On this tour, you’ll be accompanied from start to finish by one of our exceptional Journey Latin America tour leaders. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group. Rather than different guides in different cities, your leader will get to know the group and keep you informed and entertained as you go.
4 flights (longest 3.5 hours), 7 road journeys (longest 8 hours), 1 boat journey (2 hours).
On our Discovery Journeys the standard of accommodation varies. We aim to keep the price competitive while ensuring the basic comforts. Hotels/guesthouses are comfortable and attractive in most places, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Where these do not exist, accommodation is necessarily purely functional. All properties are well maintained and almost all will have a private bathroom. In Mompos, Tayrona and Cartagena there may well not be hot water. This is due to the local climate and the perceived needs for it and the fact that many properties/areas may not have the infrastructure. (If you prefer greater comfort please see the Classic Journeys or Private Journeys on their respective pages on our website).
On this journey we stay in simple hotels and guesthouses with private facilities; farmhouse accommodation in coffee country and cabins in the Tayrona National Park (bathroom facilities may be shared between 1 or 2 cabins).
Examples of hotels used on this journey include:
• Bogotá: Casa Deco
• San Agustín: Hacienda Akawanka
• Coffee region: Finca La Cabana
• Parque Tayrona Coast: Playa La Roca (Aug and Oct)/Hotel La Jorara (Dec). For 2018 we stay at La Casa del Piano in Santa Marta.
• Mompós: Casa Amarilla
• Cartagena: Don Pedro de Heredia
On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.
• Bogotá: city tour and Gold Museum
• San Agustín: Archaeological Park
• Coffee region: tour of coffee farm
• Tayrona: walks in the national park
• Aracataca: Marquez museum
• Mompós: boat trip
• Cartagena: city tour
Summary of nights
16 days, 15 nights: Bogotá 2; San Agustín 3; Coffee farm 3; Tayrona 2; Mompós 2; Cartagena 3.
Included in the journey price
• Services of Journey Latin America tour leader
• All land and domestic air transport
• Accommodation as specified
• Meals as specified
• Excursions as specified
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and insurance
• Meals other than specified
• Optional excursions
• Some domestic flight taxes
There are optional excursions available throughout this tour, which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $200 should cover participation in most of the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences.
• Bogotá: food tour, including visiting markets, buying traditional food and then taking it back to a local home to cook and eat it
• Bogotá: visit the Mint which houses the Botero Museum
• Bogotá: visit Zipaquira salt mine with a stop at the Guatavita Lagoon
• San Augustín: visit local fincas and waterfalls
• Coffee region: visit traditional Finlandia with its artisan shops and local markets
• Mompós: guided walking tour
• Cartagena: Rosario Islands day trip
There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with a same-sex member of the group who is usually also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to be sure of having their own room there are a limited number of single supplement places available, which carry a surcharge.
The unit of currency in Colombia is the Colombian peso.
A budget of around $45USD per day should cover the cost of meals, drinks and the odd souvenir.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so a debit or credit card with a PIN 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 you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured by visitors who find them difficult to exchange as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).
Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3 USD(or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.
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.
If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6 USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.
Tipping guidelines can be found on our Briefing Dossier
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
International airport tax is included in the cost of your ticket.
All walks on this journey are optional and you should discuss with your tour leader which are suitable for you. There are some long days spent travelling, in the heat, however many comfort stops are made to enjoy the scenery on route.
The dry season in Colombia is from December until March and then June to September and temperatures during this period average around 30°C, although are more or less consistent throughout the year. Bogotá, and towns in the coffee growing region have a spring like climate and can be chilly at night. Cartagena and the Caribbean coast are hot throughout the year, with rainy seasons typically in April, May, October and November.
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
Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. Warm items and a good waterproof jacket are also necessary for all departures. 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 (sun block, sun hat) and mosquito repellent are essential and you should bring swimwear. A backpack or soft holdall is the most sensible and comfortable way to carry your belongings. Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts.
Reduce plastic waste
Journey Latin America has partnered with Water-To-Go to offer JLA Group Tour passengers the opportunity to purchase 75cl filtered water bottles for a 50% discount. The bottle can be refilled at any water outlet and has a filter that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, allowing the water to be safe to drink. Please call your contact at JLA to add it your booking and it will be delivered to your address. More information about this initiative can be found on our website here
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. Yellow Fever vaccination may be required for your visit to the coastal region please consult your GP for advice on this and malaria tablets. You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Cases of Zika virus have been reported in parts of Latin America. If you’re pregnant, or planning to be, you should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre
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. Clients with different nationalities should enquire with us or check with the Colombian consulate.
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online
which costs $14USD per person. This 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 departure of flights. 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.