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Colombia Discovery Quito - Cartagena

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 33 reviews
PRICE FROM:
Was: $1,385 USD + 520 KITTY USD
Now: $1,177 (USD) + 520 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
19 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, Ferry
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
ACCOM:
30%
70%
MEALS:
Breakfasts x 16, Lunches x 3, Dinners x 5
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 and learn how the traditional Vueltiao hat is made

  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

  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 - Quito ( 21st Mar 2019 )

Border Information: if joining in Quito, you will most likely enter Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport (IATA code: UIO).

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 Quito 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 Quito.

A note on altitude: If you are joining in Quito, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

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

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

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

Visit one of the countless art galleries in Quito, such as the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana or the Museo Guayasamín
USD 6

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

USD 8.5
Visit the Museo Nacional del Banco Central, showcasing the country’s largest collection of Ecuadorian art and housing an impressive gold collection
USD 2
Day 2 - Quito, Otavalo ( 22nd Mar 2019 )

Today our journey begins with a short drive to Mitad del Mundo, the monument that marks the Equator. After this we will continue north to the charming town of Otavlo.

In Otavalo we will camp in the grounds of lovely Guesthouse..

Estimated Drive Time - 3 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!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the equator at Mitad del Mundo

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 3 - Ipiales ( 23rd Mar 2019 )

Today we will leave Ecuador behind and travel into Colombia. We will have an included visit to the Santuario de las Lajas en route to our hotel in Ipiales.

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

Estimated drive time: 4 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

Included in Kitty
Day 4-5 - Popayán, Ipiales ( 24th Mar 2019 to 25th Mar 2019 )

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

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 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 6-7 - Salento ( 26th Mar 2019 to 27th Mar 2019 )

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

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have 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.

In Salento we will camp in a well-equipped campsite, 15 minutes drive out of town.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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 8-9 - Manizales ( 28th Mar 2019 to 29th Mar 2019 )

Today we have a short drive to our Hacienda in the heart of the coffee region.  Depending on the weather it may be possible to take a trip into the Los Nevados National Park

Estimated drive time: 1.5hrs

On the following day we will have a tour of the coffee plantation and learn about the cultivation of coffee.

We will stay in twin rooms in a comfortable hacienda.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Stay on a coffee plantation near Manizales

Included in Kitty
Day 10-12 - Medellín ( 30th Mar 2019 to 1st Apr 2019 )

Today we will drive to the vibrant city of Medellín, where we will spend 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On our first full day in Medellín we will have a guided walking tour of the city, and our second day will be free time to independently explore the town, its parks, churches, and museums.

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

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

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

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

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

COP 10000

Discover the story of Colombia's most infamous drug kingpin and the wealthiest criminal in history, Pablo Escobar, on a tour of his old haunts

COP 60000
Day 13-14 - Lorica ( 2nd Apr 2019 to 3rd Apr 2019 )

Today we have a drive north to the beautiful, colonial town of Santa Cruz de Lorica.

Estimated Drive Time - 10hours.

The following day we have a free day to explore the historic centre, learn about the traditional hates that are made in the region or head to the coast for a final beach sunset at San Bernardo del Viento.

In Santa Cruz de Lorica we stay in a lovely local hotel.

Day 15-16 - Tayrona National Park ( 4th Apr 2019 to 5th Apr 2019 )

Today we drive north to Tayrona, one of the most popular National Parks in Colombia. Leaving our main luggage stored on the truck, we take a day-pack/night-bag and go on a moderate walk in to the park to where we will stay. Mules to carry your luggage can be hired at an extra cost.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.

The following day is a free day to explore this stunning coastal park. We have the opportunity to trek to El Pueblito, a pre-Hispanic settlement of the Tayrona people, do some snorkelling, or just relax on the beautiful beaches.  

In Tayrona National Park we will stay in rented hammocks. The hammocks are equipped with mosquito nets but please note that the nets are not treated with Permethrin or similar pesticides.

There is also an option to bring tents if you prefer to stay in a tent rather than a hammock, but please note that mules will have to ber hired to carry your tent, at an extra cost.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore some of Tayrona National Park's scenic walking trails, including a hike to the mysterious ancient ruins of Pueblito hidden in the jungles high above the coastline

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

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

Relax and unwind on the unspoilt beaches in Tayrona National Park

Free

Time to explore the Cloud Forests of the Sierra Nevada foothills

Free
Day 17 - Cartagena ( 6th Apr 2019 )

We will have some more free time in Tayrona National Park in the morning, before we walk back to the park entrance and complete our epic journey with a drive to the beautiful coastal colonial city of Cartagena.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 18 - Cartagena ( 7th Apr 2019 )

Today 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.

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 19 - Cartagena ( 8th Apr 2019 )

Border information: if you are finishing in Cartagena, you will most likely exit Colombia at Cartagena Rafael Núñez International Airport (IATA code: CTG).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Cartagena. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman 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.

If you are continuing on to Panama then your leader will assist you with airport transfers for your included flight. You will stay tonight in a comfortable hotel in either Panama City or Cartagena (depending on the flight times and availability).

Daily Activities

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

DATES & PRICES

This group overland journey has multiple departures.
Please refine your search by selecting your preferred dates of travel.

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Trip Notes
Departing: 21 Mar 2019
Returning: 8 Apr 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,177 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
Was $1385.00 - Save $207.75
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: Full Payment
limited
Departing: 5 Apr 2019
Returning: 23 Apr 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,385 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: Full Payment
available
Departing: 29 Apr 2019
Returning: 17 May 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
limited
Departing: 1 Jul 2019
Returning: 19 Jul 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 18 Aug 2019
Returning: 5 Sep 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 19 Sep 2019
Returning: 7 Oct 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 15 Oct 2019
Returning: 2 Nov 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 17 Nov 2019
Returning: 5 Dec 2019
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,385 USD + $540 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 + $520 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 27 Apr 2020
Returning: 15 May 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 23 May 2020
Returning: 10 Jun 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,400 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 14 Jun 2020
Returning: 2 Jul 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 16 Jun 2020
Returning: 4 Jul 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,400 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 17 Jul 2020
Returning: 4 Aug 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 6 Oct 2020
Returning: 24 Oct 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 8 Nov 2020
Returning: 26 Nov 2020
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,400 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 18 Mar 2021
Returning: 5 Apr 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 26 Apr 2021
Returning: 14 May 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Cartagena - Quito
$1,415 USD + $540 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 8 Jun 2021
Returning: 26 Jun 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 3 Jul 2021
Returning: 21 Jul 2021
Duration: 19 days
Route: Quito - Cartagena
$1,415 USD + $520 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
* Sale price is for a limited time only and is subject to change at any time.

REVIEWS FROM OUR PASSENGERS

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