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Undiscovered Colombia, Providencia and Panama City

18 days from £4,456pp

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Undiscovered Colombia, Providencia and Panama City

18 days from £4,456pp
 

Private Journey

 

Transport

7 domestic flights (3 connecting); 2 scenic road journeys  (4 to 6 hrs each)

Accommodation

Here you will stay at small, mid-range, friendly hotels, colonial or modern in style with well-equipped rooms, private bathroom and heating or air-conditioning. In the coffee country you stay on a traditional coffee farm (finca).

Meals

Breakfast daily.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, most of whom we have worked with for many years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by clients on their return.

Included excursions

• Bogotá: Walking city tour with gold museum.
• San Agustín:  tour of archaeological park.
• San Agustín:  Excursion to Magdalena Gorge.
• Coffee Country: Excursion to Parque del Café.
• Coffee Country: Visits to Salento and Filandia.
• Medellín: Day trip to colonial Antioquia.
• Cartagena:  Guided walking tour.
• Panama City: Canal jungle boat tour. 

Summary of nights

18 days, 17 nights: Bogotá 2; San Agustín 3; Coffee country 3; Medellín 2; Cartagena 2; Providencia 2; Panama City 2.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office 
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
• All land and air transport in Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified
• Meals as specified
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified
• International flights to Latin America. 
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions

Currency

The unit of currency in Colombia is the Colombian peso.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$45 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns of Colombia, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are gradually falling out of use (American Express are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money. Never change money on the street.

There is an ATM at San Andrés airport.  There are few or no exchange facilities in Providencia, take your spending needs in pesos.

Panama City has ATMs; payment is accepted in $US dollar bills and credit cards.

Tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. 

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

Generally this holiday is suitable for most visitors, including families with children. Should you have a disability, please contact us.

Climate

The dry season in Colombia is from December until March and then June to September. Temperatures during this period average around 30°C, although are reasonably consistent throughout the year. Bogotá, and towns in the coffee growing region, because of their altitude, have a spring-like climate and can be chilly at night. Cartagena and the Caribbean islands are hot throughout the year, with the rainy seasons typically in April, May, October and November.

Panama’s ex-Canal Zone and the rainforest have a typical tropical climate with high temperatures (over 30°C) all year round. May-Nov is rainy season and the flowering months are Apr-May. The region lies outside the main hurricane belt.  

Altitude

Several days are spent at high altitude (over 2.500m). You may notice the effect of high altitude; symptoms vary: most common are mild headaches and breathlessness. If you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of being adversely affected.

Please refer to our Briefing Dossier for further information.

Clothing and special equipment

Temperatures will be relatively high throughout this holiday. Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. A couple of warm items and a good waterproof jacket or umbrella are also useful. We suggest that you plan to 'layer' your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper. Sandals are a good informal option for evenings. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear. 

Note that the free luggage allowance on the flights to and from Providencia is low; ( 10kg in Apr 2014); however, each additional kilo is relatively cheap,  so this is unlikely to be a serious concern for most travellers. 
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. 

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins.  Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.
This costs $14 per person and must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

18 days from £4,456pp

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Wanderlust

Food and Travel Magazine Readers' Awards - Tour Operator of The Year 2016

Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards - Best Tour Operator to Latin America 2016

Sunday Times Travel Magazine - Editor's Award 2013

Guardian and Observer Travel Awards - Top Ten Small Tour Operator: 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine Awards - Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Awards - Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator 2016

Wanderlust Readers' Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2015

British Travel Awards - Best Small Tour Operator to Central and South America 2012

Latin American Travel Association - Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine Awards - Best Specialist Tour Operator 2011

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