Discover scenic mountain paths deep in the Colombian Andes
Visit the second largest canyon in the world
Tucked into the hills of the Colombian Highlands, Barichara is an impossibly beautiful Andean town. Adobe buildings with red-tiled roofs line the tranquil cobblestone streets, and a heady art scene entices a range of collectors and creatives.
Stay at the Casa del Presidente, a stunning private villa once the residence of the late president Belisario Betancur. The office still has the original writing desk beneath the bookshelves, and the gardens and small pool provide refreshing shade in the heat of the day.
Trek along ancient paths to the colonial town of Guane for lunch, followed by a late afternoon horseback ride or mountain bike ride into the Andes. Stop at freshwater river pools for a wild swim and visit traditional coffee plantations. Take a trip to Chicamocha Canyon, the second largest in the world, with the option to white water raft on level three rapids. Paragliding and rock climbing can also be arranged.
Days 5 – 7
Cartagena and the Rosario Islands
Snorkel or scuba dive over the coral reefs of the Rosario Islands
Wild swimming beneath waterfalls that descend from the Sierra Nevada mountains
Cartagena is a melting pot of cultures and influences. The vibrant colours of the turquoise Caribbean ocean and the multicoloured buildings leading to grand colonial squares are enough to intoxicate any visitor.
Fly from Bucaramanga Airport to Cartagena and check in at Casa San Agustin. This is one of our favourite boutique hotels in town. The courtyard and pool sit under the arches of a former aqueduct, and the original beams and frescoes are still intact.
There is much to do in Cartagena, and we will leave plenty of freedom for exploring in your own time. Beyond the city, islands draped in beautiful forests, and small fishing villages are a short boat ride away. Kayak to Tierra Bomba island, where you can spend the morning mountain biking in the hills before enjoying a cold drink at a local beach shack. Island-hopping in the Rosario Islands should not be missed if you enjoy snorkelling or diving, and we will arrange a private boat to help you reach pristine reefs.
Days 8 – 11
Tayrona National Park
Trek to hidden waterfalls and swim in crystal clear mountain rivers
Visit ancient ruins once home to the pre-Hispanic Tayrona civilisation
Tayrona National Park is considered one of the most beautiful regions in Colombia. This protected reserve is celebrated for its perfect Caribbean beaches and thick jungles rich with ancient culture and endemic wildlife.
A four-hour road transfer from Cartagena takes you to Gitana del Mar, a boutique hotel sandwiched between lush jungle and the Caribbean Sea. The hotel is serious about a light footprint, and rooms are simple without air conditioning (although there is no need as the sea breeze keeps the place cool). What you may forgo on creature comforts is rewarded with boundless adventure in Tayrona National Park.
Join your private guide for a trekking expedition into the jungle in search of hidden waterfalls and natural pools formed by the rivers that descend from the Sierra Nevada mountains. Take surfing lessons with local surfers and paddle board or kayak along the Don Diego river spotting howler monkeys and exotic birds along the way. Visit an archaeological site with ancient terraces created by the Tayrona civilisation.