Small-Group Journey

Coffee, Rum, and Trains in Colombia and Panama

Coffee, Rum, and Trains in Colombia and Panama is an unusual trip where you get to know a part of South America that is still entirely unknown by most travelers. In addition to adventurous train rides, we also visit one of the best coffee plantations in Colombia and a rum distillery in Panama. As we are already in Panama, a detailed visit to the Panama Canal is, of course, obligatory.

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Be prepared for exotic expeditions on rails with Diesel trains, Motorbikes on tracks called Brujitas, and Buses on Rails. Some of the railroads we travel have not seen any traffic for decades. On tour, we visit one of Colombia’s most famous Coffee Producer, where you will immerse yourself in the World of Coffee. Before we leave the Coffee Producer, you can do a tasting of different alternative coffee brewing methods. In Medellin, we travel the city on trains and cable cars and visit the “Comuna” where Pablo Escobar was living in his early years. In Panama City, we spend the Sunday on a ship crossing the Panama Canal on the most scenic part. Then, we have a look at one of the most prestigious Rum Distilleries in Central America. This visit is also fun for non-rum-drinkers. We will spend a whole day learning about sugar cane, harvest, and the tradition of distilling rum. We end the trip visiting the amazing old town of Panama with its many colonial mansions, bars, and shops. This trip is an extraordinary journey of discovery with unusual activities for travelers who want more than the worn-out tourist destinations.

Tour Itinerary

Coffee, Rum, and Trains in Colombia and Panama

Day 1: Arrival in Bogota
You arrive with your international flight in Bogota. Our driver welcomes you at the airport and brings you to the Hotel where you stay overnight.

Day 2: City Tour in Bogota
Walk the cobblestoned streets of downtown Bogota discovering architecture, art, and culture of this fascinating city. Landmarks we visit are the Congress, the Cathedral, the Palace of Justice, the Mayor’s Office (Palacio Lievano) and the House of the 20th of July. You have free time in the afternoon. We leave the hotel in the late afternoon and travel up the Monserrate Hill with the funicular or aerial tramway to observe the sunset.

Day 3: Brujita Journey on the Occidental Railroad
We travel to the tropical village of Villeta which was a stop on the Occidental Railroad that connected Bogota with the Magdalena River. We tour on a carriage pulled by a Brujita (Motorbike on Rails) from Villeta to a lovely waterfall about 14 km away. You enjoy during the journey the lush green tropical forest of the region. We return to Villeta for lunch. In the afternoon, we return to Bogota, where you stay overnight.

Day 4: Tren de la Sabana & Nemocon Salt Mine
At the Sabana Railway Station, we board the “Tren de la Sabana”. Enjoy from the train Bogota’s Savannah Region during the 53 km journey to Zipaquira.  We visit the Salt Mine of Nemocon from Zipaquira. We have lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, our driver brings us to the Airport in Bogota for our flight to Pereira. From Pereira transfer to Saltento where we stay overnight.

Day 5: Discover one of the Best Coffees in the World
A specialty Coffee producer invites us for a walk through steep fields of coffee bushes to explore every detail that is needed to produce an excellent coffee. We have a close look at the post-harvest installation where coffee beans are cleaned, selected and roasted. Our visit ends in the laboratory with a professional coffee tasting session. In the afternoon, we return to our hotel where we stay overnight.

Day 6: Flight Pereira – Medellin
In the morning, we visit the railway station and the church in Pereira. Before midday, we go to the airport for the flight to Medellin. In Medellin transfer-in to our hotel. The rest of the afternoon you have free time.

Day 7: City Tour in Medellin
We travel on the suburban train to the Acevedo Railway Station where we board the aerial cable car into the mountains. The breathtaking journey takes us from the city, through mountainous suburbs, to a nature reserve up in the hills. We visit the famous Comuna 13 after lunch. It was one of the most dangerous places in the city and is nowadays an example of social transformation. We return to the hotel in Medellin in the late afternoon.

Day 8: Guatape & Peñol Rock
We visit the Peñol-Guatapé reservoir which has a dam that was built at the end of the 1970s, flooding thousands of hectares. From the “Piedra del Peñol,” you have beautiful views over the lake and the surrounding forests. We have lunch and visit the picturesque town of Guatape. We return to Medellin in the afternoon where we stay overnight.

Day 9: Train from Puerto Berrio to Barrancabermeja
We travel early morning to Santiago, a station on the old Antioquia Railroad. From Santiago starts a special rail trip where we sit on a carriage being pulled by a motorbike on rails crossing the longest railway tunnel in South America. This journey is very scenic and fun. We continue our trip in the afternoon to the old railway junction of Puerto Berrio where we board the train to Barrancabermeja, following the Magdalena River downstream. We stay overnight in Barrancabermeja.

Day 10: Barrancabermeja – Panama City
We travel from Barrancabermeja via Bogota to Panama City. In Panama City transfer-in to our Hotel. The rest of the day you have free time.

Day 11: Partial Panama Canal Transit
We get to know the so-called eighth wonder of the world on a boat trip from Panama City to Gamboa. In the morning, we make an approximately 4-hour trip through the legendary Panama Canal. We pass the Miraflores Locks, Miraflores Lake, the Pedro Miguel Locks, the Gaillard Cut (the narrowest point) to the Gatun Lake. We have our lunch on board our ship. From the port in Gamboa, the bus takes you back to Panama City on the Pacific coast. The rest of the afternoon you have free time.

Day 12: Visit of the Abuelo Rum Distillery
A short flight brings us to Chitre, north-west of Panama City. After a short historical introduction about the distillation of rum, you will enjoy an oxcart ride through the sugar cane fields out of the Hacienda. We will tour the distillery discovering the steps that are necessary to produce liquor from sugar cane. We then go to the bodega where the rum ages in oak barrels. We have lunch near the distillery and fly back to Panama City in the afternoon.

Day 13: Trans-Oceanic Railway and Panama Canal
We experience the historic train passage from Panama City to Colón in original railway cars. The train journey goes about 1 hour and will take us through the jungles along the Panama Canal. From Colon, we visit the Panama Canal Observation Center at Agua Clara, which explains how the new Panama Canal system works. The Aerial Tram at the Gamboa Rainforest will take us up a jungle mountain from where you have a beautiful view of the Gatun lake, the ships cruising the Panama Canal, and the surrounding rainforest. We have lunch on the way back to Panama City.

Day 14: City Tour in Panama City
In the morning, we start our city tour of Panama’s capital. The captivating backdrop of skyscrapers, noble mansions, and green hills characterize this city. In the district is known as Casco Viejo, you will see many unique colonial buildings. The Casco Viejo is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has become a center for art, design, and cultural development. We visit the fish market where you can try Ceviche or a shrimp cocktail! Watch the spectacle of the barker. We end the tour with a rum tasting session and our Farewell Lunch.

Day 15: Departure
At the agreed time, transfer to the Airport and flight to your home country.

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