Cafe Colombia
from $2755
Duration: 9 Days
Head into the serene highlands of Colombia's famed coffee region and discover the sweeter, softer side of this much misunderstood country. Learn how to roast the perfect blend during a tour of a working coffee plantation, be beguiled by the laidback pace of charming Salento and spend some time getting acquainted with the sophisticated air and raucous nightlife of Medellin. Then trade the country's lush interior for its coastal spoils and wind the adventure up with a spell in oh-so-romantic Cartagena – the perfect end to this exceptional Colombian adventure.
  • Explore the cobbled alleys of Cartagena, a World Heritage-listed town that combines Caribbean splendour with irresistible old-world charm.
  • Embark on a spectacular guided hike through the Cocora Valley, home to hummingbirds and the world's tallest palm trees.
  • Spend a couple of days learning about the world's favourite bean during a stay on a traditional coffee estancia deep in Colombia's coffee country.
  • Discover the new face of Medellin – an arts and culture haven that’s bursting with trendy cafes, epic views and the best nightlife in Colombia – salsa anyone?
  • Try your hand at tejo, Colombia’s explosive national sport (think bocce with gunpowder!). Join your group on this fun activity in Salento, made better with a free beer in hand.
  • Bogota - Leader led Orientation walk in Candelaria neigborhood
  • Salento - Tejo game
  • Bogota - Visit to Paloquemao market
  • Coffee plantation tour, coffee tasting and coffee making
  • Barrio Transformation Tour
  • Medellin - Flower Farm tour
  • Metrocable to Acevedo station and up to Santa Elena
  • Day 1 Location: Bogota
    Bienvenidos! Welcome to Colombia. With a wealth of cosy cafes, interesting museums and old churches, cosmopolitan Bogota is full of surprises. Your adventure begins with an orientation walk of Candelaria at 1pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where your group will be meeting.    There will be a formal welcome meeting at 6pm for the whole group including those that missed the orientation walk. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. After, why not go out for a group dinner? 
    Day 2 Location: Salento
    This morning, immerse your senses in the flavours and colours of Colombia on a visit the famed Paloquemao Market, home to Bogota’s biggest selection of exotic fruits, fresh vegetables and food stalls – perhaps indulge in a delicious Arepa (Colombian style tortilla). Around lunch time take a short flight (1 hour) to the coffee region and transfer (approximately 40 minutes) to the beautiful village of Salento. Take the time to stroll through its quaint streets and admire the colours of 'paisa' architecture at its best. For some local food, trout is the way to go. There are lots of ways to enjoy it, but it's most often served with a rich, garlicky cheese sauce. Colombia's national sport, tejo, is a popular pastime in Salento. Think bocce with gunpowder! This evening, try your hand at this fun activity with the group – made even better with a free beer in hand!
    Day 3 Location: Coffee Estancia
    Travel by jeep out to the magnificent Cocora Valley, home of the towering wax palm (Colombia's national tree). Spend the morning walking among the region's incredible scenery, perhaps hiking up to Acaime Reserve where colourful hummingbirds feed. The hike to Acaime (approximately 5 hours) is quite strenuous, with some steep and slippery sections, so you'll need good walking shoes as well as plenty of water and snacks. A generous boxed lunch will be provided. If you'd rather take it easy, you can explore the valley as you please, then take a jeep back to town. Later, travel deep into Colombia's coffee region for a two-night stay in a traditional coffee estancia, where you'll have a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about this wonderful bean.
    Day 4 Location: Coffee Estancia
    Thanks to its tropical altitude and fertile volcanic soil, Colombia is one of the world’s largest coffee producers. You’ll get to know this addictive little bean a whole lot better on a guided tour of the coffee plantation and processing centre. Dig into the history of the plant, learning the inside story of the industry that's long buoyed the country's economy. See how the beans are grown, harvested, processed, dried, roasted and ground, and then sample firsthand what all the fuss is about. Try different types of coffee grains and get a lesson on preparing different types of coffees – finishing it all off with a steaming cup of freshly brewed joe. Afterwards, relax amid the estancia's beautiful surrounds of sloping green hills and valleys.
    Day 5 Location: Medellin
    This morning we will leave the Coffee Estancia and take a 1- hour transfer to the small town of Chinchina, where we will then board a comfortable public bus for the journey to Medellin (approximately 6-7 hours). Along the way, learn a little more about the town's interesting recent history. Having spent the 1980’s and 90’s with an international reputation as one of the world's most dangerous cities (due to Pablo Escobar's infamous drug cartel), Medellin has turned itself around to become one of the most exciting cities in South America. And with some of the country's finest museums, parks and architecture (as well as a much safer and comfortable atmosphere now) it's easy to see why its popularity is increasing. On arrival, explore this beautiful city on a an orientation walk with your leader, followed by free time this evening – why not check out some of Medellin’s famous nightlife!
    Day 6 Location: Medellin
    Today you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Medellin and its surrounds during a cable car ride up to Santa Elena. Sail up the mountain over brick houses, watching as the corrugated metal roofs give way to vistas of green valleys and forested peaks.Thanks to the elevation, things are usually a little cooler up here. Enjoy an include tour of a Flower Farm and when back in Medellin partake in a barrio transformation tour. This evening, you might want to search out one of the city's lively salsa bars (many count Medellin's nightlife as the best in Colombia).
    Day 7 Location: Medellin
    Today is a free day. You'll have some free time to explore Medellin. Perhaps visit the Museo de Antioquia to see some of Botero's famous works or get more modern at the beautiful Museo de Arte Moderno.
    Day 8 Location: Cartagena
    Fly to Cartagena (approximately 1 hour), one of South America's most historic cities where you’ll have free time to explore the old city. This inner walled town is the main attraction in Cartagena – it's packed with beautiful churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions. This town, founded in 1533 by Spaniard Don Pedro de Heredia, was a major centre of early Spanish settlement in the Americas. Its gold and silver exports made it a popular target for pirates, and its walled fort (now on UNESCO's World Heritage list) was built to protect both shipping and the slave trade. Perhaps visit San Felipe de Barajas Castle, the largest of the fortresses, or head out of town for a mud bath at Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. The nearby group of tiny coral islands and stunning expanses of Playa Blanca (White Beach) reveal the hidden beauty of Colombia's Caribbean coast. Maybe end this adventure people-watching in the heart of Getsemaní at Plaza de la Trinidad, where kids play football and singers strum their guitars. This evening, if you're feeling like an authentic Colombian meal and supporting a great cause in your free time, why not do both by dining at one of Cartagena's hippest restaurants, Restaurante Interno. Housed in a women's prison, the restaurant opened in December 2016 with the aim of giving inmates nearing the end of their sentences a second chance and job-ready skills, and to have a better chance of reintegrating into society on their release. It has since become one of the hottest spots in town (graced by local celebrities and even the Colombian President), prices start at USD $30, so while not a budget option, it is a unique experience and the money is going to a good cause.
    Day 9 Location: Cartagena
    There are no activities planned for the final day and you can depart the accommodation at any time.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    21DEC2019
    Return Date:
    29DEC2019
    3045NZD
    not available
    Departure Date:
    23DEC2019
    Return Date:
    31DEC2019
    3020NZD
    not available
    Departure Date:
    04JAN2020
    Return Date:
    12JAN2020
    3320NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    11JAN2020
    Return Date:
    19JAN2020
    3200NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18JAN2020
    Return Date:
    26JAN2020
    3290NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25JAN2020
    Return Date:
    02FEB2020
    3110NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08FEB2020
    Return Date:
    16FEB2020
    3170NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    22FEB2020
    Return Date:
    01MAR2020
    3170NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    29FEB2020
    Return Date:
    08MAR2020
    3140NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    07MAR2020
    Return Date:
    15MAR2020
    3195NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    14 Dec 2019

    Trip title

    Cafe Colombia

    Trip code

    GGSS

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Head into the serene highlands of Colombia's famed coffee region and discover the sweeter, softer side of this much misunderstood country. Learn how to roast the perfect blend during a tour of a working coffee plantation, be beguiled by the laidback pace of charming Salento and spend some time getting acquainted with the sophisticated air and raucous nightlife of Medellin. Then trade the country's lush interior for its coastal spoils and wind the adventure up with a spell in oh-so-romantic Cartagena – the perfect end to this exceptional Colombian adventure.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Plane,Local bus,Private vehicle

    Physical Rating

    3

    Joining point

    Hotel Vilar America

    Calle 66 #8-23

    Chapinero

    Bogota

    110010

    COLOMBIA

    Phone: +57 1 5524090

    Joining point description

    Hotel Vilar America is a 3-star cozy property offering a modern accommodation steps away from T Zone, Park 93 and El Campin Coliseum. Founded in 1982, the hotel underwent a renovation in 2007. The hotel boasts perfect location in Bogota close to Calle 63 underground station. The property lies within 7 km from the city center. Within walking distance of Chapinero district with bars and restaurants.

    Joining point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged transfer service from El Dorado International Airport at an additional fee. If you require this service please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met after exiting customs. As you exit, please look for a white sign marked with the Intrepid logo with your names on it. If you are arriving in group with 4 or more people, the sign may only have Intrepid's logo. If you have any problems and cannot locate your driver on arrival, please phone our emergency contact – the number is listed under ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section. Alternatively, you can travel from El Dorado International Airport to the city by taxi. As you walk out from the luggage collection we recommend you to go through the door 5 on the first floor, located in front of the exit of international flights. There you will find yellow and white taxis in line (Both taxis are fine to use however usually the white taxis cost double the yellow ones). We recommend you to ask how much they will charge before entering the cab. Depending on the area where your hotel is located, the cost and travel time will vary: To Historic Center (Candelaria and around) between 25.000 COP and 30.000 COP (USD$9-11) and should take around 30 minutes. To the Business area (Street 72) between 30.000 COP and 35.000 COP (USD$11–13). The hotel used for this trip is in the business area so should take around 35 minutes. To North area between 40.000 COP and 45.000 COP (USD$14 -17) and should take around 50 minutes. By Bus This mode of transport can be difficult to understand and is not recommended if it is your first time in Colombia, particularly without the understanding of Spanish. As you walk out from the luggage collection, we recommend you to go through the door 5 on the first floor, just in front of the international flights exit, then outside turn left and look for the blue busses “SITP”. No ticket is necessary for this first journey - Disembark at the “El Dorado” stop. Next you must buy a Transmilenio card that cost 3,000 COP plus the price of the ticket 2,000 COP (1 way). Please ask the office which bus you need to take depending on the area you are headed.

    Finish point

    Hostal Casa Mara

    #29-139 Calle del Espiritu Santo

    Getsemani,

    Cartagena

    COLOMBIA

    Alternate Finish point

    For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

    18 Jan 2020 (GGSS200118), 29 Feb 2020 (GGSS200229), 15 Aug 2020 (GGSS200815), 07 Nov 2020 (GGSS201107)

    Casa Villa Colonial

    Calle Las Maravillas # 30- 60

    Barrio Getsemani

    Cartagena

    COLOMBIA

    Phone: (575) 6645421

    Alternate Finish point description

    This property is a 11-minute walk from the beach. Set in a charming colonial-style building, Hotel Villa Colonial offers rooms with free Wi-Fi overlooking in Cartagena’s historic centre. The neighbourhood Getsemani is a great choice for travelers interested in city walks, architecture and old-town exploration.

    Alternate Finish point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged departure transfer service from Rafael Nunez International Airport at an additional fee. If you require this service please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have a transfer to the Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your Hotel 2 ½ Hours before your domestic flight and 3 ½ Hours before your International flight. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel reception to call our Emergency contact, listed under ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your essential information. Alternatively, you can travel from the hotel to the International Airport by taxi. The hotel reception will be able to assist you with booking a taxi. Depending on the size of your luggage, you can fit a maximum of 3 persons per taxi. Depending on the area where your hotel is located, the cost and time travel can change: From Cartagena Center (Historic Center) between 20,000 COP and 25,000 COP (USD$8-10) and takes around 20 minutes. From Bocagrande it can be between 20,000 COP and 25,000 COP (USD$8-10) and takes around 15 minutes.

    Important information

    PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary. FINISH TIME: There are no activities on the final day & you are free to depart anytime. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 3 & 4 (Coffee Estancia) where you will be in shared accommodation.

    Group leader

    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-field

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    MONEY WITHDRAWAL: In order to avoid fraud and theft, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    Communications

    WhatsApp is a popular way to communicate in Latin America. We recommended downloading WhatsApp prior to departure to communicate with by text with your leader and group members during the tour. Once downloaded, please validate your phone number before leaving home as you will not be able to do this once you arrive, unless you have international roaming enabled. Connections for making phone calls through WhatsApp are not reliable, so please do not use this app to make calls to our emergency phone line.

    Visas

    If you receive an immigration card upon entry, please ensure you keep this safe as it may be requested at point of exit. For further information regarding country entry and exit fees, please refer to the 'Money Matters' section of this document.  COLOMBIA: Americans, Australian, Belgians, British, Dutch, Germans and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Colombia. South African passport holders do require a Visa to enter Colombia. Intrepid can assist in issuing a proof of accommodation form for the application process. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa or entry requirements with the Colombian consulate in your home country. Reciprocity tax for some passport holders: The Colombian Government charges a reciprocity tax to Canadian passport holders which is payable on arrival. The COP$160,000 tax may be paid in Colombian pesos or US dollars, cash or credit or debit card in the Immigration Control Posts.

    Why we love it

    Explore the cobbled alleys of Cartagena, a World Heritage-listed town that combines Caribbean splendour with irresistible old-world charm.

    Embark on a spectacular guided hike through the Cocora Valley, home to hummingbirds and the world's tallest palm trees.

    Spend a couple of days learning about the world's favourite bean during a stay on a traditional coffee estancia deep in Colombia's coffee country.

    Discover the new face of Medellin – an arts and culture haven that’s bursting with trendy cafes, epic views and the best nightlife in Colombia – salsa anyone?

    Try your hand at tejo, Colombia’s explosive national sport (think bocce with gunpowder!). Join your group on this fun activity in Salento, made better with a free beer in hand.

    Is this trip right for you

    The Cocora Valley hike is quite rigorous, so you'll need to be fit and have sturdy walking shoes. If you'd rather relax, you're free to opt out of this activity and soak up the scenery at your leisure. Colombia enjoys a stable year-round climate, but it can get particularly hot and humid in the north. Be sure to drink plenty of water and wear adequate sun protection, especially in Cartagena on the coast.

    Health

    All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES: Some regions of Central & South America can experience outbreaks of dengue fever.There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please let your leader know right away. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria by taking measures to avoid insect bites. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip. Vaccinations may be required or recommended for this trip so you should consult with your travel doctor to obtain the latest up-to-date information. It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. YELLOW FEVER: A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting. MALARIA: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in many less-developed tropical areas in Africa and Latin America. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. Where malaria is considered prevalent in mountainous regions we prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. DIETARY REQUIREMENTS Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts. Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stalls, markets, etc. More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, coeliac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you. For those on strict Kosher or Halal diets we understand your dietary requirements are important, however,  sometimes due to cultural and language differences these are not always easy to convey when you are travelling. Your guide will do their best to assist you in translating your needs when eating out, but please be aware that these diets are almost unheard of in much of the continent and the best they may be able to accommodate is no pork and shellfish. If this will be a concern for you you may need to consider opting for vegetarian or vegan meals for the included meals in your itinerary. We recommend researching kosher or halal options in your destination country prior to travel to see if you are able to buy snacks once there, otherwise consider bringing some from home. 

    Money matters

    When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).  The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to the equivalent of an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. MEALS NOT INCLUDED: For this trip we recommend between USD 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out? Breakfast - If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café. Lunch - If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between USD10 to USD15. Dinner - At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main. These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget, are happy to eat just local food and are not afraid of an upset tummy every now and then, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries. CREDIT CARDS & ATMs: ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities across Latin America. Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only. Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to and what their fees and charges are. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day. If bringing over cash, please note USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks. DEPARTURE TAX: In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Nowadays, these departure taxes are added into the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase. Unless mentioned below, no airport departure tax has to be paid during this trip. The official currency of Colombia is the Colombian Peso (COP). Colombian peso bank notes are issued in 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 denominations. TIPPING: Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier. Usually around USD5 – USD10 a day to cover tips is fine, but your leader might raise the idea of a group tip kitty. Each traveller contributes an equal amount to the pool, and your leader can pay the tips as you go. Tipping Guide: To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. The recommended tipping amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground. - Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest USD1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill. - Local guides: There might be times during the trip where you’ll have a specialist local guide alongside your trip leader. We suggest tipping these guides about USD2 – USD3 per day. - Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest USD1-USD2 per day for drivers. - Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD2-USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

    What to take

    Most travellers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You'll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips. In terms of weight, airlines generally allow a maximum of 20kg for check in luggage. Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:

    ESSENTIAL: - Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses

    RECOMMENDED: - Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments - Electrical adapter plug (view the following sites for details: https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/list_bylocation.htm or https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/) - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids. - Insect repellent - Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both - Swimwear OPTIONAL: - Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate - Phrase book VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. LAUNDRY Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo)

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us CRISES AND EMERGENCIES In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country): + 55 21 99618-2018 Alternatively, the operations office located in Peru +51 99605 5559 (PEAK DMC South America)

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis. A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information. On the following nights the single supplement isn't available: Days 3-4: Coffee Estancia

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

    Accommodation

    Hotel (6 nights),Coffee Estancia (2 nights)

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