CARIBBEAN AND CENTRAL ANDES (FROM SEA TO SNOW) 12 DAYS

This Tour will begin in Cartagena and culminate in Medellin, one of the most progressive cities of the world. What is most interesting is that it will take us from sea level to nearly 5100 m above sea level.

Day 1: Arrival in Cartagena

We will arrive into Cartagena and depending on the arrival times, we will take a tour of the historical town, and walk around in areas of historical interest. We will then settle into our quarters for the night.

Day 2: Cartagena and Islands

We will rise early and head down to the docks where our boat will be waiting for us. Soon thereafter we will set of for a tour of the bay of Cartagena where our captain will explain some of the architectural and defensive wonders that where constructed to prevent attacks from pirates and plunderers on this important port. During our we will keep our eyes out for dolphins that may pass through the area. After a while, we will continue on to the Rosario Island Complex. Our first stop will be near isla Fiesta where we will have the opportunity to snorkel in a shallow coral reef. After an awesome snorkel and lunch we will head towards Isla Pavito where we will have an amazing view of a Magnificent Frigatebird colony. We will then head towards a nearby island called San Martin de Pajarales to an after-hours visit to the oceanarium. There we will have an opportunity to go behind the scenes and see the first Grouper captive breeding program as well as other ecological conservation efforts. If time permits, we will visit the Island's aviary, which showcases a large proportion of the islands land and pelagic birds that have been rescued. After Dinner, we will take a stroll over to the enchanted lagoon to watch the waters glow as a result of the high densities of luminescent zooplankton. After this terrific display of light we will head towards the Ecolodge where islanders will delight us with a dance display of Champeta, a dance depicting local folklore of the island's communities.

Day 3: Islands and return to Cartagena

We will rise at our leisure and head out to the beach where we will be able to enjoy the beach and snorkeling. Of particular interest is the artificial reef created by an eccentric artist made entirely of wine bottles that he consumed. We will have lunch on the island and then we will slowly make our way back towards Cartagena. Time permiting, we will snorkel at selected reefs before we enter the Bay of Cartagena. Once we arrive, we will head out on a 3.5 hr trip to Minca. We will stop along the way to take in the spectacular sights and sample local fruit. We will lodge at Minca.

Day 4: Minca-Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

This day will take us to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, starting at Minca. From this quaint town, we will use 4x$ vehicles to begin our ascent into the tallest coastal mountain range in the world. We will stop at various locations ending at El Drado. Along the way, we will learn about the local indigenous peoples, coffee plantations and it's exclusive flora and fauna. We will lodge at Minca.

Day 5: Minca-Tayrona Park

After a good breakfast, we will spend the morning in the Town of Minca and enjoy its surrounding areas before heading out towards our lodgings in Rio de Piedra. We will lodge at Rio de Piedra, a unique lodge that offers cabins built ingeniously into rock formations.

Day 6: Parque Tayrona

We will rise early, and head east towards the Parque Tayrona. to take in spectacular views of the gorgeous land formations. Here we can explore the various destinations on horseback or by foot and swim at selected locations. After a full day of exploration, we will head back to our lodgings.

Day 7: Tayrona-Medellin

After breakfast, we will make our way back to Santa Marta. From Santa Marta we will then fly into Medellin, one of the largest cities of Colombia, famed for its textile and fashion industry. Once we arrive, we will go to our hotel and get settled. Our options this day are to take a short tour of the city or relax at the hotel.

Day 8: Day free in Medellin

The following day is a day off where you can go to malls, museums, attractions, etc. We will arrange taxis and options for shopping and tourism destinations, we will spend the night again in Medellin.

Day 9: Medellin-Armenia

We will rise at leisure and depart for a 5 hr ride towards Armenia, a small city in the center of the coffee triangle.We will stop along the way at various locations of interest. We will check into our beautiful lodgings set deep in a coffee farm in a colonial hacienda (Hacienda Combia).

Day 10: Salento and Cocora Valley

The following Morning we will head towards Salento, a beautiful town in the heart of the coffee triangle. We will have an opportunity to walk around the town and make any purchases we wish of Colombian artifacts. Thereafter, we will head out to the Cocora Valley for the remainder of the day to experience spectacular views of the Andes and its fauna. We will spend the night at the same hacienda.

Day 11: Hacienda Combia

On our second day in Armenia we will take a very original tour of a coffee plantation at Hacienda Combia, where we will learn everything there is to know about sustainable coffee growing, processing, and best of all, tasting a cup of your own handpicked coffee in a cup made by you. During the tour, we will have the opportunity to stop at various stations that offer opportunities to see colorful bird species such as tanagers and hummingbirds, as well as habitat restoration efforts to enhance the surrounding landscape of the plantations. This is a brand new tour not to be missed! After our tour we will head out towards Manizales, a medium-sized city known as the University City. We will spend the night at Termales del Otoņo, a beautiful hotel with thermal pools.

Day 12: Los Nevados National Park

In the morning we will head to the Parque Nacional de los Nevados. We will climb up to 5100 m in altitude. As we climb, we will see how the vegetation changes from lush forests to elfin forests and finally to barren ground and snow. We will stop along the way at several interesting pit stops to acclimate to the thinning air. After a full day we will descend back to our lodgings for a relaxing late afternoon.

Day 13: Departure

The following day we will depart from Armenia's Airport to make our connecting international flights or to extension tour destinations.

What's Included:

  • Return airfare Bogota-La Macarena-Bogota
  • Return transportation (terrestrial and fluvial)
  • All meals from lunch Day 1 to lunch Day 4
  • Accommodations (double occupancy) night of day1-day 3.
  • All snacks and refreshments
  • Activities noted above (whale and dolphin watching is a combined activity)
  • Gratuities

What to expect and what to bring:

When visiting the various localities, you can expect variable climates that range from hot and humid to cold and rain. Accommodations are mostly located in the countryside and typical lodges of the area and are all clean and comfortable and equipped with ceiling fans. In order to be comfortable, we strongly recommend that you dress with light, fast-drying clothes. The sun is strong in coastal areas, therefore a good hat, sunglasses, and good sunscreen are a must.

Other items to bring include:

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Insect repellent
  • Good walking shoes.
  • Long-sleeved pants and shirts
  • Bathing suit