4 nights from: $1395 Single Supplement: FREE
Experience the colonial gems of Colombia in two contrasting cities ... from Villa de Leyva, a cobblestone village untouched by time, to Bogotá, the urban, cultural soul of the country. Wander past whitewashed buildings peppered with preserved fossils, then explore the pulsing markets and graffitied streets of Colombia's capital city.
- It's Included:
- Airfare from Quito to Bogotá
- Accommodations for 2 nights in Villa de Leyva and 2 nights in Bogotá
- 8 meals—4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners
- 8 small group activities
- Services of a local O.A.T. Trip Leader
- Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters
- All transfers
Having concluded our Machu Picchu & the Galápagos adventure, we depart Quito this morning for our flight to Bogotá, Colombia. Upon arrival in Bogotá, we’ll continue onto Villa de Leyva, stopping along the way for lunch at a local restaurant. We resume our overland transfer, making a stop first at a small artisanal factory that makes arepas— the delicious, cakey patties that are made from maize flour and form the backbone of Colombian cuisine—by hand.
We’ll arrive in the colonial village of Villa de Leyva later this afternoon, where we’ll become better acquainted with the area. Dinner tonight is on your own.
After breakfast this morning, we’ll begin our exploration of Villa de Leyva with a walking tour of this 16th century colonial village. Due to the semi-desert climate of this high-altitude (7,050 feet) valley, there are no agricultural resources, and therefore the village has had very little development within the last 400 years. Much of the original colonial architecture still remains: The enormous town plaza gives way to uneven, cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings with red tile roofs, and balconies adorned with potted flowers. Villa de Leyva’s history beyond the 16th century is also on display. The valley is speckled with fossils dating back to the Cretaceous era, and it’s not uncommon to see them embedded into plaster walls.
Later this morning, we’ll venture to Raquirá, a town located 15 miles from Villa de Leyva. Known as the pottery capital of Colombia, we’ll stop for a clay demonstration before continuing on our walking tour of the town. Lunch this afternoon will be enjoyed at a local restaurant. The rest of this afternoon is at your leisure to make your own discoveries in Villa de Leyva. Dinner is on your own this evening.
After breakfast, we'll enjoy a talk about the Guerillas and the effect of the infamous drug cartel leader, Pablo Escobar, on the country's history. We'll then depart Villa de Leyva for Bogotá. Along the way, we’ll stop in the town of Zipaquirá, home to the renowned Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral. Stretching more than 600 feet underground, the cathderal is built into the tunnels of a salt mine, complete with statues and ornaments cared out of the mine's rock walls. The complex features three main sections, including an entryway lined with 14 small chapels that depict the Stations of the Cross, and is considered a highlight of Colombian architecture. We'll have lunch in the town, then make our way on to the cathedral to explore this fascinating religious site.
We then continue on to Bogotá. Originally a settlement known as Bacatá by the indigenous people who inhabited this area on the high plains of the Andes, the site became a full-fledged Spanish colonial outpost by 1550. Bogotá remained under the control of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, a vast stretch of land encompassing the modern countries of Colombia, Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela. Since then, the city has served continuously as a political and social center; today this bustling capital has a population of more than eight million people.
We'll check into our hotel, then have the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner tonight is on your own.
After breakfast, we’ll visit Paloquemao, Bogotá’s oldest local market. Within this massive daily market live smaller markets selling flowers, vegetables, fresh fish, and fruit. After our exploration, we’ll have the afternoon at leisure to make independent discoveries in the city, with lunch on your own.
Early this evening we’ll embark on a graffiti tour of Bogotá. The city has a casual attitude toward graffiti; as a result, Bogotá's exterior walls are covered in everything from tags and amateur scrawls to elaborate murals. Later this evening, we’ll gather for our Farewell Dinner.
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the airport for our flight home.
Please note: If you make your own international air arrangements, your extension price will increase due to internal air transportation. This extension may not be available on all departures.