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Festivals of Colombia

Experience the Blancos y Negros Carnival

    • Group
      £ 2,895
    • Private
      £ 3,795
    • Please contact us for flights from your nearest airport
    • Single sup.
      £ 445
    • Duration :
      15 days
  • Book now

INTRO

Get into the festive spirit with the Blancos y Negros Carnival in Pasto, a celebration of the diversity of Colombian culture. Watch elaborate floats in the colourful Grand Parade and lose yourself in the rhythms of traditional Colombian music. Post carnival, wander the cobbled streets of Villa de Leyva, admire the colossal Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira and discover how coffee is grown in the verdant Coffee Triangle. Appreciate the beautiful colonial architecture of Cartagena and experience the vibrant culture and warm welcome of Colombia and its people.

NOTE:Christmas departure supplement may apply, ask us for details

GROUP DATES

  • 27 Dec 2017 to 10 Jan 2018 - £ 2,895 - AV
  • 26 Dec 2018 to 09 Jan 2019 - £ 2,895 - AV

If these dates do not suit you but you are interested in this tour, please contact us for alternative dates.

AV - Available
GD - Guaranteed
LM - Limited places left
CL - Closed for bookings


HIGHLIGHTS

Wandering cosmopolitan Bogota

The colossal Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira

Rustic beauty of Villa de Leyva

Colonial villages in the Coffee Triangle

Catch the vibe at the Blancos & Negros festival in Pasto

The “White City” of Popayan

Marvel at Cartagena’s beautiful architecture

INCLUDED

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks

PLACES VISITED

Bogota - Salt Cathedral - Villa de Leyva - Armenia - Filandia & Salento - The Coffee Triangle - Valle de Cocora - Pasto - Popayan - Cartagena
Bogota
Salt Cathedral
Villa de Leyva
Armenia
Filandia & Salento
The Coffee Triangle
Valle de Cocora
Pasto
Popayan
Cartagena

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ACCOMMODATION
Contact us for a full accommodation list.

ITINERARY

Day 1 : Bogota
Arrive at airport in Bogota. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in Bogota.

Day 2 : Bogota
Spend the day touring Bogota's highlights including the Gold museum, historic Candelaria area, the Botero Museum and Monserrate. Overnight in Bogota.

Day 3 : Salt Cathedral - Villa de Leyva
Transfer to Villa de Leyva, stopping at the Salt Cathed... ' See all days

ITINERARY

Short | Detailed | PDF

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Day 1 : Bogota

Arrive at airport in Bogota. Transfer to hotel.

Arrive at airport in Bogota. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in Bogota.

Meal plan : n/a


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Day 2 : Bogota

Spend the day touring Bogota including La Candelaria, Botero Museum, gold museum and Monserrate. Overnight in Bogota.

Spend the day touring Bogota's highlights including the Gold museum, historic Candelaria area, the Botero Museum and Monserrate. Overnight in Bogota.

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch


Nestled high in the Andes at 2620 m. (8646 ft), Bogota, or Santafé de Bogotá to give it its full title, is a city of contrasts. It's a city of high-rise buildings standing next to colonial churches, museums and artisan cafés. Its influences range from Spanish and English to the Indian. It is a city of wild traffic and calm oases reflecting a bygone era. 

La Candelaria is Bogota's old town, a historic neighbourhood in downtown Bogotá. The architecture of the old houses, churches and buildings has Spanish Colonial and Baroque styles and it houses several universities, libraries and museums. This vibrant district hosts the Botero museum, which showcases not only the works of Colombia's most famous painter but also paintings by Monet and Picasso from Botero's private collection. The district is also home to the largest and most impressive Gold museum in the world with an enormous assortment of pre-Hispanic gold work, the church of Monserrate with its stunning views over the city as well as many government buildings and an array of cafés and restaurants to suit every taste.


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Day 3 : Salt Cathedral - Villa de Leyva

Transfer to Villa de Leyva, stopping at the Salt Cathedral on the way. Overnight in Villa de Leyva.

Transfer to Villa de Leyva, stopping at the Salt Cathedral on the way. Overnight in Villa de Leyva.

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch


The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is an underground Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine 200 meters underground in a Halite mountain. The name "Salt Cathedral" is mostly to attract tourists - while a functioning church that receives as many as 3,000 visitors on Sundays, it has no bishop and therefore no official status as a cathedral in Catholicism. The temple at the bottom has three sections, representing the birth, life, and death of Jesus. The icons, ornaments and architectural details are hand carved in the halite rock. Some marble sculptures are included. At the entrance of the church, there are 14 small chapels, representing the stations of the cross, which illustrate the events of Jesus' last journey. Each station has a cross and several kneeling platforms carved into the halite structure. The Salt Cathedral is considered one of the most notable achievements of Colombian architecture and has been denominated as a "Jewel of Modern Architecture". The cathedral represents for the Colombian people a valuable cultural, environmental and religious patrimony. The cathedral is part of a larger complex including "Parque de la Sal" (Salt Park), as well as a small museum of mining, mineralogy, geology and natural resources. 



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Day 4 : Villa de Leyva

Take a tour of Villa de Leyva. Afternoon free. Overnight in Villa De Leyva.

Day around Villa De Leyva including half day walking tour of this beautiful village where time seems to have stood still. Afternoon free to go walking, horseriding (additional cost) or check out a 120m year old dinosaur fossil. Overnight in Villa De Leyva.

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch


Declared a national monument in 1954, Villa De Leyva has been preserved in its entirety and virtually no modern architecture exists. The result is a colonial town par excellence - a place where the streets are still cobbled and the walls still whitewashed. Stroll through its unhurried streets where the locals will greet you with a welcoming smile. Swelled with visitors from Bogota on weekends, it is typically much quieter and more pleasant on weekdays.

Discovered in 1977 not far from Villa De Leyva, you can visit an incredible fossil of a Kronosaurus, the most complete Kronosaurus fossil in the world. The fossil of the 120m year old infant Kronosaurus measures about 7m (without the tail) and this incredible creature with his tail would have measured about 12m in length despite not having reached its teenage years. 



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Day 5 : Bogota - Armenia

Transfer to airport to fly to Armenia. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in Armenia.

Drive to Bogota for flight to Armenia in the coffee triangle. Transfer to accommodation. Rest of the day free to relax and enjoy the property. Overnight in Armenia.

Meal plan : Breakfast


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Day 6 : The Coffee Triangle

Spend the day touring the Coffee Triangle. Overnight in Armenia.

Spend the day touring the Coffee Triangle including Salento, Filandia and Cocora Valley. Overnight in Armenia.

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch


Filandia and Salento are two small pretty colonial style villages in the coffee region of Colombia, both set in stunning surroundings. Salento is the oldest village in the Quindio region with cobblestone streets and a wealth of restaurants, cafés and bars. Filandia is home to the beautiful María Inmaculada church and its streets are lined with colourful buildings with wooden balconies.

In a country full of beautiful landscapes, the Valle de Cocora still stands out. The valley stretches east of Salento into the lower reaches of Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados, with a broad, green valley framed by sharp peaks.  Everywhere you’ll see the famous wax palm, the largest palm in the world (up to 60 meters high) and Colombia’s national tree. Valle de Cocora is also home to a trout farm and the trout dishes are top quality. Local fauna includes mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, pumas, sloths, yellow-eared parrots, black-billed mountain-toucans, Andean condors and hummingbirds. It is a perfect area for hiking.

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Day 7 : The Coffee Triangle

Spend half the day learning about the coffee making process. Overnight in Armenia.

Spend half the day learning about the coffee making process on a coffee farm. Rest of the day free to relax or explore by yourself. Overnight in Armenia.

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch




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Day 8 : Bogota - Pasto

Transfer to Pasto. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in Pasto.

Transfer to airport for flight to Bogota and connection on to Pasto. Transfer to hotel. Rest of the day free to relax or explore by yourself. Overnight in Pasto.

Meal plan : Breakfast


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Day 9 : Carnival

Full day at the carnival. Overnight in Pasto.

Full day at the carnival. Overnight in Pasto.

Meal plan : Breakfast


The Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (or Blacks and Whites' Carnival in English) is the largest and most important celebration in southern Colombia celebrated in the city of Pasto. It's celebrated from 2 to 7 January of each year and in 2009 was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The Origins of the modern festival date back to 1912 but its roots go back much longer and have their traditions in indigenous cultures.

The processions begin on January 4th with the Arrival of the Castañeda Family, a colourful family who were believed to be pilgrims heading to Las Lajas. The parade includes various characters including a flamboyant grandmother, a daughter dressed in white, ready for marriage but clearly pregnant, mischievous children and a drunk priest!


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Day 10 : Carnival

Full day at the carnival. Overnight in Pasto.

Full day at the carnival. Overnight in Pasto.

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch


January 5th is Blacks' Day. This day marks the date when African slaves were free to indulge their playful outbursts. People polish their faces black and go out to celebrate in the streets. By tradition, the Queen of Carnival travels through the city in a convoy, distributing black cosmetics. The cosmetics serves like a mask in order to homogenize all social classes and ethnic groups as one great family settled on the slopes of Taita Urcunina, but it also gives people the freedom to be more playful than they normally would. Throughout the day, orchestras play in various city parks.

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Day 11 : Carnival

Full day at the carnival. Overnight in Pasto.

Full day at the carnival. Overnight in Pasto.

Meal plan : Breakfast


January 6th is Whites' Day, also known as the "Great Parade". In contrast to the previous day, people are painted white generally with talcum powder, flour, cream or cosmetics. The main attraction is the Grand Parade, snaking along for nearly 7 km on a path of about 15 km, running through the streets of the downtown, the Plaza del Carnaval (Carnival Plaza) and various avenues along the so-called Senda del Carnaval (Carnival Path). The majority of the city's citizens and a handful of tourists and visitors crowd the streets to witness this parade, cheering and throwing confetti or streamers, and dancing to traditional songs and rhythms.

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Day 12 : Popayan

Transfer to Popayan. Spend the afternoon on a guided tour of the town. Overnight in Popayan.

Transfer to Popayan. Spend the afternoon on a guided tour of the town. Overnight in Popayan.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Popayan was founded in the year 1537 by Sebastian de Belalcazar. Because of its beautiful white colonial houses, it is known as the "White City". Popayan has played a major role in Colombia's history dating back to the early days of the Spanish conquest and into the twentieth century. A number of Colombian presidents were born in Popayan including, most recently, Guillermo Leon Valencia from 1962 to 1966. In 2005, Popayan became the first city to be designated a City of Gastronomy as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative. The typical dishes of the city are a legacy of Spanish and indigenous cultural interaction, integrating special components of the region with fruits brought from Spain. ​Popayán is also widely known for the solemnity of Easter processions during which it commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Since the sixteenth century processions have passed through Popayán's historical downtown. During Easter week, Popayán is also home to the Festival de Música Religiosa (Festival of Religious Music), which began in the 1960s. Partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1983, Popayan’s administration had the foresight to take their time with its reconstruction. Two decades later there is almost no evidence of the damage on the stunningly uniform white streets. Rich with impressive churches and colonial architecture, it’s easy to spend hours wandering around this quiet and relaxed town where every street leads to another just as beautiful. 

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Day 13 : Cartagena

Transfer to Cartagena. In the afternoon, take a tour of the city. Overnight in Cartagena.

Transfer to airport for flight to Cartagena via Bogota. In the afternoon, take a tour of the city. Overnight in Cartagena.

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch


Meander through Cartagena’s picture-perfect streets, and admire the city that is famous for both its beauty and its history. Founded in 1533, Cartagena became the main port on the Caribbean coast during Spanish rule. Treasure was stored in the city until it could be taken to Spain and for this reason, in the 16th century, Cartagena suffered five sieges including one led by Francis Drake in 1586. This is why the Spaniards then built the forts (Fuertes) and walls (Las Murallas) that still encompass the old town. The Puerta Del Reloj (Clock Gate) signifies the entrance to the inner part of the walled city, also called Calamari. Just behind this is the Plaza de los Coches which used to serve as a slave market. The Plaza de la Aduana and Plaza de Bolivar also have fascinating historical context as well as the numerous churches, museums, convents and monuments. 

 



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Day 14 : Cartagena

Free day to spend as you wish. Overnight in Cartagena.

Free day in Cartagena to wander the city's beautiful streets and plazas at your leisure. Overnight in Cartagena.

Meal plan : Breakfast & lunch


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Day 15 : Bogota

Transfer to the airport to depart on a flight to Bogota.

Transfer to the airport to depart on a flight to Bogota.

Meal plan : Breakfast


ENQUIRIES






















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020 7183 6371 (UK)
1 800 604 6024 (US)

POST (UK office)
Riverbank House
1 Putney Bridge Approach
London SW6 3BQ

POST (US office)
358B Great Road
Acton MA 01720

EMAIL
info@traveltheunknown.com

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