Deluxe Kosher Tours 2020, Winter Vacations in Cartegena, Colombia
February 2-10, 2020
SUNDAY/FEBRUARY 2nd/DAY 1 Cartagena (Arrival)
Walled City carriage tour
Upon arrival at the airport in Cartagena, we’ll transfer to our hotel. In the evening, we’ll head out for a special tour of the walled city of Cartagena’s Old Town. Six miles of ancient walls surround the area. They were built centuries ago to protect against pirate attacks. In our horse-drawn carriage, we’ll view the wonders of old Cartagena by night. As we travel through the historic district, we’ll see the remarkable Spanish colonial architecture, smell the fresh bougainvillea, and enjoy the night breezes. After our tour, we’ll stop for dinner at a local restaurant, then return by private car to the hotel.
MONDAY/FEBRUARY 3rd/DAY 2 Cartagena
Cartagena city tour
After breakfast, we’ll visit a nearby church and monastery. The Monasterio and Iglesia de la Popa were once known as the Popa del Galeon because of the complex’s resemblance to a galleon ship. The church and monastery were built in 1606 and overlook the city and busy port, providing the most panoramic views of the city and surrounding area.
Next we’ll visit the San Felipe Fortress. One of the oldest buildings in all of Colombia, it was built in honor of Cartagena’s most famous poet, Don Luis Carlos López. Atop San Lázaro hill, the fortress was constructed to withstand pirate attacks in earlier centuries. The fortress castle contains many underground passageways and galleries.
We’ll spend some time in the old city, Ciudad Vieja, where we’ll tour the Convent and Church of San Pedro Claver, built in the middle of the 17th century. The skeletal remains of the saint for whom it was named are interred at the main altar. The church features a lovely courtyard, an impressive organ, and beautiful stained glass windows.
From there we’ll travel to the Bovedas handicrafts zone. Used centuries ago to house armaments and serve as a prison, the area is a series of archways that were built into the city’s walls. Today it is an artisan center that displays colorful local handicrafts.
We’ll have lunch, then head to Cartagena’s colonial district. At the heart of it lies Bolivar Park, which features a statue of the country’s Liberator, Simon Bolivar. Fountains and trees fill the lovely park. Natives ride through the park on llamas, and it’s a nice place to people-watch. Nearby is the city’s Gold Museum, which contains archeological treasures from the pre-Hispanic period. We’ll also stop at the Inquisition Palace, the long-ago site of torture chambers for alleged Catholic Church heretics. Its beautiful façade and baroque door belie the horrors that once lay within.
While in the area, we’ll also stop by the Santo Domingo Church, where we’ll learn about the activist priests who protected slaves and Indians; the Cathedral, the Terraplenes or embankments, and the Museum of the City’s Fortifications.
Then we’ll return to the hotel for our overnight accommodations.
TUESDAY/FEBRUARY 4th/DAY 3 Cartagena
Individual activities/day tour
After breakfast, everyone will have a full free day to pursue individual activities. Individuals may wish to look into available day tours, such as a visit to the Archipiélago del Rosario. Also known as the Coral Islands of Rosario, this group of thirty islets is a national park that serves to guard the area’s diverse wildlife, marine life, and coral reefs.
We’ll stay overnight again in Cartagena.
WEDNESDAY/FEBRUARY 5th/DAY 4 Cartagena – Pereira
After breakfast this morning, we’ll make our transfer to the local airport to depart for Pereira, by way of Bogotá. After our arrival, we’ll transfer to our hotel for overnight accommodations.
THURSDAY/FEBRUARY 6th/DAY 5
Pereira – Valle del Cocora – Salento — Filandia – Pereira
Parque Nacional de los Nevados, Valle del Cocora trout farm, Salento city tour, Filandia city tour
After breakfast, we’ll depart Pereira for a full day of sightseeing. First we’ll travel to the Valle de Cocora. Located in the central mountains of Quindio, this valley lies in the Parque Nacional de los Nevados. In this lush park setting are a wide variety of native flora and funa, from the tall Quindian wax palm to the endangered palm parrot. To explore the valley’s immense biodiversity, we’ll head into the “cloud forest,” named for the ever-present mist that clings to the cool, mountainous area. It can be reached either by horseback or hiking trails. When we head out of the forest, we’ll cross the Quindio River, shaded by tall wax palms.
After lunch, we’ll travel the short distance to Salento and take a tour around the town. It has retained more of its Spanish colonial architecture than almost any other municipality in Colombia. Stops will include a visit to the Plaza de Bolivar, where buildings with colorful balconies line the streets and shops display local handicrafts.
From Salento, we’ll transfer to the village of Filandia. Our tour of the village will include its many colonial homes, its own Plaza de Bolivar, and coffee shops that feature the country’s most famous export. The views of the surrounding countryside are charming, particularly from the mirador, or viewing tower, overlooking the Cauca Valley.
Finally, we’ll head back to Pereira and return to our hotel for an overnight stay.
FRIDAY/FEBRUARY 7th/DAY 6 | Pereira – Coffee Region – Bogotá (B)
Coffee plantation tour
This morning, we’ll leave after breakfast for a visit to Colombia’s prime coffee region. In the steep hills of this area, numerous coffee plantations can be found. Our drive takes us through verdant fields of coffee plants, surrounded by heliconia flowers and fincas. When we arrive at the Alto de La Paz, we’ll take a break to enjoy the beautiful views of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Next, we’ll travel to one of the coffee haciendas to tour the plantation and see the coffee production system, from the harvest to the sun drying and treatment. The rich volcanic land in this central Andes Mountain region makes the area perfect for coffee growing. First we’ll visit the hacienda’s homestead, where we’ll receive an introductory chat about coffee preparation and toasting, as well as learn about the characteristics and properties of the best coffees. Then we’ll tour the grounds and see the coffee pickers at work. A lot of work goes into making Colombian coffee the best in the world, and we’ll see the whole cycle in action.
In the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the airport and catch our flight to Bogotá. Once we arrive, we’ll transfer to our hotel for check-in and our overnight accommodations and prepare for Shabbat with the community.
SHABBAT/FEBRUARY 8th/DAY 7 |
Shabbat enjoyed at leisure with Jewish community in Bogota .
SUNDAY/FEBRUARY 9th/DAY 8
Bogotá — Zipaquirá – La Candelaria — Bogotá
Salt Cathedral, La Candelaria tour
In the morning we’ll depart Bogotá and head north to Zipaquirá. We’ll travel through the Bogatá savannah, where we’ll see acres and acres of flowers. Flower production is one of the area’s most important industries.
When we reach Zipaquirá, we’ll visit the amazing Salt Cathedral, a major feat of engineering. It gets its name from the fact that the building and surrounding tunnels were carved out of saline rock. In the midst of the salt mines, the cathedral emerges in a tunnel that features the Stations of the Cross and travels to a lighted dome, under which are intricate naves and a main altar, atop which is an enormous cross carved from salt – the largest such object in the world. In the mine itself, an auditorium hosts everything from fashion shows to film screenings.
During our excursion, we’ll have lunch, then begin the next leg of our trip. We’ll head to Bogotá’s historic center, known as La Candelaria. Its rich cultural heritage and Spanish colonial architecture make it a treat for any history buff. We’ll tour the main square, the Plaza de Bolivar, where a statute of Simon Bolivar is found – one of many in city squares throughout the country. This square is a former bullring, execution site, and marketplace. Along the plaza are many sites worth visiting, including a cathedral that houses a significant collection of religious artifacts. Colonial religious art is also found at the nearby Capilla del Sagrario. The Capitol building is worth a tour, as its architecture displays both Renaissance and neoclassical influences. Other buildings around the plaza include the Palace of Justice, the mayor’s offices, San Bartolome School, and the Casa de los Comuneros. We’ll make a stop at the Botero Museum, featuring Fernando Botero’s own art and estimable pieces from his private collection, including works by Monet, Picasso, Dali, and others. A stop at the Gold Museum will allow us to see the museum’s permanent exhibition of over 32,000 gold pieces, and over 20,000 precious stones.
After a busy day visiting many of Bogotá’s most representative sites, we’ll transfer to the airport for our overnight flight home
MONDAY/FEBRUARY 10th/DAY 9 | Arrival Back to USA
Arrive back in the USA after an enjoyable and educational week in Colombia’s coffee region and some of its most lovely cities.
COST PER PERSON
$5,995 based on double occupancy
- Includes air fare from: New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. Airfares available from other cities upon request.
- 3 Kosher Meals Daily
- All airport transfers
- Private Sightseeing as described with all admission fees with an English speaking tour guide
- Services of an English speaking tour escort throughout the trip