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Andes & Amazon between Cartagena and Quito

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  • Cartagena
  • Popayán
  • Mompós
  • Ipiales
  • Salento
  • Honda
  • Otavalo
  • Quito
  • Villa de Leyva
  • San Gil
  • Aguachica
  • Tayrona National Park
  • Tolu
  • Medellín
  • Manizales
  • Cali
  • Los Nevados National Park
  • Parque Puracé
  • Guatapé
  • Sincelejo
  • Covenas
  • San Bernardo Islands

Starting at the colonial town of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast, we make our way to the beautiful beaches of Tayrona National Park. Driving south, we will arrive in Colombia's outdoor capital of San Gil, where there is time for some of the optional activities such as trekking, abseiling, caving, and white-water rafting! We will continue to the historic old town of Villa de Leyva and then head to our stay on a coffee plantation at Manizales. After travelling through the huge palm trees of Salento and the Santuario de las Lajas in Ipiales, we will cross over into Ecudaor, where we first visit the market town of Otavalo and visit the Equator on our way to Quito.

  • Day 1 Cartagena

    Border Information: if joining in Cartagena, you will most likely enter Colombia at Cartagena Rafael Núñez International Airport (IATA code: CTG). There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cartagena before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cartagena. In Cartagena we stay in a comfortable hotel just outside the historical centre. If you are continuing on from Panama, then your leader will have assisted you with airport transfers for your included flight to arrive in time for the joining meeting.

  • Day 2 Cartagena

    Today we will have a full day in the beautiful coastal colonial city of Cartagena. In the morning we will have an included walking tour of the city, and then the afternoon will be free to explore the city further, enjoy the many optional activities on offer, or simply relax on the beach.

    Explore Cartagena on a guided walking tour

    Discover the brutal history of the Spanish Inquisition at their former headquarters in Cartagena, the Palace of the Inquistion - Cost: COP 15000
    Learn all about Cartagena's naval tradition and history at the Naval Museum of the Caribbean - Cost: COP 15000
    Visit the historic Castillo San Fellipe - Cost: COP 17000

  • Day 3 to 4 Tayrona National Park

    Today we have a short drive to Tayrona, one of the most popular national parks in Colombia. Leaving our main luggage stored on the truck, we take a day-pack/night-bag and go on a moderate walk in to the park to where we will stay. Mules to carry your luggage can be hired at an extra cost. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). The following day is a free day to explore this stunning coastal park. We have the opportunity to trek to El Pueblito, a pre-Hispanic settlement of the Tayrona people, do some snorkelling, or just relax on the beautiful beaches.   In Tayrona National Park we will stay in rented hammocks. The hammocks are equipped with mosquito nets but please note that the nets are not treated with Permethrin or similar pesticides. There is also an option to bring tents if you prefer to stay in a tent rather than a hammock, but please note that mules will have to ber hired to carry your tent, at an extra cost. Please note that no meals are included in Tayrona National Park, but there are local restaurants to choose from.

    Relax and unwind on the unspoilt beaches in Tayrona National Park - Cost: ARS
    Time to explore the Cloud Forests of the Sierra Nevada foothills - Cost: USD
    Explore some of Tayrona National Park's scenic walking trails, including a hike to the mysterious ancient ruins of Pueblito hidden in the jungles high above the coastline - Cost: USD

  • Day 5 to 6 Mompos

    Today we will have an early morning walk back to the National Park entrance, rejoin our truck, and drive to the peaceful and rarely-visited colonial town of Mompós, where we will stay 2 nights.  Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours. The following day we will go on an included short boat trip down Rio Magdalena to observe the riverside life and do some wildlife spotting. There will also be plenty of free time to explore this historical colonial town, the first town in Colombia to declare independence from Spain, wander the beautiful streets and soak up the atmosphere of the architecture. In Mompós we stay in a lovely local hotel.

    Explore the area of Mompós by boat, on a beautiful short trip out on the Magdelena River

  • Day 7 to 9 San Gil

    Today we will drive south to San Gil, the outdoor capital of Colombia and a mecca for extreme-sports enthusiasts! Tonight we will enjoy a vegetarian Indian buffet from the campsite's in-house restaurant. Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours. The following two days will be free to enjoy some of the myriad of adrenaline activities on offer in the area, or to spend some time relaxing on the farm. In San Gil we camp in a coffee and cattle farm outside town.

    Explore the beautiful scenery around San Gil on one of the area's many walking trails, perhaps to the colonial town of Barichala or on the old road to Guane village - Cost: USD
    Discover the scenery of the San Gil region on a horse riding trip through the surrounding hills - Cost: USD 40
    Head out on an exhilarating white water rafting trip - the area has options for all levels, from beginner-level rapids on the nearby River Fonce, through the awe-inspiring canyon scenery on the fast rapids of the River Chicamocha, or the crazy Grade 5 rapids of the River Suarez! - Cost: COP 45000 - 130000
    Explore the incredible underground caves of Cueva del Indio or Cueva de Vaca underneath the area of San Gil on a fully-equipped caving tour - Cost: USD 10
    Get your adrenline flowing on a downhill mountain-biking ride through the spectacular scenery of the down the nearby Suarez Valley or the Chicamocha Canyon  - Cost: COP 250000
    Head out to the natural swimming and diving pools of Pescaderito, an area very popular with San Gil's locals and visitors - Cost: USD
    Explore the atmospheric old town of Barilacha, and discover its cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings, and red-tiled roofs that look almost as new as the day they were created some 300 years ago - Cost: USD
    Take a pleasant stroll and a swim in San Gil's Parque El Gallineral, getting lost amongst the magical forests of trees covered in wispy climbing shrubs - Cost: COP 6000
    Take a short trek to the base of the Juan Curi waterfall, a dramatic 180m-high cascade where you can swim in the natural pool beneath or even abseil down part of the cliff! - Cost: COP 7000

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Overland vehicle