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Tayrona National Park and Cartagena

Cloud Forests, Beaches, and the World Heritage Site of Cartagena


Extend your Private Journey in Colombia with an exploration of Tayrona National Park, set on the Caribbean and your base for hikes into a cloud forest alive with monkeys and colorful birds, and the historic town of Cartagena, a gorgeous walled city by the sea.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 7
Arrive in Santa Marta

From Bucaramanga, fly to Santa Marta and head to your accommodation on Los Naranjos Beach...BLD

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Day 8

The coastal region around Tayrona preserves palm-fringed beaches and jungle-covered hills that are home to wildlife from collared peccaries to over 200 species of birds, including Caribbean toucans. Beautiful beaches and blue-water coves are the outer fringes of the Sierra Nevada de San Marta, the world’s highest coastal mountain range. A short drive from your hotel this morning will bring you to the Don Diego River, a winding thread of fresh water eventually flowing into the Caribbean Sea. A motorboat whisks you up to Taironaka, a tropical nature reserve where you’ll walk amidst flowers, witness ancient terraces of the Tayrona people, and explore artifacts in the small museum. Local indigenous people sometimes spend the night in the ceremonial hut constructed near the hotel, and you may have the chance to meet with them. After lunch, enjoy a scenic float down the river on tubes. End the day on Los Cocos Beach, a remote stretch of white sand and palm trees, where you can dig your toes into the sand and enjoy the tranquility of paradise…BLD

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Day 9

A 5.5 hour drive brings you to Cartagena, where you’ll enjoy an afternoon walking tour around this historic walled city with its centuries-old buildings. Cartagena was founded in 1533 and served a key role in political and economic activity for the crown of Spain. The city became a major trading port, especially for gold and silver that was loaded onto galleons bound for Spain. Cartagena was also a slave port, since Cartagena and Veracruz, Mexico, were the only two cities authorized to trade African slaves. In 1586, Sir Francis Drake’s fleet destroyed a quarter of the city, and Spain poured millions into fortifying the port with walls. In 1984, Cartagena’s colonial walls and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You may also have time for the “Gabriel García Márquez Tour,” a Cartagena tour that explores almost 40 sites that were recast settings in Márquez's novels, most notably, Love in the Time of Cholera. Overnight at Hotel Ananda...BLD
Approximate Driving Time: 5.5 hours

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Day 10

Explorations this morning include the Castle of San Felipe de Barajas, built by the Spanish in 1536. Constantly attacked by English and French pirates, the castle has been rebuilt several times. You’ll also have time to walk through an area where street food is plentiful, and be tempted with the original dishes that inspire the new Colombian cuisine. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration in the market, where Palenque women sell goods from baskets balanced on their heads. Overnight at Hotel Ananda...BLD

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Day 11

Transfer to the airport for return flight to Bogotá and departure on homeward-bound flights...B


Length: 5 days
Cost From: $1895  
Arrive: Bucaramanga
Depart: Cartagena
Lodging: 2 nights nature lodge, 2 nights hotel
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

Easy to moderate hike, cultural exploration and walking tour