Sarah’s 40th Birthday in Colombia

Valle del Cocora, Colombia / Crown / Unsplash

Day 1 – Thursday, March 21: Arrive in Bogota

Bogota / Random Institute / Unsplash
Bogota / Random Institute / Unsplash

Arrive in Bogota on your international flight from Houston. A 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. flight (United 209 – $892) will give you the day to acclimate and rest before starting your hikes. You have a few hotel options while in the city:

  • Hotel de la Opera: Nothing fancy, but a nice hotel in Bogota’s downtown historic district.
  • Hotel Casa Legado: Cool boutique hotel created by a local interior designer.
  • Four Seasons Casa Medina: Luxury hotel in a colonial building. Starting at $550/nt, so Not as expensive as other Four Seasons.

Spend the afternoon exploring the historical city and dining out.

Day 2 – Friday, March 22: Bogota and Sumapaz National Park

Luis Alejandro Bernal / Flickr
Luis Alejandro Bernal / Flickr

Sumapaz National Park is a tropical mountain protected area only two hours south of Bogota. Your driver will pick you up in the morning for a day of hiking to warm up. A picnic lunch will be provided. There are some beautiful trails, but we can select one that is not too difficult to prevent altitude sickness. Return to Bogota in the afternoon.

Day 3 – Saturday, March 23: To the Coffee Triangle

Wake in the morning, and your driver will pick you up to take you to the Bogota airport, where you will catch a short flight to Armenia. From there, drive another 45 minutes to Salento and your hotel. The area is one of Colombia’s biggest coffee-producing regions. You have a couple of good hotel options in the area:

  • KAWA Mountain Retreat – A sustainable eco-retreat close to the Cocora Valley Trails.
  • Bio Habitat Hotel – This is a luxury yoga retreat in the area, but the prices only run around $200/nt.

Spend the afternoon exploring the area around your hotel and/or taking a yoga class.

Day 4 – Sunday, March 24: Cocora Valley

You can spend your days in the Cocora Valley on day hikes or overnight treks. The Cocora Valley Loop is a scenic 7-mile hike through farms and wax palm forests.

If you want to do an overnight trek, you would start it on this day for or do it instead of El Nido del Condor. These are some details on one option from my partner in Colombia:

You will spend two days hiking through the Andes region of Colombia, passing through rain forest and Páramo ecosystems. You will get to enjoy the birds singing in their natural habitat and contemplate the mighty peaks of the Andean mountains. This is an experience where you will have the opportunity to become deeply familiar with the traditions and customs of the peasant families living in the mountains. It will be an enriching and ideal trip for trekkers, it is suitable for families or couples as it is not a demanding trek. It is a perfect combination of traditional and ancestral trails together with communities. Day one covers 10-16km depending on your preference. You will spend the night at a homestay. On your second day you will be continuing the trek through the beautiful landscapes of the Colombian Andes. This day you will walk 13 km to familiarise yourself with some of the old traditional trails and the páramo ecosystem. At the end of the trek a jeep willys will take you back to Salento.

Wax Palms in Cocora Valley, Colombia / Pexels

Day 5 – Monday, March 25: Cocora or Los Nevados National Park

There are plenty of trails to occupy you in the Cocora Valley. You could also visit a coffee or avocado farm on this day if you aren’t trekking.

Day 6 – Tuesday, March 26: Drive to El Nido del Condor

El Nido del Condor
El Nido del Condor

Awake in the morning for a 2.5-hour drive north through the Coffee Triangle to El Nido del Condor Lodge. The tented eco-lodge protects the Andean condor habitat and has multiple hiking and mountain biking trails on the property. The lodge is only accessed via a gondola to cross a river.

Day 7 – Wednesday, March 27: El Nido del Condor

Spend your day hiking or mountain biking on the lodge’s extensive trails. Hikes can be anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours and can access mountain fincas for agricultural tours.

Day 8 – Thursday, March 28: Departure

Return to Bogota via an hour-long flight from Manizales for an evening departure to Houston.


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