Off the beaten track holiday to Colombia
Description of Off the beaten track holiday to Colombia
Off limits to travellers for many years, Colombia has long been misunderstood, but now that doors are opening to holidaymakers once again, travellers are returning from this incredible country and raving about all that it has to offer. While still hardly a mainstream travel destination, this off the beaten track holiday to Colombia takes you to many of the country’s even less visited regions as well as the classic draws of colonial Cartagena and Tayrona National Park.
Travelling as part of a small group enables you to stray from the traditional tourist trail with private transport, internal flights and a tour leader to take care of the language barrier and recommend places to eat and optional excursions. Free time is built in for you to relax, wander or take additional guided tours. Visit remote village, including Aractataca – the birthplace of Gabriel García Márquez, whose family home is now a museum. Travel on to the sleepy village of Mompós, which will make you feel like you’ve stepped into one of his surreal novels. Explore the stunning Cordillera Central, visit coffee farms and see archaeological remains from an ancient civilisation about which much remains unknown.
Head back into more familiar territory in Santa Marta and the stunning Tayrona National Park, where thick jungle meets Caribbean coast. This Colombia holiday ends in the unbelievably romantic city of Cartagena, the setting for another of García Márquez’s novels, and whose cobbled streets an horse drawn carts make you feel like you have stepped back in time a century or more. If this laidback city is still not quite tranquil enough, take a daytrip out to the castaway-style Islas del Rosario, just a short boat ride away.
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PlanetBy really aiming to get off the beaten track, this tour is a 'responsible tour' to its core. Where distances are not too great, we travel overland using local buses and boat companies. The hotels we use are simple family run guesthouses, some traditional farms or haciendas still managed by their families from whom we gain a greater insight into local way of life, people and culture.
Within the national parks we visit on this tour, our leader emphasises the importance of acting responsibly - helping to protect the flora in the way we find it, to tread carefully only sticking to the main paths and of course we enjoy contributing financially the support of those looking after and protecting the natural environments.
PeopleAs Colombia opens up to tourists, it is important to ensure that the places we visit really benefit from our holidays and that tourism is well received and managed in a sustainable fashion.
To do this, the hotels we use on this trip are all small, independently run guest houses or hotels, staff serving you may well be the owners, and without a doubt all will be employed from the local or regional community. Some places we stay on the trip are even converted farms, where families have started to diversify their livelihoods in order to survive, yet tradition is maintained which we strongly support. We place a great emphasis on cultural interaction and appreciate how families survive off the land, such as from coffee production which we learn about while staying on a traditional finca in the Coffee Region.
This journey really is one that travels off the beaten track. Keen to get away from the tourist hubs and hotspots, we choose to travel simply - overland by bus and boat if called for, to fully experience the Colombian way of life and to visit small communities often left as untouched backwaters due to the difficult nature of getting there, yet so keen to promote tourism. In such delicate environments, it is important to step carefully and we do so through our tour leaders who by speaking Spanish fluently are sensitive to the needs of the local community and communicate this to clients.