Brian Payne

Tour of Colombia

Thursday, April 6, 2017
Overall Rating: 
5
Value for money: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Relationship with your advisor: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Travel documents and information: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Accommodations: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Food and Restaurants: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Local transport: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Guides and Activities: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Punctuality of services: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Our Commitment towards sustainable tourism: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your home country: 
Amazing contrasts, fantastic people, great accommodation, culture, history, scenery and excellent support.
Excellent. The tour delivered everything we wanted and more. The company is friendly, responcive and professional. I would certainly recommend Aventure Colombia to anyone looking for a knowlegaeable, friendly and efficient travel service.
Main destinations visited by Brian Payne
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Bogota
Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is located in the department of Cundinamarca, right in the center of the country, with an altitude of 2.600mts. It extends through a mountain range to the east, forming a series of hills that surrounds the city (these hills come at handy to guide yourself in the city). Bogota is the main center for economic and cultural activities along the country, it is also known for being a dynamic metropolis, a melting pot of cultures. This city is home to 8 million people coming from all over the country. It also has several interesting places to visit such as the colonial neighborhood of La Candelaria, Bolivar Square, museums, historic monuments, malls, and has a great offer for national and international gastronomy. During the last years Bogota has become one of the most important epicenters in Latin America to perform important cultural and economic events every year. The city has been changing for the last decades, now with great public spaces such as the largest bicycle way in Latin America. It has a new practical means of public transportation: Transmilenio; this is similar to a metro but divided into large buses that can transport up to 150 passengers. Also, Bogota continues to have all the little colorful buses that run all over the city day and night.

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Cartagena de Indias
Cartagena is located at the beachfront on the Caribbean coast; it is the capital of Bolívar Department. Founded in 1533 by Pedro de Heredia, Cartagena is the 5th largest city in Colombia. It is surrounded by a great wall that used to protect from the pirates invasions. Its architecture includes beautiful colonial houses and picturesque streets intoxicated by tropical fruit and delicious sea breeze contributing to the charm of this famous city. It is considered the most beautiful colonial city in South America. The nights of Cartagena, are illuminated by colors that contrast with its colonial history and, making of it the ideal destination for romantics. The city is divided into two parts, the old town or "ciudad amurallada" and a more modern area full of skyscrapers , " Boca Grande ". Surrounded by beaches, you find mainly hotels and shopping centers there.

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Popayán, Silvia and Puracé Park
Considered as the religious capital of Colombia, the city of Popayan has the largest per capita number of church, built during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is located in the green valley of Pubenza at the foot of the Puracé volcano. This is one of the best preserved colonial cities of the country even if partially destroyed by an earthquake in the 80s with its baroque churches and sumptuous stone streets. The city is illuminated by its colonial houses with white walls, wrought iron balconies and flowering bushes. The centre of Popayan is a world renowned architectural historical heritage. Many active volcanoes are visible in the Popayan region. The city of Popayan was the first city to be named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. The rich traditional dishes and ingredients are to Popayan city a unique resource in the field of gastronomy. These include the excellent "empanadas pipian". Popayán was founded in 1537 by Sebastián de Belalcazar at the edge of the Puracé volcano. Its name comes from the indigenous Pupayam language and means “hamlet”. The city was founded, while the commercial road linking Quito (Ecuador) and the Caribbean coast was constructed. The wealth of the region comes from this strategic position. Cobbled streets and colored houses with balconies make Popayan one of the most beautiful colonial cities. Holy Week is the most interesting time to visit the town. Wonderful processions parade in the streets and attract millions of visitors. And actually, Popayan is Colombia’s religious heart. 45 km east from Popayan is the Puracé National Park, the biggest one of the Andean cordillera with its 800 000 ha. The park is composed by snow-capped peaks, volcanoes, lakes and a very diverse flora and fauna. The four most important Colombian rivers are born here: the Magdalena River, the Cauca, the Patía and the Caquetá. While walking in the park sites such as the Puracé volcano, be San Juan thermals and the Bedón and Nicolás waterfalls can be seen. The Puracé volcano is the only active volcano on which one can still climb until the summit. The ascension is somehow difficult, but can be done without any special material. The volcano has an altitude of 4760 meters and you have to walk between 7 and 9 hours to achieve the summit. 60 km away from Popayan is the authentic town of Silvia. It is the indigenous village of Guambiano. The inhabitants still wear their traditional clothes: colorful long dresses, ponchos and scarves. Women wear amazingly beautiful white necklaces. The Guambiano ethnic group lives in villages surrounding Silvia. Every Tuesday, they sell their products at the traditional market of Silvia.

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Salento - Valle del Cocora
The Cocora Valley – Salento is one of the most important destinations of the Quindio department and the Coffee Region. Its wonderful landscapes make this region an attractive place for tourists. The average temperature during the whole year is 15°C. A maximum temperature of approximately 25°C can also be reached. The Cocora Valley is characterized by cloud forests and a diverse flora and fauna, among which the most known are the Wax Palms, which is a native plant that originates in the high Andean valleys.

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San Agustín
San Agustin is a very welcoming traditional village right in the middle of the great Andes, South Colombia.

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The Tayrona Park
Located between Santa Marta and Ríohacha on the Caribbean Coast, the Tayrona National Park is one of the most visited natural parks in Colombia. This place hosts a wide variety of animal and plant species. The altitude varies from 0 to 900 meters inside the park. Of the 15,000 acres of the park, 3000 acres are marine areas. Many activities can be done in this region: hiking, enjoying the many beautiful beaches, museum visits, archeological ruins such as the "Pueblito Chairama" or scuba diving... The region offers a landscape of tropical jungle and lush vegetation. The residents are mostly mixed race and make a living on tourism and fishing. Also, the park has numerous sacred places belonging to the Indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Amongst the different animal species to be found there are: Mammals such as the lynx, and different species of monkey (howler, titi, cappuccino) Birds (toucan, eagle...) and more than 70 species of butterfly... Reptiles (alligators...) Underwater species: sea sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, coral, colorful fish, etc.

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My impressions of Colombia

Fascinating, friendly, varied.

My favorite places

Difficult to choose. The UNESCO sites at San Agustin, the Semana Santa processions in Poayan, the amazing accommodation at Akawanka Lodge, the atmosphere of Cartagena, the fantastic setting and scenery at Maloka Barlovento, the brilliant guides in Bogota

My recommendations

Go to Colombia with Aventure Colombia
Listen to other travelers of Aventure Colombia
Mirjam Beck
13 May 2015
I felt welcome from the very first moment
5
Marie, Anne, Paul, Jean-Yves
Many thanks to the whole team who allowed us to have a wonderful journey
5
Margaux
14 May 2015
I highly recommend this journey to anyone who wants to be in a new world
5