Spirits of San Agustín
The day of your Colombian adventure is here at last! When you touch down in Bogotá, you'll be taken by private transfer to your hotel to check-in and settle into your new surroundings.
The next day it is time to head out on a private half-day city tour of the historic center of La Candelaria. Here you'll stroll the ancient streets and see the Spanish influence on design and architecture. In the Plaza Bolívar spot the statue of Simón Bolívar and the Cathedral. You'll also spot the Capilla del Sagrario, a prominent religious building, and the Capitolio, which was built between 1847 and 1926. Your visit will also include a trip to the Palace of Justice and the Museo Botero that houses artwork by Botero, Picasso, Renoir, Dalí, Matisse, Monet, and Giacometti. After marveling at some 34,000 gold objects at Museo del Oro, you'll have an afternoon free to continue exploring however you wish.
For the next portion of your trip, you'll head to San Agustín, but not before making a few stops along the way. First head to the town of Villavieja, before checking out the fascinating Paleontological Museum. Then it's out to the Tatacoa Desert crossing crevasses eroded by wind and water. From here continue on until you reach San Agustín, passing a landscape of epic floodplains as you go.
After breakfast the following morning, travel to the San Agustín Archaeological Park for a full day of exploring. At the UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll get to see the huge stone statues and monuments up close, plus you'll enjoy sweeping views over the surrounding countryside from the Lavapatas terrace. After a visit to the small Museo Arqueológico, carry on to the Magdalena River, a spectacular rocky gorge that forces the gushing river to pass through a 2.2-meter gap to spectacular effect.
Once you've transferred to Popayán through the landscape of the Andes, you have two choices. Shoppers may enjoy an afternoon visit to Silvia Market, where you'll learn more about the lives of the Indigenous Guambiano community. After exploring the area swing by the market and stock up on locally made handicrafts. Alternatively, you might enjoy a half-day of immersive learning about the Guambiano Culture in Cauca. Here a will have a tour of the area by a guide and a doctor will discuss traditional medicine with you. Afterward enjoy a musical welcome and a chance to taste ‘Changuar’, the indigenous liqueur of choice. Afterward, the doctor will perform a cleaning ceremony, then it’s on to Casa Payan where you'll learn about the cosmogonic concept of the Guambiano culture.
The next day you'll depart for Cali, but not before going on a half-day tour of the city of Popayán. Founded in 1537, the historic city has plenty to offer discerning travelers. Over several hours you'll tour Caldas Park and check out the main religious and governmental buildings, along with the Clock Tower. You'll also see Humilladero Bridge, built-in 1873, and a host of churches built in different styles.
The following morning, there is the option of a Salsa Class. If you are opt-in, you'll learn the basics of this popular dance and have a go performing it to traditional Colombian music. From here it's on to Cartagena, where you'll spend your time exploring the main sights. Be sure to head up Monasterio and Iglesia de La Pop, an elevated church built-in 1606 with some of the best views over the city. You'll also visit the impressive San Felipe Fortress, Ciudad Vieja (the old city) and the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas. For those that want to continue exploring, there is the option of visiting the picture-perfect Rosario Islands for some relaxed beach time or head out on a Rum tasting experience, which is only right when Cartagena is home to some of the world's finest rum.