Colombia through the Andes–Cartagena to La Paz

18-to-Thirtysomethings, Cartagena to La Paz
Image by G Adventures

Information from G Adventures

Tour description

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, Gotshezhy Village Your G for Good Moment: Shandia Biking & Community Experience, Shandia Your G for Good Moment: Shandia Community Lodge, Shandia Your G for Good Moment: Handmade Biodegradable Soap Products Your First Night Out Moment: Connect With New Friends Your Local Living Moment: Indigenous Community Homestay, San Clemente 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, Lake Titicaca
  • Lost City of Teyuna trek (5 days)
  • Tayrona National Park excursion (excluding February departures)
  • Overnight desert camping (Tatacoa)
  • San Clemente homestay
  • 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. Tonight, check out the local flavor of bustling Plaza Trinidad and head to a local bar to get to know your fellow travellers. Get to know the group over a few drinks and get excited for the adventure of a lifetime.

Day 2: Cartagena The day is yours to explore this coastal colonial city. Wander through the streets of historic old town, check out the San Felipe fortress, or get dirty with a mud bath and massage at Totuma Volcano.

Day 3: Cartagena/Santa Marta Travel like a local by hopping on a public bus to the port town of Santa Marta. Take advantage of your free time with a visit to the Gold Museum, go shopping for any last minute necessities (You probably forgot something, right?) or chill out on the beach.

Day 4: Santa Marta/Ricardito Camp Wake up and hit the road to Machete Pelao where your trek to the Lost City of Teyuna begins. Trek through farmland, steamy jungle, and rural Kogi communities. Enjoy and let it all soak in – this is your opportunity to get a glimpse into the local way of life in the remote river valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Day 5: Ricardito Camp/ Wiwa Camp Venture further into the lush jungle en route to Ciudad Perdida. Be prepared – today is a tough portion of the trek with a lot of steep views. Arrive at the campsite in the afternoon for some much needed relaxation by the river.

Day 6: Wiwa Camp /Paso Lorenzo Camp Wake up early feeling refreshed, recharged (hopefully!) and start your trek to Paso Lorenzo Camp. Settle in at the campsite around noon and eat some lunch. If the weather is nice, take a dip in the Buritaca River. Learn about Wiwa customs in the afternoon and then kick back and relax in a hammock.

Day 7: Paso Lorenzo Camp/ Wiwa Camp Today is the day to discover the wonders of La Ciudad Perdida. Climb the 1200 ancient steps and explore the different sacred sites of Lost City. Later, continue trekking through the deep jungle today on winding paths through banana trees and cacao plants as you make your way to Wiwa Camp.

Day 8: Ricardito Camp/Taganga 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.

Day 9: Taganga/Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona 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.

Day 10: Taganga/Medellín Wheels up! Fly inland today to Medellín. A once infamous city, vibrant Medellín has transformed into one of Latin America's safest destinations. Get to know your surroundings with an orientation walk and an optional night out with the group.

Day 11: Medellín Choose what to explore today on a free day. Opt to visit the nearby town of Guatapé, with its colourful houses and famous rock. Or, ride the metrocable, a cable car part of Medellín’s public transportation, for sweeping views of the city and surrounding mountains.

Day 12: Medellín/Salento Drive through beautiful landscapes to Salento.

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/Bogotá Enjoy the ride to Colombia's capital, Bogotá.

Day 15: Bogotá Enjoy a free day to explore the capital of Colombia. Opt to ride the funicular up for a stunning view, visit the impressive gold museum, or check out the street art.

Day 16: Bogotá/Tatacoa Desert Enjoy the ride to the Tatacoa Desert to spend the night under the stars.

Day 17: Tatacoa Desert/Popayán 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 Popayán.

Day 18: Popayán/Pasto Head further south to Pasto, wander around and keep an eye out for local ice cream makers out in the streets.

Day 19: Pasto/San Clemente 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 the indigenous community of San Clemente for the night.

Day 20: San Clemente/Quito Enjoy the morning in the indigenous community of San Clemente. Interact with the locals and learn about their traditional ways. Later, travel to Otavalo market before heading on to Quito for the night.

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 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.

Day 23: Tena Head out on nature walks and learn about uses of traditional plants, their cultural beliefs, and local traditions in the Amazon jungle.

Day 24: Tena In the morning, cycle to the nearby community of Shandia and discover the beauty of the Amazon with a member of the community as your guide. Learn about traditional uses of cacao by watching a chocolate-making demonstration, eat meals made of fresh local ingredients, and stay at the G Adventures-supported community lodge.

Day 25: Tena/Baños 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.

Day 26: Baños Enjoy a free day in Baños, opt to check out the swing at the end of the world or soak in nearby hot springs.

Day 27: Baños/Cuenca Enjoy the scenery on the way to the charming town of Cuenca.

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 bus to Mancora.

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.

Day 32: Huanchaco Enjoy more beach time or opt to visit pre-Inca sites or the city of Trujillo.

Day 33: Huanchaco/Lima Full day in Huanchaco before boarding a night bus to Lima.

Day 34: Lima Explore Peru's capital on an optional city tour or simply relax. Be sure to try the tasty ceviche and pisco sours.

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 Free morning in Lima before travelling by bus to Paracas.

Day 37: Paracas/Nazca Optional visit to Ballestas Islands before travelling to Nazca. En route, stop at a winery and at the oasis of Huacachina.

Day 38: Nazca/Arequipa Opt for a flight over the Nazca Lines before an overnight bus to Arequipa.

Day 39: Arequipa Opt to explore the Arequipa on a city tour or soak in a local hot spring.

Day 40: Arequipa/Colca Canyon Take a full-day tour of the spectacular Colca Valley, and opt for a soak in hot springs.

Day 41: Colca Canyon/Arequipa Set out looking for the majestic soaring condors over Colca Canyon. Head back to Arequipa to enjoy the city in the evening.

Day 42: Arequipa/Cusco Explore Arequipa and opt to take a city tour. Take an overnight bus to Cusco.

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 Enjoy another free day in Cusco. Choose to pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class.

Day 45: Cusco/Ollantaytambo Learn about the Sacred Valley en route to Ollantaytambo. Opt to take a Sacred Valley tour with a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.

Day 46: Inca Trail Depart Ollantaytambo by van to km 82 where your trek begins. Hike through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons. You'll see several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata.

Day 47: Inca Trail Get an early start today to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, 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 some much needed R&R.

Day 48: Inca Trail 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, you 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).

Day 49: Machu Picchu/Cusco 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. Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon. Tonight, dance the night away at a popular night club.

Day 50: Cusco Today is another free day to explore all that Cusco has to offer. Go horseback riding, mountain biking, or whitewater rafting. Too wiped out from the trek? Take it easy with a visit to the Inka Museum.

Day 51: Cusco/Puno Sit back, relax, and soak in the impressive views as you travel by bus through the Altiplano on your way to Puno on Lake Titicaca.

Day 52: Puno/Lake Titicaca This morning, you will board a boat on Lake Titicaca and head to Taquile Island. Opt to have lunch in a local restaurant and shop in the afternoon at the local weaving cooperatives. Later, cruise to another village for an overnight homestay to live like a local on the shores of the lake. Learn more about rural life in the Peruvian highlands and create unforgettable memories with the family and fellow travellers.

Day 53: Lake Titicaca/Puno Say goodbye to your homestay family and stop at the Uros Islands on your way back to Puno. If you want, you can check out the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site. Or kayak on Lake Titicaca.

Day 54: Puno/La Paz Today, enjoy a full-day drive around the picturesque lake and through the Altiplano to La Paz. Cross over into Bolivia and catch your breath before a night out in the highest city of the trip. Check out the area of Sopocachi for cool bohemian vibes.

Day 55: La Paz Depart at any time.