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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 Quito

    Border Information: if joining in Quito, you will most likely enter Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport (IATA code: UIO). 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 Quito 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 Quito. A note on altitude: If you are joining in Quito, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise. In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'.

    Visit one of the countless art galleries in Quito, such as the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana or the Museo Guayasamin - Cost: USD 6
    Take a trip on El Telerifiqo, the world's second highest cable car - Cost: USD 8.5
    Visit the Museo De La Cuidad - Cost: USD 3
    Take a walk around Quito's incredible Botanical Gardens, which showcases all of Ecuador's various ecosystems and their flora - Cost: USD 3.5
    Visit the Museo Mindalae, the extremely original project showcasing Ecuador's rich cultural diversity - Cost: USD 3
    Freely explore the stunning historical Old Town of Quito, and wander its ancient streets marvelling at the outstanding architecture and wonderful atmosphere - Cost: USD
    Enjoy the fantastic view over Quito's Old Town from the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the nearby Cerro Panecillo - Cost: USD
    Get away from the busy city with a stroll around one of Quito's numerous parks, all of which are very beautiful and popular with the locals - Cost: USD
    Visit the Museo Nacional del Banco Central, showcasing the country's largest collection of Ecuadorian art and housing an impressive gold collection - Cost: USD 2

  • Day 2 Ipiales

    Border information: Exit Ecuador at Ipiales, enter Colombia at Ipiales. Today our journey begins with a short drive to Mitad del Mundo, the monument that marks the Equator. After this we will continue north to cross the Colombian border and reach the small town of Ipiales. In Ipiales we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 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!).

    Visit the equator at Mitad del Mundo

  • Day 3 to 4 Popayan

    Today we will have an included visit to the famous Santuario de las Lajas church outside of Ipiales, before driving to the beautiful town and former colonial capital of Popayán. Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours. On the following day we will have a free day to explore Popayán or take part in some excellent treks or other optional activities in the surrounding area. In Popayán we stay in dormitory accommodation in a local hostel.

    Visit the jaw dropping Santuario La Lajas on the outskirts of Ipiales

    Trek to the 4,650m summit of the towering Puracé volcano near Popayán - Cost: COP 130000
    Relax in the volcanic thermal springs near the village of Coconuco, dramatically set in a steep-sided valley - Cost: COP 60000
    Overnight in the beautiful old town of Popayan - Cost: COP

  • Day 5 to 6 Salento

    Today we will continue our journey north to the small town of Salento, the gateway to the spectacular Valle de Cocora. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours. On the following day we will head out in the morning for an included visit to a coffee plantation to learn all about the cultivation and producing of Colombian coffee! After a local lunch, we will take an included guided trek through the Cocora Valley to see the Quindio wax palm trees, the largest palms in the world and the national tree of Colombia. In Salento we will camp in a well-equipped campsite, 15 minutes drive out of town.

    Explore a working Colombian coffee plantation near Salento and learn all about its cultivation and production
    Head out on a half-day guided trek through the spectacular Cocora Valley, and see the incredible 50m-tall Quindio wax palms, the tallest plam trees in the world!

  • Day 7 to 9 Medellin

    Today we will drive to the vibrant city of Medellín, where we will spend 3 nights. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. On our first full day in Medellín we will have a guided walking tour of the city, and our second day will be free time to independently explore the town, its parks, churches, and museums. In Medellín we will stay in dormitory accommodation in a centrally-located hostel, allowing you to enjoy the exciting nightlife of the city.

    Head out on a fascinating walking tour of Medellín and learn all about it's tumultuous past

    Day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia - Cost: COP 3000
    Take the pioneering Metroline cable car up to Santo Domingo, to see a very different area of the city and the revitalising effect the Metroline has had on the communities there - Cost: COP 1750
    Visit the colossal Catedral Metropolitana in the city centre, built using over a million bricks between 1875 and 1931 - Cost: COP
    See Medellín's perfect blend of art, culture, and history by visiting the Plaza Botero and the nearby Museo de Antioquia and the Rafael Uribe Palacio de la Cultura - Cost: COP 10000
    Relax and unwind on a stroll though the Medellín's gorgeous Botanical Gardens, and discover some of its 1000 different floral species on display - Cost: COP 2500
    Explore the beautiful model Antioquian village of Pueblito Paisa and the interesting sculpture park at Nutibara Hill - Cost: COP
    Explore the Museum of the University of Antioquia, and marvel at its collectino of visual arts, anthropological exhibits, and over 20,000 pieces of pre-Colombian ceramics - Cost: COP
    Head out and discover some of Medellín's vibrant and unusual nightlife at the Dulce Jesus Mio club - Cost: COP 10000
    See some of Colombia's finest contemporary art at the Museo de Arte Moderno (NAMM), including the complete work of the local painter Debora Arango - Cost: COP 5000
    Discover the story of Colombia's most infamous drug kingpin and the wealthiest criminal in history, Pablo Escobar, on a tour of his old haunts - Cost: COP 60000
    Visit the planetarium and public science exhibits at the Parque de los Deseos - Cost: COP

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Overland vehicle