Colombia through the Andes–Cartagena to La Paz

18-to-Thirtysomethings, Cartagena to La Paz

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

An epic South America trip ought to be on everyone’s bucket list – so why not tick this one off well ahead of time? Across 55 days and four countries, you’ll see jungles, cities, and all things between, all with a like-minded group of young adventurers eager to see and do everything. And “everything” is definitely an understatement – you’ll hike the Lost City in Colombia, take on the Inca Trail in Peru, partake in a homestay in the Amazon Rainforest, see the highlights of Ecuador, and much more. Plus, at this price point, you’ll be able to do it all and still have cash to spend at the famous market in Otavalo.

What’s included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Wiwa Community Visit & Lunch, Gotsezhi Village Your Discover Moment: Cartagena Your Local Living Moment: Amazon Jungle Experience, Tena Your Discover Moment: Baños Your Discover Moment: Lima Your Foodie Moment: Huacachina Winery Visit, Huacachina Your Discover Moment: Cusco Your Big Night Out Moment: Cusco Your Local Living Moment: Lake Titicaca Homestay, Lago Titicaca
  • Lost City of Teyuna trek (5 days)
  • Tayrona National Park excursion (excluding February departures)
  • Overnight desert camping (Tatacoa)
  • San Agustin ruins visit
  • Visit to Otavalo Market
  • Orientation walks in Medellin and Quito
  • Beach time in Taganga, Mancora, and Huanchaco
  • Pachamanca ceremony (Nazca)
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Inca Trail hike with a local guide, cook, and porters (4 days)
  • Amazon Jungle and Colca Canyon excursions
  • Lake Titicaca excursion
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Trek to the lost city of teyuna
  • Hike with a local guide through tayrona national park
  • Camp under the stars in the colombian desert
  • Experience local life in a amazon jungle homestay
  • Conquer the inca trail to machu picchu
  • Discover how infamous medellín has become one of latin america's safest cities
  • Get your adrenaline pumping in the adventure capital of baños
  • Chill out on the beaches of mancora
  • Spend the night at a lake titicaca local village homestay

Itinerary

Day 1 Cartagena Arrive at any time. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Cartagena (1B) Free day to explore this coastal colonial city. Wander the historic old town, check out the San Felipe fortress, or get dirty with a mud bath and massage at Totumo Volcano.
Day 3 Cartagena/Santa Marta (1B) Travel by public bus to this coastal port town. Free time to visit the Gold Museum with its collection of Lost City artifacts, chill out on the beach and pick up any last minute necessities for the upcoming trek. Additional Notes: Please note hot water is uncommon in the Caribbean region of Colombia. Showers are likely to only have cold water while visiting this area. Transport: Local bus (5.00 hour(s))
Day 4 Santa Marta/ Wiwa Camp (1B, 1L, 1D) Transfer to Machete Pelao, where the trek to the Lost City of Teyuna begins. Trek through farmland, steamy jungle, and rural Kogi communities. Get a glimpse into the local way of life in the remote river valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Included Activities: Lost City Trek - Day 1 Transport: 4x4
Day 5 Wiwa Camp /Teyuna Paraiso Camp (1B, 1L, 1D) Continue trekking along the route to Ciudad Perdida. Today is a tough portion of the trek with a lot of steep inclines, make sure to rest and take in the beautiful views. Arrive at the campsite in the afternoon and relax by the river. Included Activities: Lost City Trek - Day 2
Day 6 Teyuna Paraiso Camp/ Wiwa Camp (1B, 1L, 1D) Get started early to climb the 1,200 steps up to the Lost City. The view of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains makes it well worth the hike. Explore the Lost City and learn what is known of its origins from the indigenous guide, before making the descent back to Wiwa Camp for the night. Included Activities: Lost City Trek - Day 3
Day 7 Wiwa Camp /Ricardito Camp (1B, 1L, 1D) Follow the path back through the deep jungle, wind through banana trees, cacao plants and small Kogi communities on the way to Ricardito Camp. The nickname for this camp is vista hermosa or beautiful views, sit back and soak them in. Included Activities: Lost City Trek - Day 4
Day 8 Gotsezhi Village/Taganga (1B, 1L) Head across grassy hills and gentle streams to reach the Gotsezhi Wiwa indigenous community. Enjoy a G Adventures-supported community lunch cooked by women from the community with local ingredients. Learn about Wiwa customs on a village visit and then lounge in a hammock by the river. In the afternoon, return to Taganga for a well deserved night in a hotel. Included Activities: Lost City Trek - Day 5 Wiwa Community Visit & Lunch Transport: 4x4 (2.00-2.50 hours)
Day 9 Taganga/Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (1B, 1L) Head into Tayrona National Park for a moderate hike with a local guide. This is a perfect opportunity to experience nature and learn a little more about the rich, natural diversity of northern Colombia. Additional Notes: Please note that Tayrona National Park is usually closed during the month of February. The indigenous groups in the area believe that mother nature needs a month of rest, and maintenance to the park is done during this time. If your trip falls in February, you will visit the laid-back town of Minca. Enjoy a visit to a coffee plantation, a hike to a waterfall and learn about local cacao production. Included Activities: Tayrona National Park Excursion Transport: Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Day 10 Taganga/Medellín (1B) Fly inland to infamous Medellín, now one of Latin America's safest cities. Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival and an optional night out with the group. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Plane (1.50 hour(s))
Day 11 Medellín Opt to go paragliding over the city or catch a ride on the cable car.
Day 12 Medellín/Salento Drive through beautiful landscapes to Salento. Transport: Local bus (8.00-9.00 hours)
Day 13 Salento Opt to take a morning hike through the towering palms of the Cocora Valley, or choose from a variety of other optional activities in the coffee region of Quindío.
Day 14 Salento/Tatacoa Desert (1B) Enjoy the ride to the Tatacoa Desert to spend the night under the stars. Included Activities: Observatory Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s))
Day 15 Tatacoa Desert/San Agustín (1B) Head out into the impressive Tatacoa desert and explore the rocky canyons. The morning is free to choose how you wish to explore, opt to go for a hike or go horseback riding. After, travel to San Agustin. Transport: Local bus (9.00 hour(s))
Day 16 San Agustín (1B) Visit the San Agustin Archaeological Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 500 sculptures scattered through the hillside.
Day 17 San Agustín/Popayán (1B) In the morning travel to Popayán and explore this beautiful colonial town. Transport: Local bus (4.50-5.00 hours)
Day 18 Popayán/Pasto (1B) Head further south to Pasto, wander around and keep an eye out for local ice cream makers out in the streets. Transport: Local bus (6.00-7.00 hours)
Day 19 Pasto/Otavalo (1B) Visit the striking Lajas Sanctuary, built on a bridge in a lush gorge, this neo-Gothic church is sure to impress. After, cross the border into Ecuador and continue on to Otavalo for the night. Included Activities: Lajas Sanctuary Border Crossing (Colombia - Ecuador) Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 20 Otavalo/Quito Visit the famous Otavalo artisan market for a morning perusing colourful textiles, art, carvings, and jewelry made by people from nearby communities. In the afternoon, drive back to Quito. Included Activities: Otavalo Market Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 21 Quito Enjoy a free day to explore Ecuador's capital. Visit the city's old town, take a day trip to the equator, or Cotopaxi volcano.
Day 22 Quito/Tena (1B, 1L, 1D) Travel overland to the jungle city of Tena, located on the edge of the Amazon. From there, transfer by truck to the local community of Pimpilala. Stay in rustic wooden huts in the community of a Quichua family, enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle first-hand. Included Activities: Amazon Jungle Experience Transport: Local bus (6.00 hour(s), 189km)
Days 23-24 Tena Head out on nature walks and learn about uses of traditional plants, their cultural beliefs, and local traditions in the Amazon jungle. Included Activities: Amazon Jungle Experience
Day 25 Tena/Baños (1B) Travel to Baños, the perfect setting to get your adrenaline pumping, try out horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, or rafting in the surrounding mountains. Transport: Pickup truck (0.75 hour(s)) Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 26 Baños Enjoy a free day in Baños, opt to check out the swing at the end of the world, soak in nearby hot springs, or, check out ziplining.
Day 27 Baños/Cuenca Ecuador's third largest town, Cuenca, retains a pleasant provincial air with its colonial architecture, art galleries, and museums. The surrounding countryside is an outdoor playground. Visit national parks, take walks in the beautiful countryside, and see Ecuador’s only Inca ruin site. Transport: Local bus (2.00 hour(s)) Local bus (6.00 hour(s))
Day 28 Cuenca Enjoy a free day in beautiful Cuenca. Explore the city’s sights including cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas, and museums or opt to visit nearby Cajas National Park or the Inca ruins of Ingapirca. Later, catch an overnight but to Mancora. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Ecuador - Peru) Transport: Overnight bus (7.00-8.00 hours, 345km)
Day 29 Máncora Arrive early into the seaside town of Mancora, a village populated by fishermen and surfers from around Peru and the world. Chill out and breathe in the salty air.
Day 30 Máncora Opt to relax on the beach, discover Mancora, go horseback riding, or take a surf lesson.
Day 31 Máncora/Huanchaco Free time in Mancora. Overnight bus to Huanchaco. Transport: Overnight bus
Day 32 Huanchaco We continue heading south along the coast to Trujillo, the largest city in northern Peru. It is known for its beautiful colonial structures and nearby attractions of Chan-Chan ruins and the resort town of Huanchaco, where we spend the night.
Day 33 Huanchaco/Lima Full day in Huanchaco before boarding a night bus to Lima. Transport: Overnight bus (8.00 hour(s))
Day 34 Lima (1B) To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk around the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to experience life in a large South American city. There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera. An optional city tour visits many of the cities highlights.
Day 35 Lima Enjoy the day exploring the city. Opt to pre-book the Lima Cooking Class and learn how to cook some classic Peruvian dishes using ingredients from the local market.
Day 36 Lima/Paracas (1B) Savour a pisco sour while staying in Pisco's neighbouring town of Paracas. Transport: Local bus (4.00 hour(s), 250km) Minibus (0.50 hour(s))
Day 37 Paracas/Nazca (1D) There is time in the morning for an optional excursion to the popular Ballestas Islands, which provide an excellent chance to view a lively sea lion colony, pelicans, penguins, and other varieties of birdlife. Back on land, catch a bus south to Nazca. On the way, pass by the pleasant colonial town of Ica. Ica enjoys a dry, sunny climate year-round and is known for its huge sand dunes. Located around the nearby oasis of Huacachina, the dunes are perfect as subjects for photographs and for a favourite local past time: sandboarding. Apart from the dunes, Ica is famous for its wines and there are several wineries and distilleries in the area. Included Activities: Huacachina Winery Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 175km)
Day 38 Nazca/Arequipa Opt for a flight over the Nazca Lines. Overnight bus to Arequipa. Transport: Overnight bus (9.00 hour(s))
Day 39 Arequipa Those with an interest in history and architecture may opt to visit the Convent of Santa Catalina, which offers a brief respite from the outside world and a unique view into a bygone way of life. Other optional excursions include rafting and mountaineering. For spicy food lovers, checking out one of the “Picanterías” is a must. Arequipa has a variety of regional food: alpaca, shrimp, pork, lots of soups, and spicy sauces.
Day 40 Arequipa/Colca Canyon (1B) Enjoy an overnight excursion to the impressive Colca Canyon - one of the deepest canyons in the world. Stop in fascinating villages and at “miradors” (scenic lookouts), where, with a little luck, visitors can see Andean condors soaring over the majestic Andes. Other unusual animals that can be spotted in the Andean landscape include three different species of camelids: alpaca, llama and vicuña. Included Activities: Colca Canyon Guided Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours)
Day 41 Chivay/Arequipa (1B) Get an early start to go on the lookout for flying condors. Travel from Chivay town to a condor viewpoint to admire these magnificent birds in the air. On the way back, stop by some local villages and viewpoints to see old terraces and sections of Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world. Included Activities: Colca Canyon Guided Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours)
Day 42 Arequipa/Cusco (1B) Explore Arequipa and opt to take a city tour. Take an overnight bus to Cusco. Transport: Overnight bus (10.00 hour(s))
Day 43 Cusco Free time to explore Cusco. Choose to pre-book the optional Cusco Cooking Class. Opt for a city tour or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
Day 44 Cusco (1B) Enjoy another free day in Cusco. Choose to pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class.
Day 45 Cusco/Ollantaytambo (1B) Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and a first taste of what lies ahead. For those craving more before they head out on the Trail, opt to take a Sacred Valley tour which includes a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op. Transport: Private Vehicle (1.75 hour(s), 94km)
Day 46 Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D) Trek through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons, passing several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata. Additional Notes: A crew of local porters, cooks, and guides will take care of all the details for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear so you’ll only need to carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc. Included Activities: Inca Trail Hike Transport: Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Day 47 Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D) Start early to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman’s Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769 ft). Most hikers reach camp by early afternoon, with ample time to rest and relax. Included Activities: Inca Trail Hike
Day 48 Inca Trail (1B, 1L, 1D) Cross two more passes and ruins along the way. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, hikers can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. Hike through cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day, walking through original Incan constructions. The highest point of the pass is 3,700m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley. At 3,650m (11,972 ft), reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the "town above the clouds." Camp here or go another 1.5 hrs to the Wiñay Wayna ruins ("forever young") located at 2,650m (8,694 ft). Included Activities: Inca Trail Hike
Day 49 Machu Picchu/Cusco (1B) The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Wake up around 03:30 and walk to the checkpoint. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge, if time allows. Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes to meet any non-hiking members of your group. Eat and relax before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon. Included Activities: Inca Trail Hike Machu Picchu Guided Tour Big Night Out Transport: Train (2.00-3.00 hours, 118km) Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 95km)
Day 50 Cusco (1B) Free day to explore more of Cusco or just relax.
Day 51 Cusco/Puno (1B) Travel through the high Altiplano region to travel to Puno on Lake Titicaca. Transport: Local bus (7.50 hour(s), 389km)
Day 52 Puno/Lago Titicaca (1B, 1D) Head out by boat across Lake Titicaca. Visit the community on Taquile Island and enjoy a local lunch with spectacular views. After, cruise to another village for an overnight homestay on the shores of the lake (the homestay location can vary based on community availability). This experience provides an opportunity to learn more about rural life in the Peruvian highlands and to participate in local traditions. Eat with the family, learn some Quecha and Spanish language skills, try on traditional costumes, and help out with daily chores around the village. Included Activities: Lake Titicaca Guided Boat Tour Day 1 Lake Titicaca Homestay
Day 53 Lago Titicaca/Puno (1B, 1L) Leave the homestay families late morning, and visit the Uros Islands on the way back to Puno. A popular optional activity in Puno is a visit to the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site only a short drive away. Included Activities: Lake Titicaca Guided Boat Tour Day 2
Day 54 Puno/La Paz (1B) Enjoy a full-day drive around the lake and through the Altiplano to La Paz. Bolivia is filled with spectacular views of the countryside. La Paz sits nearly 4,000m (13,120 ft) above sea level, so be prepared for cool evenings and mornings. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Peru - Bolivia) Transport: Local bus (2.50 hour(s)) Local bus (3.00 hour(s))
Day 55 La Paz Depart at any time. Included Activities: Departure Day
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