It is the most vibrant and lively place in the world that you will never cease to be bored exploring. Columbia is great for its diversity. Lots of students from different places, different backgrounds, etc. I think the size is perfect: I feel like I know everyone but I keep meeting new people.
Seven days is just long enough to experience the energy and culture of Colombia’s most exciting destinations—with a bit of beach time thrown in for good measure. You’ll start off in the cosmopolitan capital of Bogotá where you can indulge in the thriving food and art scene, then jet off to Cartagena to explore Old Town—the inner-walled city that abounds with colonial architecture and history. Throw in a day trip to the Caribbean Rosario Islands and you have a vacation worth its weight in gold.
Transfer to selected hotel in Santiago.
After breakfast, enjoy a half day visit to the historic centre of Bogota known as La Candelaria. This archaic suburb has great significance in the country´s history due to its cultural heritage and is also a great example of Spanish colonial time architecture.
Visit the main square Plaza de Bolivar, where a statue of the great emancipator Simon Bolivar is located. The plaza, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes such as a marketplace, a bullring and it was also the place where many executions were held. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, is constructed on the same spot where the first church was built in Bogotá in 1539 and houses an important collection of religious artifacts such as textiles and artworks, collection that has been built over four centuries.
The Capilla del Sagrario is located just beside the Cathedral and is a gem of religious architecture, it 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, it was the first example of republican civil architecture.
The central area of the Capitol, known as the Elliptic Hall, is where congress meets and is the actual chamber for politicians and the Senate. In the internal squares are busts of former presidents such as General Tomás Cipriano Mosquera, president over four terms, and Rafael Núñez, the composer of the Colombian National Anthem. Around the Plaza de Bolivar are buildings such as the Palacio de Justicia, the Mayor of Bogotá’s offices called the Edificio Liévano, the oldest school in the county called San Bartolome and the Casa de los Comuneros, named after the leaders that participated towards the end of the XVII Century in some of the first movements towards independence from Spain and the formation of the Republic.
The visit continues with the Botero Museum, a colonial house exhibiting some of Fernando Botero´s works of art and in addition pieces from his own personal collection that includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí Matisse, Monet and Giacometti. Next is the Gold Museum which has a permanent exhibition of some 32,000 pieces of gold, 20,000 stones, ceramics and textiles all precious to the Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures. The Gold Museum is considered one of the most important museums of its type internationally and it has been operating since 1939. In 2007 it underwent a complete renovation making it possible for visitors to enjoy an interactive experience. The Museum belongs to the International Network of Museums (ICOM).
MEALS: B / – / –
NOTE: The Gold Museum is closed on Mondays & the Botero Museum is closed on Tuesday.
After breakfast, depart from Bogotá and head north, towards Zipaquirá. Travel through the Bogota Savannah and as you travel by, glance at 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 approximately 1.15 hours reach the impressive Salt Cathedral, a true achievement of engineering. The name Zipaquirá 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, made by the Colombian artist Carlos Enrique Rodriguez.
This is the largest cross made from salt in the world. Next, we visit the mine where there is an excellent auditorium that can seat up to two hundred people, host film screenings and events such as fashion shows. The trip ends at a mirror of water where it is possible to experience the amazing visual effects of water on carved saline rock. Transfer to the El Dorado Airport to take the flight to Cartagena. Reception and transfer to the selected hotel.
MEALS: B / – / –
Start with a panoramic view of the city from the Monasterio and Iglesia de La Popa. Formerly known as the “Popa del Galeon” and famous for resembling the stern of a galleon. Constructed in 1606 this church and monastery are located at a height of 140masl from where one can enjoy 360º views of the city and the sea as well as the port zone, one of the most important in the Caribbean.
Continuing to the San Felipe Fortress, erected in honor of the poet from Cartagena, Don Luis Carlos López, made famous for his sonnet “A mi ciudad nativa” It was built on San Lázaro hill to defend the city from pirate attacks. Walk around the fortress and learn how the castle was constructed, the engineering feats, the tunnels, underground galleries and passageways. Then continue on to the Ciudad Vieja (old city) to visit the Convert and Church of San Pedro Claver which was built in the middle of the XVII century and owes its name to the “apóstol de los esclavos”.
Lastly, continue to the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas, a collection of archways built into the city wall of Cartagena and that were used until the end of the 1700s to house armaments and then later as a prison in the XIX century.
Nowadays it’s an artisan center where one can appreciate local handcraft. Free afternoon for individual activities.
MEALS: B / – / –
Free day for individual activities.
MEALS: B / – / –
After breakfast, transfer to Cartagena´s pier to enjoy a full day excursion to one of the islands of the Archipiélago del Rosario, located approximately one hour (45km) by boat from Cartagena.
During the transfer, observe the impressive and beautiful landscapes of the islands with its clear waters and gentle breezes.
Upon arrival to Gente de Mar, you will have free time to enjoy the beach, snorkel (not included) and relax. Lunch is served on the island and in the afternoon, return to Cartagena.
MEALS: B / L / –
• This excursion can be offered in different islands and the place where it is taken varies according to the confirmation.
• On the return trip the boat will be going against the current, so it is possible for some water to splash into the boat. This being said, passengers may get wet. We suggest for you to sit on the right side of the boat.
• SIB Guide and boat transfers.
Breakfast and transfer to the airport for taking the departure flight.
MEALS: B / – / –