All participants arrive and settle into our hotel in Bogota.
This morning begins with a tour of the historic and colorful market known as Paloquemao. Founded in 1947, the market offers one of the most authentic experiences you can have in Colombia. The photo opportunities are endless. Afterwards, we will then walk through the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria is filled with some of the most popular museums and attractions in Bogota. Our stops will include a Gold Museum, Botero gallery, Plaza de Bolivar and Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo. La Candelaria is both old and new, historic and modern, Spanish colonial architecture and unique graffiti murals. At sunset, we’ll enjoy a delicious three-course meal together. Overnight in Bogota.
Today our group visits the underground Roman Catholic church (unofficial) known as the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Considered one of the most notable achievements of Colombian architecture, the Cathedral lies within the tunnels of a salt mine 200 meters underground. We’ll see and photograph icons, ornaments and architectural details hand carved in the halite rock. Once back above ground, we will experience and photograph a show with Colombia’s unique Paso Fino horses, followed by lunch at the stables. Overnight in Bogota.
Today we’ll fly from Bogotá to Armenia, in the heart of Coffee Country. We’ll then use Willys Jeeps to climb to Buenavista, set amid steep slopes corduroyed by deep-green coffee bushes. Here, at Café San Alberto, we’ll tour the coffee finca and learn the techniques of coffee-tasting while savoring and photographing the stupendous mountain vistas setting. Overnight in Armenia.
This morning head to two colorful coffee-growing towns—Filandia and Salento—known for their traditional (and colorful) Colombian architecture and laid-back lifestyle. Another highlight will be our drive into the Cocora Valley, a scenic stunner renowned as the last refuge of the critically endangered yellow-eared parrot and the Colombian wax palm—the world’s tallest palm species. Overnight in Armenia.
Up with the dawn today for an early departure for Medellin. Our half-day drive to this sensational city takes us through the remarkably scenic countryside, with stops en route to photograph as the best opportunities arise. We hope to arrive in time for a city tour, taking in the visual highlights such as Plaza Botero, studded with massive bronze statues. We’ll end with a sunset cable-car ride to Santo Domingo, a once-dangerous barrio and Pablo Escobar fiefdom brought back from the abyss by bold revitalization. Overnight in Medellin.
This morning we’ll drive into the hills south of town to visit a flower farm in Santa Elena. The region should be full of energy as locals put the finishing touches to their silletas—flower arrangements—for tomorrow’s festival. Our afternoon will be at leisure. Overnight in Medellin.
Day 8 :
The flower festival parade is sure to keep us (and our cameras) pleasantly occupied all day. The highlight will be the sillitero parade as the brilliant flower arrangements brought in from the countryside. Overnight in Medellin.
Day 9 :
Our group will be transferred to the airport to fly from Medellin to the coastal colonial city of Cartagena. After checking into our hotel, we will have a guided tour around the historic walled city, with its horse-drawn carriages and vibrant street life such as the colorful palenqueras—Afro-Colombia fruit-sellers dressed in rainbow-hued costumes. Overnight in Cartagena.
Day 10 :
This morning we’ll journey outside the walled city to visit the bustling Bazurto open-air fruit market, followed by a short walking tour in Getsemani—a rapidly gentrifying historic district with vibrant street life. Overnight in Cartagena.
Day 11 :
Today is an open/free day. We will then reconvene to enjoy a final dinner and stay in Cartagena.
Day 12 :
This morning we will be transferred to the Cartagena airport and fly to Bogota where participants will connect with their flights home.