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El Libertador, Simón Bolívar, had an almost mystic view of Colombia. In an 1822 letter to General Francisco Santander, he wrote, “We occupy the center of the universe and border upon every nation.” For quite a while the universal center needed a new press agent, but these days word is rapidly, lyrically spreading that the vast majority of the country, in addition to being lushly gorgeous and culturally engaging, is entirely pacific and cheerfully welcoming (else we would not so eagerly go there).
We begin this succinct trip in Bogotá, taking in its Gold Museum (housing the largest collection of pre-Columbian gold in the world) and the small shops and colonial churches of the old Candelaria neighborhood. We fly due west to Armenia in the heart of the Zona Cafetera, or coffee region, for hacienda visits and many chances to sip the sublime stuff itself. The green valleys of the Zona Cafetera are presided over by gorgeous Andean peaks, which we’ll gaze at in Valle del Cocora National Park before flying to the Caribbean seaport of Cartagena. We’ll visit the walled old city, roam the Naval Museum and San Felipe Castle, and generally soak up the balmy colonial feel of this overlooked city one visitor describes as “like Istanbul, but in the Caribbean. All those massive walls, but instead of the calls to prayer, it’s salsa music everywhere and at all hours of the day. You peel a banana or open your glove compartment, and music comes out.” We’ll cap this short, deliciously sweet trip off with a sunset sail around Cartagena Harbor.
Itinerary at a Glance
- Day 1: arrive in Bogotá
- Day 2: exploring Bogotá
- Day 3: fly to the coffee region
- Day 4: Valle del Cocora National Park
- Day 5: fly to Cartagena, walking tour
- Day 6: exploring Cartagena
- Day 7: depart Colombia.