tropical beach with turquoise water at tayrona natural park

Must-see in Colombia and Ecuador

Our suggestion of tailor-made tour to discover the essentials of Colombia and Ecuador

Perfect to discover the best of each of these countries, this trip offers you to visit Bogotá, the coffee region, and the beautiful Cartagena de Indias … before flying to the neighboring country of Ecuador, with its capital Quito, the Andes as well as the majestic Galápagos Islands.

Length of stay: 15 days

Kind: Multi-country

Fix: For all public

Countries visited: Colombia, Ecuador

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Day 1 : Bogota

Arrival at Bogota El Dorado International airport.

Transfer to your hotel in the Candelaria district and free time to enjoy at your own pace Colombia´s capital city where modern districts and historic center, urban architecture and green parks stand alongside. Overnight at Casa Deco hotel in Standard room.

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Day 2 : Bogota

Full day to explore Colombia´s capital city of Bogota, known for its colonial and authentic atmosphere .

-The Candelaria district: Bogota’s historical centre. You will be walking through its cobblestoned streets, you will discover colorful colonial mansions, splendid carved wooden balconies as well as churches built in baroque style.

– Cerro de Monserrate is the 3152m peak flanking the city´s east. Over there, you will enjoy a stunning view over the city and its surroundings. At the top, there is a white church (accessible by cable car or by funicular railway), it is a sanctuary for pilgrimages and particularly crowded on holy days.

– La Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao , is a real messy Colombian market where you will be able to get exotic tastes and buy everything you need to cook a real Bogotano receipe.

– The Gold museum displays one of the most dazzling collection in South America. It brings together around 34.000 pieces of goldsmith work , considered as the world´s largest pre-Colombian collection of its kind. Those artifacts come from different civilizations : Quimbayas, Taironas, Muiscas or Tolimas.

– Botero Museum is dedicated to the most famous colombian artist, Fernando Botero. The Museum features both his works (around a hundred of drawings, paintings and sculptures) as well as his private collection with no less than 85 masterpieces of well known artists, such as Dali, Renoir, Chagall, Picasso, Miro …

– Bolivar Square (la Plaza Bolivar) surrounded by Bogota´s greatest buildings, including the Town Hall, the Palace of Justice, Primatial Cathedral, Congress Building…

Note 1: walking tour in the Candelaria colonial center (3 to 4 hours walking in the city). Trasnportation is included for the visit of Montserrate.

Note 2: the order of visits may be modified depending on the weekday. (The Gold Museum is closed on Mondays. Botero Museum is closed on Tuesdays).

Note 3 : Montserrate is very popular on Sundays and you will meet a lot of other visitors.

Overnight at Casa Deco hotel in Standard room.

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Day 3 : Bogota

Transfer to Bogota airport for your domestic flight. Domestic flight to Pereira . Welcome to the « Coffee Triangle », including the departments of Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío, which together make up the heart of the Zona Cafetera , also called the Eje Cafetero . This area is famous for growing and producing the majority of the Colombian coffee, considered by some as the best coffee in the world.

Transfer to your Hacienda, a large traditional landed estate. Discover the Risaralda Valley during a horseback ride , enjoy the peacefulness and admire the beauty of the landscapes.

Note : 2 hours horse riding

After this nice ride, you will dive into the colorful world of the exotic fruits ! Trust the advice of the expert and treat yourself to a guided fruit tasting. You will be surprised and amazed by the diversity of colors, tastes and textures! Overnight at Sazagua hotel in Premium Suite room.

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Day 4 : Pereira

This day will be dedicated to the discovery of typical villages and landscapes of the coffee region.

– A ride in a traditional “ jeep Willy ” in the heart of the green valley of Cocora

– Hiking among the wax palm trees (Colombian national tree). During the walk, you will pass through bucolic landscapes, among the wax palms bordering the crystal clear waters of the Quindio river with, as a backdrop, the impressive peaks of the Western Cordillera . Then you will arrive at Acaime reserve. On site, a coffee or an “agua panela” (typical drink) will be offered. Prepare your cameras: Acaime is the paradise for observing hummingbirds!

– Lunch break

– Visit of a coffee plantation. Inside of a typical “finca” , you will learn everything about coffee. The production is as complex and sophisticated as wine. On site you will have the opportunity to walk among the coffee trees and to be introduced to the process of harvesting and roasting, before enjoying the drink produced on site. Transfer to Pereira airport for your domestic flight. Domestic flight to Cartagena . Arrival in Cartagena de Indias , the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast , a city of romance, legends and superbly preserved beauty 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 massive churches that cast their shadows across the plazas.

Transfer to your hotel in the historical center. Free time to enjoy the rest of the day. Overnight at La Passion hotel in Premium room.

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Day 5 : Cartagena de Indias

In the morning, you will go for a guided walking tour through the Walled City, including the visit of the most beautiful areas such as San Diego , Plaza Santo Domingo , Getsemani and other landmarks full of history. Free afternoon to enjoy the city at your own pace. Overnight at La Passion hotel in Premium room.

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Day 6 : Cartagena de Indias

Transfer between your hotel and the port of Cartagena . Day of relaxation in the heart of the beautiful Rosario archipelago . Aboard a private sailboat , you will enjoy a unique day: lazing on the beaches, swimming in the earth of the Caribbean sea, discovering the mangrove, exploring the seabed…

Lunch on an island or on the boat.

Back to Cartagena by the afternoon. Transfer between the port and your hotel in Cartagena . Overnight at La Passion hotel in Premium room.

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Day 7 : Quito Airport

Reception at the airport by a french, italian or german speaking guide (if you are from 1 to 3 persons, your guide will also be your driver). Private transfer with spanish-speaking driver from Quito airport to your hotel. You will spend the night at Casa Gardenia hotel in the historical part of the city.

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Day 8 : Quito Historic Center

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is a real treasure between the volcanoes of Pichincha, Cayambe and Antisana. At an elevation of 2830 meters, it is the second highest capital in the world.. It was the first city classified by the UNESCO in 1978 and its historic centre is the biggest and best maintained in Latin America.

Departure at 8:30am: to get a good idea of the city, we will firstly go to the Panecillo, a small hill over the city with a statue of the Quito’ Virginp, with a splendid 360º view.

You will then have a visit of Quito’s colonial centre:

– the church of the Compañia de Jesus (If the time allows it because this one opens the doors only at 12:30) or the Sucre theater;
– the church of San Francisco;
– the Grand Place where are located the Presidential Palace (Carondelet) and Quito’s Cathedral. You will get out of Quito direction to Otavalo, passing through one of the regions where they grow the famous ecuadorian roses and you will appreciate a beautiful landscape made of numerous summits of the northern Andes. You will stop at the latitude 0º , where a circular platform of 54 meters of diameter materializes a huge sundial and the equator line. The phenomena observed in the place will be explained to you, as well as how the local peoples used to integrate them in their dayly activities. An opporetunity to reconnect with what is an agriculture agenda, and what it means, between the sky and nature. Visit of the Cuicocha lake in the ecologic reserve of Cotacahi – Cayapas , one of the most beautiful in Ecuador with a shiny blue water.

At the centre of a former crater at 3064 meters, the nature lovers will enjoy a very various vegetation (orchids, elephants ears …) with more than 400 species identified there.

For the more sporty, you can walk around the lagoon. You will spend the night at Las Palmeras hotel close to Otavalo. Guide speaking french, italian or german in private transport (if you are from 1 to 3 persons, your guide will also be your driver).

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Day 9 : Otavalo

Visit in the morning of the famous Otavalo’s Indigenous market, the most significant in the Ecuador’s Andes, where you can meet the Otavaleños with their espadrilles , their brown felt hat and blue ponchos. They are the wealthiest indians in Ecuador and excellent sellers. You will go to Cayambe from Otavalo, observing the beautiful landscape of the mountains. You will stop for about 2 hours in a plantation of roses. Ecuador is one of the first countries that export roses in all the world, and actually the roses of Ecuador are considered to be the most beautiful of the world. They are produced at 2500 meter of altitude, that’s what makes them to have such strong and intense colors. The minerals that come from the Cotopaxi and Cayambe volcanoes make the rosebuds to grow enormously. You will head for the National Cotopaxi Park from Cayambe through this beautiful mountain scenery. You will observe the inhabitants of this region, with typical clothes, on the edge of a path that is a symbol of modernity in contrast to practices inherited from the pre-Inca civilizations. Night at La Cienega hotel.

Here we carefully maintain the character and the historical furniture who saw the celebrities of the world including Charles Marie Condamine, French scientist who participated in the Geodesic Mission (1736-44) who determined the true form of the Earth and Alexander Von Humboldt, German naturalist who studied the volcanic activity of Cotopaxi (1802) and its unique flora. The huge corridors with their waxed floors and their ancestors galleries on the wall give a special charm to this old family house that has a soul and a whole history. This is where you will spend the night. Guide speaking french, italian or german in private transport (if you are from 1 to 3 persons, your guide will also be your driver).

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Day 10 : Cotopaxi Park

Today visit of the Cotopaxi national park with Ecuador’s second-highest summit at 5897 meters. It is also the highest active volcano in the world although it mainly shows a few fumaroles from its ice-covered crater. But sometimes it launches a huge column of smoke and ashes right upon its center.

Afterward, you will walk around the Limpiapungo lagoon with a stunning view on the Cotopaxi. You will appreciate the flora and some fauna, typical of the paramo , those wide plains swept by the cold winds of the Andes.

After driving up to the car park at 4600 meters you will continue by foot to the José Rivas hut 200 meters higher.

The most motivated can also go and reach the snowline.

Due to the eruptive process of the volcano Cotopaxi initiated on August 14th, 2015, this information can be reviewed at any time, in accordance with the safety requirements of the Ecuadorian Coordination Ministry of National Security and our agency.

You will then get back on the road to Quito. You will spend the night at Quito Polo Club Boutique Hotel located 30min from the airport. Guide speaking french, italian or german in private transport (if you are from 1 to 3 persons, your guide will also be your driver).

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Day 11 : Quito Airport

You will take a flight of about 2 hours from Quito to Baltra to Galapagos. At the airport, after the payment of the migratory card ($20 per person) and the luggage control (20 kg maximum per person and 10kg for the hand luggage per person) , you can check in and embark for a 3 hours flight.

Arrival at Baltra airport, located on a small island near Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is the second biggest island of the archipel by its surface and the most populated. You will pay the entrance fee to the Galápagos National Park ($100 per person) before picking up your luggage.

Our local representant will take charge of you at the exit of the airport. You will reach the Canal of Itabaca in public bus (5 minutes) and you will cross the canal in public boat. From there, you will continue on the main island in private pick-up to arrive to Puerto Ayora ( 45 minutes)

You will visit the Charles Darwin Station. Here, you can learn about the ongoing conservation efforts on these Enchanted Islands. The Research Station rears endemic Galapagos plants, land iguanas, and giant Galapagos Tortoises for educational, scientific and conservation purposes.

Remark 1: These price can’t be paid in advance by our services, they have to be paid directly at the spots.

Remark 2: If the arrival time is before 10am, you will make a visit in the Highlands, at the Twin Craters or at Manzanillo ranch to see the giant turtlesin the wild, before reaching Puerto Ayora. Night in Deja Vu hotel in Santa Cruz island.

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Day 12 : Puerto Villamil

Night in Wooden House hotel. For this morning, we will take the public speedboat to Isabela (2:30 approx.), the largest island of Galapagos and the most wild of the three biggest ones.

At Puerto Ayora harbour, your luggage will be checked again before embarking. You will need to take a taxi-boat (between $us 0.50 et $us 1 maximum per person) to reach the boat with which you will make the journey between the two islands.This service is to pay directly on the taxi-boat.

At Ihe arrival in Isabela, you will need to take another taxi-boat (maximum $us 1 per person) to disembark on the island. You willl also need to pay the local tax ($us 10) at Isabela harbour.

Once arrived at Isabela, you will have some time to rest at the hotel or walk around to the village.

You can also head to the Concha y Perla lagoon, where you could swim if lucky with sea lions, colorful varieties of fish, sea turtles and penguins.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Tintoreras Islet (20 min. from the port). The name of the islet derives from the sharks that live in the waters surrounding the islet that have whit-tipped fins, which are known as “Tintoreras”. The islet is one of the most fascinating places on Isabela Island and in fact all of the Galapagos. In this one area we can see sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, Sally lightfoot crabs, sea turtles, pelicans, and Galapagos penguins. As the island is one of the main breeding sites for the marine iguanas, it is an excellent place to see numerous amounts of these creatures close-up. After the hike through the islet, we will get back on the boat and cool off by snorkeling in the waters nearby, where we can see multicolor fish, starfish, sea-urchins, and with luck manta rays, sharks, and sea lions that may swim with us close up. we ensure you that you will not forget this fascinating experience.

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Day 13 : Puerto Villamil

Night in Wooden House hotel. After breakfast we will prepare ourselves to depart for the Tunnels | Cape Rosa is a site located at 40 minutes by boat southwest of Puerto Villamil. The sighting of birds and marine animals from the lava platform is one of the most important attractions. While snorkelling at this site, experience enclose encounters with many species of fish, rays, sea turtles, penguins and sea lions.

During the rest of this day, we suggest to visit the Breeding Center of the Giant Tortoises and the Humid Lands on your own.

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Day 14 : Puerto Villamil

Night in Wooden House hotel. Early in the morning (8:00 am aprox.), after breakfast, we will prepare ourselves for the Sierra Negra Volcano hike by putting on comfortable walking shoes and possibly a rain jacket, making sure our cameras are stored in waterproof bags, making sure to bring sunscreen, water, and hats, and finally by preparing our box lunch at the hotel to take with us. We will then travel approximately 45 minutes by truck or bus to begin the 12 km hike (appx. 3 hours). The hike is long in terms of distance, but not very difficult as the inclines and declines are quite gradual. Sierra Negra Volcano has the second largest crater in the world, measuring approximately 6 miles in diameter and 300 feet deep. We will reach Volcan Chico before heading back, which should provide a spectacular view of the incredible moonlike terrain. Return to Puerto Villamil for free end of afternoon.

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Day 15 : Baltra

Domestic flight Baltra – Guayaquil. After a short early breakfast, departure by public boat to return to Puerto Ayora. You will be taken to Baltra’s airport so as to get your flight back to the continent. Free connection with your international flight.

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