Archaeological and Historical Colombia
Discover Colombian History and Archaeology: Our 12 Day Suggested Itinerary
A journey into the deepest heart of Colombia to discover it’s incredible history filled with pre-Hispanic cultures and European footprints. Discover the colonial architecture in the Boyaca and Santander regions. Explore the mystical regions of Huila and Cauca, rich in pre-Colombian statues and tombs. Then head to the coffee region to take in the fresh air and nature. End your trip on the Caribbean coast to discover the architectural gem: Cartegena de Indias.
Length of stay: 12 days
Kind: Authentic Tours
Fix: Light Activity
Countries visited: Colombia
Villa de Leyva
Cartagena de Indias
Your customized trip
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Day 1 : Bogota
Arrival at Bogota El Dorado International airport.
Transfer to your hotel in the Candelaria district and enjoy some free time to explore Colombia´s capital city at your own pace. Here you’ll find modern districts, the historic center, lush green parks and urban architecture.
Overnight at Casa Deco hotel in Standard room.
Day 2 : Bogota
Transfer to Bogota airport for your domestic flight. Domestic flight to Bucaramanga. Transfer betweeen Bucaramanga airport and your hotel.
Settle into your hotel room. Overnight at Casa Oniri hotel in a Double Deluxe room.
Day 3 : Barichara
Start your visit with Barichara, one of the most beautiful villages in Colombia. Discover the colonial architecture, recognized as part of Colombia’s national heritage. Visit of the Imaculada Conception cathedral, Santa Barbara and Santa Lucia Church.
Lunch in a typical Colombian restaurant.
In the afternoon, take the time to explore the city with an artistic eye. Barichara is a well-known art haven, home to many artists. Discover the traditional craft of Barichara: weaving.
Overnight at Casa Oniri hotel in a Double Deluxe room.
Day 4 : Barichara
Transfer to Villa de Leyva, a charming colonial town in the Boyaca region.
Note: About a 5 hour drive.
Walk through the historical and cultural center of Villa de Leyva. Along the cobbled streets, discover the following sites:
– The former homes, turned museums, of two of Colombian heros (Casa Antonio Nariño and Casa Antonio Ricaurte)
– El Carmen Church, which houses a small (but exceptional) museum of religious art and stunning goldsmithery from the colonial era.
– The Plaza Mayor, with a total area of 14,000m2 or 150694 square feet, one of the largest paved plazas in the Americas.
– Later, in the surrounding areas of Villa de Leyva, you’ll visit the Convent of Santo Ecce Homo, founded in 1620 by Dominican monks. Look for fossils dotted in the stone of the monastery’s buildings. The original chapel has an impressive golden altar, where religious objects and works of art from the 16th to the 19th century are displayed.
Note 1: A 2 hour walk.
Note 2: This list is non-exhaustive. Some sites may be closed on the day of the visit.
Overnight at Casa Terra hotel in a Standard room.
Day 5 : Villa de Leyva
In the morning depart for Bogota. On the way you’ll stop at Raquira, a small village famous for it’s ceramic workshops. Nearby visit the Covento del Desierto de la Candelaria, an Augustinian monastery built in 1661.
Transfer to the hotel in Bogota and enjoy some free time at the end of your day.
Note 1: 5 to 6 hour drive during the day
Note 2: The sites are free to visit. A guide is not included.
Note 3: Raquira has recently become quite touristy. It is possible to ask your driver not to stop there. Domestic flight to Pitalito.
Note: Flight with a low-cost airline that only allows a 15 kg suitcase. Extra kilos must be paid at the company counter at the airport.
Arrival at Pitaito airport. You hit the road to San Agustin. After checkin-in at your hotel, visit Estrecho del Rio Magdalena, a rocky gorge 2.20 meters wide where Colombia’s longest river forges it’s path with astonishing strength.
A French speaking guide is available. Overnight at Akawanka Hotel in Standard room.
Day 6 : San Agustin
Overnight at Akawanka Hotel in a Standard room. This day is dedicated to the visit of San Agustin Archaeological Park, listed as a World Heritage of Humanity site by UNESCO. You’ll see the following main sites:
– Las Mesitas: crypts, figurines and funerary dolmens;
– El Bosque de las Estatuas: several statues representing mostly male anthropomorphic figures, sometimes cat-like features;
– El Fuente de Lavapatas, a religious monument engraved in the riverbed, considered a sacred site by the indigenous people;
– Alto Lavapatas, the oldest site of San Agustin (3300 BC), guarded by impressive statues and offering a unique view over the valley and the various archaeological sites;
– An optional horseback ride to reach the El Chaquira and El Tablon sites while enjoying the breathtaking landscapes of the Andes.
Note: 3 Hour walk.
Optional: 3 hour horseback ride. If you’d like to take the horseback ride, let us know!
Day 7 : Popayan
Overnight at Dann Monasterio hotel in a Standard room. Departure to Popayán, nicknamed the White City because of its lime buildings and wrought iron balconies. Check-in at your hotel and take the rest of the day discover the city on your own.
Note: 4 to 5 hour drive.
Day 8 : Popayan
Transfer to Pereira . On the way, you’ll stop at Silvia, a village known for its colorful weekly market and it’s locals – the Guambianos indigenous population.
You’ll visit the village and discover the indigenous culture, traditions and handicrafts.
Note: 5 hours drive. Overnight at Sazagua hotel in a Standard room.
Day 9 : Pereira
Transportation between your hotel and Salento. Today is dedicated to discovering the villages and the landscapes of the coffee region.
Start the day with a Jeep ride through the green valley of Cocora, then hike among the wax palm trees (Colombia’s national tree).
Take a walk among the avocado trees! Learn more about how the avocado is grown and sample different varieties of avocados.
Lunch break in a beautiful traditional hacienda in the heart of Cocora Valley.
In the afternoon visit of Salento village. Discover the local architecture and traditional bamboo (guadua) constructions.
Overnight at Sazagua hotel in a Standard room.
Day 10 : Pereira
Transportation from Pereira to Finca la Mina. Lilia, Gabriel, Karen and Gelen open the doors of their small traditional finca perched on the coffee hills between Manizales and Pereira.
There you’ll have the chance to walk among the coffee trees. You’ll be introduced to the harvesting and roasting processes, before enjoying a coffee produced on site.
An authentic and friendly experience shared a local family of farmers who passionate about their job and their history.
A typical lunch will be served after the tour. 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 exquisitely preserved beauty which lies between 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 Alfiz Hotel in a Standard room.
Day 11 : Cartagena de Indias
Morning dedicated to the visit of the main historic and cultural sites of Cartagena:
– The Convent of the Popa : perched on a hill with a panoramic view of the the whole bay, this monastery houses a beautiful patio, a colonial museum and a chapel dedicated to the Virgen de la Candelaria.
– Panoramic View from the Castle of San Felipe Barajas: at the gates of the colonial city, it is one of the greatest strongholds ever built by the Spanish Army. Take in the impressive view of the city.
– Direction Fuerte San Sebastian del Pastelillo, now listed as a UNESCO Historical and Cultural Humanity Heritage site. This is the first fort built in Cartagena, in 1741. It was here that the famous attack of British Pirate Sir Francis Drake took place. The fort was restored in the 1970’s and is now home to the famous restaurant Club de Pesca.
In the afternoon you’ll go for a guided walking tour of the Walled City, visiting the most beautiful place such as San Diego, Plaza Santo Domingos, Getsemani and other landmarks rich with history.
Note 1: Lunch at Club de Pesca. Please contact us if you are interested.
Note 2: The Convent of the Popa limits entry access to 15 people at at time, due to the condition of the site. If you are a group of 15+ people, your guide will suggest an alternative visit.
Overnight at Alfiz Hotel in a Standard room.