Colombian Highlights Private Tour

Exploring Colombia's Most Magical Destinations

Home  >  Colombian Highlights

This tour is offered and operated independently by Federico Striano, who also works very successfully
as a private guide for European Castles Tours and has sent home hundreds of happy guests.

 

Bogatá, Colombia
Bogotá
Guatapé, Colombia
Guatapé
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena

 

Visit Colombia, one of the most amazing destinations in South America.  Just a few hours away by plane from the United States, Colombia is an enchanting country offering historical and cultural heritage, magnificent natural beauty and great food tradition.

This tour is planned to give you a perfect introduction of how spectacular this country is.  Spend 3 nights based in each of the country’s main destinations (Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena) with day trips that will allow you to discover the beautiful nearby areas without too much stress.

 Tour Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city, known for its historic district with popular attractions including the Gold Museum as well as for its vibrant culture, great nightlife and shopping.  Outside of Bogotá admire the unique Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá and visit the place that gave birth to the legend of “El Dorado”: the Guatavita lagoon.

Explore Medellín, the “city of eternal spring” who gained recognition as a Latin American leader in urban innovation.  Regional highlights include the colonial charm of Santa Fe de Antioquia, the region’s oldest settlement; the beautiful landscapes of the coffee region producing one of the best coffee in the world; the majestic surroundings of Guatapé, a colourful town located on the shores of a large reservoir nearby the impressive Stone of El Peñol.

Enjoy Cartagena, picturesquely located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea and formerly the main port for trade between Spain and its overseas colonial empire.  Its old town, the magnificent “walled city”, is a real gem of colonial architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Transfers from each main destination to the next one are by plane (short flights, provided mainly by the national airline carrier), that will let you skip long transfers by car.

You can click on any of the photos to see a larger version.

 

The tour itinerary is outlined on a day-by-day basis in the section immediately below the map. 
An even more detailed itinerary to browse and / or print is provided in Colombian Highlights Itinerary PDF.

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Map

 

You can zoom in to the individual tour destinations in detail using the interactive Colombian Highlights Google map.

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Itinerary

Day 1 – WELCOME TO COLOMBIA

Arrival to Bogotá, Colombia.

Transfer to your hotel in a private car with driver.  The first three nights, you will stay in a modern style hotel conveniently located in one of the most beautiful and luxurious neighborhoods in Bogotá.

Depending on your arrival time, you may have free time to settle in and to explore the city.  If you arrive in the morning or early afternoon, we will enjoy a welcome drink together in the evening.

Dinner on your own.

>  Included:  Private transportation from to the airport to the hotel in a car with driver, welcome drink (otherwise the following evening), overnight with breakfast included.

Bogotá
Bogatá

Day 2 – BOGOTÁ

Today we focus on Colombia’s capital city, located at an altitude of 2,640 m (8,661 ft), or as Bogotans say  “2,640 m closer to the stars”.

The first stop is Monserrate Sanctuary, located on the imposing eastern hills of the city. Ascending onto the top of the mountain on a cable car, we reach the most notorious pilgrimage point of the city, and the best spot to admire Bogotá from above.

Once back on the ground we visit La Quinta de Bolívar, where Simon Bolívar - the Colombia’s liberator - used to live IN Bogotá.  We continue our sightseeing by walking into the picturesque cobbled streets of La Candelaria, the city’s oldest neighborhood, to visit its main attractions including the Botero Museum, the main square Plaza de Bolívar, the Cathedral and the world famous Gold Museum.

Finally, we go by car to the cozy neighborhood of Usaquén before we head back to your hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner on your own.

PS: The Quinta de Bolivar and the Gold Museum are closed on Mondays, the Botero Museum is closed on Tuesdays.

>  Included:  Private transportation from and to your hotel, cable car tickets and tickets to the visited attractions, overnight in Bogotá with breakfast included.

Monserrate Sanctuary
Monserrate Sanctuary

Day 3 – BOGOTÁ,  GUATAVITA,  ZIPAQUIRA

Today we drive to the Guatavita Lagoon, where the famous El Dorado ("the Golden One") legend originated. The lagoon was considered sacred by the indigenous Muisca people.  Enjoy the beautiful mystical scenery surrounding the lagoon on a guided hike provided by one the official guides of the Park and learn about the ceremony that gave origin to this legend.

Our next stop is one of the World-class Colombia’s wonders: The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Considered the most unique Cathedral in the world, it was built inside the network of monumental chambers and tunnels that were left behind when commercial mining operations ceased.  The materials found underground have been manipulated by artists and sculptors, and with remarkable lighting effects have given birth to an original interpretation of Catholic symbolism.  Head underground for a guided tour of the majestic Roman Catholic Cathedral and the Stations of the Cross.

Once you finish your visit, it is a short drive to the colonial village of Zipaquirá before we drive back to Bogotá. Dinner on your own.

>  Included:  Private Transportation with driver for the whole day, Guatavita Park entrance tickets, Zipaquira Cathedral entrance tickets, overnight in Bogotá with breakfast included.


Neuschwanstein

Day 4 – BOGOTÁ,  MEDELLIN

Today you leave Bogotá on a early flight to Medellin, the capital city of the Antioquia region.  Transfer to your hotel, located in a lively area of the city which has so much to offer.

Enjoy a tour focused on the most beautiful places of Medellin but also on its ongoing social advances and innovative nature.  Highlights of the tour include an orientation drive through the El Poblado neighborhood, a walk in the city center to admire some of the artist Fernando Botero’s unique sculptures, the Botanical Gardens.  Afterwards board with your guide the cable car system “Metrocable” to ascend to the Santo Domingo Library on top of a mountain in the north of the city. Finally visit the Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a historic small town from this region and enjoy an incredible view over Medellin from the Nutibara’s Hill before heading back to your hotel. Dinner on your own.

>  Included: Private transportation from your hotel in Bogotá to the El Dorado airport and from the J.M. Cordova airport to your hotel in Medellin, direct flight from Bogotá to Medellin, transportation from and to your hotel, local English-speaking driver / guide, cable car ride and tickets to attractions, overnight in Medellín with breakfast included.

Medellin
Medellin

Day 5 – MEDELLIN,  COFFEE REGION

Experience the Colombia’s northwestern coffee region and discover the secrets behind one of the best coffees worldwide.  Enjoy the scenic road from Medellín while we drive to a large coffee plantation. Explore the thousands of coffee plants and pick the coffee cherries as you walk to a panoramic view point overlooking the Cauca river valley.

Learn about the different stages of the artisanal coffee making process in a coffee farm to see first-hand what it takes to transform ripe coffee cherries to the finest cup of coffee.  Taste a tinto - as black coffee is called in Colombia – straight from its source, and after a stop in a picturesque town nearby enjoy a traditional lunch on the way back to Medellin. Dinner on your own.

>  Included: private roundtrip transportation Medellin - coffee farm, local English speaking driver/guide, guided visit of the coffee farm, traditional colombian lunch (non alcoholic drink included), overnight in Medellín with breakfast included.

P.S: If you are not too interested into the coffee process - but you still want to enjoy this beautiful coffee region - we can definitely customize the tour. To be more scenery, or fun (optional 2 hour scenic ride in a open Willys Jeep), or eco-friendly (optional 2 hour horseback ride).

Colombian coffee region
Coffee Region

Day 6 – MEDELLIN,  SANTA FE DE ANTIOQUIA 

Today you visit the region’s oldest settlement: the picturesque colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia, founded in 1541.

On the way to Santa Fe, we stop first near the town of San Sebastian de Palmitas: enjoy the view as you take a 15 minutes cable car ride over two mountain peaks high above a valley of coffee plants and banana trees.  The next stop is then the impressive Puente de Occidente (The West Bridge), an 291m hanging bridge built in 1895 over the Cauca River.

Upon arrival to Santa Fe de Antioquia, enjoy a walking guided tour around the cobblestone streets surrounded by memories of this town, the most representative of Colombia’s national heritage.  Santa Fe has kept its historic Spanish colonial architecture and charm alive, enjoy this relaxed atmosphere and the feeling of time standing still.

After free time for lunch, learn about the history of the colonial traditional whitewashed houses you pass by, take a look inside buildings that are more than 250 years old, visit selected unique churches.

In the afternoon, we take you back to Medellín. Dinner on your own

>  Included: Private transportation from and to your hotel, local English speaking driver/guide, overnight in Medellín with breakfast included.

Santa Fe de Antioquia
Santa Fe de Antioquia

Day 7 – MEDELLIN,  EL PENOL ROCK - GUATAPÉ,  CARTAGENA

This morning we drive to Guatapé, one of the most unique pueblos in Colombia.

Admire the majestic rock El Peñol, a 650 ft high monolith located next to the Peñol-Guatapé Dam. It is possible to climb the rock (649 stairs) to enjoy 360° breathtaking views over the former valley and its surroundings. The valley was flooded to form a hydroelectric dam and the result is a half natural, half man-made site that has the appearance of islets in a lake with a 500km shoreline.

If you don't like climbing stairs we spend extra time in Guatapé, you can decide if enjoying an optional 1-hour sightseeing boat ride around the lake before having free time for lunch.

After that, we walk the cobblestone streets of the picturesque town center to admire the decorative panels (zocalos) at the base of the many colorful houses, each with a different theme and meaning chosen by the owner.

In the afternoon drop off at the airport to take a short flight to Cartagena. At the arrival, private transfer to your hotel located in the Old Town. Dinner on your own.

>  Included: Private transportation during the whole day, local English speaking driver/guide, direct flight from Medellin to Cartagena, overnight in Cartagena with breakfast included.

Guatape
Guatapé

Day 8 – CARTAGENA

Today enjoy a private tour of the colonial city of Cartagena and its most significant treasures.

First, we visit the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, the largest military architectural structure left by the Spaniards in America, a strong fort built on top of a mountain to gain control of the bay.  Then enjoy a great view of the city from the Cerro de la Popa mountain and an orientation drive with several stops through the Isla de Manga district and the bay area.

We focus then on the impressively preserved Old Walled Town. Highlights of the walking tour include the Clock Tower, the famous Plaza del Comercio (known in history as the location where the trading of slaves took place), Plaza de Bolivar to visit the Palace of the Inquisition (one of Cartagena’s best examples of late colonial civil architecture), the Gold Museum and finally the Emeralds Museum to know more about the Colombian emerald industry.

After the tour, enjoy free time for you to eat, relax or do some shopping in the afternoon. Dinner on your own.

>  Included: private transportation and tour of the city’s main landmarks with an expert local guide in English, entrance fees to sights listed, overnight in Cartagena with breakfast included.

Cartagena
Cartagena

Day 9 – CARTAGENA,  CARIBBEAN SEA OR OTHER

Enjoy the Caribbean Sea and the archipelago of the Rosario Islands, a paradise with beautiful crystal clear sea. Spend the day on one of the islands of the archipelago chilling out or snorkeling and diving or visiting the “Oceanarium”, an open-water display, which hosts the best examples of marine biodiversity in the region (optional activities not included).

After a tasty lunch prepared with fresh fish, relax at the beach before returning to Cartagena.

>  Included: Transportation from the hotel to the dock, bilingual support throughout the day, speedboat transportation to the island (shared service with other tourists), lunch with non alcoholic drink, overnight in Cartagena with breakfast included.

Important Information: if you are interested in a private speedboat just for you (up to 10 people), with snorkeling equipment and cooler with ice included, plus special activities during the day, it can be arranged upon request at an extra cost.

P.S: If you are not interested in the Caribbean Sea there are so many different opportunities in Cartagena!

- Why don’t you join a guided walking tour of the open air market with taste of exotic fruits and local snacks and then an unforgettable Cooking Class by a local chef with your choice of a couple of local dishes to prepare and eat?

- Have you ever fallen in love with the books written by the Colombian Nobel Prize in Literature winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez?Then enjoy a private walking tour in the Old City to see some of the principle places that “Gabo” mentioned in those of his works which are set in Cartagena.

- Are you interested in a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”? Then visit San Basilio de Palenque village, a corner of Africa in Colombia about 30 miles outside Cartagena that was heritage listed by UNESCO due to its strong African linguistic, musical and cultural traditions.  You will observe a community where Afro-roots and traditions have been preserved and maintened.

- Have you ever “swam in a volcano”? An hour’s drive from Cartagena there is a medical mud volcano named “Totumo”: its mud has a high mineral content and medical properties. Change into your bathing suit, climb up few stairs to the mouth of the volcano then climb down into its healing mud.  Get a massage, rinse off in the river where you can swim in the Totumo’s lagoon and then enjoy a fresh fish lunch.

Rosario Islands
Rosario Islands

Cartagena
Cartagena

Day10 – CARTAGENA,  BOGOTÁ  …  ADIOS COLOMBIA!

Departure from Cartagena Airport to Bogotá, Return

After breakfast, it will be time for you to say goodbye to Cartagena.  A private transfer from your hotel will take you to the airport to catch a direct flight - 1h 30min - to Bogotá (departure time depending on your international flight schedule).  I will wait for you at the Arrivals to meet you once again, help you with anything you need, and say goodbye before you check-in for your flight back home.

>  Included: Transportation from your hotel to Cartagena’s Airport, and direct flight from Cartagena to Bogotá.


 

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Dates, Prices and Arrangements

This tour is offered and operated independently by Federico Striano, who also works very successfully
as a private guide for European Castles Tours and has sent home hundreds of happy guests.

This private tour can be booked for any dates you want to travel.  Since Colombia is on the Equator, it has no seasons. 
This makes it a perfect destination to visit all year long.

 Price per adult (double occupancy) for a private tour starts from USD $2,340.

The price may vary due to season, and internal flight fares.  Do not hesitate to contact Federico to get a quote.
Dinners can be included at extra cost.

If you want Federico to accompany you throughout the whole length of the tour as your personal tour director, price per adult
(double occupancy) for a private tour would start from USD $3,320.  This price would also include some special extra treatments:

-  A daily morning traditional Colombian snack with coffee

-  A daily water/soft drink/beer bottle when you feel like you need it

-  Lunch included on day 6 – day trip from Medellin to Santa Fe de Antioquia

-  Lunch included on day 7 – day trip from Medellin to Guatapé

-  Lunch included on day 8 – city tour of Cartagena

-  Tickets to El Penol Rock, and private boat ride on day 7 – day trip from Medellin to Guatapé

-  Port fee included on day 9 – day trip from Cartagena to Islas del Rosario

-  Personal assistance on site 24 hours.

IMPORTANT ROUTING OPTION
If possible, and depending on the international flights fare, consider the option of flying to Bogota, and then flying back home
directly from Cartagena.  In this case, the last local flight Cartagena-Bogotá (on day 10) won’t be included in your quote.

 

Customized Tours

You dream, Federico listens, and we build the perfect tour together!

Are you looking for something special or different?  Federico will be happy to create a tailor-made itinerary for you.  He can create a
customized tour for you, to accommodate to your availability, needs and desires, based on this existing itinerary.

 

Terms and Conditions

General

1. The price includes everything that has been stated as included in this itinerary.

2. The price is per person, in U.S. dollars, based on double occupancy for a private and tailor-made tour. Single occupancy
is available with an extra supplement.

3. Accommodation will be in a room for two with a double bed.

4. Personal expenses, meals (where not specified), and gratuities are not included.

5. It doesn't include international airfares, nor travel insurance.

6. A deposit of US$400 per person is required to secure a reservation.

Payment Policy

7. The total payment will be divided as follows:
a. Deposit
b. Balance will be divided into two installments:(i). Installment #2: 75% of balance to be paid 30 days before the beginning of
the tour through PayPal or international bank transfer, and (ii) Installment #3: 25% of balance to be paid upon arrival in cash
 (USD), or a week before the beginning of the tour through PayPal or international bank transfer.

Cancellation Policy

8. If for any reason you have to cancel your tour, the deposit will be retained. It will be applied against any cancellation charges
we might have had to incur when you confirmed your tour.

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Contact Information

 

Federico Striano

Email:         federico.striano@gmail.com

Whatsapp: +39 3401349929 (Italian Number)

Facetime:  + 57 3045675853 (Colombian Number)

Skype:        fedestriano

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