- Explore the cultural capital of Bogota, visiting a selection of the city’s many museums, galleries, and viewpoints.
- Visit the unmissable Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá – a cathedral completely carved from rock, 180 meters below the ground.
- Journey to the emerald-green hilltops of the Coffee Triangle and unearth the secrets of Colombia’s world-famous coffee production.
- Take to the skies for an early-morning hot air balloon ride over Colombia´s vast coffee plantations.
- Soak up the atmosphere of Cartagena; by day, explore the walled colonial town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Take in the magnificent Islands of Baru and Rosario by private speedboat, before settling into a paradise beachfront retreat.
A Luxury Colombia Vacation
Plunge into the unique energy of Colombia, with a 10-night voyage dedicated to unearthing the secrets of the country’s rich history and heritage, alongside some of its most breathtaking natural wonders.
Beginning in Bogota, the Colombian capital cradled by the Guadalupe and Monserrate mountains, you’ll spend three days immersed in the city’s many different faces from foodie haunts to salt cathedrals carved from rock 600 ft underground to the private art collections of Colombia’s most famous artist.
Journeying West to the emerald hills of Zona Cafetera – or Coffee Triangle. Hikes, horseback, and hot air balloon rides await, as you get to know the Cocora Valley, its towering wax palm trees, and vast sprawling coffee plantations. Visit a locally-run coffee farm, exporting world-famous coffee, and meander through charming colonial towns like Salento – known for its authentic crafts and artisanship, all while staying overnight in an eco-hotel, tucked away in the forest.
Our luxury Colombia vacation will then whisk you to the coast of Cartagena, a vibrant and bustling city steeped in history. Traverse Cartagena’s Old Town – a Unesco World Heritage Site – and its maze of cobbled alleys, fortresses, balconies covered in bright bougainvillaea, and huge churches in leafy plazas. Dine and dance in the many lively bars where the Caribbean beats carry you happily into the early hours, before sailing away to the tropical peninsular of Barú. Explore one of Colombia’s most beautiful national parks – the Rosario Islands – by private boat, before settling into Hotel Las Islas, a paradise Island retreat with treetop cabanas, seafront bungalows, and spectacular views over the turquoise ocean.
As ever, this luxury Colombia vacation is only a guide. Aracari can curate a bespoke vacation handpicked to suit your particular travel taste and style.
- Day 1
BogotaView on map
Arrival in Colombia
Your Aracari representative will welcome you to your luxury South America trip. As you might expect from our standard of luxury travel to Colombia, you’ll be presented with your welcome pack, before being whisked off to your hotel, where we will assist with all check-in procedures.
Your stay in Bogota will be hosted by Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina. Tucked away in a landmark 1946 building, designed by Colombian artist-architect Santiago Medina Mejia, the hotel boasts some of the most quietly elegant rooms in the city – complete with beamed ceilings, and hand-carved wooden furnishings. Steps from the buzzing financial district and the gourmet paradise of the Zona G, Casa Medina is an urban retreat for travelers with taste.
Overnight at Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota.
- Day 2
Bogota View on map
Bogota Wake up on Colombian time this morning, ready to explore its cultural capital, Bogota. Spend the day accompanied by a local guide traversing some of the city’s most unmissable sites.
At 2600m above sea level, Colombia’s capital is cradled by the Guadalupe and Monserrate mountains. Its position makes it not only one of the most scenic cities, but Bogota is a budding center of culture too. For your first full day of this luxury Colombia vacation, you’ll be privy to a true insider’s view of the city.
The first stop will be the Paloquemao Traditional Market, considered a must-see for foodies visiting the city. Housed in a former railway warehouse, local produce is brought in from all over the country and used to make traditional street food delicacies. You’ll have the chance to sample much of the produce on offer as you navigate around the bustling Bogota market.
Next, it’ll be to Monserrate Hill, an unmissable viewpoint for any luxury Colombia vacation. Reachable either by cable car or funicular, you’ll head up for a breathtaking view of Bogota, the surrounding, green-covered mountains, and the nearby paramo.
Your early afternoon will be dedicated to unearthing the country’s unique history, displayed in a selection of Bogota’s many museums. First, it’ll be the Colombian Gold Museum where you’ll find a pre-Columbian collection of over 35,000 solid gold items, as well as pre-Columbian fabrics, pottery, stone, wood, shells, and other metal pieces.
Since the gold museum is located in the historic La Candelaria neighborhood, home to important colonial and Republican buildings such as the National Capitol and Presidential Palace, you’ll have the chance to wander through this charming district – enjoying lunch in a traditional restaurant favored by locals.
After lunch, take in the city’s artistic side. Visiting Fernando Botero's Museum, you’ll admire an extraordinary collection of sculptures and paintings by the Colombian master, along with his private art collection that includes exceptional pieces by Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Renoir, Claude Monet, and Henri Matisse. The museum is housed in the Casa de la Moneda building, which is also home to a museum of colonial coins, numismatic items, and mint elements from the Spanish Colonial era. Finally, visit the Colonial Art Museum, where the work of prominent painters from Nueva Granada is displayed, one of many highlights is the work of Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos.
Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening and dinner at the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant.
- Day 3
BogotaView on map
Visit the unmissable Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira – a cathedral completely carved from rock, 180 meters below the ground within the tunnels of an old salt mine.
Your luxury Colombia vacation continues today with a visit to the mesmerizing architectural and artistic marvel of the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira. You’ll be collected early from your hotel and taken via private transfer to Zipaquirá, a journey that takes around one hour.
Once the center for salt production during the Muisca civilization, Zipaquira is now home to Colombia’s most famous church. Built in the caverns and tunnels left behind by miners, who extracted millions of tons of rock salt starting two centuries ago, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is an architectural wonder.
Six-hundred feet underground, the temple opens up to reveal three naves representing the birth, life, and death of Christ. There is a basilica dome, chandeliers, and an enormous, floor-to-ceiling cross illuminated with purple lights. The pews are jammed with the faithful and when a choir breaks into song ahead of Mass, the sound envelops the chamber. You’ll spend three hours here, enraptured by such a magnificent feat of engineering.
On your return to the city, we’ll stop at the charming village of Chia, halfway between Zipaquirá and Bogotá. Andrés Carne de Res is a well-known bohemian restaurant in the countryside serving an extensive menu of Colombian dishes, enjoy lunch here before continuing to spend the remained of the day at leisure.
- Day 4
Bogota – The Coffee Triangle View on map
Journey to the emerald-green hilltops of the Coffee Triangle and unearth the secrets of Colombia’s world-famous coffee production.
Leave Bogota behind today, as your luxury Colombia vacation continues onto the Zona Cafetera – or Coffee Triangle. Encompassing the Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío regions, Zona Cafetera exports some of the world’s best coffee from its emerald-green hilltops, fertile valleys, and high-altitude coffee plantations.
Arriving early in Pereira at Matecaña International Airport from Bogota, you’ll be met by our representative and waste no time in getting to the heart of the region’s coffee production with a full-day visit to a traditional coffee farm.
Welcoming you to the lush mountainside farm will be your host, who will share his knowledge of the Colombian coffee culture from seed to cup, introducing reproduction, cultivation, harvesting, drying, preparation for export, roasting, and grinding. You’ll be guided around the working farm, seeing first-hand how much this region prides itself on coffee production.
You’ll then be served a delicious à la carte lunch in the farm’s authentic tavern, accompanied by wine, and of course – coffee. A charming experience today serves as the perfect introduction to Colombia’s coffee triangle.
After lunch, you’ll proceed to your Bio Habitat Hotel which will be your home for the next three nights. Surrounded by native forest, at the highest point of the mountain, Bio Habitat Hotel features suites equipped with a large terrace and outdoor Jacuzzi. Tonight, dine at the on-site restaurant serving traditional Colombian dishes from the lush valley.
- Day 5
The Coffee Triangle View on map
Spend a day immersed in the emerald landscape of Cocora Valley and its towering wax palm trees, before exploring the charming colonial town of Salento and its many authentic craft stores and chocolate shops.
Your luxury Colombian vacation continues today with a guided hike through the Cocora Valley. The day will begin early, with a 45-minute drive through the lush landscape to reach the village of Salento. Upon arrival, you’ll hop into a traditional 1940s vehicle that’s typical of the area – a vintage Jeep Willys.
Arriving on a private ranch in the heart of the Cocora Valley – a mountainous area on the Colombian Andean chain, 1800 - 2400 meters above sea level – you’ll begin a gentle guided hike. A well-trodden path leads to a misty cloud forest, dotted with fascinating ruins of pre-Columbian tombs and dwellings. The emerald valley hosts an abundance of rare plant life too including orchids, bromeliads, heliconias, and of course, the postcard-perfect towering wax palm trees for which the valley is known.
Wildlife such as the endangered mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, pumas, sloths, and mountain lions, can also be spotted, along with a multitude of bird species like toucans, eagles, motmots, and most notably, the yellow-eared parrot, which nests in the hollow trunks of the wax palms.
After the hike, you’ll stop for lunch at a particularly beautiful viewpoint, enjoying a freshly prepared picnic, before being transferred by Jeep Willy’s to Salento village for an afternoon immersed in local culture. Known for its coffee plantations, lush scenery, rich culture, and thriving community of artisans and craftsmen, the colorful colonial town of Salento is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon for those seeking cultural travel to Colombia. Stroll through the square, visit its authentic craft stores, and stop by a traditional Café to learn about turning cacao into chocolate, along with sampling some of the products.
After a day full of culture and adventure, you’ll arrive back at Bio Habitat Hotel around 5 pm.
- Day 6
The Coffee TriangleView on map
Take in the area’s sublime beauty from the air during an early-morning hot air balloon ride over Colombia´s vast coffee plantations, before an unforgettable horseback ride through the mountains.
Start early today, as you head deep into the countryside for an unforgettable day. Arriving at a traditional hacienda, you’ll receive a safety briefing for what promises to be the flight of a lifetime. Just as the sun rises, you’ll take to the skies in a hot air balloon, providing uninterrupted views of the landscape from the vantage point of an eagle. For the next 45 minutes, gently fly over the vast coffee plantations set against the majestic Andean mountains.
Back on land, you’ll be handed a locally produced coffee with some "pandebonos," a typical Colombian bread made with yuca and cheese, before heading on to the second hacienda, where horses and a local expert guide will be waiting for you.
Here, you’ll be taken to the hacienda’s saddle room. Your host will guide you through the different traditional Colombian saddles, which come from all over the country, along with an explanation of the unique equine dressage that is performed in this part of the continent. Afterward, head to the stables where exceptional breeds of Spanish, Arabic, and Paso Fino Colombiano horses are kept.
It’ll now be your turn to take to the saddle as you begin a two-hour horseback adventure. Led by an experienced guide and horseman, you’ll cross through the hacienda and begin a climb up one of the nearby mountains. The carefully chosen route passes unique Andean sites, flora and fauna, and culminates in breathtaking views over the valley below.
A jeep will then take you quickly back down to the hacienda, where freshly prepared refreshments will be ready for you. Orange juice squeezed from the farm’s tangerines, and a typical "Fiambre Antioqueño," lunch - the traditional Colombian Andean mule drivers. Afterward, you’ll be taken back to your hotel for an afternoon and evening at leisure.
- Day 7
The Coffee Triangle – CartagenaView on map
Soak up the atmosphere of Cartagena; by day, explore the walled colonial town, a UNESCO World Heritage site – and by night dance in lively salsa bars where Caribbean beats carry you happily into the early hours.
As your luxury Colombia vacation now crosses to the coast as you fly from Pereira to Cartagena. Cartagena is a vibrant place bursting with color and Caribbean energy. It’s a historic city, superbly preserved lying within an impressive 13km of centuries-old colonial stone walls. Cartagena's Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage Site – a maze of cobbled alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and huge churches found in leafy plazas.
You’ll soak up the atmosphere of this captivating city with a private walking tour in the afternoon. From the walled city itself – visiting its most famous streets, squares, monuments, and museums – to the iconic sites of San Pedro Claver church and cloister, Palace of the Inquisition, Santo Domingo church, Santo Domingo, and San Francisco Javier bastions.
Afterward, head to the luxury of the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Hotel where you’ll enjoy a delicious evening meal before heading to one of Cartagena’s lively salsa bars where Caribbean beats carry you happily into the early hours.
- Day 8
CartagenaView on map
Explore more of Cartagena’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, along with the charming artistic quarter of Getsemani, before a private rum-tasting experience led by a local Sommelier.
Your discovery of Cartagena continues today with a private tour of San Felipe de Barajas Fortress. Beginning early, you’ll visit the UNESCO world heritage site with an expert guide, who will tell the fascinating story of one of the greatest military constructions in the Spanish Empire in America.
Constructed between 1536 and 1657 and located on top of San Lazaro Hill, San Felipe de Barajas Fortress was expanded over time to defend the city against pirate and buccaneer invasions, such as those led by Baron de Pointis and the English admiral Edward Vernon in 1741. Well-preserved with tunnels and military architecture, you’ll be able to vividly imagine the Battle of Cartagena de Indias, where Spanish Admiral Blas de Lezo successfully defended the city and defeated the English admiral despite the latter's superiority in troops, ships, and weaponry.
You’ll next head to the Getsemani neighborhood, a colonial quarter in Cartagena that has been home to the artisans of the city since the beginning of the colony. Today, it is a charming neighborhood with colorful houses, lively street music, and artistic murals, filled with bustling street food stalls, casual bistros, brewpubs, and cocktail bars. Stop for lunch at La Cocina de Pepina, a restaurant favored by locals for its traditional Colombian dishes.
After lunch, you’ll have the chance to sample Cartagena’s rum and cacao. The experience takes place at a private colonial mansion, built in 1600 – providing the perfect setting to step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich heritage and flavors of Colombia. Led by a local Sommelier, you’ll sample about 20 different exotic fruits paired with three types of Colombian rums aged 12, 18, and XO, as well as 52%, 70%, and 100% Colombian fine aroma cacao chocolates, which are highly acclaimed around the world.
Your hotel is then just a 10-minute walk away, where you’ll spend the evening at leisure.
- Day 9
Cartagena - BaruView on map
Take in the magnificent Islands of Baru and Rosario – a Colombian National Park – by private speedboat, before settling into the paradise Island retreat of Las Islas Hotel.
On the ninth day of your luxury Colombia vacation, you’ll explore an area of natural beauty by boat, taking in the panoramic views of the bay fortresses, before continuing to Baru Island, Cholon Lagoon, and ultimately the Rosario Islands, a coral reef archipelago comprising 27 islands that are now a National Natural Park.
Home to glistening crystal-clear waters and abundant offshore coral reefs, these islands are most famously known for their world-class snorkeling and miles of unspoiled beaches. Spend the day swimming and unwinding on your private boat before, enjoying an exclusive night of luxury on Isla Coralina, and the secluded secret Chiringuito Beach on the island of Tierra Bomba – set against one of Colombia’s most magnificent sunsets.
Your final few nights will be hosted by Las Islas - a paradise Island retreat, and an unmissable highlight of this luxury Colombia vacation. Where you choose to stay during your two nights here is dependent on your preferred experience. For instance, on the hotel's smaller, separate island, thatched seafront cabanas offer a more private and secluded experience, whereas a stay in the tree-top bungalows found nearby to the main hotel and its restaurants and bars, is a more social one.
Whichever your chosen room, tonight you'll settle into your blissful surroundings, dining at one of the hotel's restaurants and enjoying an aperitif as the sun sets over the horizon.
- Day 10
BaruView on map
Spend the day at leisure exploring the spacious grounds of this marvelous 5* hotel and its two Islands
Spend the day at leisure exploring the spacious grounds of this marvelous 5* hotel and its two Islands, unwinding on your own private veranda, beside the beach club pool, or on one of the Island's many secluded beaches, before enjoying a final dinner at Las Islas. Overnight at Las Islas Hotel.
- Day 11
Baru - Cartagena - DepartureView on map
With direct flights to the US and Europe from Cartagena airport – today you can make your way home without having to suffer several connecting flights. Just one of the many reasons this luxury Colombia vacation is the ideal solution for a private tailormade getaway.
Aracari specializes in tailormade travel. Here are just some of our further trip suggestions. Contact us for more bespoke ideas to inspire your travels.
Journey pricing as of 2023
Basic Pricing - US$16,000 per person
- This is a sample journey and can be tailored to your interests and travel style.
- Accommodation at hotels as mentioned above.
- Meals where indicated.
- Local English speaking guides throughout.
- All transfers to and from the airport.
- A detailed itinerary produced by us which includes historical information about the places you will visit, tips for the traveler, where to eat and where to shop, maps of the places you will visit, and a comprehensive reading list.
- Domestic flights (quoted separately).
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Travel Insurance.
- International Flights and airport taxes.
- Neither personal expenses nor any other service not specified in the itinerary.