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Adventure Through Caribbean Colombia

Voyage through northern Colombia, where the jungle-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada meet the wild Caribbean Coast

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Trip Ref #10595

Adventure Through Caribbean Colombia

Voyage through northern Colombia, where the jungle-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada meet the wild Caribbean Coast

DURATION
7 nights
LOCATION
Colombia
ANNUAL LEAVE
5 days off work
SEASON
Year round
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Santa Marta Airport, Colombia
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Hotel · Lodge · Mountain hut

OVERALL RATING

4.5

Based on 4 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Easy

No prior experience is required for any of the activities, however you should have a basic level of fitness and be able to swim

Hike trails less trodden to the ancient site of Ciudad Antigua, hidden deep in the jungle of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Sail Caribbean waters on a private boat, snorkelling and swimming along the coastal fringes of Tayrona National Park

SUP amid the mangroves of Cienaga and kayak along the Don Diego River, from steamy jungle to tropical beach

Day 1

Touch down in Santa Marta

Welcome to Colombia's stunning Caribbean Coast! Your host will arrange an arrival transfer from Santa Marta Airport to your hotel in central Santa Marta. Get together this evening to meet your guide and fellow travellers.

Day 2

Sailing and snorkelling in Tayrona National Park

Sailing Boat, Tropical, Colombia Trip Page, Getty

Sailing

4 hrs

Snorkelling

2 hrs

Set sail on a thrilling adventure from Santa Marta, traversing the rugged and wild coast of Tayrona National Park by boat. The coastline is a protected area, and home to the world's highest coastal mountain, Pico Cristóbal Colón (5730m). Dive into crystal-clear waters at several snorkelling sites along the way, encountering marine life on the coral reef below. Bask in the sun on secluded beaches and savour a delicious seafood lunch on board, before returning to Santa Marta in the afternoon.

Day 3

Rainforest cycling

Cyclists, Dirt Road, Colombia, Getty

Cycling

3 hrs · 16km · 198m up

Pedal through the lush rainforest surrounding the town of Minca, along a short but undulating route through stunning scenery and verdant landscapes. Ride on compacted dirt roads, stopping frequently to visit waterfalls along the way, learning all about the rainforest habitat from your guide. Refuel with a traditional lunch, visit a cacao farm and drop into a rural coffee farm, where you'll have the chance to learn about small-scale coffee production (and indulge in some tasting, of course). Tonight, you'll sleep in an eco-lodge on the outskirts of Minca.

Day 4

Hike to Ciudad Antigua

Ciudad Antigua, Trek, Minca, Colombia, Kagumu

Hiking

4-5 hrs · 5km · 670m up

Rise early for a unique hike into the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This pioneering, off-the-beaten-track trail will take you deep into an unexplored area that has only recently opened up to adventure tourism. You'll trek to the archaeological site known as Ciudad Antigua, visited by almost no other travellers, where a small indigenous community live beside the ruins of an ancient civilisation. The hike is a hot and humid uphill stomp, but the chance to visit this hidden jungle city is more than worth it. Tonight you'll sleep either in a large thatched hut, in hammocks or in tents, depending on the size of the group – although it's very basic, it's a true adventure!

Day 5

Jungle exploration

Ruins, Archaeological site, Ciudad Antigua, Minca, Colombia, Kagumu

Hiking

3 hrs · 3km

This morning will be dedicated to further exploration of this special archaeological site and its surrounds. You'll learn about the known history of the ruins and also get an insight into the way of life maintained by the local communities living in this area. Keep an eye out for monkeys and toucans! You'll go on a short walk in the afternoon to some natural pools where you can take a dip, before hopping into 4x4 vehicles to drive out of the mountains and down to the low-lying coastal town of Cienaga.

Day 6

SUP in the Ciénaga wetlands

SUP, Mangroves, Getty

Stand Up Paddleboarding

2 hrs

Sun hats at the ready – today, you'll take to the water for a SUP adventure among the mangroves. This biodiverse wetlands habitat is a designated sanctuary for flora and fauna. Afterwards, take a boat ride to visit a mangrove conservation project and stop for lunch in the floating village of Buenavista. In the afternoon, you'll drive for about 1.5 hours to your jungle eco-lodge close to the Caribbean coast.

Day 7

Kayak the Don Diego River

Kayaking Caribbean Colombia Kagumu

Kayaking

3 hrs · 5km

A short walk along a trail heading inland from the eco-lodge will take you to an embarkation point on the banks of the Don Diego River, from where your kayaking adventure begins. Paddle downstream, flanked by jungle on either side, winding your way the short distance down to the Caribbean Sea. End with a drink at the beach to toast an exhilarating and eye-opening week spent exploring the very best natural wonders of Colombia's Caribbean region.

Day 8

Goodbye Colombia

Tayrona, Coast, Beach, Caribbean, Colombia, Getty

Time to say your goodbyes to this tropical paradise and transfer back to Santa Marta Airport for onward travel. Those choosing to stay for longer can be dropped off in Santa Marta city.

Included

Guides

Expert, local, English-speaking guide

Accommodation

3 nights in a hotel, 3 in eco-lodges, 1 in a traditional thatched hut

Meals

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

All your sailing, snorkelling, cycling, SUP and kayaking equipment

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6 – Day 7

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Hotel taironaka, Cerviche, Colombia, Hotel

The typical cuisine in northern Colombia includes dishes made from rice, plantain, yucca, corn, and beans, as well as seafood, meat, and poultry dishes. These are often served with coconut rice, fried plantains and/or a hearty soup like sancocho. The area is known for regional dishes such as arroz de coco (coconut rice) and bollo de verde (green plantain dough), and fresh fruit is both plentiful and delicious.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Casa Remedios La Bella, Cienaga, Colombia, Hotel
Santa Marta and Cienaga

When staying in the towns of Santa Marta and Cienaga you'll stay in charismatic boutique hotels, locally owned and well-situated for exploring the surrounding neighbourhoods. The usual accommodation choices will be Casa Carolina in Santa Marta, and Casa Remedios La Bella in Cienaga.

Hut Accommodation, Ciudad Antigua, Colombia, Kagumu
Ciudad Antigua

For one night you'll stay in a traditional hut in a rural community. These buildings are wooden constructions with thatched roofs, situated deep in the jungle surrounding the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Eco Lodge, Taironaka, Colombia, Hotel
Rural Lodgings

When staying in the rural, forested destinations, your accommodation will be in eco-lodges – chosen for their sustainability credentials and enabling you to get off the beaten track and closer to nature. Just outside the small town of Minca, you'll spend one night in an eco-lodge. At the end of the trip, your last two nights will be spent in a jungle setting at the Taironaka Eco Hotel, next to a river and just 2km from the coastline.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Simón Bolívar International Airport, Santa Marta

Any time on Day 1

Ends

Simón Bolívar International Airport, Santa Marta

Morning of Day 8

Transfers

Your host will arrange arrival transfers on Day 1, regardless of your arrival flight time. On Day 8, there will be one group transfer to Santa Marta Airport in the morning (with the option to be dropped off in the city instead, if you prefer). Arrival and departure transfers are only included in the main price if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 8 – see Optional Extras for private airport transfer prices outside of these days.

Travel options

Avianca operate flights from London Heathrow to Bogota each day of the week, and there are multiple options for internal connecting flights up to Santa Marta. There are also international connections to Santa Marta via Miami and Panama City. Should you choose to extend your stay independently, there are easily accessible travel options connecting Santa Marta with other locations in Colombia such as Cartagena, Medellin or Bogota.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Sailing, snorkelling, cycling, SUP and kayaking equipment

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft shell duffel bag or rucksack (main luggage)
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for kitbag/rucksack, or drybags

CLOTHES

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Breathable wicking layers for hot climate
  • Jacket, jumper or similar for cool evenings
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Clothes to sleep in
  • Hiking shoes (worn-in)
  • Sandals to get wet during watersports activities

SLEEPING

  • Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner (optional)

OTHER

  • Quick-dry towel
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre
  • Water purification tablets
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Single/Double/Twin Room in Santa Marta

Payable Before Departure

Single/Double/Twin Room in Santa Marta

Per Night

Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Private Room Upgrade

Per Person

Private Airport Transfer Santa Marta

Payable Before Departure

Private Airport Transfer Santa Marta

Christopher B.
Fun trip but more challenging than billed

This was a fun, enjoyable trip and the guide Sol was excellent. Some of the accommodation is pretty basic, (e.g. communal showers). The trip to Ciudad Antigua was replaced for security reasons with a hike up Cerro Kennedy mountain including overnight stay in a remote farmhouse. This was notified ahead of time but for me it was the highlight of the trip, with spectacular views. The bikes provided for the cycling day were substandard quality and not at all suitable for the very steep terrain of this route (not at all like the flat pictured on the website!) Take lots of strong bug spray!

Lauren B.
Fantastic week of adventure

Had a great trip with a variety of activities, and Sol was a fantastic guide! The highlight was seeing families of howling monkeys while kayaking on Don Diego river.

Be prepared that some locations are a little remote meaning the accommodation is very basic, although worth it for the scenery, sunsets and experiences.

Andrew H.
Proper Adventure in Colombia

Another great MBA trip in an absolutely stunning country. This trip offers so much variety with regards to activities as well as opportunities to learn about the culture and people. Some activities are more strenuous than others. The local guide (Sol) was exceptional. Note some parts of the trip are pretty remote and away from 4G!

Darius P.
Amazing adventure in a stunning part of the world

This trip was well worth it. Prepare for sea, jungle, mountains, rivers and everything inbetween. Our guide Sol was excellent and some of the views were epic. Our itinerary was changed slightly but we were informed in advance of all changes, and managed well. Special shout out to Sol for sorting out a birthday cake in the middle of the jungle.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 164kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

The activities on this trip are all designed to be accessible, with no previous experience required. The most strenuous activity will be the hike to Ciudad Antigua, due to the humid conditions and rough terrain underfoot, as well as a steep elevation gain. Cycling near Minca will be on rough unpaved surfaces using mountain bikes, but with no technical sections or significant elevation gains. Should you prefer to opt out of any of the activities then this will be possible. You need to be able to swim to participate in the snorkelling, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.

The bikes used for the cycling activity are manufactured by a brand called GW. These front suspension mountain bikes are set up with gearing and tyres which are ideal for the terrain, and come with 29 inch rims. There are a range of frame sizes to accommodate different heights.

Helmets are included (and it's obligatory to use them), and a safety briefing takes place before you cycle. We cannot guarantee that the quality of the locally provided helmets will be of the same standards as those required in the UK – you may, therefore, wish to bring your own.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service.

You'll have access to safe drinking water at each accommodation, and your host will also carry water giving you plenty of opportunity to top up water bottles and stay hydrated throughout the day. Tap water in rural destinations should be purified or boiled before drinking – your guide will be able to provide destination-specific advice. You may wish to read our guide to water filters here.

Santa Marta and the Sierra Nevada region has a tropical rainforest climate, characterised by warm temperatures year-round and occasional heavy rainfall, with little variation throughout the year. There is high humidity, and temperatures typically range from the mid-20s to low-30s°C.

No, as you won't be returning to a hotel in Santa Marta (unless you have booked an extra post-trip night) it isn't possible to leave any excess luggage anywhere.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you, and then a small daypack to carry personal items during each day. When hiking to Ciudad Antigua on Day 4, you'll have support mules to carry your main luggage, so you will just need to carry a daypack.

The sailing trip is weather dependent, therefore it is possible that conditions outside of the host's control (namely, rough seas) mean that it has to be cancelled on health and safety grounds. In such a scenario, the host would endeavour to either replace the activity with something appropriate or rearrange the running order of the itinerary.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

June 2024

Saturday • 15th June 2024

to Saturday • 22nd June 2024
4 Booked • 10 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 10th August 2024

to Saturday • 17th August 2024
3 Booked • 11 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 23rd November 2024

to Saturday • 30th November 2024
2 Booked • 12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 1st February 2025

to Saturday • 8th February 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 1st March 2025

to Saturday • 8th March 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 19th April 2025

to Saturday • 26th April 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 16th August 2025

to Saturday • 23rd August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 22nd November 2025

to Saturday • 29th November 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Full Financial Protection

Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.

Full Financial Protection

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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