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Tailor-made tours

Colonial Splendour

Colombia, Panama, Brazil

27 days

Summary

Our Colonial Splendour suggested itinerary is the ideal tour for loves of history and architecture. Latin America’s colonial cities are an endless source of fascination and this tour has a few of them. We have combined three of the continent’s most exciting destinations, taking advantage of direct flights linking Panama City and Salvador.

Begin the tour with a cable car ride to Monserrate lookout in Bogota. Continue to Barichara, Salento, Villa de Leyva and Pereira, colonial beauties dotted amongst Colombia’s stunning natural landscapes. Lastly visit the jewel in Colombia’s crown, Cartagena de Indias; one of the best-preserved historic cities in South America.

Continue north to Panama City, renowned for its modern skyline and engineering, and it’s unmissable historic Casco Viejo. The charming combination of beautifully restored buildings and crumbling mansions is reminiscent of Old Havana. While top class restaurants and boutique accommodation make this an excellent city stay.

Then travel Brazil, where the colonial heritage is reflected in the streets of picturesque towns all over the country. From the African influenced culture of Salvador de Bahia to the genteel pace of Paraty. And the fabulous riches of Gold Rush capital Ouro Preto, this is a fascinating glimpse into Brazil, past and present.

Highlights

  • Travel to Pereira and explore the coffee region of Colombia
  • Visit the beautiful colonial town of Barichara
  • Gentle walk from Barichara to Guane for the best countryside views
  • Private cooking class in Cartagena
  • Visit the unique Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira
  • Views of the Miraflores Locks and visit the museum in the Panama Canal
  • Eating traditional bahian cuisine in Salvador

ITINERARY

Day 1 Bogota

Arrive in Bogota and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2 Bogota

A half-day city tour includes visits to La Candelaria, Capilla del Sagrario, the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum. Take the cable car to Monserrate lookout for views of the city and the Andes mountain range.

Day 3 Bogota/Villa de Leyva

Depart Bogota, travelling north to Zipaquira where you’ll visit the famous underground Salt Cathedral. Continue to the pretty colonial village of Villa de Leyva and stay overnight.

Day 4 Villa de Leyva

A full day tour exploring Villa de Leyva and surrounds, including the Fossil Museum and Dominican Convento del Santo Ecce Homo.

Day 5 Villa de Leyva/Barichara

After breakfast, transfer by road to the picturesque hamlet of Barichara where you will stay overnight.

Day 6 Barichara

Enjoy a gentle 10km walk along El Camino Real to the sleepy village of Guane. Keep your eyes peeled for colourful tanagers, motmots and finches along the way. Return by car to Barichara, with the afternoon at leisure.

Day 7 Barichara/Pereira

Transfer to Bucaramanga Airport with a stop along the way to admire the Chicamocha Canyon. Fly to Pereira and transfer to your traditional hacienda accommodation.

Day 8 Pereira

Morning at leisure. This afternoon you’ll learn about the production of Colombia’s delicious coffee with a tour of Hacienda San Alberto.

Day 9 Pereira

Today’s tour of the beautiful Cocora Valley and picturesque town of Salento is bound to be a highlight. See Colombia’s enormous national tree, the wax palm, towering over a lush green landscape and explore the colourful streets of Salento.

Day 10 Pereira/Cartagena

Fly to Cartagena and transfer to your hotel in the old city. This evening, take a sunset stroll along the city walls and enjoy a sundowner at Café del Mar.

Day 11 Cartagena

This morning you’ll visit the local markets with a chef to see the extraordinary variety of fresh produce and tropical fruits. Pick up some ingredients for a private cooking class and enjoy a fantastic lunch.

Day 12 Cartagena

A day at leisure to explore one of the America’s most beautiful historic centres.

Day 13 Cartagena/Panama City

Take a short flight from Cartagena to Panama City and transfer to your hotel in the old city. Soak up the sights and sounds of beautiful Casco Viejo on a guided sunset walking tour.

Day 14 Panama City

Explore greater Panama City including a visit to the excellent Miraflores Lock Visitor Centre. See the cruise ships passing through the famous lock and visit the museum to understand how this amazing feat of engineering was built.

Day 15 Panama City/Salvador

Fly direct from Panama City to Salvador de Bahia (Tue and Fri only). Transfer to your hotel on arrival.

Day 16 Salvador

Explore the gorgeous historic centre of Salvador, Pelourinho, on this morning’s guided tour. This evening you’ll experience a fabulous introduction to Brazil’s African influenced dance and music at the Miguel Santana Theatre.

Day 17 Salvador

Today’s panoramic city tour will take you to the stunning baroque Bonfim Church, deeply connected with the local candomblé tradition. You will also visit Mercado Modelo where you can buy some locally made handicrafts. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 18 Salvador/Ouro Preto

Fly to Belo Horizonte and transfer by road to Ouro Preto. Founded in 1698, this charming city is the masterpiece of colonial architecture in Brazil, declared by UNESCO as a “Cultural Patrimony of Mankind”. Due to its distance from the coast and the exhaustion of the mines after 1789, it is the one town in Brazil that remains an outstanding artistic and architectural example of that era.

Day 19 Ouro Preto

Enjoy a tour to nearby Mariana’s exemplary colonial architecture. Return to spend the afternoon exploring Ouro Preto, with views of surrounding mountains over red-tiled roofs and baroque church towers.

Day 20 Ouro Preto/Tiradentes

Transfer to Congonhas, once an important mining centre. Visit the stunning baroque Basilica, constructed in the late 1700’s and see the impressive rococo interior. Continue to Tiradentes with lunch en route.

Day 21 Tiradentes

Enjoy a walking tour of beautiful Tiradentes, with its cobblestone streets, historic houses and the lovely baroque architecture of its numerous churches. Framed by the São Jose Mountain Range, the city is one of Brazil’s finest colonial beauties. Spend the afternoon exploring hiking trails in the surrounding hills at your leisure.

Day 22 Tiradentes/Rio de Janeiro

Transfer to Sao Joao Del Rei this morning and board a bus to Rio, a journey of around five hours. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

Day 23 Rio de Janeiro

Enjoy a half day tour to Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain. Ride a train across the Tijuca Forest – the largest urban forest in the world. Disembark at the top of Corcovado and marvel at the breathtaking 360° view over the city below. Continue to Santa Teresa for lunch and explore this bohemian district with your guide.

Day 24 Rio de Janeiro

Enjoy your morning at leisure, we suggest a visit to the Rio Cathedral. Is often times considered to be one of the most magnificent examples of artistic architecture in Brazil. Architect Edgar de Oliveira based its design on Mayan pyramids and gave the structure a conical shape. It is dedicated to Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Rio, and houses the seat of the archbishop of the city.
Prepare yourself because this afternoon’s highlight will be the cable car ride tour to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain for a different 360° view of Rio including Guanabara Bay & its famous beaches.

Day 25 Rio de Janeiro/Paraty

Depart this morning for the UNESCO Heritage listed colonial gem, Paraty, located on the stunning Angra do Reis Bay and framed by the Atlantic Rainforest. Spend the afternoon exploring its cobbled streets and admiring pastel-hued architecture.

Day 26 Paraty

Experience the beauty of Paraty’s surroundings on a half day tour on board a schooner. Sail through the bay, stopping at local island beaches where you can swim and snorkel. Lunch is served on board.

Day 27 Paraty

Transfer to Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo for your onward flight.

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