight arrives in Bogota, a Kuoda host will welcome you personally and escort you to the hotel. Instead of navigating a new city after a long flight, let us take care of the transportation logistics. We will drop you off at your hotel so you can refresh and enjoy a peaceful evening before your romantic honeymoon experience begins. Relax with a good night’s rest before exploring Bogota in the morning.

Enjoy a private city tour of Bogota

Today, you will experience the most iconic sites in Colombia’s historic capital city. Admire the world’s largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold while visiting the Gold Museum. Then, see the artistic work of Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous painter and sculptor at the Museo Botero.

As we wander through the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria, we will admire the unique architecture and witness spectacular panoramic views of the city from the top of Cerro de Monserrate. Finish the day with a tour of a local roasting coffee plant, where you’ll learn how to taste and differentiate the quality and flavors of different coffees, just like an expert.

Explore local villages on the way to Villa de Leyva

Early in the morning, we will start our road trip towards Villa de Leyva. Along the way, we will visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and Raquira. Built within the tunnels of a salt mine, this Cathedral is situated deep underground and has three sections representing the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ. The illumination and construction work is a tribute to modern engineering techniques, celebrated by the master miners and artists who collaborated on the project.

After visiting the Cathedral, we will continue our trip towards Raquira, a colorful village with brightly painted facades and a jumble of craft shops. This beautiful community is famous for its pottery and clay pieces, making it a wonderful spot for shopping. After a brief stop lunch, we’ll continue on toward Villa de Leyva.

Villa de Leyva is a small Spanish-style town founded in 1572. It was home to many influential politicians, artists, and wealthy families during the colonial period. This lovely town, built in the classic Spanish colonial style with whitewashed houses, cobbled streets, and terracotta roofs, has been remarkably well-preserved. Its central plaza is the largest in Colombia and South America and is surrounded by magnificent colonial buildings, restaurants, and shops.

Traditional farming and cuisine

Early in the morning, we will travel to a farm located just one hour from Villa de Leyva. Here, we will indulge in a traditional Colombian breakfast, followed by a cooking experience to learn how to make “almohabana”, a traditional Colombian corn pastry. During this experience, you will have the opportunity to mingle with the family and learn the history of how ancient indigenous people used to process and cook corn. After this fascinating and delectable activity, we will head to another local farm to learn everything about panela production, a product derived from sugar cane.

Once lunch concludes head to the Convento Santo Ecce Homo, founded by the Dominican fathers in 1620. The convent is a spectacular stone-and-adobe construction with a lovely courtyard paved with stones quarried in the region. Decorated with ammonites and fossils like petrified corn and flowers, this is a uniquely beautiful site to study. At the end of the visit, we will go back to Villa de Leyva. You will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Journey from Villa de Leyva to Barichara

After breakfast, we will start our journey towards Barichara, another colonial town located in the department of Santander.

Splendid colonial architecture, hand-carved stone, and wooden balconies are some of the reasons why Barichara has officially been named the most beautiful town in Colombia. Located in one of the most mountainous regions of Colombia, you will be impressed by the unique natural landscape of this town. The journey from Villa de Leyva to Barichara will take approximately 4 hours. Along the way, we will stop to take relish the impressive landscape and capture a few photos.

A tour of beautiful Barichara

Today, we will go to a local house to learn about the construction of colonial houses. You’ll get to study the local techniques used in the Andean regions and get a hands-on experience with the experts. This workshop will also be an excellent opportunity to connect with the local community and learn more about their daily lives.

Then, visit some of the most important colonial buildings in the town, including Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción, Casa de la Cultura, and other historical sites. Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción is an impressive sandstone structure that dominates the town square. It is the main church in Barichara and is particularly lovely at sunset when the stone turns a rich orange. Take some time to explore this lovely town, full of small cafés, boutique craft shops, and photogenic street scenes.

Hiking a scenic trail to Guane

Today, we will be hiking for about 2 hours along the Camino Real, an ancient trail that connects Barichara and the small town of Guane.

The Camino Real trail was originally built by the Guane indigenous people, then used later by the Spanish. The old paved path was last restored in 1864 by the German George von Lenguerke. Hiking this ancient trail is not too strenuous, as it is mostly downhill and will take you through a beautiful landscape of the canyon and valley surrounding the town. The trail offers some great views and a peaceful environment.

Guane is an even smaller version of Barichara, a charming place to enjoy some lunch and relax in this off-the-beaten-path community. Once you return to Barichara, spend some time visiting the main highlights of the town, enjoying the rest of the day at leisure.

Passing through small towns to Zapatoca

After breakfast, we will start our journey towards Zapatoca, located 2.5 hours north of Barichara. On the way, we will pass through quaint small towns like Galán and Fuente that feel frozen in time, preserving the slow, comfortable pace of a simpler time.

Located in the middle of a spectacular canyon landscape, Zapatoca was built in the 17th century. This is a destination few travelers get to experience, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of its streets surrounded by the spectacular natural landscape. Before going to the hotel, you’ll get to enjoy a private tour of the enchanting community.

A day of relaxation in beautiful surroundings

Today, indulge in the opportunity to relax and recharge your mind and body. Hotel Sindamanoy, where you are staying, is a luxury spa focused on wellness. You will be able to spend your time focusing on self-care, relaxation, and overall well-being with some spa treatments at the hotel. You can also enjoy some time walking around the town if you want a calm day exploring the streets.

Chicamocha National Park / Flight to Cartagena

After breakfast, the journey towards Bucaramanga will begin. On the way, we will stop at Chicamocha National Park, Colombia’s most extensive canyon and one of the most iconic outdoor sites in Santander. It’s an excellent photo spot so get ready to take some enviable shots to show your friends back home. After arriving in Bucaramanga, we will go to the airport for a late afternoon flight to Cartagena.

Upon arrival in Cartagena, we’ll escort you to your hotel for a good night’s rest.

Discovering the historic fortress city of Cartagena

In the morning, your guide will meet you as you set off to explore the vast history and beauty of the city of Cartagena. The expedition begins at the Castillo San Felipe, the largest Spanish fortification in the Americas, which dominates Old Town. Built to defend against invaders, pirates, and looters, the walls of San Felipe have stood strong since the 16th century. This is the most well-preserved fortress in South America, and one of the world’s best-walled cities, which explains why it was given the honor of being a UNESCO Heritage Site. .

Old Town is the historic heart and soul of Cartagena. We will walk around its cobbled streets, visiting and passing by the main historical sites. Then, you will have the afternoon to relax at the hotel or carry on exploring the old city, admire its architecture, and immerse yourself in its romantic atmosphere.

Discover La Boquilla and La Ciénaga de Tesca

Early in the morning, we will go to La Boquilla, a small fishing village located on the outskirts of Cartagena. This little community sits on the northern tip of a narrow peninsula, bordered by the sea on one side and the Ciénaga de Tesca on the other.

At La Boquilla, we will take a trip in a wooden canoe through the mangrove forest, gliding through tunnels of mangroves to see a few native and migratory birds found in this ecosystem. After the mangroves, we will arrive at more open water and learn how to fish from a local fisherman. You’ll get to learn how to cast a net and set crab traps.

After learning to fish in the mangrove forest, we will go back to the town to enjoy a traditional lunch, consisting of fresh seafood most common along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. While dining, you will learn more about the locals’ day-to-day lives and their culture. After lunch, return to the hotel for a bit of rest and free time.

A day at leisure

Spend the day to carry on exploring Cartagena on your own. Wander around the cobbled streets in the historic city, visit some colonial churches or go to Getsemaní to see its colorful graffiti.

Bid farewell to Colombia

Going home is the worst part of any private Colombia vacation, but at Kuoda, we’ll do our best to make it as smooth and hassle-free as possible. We’ll bring you to the airport for your return flight for the journey home. Buen Viaje!

PRICE & INCLUSIONS

Each journey is tailored to your specific needs and desires, and so our prices vary depending on the number of people
traveling, level of accommodations desired, and activities included, among other factors.

Our travel designers will curate a journey specifically for you. If you have a budget you want us to work with, please let
us know, and we will do our best to achieve it.

PRICE INCLUDES

  • Personalized itinerary planning
  • A Kuoda host to assist you in every location
  • The majority of meals in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

  • International flights to and from your home country
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not specified
  • All gratuities

ACCOMMODATIONS

From luxury properties to boutique hotels, our staff handpicks your ideal stay to ensure you get the ultimate comfort during your travels.

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Sustainable Travel

This sample itinerary was tailored to show the impact of your trip and how
you can take concrete actions toward sustainable travel.

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