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Viva Colombia: Bogota, Medellín & Cartagena

Tuesday Aug 5th – Friday Aug 15th 2014 – COLOMBIA WORKSHOP

6-9 participants $3450 each based on double occupancy; 10-12 participants $3150 each.

Note: $825 for a Single Supplement; $250 discount for Registration’s received prior to May 5th, 2014.

 

Please note: This trip has many features of a regular photographic tour with PhotoExperience – local insights, great instruction, wonderful lodging; however, since we’ve never offered any trips to the Feria de Flores in Medellin, each participant enjoys at-cost pricing to help us make a better trip!  Come be our guinea pig!

 

A la Ordén! “At your Service” defines this special country. Isolated for decades through its back-and-forth paramilitary problems, Colombia is now exploding with charisma, foreign investment and hospitality, showing the world what we missed. Better late than never! Colombians themselves claim, the only risk is that you’ll want to stay!

 

Full of enthusiasm, passion and pride, Colombians relish in showing a curious foreigner the pleasures of their country: humble and passionate folks anxious to invite you to get to know their place a little better.

 

In this photographic tour of Colombia, we get the best of their world-class cities in Bogota and Medellin, as well as the unique UNESCO-protected town of Cartagena, truly a photographer’s paradise; we’ll top it off with an unforgettable experience in the lap of luxury on a small Caribbean island.

 

Daily Itinerary (see further descriptions below):

 

Day 1 – Tues Aug 5th – Bogota

Group arrival and inaugural dinner; trip details and photographic instruction.

Hotel B3; B, L

 

Day 2 – Wed Aug 6th – Bogota

Cool Candelaria; a journey up the funicular at Montserrat; Museo del Oro, and the old town around! Directly after breakfast we will have an orientation meeting before heading out to explore Bogota. Bogota is nestled into the surrounding mountains with the church of Montserrat perched above, visible from every street. As we head into the throes of the historic capital, we’ll head over to the colorful Candelaria neighborhood to see the formal and stately capital buildings intertwined with contemporary commercial structures.  The narrow streets, distant mountains and city chaos make a wonderful context along with spectacular graffiti (state-sponsored!) making iconic backdrops. We will spend the part of the day enjoying one of Bogota’s famous museums: Museo de Oro: The most elaborate collection of Pre-Colombian gold objects in the world sits in a modern setting in the center of the city.

Hotel B3; B, L

 

Day 3 – Thurs Aug 7th – Bogota – Medellín

From Bogota to Medellin and the tranquil “Parque Berrio”, near the famous Botero sculpture park in Botero Plaza where many giant sculptures of Colombia’s most famous artist and Medellin-born sculptor Fernando Botero are exhibited.  The buildings of the local government, the old train station, Museo de Antioquia where office blocks share public spaces with sculpture, libraries and the park of lights are some of the highlights during the half-day guided City Tour.

Medellin Hotel Boutique; B, L

 

Day 4 – Fri Aug 8th – Medellín

Explore Medellín – We’ll take a cable car ride to the barrio of Santo Domingo and the fascinating cemetery of San Pedro with its many ornate mausoleums. To contrast with the afterlife, we’ll visit the Botanical Gardens with an amazing contemporary Orchid House called the Orquideorama which hosts a fantastic orchid display during the flower festival as well as other flower inspired artworks.

Medellin Hotel Boutique; B, L

 

Day 5 – Sat Aug 9th – Medellín

Santa Helena is a small flower growing village located less than one hour from the city and during the important annual flower festival is the center of activity when the cut flowers are woven into tapestries which are then mounted onto wooden frames which the inhabitants of the town will carry on their backs in the parade through the streets of Medellín. We’ll get up early to get a leg on traffic and find our favorite family to join through the morning’s activities. The flower carriers are known as “silleteros” or saddle men and generations of different families in Santa Helena have carried out this tradition over the years.

Medellin Hotel Boutique; B, L

 

Day 6 – Sun Aug 10th – Medellín – Cartagena

A late-morning departure from Medellin, on our way to transcendent Cartagena. After lunch, we’ll embark on a casual walking tour of Barrio Getsemeni – maybe a bit like Venice without the water…

Evening free to wander, make images or shop.

Hotel Las Carretas; B, L.

 

Day 7 – Mon Aug 11th – Cartagena

Up early for the local’s extraordinary Basturo Market (no foreigners here!) and back for a late breakfast.  A locally-guided walk through historic Cartagena, taking in the famous walled fortress and now top-notch tourist destination.

Hotel Las Carretas; B, L.

 

Day 8 – Tues Aug 12th – Cartagena – Isla Mucura

Parque National Natural Los Corales del Rosario y de San Bernardo and a private guided tour of the small village on other side of island. Enjoy drinks and the Caribbean sunset on our own private island.

Hotel Punta Faro; B, L D.

 

Day 9 – Wed Aug 13th – Isla Mucura

A short 15 minute boat ride over to the unique island-village of Santa Cruz. Compact streets remind you of a small Italian village while the Caribbean coral surrounding the place provides near unlimited natural resources that the inhabitants seem to gather in a most harmonious water-world like way. If only Kevin Kostner were with us…

Hotel Punta Faro; B, L D.

 

Day 10 – Thurs Aug 14th – Isla Mucura – Cartagena – Bogota

We return from our private get away to the familiar feel of Bogota. Upon our arrival in Bogota, Adam will lead an optional expedition to the wonderful neighborhood of Usiaquen for their old-school arts and crafts, as well as organic and local flavors to nibble on. Farewell dinner at the famous Andres Carne de Res.

Hotel B3; B, L

 

Day 11 – Fri Aug 15th – Bogota

Hotel room is yours to enjoy through noon! Private transport to international airport for departure.

B

 

Bogota

The capital city of Colombia, Bogota mixes peoples from all over the country and abroad. It is a thriving and cultured city, with long boulevards, trees and delicious dining if you know where to look. It’s nestled into the surrounding mountains with the church of Montserrat perched above, visible from every street. We’ll take the 100 year-old funicular up the hillside and gather perspective on the geography below. As we descend back into the throes of the capital, we’ll head over to the Candelaria neighborhood to see the formal and stately capital buildings intertwined with contemporary commercial structures.  The narrow streets, distant mountains and city chaos make it a wonderful context in which to work.

 

Medellin

Forget everything you have heard about Medellin it’s probably old news, it was the headquarters of one of the country’s most notorious drug cartels, but what the international media forgot to report was the cities remarkable turnaround. Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia and regarded as one of the most important, in business, politics, and fashion and of course nightlife!  For years Medellin had a tarnished reputation, but has now risen above this “Mala Fama” (bad reputation) and is now one of most exciting cities in South America. Its growth has been impressive over the past ten years, and the advance in the security situation has been such that Medellin is now regarded as one of the safest cities in South America. Medellin is famous for its “Feria de las Flores” which happens every August for a week. The Feria is a carnival atmosphere with processions of flower growers, music, dance and the arts. Medellin is also the home town of Fernando Botero, probably Colombia’s most recognized artist to date. His  oversized  depictions  of  Colombian  life,  people  and  world  issues  are  exhibited  throughout  the country most notably in the Botero Museum in Bogota and Medellin’s own Museo de Antioquia and his

sculptures in the neighbouring Parque Berrio. Medellin is also famous for its metro and “Metro Cable” or cable car a remarkable piece of engineering, a great tourist attraction and a remarkable way the local government opened up and regenerated a previously under-developed part of the city. Medellin is vibrant, contemporary and well worth a visit for its vast selection fine restaurants, bars and if nothing else its people. The Paisa, a person from this region, is well known for his or her sense of pride and also the way they look. To sit at a coffee shop or bar and watch the people of Medellin walk by can easily take up a morning!  Medellin is rapidly becoming a must on any Colombian itinerary.

 

Medellin’s Feria de Flores

The annual Medellin flower festival is the most spectacular event in Colombia’s “City of eternal spring”. The event boasts one of the world’s largest outdoor flower parades. Country folk assemble in the city to exhibit huge arrangements made from flowers grown in the local areas surrounding Medellin.

In 1957 forty country folk from the surrounding hillsides of Santa Elena were invited by the Gardening Club of Medellin to come to the city of eternal spring for the first Flower Bearer’s parade. This parade was and still is performed by silleteros and is now attended by approximately 1000. The name silletero comes from the wooden carrying harness and frames used to carry flowers and people up and down the steep hillsides of Antioquia in colonial times. This family tradition is continued in the parade with even the children carrying there smaller silletas alongside the parents. All dressed in white shirts, traditional hats with machetes and leather bags known as the carriel.

In the evening the pace picks up with many bars and clubs creating events such as concerts for all tastes. Most people find themselves drinking and listening to ranchero music in the Fondas, recreated to resemble inns used by the mule drivers in colonial times. The makeshift buildings are decorated with traditional goods, wooden eating and quite often sawdust on the floors for the finishing touch.

 

Cartagena de las Indias

The most important tourist hub in South America, Cartagena is a gem. Old world colonial façades mask modern boutique hotels and restaurants on the inside. Narrow streets with horse-drawn carriages prance past and the Caribbean evening light reflects ambers and lavenders overhead. Shopping, eating and walking throughout the center of this spectacular walled fort are certain distractions. We’ll not only get a private tour of the historical components but will wander through the evolving Getsemeni residential district as well. This tucked-away neighborhood, ten minutes walk from the center, gets us a little closer to every-day reality for the locals.

 

Islote Santa Cruz, Mucura and Punta Faro

Great images are hard to make and sometimes you gotta work hard to find that amazing moment, suffering under severe conditions. Not here! On Punta Faro, we’re treated to luxury resort service and comforts – an exclamation point to our journey after a week of image-making. But we’re not done – Punta Faro gives us something else that few others get to experience: direct and local access to one of the little-known places in Colombia, Islote Santa Cruz. This is the world’s most densely populated island, about 4000sqft of space, with hundreds of descendants from just a few original families. Compact streets remind you of a small Italian village while the Caribbean coral surrounding the place provides near unlimited natural resources that the inhabitants seem to gather in a most harmonious water-world like way.  Local crab, fish, turtle, shark and stone are abundant and are seen constantly; evening light brings out the dominoes, the children and the fresh-cooked fish. Foreigners are seen as a positive influence and we’re given almost complete and honest access to one of the more unique experiences in Colombia.

 

 

REGISTRATION INFO

REGISTRATION INFO

To reserve your space at a PhotoExperience tour, a deposit of $400 is required at the time of registration. We cannot hold space in a tour without a deposit. Once your deposit has been received you will be admitted to the program and we’ll send you a detailed itinerary, logistics information about Colombia and the photography portion. We require a second deposit 120 days prior to the start of the workshop for our internal flight reservations; this second deposit is non-refundable. We will send you a statement of your account, with the balance due, 60 days prior to the start of the workshop (June 5th, 2014), though the full balance can be made at time of registration. We will accept no further registrants after June 20th, 2014 due to internal flight reservation requirements. We will limit the number of registrants to 12. Registrations received more than 90 days prior to the start of the workshop receive a $250 reduction in their tour price upon final payment.

Email Adam L. Weintraub of PhotoExperience.net ([email protected]). Of course, you can also call/email Adam with questions.

Digital or Film on-site: Participants can choose to photograph with film; or, preferably, you can work digitally, if you would like full course review with the rest of the group. If working digitally, please bring digital camera, laptop for back-up & appropriate software for editing; batteries, transformers or electric strips and memory stick/cards or other portable device to transfer files; it is highly recommended that you have a digital wallet or portable external hard drive/player for image back-up. A full list of recommended items comes with the Colombia Info Packet once you’ve registered.

 

 

FEES

The fee for the workshop is $3450 or $3150, depending on how many registrants we have. This includes all photographic instruction, local guiding, translating & materials, lodging, all breakfasts & most lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary, all entrance fees and transfers within Colombia. The internal flights in Colombia are also included, originating and terminating in Bogota. There is an additional $825 charge for a Single room. Please inquire with any concerns.

Extra expenses might include: individual excursions outside of group activities, some meals where noted on the Itinerary, alcoholic beverages, as well as tips for our guides and drivers. You may expect this to total $25 to $30 per day depending on personal preferences.

 

 

TRAVEL & LODGING

Most meals and all transportation are included. All lodging is included at Hotel B3 (Bogota), Hotel Las Carretas (Cartagena), Punta Faro (Isla Mucura), and a few others of similar stature. All are 3+ stars and come with wonderful character, local staff and secure and comfortable surroundings.

Pre or Post Trip:  Please contact Adam if you have any interest in additional time in Colombia, he is happy to share his outfitter’s information should you wish to schedule additional activities.

 

 

REFUND/CANCELLATION POLICY:

Before the tour we need to make important reservations, so if for any reason you need to withdraw, please notify us at least 120 days before the start of the tour for full refund. If notification of cancellation is made between 120 and 91 days before the start of the tour, we will retain a $250 fee and any non-refundable flight deposits. If cancellation is made 90-46 days before the start of the workshop we will retain half of your full tuition; if cancellation occurs within 45 days of the departure there is no refund. For these reasons we highly recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance as explained below.

PhotoExperience reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by 90 days before the start of the workshop, and any deposit would then be forfeited. PhotoExperience is not responsible for cancellations due to medical emergencies. In the unlikely event that a tour must be cancelled due to inadequate enrolment, all fees and deposits are refunded in full. PhotoExperience is not responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a cancellation. Again, this is why we highly recommend Travel Insurance. There are no exceptions to our Cancellation Policy.

 

 

TRAVEL INSURANCE: 

We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We recommend Travel Insurance Services of Walnut Creek, California for this purpose. Their phone number is (800) 937-1387 and their Web site is http://www.travelinsure.com/cobrand/select/photoex. With this insurance you can protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances that might prevent your attendance. We suggest a plan which offers coverage for medical and dental emergencies, lost baggage, missed connections, and trip cancellation should you unexpectedly need to cancel. PhotoExperience is not responsible for cancellations due to medical emergencies or reimbursement of airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation. As soon as you’ve made your trip deposit or purchased an airfare, you need to request Travel Insurance. Don’t wait.