Colombia combines vibrant cities, ancient ruins and superlative landscapes with African rhythms and exquisite colonial architecture. We start this trip in the capital Bogota, exploring its charming historic quarter of La Candelaria as well the nearby high plateaus of Sumapaz, home to indigenous wildlife, endemic vegetation and local communities. From here we head to the eroded landscapes of the Tatacoa desert, before continuing to San Agustin. Here we discover the remnants of an ancient civilisation about which little is known – all that is left behind is an enigmatic series of statues, tombs and temples.
We then head to Colombia’s famed ‘coffee region’, a land of picturesque farms steeped in tradition, and valleys dotted with the iconic wax palm trees, stretching several storeys into the sky. We learn about the heritage and customs of the region, as well as travelling through some of Colombia’s most scenic parts.
In Medellin we learn how a city has transformed itself from one of the most dangerous in the world to a thriving, rejuvenated community, meeting the people who have helped to turn around its fortunes – as well as sampling some great street food. Nearby Santa Fe, founded in the 16th century, offers an opportunity to step back in time with its historic churches, palaces and plazas – a taste of the Colombia of yesteryear.
Our final stop is the gorgeous Caribbean city of Cartagena, the oldest in South America and a profusion of typical cobbled streets, colourful colonial buildings and easy going atmosphere. Once the site of great riches, it was a frequent target for piracy, and oozes history around every corner. We also visit the nearby African community of San Basilio, who have a very distinct culture, making up yet another part of the fascinating Colombian kaleidoscope.
Colombia has so many different facets that even a month long tour couldn’t cover them all, but this tour includes some of its well recognised highlights as well as showing a little more beneath the surface. Colombia is starting to become better known as one of Latin America’s most exciting countries – discover it before more people do.