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  • Email: jesse@geeo.org

COLOMBIA- Summer

There’s no better way to experience Colombia than to jump in with both feet and experience the national parks, beaches and cities firsthand. Plus, there’s no better place to be if you’re looking to try delicacies such as fresh seafood on the beaches of Cartagena and delicious coffee from the region of Calarcá. Be a part of the revitalization of this warm, welcoming country and come back with more stories than you’ll ever have time to tell.


Itinerary

July 21 : Bogotá

Arrive at any time. We recommend arriving a day early to better explore Colombia's capital.

July 22 : Bogotá/Armenia (B)

Visit Paloquemao market before an afternoon flight to Armenia, in Colombia's coffee region. Spend two nights outside Armenia in a traditional hacienda.

July 23 : Armenia (B, L)

Enjoy a tour of a coffee farm in the Calarcá area to learn more about the coffee culture here.

July 24 : Armenia/Salento (B)

Take a morning hike through the Cocora Valley before an afternoon arrival to Salento town. Continue the full coffee experience in the region of Quindío.

July 25 : Salento/Medellín (B)

Drive through beautiful landscapes to Medellín. Opt to explore the city in the evening.

July 26 : Medellín (B)

Enjoy a neighbourhood tour of the Medellín and learn the fascinating recent history of the city's ongoing transformation. Spend the rest of the day with free time to explore this vibrant city.

July 27 : Medellín (B)

Enjoy another free day. Opt to visit the nearby town of Guatapé, with its colorful 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.

July 28 : Medellín/Cartagena (B)

Hop on a morning flight to Cartagena and arrive in time to spend the afternoon exploring the old walled city. Opt for dinner and a night out in this lively town.

July 29 : Cartagena (B)

Enjoy a free day exploring all Cartagena has to offer. Opt to enjoy the beautiful coast or explore the charming colonial city.

July 30 : Cartagena (B)

Enjoy a city tour, visiting the colonial walled city and fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy free time to take in the Caribbean vibe of the city and beach.

July 31 : Cartagena/Minca (B)

Travel to the small town of Minca and enjoy some free time to explore and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

August 1 : Minca/Taganga (B, L)

Journey into the hills around Minca and hike to a beautiful waterfall. Take a tour of a coffee farm, learn about chocolate preparation and indulge in a local lunch. Continue to Taganga, a perfect base for exploring nearby Tayrona National Park.

August 2 : Taganga (B)

Spend the day exploring Taganga. Opt for activities like snorkeling, hiking or relaxing on the beach.

August 3 : Taganga/Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (B, L, D)

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. Stay in a lodge close to the park.

August 4 : Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona/Santa Marta (B)

Travel to Santa Marta for an optional evening out on the town.

August 5 : Santa Marta

Depart at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 21 : Bogotá

Arrive at any time. We recommend arriving a day early to better explore Colombia's capital city.

On Day 1 there are no planned activities until your Group Meeting that evening around 6 or 7 PM, so check into the hotel (check-in time is approx 3 PM) and enjoy the city. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting. After the meeting, you might like to take the option of heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your tour leader and traveling companions.

Please make every effort to arrive on time for this important welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.

Bogotá is Colombia’s sprawling, high-altitude capital. La Candelaria, its cobblestoned center, features colonial-era landmarks like the neoclassical performance hall Teatro Colón and the 17th-century Iglesia de San Francisco. It's also home to popular museums including the Museo Botero, showcasing Fernando Botero's art, and the Museo del Oro, displaying pre-Columbian gold pieces.

Here are some recommendations for activities in Bogota:

Gold Museum, 4000 COP per person
Explore this veritable treasure trove! Be amazed by the Bogotá Gold Museum’s collection of over 30,000 gold pieces in addition to thousands of bone, stone, ceramic, and textile artifacts from 13 different pre-Hispanic societies.

National Museum of Colombia, 3000 COP per person
Visit the largest museum in the country and one of the oldest on the continent. Built in 1823 and originally used as a prison, the National Museum of Colombia houses a collection of over 20,000 pieces. Explore exhibits of archeological and ethnographic artifacts and admire works of art by masters including Andrés de Santa María and Fernando Botero.

Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral, half day, around $95
Explore Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral, an incredible structure carved into the walls and ceiling of an abandoned salt mine, on this half-day tour departing from Bogotá. Descend inside this sprawling underground structure with the help of a guide, gaining insight into the history and construction of salt cathedrals along the way.

July 22 : Bogotá/Armenia (B)

This morning we visit Bogota's historic, bustling market center. Frequented daily by Bogota's residents and chefs alike, Paloquemao offers everything from new-age ingredients to traditional Colombian staples. Get caught up in the whirlwind of food stalls, flower shops, boutiques and cafés to sample the best the city has to offer.

In the afternoon we have an afternoon flight to Armenia. Spend two nights outside Armenia in a traditional hacienda (Spanish for "estate") and get a closer look at life in Colombia’s beautiful coffee region.

Travel Time: Approximately 1 hour by plane

July 23 : Armenia (B, L)

Visit Armenia town before heading out for a tour of a local coffee farm to learn more about the production of this important crop, from the planting stage all the way to your coffee mug, and savor a taste of this famous export.

July 24 : Armenia/Salento (B)

Head into the Cocora Valley by 4x4 (all wheel drive vehicle), where lofty wax palm trees, a national symbol, are home to rare parrots. Get active with a hike through the area and learn more about this fertile region. Want to mix it up? Opt to explore the landscape on horseback. Continue the full coffee experience in the region of Quindío.

Enjoy exploring Salento and getting a feel for the town. Salento is an Andean town known for its coffee estates and verdant scenery. The town is a gateway to the snow-capped peaks of Los Nevados National Natural Park, to the northeast. In Salento, Calle Real has colorful buildings and craft shops. El Mirador is a viewpoint just northeast of town.

Travel Time: Approximately half an hour by private vehicle

July 25 : Salento/Medellín (B)

Drive through beautiful landscapes to Medellín. Opt to explore the city in the evening.

Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperate weather, it hosts a famous annual Flower Festival. Modern metrocables link the city to surrounding barrios and offer views of the Aburrá Valley below. Sculptures by Fernando Botero decorate downtown's Botero Plaza, while the Museo de Antioquia displays more of the Colombian artist’s work.

Travel Time: Approximately 8-9 hours by local bus

July 26 : Medellín (B)

Really get to know Colombia’s second largest city with a morning neighborhood tour. Medellín has been revitalized since the drug cartel probelms of the 80s and 90s and is now one of South America’s most innovative and artistic cities. Explore the city’s varied barrios filled with shops, green parks, museums, churches, markets, and delicious cuisine.

Spend the rest of the day with free time to explore this vibrant city. Opt to visit the famous rock El Peñol or hop on a sightseeing bus. Ride the MetroCable, part of Medellín’s public transportation, for sweeping views of the city and surrounding mountains. Some of the optional activities in and around Medellín include:

El Peñol Stone (La Piedra Del Peñol)
Formed approximately 70 million years ago, El Peñón de Guatapé, also known as El Peñol, is a giant monolith rising 2,135m (7,005 ft) above sea level. Climb the 649 steps that have been built into one side of this famous rock and enjoy breathtaking views of the Guatapé Dam and surrounding area from the peak.

Nutibara Hill (Cerro Nutibara)
For a breath of fresh air 80m (263 ft) above the city, visit Nutibara Hill. Ride a colourful bus, take a taxi, or climb winding paths through the greenery to get to the top of the hill and enjoy great views of the city. Pueblito Paisa waits at the summit: stroll through this replica of a traditional Antioquian town and enjoy the charm of whitewashed buildings, bright-coloured doors and tiled roofs. Try some local food here or shop for souvenirs.

Paragliding, 45-60 USD per person
Get ready for a thrilling ride! Take off from one of the surrounding hills and enjoy spectacular views of this sprawling city and the picturesque green mountains that encircle it as you glide through the air.

Explora Park Medellín, 24500-37500 COP per person
A symbol of transformation in the northern part of Medellín, the park is a large piece of modern architecture housing a variety of scientific exhibits. Learn about the flora, fauna, and astronomy of Colombia while exploring the vivarium specializing in the Amazon River, the planetarium, or one of the many interactive exhibits.

Modern Art Museum, 10000 COP per person
Wander around the Museum of Modern Art and enjoy the work of Colombian artists in a variety of medias. Make sure to check out the Débra Arango permanent collection.

July 27 : Medellín (B)

Enjoy another free day. Opt to visit the nearby town of Guatapé, with its colorful 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.

July 28 : Medellín/Cartagena (B)

Hop on a morning flight to Cartagena and arrive in time to spend the afternoon exploring the old walled city. Opt for dinner and a night out in this lively town.

Cartagena is a port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. By the sea is the walled Old Town, founded in the 16th century, with squares, cobblestone streets and colorful colonial buildings. With a tropical climate, the city is also a popular beach destination. Reachable by boat are Isla de Barú, with white-sand beaches and palm trees, and the Islas del Rosario, known for their coral reefs.

Please note hot water is uncommon in the Caribbean region of Colombia. Showers are likely to only have cold water while visiting this area.

Travel Time: Approximately 1.5 hours by plane

July 29 : Cartagena (B)

There's plenty to see and do in Cartagena, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like a day trip to Rosario National Park, visiting Castillo de San Felipe, and exploring the Gold Museum. Some of the optional activities in and around Cartagena include:

Islas del Rosario National Park, 165000 COP per person
Take a boat to this park with a lengthy name—Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park—and be wowed by the beauty of the Rosario Islands. Admire the clear blue water and natural landscape of the islands. Opt to snorkel and explore the park’s lively reefs or sit back and relax on the beach.

Totumo Mud Volcano, 90000 COP per person
Climb up the stairs to the peak and then descend into the healing mud of the Totumo Mud Volcano. As your body become weightless, lie back and relax in the cool mud. The mud is packed with rejuvenating minerals, so you're bound to come out looking ten years younger.

Naval Museum of the Caribbean, 6000 COP per person
Located in the historic walled city, visit this spacious museum housed in two heritage buildings. Explore the various exhibits relating to the naval history of the Caribbean Sea and enjoy the charming patios.

Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Moderno), 5000 COP per person
Housed in two historic buildings, one a former weapons storehouse, is the collection of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena. Stroll through the unique space and admire Latin American paintings from the 1950s along with contemporary Colombian art.

Palace of Inquisition (Museum), 30000 COP per person
Visit the museum and learn about the Spanish Inquisition in Colombia. Explore this fine example of colonial and Baroque architecture and see artifacts and torture equipment on display.

Gold Museum, 7000 COP per person
Head to Plaza Bolivar and pay a visit to this well-curated and informative museum. Admire the intricate, pre-Columbian gold works and pottery of the indigenous Zenú people while learning about their history and traditions—all on display in a charming colonial home.

Night Exploration on Chiva, 45000 COP per person, 50000 COP per group
Get ready to party and explore the city by chiva bus. These colorful vehicles are a national symbol and feature open sides making it easy to truly experience vibrant Cartagena as you go. Drink, dance and enjoy Colombian music on this fun-filled ride.

July 30 : Cartagena (B)

Learn more about Cartagena’s history from a bilingual guide on a tour of this lively city. Travel between sights by private transport and visit the Clock Tower, Plaza Bolivar, and the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Take in sweeping views of the city from the hilltop Convento De La Popa and enjoy a walking tour from San Pedro Claver Church to Santo Domingo Church.

July 31 : Cartagena/Minca (B)

Travel to the small town of Minca and enjoy some free time to explore and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Perched 600m high up in the Sierra Nevada above Santa Marta, Minca is a small mountain village famous for organic coffee and, perhaps more importantly, for much cooler temperatures than Santa Marta. The town is delightful, and has in the past few years grown hugely as a traveler destination. It's a great base for mountain biking, bird-watching and hiking in the Sierra Nevada, offering fresh mountain air, more than 300 bird species nearby and sumptuous views.

Travel Time: Approximately 4 hours by private vehicle

August 1 : Minca/Taganga (B, L)

Nestled in the rainforest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains—Minca is beautiful! Explore the town before taking an invigorating dip in the scenic watering holes of Pozo Azul. After a short hike enjoy a swim under a waterfall and then head to a coffee farm to learn more about the production of one of Colombia’s most important crops. Also learn about chocolate preparation and indulge in a local lunch.

Continue to Taganga, a perfect base for exploring nearby Tayrona National Park.

Travel Time: Approximately 45 minutes by private vehicle

August 2 : Taganga (B)

Spend the day exploring Taganga. Opt for activities like snorkeling, hiking or relaxing on the beach.

August 3 : Taganga/Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (B, L, D)

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. Spend the night surrounded by nature in a lodge close to the park.

August 4 : Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona/Santa Marta (B)

Travel to Santa Marta for an optional evening out on the town.

Santa Marta is South America's oldest surviving city and the second most important colonial city on Colombia's Caribbean coast. But despite its long history and charming center, it gets a bad rap from many travelers, who rightly cite its unsightly urban sprawl and terrible traffic as reasons not to hang about here. Santa Marta is slowly gaining a bit more of its own charm.

If you have free time in Santa Marta, you may want to check out:

Gold Museum Santa Marta, Free
Explore the colonial mansion that houses an impressive gold collection and indigenous artifacts from the Tayrona area.

Quinta San Pedro Alejandrino, 21000 COP per person
Visit Simon Bolivar's final resting place. La Quinta is the estate where the famous libertador spent his final days. The former rum plantation now includes a restored house, museum, library, and extensive gardens perfect for exploring.

Travel Time: Approximately 1.5 hours by private vehicle

August 5 : Santa Marta

Depart Santa Marta at any time.

Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).

If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

We want to emphasize the cancellation policy:

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.

* Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Deposit is kept on file for future use and all other program fee payments are refunded

* Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use

* Cancellation within 30 days of departure = No refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

3:

May include moderate hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking and other activities that require only an average/moderate level of fitness to enjoy.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They 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. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to handle your own luggage. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking) and up and down stairs. Luggage space is limited so again, smaller is better.

Most travelers carry a large multi-day backpack or rolling suitcase of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). In general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 40 to 65 liters. If you are asking us for our suggestion, we would recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like smartphones.

Suggested Checklist

•Light windproof/waterproof jacket or umbrella
•Small travel towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for cool to hot weather (We recommend packing 7 or 8 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry twice)
•One pair of long pants
•Light fleece top (For Bogota and the mountains)
•Comfortable walking shoes (You will be walking a lot)
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (Your hotels will have soap and shampoo, some will have hair dryers)
•Watch or alarm clock
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine,
Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect
repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
•Personal Electronics such as iPhone, iPad, MP3 player, etc.
•Camera
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•USD cash (small denominations preferred, see personal spending money and FAQ)

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Flip-flops/Sandals
•Ear Plugs (Hearos Xtreme Protection 33 decibel ear plugs are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Reading/writing material
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Phrase books

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Please look at our “Costs” tab when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash, travelers checks and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100 USD (or equivalent).

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Bogotá

Gold Museum, 4000 COP per person
National Museum of Colombia, 3000 COP per person
Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral, half day, around $95

Medellín

El Peñol Stone (La Piedra Del Peñol)
Nutibara Hill (Cerro Nutibara)
Paragliding, 45-60 USD per person
Explora Park Medellín, 24500-37500 COP per person
Modern Art Museum, 10000 COP per person

Cartagena

Islas del Rosario National Park, 165000 COP per person
Totumo Mud Volcano, 90000 COP per person
Naval Museum of the Caribbean, 6000 COP per person
Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Moderno), 5000 COP per person
Palace of Inquisition (Museum), 30000 COP per person
Gold Museum, 7000 COP per person
Night Exploration on Chiva, 45000 COP per person, 50000 COP per group

Santa Marta

Gold Museum Santa Marta, Free
Quinta San Pedro Alejandrino, 21000 COP per person

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Other than daily breakfast, few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$3134 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$100-$250 USD, See optional activities tab to get a better idea of your budget.

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $700-$1200 USD, See our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$26-$186 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $60 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Bring another $40 for tipping drivers, local guides, etc.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Allow $400-$510 for meals not included.

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport and Departure Taxes

$33

Airport Transfers

$40-$60

Vaccines

$0-$???? USD (Check with your doctor to see what you will need and what is covered by your insurance)

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury as we are trying to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible. Sometimes the accommodation is not air conditioned.

• We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• We try to set up either a school visit or a meeting with local teachers. Sometimes this is not possible due to time constraints, summer vacations, etc. Please understand this is not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. For Colombia your visa must not expire before or during the duration of your stay. Please take the time to look up the passport validity requirements for the country/countries you are visiting on this trip by clicking here.

If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Americans do not need a visa for travel in Colombia under 90 days. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers 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.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 2000 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each educator who participates in our programs is permitted to bring along up to three friends or family members who are not teachers. Each participant must be of adequate fitness level for their chosen trip. If you wish to bring a guest under the age of 18 GEEO will consider your request, but typically we only allow participants over the age of 18.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously as we have had a person who did not get vaccinations catch Hep A on this trip!

Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. In rare circumstances people have such severe reactions to altitude that they cannot continue with the trip and must fly back to Lima to be at a lower altitude. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are affected on your Adventure, please consult your physician. Make sure your doctor carefully checks to make sure any medication you need is safe to use at over 11,000 feet above sea level.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. We will provide you with the starting hotel information roughly 90 days before departure. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

El Dorado international Airport is approximately 30 minutes away from the joining hotel. We recommended organizing a taxi from within the airport at the registered taxi counter. The cost of a taxi to the joining hotel is approximately 65,000 COP, which is about $21 USD.

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your tour leader will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at any time your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Is it OK if I arrive a few days early or stay a few days late?

You may want to arrive a few days early at the start of the trip or stay a few days extra at the end of trip. Please feel free to do so.

We will send out an email to all participants roughly 90 days before departure with information on which hotels we will be using for the start and end of the trip as well how to go about booking them.

Do you recommend spending any extra days?

Answer from GEEO's Executive Director:

"I would arrive a day or two early to see Bogota and go on a day trip to Zipiquira. I don't think I would stay any longer in Santa Marta after the trip ends."

When should I purchase my flights?

We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. Either way, you must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum amount of required participants before you book your flights. Typically, we reach the minimum amount needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find a list of which trips have been confirmed here.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

This program begins in Bogota and ends in Santa Marta.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com or www.google.com/flights/ to see what is out there in terms of flights.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations and are sometimes higher than tickets found on Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will almost certainly need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. In order to receive your trip vouchers you must enter your insurance information into our tour operator’s online check-in system, Good To Go. We recommend doing this 60 days before departure.

The least expensive travel health insurance plan that we have found is the International Teacher Identity Card, better known as the ITIC Card. They have a $26 card that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. The card will also get you discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations, including many museums and hotels. Another great thing about the ITIC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your travel during that period, including domestic travel.

GEEO has reached an agreement with the makers of this card to pre-approve all GEEO travelers, so you do not need to submit paperwork proving that you are a teacher. Also, non-teachers who are traveling with GEEO can get this same card, which normally is only for teachers.

To sign up for the card please follow this link:

www.myisic.com/orders/GEEO

While not required, we also highly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance! The $186 Explorer ITIC Card comes with $3000 of cancellation insurance, which is also valid for multiple trips (domestic and international) within a one year period. Even if you don't use the cancellation insurance on your GEEO trip, you might end up needing it for travel expenses relating to a conference!

Please note: Residents of Washington, New Hampshire and Massachusetts cannot purchase this card due to some odd state laws. If you are a resident of one of these states, we recommend purchasing an "International Volunteer Card." They have a $42 card (Plus Plan) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. DO NOT get the Basic Plan that they offer as it does not have enough coverage for our programs. To sign up for the card you can follow this link: http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html/.

The ITIC and IVC cards are for American residents. If you are not American or are an American living abroad, you will have to find another option.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is the water safe to drink?

In general, the water is safe to drink water straight from the tap in large cities like Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin. We recommend asking your tour leader at the intro meeting what they recommend.

What is the weather like?

Colombia is a year-round destination, particularly along the Caribbean coast and in Medellin where warm, dry weather is prevalent for almost the entire year. The dry season in Colombia is from December to March, but even outside of this period, weather variations are determined more by region than clearly defined seasons. The main differences of note are in the highlands, where nights become chilly in areas of higher altitude. The lowlands enjoy a tropical climate year-round with little temperature variation, though more frequent rain showers will be noticeable in the wetter months of April to June and again in October and November.

In July expect Bogota to have high's in the 60's F with lows in the 40's F, Medellin to have high's in the 80's F with lows in the 60's F and Cartagena to have highs in the 90's F with lows in the high 70's. There will be some rain, although it is not the rainy season.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your computer.

Colombia uses two- and three- pronged power plugs similar to those in the U.S. Colombia's voltage is 110V, which is compatible with the US standard voltage of 120V. This means if you have American electronics you won't need a plug adapter or voltage converter.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $250 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before traveling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $200-300 USD in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries, it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt, my main backpack, and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a backup account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet, and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip, I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.”

Do you have advice on tipping?

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 per person, per week can be used.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include a school visit on each of our programs; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' checks, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling.

Always keep an eye on your belongings especially in major cities, bus and train terminals.

Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office,

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS:

G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Ecuador: +593 2250 6610

After hours Emergency number
From outside Ecuador: +593 999 506 000

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO has chosen to work with the tour operator G Adventures. We discount their prices for our participants so they are even more affordable for teachers. GEEO also is able to get our participants humanitarian rate airfare and discounted travel health insurance. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teachers' experience into the classroom. GEEO provides each participant with a Professional Development Certificate. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 25 years, G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics, and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. 2018 is the first year we will offer Colombia. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip, runs this same itinerary many times a year so they have the experience to make sure your trip will be safe and well run.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

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This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

What's Included

  • Coffee Farm Tour, Calarcá
    Hacienda stay
    Valle de Cocora hike
    Medellín city tour
    City tour in Cartagena
    Hike to Pozo Azul (2hrs)
    Tayrona NP
    Hike with local guide (5hrs)
    Internal flights

  • G Adventures Tour Leader throughout

  • 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner (Allow $400-$510 USD for meals not included.)

  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities plane, private van, 4x4

  • Hotels/guesthouses (13 nts), hacienda (2 nts)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Travel Health Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions

  • Airport Transfers, unless otherwise mentioned in inclusions.

  • Cancellation Insurance