• Peruse the treasures in Bogotá's Gold Museum.

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  • The majestic Capitol building. Bogotá.

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  • Enter the unique Salt Cathedral. Zipaquira.

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  • Coffee cherries ripen in Pereira.

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  • Los Nevados National Natural Park in the Cocora Valley is famous for its quindío wax palms, the national tree of Colombia.

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  • Cartagena's historic district: one part Catalan, one part Andalusian, one part Caribbean.

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Colombia. El Dorado at Last.

Welcome to Colombia. Foreigners have pinpointed it as the next undiscovered frontier. Hardly surprising.

     Touch down in 16th-century Bogotá, Colombia's capital city and cultural hub. Then Zipaquirá's cathedral made of salt. Pereira is king of the coffee-growing region. To the Cocora Valley, Salento, and old Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

     Colombia's history stretches back far, far before the conquistadors (think 10,000 B.C.). Colonial remnants fill some of the prettiest cities. But there's also art by Botero and his contemporaries, pre-Columbian gold caches, parks, celebrated chefs, and much more. Come see for yourself.


Colombia

Type:Custom Journeys

Mode:Land

Sample Journey

This is a 10-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Colombia journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.

Day 1: United States; Bogotá, Colombia
• Fly to Bogotá.
• Remainder of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Bogotá

Day 2: Bogotá
• Colonial city tour including Monserrate Hill, La Candelaria Quarter inbcluding Plaza de Bolivar, cathedral, Congress Palace, Cardinal's Palace, El Sagrario, House of Independence, Palace of Justice, City Hall.
• Gold Museum, Botero Museum.
Overnight in Bogotá

Day 3: Bogotá, Zipaquirá, Cajicá, Bogotá
• Fruit and flower market.
• Drive to Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá
.
• Lunch in Cajicá.
• Return to Bogotá, optional visit to Luisa Brun Chocolatier.
Overnight in Bogotá
 
Day 4-5: Pereira
• Fly to Pereira, center of the coffee-growing region, Hacienda San Alberto coffee plantation tour and tasting.
• Paso Fino horse farm demonstration.
• Leisure time.

Overnights in Pereira
 
Day 6: Cocoro Valley, Salento, Pereira
• Drive to Cocoro Valley, four-wheel drive exploration, short hike, optional picnic lunch or lunch in Salento.
• Salento bahareque architectural tour.
• Drive back to Pereira.
Overnight in Pereira

Day 7-9: Cartagena
• Fly to Cartagena, leisure time.
• City walking tour including Convent of La Popa, San Felipe Fort, and Las Bóvedas.
• Leisure time.
• Option for dinner in a private home with local family or gastronomic tour including Bazurto Market.
Overnight in Cartagena

Day 10: Cartagena; United States
• Fly home

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Sample Pricing

Per person sharing room from $4,240 for this 10-day Colombia sample itinerary.
Internal air per person (estimate) $390

For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.

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Coffee Buzz: Colombia.

Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta are the world’s two principal coffee species. The two differ in the shape of their cherries and beans, the climates in which they grow, their chemical compositions, tastes, flavors, and aromas. Coffee produced from Arabica beans typically has higher acidity, medium body, and fruity aromas; Robusta coffee is stronger, more bitter, and has higher levels of caffeine. The main producers of Robusta coffee are Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Uganda; Colombia, Ethiopia, Brazil, and Mexico are the world’s top Arabica coffee producers.

     Colombia’s Arabica coffee beans are considered among the finest in the world. Most grow in the shade of rain forests in the Andes Mountains, which split into three cordilleras (ranges) as they run south to north along the nation’s spine. The so-called Coffee-Growers Axis encompasses three departments—Caldas, Quindío, and Risaralda—all within the small region known as Paisa.

     No one knows exactly how or when coffee arrived in Colombia. Some think the beans came with Jesuit priests in the 17th century. Others believe they were brought by a traveler from Guyana who passed through Venezuela en route to Colombia.

     It is known that a Colombian priest, Francisco Romero, was very influential in the propagation of the crop in the 1830s. After hearing the confession of the parishioners of the town of Salazar de la Palmas, he required as penance the cultivation of coffee.

     In 1835, the nation exported its first green beans, and before long the industry had taken hold. In the later half of the 19th century, large landowners tried to monopolize coffee production, but farmers migrating to smaller, untouched plots of farmlands in the central and western portions of the country ultimately proved more successful at coffee growing. They were assisted by Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC), established in 1927. Today, the beans support more than 560,000 Colombian coffee-farming families.

     Colombian coffee’s distinct flavor and aroma result from a particular combination of diverse factors:  the latitude and altitude of the nation’s coffee growing zone, its soils, the botanical origin of the species and the varieties of coffees produced, the rain patterns, the topography, the light, the temperature range within the day and throughout the year, and the meticulous (and laborious) processes of selective harvesting and washing of the coffee cherries and fermentation and drying of the beans within.

     The famous advertising icon Juan Valdez, a fictional coffee farmer created by the FNC in 1958, wears traditional Paisa clothing—a carriel (leather satchel), aguadeño hat, and poncho. Today, Señor Valdez is the face of Colombian coffee around the world.

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