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Colombia: The Future of Sustainable Peace
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11 days

from ₹4,30,500 trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

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trip_detail module Light icon Light-Moderate trip_detail hint icon

Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Join experts from National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal to explore the vibrant, revitalized neighborhoods of Bogotá and Medellín, and meet with local leaders who are working to transform these cities into centers of creativity.
  • Tour sustainable cacao and coffee farms and learn how innovative agricultural practices are providing Colombian farmers with renewed economic opportunities.
  • Hike the pristine landscapes of Matarredonda Ecological Park, and glimpse age-old tribal traditions on rare visits to indigenous mountain communities.
  • Explore the once off-limits town of Valledupar and immerse yourself in vallenato—the iconic, accordion-led music of Colombia.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

A National Geographic and Wall Street Journal expert will accompany each departure, and local guides join us along the way.

Itinerary

Emerald mountains, quaint colonial towns, irresistible coffee, and the nostalgic strains of vallenato music—Colombia’s riches have been inaccessible to travelers for decades, but the country is emerging from its tumultuous past following a landmark 2016 peace treaty. Witness the rebirth of Colombia’s major cities, and venture to the countryside to meet coffee and cacao farmers, former guerrilla fighters and indigenous tribes. Get immersed in Colombia’s rich culture as you travel, gaining firsthand insights on the nation’s splendid pre-European heritage and the traditions of the diverse peoples that call it home.

Day 1: Bogotá, Colombia

Arrive in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. Settle into your elegant hotel, situated in the stylish Zona Rosa district.

Day 2: Bogotá

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Set out to discover some of Bogotá’s most emblematic sights. Climb up the commanding Monserrate mountain for sweeping views of the city, then head down to the historic La Candelaria neighborhood—the heart of Bogotá. Bask in the glow of more than 30,000 pre-Columbian artifacts at the extraordinary Gold Museum; stroll across the grand Plaza Bolívar, named after South America’s celebrated liberator; and stop at El Chorro de Quevedo, where the city is said to have been founded.

Later, take a walking tour of the Egipto neighborhood and hear from your guides about the community’s dramatic transformation; then sample exotic fruits in a local market and enjoy a hip-hop dance performance. Tonight, join your experts from National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal for a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Bogotá

Spend the morning in Matarredonda Ecological Park hiking through pristine paramo landscapes—a type of alpine grassland that grows just below the snow line. Later, learn about the significance and impact of Colombia’s monumental peace treaty. Signed between the Colombian government and FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in November 2016, the treaty marked the end of a violent civil conflict that had ravaged the country for more than 50 years. Meet with a university professor over lunch to hear about the efforts that brought the treaty to fruition. Pay a visit to the moving Center of Memory, Peace and Reconciliation; and speak with the women behind the Memoria y Nación exhibit at the National Museum of Colombia.

Day 4: Zipacón/Valledupar

Immerse yourself in the aromatic world of coffee on an excursion to La Palma y El Tucan coffee farm. This sustainable, fair-trade farm buys its fruit directly from local families at a better price than the national average, and provides training opportunities to help farmers improve crop quality and yield. Tour the farm’s advanced milling and processing facilities, observe the different stages of coffee production—from bean to brew—and learn about what sets Colombian coffee apart. Then drive to the Bogotá airport to connect to your flight to Valledupar.

Day 5: Valledupar

Known as the “forest city” for its abundant vegetation, the town of Valledupar was largely off-limits to travelers during the darker years of Colombia’s civil conflict. After breakfast, embark on a walking tour of this tree-lined city. Stroll the lively Plaza Alfonso López, then visit the Casa Beto Murgas Accordion Museum to learn about vallenato music, an expressive blend of African, European, and indigenous styles that originated around Valledupar. Admire the museum’s impressive collection of accordions, vallenato’s signature instrument. This afternoon, pay a visit to an indigenous Kankuamo village north of the city. Native to Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, the Kankuamo have managed to preserve their cultural identity and traditions despite centuries of persecution. Hear from community elders about the Kankuamo “law of origin,” and observe a dance performance and weaving demonstration.

Day 6: San José de Oriente

This morning, we drive to the hilltop village of San José de Oriente for an eye-opening tour of Tierra Grata, a rehabilitation facility for ex-FARC guerrillas and their families. Talk with these former fighters and hear how agriculture and tourism initiatives are providing them with economic opportunity. After lunch, meet with members of an Arhuaco community. Another indigenous tribe of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Arhuaco have been battling the Colombian government to roll back mining projects that threaten the ecology of their ancestral lands. We’ll have the opportunity to speak with Arhuaco lawyers for an insider’s perspective on the dispute.

Day 7: Medellín

Fly to Medellín, known as the “city of eternal spring.” Surrounded by lush mountains and fragrant flower farms, Medellín is undergoing a resurgence after a turbulent late 20th century, when it was ruled by drug lord Pablo Escobar. Settle into your chic hotel, and spend the afternoon at leisure.

Day 8: Medellín

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Spend the day learning about Medellín’s past and the strides the city has taken to ensure a safer future for its residents. Begin with a visit to Moravia, a former landfill that became home to thousands of rural migrants. Hear about the social, urban, and ecological efforts that have converted this space into a beautiful park; then continue to Comuna 13, once one of Colombia’s most notorious neighborhoods. Meet with local leaders and learn how government- and NGO-sponsored art and music programs have transformed this troubled area into a vibrant, creative community.

Day 9: Medellín

After breakfast, head out for a tour of a sustainable cacao farm. Discover the history of this extraordinary fruit, native to Central and South America and cultivated for millennia by indigenous tribes; then learn about how the region’s chocolate production came to a halt when cacao farms were taken over by drug cartels to grow coca. Meet with farmers displaced by the conflict, and discuss the impact of a United Nations-backed project that is helping growers reclaim their farms and livelihoods. Try your hand at producing a bar of artisanal chocolate, and cap off the tour with a taste of pure hot chocolate, prepared in the Colombian fashion.

Day 10: Medellín

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Today, we explore Medellín’s La Sierra neighborhood, a mountainside district that is turning a new chapter thanks to the introduction of public transport. Visit the House of Memory Museum, which records the stories of the survivors and victims of Colombia’s civil conflict, and walk past evocative street murals. Prepare traditional Colombian specialties during a hands-on cooking class, then meet with a political scientist for an analysis of how the city’s strategic projects have impacted its citizens. Our tour culminates with a ride on La Sierra cable car, which gives a firsthand look at how new infrastructure is improving the quality of life for community members. This evening, toast your Colombia journey at a farewell dinner.

Day 11: Medellín

Transfer to the Medellín airport for your international flight home.

What to Expect

This expedition is rated as light/moderate; travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Travelers should expect full days, many of which require several miles of walking. Much of the touring occurs outside, rain or shine, and offers limited access to shade or benches. Excursions may include navigating uneven terrain, climbing stairs without handrails, and walking on paths with steep ascents or descents. On Day 3, travelers will hike in Matarredonda Ecological Park. Please note that there are some long travel days on rough terrain.

Accommodations

Throughout the trip, we stay in ideally located, high-end hotels with ample amenities.

1 /5

Sofitel Bogotá Victoria Regia - Bogotá, Colombia

Designed by renowned Colombian architect Miguel Soto, this hotel combines classic French elegance with locally inspired elements. Stunning marble floors greet guests in the lobby, while wood trimmings lend a warm, cozy feel to the rooms. For a gourmet dining experience, guests can head to the on-site restaurant, serving French and Colombian fusion fare; or step out in the nearby Zona T neighborhood to discover some of Bogotá’s most popular eateries.

2 /5

Sonesta Hotel Valledupar - Valledupar, Colombia

Conveniently located in downtown Valledupar, this modern hotel offers comfortable rooms with a range of amenities. At the on-site restaurant, guests can sample creative dishes that highlight local produce while enjoying breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. The hotel also boasts an outdoor pool, a gym, and a colorful lobby bar.

3 /5

Sonesta Hotel Valledupar - Valledupar, Colombia

Conveniently located in downtown Valledupar, this modern hotel offers comfortable rooms with a range of amenities. At the on-site restaurant, guests can sample creative dishes that highlight local produce while enjoying breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. The hotel also boasts an outdoor pool, a gym, and a colorful lobby bar.

4 /5

Sonesta Hotel Valledupar - Valledupar, Colombia

Conveniently located in downtown Valledupar, this modern hotel offers comfortable rooms with a range of amenities. At the on-site restaurant, guests can sample creative dishes that highlight local produce while enjoying breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. The hotel also boasts an outdoor pool, a gym, and a colorful lobby bar.

5 /5

Hotel Park 10 - Medellín, Colombia

A beautiful brick building surrounded by lush foliage, Hotel Park 10 is located in Medellín’s lively Zona Rosa neighborhood. The cappucino-colored marble floors and luxurious wood paneling in the common areas evokes colonial-era clubhouses, while mid-century furniture and a chromatic color scheme in the rooms adds to hotel’s old-world ambience. Relax with a book in the charming, leafy terrace; enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant; or indulge in a range of therapies at the spa.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Mar 27-Apr 6, 2020
  • double occupancy ₹ 4,30,500 Per Person
  • single occupancy ₹5,01,900 Per Person

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination. Internal flights are $275 per person. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities

    What's Not Included

    • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
    • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
    • Visas
    • Alcoholic beverages
Juan Forero
Editor
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Juan Forero is South America bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, based in Bogotá. Prior to joining the Journal in 2014, he worked for National Public Radio, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Raised in the U.S. by immigrant parents from Colombia, Juan has spent the last 18 years in Latin America as a full-time correspondent where his keen understanding of both cultures informs his reporting. Much of his work in Colombia has entailed covering the rebel conflict, the cocaine trade, corruption and rights abuses, the peace process and a range of features of all stripes.

Juan will join half of the Colombia: The Future of Sustainable Peace expedition.

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  • Mar 27-Apr 6, 2020
William Saturno
Educator Archaeologist
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William Saturno is an archaeologist and storyteller specializing in the myths and histories of early civilizations and the politics of empire. A National Geographic Explorer and a former NASA research scientist, he has conducted fieldwork around the globe, both on the ground and from space, to understand the ideological and environmental foundations of how the great Czars, Khans, Emperors, and Ajaws of the past ruled over their societies. As an avid student and scholar of the ancient world, Bill weaves together data from archaeology, anthropology, and history spanning from the jungles of Central America and Southeast Asia to the deserts and grasslands of Eurasia and from the shores of the ancient Mediterranean to those of Scandinavian fjords, narrating the tales of adventurers, artists, commoners, and kings alike to bring the past vividly to life. He has joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years in diverse geographies, including Mexico, Guatemala, China, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, and beyond.

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  • Mar 27-Apr 6, 2020