By Georgie
INSPIRED TRAVEL EXPERIENCES

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Representing the Worlds most inspired travel experiences, united by a belief in the singular power of travel to surprise, delight and transform. 

Posts in Galavanta - Colombia
Cool and colourful Colombia
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The vast and beautiful country of Colombia is bursting with a wealth of spectacular things for families to see and do, and with so many amazing places to explore, it can be hard to know where to start.

If the children are excited by pirates, Cartagena's pirate tales is a must. A place surrounded by iconic fortresses, cannons and historic buildings all with a glorious story to tell - it's the perfect combination of storytelling and sightseeing at its best. Walk the streets of Cartagena's city centre with its colourful houses and plazas, take in the tales of pirate days gone by and taste local fruits and fun street food along the way. Visit the famous Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas where children are presented with their own pirate style sword and gear on entry to take part in a surprise treasure hunt to finish.

Families can connect with nature on a river safari - tubing down the Don Diego river. The river between the city of Santa Marta and the beautiful Tayrona National Park, is located in one of the most bio-diverse areas of the world. As travellers drift down the river, the lush foliage of the surrounding tropics teem with life - birds in flight, jumping fish and howler monkeys shaking their branches and calling out to each other. It's an experience like no other. At the end, a thoughtfully presented picnic arranged by Galavanta awaits on the golden sands, where the river meets the Caribbean sea.

For an experiential city adventure, Medellin is hard to beat. Galavanta can arrange a local street artist to take families through the neighbourhood of Comuna 13. Riding the escalators and Metrocable and admiring its colourful graffiti deepens travellers understanding of the huge transformation and cultural importance of this barrio. Children can learn the history of the city through interactive experiences including painting their own graffiti or visiting the centre of hip-hop and dancing with locals. For the more active families, Arvi Park is a great place for biking and walks in a nature reserve that surrounds the city of Medellin.

For total relaxation in an intimate family setting, Galavanta offer an exclusive private villa in Barichara with a large pool and gardens to unwind and take in the stunning views of the region. Guests can enjoy the delights of an outdoor cinema with a bespoke bar and bonfire dinner hosted by a personal chef. Barichara is perfect for families of all ages; parents can wind down with yoga and massage or take a walk through its beautiful colonial streets. For the more adventurous trekking, biking, rappelling and white-water rafting are also on offer, along with helicopter expeditions through the 2,000-meter deep Chicamocha Canyon.

Feeling the rhythms and roads of Colombia
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Galavanta offer clients a uniquely cultural experience of music, history and elegance in the form of a private concert by Cartagena's Symphonic orchestra, in the magnificently restored Adolfo Mejia Theatre. Built in 1911, with a baroque style in a republican build, the concert hall hosts the city's most glittering events, and is one of both grandeur and exclusivity. Guests enjoy the delights of an exciting new culinary experience with dinner prepared by Proyecto Caribe, two of Colombia's hottest young chefs, renowned for their standout talent and visually stunning culinary flair. The menu is paired with a set played by the Symphonic Orchestra, with a repertoire of some of the most classic songs from Colombia's Caribbean coast, each "marinated" with a dish inspired by the music itself. The whole experience is truly unique, delighting all the senses.

If the focus is more on active adventure, rally driving across the Andes with a professional rally driver delivers in spades. After choosing their vehicle (think old Toyota Land Cruiser from the 80's or a brand new BMW X5), clients depart from Bogota to experience some of Colombia's most dramatic and diverse landscapes. The drive includes the snow-capped peaks of Nevado Santa Isabel set against clear blue skies, where you can vist the thermal baths. They can immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the dramatic deserts and starry skies of Tatacoa or visit Silvia (also known as the Switzerland of the Andes), where the Mizak indigenous community live. It is a drive like no other and ideal for the independently spirited - the rally guide goes in one car and the clients in another. Equipped with radios, GPS, chairs, picnic basket and tables, it's a chance to enjoy coffee breaks and lunch against the backdrop of some of the most stunning views of Colombia.

For those preferring a more bird's eye view, the Sierra Nevada helicopter expedition offers the chance to land in some of the most remote and exotic destinations in the world. Departing from Cartagena, clients fly over the thick tropical rainforest and hover over the ruins of the enigmatic Lost City (Ciudad Perdida). This ancient site is one of Colombia's most remarkably concealed gems, built by the Tayrona tribe in 800AD. A trek to these ruins takes three days, but by helicopter only 20 minutes, and 7 minutes from Casa Galavanta, a stunning private lodge high in the verdant cloud forest. The combination is perfect for those wanting a taste for adventure and raw wilderness, but with the comforts of luxury accommodation. Clients can continue the flight to visit a Kogui indigenous community, a unique cultural exchange few have experienced, before landing on the secluded sandbanks of the Palomino river to spend an afternoon trekking in the jungle, paddle boarding, rafting or kayaking down the river. The trip continues on to the remote Cinto bay of Tayrona reserve, only accessible by boat or air, to enjoy snorkeling, swimming and sundowners on the beach. It's a helicopter expedition uniquely designed and minutely detailed for clients to experience five different areas and ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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COROCORA CAMP - LOS LLANOS WILDLIFE CAMP
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Corocora Camp, in the Llanos Orientales region of Colombia, is an exclusive tented camp set inside a private reserve in the wetlands of Los Llanos. An eco-region famous for its strong cowboy culture as well as its rich wildlife, its remote grasslands have long been a largely unknown destination due to the inaccessibility and lack of lodging options…until now.

Corocora Camp is operated by Galavanta*, and Georgina visited last year and found it to be somewhere exciting and unique. It offers experiences that will thrill even the most worldly travellers.

The Camp

The camp is located in a 9,000-hectare private reserve, 2.5 hours by car from Yopal (there are 5-10 daily flights to Yopal from Bogota). The private reserve is perfect for the discerning, eco-conscious traveller due to its HUGE diversity of wildlife including deer, capybaras, jaguars, pumas, howler monkeys, giant anteaters, pygmy anteaters, anacondas, caimans, piranhas, and over 200 bird species.

The camp is comprised of four sleeping tents with king or twin beds, premium mattresses and linens, en-suite bathroom with flushing lavatories and running shower and a private deck. Unsurpassed views of the savannah and large hammocks suspended in trees all allow for ultimate relaxation and a real feeling of immersion in nature. The social tent is at the centre of the camp, where guests gather for sundowners, meals, and nightcaps around the bonfir

Although the tents are African-made, artisans from rural communities and indigenous tribes throughout Colombia custom-make everything - from natural fibre carpets to intricate baskets, cotton blankets, clay bowls, woven napkins, and hand-painted teapots.

The camp’s chef uses local ingredients and traditional cooking methods to prepare beautifully presented dishes. As every outstanding meal needs to be paired with a good drink, the bar is nicely stocked with 20-year old Colombian rums, single-malt scotches, premium gins and vodkas, and a carefully curated variety of wines.

The Ancient Llanero Culture

The reserve continues to operate as a cattle ranch run by Llaneros, one of the last authentic cowboy cultures in the Americas. Guests can pass the morning with the Llaneros, barefoot riding, herding cattle, learning to use a leather lasso and singing the work chants used to sooth cattle. Finish the day the Llanero way with a traditional parrando; a bonfire dinner with live harp, guitar music and the traditional joropo dance.

Living The ‘Wild’ Life

Corocora Camp offers a wealth of wildlife experiences including walking, horseback riding or 4x4 driving in search of capybaras, jaguars, pumas, howler monkeys, giant anteaters, pygmy anteaters, anacondas, caiman and piranhas to name just a few. For the more adventurous, helicopter expeditions to more remote and inaccessible reserves, offer the opportunity to see pink river dolphins in their natural habitat or rare ecosystems such as the endangered moriche palm forests.

Hosted by expert birding guides, 'twitchers' can enjoy specialised birding programmes and the chance to see over 200 species; while photography enthusiasts can learn new techniques alongside a professional wildlife photographer.

Conservation and Sustainability

Corocora Camp is proud to be the first high-end tourism project in Los Llanos, providing high-value for the communities, minimizing environmental impact and generating funds for conservation projects. Guests can get involved by participating in reforestation projects, visiting neighbouring community projects and helping fund wildlife tagging research projects to help track and study animals’ movements and habits.

The camp is designed to minimize environmental impact. Lights and appliances are powered with solar panels, water is sourced from a deep well, organic waste is composted and glass bottles are recycled.

The Nitty Gritty

Rates start at $490 USD per person, per night including all meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, a personal English-speaking naturalist guide and a local Llanero guide offering private localised experiences such as bush walks and birdwatching. All guests pay a conservation fee of $50 USD per person, per reservation. The minimum stay is 2 nights; the ideal stay is 3 nights.

Dry season (December to March) is characterized by arid landscapes and a higher concentration of wildlife. Temperatures range from 21o to 34oC.

Wet season (April to November) offers lush green landscapes and cooler days. Although there are patches of rain, guests can still enjoy all the activities during their stay.

Getting there Guests fly to Yopal El Alcaravan Airport (5-10 commercial flights daily from Bogota), and then drive 2 hours on paved roads to the reserve, with 30-minute off-roading inside the reserve. There is also an option to take a 20-minute helicopter transfer.

*Although this is a project by Galavanta, Corocora Camp is operated and commercialized separately, and as such we are happy to work with other reputable Colombian DMCs. Please contact hola@corocoracamp.com to request the full rate sheet, activities portfolio and detailed fact sheet.



Holistic healing in the clouds
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Colombia offers the perfect combination of historic sights, glorious weather and picture-perfect landscapes, but it’s also a country brimming with wellness retreats and health-driven escapes that reconnect to nature. Galavanta’s portfolio of signature experiences ensures every traveller’s need for relaxation and meditation is met. Whether it’s in a colonial town, by the Caribbean ocean, or in a cloud forest, every wellness whim is satisfied.

Perched on a hill overlooking the Sierra Nevada mountains, Casa Galavanta is a quiet haven surrounded by coffee fields and cloud forests. Enjoy endless nature walks and hiking for those seeking to disconnect with a busy life and reconnect with their inner harmony. Luxury permeates every feature of this beautiful private lodge. Guests can perfect their sun salutation with Yoga sessions, and wind down with specially curated, healthy meals made by the in-house chef. Here life is calm and easy.

The grand colonial city of Cartagena is abundant with wellbeing options. The Aurum spa at Casa San Augustin offers holistic experiences for all the senses. Massages, scrubs, aromatherapy and treatments are all inspired by Colombian traditions, incorporating locally sourced ingredients: Pure gold, coffee, volcanic mud, emerald-inspired exfoliations, horse chestnut and botanical Naturopathica oils and lotions. After looking after the body, relax the mind at peace-inducing yoga retreats in private colonial villas in the old city or in secluded islands off Cartagena.   

Isla de Providencia is a wonderfully remote, mountainous Caribbean island with a pace of life ideal for deep relaxation, rest and recuperation. The luxury-style Monasterio del Viento is a place where life feels pure and unrushed. The hotel’s gastronomy ensures delicious, healthy meals are served based on local culinary traditions. Wellness activities on offer include riding at the beach, cookery classes, massages, yoga retreats and ecological walks. And with no Wi-Fi in the house, it truly is secluded paradise personified.

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NEW KID ON THE ROMANTIC BLOCK
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Colombia is a romantic's dream and fast emerging as the 'it' destination. The country's energy and colourful character, boutique retreats and design hotels, offer stylish accommodation options a plenty. The very name Cartagena conjures romance and Galavanta's knowledge of Colombia's beautiful, chic cities is unmatched. But there is also much more to Colombia - romance flourishes on white sandy Caribbean beaches, in secret rainforest pockets, on mountain ridges, in cloud forests, on open savannahs and coastal deserts. Colombia truly has something for every romantic. 

The cobbled streets and upmarket restaurants of the iconic Caribbean city of Cartagena, have long drawn couples seeking a romantic retreat. Santa Clara, which once served as a convent, sits on the picture-perfect Plaza San Diego Square. The hotel's finely renovated Amaral suite is ideal for couples, with its beautiful private terrace and sea views, whirlpool bath and personal butler. Casa San Augustin, an authentic boutique hotel reimagined to keep the colonial heritage intact, provide roses, aromatherapy sets and candles in all rooms to set the romantic mood. Private dinners, salsa lessons and rum tasting sessions with fascinating mixologists are all on offer. Twenty miles from the city lies the Rosario Islands, a dreamy Caribbean archipelago and tropical paradise, best experienced by private speedboat or yacht. 

Let's leave the cities behind (for now) and set out by hot air balloon over the lush rolling hills of the coffee region, champagne in hand, the cares of the world quickly floating away. On landing, jump aboard a jeep and ride (standing up on the back of course) to the stunning Cocora Valley, to discover a romantic picnic set amongst the soaring 60-meter wax palms. Ride by helicopter into the cloud forest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Casa Galavanta, a stunning exclusive-use retreat where gentle days include nature treks, yoga, massage, learning the secrets of the regions cuisine and the secrets of your loved one. Known as 'the most beautiful town' in Colombia, Barichara is paradise personified, with its laid-back vibes, striking canyons and perfect weather all year-round. Clients can experience white-water rafting, coffee plantations and local artisans, all surrounded by dramatic landscapes. Galavanta offer beautiful private villas staffed by attentive teams. From here, adventurous lovers can paraglide over Chicamocha Canyon to a romantic sunset picnic. 

Corocora Camp in Los Llanos is a fully staffed safari-inspired camp surrounded by the Orinoco savannah. Ride out on horseback to see jaguars, anacondas and over 200 species of birds, or spend the day learning the culture of Colombian llanero cowboys. For those seeking sand between their toes, Tayrona National Park is a jungle reserve of plunging waterfalls and deserted beaches. Palomino is Colombia's ultimate tropical paradise with lush jungles, surfing beaches and river paddleboarding. Nestled on the Palomino riverbank, One Love offers charming palapa-thatched huts inspired by the architecture of local indigenous cultures. Couples can doze off together with the jungle chorus as their backdrop. 

Finally, the enigmatic magic of the tiny Colombian island of Providencia is fast gaining recognition. The ultimate retreat and the last untouched island in the Caribbean, it is surrounded by the world's third largest reef and golden-sand beaches. Adventurous romantics can kayak round the Island or dive with reef sharks in Providencia's crystal clear waters. Hidden in the East Coast of the Island, the rustic beach villa of Monasterio del Viento, set on a ridge above the ocean, provides a welcome idyll for couples to kick back and spend time together in uncompromised privacy. 

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