Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

100km Jungle Expedition into the Heart of Colombia

Trek through an untouched tropical rainforest and raft one of the world’s last truly wild rivers

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Trip Ref #9948

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

100km Jungle Expedition into the Heart of Colombia

Trek through an untouched tropical rainforest and raft one of the world’s last truly wild rivers

DURATION
7 nights
LOCATION
Colombia
ANNUAL LEAVE
5 days off work
SEASON
Feb - Mar, Jul - Aug, Dec
GROUP SIZE
Up to 12 people
MEETING POINT
Jose Maria Córdova International Airport, Rio Negro
ACCOMMODATION
Hotel · Homestay · Wild camping
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

Battling through an untouched pocket of wild Colombia? It was always going to be a challenge, but you’ll love every minute.

Be one of the first explorers to set foot in a totally remote and untouched corner of Colombia

Start in the tropical mountains and blaze a trail through the wilderness as you descend into the mysterious Magdalena Basin

Pass through one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet with no less than five different ecosystems all teeming with life - if you’re lucky you might see a tigrillo, tapir or monkey

Included

Guides

Local, expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

2 nights in Medellin, 4 nights wild camping and 1 night homestay with local campesinos

Meals

Enjoy traditional local cuisine and hearty energy-giving camping food throughout

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in between

Equipment

All the camping and rafting equipment you need

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

The Area

Logistics

Starts

Jose Maria Córdova International Airport, Rio Negro

09:00 on Day 1

Ends

Jose Maria Córdova International Airport, Rio Negro

17:00 on Day 8

Transfers

Aim to arrive by 08:30 on Day 1, your transfer will meet you at the airport at 09:00.

Catch any flight departurting after 19:00 on Day 8, you will be dropped at the airport at 17:00.

If you would like to arrive early or extend your stay, your host can arrange private airport transfers - see the Optional Extras section for prices.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Jose Maria Córdova International Airport from major airports across the UK and Europe.

What about all the carbon?

We mitigate 4x the carbon generated by all our customer flights annually through our partnership with Cool Earth.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Homestay · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 6

Wild camping · Hammock

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Meals will be largely based around locally grown products and each day you’ll discover new fruits, nuts and other tasty local treats that all grow in the area including cacao and of course coffee. On the trek, you’ll also come across sugar cane plantations where it's processed into Panela - blocks of raw crystallized sugar cane juice, the only sugar you will find around here. It has an incredible taste and is still processed in the traditional way, with horses spinning the press.

Meals vary, but will always be fresh and healthy to keep you fuelled for the adventure. Breakfast includes fruits, cereals and traditional arepa and eggs. For lunches, we like to keep it quick and easy - sandwiches, wraps or Fiambre (a Colombian meal packed in banana leaves) is the standard. For dinner, there will be a campfire and a variety of meals served from traditional Colombian fare of rice/meat/beans etc to pasta and campfire food.

Vegan and vegetarians can be catered for, just let your host know upon bookings. Other dietary requirements are possible but Kosher and Halal food can be difficult to source in Colombia. If you have specific requirements, please enquire with your host.

What is the accommodation like?

Medellin

You’ll spend two nights pre and post-expedition in a same sex, twin share room at the Los Patios Boutique Hotel, in El Poblado, a safe, pedestrianised area of town filled with local restaurants and bars.

Start of trek

You’ll stay in a community that still lives off the land in brightly coloured houses. If the group is above 6 people, you will stay with two families to ensure that everyone shares in the experience.

Jungle of the Samana

You’ll wild camp in a hammock in the jungle at a spot strategically located close to a water source and swimming holes or rivers. The jungle of the Samana is remarkably bug-free and the temperature at night is usually pleasant.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked only for the 2 nights in Medellin. See Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability). For the wild camping you'll have your own hammock and tarp setup.

Day 1

Welcome to Medellin

Drive through the lush Medellin valley and into one of Latin America’s most exciting cities. Explore the friendly, green spaces of the Manila district, then after a team briefing to prepare you for the expedition ahead, spend the night in a boutique hotel ln the heart of Medellin’s hippest neighbourhood, El Poblado.

Day 2

Into the wilderness

Hiking

7hrs · 22km · 200m up · 800m down

Head into the Samana Watershed, a tropical paradise that few foreign eyes have ever seen. Push through the humid, jungle-covered mountains as you hike into the valley of the Rio Verde of Los Henados. Spend the night in a remote finca where you’ll enjoy a home cooked meal alongside a local family and hear fascinating stories about this hidden area of Colombia – (it was once a stronghold of FARC, but is now entirely safe, so everyone has a story to share.)

Day 3

Journey through the jungle

Hiking

7hrs · 23km · 700m up · 300m down

Greet the day with some strong, local coffee or a hot chocolate and then return to the jungle. From now on your group will be totally self-sufficient and see very few people. Follow the trail (or make one) and learn from your guide about the abundance of plants traditionally used in local culture and medicine. Keep an eye out for clouds of butterflies and families of otters along the water’s edge. After lunch, cross the river on a suspension bridge, set up camp and learn how to sling the perfect hammock between the trees.

Day 4

The big push

Hiking

6hrs · 18km · 600m up · 600m down

Rafting

3hrs · 5km

Navigate through a chunk of pristine rainforest. If you’re lucky you might even see a tigrillo, tapir or monkey. Push on to the Rio Verde where your raft will be waiting. Then, after a refreshing swim in the cool emerald waters, set off along the wild Samana River. In the evening, set up your hammock on the riverbank and fall asleep to the sound of the jungle orchestra.

Day 5

Raft to the Samana Bridge

Rafting

7hrs · 32km

Wake yourself up with a morning dip in the river and then take a short hike through the jungle to a dramatic canyon. Return to the Rio Samana - a power-house of a river cloaked in dense jungle and constricted between low granite walls, stopping to explore the secluded beaches and swim in hidden waterfalls. Brace yourself for whitewater as you tackle some class 4 rapids, passing prospectors panning for gold on the calmer stretches. Rest and resupply in Puente Samana and set up camp on a jungle-flanked beach.

Day 6

Through the Grand Gorge

Rafting

7hrs · 22km

Descend some more class 4+ rapids as you cross through a rainforest teeming with life and into a beautiful silver-blue rock canyon. Witness the rare birds, butterflies, and exotic plants that live in this lowland forest and camp close to a secluded lagoon and natural pool. Finish the day with a swim as you watch the sun set through the canopy.

Day 7

Paddle to the village of Narices

Rafting

4hrs · 16km

Continue along the grey-blue canyon and watch as cascading waterfalls drop from high mountain peaks into blue swimming pools only accessible from the river. Leave your raft in the little village of Narices and enjoy a final walk to a secret waterfall whilst lunch is being prepared. Say goodbye to the jungle and head back to Medellin for a final evening with your team.

Day 8

Goodbye Colombia

Free day today to explore some more of Medellin. Or just relax, you've earned it! Transfer will leave last afternon to arrive at the airport at 17:00.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock, Runner's Need, and Cycle Surgery.

Bags

  • 30ltr backpack
  • Small drybag for the raft
  • Sturdy hiking shoes, ideally waterproof and ankle-height
  • Lightweight sandals/flip flops for the evening
  • Hiking socks
  • Rain jacket
  • Lightweight trousers or shorts
  • 2 long sleeve lightweight breathable shirts
  • Sunhat, sunglasses and suncream
  • 2 x refillable water bottles x 1ltr (purification tablets provided)
  • Insect repellent
  • Headtorch
  • Small personal first aid kit
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Clothes for pre and post-expedition nights in Medellin

What's included?

  • Lightweight hammock
  • Tarp
  • Blanket

Please note Packing light is key as you will be carrying your own kit on this expedition. This includes your lightweight hammock, tarp and blanket as well as some food supplies between re-fill stops. The rafts only have minimal space for bags, so 30ltrs is the maximum. You may wish to bring a change of clothes and these can be transported by mules (with the rafts) to the halfway point.

The rafting is entry-level, however, you will be spending long days paddling on the river so you should have reasonable upper body strength. The rapids involve bursts of energetic paddling, interspersed with gentle stretches of river where you can often sit back or take a dip ahead of the next batch of rapids.

The trekking is tough going and a definite physical challenge. You'll be carrying your own pack over long distances in humid conditions, so you need to arrive physically prepared for this section of the adventure. The terrain is uneven at times, with tough downhill sections which will test your ankles and knees. Trekking poles and good waterproof ankle boots will help with the descents.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Meals will be largely based around locally grown products and each day you’ll discover new fruits, nuts and other tasty local treats that all grow in the area including cacao and of course coffee. On the trek, you’ll also come across sugar cane plantations where it's processed into Panela - blocks of raw crystallized sugar cane juice, the only sugar you will find around here. It has an incredible taste and is still processed in the traditional way, with horses spinning the press.

Meals vary, but will always be fresh and healthy to keep you fuelled for the adventure. Breakfast includes fruits, cereals and traditional arepa and eggs. For lunches, we like to keep it quick and easy - sandwiches, wraps or Fiambre (a Colombian meal packed in banana leaves) is the standard. For dinner, there will be a campfire and a variety of meals served from traditional Colombian fare of rice/meat/beans etc to pasta and campfire food.

Vegan and vegetarians can be catered for, just let your host know upon bookings. Other dietary requirements are possible but Kosher and Halal food can be difficult to source in Colombia. If you have specific requirements, please enquire with your host.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however we'd suggest $3-$5USD per person per day as a guideline, however, if you would like to bring a gift from the UK as a thank you, this will also go a long way!

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

There are plenty of safe options to fill up whilst in the jungle and fresh water is in abundance. Your host will provide water purification tablets for those who would like them although they are not really necessary.

Medellín is known as ‘La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera - the city of eternal spring, thanks to a comfortable climate that’s consistent all year-round due to its high elevation and proximity to the equator.

The tropical rainforest climate you will encounter sees average temperatures of 28 - 32 degrees with high humidity, however, at night the temperatures drop to a cooler low 20’s degrees and rain often occurs as we’re sleeping.

Sure thing! You will be able to leave anything you don’t need at the hotel in Medellin where it will be kept safe until your return post-expedition.

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

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

Modern-day Colombia is not 1980’s Narcos. For decades Colombia was in the international press for all the wrong reasons – drugs, kidnappings and civil war. Now with a peace agreement in place between the FARC and the government, Colombia is much safer and tourism has skyrocketed in the last ten years.

For current advice about travelling in Colombia, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

All of our group adventures are especially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded.

"I cannot recommend this highly enough! The people on the trip were amazing. Easily the best trip I've ever been on!" Charlotte, 2019, Trustpilot.

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.

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