Colombia holiday, San Agustin and the Amazon
Description of Colombia holiday, San Agustin and the Amazon
This tailormade tour of Colombia introduces you to historical and modern culture as you travel between communities through exquisite natural landscapes only recently made easily accessible to visitors.
In the quirky little town of Villa Vieja, on the banks of Rio Magdalena, you can admire the star-speckled skies of the Tatacoa Desert, particularly if you visit the nearby observatory. In San Agustín, fascinating pre-Columbian statues and UNESCO-listed archaeological sites dot a fertile countryside made up of coffee and cattle farms. Here you might embark on a river rafting trip or, if you prefer something a little more laidback, tour a working coffee farm. Popayan is one of Colombia’s cultural meccas, a stately colonial city whose cobbled streets are lined with Spanish-style architecture, and the lively atmosphere that befits a prominent university town.
Returning to Bogota by air, spend a couple of days in the Colombian capital, visiting must-see attractions including the Gold Museum and the charming 'La Candelaria' neighbourhood, before a flight to Leticia, gateway to the Amazon Rainforest. Heading into this mysterious wilderness teeming with animals and plant life by public motor launch, you’ll spend a couple of days among Mocaguan communities, getting to know about their traditional ways of life, trekking through the dense jungle and perhaps, if you’re really lucky, catching sight of pink or grey dolphins.
This is a unique Colombia holiday, one that avoids the well-trodden tourist trail in favour of lesser-known areas and communities, and one that will captivate the curious and adventurous traveller in search of authentic culture.
PlanetWe realise that travel and tourism can benefit as well as harm the environment, the economy and the social and cultural structures of communities. The concept of 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 encourages us to do everything in our power to protect the destinations we take you to. As members of AITO, we are committed to AITO’s Sustainable Tourism Guidelines, which means that we ensure that environmental and cultural demands are kept as low as possible.
Furthermore, we’ve developed strong relationships with local suppliers who all share our vision and agree to uphold a commitment to the safekeeping of the environment and local communities. We will always encourage you to keep a few basic things in mind, including refilling your water bottle, disposing of rubbish in a responsible way and not touching the archaeological remains when it’s prohibited.
When selecting accommodation, our preference goes out to hotels and lodges which have a verifiable commitment to eco-friendly practices. In the Amazon for example you stay at Calanoa Lodge. The lodge is an initative by Marlene and Diego Samper that aims to contribute to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity in the Amazon region by providing a setting that integrates art, design architecture, scientific research, communication, community education, and sustainable and respectful tourism. The building itself has been a laboratory for natural and sustainable architecture, research into traditional techniques, local materials, wood and natural fibres, raw earth and ceramic. They also use alternative energy resources and water resources, and implement a responsible forest management approach.
Moreover, we strive to use accommodation that reflect the environment they are set in and respect their local surroundings and history. In San Agustín you stay at Monasterio San Agustin Boutique Hotel, which is built in a traditional, Spanish colonial style, including heavy tiled roofs, russet coloured walls, wooden balconies and rafters. In harmony with this, the rooms and suites are furnished in a traditional style with shuttered windows and polished wooden floors. Moreover, in Popayán you stay at Hotel La Plazuela, an attractive building in the colonial centre with white stucco walls and inner courtyards. It has maintained a rigorous attachment to its original shape and colonial style.
During this trip you visit the archaeological park of San Agustín, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic statues in South America. The Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH) implements a management plan for the World Heritage Site that includes short, medium and long term programs designed to increase their protection through research, conservation public outreach, environmental management and administrative infrastructure improvements.