Colombia, Coffee & Coast

Overview

Length: 12 Days
Dates: Dec 03 – 14, 2015
Level: Easy – Moderate. Light hiking
Price: From $3,195

Private Tours Available for Couples or Groups. Contact us.

Overview:

Day 1   –   Manizales, Colombia
Day 2   –  Coffee Region
Day 3   –   Thermal baths at Santa Rosa
Days 4-5  Salento
Days 6-7  Fly to Santa Marta.  Tayrona
Days 8-9  Cartagena
Day 10   –   Islas Rosario
Day 11   –   Isla Rosario. Rtrn Cartagena
Day 12   –   End in Cartagena


Summary

Of my 75+ countries visited around the globe, Colombia is hands-down one of my absolute favorites” Joe Staiano, Founder of Meaningful Trip

Welcome to South America‘s best kept secret! Cover two of the most spectacular regions in all of Colombia – the Coffee Zone and the Caribbean Coast. Become immersed in the coffee experience while enjoying enchanting haciendas. Soak in thermal springs in Santa Rosa de Cabal. Discover colonial Salento and the breathtaking scenery of the Valle de Cocora. Then, on the inviting Caribbean coast, explore the historic walled Cartagena, snorkel in the Islas Rosario and play in the various beaches and crystal blue warm waters of Tayrona National Park.

 

Responsible Travel – Making it Meaningful

A portion of proceeds supports Fundacion Por La Madre, a non-profit working with indigenous communities in the Sierra Nevada to create  sustainable educational programs, promote tolerance, promote family-youth integration and encourage social reconstruction.


Itinerary

Note: This trip starts in Manizales and ends in Cartagena

Note: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1   Manizales
Many flights from the USA fly red-eye through Bogota and arrive in the morning. You will be transported to our coffee hacienda, where the sun warms the ground and the scent of freshly brewed coffee fills the air. Dinner and coffee will be provided upon arrival.
D

Day 2   Artisan Coffee Tour
Be prepared to gallivant all over the coffee triangle, and experience the entire coffee process from start to finish. You will wake up to the sound of birds, to freshly brewed coffee. After breakfast, you will participate in an onsite interactive tour of the coffee hacienda. Learn all about the coffee plant, the coffee bean and what makes Colombian coffee unique. After eating a delicious lunch, head off to visit Alto de la Mina, famous for its artisanal award winning coffee. Alto de la Mina was founded in 1854 during the Colombian “gold rush” and is still a working coffee farm today. Cesar, your guide, has curated a small museum with historical artifacts and a fascinating timeline of his family’s history and the history of the area. He’s also made his own coffee processing machinery out of recycled materials to peel, grind and toast coffee.
B, L, D

Day 3   Petroglyph tour and Termales San Vicente in Santa Rosa de Cabal
Wake up to another morning of delicious coffee, breakfast and sunshine. After breakfast, you will receive a tour of local petroglyphs, guided by a local youth who has received training from archeologists from Manizales who have studied the petroglyphs. After the tour you will travel through the beautiful coffee landscape to Termales San Vicente, located in the foothills of the Nevado del Ruiz. You will stop at a lovely restaurant on the way with beautiful views and delicious food. You will rest your head just steps away from pools of thermal water, where it is said that the minerals in the water have many health benefits for the mind, body and spirit. Schedule a massage. Enjoy a refreshing outdoor shower. Relish in naturally heated rivers, pools and waterfalls. Breathe in the crisp mountain air. This is truly paradise. Enjoy dinner in the dining room and sleep soundly after enjoying hours in the thermal waters.
B, D

Day 4   Travel to Salento
Enjoy the morning at the thermal baths. In the late morning, you will participate in a guided eco-hike, where you will learn all about the flora and fauna in the area, as well as the astounding geology that has formed the thermal baths. After lunch you will travel to Salento, a quaint colonial town.  Spend the day photographing the pastel-painted doorways that fill the town.  We’ll have dinner at “Casona de Lili” – she’s one of the best cooks in town! After dinner you will have the opportunity to play “Tejo”, Colombia’s national game. It involves gunpowder and beer – enough said.
B, L, D

Day 5 – Salento and Valle de Cocora
After breakfast you will travel to the Cocora Vally and Valley of Palms. Hike through a lush landscape, marveling at the tallest palm trees in the world. Breathe the fresh mountain air as you sit next to a rushing waterfall. Enjoy hiking through the varied valley and fresh mountain climates in this region. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the beautiful setting. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to take a walk to a local artisan
community.   Take a walk up the long staircase at the end of the main street to soak in the views, or catch the sunset.  Dinner is on your own this evening.
B, L

Day 6   Fly to Santa Marta / Travel to Tayrona National Park
After breakfast you will be transported to the airport. Once you have landed in Santa Marta, you will be transported via private vehicle to the entrance of Tayrona Park.  How about this for a unique ‘check-in’… you will be met with horses and mules to take you and your luggage to the our beach front  Hacienda. Spend the afternoon exploring Arrecifes, La Piscina, and Cabo San Juan Beaches and beyond. These are some of the most beautiful and varied beaches we have ever seen – Enjoy!
B, L, D

Day 7   Enjoy beaches of Tayrona
Enjoy the beaches of your choosing this morning. Take a guided hike to Pueblito, the ruins of the oldest known Tayrona village in the Sierra Nevada Santa Marta. Take a swim in the afternoon and enjoy the sunset on some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia.
B, L, D

Day 8   Travel to Cartagena – Quebrada Velencia
After breakfast, travel by horse and mule to the trailhead of the park where your transportation will be waiting to take you back to Cartagena. You will stop at Quebrada Valencia along the way for a short hike to beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes. After your swim, you will have a traditional lunch. Check into your hotel in the heart of the old city and freshen up before dinner. Dinner on own.
B, L

Day 9   Free day
Enjoy free time in Cartagena.  Enjoy the many shops, galleries walled old-city on your own.  Perhaps take an optional excursion (below).   Take an evening carriage ride to see the lights of Cartagena by night.  Grab an evening cocktail at “San Francisco de Baluarte” located on top of the wall where the ocean breeze blows – you may even catch a live musical performance!

Optional Day-tours:
City Tour – $45.   Travel to Castillo (Castle) San Felipe to learn some of the history of the city as well as marvel at the lovely scenery. You will have lunch (included) at Crepes & Waffles in the center of town and then head to the Oro (Gold) Museum to learn more about the indigenous people of Colombia through their artifacts. Return to the hotel to relax before dinner.

Mud Volcano Tour – $45.   Visit Volcan de Totumo. Your guide will prepare you for the adventure on your way to the Volcan. Here you will don your bathing suits and enter the buoyant volcanic mud that flows up from the depths of the volcano. Locals offer massages and you are invited to float in gooey bliss for up to an hour. Enjoy lunch (included) on the beach.  Return to the hotel in the afternoon to freshen up before dinner.
B

Day 10   To Islas Rosario – Isla Grande
After breakfast you will travel by boat to a lovely Eco-Hotel on Isla Grande of the Islas Rosario. You’ll have a delicious lunch of fish, coconut rice, salad and plantains for lunch. After lunch you will have the opportunity to explore the island. Walk to Playa Bonita for a white sand beache and a lovely sunset. After dinner, you will marvel at the “bioluminescent” waters as you snorkel in the “Laguna Encantada” (Enchanted Lagoon).
B, L, D

Day 11   Islas Rosario – Cartagena
After breakfast you will head to a nearby reef to snorkel by daylight. Enjoy the colors and natural beauty of this live reef. After lunch you will head back to Cartagena by boat. We will have a special 3 course dinner at Santisimo to celebrate the end of a fabulous Colombian vacation.
B, L, D

Day 12   Farewell Colombia
Enjoy your last morning in Colombia. You will be transported to the airport to catch your flights home.
B

Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Trip Details

Departure: Dec 03 – 14, 2015
Group Size: 6 – 10 persons
Minimum Age: 14 (see below)
6 – 10 persons: $3,195

Private Tours Available. Contact Us.

Airfare not included
Per Person, Double occupancy
Own Room: $350 (see below)

What’s Included

  • Airport transfers on first and last day
  • Expert leadership
  • Accommodations, meals, sights, entrance fees as noted in itinerary
  • Ground transportation
  • In-country support team
  • Contributions to Fundacion por La Madre

What’s Not Included

  • International airfare
  • Hotel costs prior to Day 1
  • Meals not noted on itinerary
  • Insurance
  • Tip for your guide (optional)
  • Excess baggage/airport charges
  • Cost of medical immunizations
  • Cost of obtaining a passport
  • Cost of tourist visa
  • Items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)

Visa Information

U.S. citizens traveling to Colombia do not need a Colombian visa for a tourist stay of 60 days or less. You must have a passport. Passport must be valid for 90 days after trip conclusion.  Stay up to date by checking US Department of State website: http://www.travel.state.gov

Air Travel

International airfare is not included. This trip starts in Manizales and ends in Cartagena. Please always check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to verify your arrival and departure schedule and to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate. Contact your local travel agent, airline, or preferred on-line booking service for airfare needs.

Tier Pricing

Meaningful travel works best with a small group of people and some trips have tier pricing. We initially invoice you at the highest tier level price (the smallest group size we can operate). If the price drops due to an increase in group size, your final invoice will reflect the lower price. Note: trips are priced according to the number of full-price passengers on the trip. (Meaningful Trip staff, travel writers and other discounted travelers are excluded from the count for this purpose.)

Single Travelers

If you specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted above. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a same-gender roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee which is half of the full single supplement. There are only a limited number of single rooms available on most departures.

Single supplement is ONLY for hotel nights in Cartagena (3 nights total). There are no requested single accommodations while volunteering in Ibague, or in Salento or in our coffee hacienda.

Customized Private Groups

Family reunions, corporate groups, wedding parties, student groups, church groups, and any groups interested in a customized departure are welcome to contact us.

Private Group Discounts

For private groups with ten full-paying passengers, each person gets $100 off.
international airfare not included.

Payment & Cancellation Policy

Deposit
Deposit of $500 due at time of reservation.
Final balance due 90 days prior to trip departure.

Cancellation
If you cancel prior to departure (we need written notice), cancellation fees are:

– 91 or more days… $0
– 61 to 90 days… $500
– 31 to 60 days… 50% of Trip Cost
– 0 to 30 days… 100% of Trip Cost

Insurance

Meaningful Trip strongly recommends travel insurance. Our preferred travel insurance provider is World Nomads.  Their ‘Standard’ policy starts at $69 and covers Medical, Trip Cancellation, Baggage, and Emergency Evacuation.   Links can be found on our Deposit, Sign-up, and ‘Travel Resources’ pages.

Trip Level and Qualifications

Easy to Moderate
All are welcome. Travel at a relaxed pace. May include driving of three to four hours on some days. Activity: easy walking and light hiking, one to four hours, at low elevation. May include less demanding, activities such as bicycling and kayaking, but these activities are optional.

Minimum Age: 14
As most all of our travelers are adults, our minimum age on this trip is 14 years old (unless on a specifically-designated ‘Family Trips’ or ‘Private Trips’). Ages 14 – 20, must be accompanied by an adult.

Weather

Colombia’s proximity to the equator means its temperature varies little throughout the year. (unless at high altitudes). Colombia has two seasons: dry or verano (summer) and wet or invierno (winter). In the Andean region (Ibague, Salento, Manizales, Medellin) there are two dry seasons (Nov – Mar) and (Jul – Aug), and two rainy seasons (Sep – Oct) and (Apr – Jun).

The dry season is also a great time for many festivals and fiestas. Year-round temperatures in the Andean region are 80 daytime and 60 nighttime. (Bogota at 8,600’ is quite colder with 60’s daytime and mid–40’s at night).

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the Meaningful Trip Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully. Additional pre-departure information including a Packing List, Medical Form and Liability Release Form is emailed upon sign-up.

Signing up is easy!

A no risk $500 deposit reserves your spot and is 100% fully refundable if you change your mind for any reason at all, more than 90-days out! Call or click today. Reserve your spot. Then leave the rest to us.

Your meaningful trip awaits. Space is limited. Reserve today.

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What We Believe

At our core, we believe that meaningful and responsible tourism is a conduit for peace and global understanding. Way beyond tourism… we gain insight, discover new perspectives, develop lifelong memories, we become change agents for creating a better world.

 Fundacion Por La Madre

Fundación Por La Madre is a non-profit organization created in 2008 to work on environmental issues, education and sustainable local development in vulnerable communities.

At the moment we are working on projects that benefit one part of the rural population that lives in different communities in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. Within this population are indigenous communities such as the Kogui, the Wiwa, the Arhuaco and the Wayuu.

Our goal is to create sustainable educational programs in which people of different communities join to our projects and thus promotes tolerance, family and youth integration and encourage social reconstruction.

 

 

Our Pledge

All our tours support environmental, economic and social endeavors in the areas we visit. We hire locally. We choose hotels based on their efforts toward sustainability. We promote women’s employment, education and empowerment with all our partners. We support local livelihoods on every element of our tours.

MeaningfulTrip’s Triple Give

In addition to all of the above, we:

  • Make contributions to selected global projects, NGO’s, or causes in countries we visit.
  • Make a contribution to Global Giving, a non-profit that connects donors with grassroots projects around the world. MeaningfulTrips is proud to partner with Global Giving and we will specifically target projects that support hunger and poverty needs in the USA.
  • Pledge 1% of our end-of-year net profits to a MeaningfulTrip Trust.


Lodging & Amenities

Hotels in Bogota and Medellin are selected for their comfort, service, staff friendliness and commitment to sustainability.

At the volunteer center in Ibague our five nights are in shared, dorm-style accommodations. The hotel in Salento and the coffee hacienda in Manizales offer comfort, sublime location and other amenities.

Bogota, Hotel Casa Deco

Salento, Ciudad de Segorbe

Manizales, Hacienda Venecia

Ibague, Children’s Center


Food in Columbia

Colombian Cuisine is very diverse and varies depending on the different regions of Colombia. Some typical dishes you will see:

Ajiaco
A hearty chicken soup with potatoes, corn, sour cream, avocado and herbs.

Arepa
A cornmeal pancake-like bread, it’s a basic side to most Colombian meals.


Chunchullo
Stuffed and fried cow intestines.

Hormigas (roasted ants)
Wait! Before you say no, realize that they are an excellent source of protein and believed to be an aphrodisiac!


Bandeja Paisa
Colombia’s national dish! A huge platter of steak and chorizo on a bed of rice and beans, topped with a fried egg, served with a side of avocado and sweet banana (chips).

Food in Columbia

Embassies

US embassies abroad
Foreign embassies located in USA

Passports

US State Department (passports) – Everything you need to know about passports.

Visas Link

US State Department (visas) – Visa and entry & exit requirements

Visa Services

Zierer Visa Services – ZVS has offices in San Francisco, New York, Houston, Miami, Washington DC, and Florida

Destination Information

Geographia – This site contains concise profiles of major countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. Provides information on: geography, climate, culture, people, history.

World Time

TheTimeNow.com – Find out what time it is, anywhere in the world.

Money Matters

Currency Converter

Health Information

Information on vaccines and advice on how to stay healthy while traveling.

Center for Disease Control – Travel health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Includes reference material and recommendations by geographic region.

High Altitude Issues

ISMM, International Society for Mountain Medicine – Comprehensive information on Acclimatization and Acute Mountain Sickness, including prevention, recognition, and treatment of altitude illness.

Weather

Intellicast Weather Site – This site gives current weather all over the world, as well as historic average temperatures and rainfall, and sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset, and the phases of the moon.

Clothing & Gear

Meaningful Trip’s recommended outdoor retailers specializing in adventure and responsible travel.

Altrec – The number one source for all your favorite outdoor adventure brands including Mountain Hardwear, Arc’Teryx, Mountainsmith, Oakley, Marmot and many more! A true leader in online shopping.

Columbia Sportswear – “Trying stuff takes us to places we never imagined”

Dana Design – At Dana Design, we seek comfort for those who travel far. It’s why serious trekkers aren’t just partial to Dana Design. They’re devoted.

EagleCreek – Eagle Creek offers the most comprehensive selection of packs, wheeled luggage, duffels, packing, and travel accessories.

ExOfficio – Ex Officio’s adventure travel and urban travel clothing collections are designed to play an active role in your comfort when traveling. The perfect blend of function, low maintenance and multi-climate comfort for everything from hiking, rafting, safaris and cultural tours.

Kelty – Manufacturer of quality outdoor apparel, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, travel gear and child carriers.

The NorthFace – The North Face provides an extensive line of performance clothing, equipment and footwear.

Patagonia – Patagonia is world famous for its quality clothing and gear. MeaningfulTrip loves Patagonia for their environmentalism and their 1% for the planet program.

Salomon – Find out why their boots are the best in the business.

Teva Footwear – Teva Footwear. Buy your Tevas direct from Teva.com. Select from over 100 models.

Books & Maps

Lonely Planet – With content sections labeled The Thorn Tree, World Guide, On the Road, and The Scoop, you know Lonely Planet’s site is much more than just their terrific guidebooks.

Maps – An online World Atlas which covers 7 continents, 12 regions, 190 countries, and 50 US States.
Activity Levels and Qualifications

Activity Levels

Easy
All welcome. Travel at a relaxed pace. May include driving of 3 – 4 hours on some days. Activity: easy walking and light hiking, 1 – 3 hours, at low elevation. May include less demanding, half-day trips that may include: bicycling, sea kayaking, or rafting (Class I-II rapids), and these activities are optional. Minimum Age: 16* (see note below).

Moderate
Recommended for fit travelers with a spirit of adventure. Travel at a moderate pace. Activity: moderate walking and hiking, 3 – 4 hours daily, at elevations which may range from 5,000 – 10,000 feet. May include less demanding half-day or day-trips that may include: bicycling, sea kayaking, or rafting (Class I-II rapids), and these activities are optional. May include driving of 3 – 4 hours on some days.

Minimum Age: 16* (see below).

Vigorous
Recommended for fit travelers. Moderate hiking experience and conditioning are required. Activity: 5 – 8 hours trekking daily at high elevation, while carrying your own small daypack (water, essentials and warm layers). Surfaces: mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents and uneven trails. Elevations: will range from 6,000 – 14,000 feet. It is important that you read our information about Altitude Mountain Sickness. A doctor’s release is required for persons age 60 or older. Minimum Age: 16 (see below).

Strenuous
Designed for very fit travelers. Typically, for extended high-altitude trekking or mountaineering. Activity: 8+ hours/day. Distances: Trek 10 – 12 miles most days. Elevation change: up to 4,000 ft/day. Altitude: may exceed 15,000 ft. Surfaces: remote, mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents, uneven trails with loose features. Experience and conditioning required. A doctor’s release is required for all participants. Minimum age: 18.

Minimum Age

As most of our travelers are adults, our minimum age on all trips is 16 years old (unless on a specifically-designated ‘Private Group Departure’ or ‘Family Departure’). Ages 16 – 20, must be accompanied by an adult.

Map of Columbia