Adventures / Adventure Tapas

100km Jungle Expedition to the Heart of Colombia

A pioneering adventure through Colombia’s untouched wilderness. Trek through isolated tropical rainforests and raft its last free-flowing river.

I'M UP FOR
Adventure Tapas
DURATION
7 Nights
DIFFICULTY
Challenging
COMFORT
Basic
LOCATION
Colombia
SEASON
March, July, August, December
NEAREST AIRPORT

Be one of the first few explorers to set foot in this totally remote pocket of Colombia. 

Blazing a trail through hot and humid rainforest and down mighty mighty rivers, you’ll start in the tropical Samana Mountains and slowly descend into the dense Magdalena Basin, passing through isolated villages and five different ecosystems, teeming with wildlife.

You’ll trek through lush jungle, raft the rapids of the Rio Samana - one of the world’s last wild rivers - paddle through clouds of butterflies and wild swim in hidden lagoons along the way.

At night you’ll sleep in hammocks lit by fireflies, eat traditional food cooked over a campfire, and wake up to a rejuvenating shower under a waterfall. This is a challenging but rewarding adventure through Colombia’s last wilderness.

Want more time in Colombia? Combine this with our Adventure to the Lost City of Colombia for the ultimate adventure.

Your hassle-free adventure includes

  • Airport transfers
  • All meals while on expedition
  • 4 nights camping
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation
  • 1 night homestay accommodation with local ‘campesinos’
  • Qualified English speaking and government-registered specialist guides
  • All camping and rafting equipment
  • All local transport (buses, 4x4’s)

Perfect for

Those keen to visit a largely untouched pocket of rural wild Colombia. Must come with a pioneering attitude and a good level of fitness. No previous rafting or trekking experience required but this is a physically tough trip so fitness will help with the long days and challenging conditions of the jungle.

Need To Know

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for your guides (optional)
  • Lunch and dinner on day 1 and dinner on day 8

This trip will run with a minimum of 3 people, and a maximum of 12. Please note, if there are not 3 people booked the trip may be rearranged or cancelled.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Your host recommends to pack:

  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Lightweight sandals/flip flops for the evening
  • Hiking socks
  • Rain jacket
  • 30ltr backpack
  • Lightweight trousers or shorts
  • Lightweight breathable shirt x 2 if you would like a change
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Refillable water bottle x 1ltr (purification tablets provided)
  • Insect repellant
  • Headtorch
  • Small personal first aid kit
  • Suncream
  • Clothes for pre and post-expedition in Medellin

Please note - you will be carrying your own kit for the expedition. This includes a 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. Packing light is the key and you will need very little while on expedition.

The rafting is entry-level however you will be spending long days on the river and paddling for consecutive hours so you should have reasonable upper body strength. The trekking, while not technically difficult, also requires that you be in good physical shape as the days are long with a lot of up and down on uneven ground.

Medellín is known as “La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera”, the city of eternal spring. The city has a comfortable climate that is consistent year-round due to being located at a high elevation and also being near the equator.

The tropical rainforest climate we will encounter will see average temperatures of 28 - 32 degrees. Humidity is high however at night the temperatures drop to a cooler early 20’s degrees and rain often occurs as we’re sleeping.

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.

Yes! Your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of travel. British citizens don’t require a visa but you should click here for more information and to check up to date requirements.

Meals will be largely based around locally grown products. Each day you’ll discover new fruits, nuts and other tasty local treats. Cacao grows in these mountains, and so does coffee, so there will be plenty of it. On the trek, you’ll come across sugar cane plantations, and places where it is processed into Panela, or 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 will 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.

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

We advise approx $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.

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 Colombian government, Colombia is much safer and tourism has skyrocketed in the last ten years.

You can find all the up to date travel advice about Colombia here.

Got a question not covered here? Contact the host.

Location

View map

In Colombia’s central Andes (south of Medellin) lies one of its most powerful rivers, the Rio Samana. Referred to by Colombians as the ‘jewel of the Magdalena Valley’, the Samana is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, with complex geology and fascinating cultural heritage. Over its long journey to its confluence with the Rio Magdalena, the Rio Samana passes through five unique ecosystems, and all are still intact and interconnected.

The Samana Watershed was once home to communist guerrillas and crime syndicates. The area was used to hide many high profile hostages and also to traffic narcotics. Just 20km from the river lies Hacienda Napoles, Pablo Escobar’s estate.

Due to the Colombian conflict, the whole region was deserted for more than 20 years allowing nature to take over again.

Locals face a difficult choice - live in poverty, or sell out to dams, mines or deforestation. Tourism is the in-between that allows them to stay, live well, and protect their natural and cultural heritage.

The ones who already work in the industry know it, but they need you to come and visit them so that more people can make a living from adventure and the land can be developed sustainably.

Start point

Medellin Airport - 09.00am

Your adventure begins at Medellin Airport (MDE) with your airport transfer at 09:00am.

Please schedule your flight to arrive more than 30 minutes before this time, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area.

Finish point

Medellin Airport - 5.00pm

At the end of your adventure, you will be dropped back at Medellin Airport (MDE) at 5.00pm

If you would like to arrive early or extend your stay, your host can arrange airport transfers for an extra cost.

What to Expect

Day 1: Welcome to Medellin

You’ll be met by your local guide at the airport before driving into the impressive Medellin Valley.

There’ll be an early evening briefing about the expedition before spending the evening exploring the friendly, green spaces of the Manila district with an optional group dinner arranged for those keen.

You’ll spend the night at a boutique hotel located in the heart of Medellin’s hippest, cosmopolitan neighbourhood, El Poblado. Welcome to Colombia!

Day 2: Journey to the Samana Watershed

Today, your adventure begins. You’ll set off into the wilderness of the Samana Watershed, a paradise that few foreign eyes have ever seen before.

After an early start and a 3-hour drive, you’ll reach the village of Sonson, where 4x4s are waiting to take you to the trailhead. You’ll begin in the paramos at almost 3000m and descend following the course of the mighty Samana River, ending up 300m 6 days later.

You’ll start hiking from the high mountains into the Valley of the Rio Verde of Los Henados. Pushing through a maze of humid jungle-covered mountains you’ll finally reach a small hamlet that bears the name of the river.

You’ll spend the night in a remote ‘finca’ where you’ll enjoy a home cooked meal and the hospitality of a local family. You might share an ‘AguaPanela’ with them and hear fascinating stories about this hidden area of Colombia. Once a stronghold of the FARC (but now entirely safe), this area is rich in recent history and everyone has a story to share.

Approx. 7 hours trekking

Day 3: Trek alongside the source of the Rio Verde

You’ll rise early for some local coffee and hot chocolate. After a hearty traditional breakfast, you’ll continue into the dense jungle. From now, the group will be totally self-sufficient and see very few people.

The trail makes its way down the meandering valley of the Rio Verde, up and down steep hills to avoid the deep canyons. Along the way, your guide will explain how the abundance of endemic plants are traditionally used in culture and medicine.

After lunch, you’ll make your way down to water level, and cross to the river on a small suspended bridge. Keep an eye out for clouds of butterflies and otters along the water’s edge.

In the evening you’ll set up camp in the jungle. You’ll learn how to sling a hammock between the trees and what to keep an ear and eye out for during the night!

Approx. 7 hours trekking

Day 4: Jungle traverse to the lower Rio Verde

Today is the big push, and the last day or trekking. You’ll have to climb over 500m (slow going in the dense jungle) to cross a large chunk of pristine rainforest. If you’re lucky you might see a tigrillo, tapir or monkey!

You’ll finally reach the Rio Verde where your raft is waiting for you. After a refreshing swim in the cool emerald green water, you’ll learn about river safety before setting off towards the Samana River.

In the evening you’ll set up your hammock on the river bank before falling asleep to the jungle orchestra.

Approx. 6 hours trekking

Day 5: Raft to the Samana Bridge

Wake up early and take a morning dip in the river before heading off on a short hike in a dramatic canyon.

Today you’ll be rafting the Rio Samana, a power-house of a river cloaked in dense jungle and constricted between low granite walls. You’ll stop to explore its secluded beaches and swim in hidden waterfalls. Toucans fly overhead, while clouds of butterflies hang in the air.

The whitewater is smooth and packed fun class 4 rapids, however, it’s very safe and ideal for beginners to get to grips with. The river is also full of gold and miners can often be seen panning for its riches along the calmer stretches.

At the end of the day, you’ll arrive at Puente Samana to re-supply before heading to your camp on a jungle-flanked beach.

Approx. 7 hours rafting with breaks

Day 6: Rafting expedition on the grand gorge of the Samana

The day starts with a thrilling descent on class 4+ whitewater through a rainforest teeming with life.

You’ll travel through a beautiful silver-blue rock canyon, witness rare birds, butterflies, and exotic plants in this lowland tropical rainforest.

Tonight you’ll camp close to a secluded lagoon and natural pool. You’ll take a riverside walk and swim before enjoying some camp-fire dining. Swimming as the sun sets is a real treat as the late sun dances through the dense canopy.

Approx. 7 hours rafting with breaks

Day 7: Paddle out to the village of Narices

After breakfast, you’ll continue to paddle the Samana River. You’ll journey through warm waters that crash over granite boulder fields and into a grey-blue canyon. Clear creeks drop from high mountain peaks into blue swimming pools with cascading waterfalls only accessible from the river.

Your rafting ends in Narices, a small traditional village, where you’ll enjoy a final walk to a secret waterfall while lunch is prepared.

Bidding goodbye to the jungle, you’ll head back to Medellin for your final evening together.

Approx. 4 hours rafting with breaks

Day 8: Goodbye Colombia!

Depart from your hotel in Poblado and drive 1 hour from the Medellin Valley to arrive at Medellin’s José María Córdoba International Airport for your flight home.

Accommodation

You’ll spend two nights in Medellin pre and post-expedition and will stay at Los Patios Boutique Hotel. The hotel is located in El Poblado, a safe and pedestrianised area of town filled with local restaurants and bars. Rooms will be same sex, twin-share by default.

The homestay in the backcountry of the Samana is a totally unique experience. The community largely lives off the land, using mules to bring in the basic necessities. The houses are made of wood, with thin roofs, and always painted in bright colours. The gardens are always in bloom with exotic vegetables and fruits. The bathrooms are shared, and the rooms can be twin share or dorms, with one or two single rooms available. If the group is above 6 people, you will stay with two families to ensure we can be accommodated.

You’ll spend your nights in the jungle in a hammock. The camping gear is provided and your guides will help you set up in an appropriate spot. Along the way, the camps are strategically located close to a water source and swimming holes or rivers. The jungle of the Samana is remarkably bug-free, and the temperatures at night are always pleasant. There is no need for large sleeping bags, a blanket is provided, however you are welcome to bring a sleeping bag liner for extra comfort.

A Private Room Upgrade is available for $90USD per person. This is only for the 2 x nights in Medellin and is subject to availability. Please request with your host.

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Dates & Prices

Prices include

Accommodation · Airport Transfers · Equipment · Financial Protection · Guide · Happiness Guarantee · Local Transport · Meals As Described · Happiness Guaranteed · 100% Financial Protection

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

Private Room Upgrade Payable Before Departure
Private Room Upgrade · · · Per Person