Colombia self drive holiday

“This flexible holiday in Colombia puts you in the driving seat. Want to take a detour to a mountain village? You can. Want an English-speaking driver to navigate a technical off-road section? It’s done. ”


Bogotá | Bogotá Gold Museum | Salento | Hike in the Cocora Valley | Santuario de Fauna y Flora | Otún | Quimbaya | Manizales | Salamina | La Samaria wax palm forest | Honda | Scenic driving with ground support

Description of Colombia self drive holiday

Drive into Colombia with this great 12-day holiday. On this tailor-made tour, you can decide exactly how much driving you do, and how challenging it is. An English-speaking driver is always on hand, a phone call away, to take the wheel or help you in a pinch. You’ll take in the high-altitude Páramo de Letras mountain road pass and the twisting turns around bright green fields of coffee plants.

It’s not all behind the wheel. Break up your scenic drives with guided walking tours of everything from colonial towns to forests of spindly wax palms. You can visit Bogotá’s spectacular Gold Museum, and go on guided walking tours of Bogotá, Salamina and Honda. As you drive, Colombia’s verdant countryside reveals itself to you – from jungle right on the roadside, to the UNESCO-protected coffee region.

The trip starts in Bogotá, where you’ll have time to visit the colonial Candelaria district and the Gold Museum. A domestic flight to Pereira whisks you to your car pick-up location, and you’ll drive to Salento in your new set of wheels. Here, you can hike through the wax palms of Cocora Valley, before driving to the Santuario de Fauna y Flora Otún Quimbaya – a nature reserve, and ending the day in the coffee region around Manizales. In the UNESCO-protected coffee region, you’ll spend time in Salamina, where the wax palms grow tall in the high altitude. A long, but beautiful drive takes you to Honda town. Finally, you’ll return to Bogotá: the end of the road.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Travel and tourism can have positive as well as negative impacts on the environment, the economy and the social and cultural structures of communities. Sustainable tourism -the travel trade’s principles of using tourism to benefit local communities, conserve natural resources, and bolster the survival of cultural heritage – lies close to our heart. Our love and passion for Latin America makes us strive to protect the destinations we take you to visit. As members of AITO, we’re committed to AITO’s Sustainable Tourism Guidelines, which means that we ensure that environmental and cultural demands are kept as low as possible.

We work together with local operators, some of who we work with over 25 years. They have a proven record in training guides to set a good example in respect for their surroundings and pass on advice and encouragement to visitors on how to preserve the environment. Simple recommendations, including refilling water bottles, disposing rubbish in a responsible way and not buying arts and crafts made from endangered plants and wildlife, are only a few examples of shared advice by our guides in order for us to all contribute to minimise the impact of tourism on the surroundings.

When selecting accommodation, we prefer to work with hotels and lodges which have a verifiable commitment to eco-friendly practices. EK Hotel in Bogotá for example is committed to follow the guidelines of Corporate Social Responsibility, which encompasses four fundamental axes: human rights; labour conditions; environment; prevention of corruption. Moreover, La Casa de Lola Garcia in the heart of the coffee region, offers an excursion to the protected Samaria Wax Palm Forest. Furthermore, the boutique hotel is a restored Spanish colonial property, blending in perfectly with its surroundings.
During your trip you may hike the Cocora Valley, which is a governmental protected park near Salento.

You may also visit and hike along one (or more) of the three short trails in Santuario de Fauna y Flora Otún Quimbaya, a compact protected reserve with bubbly rivers, waterfalls and cliffs. Environmental educational activities are carried out in the park by educational institutions and by officials who introduce visitors to the park.

The Impacts of this Trip

We pride ourselves on delivering our clients truly authentic and unforgettable experiences in Latin America which connect travellers with the people whose country they visit.

On a self-drive holiday, you have the flexibility to make stops along the way and visit local villages and towns. There is always the option to be joined by an English-speaking driver who can give you recommendations on which places to visit. On planned visits to village and towns, including Honda you may enjoy guided tours that visit the places of interest, as well as local markets.

In the coffee region, you learn about the intricacies of the coffee production process, including the picking, de-pulping, washing, drying and roasting of the beans. Hacienda Venecia where you stay in this UNESCO World Heritage protected region, are dedicated to respect and highlight the work of coffee growers and other people involved in the coffee and tourism industries in Colombia. They have established rights and duties for guests, visitors, staff, clients and suppliers, all in order to preserve the natural and cultural environment in which the hacienda is located.

Our expert guides are always on hand to provide advice on the best way to communicate with the local community, rules of using the roads, what and what not to buy, as well as explaining the importance of giving gifts responsibly, and acting in a respectful way while taking photographs.


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