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Colombia. Rainbow river, humpback whales, volcano climbing

Colombia. Rainbow river, humpback whales, volcano climbing


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Location: Сolombia, South America

Altitude: up to 4760 m

Grade: Moderate

Fitness level: Good

Route:  Bogota – La Macarena – San Jose del Guaviare – Pitalito – San Agustin – Popayan – Purace volcano – Cali – Guapi – Gorgona Island, 7 to 9 flights included

Travel period: August – October

Duration: 18 days

Pat Falvey Irish and Worldwide Adventures limited is bonded and fully licenced by the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation, TA0791.

Dates 2023

This trip to Colombia is not a classic "gringo" trail. We will see places, mostly hidden from ordinary tourists, recently open to foreigners, remote in the jungles, separated by rivers and bad roads. Whales, river dolphins, howler monkeys, ara parrots, condors in they natural habitat, all this is really amazing.

  • Feel like a pioneer in the deep jungle of Guaviare where we will discover rock paintings of ancient indigenous people of Amazonia civilizations
  • Watch whales and exotic birds on Gorgona Island, before being Colombia's high-profile jail
  • Look at the thousands of pre-columbian gold masterpieces in the most interesting Gold Museum in the world
  • Climb the most active Purace volcano 4756 meters above sea level



Day 1: Fly Ireland – Bogota

Day 2-4:

evening in Bogota, La Macarena National Park, caimans, monkeys, anteaters, birds, jungle waterfalls

We begin our small group trip to Colombia in the capital, Bogota and check into a hotel in the center. We will have dinner at the hotel or in the Zona Rosa area enjoying traditional food – fresh fish and shrimp ceviche, potato and chicken ahiyako soup, and bandeha paisa – rice with beans and several types of meat. Surpsired that the food is not spicy? Luckily, they have traditional aji sauce.

In the morning we fly to La Macarena National Park by a small plane (an hour and a half flight). We check into a bungalow in the park and meet our loca guides. The most famous place here is the Caño Cristales River, which is also called the liquid rainbow because of the colored algae. The spectacle is mesmerizing!

We ride the boat on the Guayabero River and walk along its former bed, meeting caimans, several species of monkeys, anteaters, rare species of birds and dozens of kinds of orchids. Next, we walk in the wild jungle, feeling like the pioneers of the wild. We will try to reach the waterfall to finish this beautiful day in the refreshing natural pool.

Day 4-8:

walks in Bogota, the main Gold Museum in the world, rock paintings, river dolphins

We fly to Bogota, and check into a hotel. Time to explore the city, founded by the Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. Let`s enjoy the beautiful colonial architecture, and observe the local life. Save your “wows” for the biggest Museum of Gold in the world. It houses thousands of masterpieces of pre-Columbian civilisations. For example, we will be dazzled by the famous Muisca raft depicting the coronation of the king.

The next day we fly to San Jose del Guaviare, where we will continue our group trip to Colombia. Here we will admire unusual rock paintings left by the people who lived here 10-12 thousand years ago! These places were opened to foreigners only in 2016. Prior to that, the region was controlled by Marxist militants who fought with the government.

In the jungle of Guaviare, we will also see many wild animals – river dolphins – common and pink, caimans, monkeys and many birds, and if we are lucky – nocturnal cats and sloths. On the last day we return to Bogota (night bus trip of 8-9 hours), and after lunch fly to Pitalito.

Day 9-10:

San Agustin National Park, ancient sculptures and tombs, waterfalls, Popayan city, hot springs

Our guided tour to Colombia takes us to the San Agustin National Park (1 hour on the way). This is one of the most mysterious places in Latin America – a mountain forest boasting more than six hundred ancient sculptures created about two thousand years ago. The civilization that left them disappeared even before the conquest of these lands by the Incas, leaving no written evidence. Scientists have not even been able to determine the purpose of these sculptures. Who knows if more information will be revealed? After all, out of 50 square kilometers of the park, only a tiny part has been excavated and explored…

In the park, we will also visit the plateau of idols with ancient tombs, swim in refreshing waterfalls, and enjoy views from several observation decks. We will spend the night in Popayan (2 hours on the way), a colonial city founded in 1537 by the Spanish conquistadors. We will spend the day, exploring the pleasant streets and relax in the hot springs of Termales de Coconuco.

Day 11-13:

Purace volcano, Cali city, colonial architecture, salsa

We wake up early in anticipation of the miracle – today we will conquer the Purace volcano! Jeeps take us to an altitude of 3500 meters. Then we will walk along the grey lifeless lava field. Over the past hundred years, Purace has erupted a record ten times and somewhat calmed down in 1977. We admire the views of all 14 craters and a jungle covered with haze under our feet. Finally, we reach the top, where we might be greeted by snow. We did it! In the evening, tired but happy we hike down to the jeeps and return to the hotel.

We continue our guided tour to Colombia and leave for Cali (4 hours on the way) – the “capital” of Southern Colombia, the birthplace of the world famous dance – salsa. We will spend two nights and one day here enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, dancing, cathedrals, restaurants and clubs. Do not forget about the local cuisine – let`s try the sweet fruits of the “peach” palm tree chontadurro, juice from the exotic fruit lulo and sugar cane, and carne a la llanera – pork shoulder fried over an open fire.

Day 14-17:

Guapi town, Gorgona island, humpback and blue whales, turtles, sloths, monkeys, venomous frogs, diving

We fly to Guapi (30 minutes) – a sleepy town on the Pacific coast. From here, expeditions to Gorgona Island start (about 2 hours by speedboat). Until 1984, the island served as a prison for two thousand of Colombia’s most dangerous criminals. Now it is a nature reserve with a research center and a small hotel where we will stay.

We will meet with humpback and blue whales, which in August come to these places from the cold waters of Antarctica to give birth. Adult whales reach 12-18 meters in length and weigh up to 40 tons! We will also see whale sharks, turtles and walk around the island, meeting monkeys, sloths and reptiles. The latter include, for example, the world’s most venomous frogs. Local Indians used their mucus to lubricate arrows. Those who wish can go diving and enjoy the underwater.

On the 15th day, we return to Guapi and fly to Bogota via Cali. If you have time before your flight home pay attention to souvenirs – traditional vivid textiles, famous Columbian emeralds and coffee. Our group trip to Colombia has come to an end. Thank you for exploring with us!



 Day 18: Departure to Ireland

Note: Land-only option – arrive at the hotel on the afternoon on Day 2. Depart from hotel upon checkout of Day 18.

Note: This itinerary is subject to change



Contact us for more dates if the above dates don’t suit you.

Note: Minimum group size of two applies for the above dates. If you are interested in traveling to Kilimanjaro on dates other than those listed, we would be delighted to organize the trip for whatever dates you wish for groups of two or more people.


Land-only €3,850

Flight prices will be quoted when booking your adventure.

If you are booking your own Flight, please ensure you arrive on time before our adventure briefing.

Include international flights allow from €1000 

Deposit: €500 due at time of booking


  • Ireland – Colombia – Ireland international flights
  • Airport pick-ups
  • All accommodation is based on twin sharing of rooms (if you require single accommodation, please let us know, and we will advise of additional cost)
  • National Park entry fees (these are subject to government change. If this happens, the excess will be added to the overall cost)
  • All types of transportation during the trip, buses, planes, boats, taxi, hired vehicles
  • All guide fees
  • Breakfasts at hotels, full meal plan at Macarena National Park and Gorgona National park
  • Group Zoom meeting before departure


  • Visa fee, if necessary
  • Mandatory travel insurance
  • Meals en route before and after final destination
  • Bar bills, tips and laundry
  • Personal gear
  • Medication
  • Insurance liability and hospital costs
  • Independent flights: Pick-up and drop-off costs to the airport are not included
  • Our trips are designed to avoid any extra cost to the client. If you choose to leave the trip early, there will be additional expenses.
  • Optional extras

If you wish to arrange and pay for your own flight to Colombia, we will meet you at the airport. Full refund applies only if cancellation is received and acknowledged 5 weeks prior to departure. For bookings where flights have to be paid for in advance, the flight cost is non-refundable once paid.


Climbing to Kilimanjaro’s summit is physically and mentally challenging but with the help of our experienced guides and leaders, it is a challenge that can be met by most fit people. The climb does not require any technical mountaineering skills and Kili is classified as a trekking peak, suitable to all and one that can be achieved by a beginner with training. A good level of fitness and some experience on a mountain is recommended prior to departure. You will enjoy your trip a lot more if you have prepared well.

We recommend that you attend our free Meet Weekend in County Kerry to say hello to the group and meet with our guides. This is an ideal opportunity to check out your fitness levels when you are assessed by our experienced guides on this preparatory hill walk. The day also provides a good opportunity to get any questions answered or concerns dealt with that you may have in relation to the trip. We talk about dealing with altitude and different weather conditions as well as giving tips on gear and general training.

We consider ourselves among the world’s leading experts in high-altitude trekking and pride ourselves on putting together trips that provide the best possible opportunity to succeed. Acclimatisation is key to success and it’s important that you don’t underestimate the time you allow yourself to adjust to your new environment. Pace is key to preventing AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and our guides monitor the group at all times for signs and symptoms.

On the Saturday of our Meet Weekend we climb one of Ireland’s highest peaks during the day while, very early on Sunday morning, we undertake a night hike. The hike simulates the requirements on the summit day/night of the actual trek, taking you out of your comfort zone and helping you learn how to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead.

For beginners, we offer fitness testing weekends and a variety of hillwalking options (see our Courses &Training section) and recommend a 12-month personal training programme for Everest Base Camp. If you have some degree of fitness and experience, we recommend a six-month training programme to ensure that you can trek comfortably between 4,000m and 6,000m. Our suggested programme is as follows:

  • Months 1-2: These should include fortnightly hillwalking treks lasting three hours and including carrying a small/medium pack weighing 5kg approx.
  • Months 3-4: Increase your fortnightly treks to last six hours plus and increase your pack weight to 7kg approx.
  • Month 5: Do two walks on consecutive days twice during the month. Do a five-hour walk the first day and a six-hour trek the second day. Be careful to avoid injury.
  • Month 6: Continue with some hillwalking but reduce to lower peaks and durations of a maximum of four hours.

Ask your GP for advice on vaccinations, keeping in mind your travel history to date. You are required to have a valid and up-to-date Vaccination Card (yellow in colour) approved for the destination. You can get this from your doctor.

You will need a valid full passport. Please ensure it has six months before expiry prior your departure date. All visitors are obliged to get a visa at the airport in Tanzania so please ensure you have four passport-size photos of yourself before we depart.

It is advisable to bring some money in cash for the trip. ATMs are not always reliable or might have a low daily withdrawal limit. Once en route, Euro or US Dollars in cash are the best way to pay for services including porters, tips, etc.


This part one of gear required and packing for Kilimanjaro by world-renowned explorer and adventurer Pat Falvey.

If you have any questions please email or call +353 64 6644181.

Clothing: gear list

  • Lightweight, long thermal underwear – tops and bottoms
  • Short and long-sleeved t-shirts
  • Expedition-weight long underwear – tops and bottoms
  • Fleece jacket – mid-weight to heavy-weight; wind stopper an advantage
  • Fleece trousers
  • Parka jacket – down or synthetic parka with hood
  • Jacket – waterproof and breathable
  • Over-trousers, waterproof and breathable


  • Sun hat with good visor and white bandana or buff for protecting your neck
  • Balaclava/facemask – 1, lightweight
  • Wool or pile ski hat
  • Head torch (inc. spare bulbs & spare batteries); suggested: Petzl LED
  • Sunglasses – UV & IR protection




  • Large duffel bag 100 litre
  • Smaller duffel with a lock to store excess gear in the hotel
  • Plastic bags to line stuff sacks to keep gear dry or a dry bag
  • Travel clothes
  • Travel towel
  • Toiletry bag
  • Camera gear

Miscellaneous items:


Pat Falvey Irish and Worldwide Adventures limited is bonded and fully licenced by the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation, TA0791.

Our passion for your adventure treks and expedition is one of the defining characteristics of Pat Falvey Irish & Worldwide Adventures. We love what we do, the places we travel to and the people we work with in each destination. After 25 years of worldwide travel, we remain curious about learning more and retain our delight in sharing what we know with you. We are a hands-on company whose staff are available to answer your queries both inside and outside usual office hours.

Our staff and partners in Nepal, Russia, Africa, Argentina, Peru and Antarctica are as close to us as family members and share our enthusiasm for your trips. We see their work as a vital part of each adventure and have always ensured that local staff, most of whom have worked with Pat for many years, are fairly and honourably treated. The experience and expertise of everyone who works with us is guaranteed and makes for adventures that are high on safety, support and good fun.

Our company is one of the world’s leading experts in high-altitude trekking in remote regions and we pride ourselves in putting together trips that give you the best possibility of success on your adventure. To ensure this, we have a comprehensive acclimatisation formula, designed to maximise each person’s chances of completing their trek without falling prey to the effects of high altitude or acute mountain sickness (AMS). Our guides closely monitor the group at all times for symptoms of the effects of high altitude and are always ready to take the necessary precautions when necessary.

We are not only willing to go the extra mile to make your trip our priority, we are happy to do so.

Travel Insurance

Check out our Special Travel Insurance for World Travel, Trekking, and Walking – Highly Recommended

We can recommend our preferred partnered Accident & General for this new travel insurance policy which covers trekking up to 6000 meters but does not cover technical climbing. Please check out the policy details and cover.

Insurance Cover Webinar with great advice:

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