THE HEART OF COLOMBIA
March 14-22, 2020
Explore Medellín & the Coffee Country
Be part of history and get to know one of Latin America’s most exciting, creative and innovative cities – Medellín - along with picturesque villages in Colombia’s mountainous interiour. We’ll start with an e-bike ride through Medellín’s diverse neighborhoods to learn about the city’s impressive transformation in the past twenty years. We’ll hike up the monolith of El Peñol and visit colorful Guatapé before heading to the eje cafetero, or coffee triangle, to soak up nature’s splendor on a working coffee farm. We’ll then visit the charming villages of Jardín and Salamina, complete with a hike in the the cloud forest through Colombia’s famed wax palms before a final farmhouse stay near Medellín.
$1995 per person
8 nights’ accommodations in boutique, centrally located B&Bs
Transfers to/from Medellín airport
o All ground transportation between Medellín, Jardín, the coffee region and Salamina
Medellín e-bike tour to learn see the city’s best sites and learn about recent history & revitalization
Comuna 13 visit to learn about social change through art & music
Visit to a social enterprise jeweler, sourcing design and materials from four specific regions of Colombia and supporting women’s cooperatives in the respective areas
El Peñol monolith hike and visit to the charming village of Guatapé
Sustainable, rainforest-certified coffee farm visit with activities, tastings and an overnight farmhouse stay in Jardín
Visit to the Colombian heritage town of Salamina
Cloud forest hike in the Samaria Valley to learn about the unique Wax Palm and its importance in the ecosystem
Daily breakfast + 4 dinners + 5 lunches
Visit to our local community partner to learn about social change through art + donation to their organization
Traverse representative assisting you from booking to departure + local guides
Small group experience, max 12 people
Day 1: saturday - arrival
Arrive at the José María Córdova International Airport (MDE) in Medellín and be transferred to your boutique hotel in the heart of the city. Settle in, meet your fellow travelers and enjoy the gardens at our hotel. We’ll walk to dinner together at a spectacular Colombian restaurant in this dynamic neighborhood. Try traditional fare like bandeja paisa, tamales Antioqueños cooked inside a square-shaped wrapping made of bijao leaves, sancocho stew, or - if you’re daring - mondongo (pork, tripe and chorizo soup).
Day 2: sunday - E-Bike MEDELLIN + Comuna 13
Sundays in Colombia are special, family-centered affairs. Those from Medellín, known as paisas, are hard working and entrepreneurial and today is a day of rest. After breakfast we’ll hop on e-bikes to explore the city using Medellín’s impressive bike path routes. We’ll taste some local juices like lulo and borojó and excellent coffee from a local roaster while learning about the city’s history, architecture and revitalization.
After an arepa tasting lunch, we’ll meet with our community partner and explore several innovative neighborhood development projects in the neighborhood of Comuna 13, which has become a symbol of Medellin’s rebirth. We’ll learn about the significance of street art, an essential ingredient to Comuna 13’s transformation and accessibility.
The evening is yours to enjoy the vibrant neighborhood where we’re staying with fantastic food options, bars and music.
Meals: B, L
Day 3: monday - GUATAPÉ & EL PEÑOL MONOLITH
After a delicious paisa breakfast at our hotel, we’ll head out to El Peñol de Guatapé, a ten-ton monolith - one of the largest monoliths in the world, a gigantic rock that rises 650 feet above the flat ground and lakes below and was once worshipped by the area’s Tahami Indigenous tribe. We’ll climb it the only way possible, one step at a time up its 700 steps to the top with a much-rewarded view from the top! Once back down on tierra firma, you’ll have time to stroll, shop, or photograph the famously colorful town of Guatapé. We’ll return to Medellín and visit a social enterprise artisan jeweler sourcing design and materials from four specific regions of Colombia and supporting women’s cooperatives in the respective areas.
Day 4: Tuesday - Eje cafetero
Today, we’ll head out early to take private transport right in the heart of Colombia’s Eje Cafetero, or Coffee Triangle. We’ll arrive at our coffee finca in the afternoon for an incredibly immersive experience. You’ll learn about the effort it takes to meet rigorous sustainability and certification requirements and taste coffee to your heart’s content. You’ll have time in the afternoon to explore the beautiful, rustic farmhouse and surrounding property before dinner together and our overnight stay.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: wednesday - coffee immersion
Rise and shine to a steaming cup of coffee right from the source! We’ll receive a guided tour to the coffee farm together, walking along a beautiful bamboo-lined path. You’ll learn about the coffee growing process as well as what it takes to obtain their many certifications, including Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified. You’ll have free time to visit their on-sit Coffee Museum, butterfly garden, or chat to your heart’s content about the coffee making process. Take time to relax at the pool or enjoy one of the many trails in the surrounding area. We’ll enjoy a home-cooked dinner of regional cuisine together in the evening at our farmhouse.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: thursday - Salamina Village
We’ll wake up early again to head to the beautiful village of Salamina, a lovely little Colombian Heritage Town and get a real sense of the region’s architectural and cultural beauty. Here you are able to discover the town’s delightful old houses, famous carved wooden windows and doors, and visit architectural highlights like the church and cemetery. After we check in to the boutique hotel, you’ll have the afternoon and dinner at your leisure. We recommend the plato montañero, a hearty dish of locally farmed trout and flattened plantains served with pinto beans.
Day 7: friday - Hike in the samaria valley
The Cocora Valley might be famous for its giant Wax Palms - Colombia’s national tree - but Samaria is home to three-times as many of these nearly 200-feet tall trees and sees a fraction of the tourists. You will enjoy a guided hike through the woods of the valley, seeing the hundreds of Wax Palms in their natural, forest habitat and even getting to see seedlings. It’s remarkable to see how something so tiny can grow into such a mighty tree. We’ll learn all about the trees from our local guide, who runs a conservation project aimed at protecting and saving this endangered species. We’ll return to Salamina mid-afternoon with free time to enjoy the village and have a delicious dinner of your choice in town.
Meals: B, L
Day 8: saturday - MEDELLIN & Farewell Fiesta
After a leisurely breakfast and perhaps a morning stroll through Salamina village, we’ll head back by van to Medellín. The drive is about 5 1/2 hours and we’ll stop for a late lunch of local fare. We’ll arrive late afternoon in the hills just outside the city for our stay at a beautiful farmhouse complete with a pool table, spa and gardens. Take time for some R&R before our chef-prepared farewell dinner and fiesta Colombian style.
Meals: B, D
Day 9: sunday - departure
Depart any time today. You’ll receive a transfer to the airport according to your flight time.
You'll be paired with a roommate of your same gender unless you request your own room.
$1995 per person, double occupancy
+$495 “my own room” option
Trip Does Not Include:
Additional meals, excursions and activities not listed
Alcohol, unless specified
Required travel insurance
ABout Your Traverse Host:
Ashley Blake is an avid traveler, cultural consultant and Traverse Journeys founder with a background in tourism, entrepreneurship and project management. She is a fluent Spanish speaker with conversational Portuguese skills and is just starting to study Arabic. Ashley has worked and traveled in 46 countries across Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa including tours she has designed and led in Spain, Germany, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Morocco, Croatia and China.
Ashley is passionate about connection, communication and coordination in order to link others with the opportunities and experiences that promote self-growth and community engagement.
Ashley founded Traverse Journeys in 2017 with then intention of contributing to sustainable development through tourism. Ashley is particularly excited about the nature and culture-based activities and community partnerships planted with this itinerary in Colombia.
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to registration for complete terms.
A $250 non-refundable deposit is required for each traveler to secure the booking.
Payments can be made either by 1) full payment on booking 2) $250 deposit on booking + payment schedule per registration. Payments will be invoiced via e-mail for credit card or Paypal payment online. To pay by check, please indicate on registration and make check payable to Traverse Journeys and send to PO Box 40516, Austin, TX 78704.
$250 deposit due on booking. 50% remainder due 30 days from initial invoice. Balance due 30 days prior to trip start.
Cancellations, less the trip deposit ($250), are refundable up to 90 days before trip start date. Please refer to the full Payment Plan for details.
Trip protection-style travel insurance that includes travel medical coverage is required for all trips with Traverse. The coverage must have a minimum $200,000 of medical coverage and include injury, medical, evacuation, and repatriation. Most domestic US health insurance plans do not cover international travel claims or provide a global network of contracted doctors and facilities. We want to make sure you are covered in case of an emergency or non-emergency illness or injury while abroad. Trip protection coverage protects the investment of your trip, including benefits for items such as trip interruption, trip cancellation, delays, baggage and personal effects, and more. We do not have a required coverage amount, but typically coverage is based on your trip costs. We partner with Wanderwell, a B-Corp Certified provider who can offer both Travel Medical and Trip Protection. If you choose to purchase through Wanderwell, you can buy the trip protection directly from our Traverse Journeys partner page provided in your Welcome Pack, and a portion of your purchase will be donated to WeForest through 1% For the Planet to aid with carbon offset for your trip. With Wanderwell, the TripProtector Classic and TripProtector Preferred plans meet our minimum requirements for coverage. Once insurance is obtained, a copy must be sent to Traverse. Failure to provide proof of insurance within 30 days of booking will result in trip booking suspension until proof of insurance has been provided.
Documents, Personal Identification, Vaccinations
Traveler is responsible for all required travel documents including passport, visas, entry or exit fees, and vaccinations. Traverse does not cover the cost or assist in obtaining any of the above, and reserves the right to collect information on all.