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Food

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 8 dinners included. A lot of the food in Colombia is food you’ll be used to, protein in the form of chicken, beef or fish along with rice or potato and some salad are all fairly common. Beans and plantain are also popular foods in Colombia which you may not commonly have at home. Each day you will also have the opportunity to try a fantastic array of delicious fruit juices - some of them familiar to the UK and some of them more exotic! We recommend you to try these as they taste much better in Colombia than anywhere else and cost a fraction of the price. We typically will have early breakfasts to make the most of our time, this normally includes eggs, bread or arepas (thick corn pancakes), local cheese, and no shortage of great coffee! All meals are included whilst camping and these will be prepared by staff. Elsewhere only breakfast is included. Please note that Colombia is not particularly vegetarian-friendly, especially in rural areas, as meat forms a major part of the diet and many soups are often made with a meat base. Bogota is an exception, as there are sufficient options to cater to all dietary requirements. Please advise us at time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements. Vegetarians are catered for throughout the trip, but gluten-free diets can be hard to cater for in this part of the world - you may want wish to bring supplementary food items.

Activities

  • Walking & Trekking
  • Point-to-Point
  • 1

    Start Bogota; morning at leisure; afternoon walking tour of the old town.

    Passengers on the group flight arrive in the early hours of this morning. After a few hours to rest and have breakfast we will head out on a city tour taking in Bogota’s colonial old town including visits to the Gold Museum, the National Museum and the main square. (We have also included your room reservation from the night before the tour starts. Land Only clients can arrive the day before and will be able to check in to the hotel)  *Hotel Continental or similar*

  • 2

    Morning walk up Monserrate hill; fly to Armenia; transfer to Cocora Valley.

    Early morning we climb Monserrate Hill (2,700m to 3,100m) for panoramic views of the city. We'll then catch the cable car back down, collect our luggage from the hotel and transfer to the domestic airport to fly to Armenia. It's a 45-minute flight and on arrival we'll transfer to Salento. This is coffee country and Salento is very much within the country’s famous Coffee Triangle. The town is very picturesque and there's time to explore and sample some of the locally grown crop. Late afternoon we'll drive to the Cocora Valley known for its Wax Palm trees, the tallest palm trees in the world and a symbol of Colombia. Their slender trunks can reach up to 60 meters and are topped with a few fronds.  We use Willys for this transfer (jeeps used as local transport around this region). We stay in a basic hotel for the night at 2,041m. *Hotel Finca San Jose* /Please note single rooms are not available on this night/

  • 3

    First day trek in Los Nevados National Park; crossing rivers and into the cloud forest.

    This morning we will meet the trekking crew including the horses, horsemen and local guides. The team will need to arrange all our luggage and equipment for the horses to carry so we should begin the trek after breakfast. We'll walk for 1.5 kms passing towering Wax Palms before the path heads off from the main trail and begins to climb. The trek today passes through different ecosystems such as 'Bosque Alto-Andino' which is a cloud forest with a great diversity of plants and animals (including an amazing array of bird species) and at the end of the day you will be closer to the Paramo ecosystem. We will cross the river a couple of times early in the day and en route we should see humming birds. At approximately 3,000 metres we will stop for lunch and a rest. From here it is about another 2.5 hours walking to Finca La Argentina, a working farm situated at 3,440m. We camp in the grounds of the finca about 100 yards from the house and have dinner in the farmhouse. There is running water and a toilet in the farmhouse. *Full-service Camping*

  • 4

    Morning steep climb to the highland plateau; afternoon descend to the campsite. 

    Today's walk begins with a steep 90 minute climb up to an abandoned farmhouse, Finca Buenos Aires (3,800m). From here we should catch our first glimpse of the Paramillo del Quindio(4,600m). We are now at the Paramo ecosystem (highland plateau) which is a unique tropical high altitude ecosystem just above the forest line but below the Andean snow line. It is the kingdom of the eerily beautiful 'Frailejones', plants with statuesque tall trunks and thick yellow-greenish leaves. Part of the sunflower family, they only grow 1cm a year and play a special role in capturing water vapour from passing clouds and then transferring it to the soil through their roots. A single Frailejon can vastly contribute to the ecosystem's water supply. These majestic plants can only be found in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela and you will see thousands of them over the next few days. After climbing most of the day the final section is a descent to Finca Berlin, a small isolated farmhouse, inhabited by a family who farm cattle in the area. We camp in the grounds of the finca. The spectacular Nevado del Tolima (5,100m) can be seen from the farmhouse. There is a toilet and running water in the farmhouse. *Full-service Camping*

  • 5

    Most challenging day crossing the summit of Paramillo del Quindio.

    This is the most challenging and longest day of the trek as we cross the summit of Paramillo del Quindio. We leave the finca and after 2 hours the mountain pass will come into view before the trail drops down to the valley floor. We then cross the valley, by walking on 'cushion plants' called 'Cojines' that are soft and springy to the step and emerald in colour. At an annual growth rate of as little as 0.06cm some of these plants will be 400 years old, so take care not to pierce them with your walking poles. From here it is a 90- minute climb to the pass, through an arid stark zone composed of sand, rocks and ashes. From the top (4,571m) we will be able to see Laguna Leona below and a vast area of Frailejon trees, some of which are more than 200 years old. After taking in the spectacular views of Nevado del Ruiz we'll start our descent, meandering through groves of these majestic trees, making our own path as we go. Once at the lagoon the view back up to Paramillo del Quindio is a sight to be savoured and the mirror-like reflection of the peak in the lagoon's still water makes for a perfect lunch spot. The remainder of the day's trail is more moderate and follows a well defined path for 90 minutes. We arrive at Bageseca, a small farmhouse nestled amongst some meadows. We camp in front of the farmhouse at an altitude of 3,728m. It is possible to charge camera batteries here. *Full-service Camping*

  • 6

    Trek to Lake Otun and set up camp; afternoon optional walk to Laguna del Silencio.

    Today is an easier and shorter day. The trail to the lagoon is mainly level with no big climbs and we should be able to spot some wildlife such as eagles, ducks and maybe even condors. After 3 hours we'll arrive at Laguna Otun, one of the most beautiful spots in the Los Nevados National Park. Located at 3,900metres the lake is of glacial origin and fed by the Nevado Santa Isbel. It is also an important breeding ground for several endangered bird species including the Colombian torrent duck and has a large population of rainbow trout. It is on the shores of this lake that we set up camp for the night. After a picnic lunch we'll head off to Laguna del Silencio, which is 3 km away from the campsite and is a 3 -hour round trip. We should be back at the campsite by 3:30pm. Those who prefer to rest can stay at the campsite this afternoon and explore the lake shore. There is an ablution block with toilets at this campsite but there is no access to a farmhouse here. *Full-service Camping*

  • 7

    Begin descending to lower elevations; spot hummingbirds in the cloud forest; continue to campsite.

    We begin our descent and start to leave the paramo behind and experience the change in ecosystems as we make our way down to lower elevations. Much of the trail is rocky and can be slippery. We stop at Jordan Finca for lunch, a cosy farmhouse that has great views of a huge waterfall. After lunch we descend into the cloud forest zone where we should see many different types of hummingbirds that inhabit the area. We camp in the beautiful grounds of the Refugio La Pastora located at 2,448m. There is an ablution block with toilets and cold showers. Meals are taken in the dining room at the refuge.  *Full-service Camping*

  • 8

    Final day trekking in Los Nevados N.P; transfer to San Antonio del Cerro.

    Our final day trekking in Los Nevados. We’re now in a completely different environment as we continue to follow the rocky trail through dense rainforest passing the Otun River several times. We might be able to spot Howler monkeys on our way down. At the park gate we bid farewell to the local trekking staff and will be picked up and taken to a small town called La Florida for a well deserved lunch. We then transfer to San Antonio del Cerro, our hotel for the night. The afternoon is free to relax by the swimming pool and there is also a restaurant/bar as well as a small spa, attached to the hotel. *San Antonio del Cerro or similar*

  • 9

    Fly to Cartagena; afternoon walking city tour.

    After breakfast we transfer (approx. 30 minutes) to the airport in Pereira to catch our flight to Cartagena de las Indias on the Caribbean coast. There's a plane change in Bogota so we should arrive in Cartagena by lunch time. In the afternoon there will be a walking tour of the walled city with its cobbled streets and colourful houses, squares and churches. Cartagena was the jewel in the colonial crown and its popularity today is understandable. Founded in 1533, the city played a key role in the administration and expansion of the Spanish empire in the Americas. As well as being home to royalty and wealthy viceroys, it attracted pirates and merchants alike and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. We stay in the vibrant Getsemani neighbourhood, part of Cartagena’s old town. *Hostal Villa Colonial or similar, Standard Hotel*

  • 10

    Morning at leisure; afternoon transfer to Santa Marta.

    The morning is free to explore the beautiful city at leisure. After lunch we leave Cartagena and head along the coast (approx. 4hrs) to the city of Santa Marta and our hotel in the heart of the old town. *Hotel 1525 or similar*

  • 11

    Transfer to the start of the Lost City Trail; first day trek to camp #1.

    We will be picked up from our hotel at 6 am and taken to La Aguacatera from where will then take a 4WD to El Mamey (also known as Machete Pelao) village. We have lunch upon arrival before heading off on a 3hr hike towards the first night’s campsite. The first part of the trek today follows a steep track which takes us through cattle farms in areas that were once covered in coca plantations.There will be opportunities at the end of each day to go for a refreshing swim in the river and fresh fruit is provided at rest breaks. Upon arrival at the campsite we’ll be assigned a bed or a hammock. The terrain over the next few days involves a trail between 500m and 800m above sea level. There are sections of steep climbs and in the heat this can be very challenging. *Camp with bed or hammock*

  • 12

    Trek through the sacred lands of the Kogui, Wiwa and Aruaco communities; overnight in camp #3.

    Today's trail takes us into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park and the sacred lands of the Kogui, Wiwa and Aruaco communities. Along the way we have more opportunities to encounter local indigenous settlements. We first make our way to camp #2 where we have lunch. After lunch the trail climbs through forest. This section of the trail is the steepest and most challenging section of the entire walk. On arriving at the campsite, we head to the river for a dip which runs by camp #3. *Camp with bed or hammock*

  • 13

    Today we reach our destination, the Lost City; tour of the site; return to camp #2.

    Today we reach the goal of our jungle trek: La Ciudad Perdida (the Lost City). Built by the Tayrona people 1,000 years ago, the city was abandoned after Spanish Conquistadors dispersed the Tayronas into the mountains. Over time the jungle reclaimed the city which became ‘lost’ to the world. In the 1970s, however, grave robbers found gold and the city was rediscovered. The Lost City is earned by climbing more than 200 steps. We explore the site and learn more about the city and its fascinating history. Returning to camp #3 we have lunch before heading back on the same route towards camp #2 where we spend the night. There is no electricity at this campsite but the location by the river is perfect and at night we sit by candlelight. *Camp with bed or hammock*

  • 14

    Final day of the Lost City trek; transfer to Palomino; free time at beach.

    We retrace our steps back towards camp #1 and finally El Mamey village marking the end of our time in the jungle.  After lunch we transfer to the main road where our vehicle will be waiting to take us to our hotel for the night. Finca La Jorara is near the village of Palomino. It's a peaceful comfortable place set amongst beautiful gardens, with a restaurant and bar onsite. The beach is a short walk away. *Finca La Jorara, Standard Hotel*

  • 15

    Day at leisure to enjoy the beach or visit Palomino.

    Today is a free day to relax. The fishing village of Palomino is nearby and there are some short trails around the hotel grounds for those who want to stretch their legs. Alternatively the beach nearby is a nice place to rest. The sea here is very choppy and there is a very limited designated area for swimming. Please check with the hotel owner for up to date details. *Finca La Jorara, Standard Hotel*

  • 16

    Transfer to Santa Marta Airport; fly to Bogota; trip ends.

    Returning to Santa Marta we catch our flight to Bogota arriving in time to connect with the international flight home. Please note you should not book your return flight departing before 16:00. The flight from Santa Marta will arrive in Bogota at 12:30 at the latest.

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