Explore Colombia
from $2290
Duration: 10 Days
Colombia is one of those gems of South America that still is often skipped on the tourist trail. Be captivated by Bogota’s colonial-era centre, laze on palm-fringed stretches of Caribbean shoreline and meet the locals that make Colombia one of the world's friendliest countries on this 10-day South American adventure. While Tayrona National Park and the Guachaca region offer gorgeous hiking trails, off-track swimming holes and powdery beaches nestled in lush jungle, eye-catching towns like Barichara are a dream to explore, and adrenaline-fuelled San Gil is just moments away. For an off-track trip in that’s full of rhythm, music, colour and life, Explore Colombia is right up there with the best of them.
  • Wander beneath the floral balconies of Cartagena – the World Heritage-listed town combining Caribbean splendour and irresistible old-world charm.
  • Tayrona National Park is a nature escape that seems to have it all, from perfect beaches and mountain backdrops to wildlife-filled jungle.
  • Admire the colonial-era architecture of Barichara – this little gem is widely considered Colombia's prettiest town. Get lost on the cobblestone streets or head to nearby San Gil – a hotspot for adventure sports.
  • Head to a local factory supporting women in work and keeping alive a traditional paper-making method by using the natural fibres of the Andean fique plant.
  • Stay in the vibrant Chapinero neighbourhood in Bogota, one of the most culturally diverse parts of town.
  • Cartagena - Orientation walk of hotel neighbourhood
  • Tayrona National Park - Entrance fee
  • Barichara - Walk along Camino Real to the village 'Guane'
  • Barichara - Visit to a local artisan paper factory
  • Day 1 Location: Cartagena
    Bienvenidos a Colombia! Welcome to Colombia. Cartagena is one of South America's most historic cities. The old city, particularly the inner walled town, is the main attraction – it's packed with beautiful churches, monasteries, plazas and mansions. Your hotel is located in the vibrant Getsemani neighbourhood, a part of the old town with loads of colourful street art and an authentic feel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. After the meeting, step out for an orientation walk with your leader to get a feel for the city (note that this may take place tomorrow morning instead).
    Day 2 Location: Cartagena
    Spend some free time getting to know the old and new of Cartagena. Wander the old city, shop for local handicrafts, head up to San Felipe de Barajas Castle (the largest of the city's fortresses) or take boat to Punta Arenas or Playa Blanca for a well-deserved swim in the Southern Caribbean. Otherwise, book yourself in a tour out of town to the Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. Instead of lava, this peculiar volcano spews a cream-like mud that is said to contain many healing properties. Enter for a strange bathing experience, then wash the muddiness off in the nearby lagoon. In the evening, perhaps head to one of Cartagena’s hippest eateries, Restaurante Interno. Housed in a women's prison, the restaurant opened in December 2016 with the aim of giving inmates skills and a higher likelihood of integrating back into society when their prison sentence is over. Local celebrities and even the Columbian president have eaten here, and while it isn’t a budget option, it is definitely a unique experience, and you’ll get an authentic Columbian meal.
    Day 3 Location: Guachaca
    In the morning, take a shared van transfer (approximately 5 hours) north of Cartagena to Guachaca – your home for the next two nights. Guachaca is located in northern Columbia and is surrounded with lush jungle and mountains that collide with the sun-kissed coastline. It's the perfect spot to take the pace down a notch. Once you've arrived, the remainder of the day is free to explore (or relax!). Park yourself in a hammock with a book or make the short walk to the beach and get a load of that coastline. Your accommodation is a simple and comfortable family-run guesthouse, nestled high in the jungle. In the evening, enjoy a cocktail or two with your fellow travellers or treat yourself to a relaxing massage.
    Day 4 Location: Tayrona National Park / Guachaca Region
    Head to Tayrona National Park – a series of jungle and coves surrounding the Caribbean coast on the foothills of the Santa Marta mountains. Today is all about hiking the forest trails for Tayrona’s beaches, and with a fair amount of hiking involved today, be prepared and make sure your walking shoes are on and you’ve packed some bug spray. Along the way, you’ll experience lush the green rainforest, the ambience of the jungle and all wildlife that inhabit it, and the special glimpses of coastline and beaches that peek through the canopies. The trail to stunning Cabo San Juan is well worth the effort; it's further away than some other beaches however highly recommended. The hike today is flexible and can be tailored to suit all fitness and energy levels. There can be some steep ups and downs, and some muddy spots if it’s been raining, so your group leader can organise a route that pleases everyone. When you’ve had enough hiking, swimming and relaxing, head back to Guachaca for the evening.
    Day 5 Location: Guachaca Region / Barichara
    Enjoy a final morning in your jungle haven, perhaps rising early to see the sunrise from the beach. After a continental breakfast, head off for an included flight from Santa Martha to Bucaramanga (approximately 3.5 hours including a stop in Bogota). From Bucaramanga, transfer to Barichara (approximately 3 hours). With its quaint cobbled streets, stuccoed houses and hilly backdrop, Barichara is probably the prettiest colonial-style village in all of Colombia. Today is a relatively long travel day, so spend some time relaxing this evening.
    Day 6 Location: Barichara
    With some free time, spend today however you please. Barichara means ‘resting place’ in the local indigenous language and is itself a fine place to wander around on foot, with its laidback feel and range of shops and artisanal workshops to explore. If you'd like to get more active, head over to San Gil, the thrill-seeking capital of Colombia (approximately 30 minutes' drive). Speak to your group leader for suggestions of things to do – rafting, paragliding and caving – it’s an adventure sport hub. The Pescaderito swimming hole on the way there is well worth a visit too; even if the water is a little chilly, it's an idyllic spot to relax for an hour or two.
    Day 7 Location: Barichara
    After breakfast, head to a local factory where you’ll learn the traditional method of making paper from the natural fibres of the Andean fique plant. This factory is the number one employer in Barichara, which began with the aim to financially support single-parent women who previously did not have any promise of work. Afterwards, set out on a 2-hour walk along the Camino Real to the village of Guane. Declared a national monument in 1988, the ancient trail was built by the indigenous Guane people as a trade route between towns, and you’ll be hiking a small section between Barichara and Guane. The walk is stunning, full of panoramic views of the mountain ranges. It starts off with a gentle descent down the rim of a canyon before crossing a valley filled with cacti. The walking is mostly downhill, and you'll likely spot a few fossils embedded in the stones that pave the trail en route. On arrival in Guane, refresh with a cooling drink, soak up the peaceful atmosphere and perhaps check out the town’s church, before catching the local bus back to Barichara.
    Day 8 Location: Bogota
    Today you’ll travel by local bus to Bogota via San Gil (approximately 8 hours), so kick back and enjoy the drive as the scenery rolls by. There will be only the one stop along the way, so ensure you take drinks and snacks for the journey. Your hotel in Bogota is located in the Chapinero neighbourhood, one of the most culturally diverse parts of town.
    Day 9 Location: Bogota
    Time for some exploring – today, you’ll check out a couple of essential local spots in Bogota. One is La Candelaria, the historic heart of the city. Boasting a wealth of cosy cafes and colonial churches, it's a neighbourhood full of surprises. As well as loads of museums, art and great food to try, it's also just a beautiful town to walk around, an interesting clash of the old and new. You’ll also head to the Gold Museum for a chance to learn about the wealth this country once had. Fascinating and easy to navigate, the museum has 55,000 artefacts from various eras on display. During the day, you will also learn about Columbia’s turbulent past on a ‘War and Peace’ tour, which outlines their history of war, including political assassinations and armed groups in conflict, and how the country has developed into the situation it finds itself now. There will also be an opportunity to head up Cerro de Monserrate by cable car, where a 17th-century church overlooks the capital. It's a great place to watch the sunset across the sprawling city.
    Day 10 Location: Bogota
    After an included breakfast, there are no planned activities today and no accommodation planned at night. If you wish to spend more time in Bogota, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    21DEC2019
    Return Date:
    30DEC2019
    2750NZD
    not available
    Departure Date:
    28DEC2019
    Return Date:
    06JAN2020
    2750NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    30DEC2019
    Return Date:
    08JAN2020
    2750NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    04JAN2020
    Return Date:
    13JAN2020
    2905NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    11JAN2020
    Return Date:
    20JAN2020
    2800NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18JAN2020
    Return Date:
    27JAN2020
    2695NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25JAN2020
    Return Date:
    03FEB2020
    2770NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08FEB2020
    Return Date:
    17FEB2020
    2695NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    29FEB2020
    Return Date:
    09MAR2020
    2665NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    07MAR2020
    Return Date:
    16MAR2020
    2590NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    14 Dec 2019

    Trip title

    Explore Colombia

    Trip code

    GGSC

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Colombia is one of those gems of South America that still is often skipped on the tourist trail. Be captivated by Bogota’s colonial-era centre, laze on palm-fringed stretches of Caribbean shoreline and meet the locals that make Colombia one of the world's friendliest countries on this 10-day South American adventure. While Tayrona National Park and the Guachaca region offer gorgeous hiking trails, off-track swimming holes and powdery beaches nestled in lush jungle, eye-catching towns like Barichara are a dream to explore, and adrenaline-fuelled San Gil is just moments away. For an off-track trip in that’s full of rhythm, music, colour and life, Explore Colombia is right up there with the best of them.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Plane,Private Bus,Private vehicle,Public bus,Van

    Physical Rating

    3

    Joining point

    Hostal Casa Mara

    #29-139 Calle del Espiritu Santo

    Getsemani,

    Cartagena

    COLOMBIA

    Alternate Joining point

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

    11 Jan 2020 (GGSC200111), 18 Jan 2020 (GGSC200118), 25 Jan 2020 (GGSC200125), 08 Feb 2020 (GGSC200208), 29 Feb 2020 (GGSC200229), 07 Mar 2020 (GGSC200307), 14 Mar 2020 (GGSC200314), 04 Apr 2020 (GGSC200404), 18 Apr 2020 (GGSC200418), 23 May 2020 (GGSC200523), 20 Jun 2020 (GGSC200620), 11 Jul 2020 (GGSC200711), 18 Jul 2020 (GGSC200718), 01 Aug 2020 (GGSC200801), 08 Aug 2020 (GGSC200808), 22 Aug 2020 (GGSC200822), 12 Sep 2020 (GGSC200912), 10 Oct 2020 (GGSC201010), 24 Oct 2020 (GGSC201024), 14 Nov 2020 (GGSC201114), 28 Nov 2020 (GGSC201128), 05 Dec 2020 (GGSC201205), 12 Dec 2020 (GGSC201212), 19 Dec 2020 (GGSC201219), 26 Dec 2020 (GGSC201226)

    Casa Villa Colonial

    Calle Las Maravillas # 30- 60

    Barrio Getsemani

    Cartagena

    COLOMBIA

    Phone: (575) 6645421

    Alternate Joining 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 Joining point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged 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 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 Rafael Nunez International Airport to the city by taxi. As you walk out from the luggage collection there is only one exit, and from there you can take a yellow 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: To Cartagena Center (Historic Center) between 15,000 COP and 20,000 COP (USD$6-8) and takes around 20 minutes. To Bocagrande it can be between 15,000 COP and 20,000 COP (USD$6-8) and takes around 15 minutes.

    Finish point

    Hotel Vilar America

    Calle 66 #8-23

    Chapinero

    Bogota

    110010

    COLOMBIA

    Phone: +57 1 5524090

    Finish 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.

    Finish point instructions

    Intrepid offers a pre-arranged departure 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 a transfer to the Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your Hotel 3 hours before your domestic flight and 4 hours before your International flight. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes past 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. The cost of the taxi will vary depending on the area where your hotel is located. Usually the white taxis rates are higher than yellow taxis rates, however both are fine to use. Usually a transfer out in yellow taxi hotel to the airport can be: From Historic Center (Candelaria and around) between 20,000 COP and 25,000 COP (USD$8-10). The drive from The Historic Center to airport is approx 30 minutes depending traffic. From Business area (Street 72) between 25,000 COP and 35,000 COP (USD$10-13). The drive from the Business area to airport is approx 35 minutes depending traffic. From North area between 35,000 COP and 45,000 COP (USD$13-17). The drive from the North area to airport is approx 50 minutes depending traffic.

    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. TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK CLOSURE –28th January - 28th February 2020 Tayrona National Park will be closed from 28th January 2020 to 28th February 2020 as a result of discussions between the park operators and the local indigenous people regarding the ecological recuperation of the ecosystem. Trip departures starting between the 26th January 2020 and 23rd of February 2020 will not visit Tayrona National Park and instead visit the 'Enchanted Lagoon’ and a enjoy a walk through a tropical rainforest with a similar landscape to Tayrona. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: Please note that the Single Supplement does not include nights 3 & 4

    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.

    LOCAL LODGINGS: On this trip you will be staying in some restored houses and local lodges - these are one of the charms of this journey, but their staircases, balconies and passages etc may not always comply with western safety standards. Please do not expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state.

    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

    Wander beneath the floral balconies of Cartagena – the World Heritage-listed town combining Caribbean splendour and irresistible old-world charm.

    Tayrona National Park is a nature escape that seems to have it all, from perfect beaches and mountain backdrops to wildlife-filled jungle.

    Admire the colonial-era architecture of Barichara – this little gem is widely considered Colombia's prettiest town. Get lost on the cobblestone streets or head to nearby San Gil – a hotspot for adventure sports.

    Head to a local factory supporting women in work and keeping alive a traditional paper-making method by using the natural fibres of the Andean fique plant.

    Stay in the vibrant Chapinero neighbourhood in Bogota, one of the most culturally diverse parts of town.

    Is this trip right for you

    Colombia enjoys a stable year-round climate, but it can get particularly hot and humid on the coast. Be sure to drink plenty of water and wear adequate sun protColombia enjoys a stable year-round climate, but it can get particularly hot and humid on the coast. Be sure to drink plenty of water and wear adequate sun protection. The hiking in Tayrona Park (Day 4) is one of the highlights, but it’s important to prepare. Bring footwear you can tackle (possible) mud in, and don’t forget your swimming gear for the beaches along the way.

    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. Colombia currency information: The official currency of Colombia is the Colombian Peso (COP). 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. 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 - Swimwear and towel

    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 www.kropla.com) - 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 - Torch - Warm clothing or travel sheet for Tayrona NP if travelling during the cooler months 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.

    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.

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