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Colombia through the Andes–Cartagena to La Paz

Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador

Colombia through the Andes–Cartagena to La Paz

Hiking·
Biking
·
Start: Cartagena
·
End: La Paz

Across 55 days and four countries, you’ll see jungles, cities, and all things between

Activity
LocationPeru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador
Duration55 days
Start / EndCartagena / La Paz
Tour operatorG Adventures

Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador

Colombia through the Andes–Cartagena to La Paz

Hiking·
Biking·
55 days·G Adventures
Start: Cartagena
·
End: La Paz

Description

An epic South America trip ought to be on everyone’s bucket list – so why not tick this one off well ahead of time? Across 55 days and four countries, you’ll see jungles, cities, and all things between, all with a like-minded group of young adventurers eager to see and do everything. And “everything” is definitely an understatement – you’ll hike the Lost City in Colombia, take on the Inca Trail...

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Itinerary

Day 1Cartagena
Arrive at any time.
Day 2Cartagena
Free day to explore this coastal colonial city. Wander the historic old town, check out the San Felipe fortress, or get dirty with a mud bath and massage at Totumo Volcano.
Day 3Cartagena/Santa Marta
Travel by public bus to this coastal port town. Free time to visit the Gold Museum with its collection of Lost City artifacts, chill out on the beach and pick up any last minute necessities for the upcoming trek.
Day 4Santa Marta/ Wiwa Camp
Transfer to Machete Pelao, where the trek to the Lost City of Teyuna begins. Trek through farmland, steamy jungle, and rural Kogi communities. Get a glimpse into the local way of life in the remote river valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Day 5 Wiwa Camp /Teyuna Paraiso Camp
Continue trekking along the route to Ciudad Perdida. Today is a tough portion of the trek with a lot of steep inclines, make sure to rest and take in the beautiful views. Arrive at the campsite in the afternoon and relax by the river.
Day 6Teyuna Paraiso Camp/ Wiwa Camp
Get started early to climb the 1,200 steps up to the Lost City. The view of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains makes it well worth the hike. Explore the Lost City and learn what is known of its origins from the indigenous guide, before making the descent back to Wiwa Camp for the night.
Day 7 Wiwa Camp /Ricardito Camp
Follow the path back through the deep jungle, wind through banana trees, cacao plants and small Kogi communities on the way to Ricardito Camp. The nickname for this camp is vista hermosa or beautiful views, sit back and soak them in.
Day 8Ricardito Camp/Taganga
Head across grassy hills and gentle streams to reach the Gotsezhi Wiwa indigenous community. Enjoy a G Adventures-supported community lunch cooked by women from the community with local ingredients. Learn about Wiwa customs on a village visit and then lounge in a hammock by the river. In the afternoon, return to Taganga for a well deserved night in a hotel.
Day 9Taganga/Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
Head into Tayrona National Park for a moderate hike with a local guide. This is a perfect opportunity to experience nature and learn a little more about the rich, natural diversity of northern Colombia.
Day 10Taganga/Medellín
Fly inland to infamous Medellín, now one of Latin America's safest cities. Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival and an optional night out with the group.
Day 11Medellín
Choose what to explore today on a free day. Opt to visit the nearby town of Guatapé, with its colourful houses and famous rock. Or, ride the metrocable, a cable car part of Medellín’s public transportation, for sweeping views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Day 12Medellín/Salento
Drive through beautiful landscapes to Salento. Enjoy exploring Salento and getting a feel for the town.
Day 13Salento
Opt to take a morning hike through the towering palms of the Cocora Valley, or choose from a variety of other optional activities in the coffee region of Quindío.
Day 14Salento/Bogotá
Enjoy the ride to Colombia's capital, Bogotá.
Day 15Bogotá
Enjoy a free day to explore the capital of Colombia. Opt to ride the funicular up for a stunning view, visit the impressive gold museum, or check out the street art.
Day 16Bogotá/Tatacoa Desert
Enjoy the ride to the Tatacoa Desert to spend the night under the stars.
Day 17Tatacoa Desert/Popayán
Head out into the impressive Tatacoa desert and explore the rocky canyons. The morning is free to choose how you wish to explore, opt to go for a hike or go horseback riding. After, travel to Popayán.
Day 18Popayán/Pasto
Head further south to Pasto, wander around and keep an eye out for local ice cream makers out in the streets.
Day 19Pasto/San Clemente
Visit the striking Lajas Sanctuary, built on a bridge in a lush gorge, this neo-Gothic church is sure to impress. After, cross the border into Ecuador and continue on to the indigenous community of San Clemente for the night.
Day 20San Clemente/Quito
Enjoy the morning in the indigenous community of San Clemente. Interact with the locals and learn about their traditional ways. Later, travel to Otavalo market before heading on to Quito for the night.
Day 21Quito
Enjoy a free day to explore Ecuador's capital. Visit the city's old town, take a day trip to the equator, or Cotopaxi volcano.
Day 22Quito/Tena
Travel overland to the jungle city of Tena, located on the edge of the Amazon. From there, transfer by truck to the local community of Pimpilala. Stay in rustic wooden huts in the community of a Quichua family, enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle first-hand.
Day 23Tena
Head out on nature walks and learn about uses of traditional plants, their cultural beliefs, and local traditions in the Amazon jungle.
Day 24Tena
In the morning, cycle to the nearby community of Shandia and discover the beauty of the Amazon with a member of the community as your guide. Learn about traditional uses of cacao by watching a chocolate-making demonstration, eat meals made of fresh local ingredients, and stay at the G Adventures-supported community lodge.
Day 25Tena/Baños
Travel to Baños, the perfect setting to get your adrenaline pumping, try out horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, or rafting in the surrounding mountains.
Day 26Baños
Enjoy a free day in Baños, opt to check out the swing at the end of the world, soak in nearby hot springs, or, check out ziplining.
Day 27Baños/Cuenca
Enjoy the scenery on the way to the charming town of Cuenca. Ecuador's third largest town, Cuenca, retains a pleasant provincial air with its colonial architecture, art galleries, and museums. The surrounding countryside is an outdoor playground. Visit national parks, take walks in the beautiful countryside, and see Ecuador’s only Inca ruin site.
Day 28Cuenca
Enjoy a free day in beautiful Cuenca. Explore the city’s sights including cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas, and museums or opt to visit nearby Cajas National Park or the Inca ruins of Ingapirca. Later, catch an overnight but to Mancora.
Day 29Máncora
Arrive early into the seaside town of Mancora, a village populated by fishermen and surfers from around Peru and the world. Chill out and breathe in the salty air.
Day 30Máncora
Opt to relax on the beach, discover Mancora, go horseback riding, or take a surf lesson.
Day 31Máncora/Huanchaco
Free time in Mancora. Overnight bus to Huanchaco.
Day 32Huanchaco
Enjoy more beach time or opt to visit pre-Inca sites or the city of Trujillo. We continue heading south along the coast to Trujillo, the largest city in northern Peru. It is known for its beautiful colonial structures and nearby attractions of Chan-Chan ruins and the resort town of Huanchaco, where we spend the night.
Day 33Huanchaco/Lima
Full day in Huanchaco before boarding a night bus to Lima.
Day 34Lima
Explore Peru's capital on an optional city tour or simply relax. Be sure to try the tasty ceviche and pisco sours. To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk around the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to experience life in a large South American city. There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera. An optional city tour visits many of the cities highlights.
Day 35Lima
Enjoy the day exploring the city. Opt to pre-book the Lima Cooking Class and learn how to cook some classic Peruvian dishes using ingredients from the local market.
Day 36Lima/Paracas
Free morning in Lima before travelling by bus to Paracas. Savour a pisco sour while staying in Pisco's neighbouring town of Paracas.
Day 37Paracas/Nazca
Optional visit to Ballestas Islands before travelling to Nazca. En route, stop at a winery and at the oasis of Huacachina. There is time in the morning for an optional excursion to the popular Ballestas Islands, which provide an excellent chance to view a lively sea lion colony, pelicans, penguins, and other varieties of birdlife. Back on land, catch a bus south to Nazca. On the way, pass by the pleasant colonial town of Ica. Ica enjoys a dry, sunny climate year-round and is known for its huge sand dunes. Located around the nearby oasis of Huacachina, the dunes are perfect as subjects for photographs and for a favourite local past time: sandboarding. Apart from the dunes, Ica is famous for its wines and there are several wineries and distilleries in the area.
Day 38Nazca/Arequipa
Opt for a flight over the Nazca Lines. Overnight bus to Arequipa.
Day 39Arequipa
Opt to explore the Arequipa on a city tour or soak in a local hot spring. Those with an interest in history and architecture may opt to visit the Convent of Santa Catalina, which offers a brief respite from the outside world and a unique view into a bygone way of life. Other optional excursions include rafting and mountaineering. For spicy food lovers, checking out one of the “Picanterías” is a must. Arequipa has a variety of regional food: alpaca, shrimp, pork, lots of soups, and spicy sauces.
Day 40Arequipa/Colca Canyon
Take a full-day tour of the spectacular Colca Valley, and opt for a soak in hot springs. Enjoy an overnight excursion to the impressive Colca Canyon - one of the deepest canyons in the world. Stop in fascinating villages and at “miradors” (scenic lookouts), where, with a little luck, visitors can see Andean condors soaring over the majestic Andes. Other unusual animals that can be spotted in the Andean landscape include three different species of camelids: alpaca, llama and vicuña.
Day 41Colca Canyon/Arequipa
Set out looking for the majestic soaring condors over Colca Canyon. Head back to Arequipa to enjoy the city in the evening. Get an early start to go on the lookout for flying condors. Travel from Chivay town to a condor viewpoint to admire these magnificent birds in the air. On the way back, stop by some local villages and viewpoints to see old terraces and sections of Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world.
Day 42Arequipa/Cusco
Explore Arequipa and opt to take a city tour. Take an overnight bus to Cusco.
Day 43Cusco
Free time to explore Cusco. Choose to pre-book the optional Cusco Cooking Class. Opt for a city tour or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
Day 44Cusco
Enjoy another free day in Cusco. Choose to pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class.
Day 45Cusco/Ollantaytambo
Learn about the Sacred Valley en route to Ollantaytambo. Opt to take a Sacred Valley tour with a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op. Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and a first taste of what lies ahead. For those craving more before they head out on the Trail, opt to take a Sacred Valley tour which includes a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.
Day 46Inca Trail
Depart Ollantaytambo by van to km 82 where the hike begins. Trek through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons, passing several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata.
Day 47Inca Trail
Start early to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman’s Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769 ft). Most hikers reach camp by early afternoon, with ample time to rest and relax.
Day 48Inca Trail
Cross two more passes and ruins along the way. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, hikers can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. Hike through cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day, walking through original Incan constructions. The highest point of the pass is 3,700m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley. At 3,650m (11,972 ft), reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the "town above the clouds." Camp here or go another 1.5 hrs to the Wiñay Wayna ruins ("forever young") located at 2,650m (8,694 ft).
Day 49Machu Picchu/Cusco
The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Wake up around 03:30 and walk to the checkpoint. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge, if time allows. Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes to meet any non-hiking members of your group. Eat and relax before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon.
Day 50Cusco
Free day to explore more of Cusco or just relax.
Day 51Cusco/Puno
Travel through the high Altiplano region to travel to Puno on Lake Titicaca.
Day 52Puno/Lake Titicaca
Guided tour of Lake Titicaca with a homestay in a local village. Head out by boat across Lake Titicaca. Visit the community on Taquile Island and enjoy a local lunch with spectacular views. After, cruise to another village for an overnight homestay on the shores of the lake (the homestay location can vary based on community availability). This experience provides an opportunity to learn more about rural life in the Peruvian highlands and to participate in local traditions. Eat with the family, learn some Quecha and Spanish language skills, try on traditional costumes, and help out with daily chores around the village.
Day 53Lake Titicaca/Puno
Visit the floating islands of Uros. Optional visit to the Sillustani burial site. Leave the homestay families late morning, and visit the Uros Islands on the way back to Puno. A popular optional activity in Puno is a visit to the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site only a short drive away.
Day 54Puno/La Paz
Cross over into Bolivia for a night out in the highest city of the trip. Oxygen bar anyone? Enjoy a full-day drive around the lake and through the Altiplano to La Paz. Bolivia is filled with spectacular views of the countryside. La Paz sits nearly 4,000m (13,120 ft) above sea level, so be prepared for cool evenings and mornings.
Day 55La Paz
Depart at any time.

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Accommodation

Simple hotels (34 nts, some multi-share), hostel (4 nts, multi-share), hammock or rustic cots (4 nts), overnight buses (4 nts), homestays (3 nts), G Adventures-supported community lodge (1 nt), camping (4 nts).

What's Included

Your G for Good Moment: Wiwa Community Visit & Lunch, Gotsezhi Village Your G for Good Moment: Shandia Community Lodge, Shandia Your G for Good Moment: Shandia Biking & Community Experience, Shandia Your Local Living Moment: Indigenous Community Homestay, San Clemente Your Local Living Moment: Amazon Jungle Experience, Tena Your Discover Moment: Baños Your Discover Moment: Lima Your Foodie Moment:... Read more

Meals Included

35 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 12 dinners

What to Take

Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. It’s best to layer clothes rather than bring a heavy parka so that you can take layers off. We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential f... Read more
55days
€4,699per person
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Sep 29
Cartagena
Nov 22
La Paz
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Cartagena
Dec 13
La Paz
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Cartagena
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