October 9 BOGOTÁ
Welcome to Colombia! Arrival at the El Dorado Airport in Bogotá (see Sample Air Schedules section for suggested schedules). Reception and transfer to the Hotel Cite.
Hotel Cite ****
October 10 BOGOTÁ
Enjoy a free day in Bogotá to explore on your own. You may wish to take in the sights from the hilltop of Monserrate by aerial tramway or explore Quinta de Bolívar, the former residence of Simon Bolívar, now turned into a museum and garden dedicated to Bolivar’s life and times. Maybe search out a flower greenhouse or learn about Colombia’s chocolate industry. Our guide will be available to make suggestions. Meet this evening for a transfer to the lovely San Isidro restaurant in Monserrate for a Welcome Dinner. Return to the hotel for overnight. (B-D)
Hotel Cite ****
October 11 BOGOTÁ - HALF DAY
Wednesday BOGOTÁ CITY TOUR &
After a hearty breakfast, enjoy a visit to the historic center of Bogotá known as La Candelaria. This archaic suburb has great significance in the country’s history due to its cultural heritage, and is also a great example of Spanish colonial architecture. Visit the main square Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great emancipator Simon Bolivar is located. The plaza, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes, as a marketplace, bullring and gallows. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, is constructed on the same spot where the first church was built in Bogotá (1539) and houses an important collection of religious artifacts such as textiles and an art collection that has been built over four centuries. The Capilla del Sagrario is located just beside the Cathedral and is a gem of religious architecture. It houses valuable pieces of colonial religious art by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos. The Capitol, built between 1847 and 1926, shows its renaissance and neoclassical influences with its carved stonework and tall columns, and it was the first example of republican civil architecture. The central area of the Capitol, known as the Elliptic Hall, is where congress meets and is the actual chamber for politicians and the Senate. In the internal squares are busts of former presidents such as General Tomás Cipriano Mosquera, president over four terms, and Rafael Núñez, the composer of the Colombian National Anthem. Around the Plaza de Bolivar are buildings such as the Palacio de Justicia, the Mayor of Bogotá’s offices called the Edificio Liévano, and the oldest school in the country called San Bartolome and the Casa de los Comuneros. These schools were named after the leaders that participated towards the end of the XVII Century in some of the first movements towards independence from Spain and the formation of the Republic.
The visit continues with the Botero Museum, a colonial house exhibiting some of Fernando Botero’s works of art. In addition you’ll see pieces from his own personal collection that includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí, Matisse, Monet and Giacometti. Next is the Gold Museum which has a permanent exhibition of some 32,000 pieces of gold, 20,000 stones, ceramics and textiles all precious to the Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures. The Gold Museum is considered one of the most important museums of its type internationally, and it has been operating since 1939. In 2007 it underwent a complete renovation making it possible for visitors to enjoy an interactive experience. The museum belongs to the International Network of Museums (ICOM).
In the afternoon, visit three artists in their studios, in order to meet and share their individual creative worlds. The offer of fine art artists in Bogotá is one of the most diverse in Latin America, graduating annually more than 2,000 new artists. We selected those artists that are most interesting because of their large and diverse national and international experience. Suggested artists: Alejandro Sanchez (painter), Annibal Gomescasseres (painter and photographer) Boris Perez (painter and sculptor), Camilo Pinto (painter and sculptor), Carlos Alarcon (painter), Miler Lagos (painter, sculptor and photographer) Felipe Ruiz (sculptor), Goitia (photographer and painter), Juan José García (painter), Leonardo Pineda (painter and sculptor), Luis Fernando Bohorquez (sculptor), Mario Arroyave (photographer), Rodrigo Echeverri (painter), Walbert Perez (painter).
Note 1: Customers may send in advance inquires about artists and/or techniques that might interest them during the tour, in order to satisfy their expectations.
Note 2: If you have specific artists that you may want to meet, our guide can arrange this meeting (Subject to availability).
Dinner is at the hotel restaurant. Our charming hotel will round out our day focused on th arts. (B-D)
Hotel La Colina ****
October 12 BOGOTÁ – ZIPAQUIRÁ AND
Thursday SALT CATHEDRAL
VILLA DE LEYVA
Depart from Bogotá and head north, towards Zipaquirá. Travel through the Bogotá Savannah, glancing at the many flower crops along the way. Flower production is an important industry for the hundreds of people that live in the region.
After a journey of roughly 1.15 hours reach the impressive Salt Cathedral, a true achievement of engineering. The name Zipaquirá refers to Zipa, the leader of the Muisca tribe and the chief of these rich salt mines. The excursion will begin by visiting the cathedral in a tunnel that passes the fourteen Stations of the Cross and continues on to the dome. The dome is lit in such a way that it allows one to contemplate the universe and the relationship between man and nature. Later, reach the enormous cross carved into the saline rock and finally the three naves of the Cathedral that represent the birth, life and death of Christ. In the central nave is the main altar, above which is the cross that measures 52 feet in height and 33 feet in breadth, made by the Colombian artist Carlos Enrique Rodriguez. This is the largest cross made from salt in the world. Next we visit the mine where there is an excellent auditorium which often hosts film screenings and events such as fashion shows. The trip ends at a mirror of water where it is possible to experience the amazing visual effects of water on carved saline rock.
After lunch at a local restaurant, continue on a 2-hour trip to Villa de Leyva in the afternoon. Upon arrival check in to our hotel, Hospedería La Duruelo. Hospedería literally means guest house.
Villa de Leyva, one of the area’s most beautiful towns, was founded in 1572 by Hernàn Suàrez de Villalobos who named it after Andrès Dìas Venero de Leyva, the first president of Nueva Granada. In colonial times, Villa de Leyva played a central role in the development for independence. The Viceroy and his entourage spent much time here. Today, the city is a colonial jewel with a main square measuring 46,000 square feet surrounded by Spanish style houses, small alleys, cobblestone streets and the XVII century parochial church.
Next we’ll explore The Fossil Museum, founded in 1977 and located 3 miles from Villa de Leyva. The museum was built exactly at the place where a Kronosaurus was discovered, a marine reptile of more than 120 million years and 65 feet in length! Return to the hotel for leisure time. (B-L)
Hospedería La Duruelo ***1/2
October 13 VILLA DE LEYVA – BOGOTÁ
After breakfast, return to Bogotá. On the way, we’ll stop to see the Convento del Santo Ecce Homo. Founded by the Dominicans in 1620, this was an important point of evangelization in a region populated by infidel indigenous communities. Transfer to the Bogotá Airport for your flight to Pereira (we recommend Avianca Airlines AV9417 departing at 5:01 PM arriving 6:01 PM). Welcome to Pereira! Upon arrival we’ll be met and transferred to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B-D)
Hacienda San Jose ***1/2
October 14 PEREIRA HALF DAY
Saturday HACIENDA SAN ALBERTO
PASO FINO (HORSE FARM)
Today we’ll have a half day visit to the coffee plantations along the steep hills which are typical of this area. On a secondary pathway view the green carpet of coffee plants that spread out as far as the horizon, interrupted only by fincas (farms) and beautiful heliconia flowers.
Visit Hacienda San Alberto, one of the coffee estates typical of the region and located near the town of Buenavista Quindío. The tour begins with a visit to the main house where you will be able to appreciate local typical architecture and history while at the same time enjoying an introductory chat about coffee, its preparation, toasting, the characteristics of quality and the properties that allow for such a variety of coffees in the world. The route continues through the plantations, appreciating the work of the coffee pickers as well as understanding the famous humid coffee that is characteristic of Colombian coffee. Walk through the coffee plantations and learn about the production system in minute detail, including the harvest, the drying in the sun and treatment in this land of volcanic terrain along the Central Andes Mountain Range. This has been declared a world Heritage site by UNESCO and offers the perfect climatic conditions for coffee growing.
The harvest in Colombia takes place year round, although the main period is between October and May/June. Most of the plantations in Colombia grow Arabica beans, which produce a delicate and light tasting coffee that is widely recognized and consumed. The process begins from when the bean is planted and takes approximately 75 days to germination. The seedling is then placed in a plastic bag and placed in partial sunlight until its base dries. Two years after planting the tree bears its first fruit, which is harvested when the bean is red in color, dry and ripe. Once the fruit has been picked, the pulp is stripped away and the bean is cleaned and dried in the sun (the big haciendas now use special machinery to strip and dry the beans in a short period of time). The beans are exported or dried in preparation for sale, before being ground up and made ready for human consumption.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we will have a spectacular opportunity to visit a horse breeder’s farm. Take a guided tour given by an expert horseman. Pass the stables and see the studs before being shown the process of training a colt to become a Paso Fino. Enjoy a display of award winning horses.
Return to the hotel and overnight stay.(B-L)
Hacienda San Jose ***1/2
October 15 PEREIRA
Sunday VALLE DEL COCORA
SALENTO – FILANDIA
In the morning depart for the Valle de Cocora, which is located in the central mountains of the Quindio. This makes up part of the Parque Nacional de los Nevados and is the ideal place to marvel at the “Quindian Wax Palm” (Ceroxylon quincense), the national tree of Colombia. This tree can reach a staggering height of nearly 200 feet. Around this area a great number of species of birds live, in particular some types of hummingbirds and the orejíamarillo or the palm parrot (Ognorhynchus Icteroti), which is endangered.
Upon arrival in the valley, either hiking or on horseback, head into the cloud forest to enjoy the biodiversity of flora and fauna. On the return journey, cross the River Quindio while walking along an ecological pathway that takes one past the tallest wax palms in the world. Learn why the indigenous people here worshiped this tree. Stop at a trout farm and enjoy a traditional meal of smoked trout. We’ll be sure to include some leisure time after lunch.
In the afternoon we’ll take in the traditional town of Salento to enjoy a city tour visiting the Plaza de Bolívar. See its colorful balconies, the calle real, the handicrafts shops and the view of Cocora Valley. Next we’ll visit the traditional village of Filandia with its colonial homes, the Plaza de Bolivar, the coffee shops and beautiful scenery. Here, enjoy some time to soak up the regional atmosphere, sip on a regional drink and mix with the locals. (B-L)
Hacienda San Jose ***1/2
October 16 PEREIRA – CARTAGENA
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Cartagena via Bogotá. We suggest Avianca Airlines AV8512/AV9788 via Bogotá departing at 10:25 AM and arriving Cartagena at 2:02 PM. We’ll be met and transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is free for individual activities. Enjoy dinner at Palo Santo Restaurant where we’ll hear live music. Return to the hotel for overnight. (B-D)
Anandá Hotel Boutique ****
(B&B Suite Rooms)
October 17 LOCAL MARKETS WITH
Tuesday COOKING LESSON
CARTAGENA PANORAMIC TOUR
This morning we depart in the company of a quality local chef, an enthusiast for local markets. Head to La Plaza de Mercado de Bazurto located in the suburb known as Pie de La Popa in Cartagena. This is Cartagena´s main local market and stocks the largest variety of fresh produce in the Caribbean region. Try some of the exotic fruits available and follow the expert as he is welcomed by the vendors. Certainly passengers will have an authentic local experience.
Before leaving the markets take the opportunity to choose and purchase the necessary produce that you will need for your cooking lesson. Continue the excursion heading to Manzanillo del Mar, only 15 minutes away from the center of Cartagena. The class will take place at the chef’s house which offers spectacular views of the sea and a large open kitchen perfect for the lesson.
After lunch, enjoy a walk at the beach or have a swim before returning to our hotel.
Later we will continue our tour with a panoramic view of the city from the Monasterio and Iglesia de La Popa. Formerly known as the “Popa del Galeon”, it is famous for resembling the stern of a galleon. Constructed in 1606 this church and monastery are located at a height of 450 feet where one can enjoy 360º views of the city, the sea and the port zone, one of the most important in the Caribbean. Continue to the San Felipe Fortress, erected in honor of the poet from Cartagena, Don Luis Carlos López, made famous for his sonnet “A mi ciudad nativa”. It was built on San Lázaro hill to defend the city from pirate attacks. Walk around the fortress and learn how the castle was constructed, the engineering feats, the tunnels, underground galleries and passageways. We continue to the Ciudad Vieja (old city) to visit the Convent and Church of San Pedro Claver, which was built in the middle of the seventeenth century and owes its name to the “apóstol de los esclavos”. Lastly, see the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas, a collection of archways built into the city wall of Cartagena that were used until the end of the 1700s to house armaments and then later as a prison in the 19th century. Nowadays it’s an artisan center where one can appreciate local handicrafts. Dinner tonight will be at Cande restaurant. (B-L-D)
Anandá Hotel Boutique ****
(B&B Suite Rooms)
October 18 CARTAGENA
Free day for individual activities or choose to do the optional full day tour to Rosario San Pedro de Majagua excursion listed on page 8 of the brochure. (B)
Anandá Hotel Boutique ****
(B&B Suite Rooms)
October 19 Depart CARTAGENA
Transfer to the airport for your flight home (see page 7 for suggested flights). (B)
Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.
B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
Extend your Stay
Request a brochure for our pre-trip tour for the Crafts & Culture of Ecuador, September 28 - October 9, 2017.