Trip Details

This program was designed with you in mind, giving you a look back at Cartagena’s history and providing an opportunity to discover this happy place in real time. During this week-long introduction, you get to experience a blend of the old and new charm and traditions of Colombia, by visiting Cartagena’s museums, old monasteries, churches, and even the forts around the old city, which were built as protection from pirates.

You will learn about the Spanish, African and Moorish influences on the region, as you explore local markets and neighbourhoods. You will get to discover some of the nature and natural beauty in the region and relax on sun soaked sandy beaches. In just a short time you will get to know some of the important Colombian history and treasures, as you begin to understand the things that inspire local artists and artisans to produce their own expressions of creativity through food, music, dance, graffiti, sculpture and stories. When it’s all over, you too will be changed by these experiences.

Aims & Objectives

  • Help you familiarise yourself with the local surroundings
  • Practice some helpful Spanish words and phrases
  • Broaden your knowledge of the local customs, history and culture
  • Provide a full induction, preparing you for a longer stay

Trip Itinerary

Immerse yourself in Cartagena’s Colombian Culture. Enjoy the sights, sounds and cuisine of this wonderful city and meet its residents.

Be introduced to the history and traditions of Colombia. Visit some of the touristic highlights, sample local dishes, relax on sandy beaches and practice some basic Spanish phrases, to help you feel more at ease during your time here. All in all – this is a great way to kickstart your stay in Colombia!

Monday
In the morning, after breakfast, we will take you to el muelle La Bodeguita, you will join a local Hop-on Hop-off bus tour (part one) around some of Cartagena’s main points of interest, you will be able to contemplate the main attractions of la casa de Rafael Nuñez, el castillo de San Felipe and many others.

We will return to the accommodation for lunch. The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore and/or relax. In the evening, join the other members of the group at our accommodation where dinner will be provided.

Tuesday
During the day or possibly in the evening, we will take you to el muelle La Bodeguita, where once again you will join the local Hop-on Hop-off bus tour (part two) and will finish exploring and getting to know more about Cartagena.

We will return to the accommodation for lunch or dinner. The rest of the day or afternoon will be free to explore and/or relax. In the evening, join the other members of the group at our accommodation where dinner will be provided.

Wednesday
Get ready for a very full and eventful day. We will get an early start, leaving right after breakfast to Playa Blanca beach. Then we will spend the rest of our day enjoying the sun and having fun, before returning to our accommodation for dinner.

Thursday
During the day or possibly in the evening, you will be taken to visit the more modern part of the city, with stops in Bocagrande, Laguito and Castillo Grande, these sites are the perfect combination between the old, the modern and the picturesque beaches. You get to choose to do this tour as a group on a bike or with a combination of public transportation and walking. We will return to our accommodation for lunch. You will then have free time to enjoy the many offerings of Cartagena followed by dinner in the evening.

Friday
We will begin our day with breakfast at our accommodation and then leave for El Totumo, an active mud volcano in Santa Catalina. The mud in this volcano is enriched with minerals that are said to be therapeutic and to have healing or curative properties. Along the way we will pass some nice beaches and jungle landscapes. At the Volcano, we will climb the 15 meters to the top where you can dip yourself into a relaxing and rejuvenating mud bath and enjoy the unique swimming experience because of the high level of buoyancy. When done, we will clean up at the Sweetwater lagoon right next to it and afterward we will enjoy lunch. Before returning to Cartagena we will just cool down and relax at the Manzanillo del Mar beach. Later in the evening we will have dinner.

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Accommodation

Welcome to Cartagena City, once known as Cartagena de Indias, it continues to be a majestic shining gem among the other jewels of the Caribbean coast. As the town grew in importance because of the trade riches passing through its’ port, the town erected a barricade of stone walls. Originally used for protection, the walls engulfing the old city add to its distinctive character and old-world charm.

Known for its striking architecture, Cartagena is a city full of life and vibrancy. When you stroll through its streets you feel as though you are moving through a painting, where the sights and sounds of the city have come to life.

Being able to speak some Spanish is definitely a plus, but even if you are a novice to the language, a few gestures and a sense of adventure with attempting what you have learned, will be helpful as you communicate with locals. Don’t forget that smiles are universal and they will likely help get you whatever you need.

Accommodation & Food

You will be enjoying your stay in one of the vibrant neighbourhoods around Cartagena Colombia, from where you can access numerous sites and attractions, as well as your program very easily via public transport or local taxi.

All participants are expected to be environmentally aware and to use all resources with restraint, especially water, paper and electricity. You will be expected to clean up after yourself, and to play your part to keep the accommodation neat and organised. Room are standard with 1-4 people per room. We also offer private rooms which can also fit 1-4 people.

Food Arrangements
The food will be typically Colombian meaning lots of corn, beans, rice, chilli peppers, potatoes and other grain, all very vegetarian friendly. Keep in mind that some local dishes may be spicy!

Facilities
Shops
There are many local coffee shops and restaurants in the main township within walking distance of our centre. Restaurants & Cafes, the beach, mini-marts, fitness gyms, the supermarket, and shopping mall are all close by.

Internet use
There is Wi-Fi in common areas at your accommodation, but there are also many internet cafes in the main township where you can access online information.

Money
There are numerous shops and ATMs throughout the town.

Activities & Events
Cooking Lessons
One to two evenings per week
Join your cooks as they prepare meals for you and other participants. Take notes, learn new recipes, traditional food preservation techniques and more! Try not to spoil your dinner as you learn!

Trip Country Info

Colombia

Capital: Bogota
Language: Spanish, 68 Regional/Ethnic Languages, English (San Andres, Providencia)
Currency: Colombian Pesos (COP)
Time zone: COT (UTC -5)

Country Information
Colombia has coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and covers about 440,000 square miles (1.14 million square kilometres). It is home to the Amazon rainforest, Andes mountains, and the Llanos ( grassland plains).

Colombia is the fourth largest country in South America and it has several islands in the Atlantic and Pacific (San Andres and Providencia, and in the Pacific, the Malpelo and Gorgona, respectively). It shares borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Some of the major cities include Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla.

Climate
Weather in Colombia can range from desert to tropical to freezing because it contains a variety of climate zones. To experience the most pleasant weather and the most local activity, you might want to visit during the months of December to March or July to August.

Culture
Culture in Colombia has been greatly influenced by its diversity. It is easy to recognise African, Caribbean, European, Middle Eastern and Native American impacts on the area as well as that of the Indigenous people of the region. Unfortunately during the colonial era many European settlers decimated the Indigenous population which left the Spanish influence as the most pronounced. What has evolved over time is now a melange of distinctive layers which make up Colombia today.

Early in the 19th century the country gained independence and in 1886 the Republic of Colombia was formed.

Transportation
For the most part, public transportation costs in Colombia are minimal and fairly easy to access. Most of the larger urban centres and even some of the smaller towns have a bus system. Taxis are very common and offer even greater convenience to the traveller. Some of the main tourist areas have moto-taxis and a bustling city like Medellin even has a Metro commuter rail.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

Additional Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa