Wake up and smell the coffee in Colombia

Monday 8 June 2015

A NEW 12-night Saga escorted tour plus add a five-night train journey through Ecuador on iconic Tren Crucero

Wake up and smell the coffee in Colombia

Colombia is emerging as an increasingly popular holiday destination and Saga has released an intimate small-group tour with stays in historic hotels and rustic haciendas. From vibrant Bogotá to peaceful coffee plantations, historic Cartagena and the cloud forest, Colombia is an intriguing country waiting to be explored.

This new 12-night tour can be extended by five nights to offer another unique view of South America, travelling south through Ecuador on the Tren Crucero ‘cruise train’.

The Colours of Colombia tour starts in Bogotá, at an altitude of 2,600 metres. Enjoy an overnight stay and set off to discover this historic capital – the Plaza Bolivar and Primatial Cathedral, one of the largest in South America; the Gold Museum, home to an important pre-Hispanic gold collection, and the Botero Museum with works by Colombian artist Fernando Botero.

Colombia is one of the world’s largest coffee producers and the coffee zone awaits! A flight to Armenia followed by a journey through mountain scenery will be rewarded by a two-night stay in charming Hacienda Combia, complete with swimming pool and stunning views of the mountains.

Discover how coffee is grown and harvested before travelling further into the UNESCO-protected Coffee Cultural landscape. Visit the Cocora Valley cloud forest, part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park and home to the Quindio wax palm, parrots and hummingbirds.

Head on to beautiful Salento in the sloping foothills of the Andes and walk down the Calle Real to ascend Alto de la Cruz, enjoying more views of the majestic Cocora Valley.

Return to Bogotá and drive to Zipaquirá to see the extraordinary ‘salt cathedral’ built within a redundant salt mine.

Travel on to National Monument towns of Villa de Villa de Leyva and Barichara. Stay overnight in Villa de Leyva, stroll along the cobbled streets lined with whitewashed buildings and relax in the impressive main square or visit to the Paleontological Museum and Fossil Museum to learn more of the area’s history. Continue through the east Andean mountains to stay two nights in Barichara and savour the colonial atmosphere.

Visit the Chicamocha canyon and fly to Cartagena on the Caribbean coast for a three-night stay to view the UNESCO World Heritage city. Opt for a tour to the stunning Rosario archipelago, made up of 30 islands surrounded by crystal waters and coral formations.

Guests can extend the holiday by five nights with a rail journey through Ecuador. The four-carriage Tren Crucero ‘cruise train’ offers a unique way to see this incredible country. Fly to Quito for an overnight stop prior to boarding the train at Chimbacalle Station. Travel south to Cotopaxi National Park to hike in the Andean countryside; make an overnight stop at Lasso and journey through Latacunga Cunchibamba to Riobamba which is surrounded by five volcanoes. Stop at Urbina, at 3,609 metres altitude it is home to Baltasar Ushca volcano. Stay overnight before a steam engine takes the train to Colta for a visit to Balbanera Church.

Guamote awaits with its colourful market before the train descends the famous ‘Devil’s Nose’ mountainside from Alausi to Bucay. Marvel at the rainforest en route to Naranjito and visit a cocoa plantation before re-joining the train bound for Duran, pulled by a steam locomotive. Arrive in Guayaquil for the return journey to the UK via Bogotá.

Details at saga.co.uk/colours or call 0800 414 383

Ends

12 nights (1 night aboard aircraft) from £2,499 or 17 nights including the Ecuador extension from £3799 departing London Heathrow on January 14, 28; February 11, 25; March 3: April 7; May 5; June 2; July 7,28: August 25; September 1, 15; October 13, 27; November 10, 2016.

Price includes VIP door-to-door chauffeur service, all flights, airport taxes, accommodation, most meals, porterage, tour manager, travel insurance and cancellation cover or a discount of £40 discount (£49 for 17 nights) if not required.

Saga Holidays is the winner of seven British Travel Awards 2014 including Best Holiday Company to Central and South America and Best for Escorted Adventures.

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