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Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

Learn the art of ceviche in Cartagena, take part in an indigenous spiritual cleansing ritual & explore the stunning beaches of Tayrona National Park

Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

7 Days | From £1890

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • Important Notes

Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

Learn the art of ceviche in Cartagena, take part in an indigenous spiritual cleansing ritual & explore the stunning beaches of Tayrona National Park

Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

About your trip

Tropical beaches, steamy jungle, exquisite cities & vibrant culture…Colombia’s coast is best explored at Caribbean pace.

Take it easy as you travel from colonial Cartagena – the jewel in Colombia’s crown – to historic Santa Marta, where the soaring Sierra Nevada mountains plunge into the turquoise sea beyond. You’ll stop by Barranquilla, famed for its colourful carnival (and birthplace of Shakira), and kick back on the wild, boulder-strewn sands of Tayrona National Park.

Over seven immersive days, you’ll learn the art of ceviche making, snorkel in crystalline bays and connect with the region’s Afro-Colombian rhythms in a hands-on drumming workshop. You’ll meet the spiritual leader of the Tayronaka indigenous community to take part in a ritual cleansing and spend your evenings sipping cocktails with new-found friends under the Caribbean sun.

Sound dreamy? We think so.

What's Included

  • Max 14 travellers per group
  • Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
  • All activities mentioned on the itinerary
  • 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Hand-picked 3-4 star hotels
  • Private minibus
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip

Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.

Itinerary

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Your Itinerary

  • Day 01 Ceviche in Cartagena

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    Welcome to Cartagena. This picture-perfect port town filled with colonial architecture makes an ideal introduction to Colombia. Touching down at the airport, a private Flash Pack transfer will be waiting to take you to your hotel in the buzzing downtown neighbourhood of Getsemaní, which inspired Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Love in the time of Cholera. Savour the pretty doors and well-preserved wooden balconies, overflowing with bougainvillea, as you stroll through the cobblestone streets to a local restaurant for dinner. Tonight, you’ll get to know your group as you learn how to prepare ceviche – the first of three delicious courses – and raise a toast of aguardiante (sugar cane spirit) to a week of adventure to come. 

  • Day 02 Drumming by the beach

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    Spend your first morning immersed in local life at the vibrant fishing village of La Boquilla. The community here earns a living from the abundant seafood that’s found in the maze of coastal mangroves, bordering the Caribbean Sea. You’ll have the option to take a scenic boat ride* with a local fisherman, who will show you how to cast a net the traditional way and catch crabs using artisanal traps. Back on dry land, join the villagers for a drumming workshop and learn how their vibrant folk music – such as cumbia, mapale and champeta – connects them with their African roots. A free afternoon in Cartagena awaits: walk the centuries-old ramparts for views of the old Spanish buildings and find a spot to watch the sunset over the bay, sundowner in hand. *Not included.  

  • Day 03 Barranquilla's carnival vibe

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    After breakfast and some fresh Colombian coffee, soak up the tropical scenery as you road trip to Tayrona National Park. En route, you’ll stop by the bustling town of Barranquilla, famed for its spectacular carnival: a swirling four-day celebration of parades, music, dancing and street parties, second only to Rio for its colour and size. You’ll visit the interactive Carnival Museum to get a sense of this great festivity before a typical local lunch overlooking the vast Rio Magdalena delta. Your destination tonight is a secluded jungle retreat, just outside the park itself, with a trail leading down to the beach. There’s something special in store tonight, but that’s all we’ll say for now. 

  • Day 04 Beach beauty in Tayrona National Park

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    Rise early for a full day exploring one of Colombia’s most beautiful national parks: a stunning slice of mountainous jungle, vast boulders and golden-white sand lapped by the Caribbean Sea. Sealed off by the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – the world’s highest coastal mountain range – much of the park remains inaccessible by road, so you’ll hop aboard a private boat to seek out a quiet cove. Here, you’ll spend an idyllic day snorkelling in the calm, crystalline water and picnicking under palm trees on fish, fried plantain, coconut rice and salad. Be sure to spend a mindful moment taking it all in: this is what you came to Colombia for. Later, you’ll travel on to the coastal city of Santa Marta where your next hotel awaits.        

  • Day 05 A free day in Santa Marta

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    We’ve left today free for you to choose your own activities. Perhaps you’ll spend some time exploring Colombia’s oldest Hispanic city, with its well-preserved historic centre and long sweep of sandy beach. Or maybe you’ll escape the heat with an inland excursion to the pretty highland village of Minca. Surrounded by thick cloud forest and soaring mountain peaks, the area is famed for its organic coffee production and huge variety of birds and you can spend a relaxed day visiting a local finca, spotting wildlife, lazing in a giant hammock and swimming in jungle waterfalls. Whatever you choose, your Pack Leader will be on hand to help arrange a local tour.  

  • Day 06 Take part in a tribal ritual

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    Colombia has over 100 indigenous groups, many of whom live in remote collectively-owned reserves. Today, you’ll have the chance to experience their unique culture and rich heritage with a visit to the Tayronaka community. Together with a local guide, you’ll take a short boat ride to a puebla indígena where you’ll see how the Kogui tribe lives in harmony with nature. Sitting around a tree, a sacred space, you’ll have the chance to speak with the spiritual leader and take part in a ritual cleansing – a life-affirming experience. Back in Santa Marta, you’ll gather for a final farewell dinner. Raise a toast with your fellow Flashpackers to the incredible adventures you’ve shared. 

  • Day 07 Farewell, Colombia

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    All too soon, your Colombian adventure has come to an end and it’s time to make your way to the airport for your onward flight. It might have only been a week but you’ll have made memories – and friends – to last a lifetime, and been immersed in a totally new culture. If you’ve fallen in love with South America, why not check out our other Flash Pack adventures? You could find yourself making wine in Argentina, whitewater rafting in Chile or searching for jaguars in Brazil. Our Trip Experts are ready and waiting to make it happen.     

Our Favourite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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Open Social House Getsemaní, Cartagena

This big, beautiful eco-hotel in one of Cartagena’s coolest neighbourhoods is full of personality and feel-good vibes. Earthy colours, exposed brickwork and walls draped with plants add a touch of modern Colombian style, while the beautiful roof-top pool offers outstanding Old Town views.

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Hotel Villa Maria, Tayrona Los Naranjos

Set within 45 acres of wild, tropical jungle, Villa Maria is an ideal base for exploring Tayrona National Park. The original colonial house is 200 years old, while local artisans created the surrounding bamboo thatched villas. Expect excellent sea views, a refreshing pool and forest trails leading down to the beach.

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AC Mariott, Santa Marta

A slick city centre hotel, just 2 minutes from the beach, featuring light-filled modern rooms in calm neutral tones. Floor-to-ceiling windows come as standard offering impressive ocean views – particularly from the upper floors where you’ll also find the rooftop sundeck, complete with gorgeous outdoor pool.  

Important Notes

Which airport do I need to fly into? Plus airport code

Fly into Rafael Nuñez International Airport (CTG) in Cartagena and fly out of Simón Bolívar International Airport (SMR) in Santa Marta.

Do I need a visa?

You do not need a visa if you’re visiting as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada for up to 90 days. Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires you to have a visa. 

Between 24 hours and one hour before departure, you must fill out the ‘Check-Mig’ form, available on the Migración Colombia website. You will receive a confirmation email that you will need to present upon arrival in Colombia.

We recommend that you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport and can show a return ticket.

What time should my flight arrive? (so arrive in time for the welcome meeting)

Before 5 pm ideally. The welcome meeting and dinner will be from 7 pm onwards starting at the hotel, which is located approximately 30 minutes away from the airport.

What time should my flight depart on the last day?

There are no activities planned for the last day, so leave any time you wish.

Are airport transfers included?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

We don’t offer a departure transfer as Flashpackers leave at different times of the day and many stay for extra nights. Your Pack Leader will offer you support with finding a local taxi.

Are tips included?

Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:

  • Pack Leader: 10 USD per day
  • Drivers: 3 USD per day
  • Local tips: your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip local guides, restaurants, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.

However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.

How much should I budget per day for extras?

We already include most meals however we recommend around 150,000 COP, the equivalent of 30 GBP / 40 USD per day for extras.

 

Is Colombia safe for tourists?

Yes, and even more so on a guided group tour with Flash Pack. Colombia is one of the world’s friendliest countries, and whilst there are dangerous areas, your tour has been carefully planned with the help of expert Pack Leaders on the ground. We’re confident you’ll get nothing but enjoyment from your time in Colombia.

What fitness levels do I need for this trip?

Overall, the trip is relatively relaxed so only a moderate level of fitness is required for walking around cities and a 2.5 kilometre hike through the jungle.

We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.

Can I take a day trip to the Rosario Islands?

If you want to visit the Rosario Islands, we recommend booking a pre-night at the start of your trip as the islands are best visited from Cartagena.

Will the itinerary change?

Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.

OUR PROMISE

Joining the Flash Pack comes with a few special guarantees

THE PEOPLE

Our mission is to create 1 million friendships, so we obsess over the group dynamic. Everyone is aged 30-49, 98% travel solo & 80% stay friends.
Want to know more about your group?
Get in touch.

THE SECURITY

We operate using a 3rd party trust bank account, meaning we guarantee refunds in 14 days if your trip has to be cancelled.
Book with confidence.

THE TRIPS

Our trips are made up of ‘can’t-do-by-yourself’ experiences – think staying on your own private island in the Arctic and glamping in Land Rovers on the Serengeti.
See trips.

THE GUIDES

We only work with trusted local guides who know their destinations better than anyone.
Meet your Pack Leaders.

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