Colombia – Natural Paradise
Arrive at El Dorado International Airport, Bogotá. Met and greeted by tour guide and transferred to the selected hotel for checking-in.
Bogotá is a modern fast growing city and one of Latin America's urban highlights with a thriving nightlife, superb dining and al fresco café and bar culture; yet none of the traditions are lost from its graceful churches, excellent museums to its plazas and urban parks.
Breakfast and transfer to the well preserved historical colonial quarter of La Candelaria. There will be an opportunity for photographs at Plaza de Bolivar, the main square of Bogotá. The Cathedral, the Congress Palace, the Cardinal's Palace, the colonial church of El Sagrario, the House of Independence, the Palace of Justice and the City Hall are located here.
After visit the famous and 'must see' Gold Museum, where the world's greatest collection of pre-Hispanic Indian gold crafts is displayed. Next visit the FERNANDO BOTERO Museum which contains paintings and sculptures of this famous contemporary Colombian artist.
NOTE: The Gold Museum is closed on Mondays and the Botero Museum is closed on Tuesdays.
Later, driven through the northern residential area of the city and through the fertile plateau to the small colonial town of Cajicá, where a short stop will be made at the main plaza. Lunch included. After a hearty lunch the tour continues to the town of Zipaquirá famous for its underground salt cathedral. Experience this extraordinary architecture where the Stations of the Cross and three naves are eerily illuminated along with other sculptures and cavernous pools; all hewn from the salt mine tunnels under the Halite Mountains. Though a popular tourist destination it is still a place of pilgrimage for the local community.
Return and overnight in Bogotá.
Breakfast at the hotel and depart Bogotá, driving north and taking the Pan-American Highway towards the legendary Sacred Lake of Guatavita. This is where the legendary ancient Muiscas Indian ritual of the Golden Man, "El Dorado" was born. Covered in gold dust, the chief of the tribe would leap from the ceremonial raft into the sacred lake as masked shamans chanted and sprinkled the waters with gold and emerald offerings to their gods. This ritual disappeared long before the arrival of the Spanish, but the legend enticed hordes of conquistadors and looters to this lake in the Colombian Andes. They reasoned; a gold-covered man must surely be from a city of gold.
There will be an hour and a half to walk around the lagoon and reflect on the myth which Colombia can claim as a credible source of El Dorado above any other South American country. The tour will then continue to the town of Guatavita Nueva, built completely in 1967 in colonial style architecture when the old town was submerged by Tomine reservoir, constructed to contain water for Bogotá. After a comprehensive visit return to Bogotá; and on the way, a typical regional lunch which is included in the tour.
NOTE: The Natural Park where the lake is located is closed on Mondays
Return and overnight in Bogotá.
Breakfast and transfer to airport for flight to Leticia. On arrival at Leticia airport, met and escorted for the transfer to the pier. A motorboat will then travel along the Amazon and Javari rivers for approximately three hours to the Natural Reserve HELICONIA in the Brazilian territory. The Camp covers 15 hectares and is located deep in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by three lakes. The eco-lodge has four log cabins built in style of an indigenous Indian cabana. Each room has two – four beds and a private bath. This is a prospect to intimately experience the Amazon rainforest at close quarters. Dinner and overnight stay in Heliconia Reserve.
Breakfast and then by boat to visit the Indian community of Santa Rita to observe their culture and way of life; afterwards visit of the village of Palmari where a community of indigenous Indians live. Experience and learn more about this native society. It will also be an opportunity to take a refreshing bath. After visit return to Heliconia for lunch and an afternoon jungle walk to learn about the flora and fauna of the ecosystem in the Amazon. Return to camp for dinner and overnight.
Breakfast and morning free to rest before lunch. There will be an afternoon boat excursion along rivers and lakes to observe the freshwater pink or gray dolphins and learn about their preservation and how they coexist with humans in the Amazon.
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
lunch and afternoon jungle walk to observe how sap is extracted from the gum tree (Also known as the Chicle tree, hence the term 'chiclets' for chewing gum). The Amazon rainforest is also home to a diversity of medicinal plants and there will be an opportunity to learn more about their properties on this tour.
Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Breakfast and return by boat to Leticia for transfer to airport for flight to Bogotá and connection to next destination.