• EN | ES
Colonial Treasures of Colombia - 12 Days

Colonial Treasures of Colombia

Colombia · Private Tour · 12 Days
j
Private Tour
e
culture
B
beach

Discover the romantic side of Colombia exploring the colonial towns of Villa de Leyva and Barichara, make a visit to García Márquez birthplace, the lively Cartagena, and close with some days of sun and sand in Rosario Islands. 

Itinerary

Day 1 - Bogotá
Day 2 - Local Markets & Bike Tour
Day 3 - Zipaquirá & Villa de Leyva
Day 4 - Villa de Leyva → Barichara
Day 5 - Towns of Santander
Day 6 - Barichara → Chicamocha Canyon
Day 7 - Cartagena
Day 8 - Rosario Islands
Day 9 - Rosario Islands
Day 10 - Rosario Islands
Day 11 - Palenque Town & Gabriel Garcia Marquez Tour
Day 12 - Cartagena → Bogotá

What is included

  • Internal transfers, transportation and sightseeing as per itinerary with private air conditioning car
  • 11 nights accommodation at comfort hotels with breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in this itinerary
  • Entrance fees to the visits and excursions mentioned as included
  • Bilingual speaking guide during visits

What is NOT included

  • International flight
  • Domestic flights Bucaramanga-Cartagena-Bogotá
  • Visits not mentioned in this itinerary
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in this itinerary
  • Tips and personal expenses
Did you know you can make this trip even better? Customize this tour

day
1
Bogotá

Arrival to El Dorado Airport in Bogota. Reception and transfer to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.


  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
]

The Orchids

Bogota

day
2
Local Markets & Bike Tour

After breakfast, join an enthusiast guide for local markets and Colombian cooking traditions. 

Head to La Plaza de Mercado Paloquemao, one of the biggest and most recognized local markets in Bogota, where all traditional produce and ingredients of Colombian cuisine can be found. Try some of the exotic fruits, local doughs, and Colombian cheese. Known to the vendors and the local cooks, visit the flower market and the popular food stalls to get a true local experience. 

Then enjoy a bike tour in the historic center known as La Candelaria. This old barrio is of great architectural and cultural importance and is made up of old “stately homes” or large Spanish colonial buildings with iron windows, thick and sturdy wooden doors, balconies and internal patios with beautiful yet hidden gardens. 

Visit Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great Simon Bolivar stands. Originally called Plaza Mayor, this was used for civil and military purposes, as a marketplace, a bullring and a gallows. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, is built on the remains of the first church built in Bogota in 1539 and houses an important collection of religious artifacts. The Capilla del Sagrario is located just beside the Cathedral and is a gem of religious architecture and which houses valuable pieces of colonial religious art by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos. The Capitol, built between 1847 and 1926, shows its renaissance and neoclassical influences with its carved stonework and tall columns and is the first republican piece of civil architecture. The central area of the Capitol, known as the Salon Eliptico, is where congress meets and is the actual chamber for politicians and the Senate. 

Around Plaza de Bolivar are the Palacio de Justicia, the Mayor of Bogota’s offices called the Edificio Lievano, the oldest school in the county called San Bartolome and the Casa de los Comuneros who participated towards the end of the XVII Century in some of the first independence movements. Continue the tour to The Bogota International Center which is one of the most important areas in Bogota and visit La Merced, a traditional neighborhood in the city. Lunch and return to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
]

The Orchids

Bogota

day
3
Zipaquirá & Villa de Leyva

After breakfast, depart from Bogota and head north towards Zipaquirá. Travel through the Bogota savannah and discover the many flower crops along the way. Flower production is an important industry for the hundreds of people that live in the region.

After a journey of roughly 1.15 hours we reach the impressive Salt Cathedral, a true achievement of engineering. The name Zipaquira refers to Zipa, the leader of the Muisca tribe and the chief of these rich salt mines. 

The excursion will begin by visiting the cathedral in a tunnel that passes the fourteen Stations of the Cross and continues on to the dome. The dome is lit in such a way that it allows one to contemplate the universe and the relationship between man and nature. 

Later, reach the enormous cross carved into the saline rock and finally the three naves of the Cathedral that represent the birth, life and death of Christ. In the central nave is the main altar, above which is the cross that measures 16m in height and 10m in breadth, the largest cross made of salt in the world. 

Continue on a 2 hour trip to Villa de Leyva in the afternoon. Upon arrival to Villa de Leyva check in at the hotel. Today, the city is a colonial jewel with a main square surrounded by Spanish style houses, small alleys, cobblestone streets and the XVIIth century church.

Then visit The Fossil Museum, founded in 1977 and located 5,5 km away from Villa de Leyva. The museum was built exactly at the place where a kronosaurus, a marine reptile of more than 120 million years and 20 metres in length, was discovered. Return to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Q
Bogota → Villa de Leyva159 km
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
4
Villa de Leyva → Barichara

After breakfast, transfer by car to Barichara. On the way, break at the Convento del Santo Ecce Homo. Founded by the Dominicans in 1620, this was an important point of evangelization in a region populated by indigenous communities. 

Along the way we pass Andean forests, the city of Tunja which is the capital of Boyaca, the historic town of Socorro, and site of the infamous Communard Revolution at the end of the XVIII century. Arrival to Barichara.

Overnight at the hotel.

Q
Villa de Leyva → Barichara190 km
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
5
Towns of Santander

After breakfast, leave for San Gil, located 30 minutes from Barichara, renowned tourism capital of Santander due to its geographical location and for being the epicenter of all adventure sports in Colombia. 

The tour starts on foot in the town centre, initially in the Parque de la Libertad, the Templo Catedral, the Casa de la Cultura, the Templo de San Francisco, the first of its kind built in the city, and the traditional market building. Later visit the Parque Gallineral alongside the rapids of the River Fonce. 

We will then continue with our visit of Barichara, declared a National Architectural Monument in 1975 for the well preserved urban structure and colonial Spanish-style architecture. The houses encompass a cloister style design around internal gardens, intricate stonework and clay tiles on the rooftops. The cobblestone streets speak volumes for the culture and the population of this Santanderean town that is known for its cuisine, stonemasonry, weaving, tobacco growing and gathering of “hormigas culonas”, large ants.

The tour starts on foot in the town centre in the Plaza Principal which is elegantly ringed by tall palm trees and leafy foliage. On the western edge of the park is the Alcaldia, a truly colonial edifice with large balconies, internal stone columns and the monument to the Hormiga Culona in its central patio. 

The main churches in town are La Inmaculada Concepción and San Lorenzo Martie which have altars bathed in gold. At the top of the town is the Capilla de Santa Barbara built at the end of the XVIII century and on one side is a huge ceiba tree. This tree was sacred to the indigenous Guane people that inhabited these lands prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The Parque para Las Artes Jorge Delgado Sierra is littered with interesting stone sculptures contributed by both local artists and international ones.

The Casa Natal de Aquileo Parra, the 11th President of Colombia, is today a small museum and also an elderly peoples’ recreation centre where they can work on handicrafts. There are outstanding view points from which one can enjoy views of the Suarez river valley as well as the town’s streets and architectural offerings. 

Afterwards, visit the Casa de Arte de Oficios, where local artists display their works such as cotton and fique weavings. The trip continues on the Guane, a small town located on a tiny plateau beside the hills and alongside the majestic Suarez River. This journey can be made on foot along the old Camino Real which extends 5km connecting the Guane with the town of Barichara. This ancient pathway was paved in stones by the pre-Columbian Guane people.

During this walk, one can appreciate beautiful landscapes, valleys and fossils all the while treading in the footsteps of a past culture. After the walk of a 10 minute drive, arrive in Guane. This perfectly preserved colonial village, with a pre-Columbian past, dating to the XVII century is at an altitude of 1,100m. Visit the Arqueopaleontologico Museum and the Plaza Central.

Overnight at the hotel.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
6
Barichara → Chicamocha Canyon

After breakfast, 3 hours transfer to Bucaramanga. On the road stop at the majestic Chicamocha Canyon, at the bottom runs the river by the same name that created the second largest canyon in the world . 

The park extends for approximately 342 hectares. The heat of this region tempered only by a refreshing breeze is ideal for hiking the pathways and trails which lead to various attractions in this rugged and unique terrain. A cable car runs for 6.3 km of the canyon over a period of 30 minutes. This is one of the largest and longest cable car rides in the world. 

Within the park it’s worth taking the time to visit the replica Santander town, the Monument to Santaderean culture, the Viewpoint and the Goat and Ostrich park amongst other things. This is a nucleus where Santander meets and allows one to enjoy the architecture of the region, the landscapes and the cuisine. 

At the end visit to La Mesa de Los Santos and return to the park by cable car. Continue the trip to the selected hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Q
Barichara → Bucaramanga126 km
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
7
Cartagena

After breakfast, transfer to Bucaramanga’s airport for our flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival, transfer and check in at the hotel.

In the afternoon, participate in an exclusive rum tasting session in one of the most well-known restaurants in Cartagena. The experience will give the participants the opportunity to enjoy a rum degustation and learn more about the spirit with an informative discussion of the different kinds of rums and its history.

Overnight at the hotel.

p
Bucaramanga → Cartagena 1h 15min
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
8
Rosario Islands

After breakfast, transfer to the pier to take the transfer by boat to Agua Azul Beach Resort.

Arrival and overnight at the hotel.


v
Cartagena → Rosario Islands
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
]

Agua Azul Beach Resort

Rosario Islands

day
9
Rosario Islands

After breakfast, spend the day at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel.


  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
]

Agua Azul Beach Resort

Rosario Islands

day
10
Rosario Islands

After breakfast, transfer by boat to the pier in Cartagena. Then transfer to the selected hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

v
Rosario Islands → Cartagena
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
11
Palenque Town & Gabriel Garcia Marquez Tour

After breakfast, depart in the morning and head to San Basilio de Palenque, a town located 60km away from Cartagena and at approximately one hour’s drive along the Vía de la Cordialidad on the way to Barranquilla. 

Recognized by the UNESCO as Cultural and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the town’s
name comes from the Palenques, communities of fugitive and escaped slaves from the colonial period of the XVII century. This community has survived intact in San Basilio with their practices, customs and traditions. The inhabitants have retain heavy African influences in their daily routines, as for example their palenquera language which blends elements of Spanish with Bantu dialects from Africa. 

Upon arrival in Palenque, meet a family who teaches visitors about the local customs and way of life. Palenque women teach how to carry fruit in a head basket while walking and Palenque men take care of the children while the women go off to work. Also, take a walk around the community to listen to tales of religious beliefs and customs. Try some traditional sweets. Return to Cartagena.

In the afternoon enjoy the excursion touring the places that Gabriel Garcia Marquez mentioned in his literary works. The tour generally begins in Plaza San Diego and ends at Plaza de la Paz. The tour will take the passengers to the places in Cartagena that were the setting to some of Marquez most recognized works, such as Love in Times of Cholera, Of Love and Other Demons and The General in His Labyrinth. 

Also visit some of the places in the city that were somehow significant in Gabriel García Marquez life, like the university he attended and later dropped out of, the newspaper where his career took off and a panoramic view of his home in Calle del Curato.

Overnight at the hotel.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

day
12
Cartagena → Bogotá

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to Bogota.

p
Cartagena → Bogota 1h 30min
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Accommodations

Bogota
]

The Orchids

Villa de Leyva
]

Hotel Posada de San Antonio

Barichara
]

Casa Oniri Hotel Boutique

Bucaramanga
]

Hotel Dann Carlton Bucaramanga

Cartagena
]

Ananda Hotel Boutique

Rosario Islands
]

Agua Azul Beach Resort

Price for comfort experience

Customizable private tour
Prices per person2-3 pax
Double Sharing
4-6 pax
Double Sharing
20 Apr 2018 - 30 Jun 2018$3197$2624
1 Jul 2018 - 31 Aug 2018$3244$2672
1 Sep 2018 - 8 Nov 2018$3197$2624
9 Nov 2018 - 13 Nov 2018$3405$2832
14 Nov 2018 - 30 Nov 2018$3197$2672
1 Dec 2018 - 15 Dec 2018$3244$2671

Photos

Bogotá
Barichara
Cartagena
Rosario Islands

Map

Get Your Free Quote-You'll get an answer in less than 48h-