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Colombia Discovery Cartagena - Quito

Trip Overview

This is a trip that unveils the true diversity of Colombia and northern Ecuador, from the jungles and stunning beaches of the Caribbean coast in Tayrona National Park to the snow capped peaks of the Andes and the spectacular wax palm trees of the Valle de Cocora.

Colombia is home to some of South America’s most beautiful colonial architecture as found in Cartagena, Popayan or Santa Cruz de Lorica. This is balanced by the cosmopolitan and contemporary feel of Medellin. No visit to Colombia is complete without exploring the coffee heartland around Manizales and a stay at a Coffee Finca to learn the tricks of the trade.

Further south the Afro Caribbean feel gives way to the indigenous mountain peoples of the Andes and before crossing into Ecuador to explore the Indian markets of Otavalo, you must explore the exquisite Santuario de las Lajas in Ipiales. This tour would, however, not be complete without time to explore the wonderful old colonial city of Quito, with its plethora of churches, cathedrals and markets.

19 DAYS THROUGH Colombia, Ecuador
RATING:
of 36 reviews
PRICE FROM:
$1,385 (USD) + 530 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
19 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, Ferry
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
ACCOM:
17%
83%
MEALS:
2 Dinners, 2 Lunches, 14 Breakfasts
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
ZCQ
DEPOSIT:
$350 USD

Highlights

  2 nights in vibrant Cartegena

  2 Nights in the stunning Caribbean beach national park of Tayrona

  2 Nights to enjoy the colonial town of Santa Cruz de Lorica, home of the traditional Vueltiao hat

  3 nights to explore the infamous streets of Medellin

  Explore the region of Salento and visit a coffee finca

  Guided trek through spectacular Cocora Valley

  2 night stay in the historic colonial city of Popayan

  Photograph the iconic church bridge of Ipiales

  Visit the equator monument en-route to Quito

  Full day coffee experience and plantation tour

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

This trip gives an amazing insight into Colombia with lots of easy living, nothing too challenging and plenty of time to discover both rural and city life as well as the colonial history of this undiscovered destination. You will be staying in good small hotels, hostels and camping.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Cartagena ( 19th Sep 2019 )

Border Information: if joining in Cartagena, you will most likely enter Colombia at Cartagena Rafael Núñez International Airport (IATA code: CTG).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cartagena before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cartagena.

In Cartagena we stay in a comfortable hotel just outside the historical centre.

If you are continuing on from Panama, then your leader will have assisted you with airport transfers for your included flight to arrive in time for the joining meeting.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Days diving or snorkelling trip out to Islas del Rosario, Cartagena

COP 60000
Head out for a day of scuba diving amongst the reefs surrounding the Islas del Rosario in the Caribbean Sea
USD 60
Discover the brutal history of the Spanish Inquisition at their former headquarters in Cartagena, the Palace of the Inquistion
COP 15000
Learn all about Cartagena's naval tradition and history at the Naval Museum of the Caribbean
COP 15000
Day 2 - Cartagena ( 20th Sep 2019 )

Today we will have a full day in the beautiful coastal colonial city of Cartagena.

In the morning we will have an included walking tour of the city, and then the afternoon will be free to explore the city further, enjoy the many optional activities on offer, or simply relax on the beach.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore Cartagena on a guided walking tour

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the historic Castillo San Fellipe

COP 17000

Visit the mudbaths at the Totumo Volcano

USD 25
Day 3-4 - Tayrona National Park ( 21st Sep 2019 to 22nd Sep 2019 )

Today we have a short drive to the stunning Tayrona National Park. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

The following day we have an included walk in the National Park.  

In Tayrona we will sleep in Hammocks, no food is provided, but there are restaurants and cafes nearby by.  There is an hour walk from where we park our truck to our campsite. 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Relax and unwind on the unspoilt beaches in Tayrona National Park

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Time to explore the Cloud Forests of the Sierra Nevada foothills

Free
Day 5-6 - Lorica ( 23rd Sep 2019 to 24th Sep 2019 )

This morning we will walk back to our truck and leave Tayrona National park.  We will head south for the pretty colonial town of Santa Cruz de Lorica on the Sinu River.

We will have a free day to relax and discover the historic centre, learn about the traditional Vueltiao hat or head to the coast and soak up the sun in San Bernardo del Viento.

Day 7-9 - Medellín ( 25th Sep 2019 to 27th Sep 2019 )

Today we have a full days drive to vibrant city of Medellin.  the following morning we will have a guided walking tour of the city.  We then have plenty of time to relax or take park in some of activities available here.

In Medellín we will stay in dormitory accommodation in a centrally-located hostel, allowing you to enjoy the exciting nightlife of the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours 

 

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia

COP 3000

Take the pioneering Metroline cable car up to Santo Domingo, to see a very different area of the city and the revitalising effect the Metroline has had on the communities there

COP 1750

Visit the colossal Catedral Metropolitana in the city centre, built using over a million bricks between 1875 and 1931

Free

See Medellín's perfect blend of art, culture, and history by visiting the Plaza Botero and the nearby Museo de Antioquia and the Rafael Uribe Palacio de la Cultura

COP 10000

Relax and unwind on a stroll though the Medellín's gorgeous Botanical Gardens, and discover some of its 1000 different floral species on display

COP 2500

Head out on a fascinating walking tour of Medellín and learn all about it's tumultuous past

USD 10

Explore the beautiful model Antioquian village of Pueblito Paisa and the interesting sculpture park at Nutibara Hill

Free

Explore the Museum of the University of Antioquia, and marvel at its collectino of visual arts, anthropological exhibits, and over 20,000 pieces of pre-Colombian ceramics

Free

Head out and discover some of Medellín's vibrant and unusual nightlife at the Dulce Jesus Mio club

COP 10000

See some of Colombia's finest contemporary art at the Museo de Arte Moderno (NAMM), including the complete work of the local painter Débora Arango

COP 5000
Visit the planetarium and public science exhibits at the Parque de los Deseos
Free
Day 10 - Manizales ( 28th Sep 2019 )

Today we will head into the heart of the coffee region for a night at a beautiful Hacienda near the town of Manizales.  Tomorrow we can relax in the grounds, take a bird watching walk to spot some of the many hummingbirds that frequent the area. 

Estimated Drive time: 7 hours

We will stay in twin share accommodation in a lovely hacienda in the countryside.

Day 11-13 - Salento ( 29th Sep 2019 to 1st Oct 2019 )

Today we will continue our journey south to the small town of Salento, the gateway to the spectacular Valle de Cocora.  

Salento will be our base to take a guided trek through the Cocora Valley to see the Quindio wax palm trees, the largest palms in the world and the national tree of Colombia and also to do a coffee plantation tour.

Estimated Drive Time - 1.5 hours

In Salento we will stay in a local guesthouse within a working coffee farm, in dorm room accommodation.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Learn all about the cultivation and production of Colombian Coffee on a guided tour

Included in Kitty

Head out on a half-day guided trek through the spectacular Cocora Valley, and see the incredible 50m-tall Quindio wax palms, the tallest plam trees in the world!

Included in Kitty
Day 14-15 - Popayán ( 2nd Oct 2019 to 3rd Oct 2019 )

Today we will drive to the beautiful town and former colonial capital of Popayán.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore Popayán or take part in some excellent treks or other optional activities in the surrounding area.

In Popayán we stay in dormitory accommodation in a local hostel.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Relax in the volcanic thermal springs near the village of Coconuco, dramatically set in a steep-sided valley

COP 60000

Trek to the 4,650m summit of the towering Puracé volcano near Popayán

COP 130000
Day 16 - Ipiales ( 4th Oct 2019 )

Today we will have a full day drive to the border town of Ipiales.

In Ipiales we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

Day 17 - Otavalo, Ipiales ( 5th Oct 2019 )

We will leave Colombia behind today and cross the border into Ecuador, we will have time for an included visit to the beautiful Santurio de las Lajas, before heading to Otavalo.

Tonight we will camp in the grounds of a pretty Guesthouse in Otavalo.

Estimated drive time: 3 hours.

Border information: Exit Colombia at Ipiales, enter Ecuador at Ipiales.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the jaw dropping Santuario Las Lajas on the outskirts of Ipiales

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a short walk to the beautiful Peguche Waterfalls near Otavalo (if time allows)
Free

Village Tour Of Otavalo

Free
Day 18 - Quito ( 6th Oct 2019 )

We will head south for the final leg of our journey to the bustling captial, Quito. En route into the city we will have an included visit to Mitad del Mundo, the monument that marks the Equator.

In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the equator at Mitad del Mundo

Included in Kitty
Day 19 - Quito ( 7th Oct 2019 )

Border information: if you are finishing in Quito, you will most likely exit Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport (IATA code: UIO).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Quito. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a trip on El Telerifiqo, the world's second highest cable car

USD 8.5

Visit the Museo De La Ciudad

USD 3
Take a walk around Quito's incredible Botanical Gardens, which showcases all of Ecuador's various ecosystems and their flora
USD 3.5
Visit the Museo Mindalae, the extremely original project showcasing Ecuador's rich cultural diversity
USD 3

DATES & PRICES

This group overland journey has multiple departures.
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Trip Notes
Departing: 19 Sep 2019
Returning: 7 Oct 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: Full Payment
limited
Departing: 15 Oct 2019
Returning: 2 Nov 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: Full Payment
limited
Departing: 17 Nov 2019
Returning: 5 Dec 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 5 Mar 2020
Returning: 23 Mar 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
closed
FULLY BOOKED
Departing: 27 Apr 2020
Returning: 15 May 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 23 May 2020
Returning: 10 Jun 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 14 Jun 2020
Returning: 2 Jul 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 20 Jun 2020
Returning: 8 Jul 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 17 Jul 2020
Returning: 4 Aug 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 2 Oct 2020
Returning: 20 Oct 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 6 Oct 2020
Returning: 24 Oct 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 8 Nov 2020
Returning: 26 Nov 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 10 Feb 2021
Returning: 28 Feb 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 15 Mar 2021
Returning: 2 Apr 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 26 Apr 2021
Returning: 14 May 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 12 Jun 2021
Returning: 30 Jun 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 3 Jul 2021
Returning: 21 Jul 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 15 Jul 2021
Returning: 2 Aug 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 28 Jul 2021
Returning: 15 Aug 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 30 Aug 2021
Returning: 17 Sep 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 15 Oct 2021
Returning: 2 Nov 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 19 Oct 2021
Returning: 6 Nov 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 21 Nov 2021
Returning: 9 Dec 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 9 Feb 2022
Returning: 27 Feb 2022
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 14 Mar 2022
Returning: 1 Apr 2022
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,440 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 25 Jun 2022
Returning: 13 Jul 2022
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,440 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 8 Jul 2022
Returning: 26 Jul 2022
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,440 USD + $530 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available

REVIEWS FROM OUR PASSENGERS

It was excellent! Great locations, drives, accommodation, Dragoman crew, everything. Couldn't have enjoyed the trip more.
Katherine P
Having our own transport (especially one that coped well off-road) meant we could easily get to beaches or hostels that would have been almost impossible to reach with public transport. Being able to go to these places with the group made for an amazing travel experience.
Katherine P
Unique Overland experience. Amazing way to see the landscape of a varied and beautiful country
Gillian G
Loved meeting liked minded people, also keeping active on the trip. Well organised and explained in advance for each destination.
Mindi K
Enjoyed getting to out of the way and undiscovered areas of Colombia where few other tourists are seen
Lesley C
The views whilst driving were spectacular, which really made long days of driving bearable. Evenings around a campfire was my favourite.I love how it is an organised trip but it still feels as adventurous as if I was organising it myself.
Thomas V
Absolutely wonderful experience, would recommend to anyone. The team leaders were the best and made the trip go above and beyond expectations
Ellie D
Great trip
Jonathan S
A great trip - crew were amazing and really helped make the experience!
Heather H
I had a great trip. I thought the itinerary was good and our guides were great. It was a good mix of mountains, adventure sports, coffee and beach.
Tamara M
The trip was a fantastic way to see the best parts of Colombia. I particularly loved Salento with some great coffee and playing Tejo was definitely a highlight (even though I sucked). Mompos was a surprise favorite. I didn’t know much about it but the beautiful architecture,history and heat made it quite unique.
Tamara M
This is already my 2nd trip and I have booked the next one next year and I am considering travelling further with Dragoman
Melitta K
Overall very good, though some of the camping was very basic indeed.
Lukasz B
Exciting destinations combined with enthusiastic staff.
Susan S
All was unknown to us and all interesting
Keith E
Swimming in Tayrona national park and Mompos were really nice.
Dianne D
Second trip with Dragoman, will book again soon!
Kate B
It was a nice, diverse trip!
Daniël D
San Gil and Tayrona National Park were our favourites! Although Medellin and Salinas were amazing too... it was ALL good!!
Richard M
Local guides were all excellent and well chosen
Patricia P
I had a great time on the tour. I went to Guatape and Otavalo, places that I would not have visited had I travelled on my own, and I thought they were great. I liked Rachel and Jamie, I thought they did a great job. It is very well done for people who want this type of experience and I am happy to recommend Dragoman.
Michael B
Both crew were fabulous.
Michael B
There were several local guides and I thought they were all very good.
Michael B
Rachel was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and brought the whole group together well. Jaime was also enthusiastic and such a happy personality to have around.
Alexandra B
The leaders did good! I like that Jamie always seems happy!
Søren Elleby A
I think the style of the vehicle adds an extra quirk to the whole trip so for that reason I quite liked it. What we expected given the nature of this trip, happy customers!
Kathleen R
I really enjoyed the trip!
Lauren B
We had a great time! Everything was beyond expectations.
Kathleen R
Both leaders were very helpful, and supported us well.
Lauren B
Rachel has so much enthusiasm and drive, she definitely fits the true qualities required of this job. Her confidence in handling difficult situations shone and kept us at ease throughout the trip and she just made things great fun! Couldn't ask for more of her!
Kathleen R
It was an amazing experience, exactly as described and good value for money.
Brett M
They were fantastic! It's a difficult job which they made look effortless…
Brett M
Both the leader and co-driver were great, organised and very helpful.
Jonathan P
I love Julie, she is the best tour leader I had in this 10 months of overlanding. No clue how she can maintain a constant smile after 18 months of tour leading! Nick is cool, a nice guy and professional too.
Martin L
Julie and Nick were both excellent, they were extremely helpful, charming and made the trip interesting and fun. They could not have worked harder.
Patricia P
All the local guides were excellent.
Jonathan P