Culture Week

Cartagena - Colombia

Only $455 per week!

Immerse yourself in Cartagena’s Colombian Culture. Enjoy the sights, sounds and cuisine of this wonderful city and meet its residents.

Be introduced to the history and traditions of Colombia. Visit some of the touristic highlights, sample local dishes, relax on sandy beaches and practice some basic Spanish phrases, to help you feel more at ease during your time here. All in all – this is a great way to kickstart your stay in Colombia!

Culture
Learning
Leisure
Community Engagement
Physical Demand






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Program Description

This program was designed with you in mind, giving you a look back at Cartagena’s history and providing an opportunity to discover this happy place in real time. During this week-long introduction, you get to experience a blend of the old and new charm and traditions of Colombia, by visiting Cartagena’s museums, old monasteries, churches, and even the forts around the old city, which were built as protection from pirates. You will learn about the Spanish, African and Moorish influences on the region, as you explore local markets and neighborhoods. You will get to discover some of the nature and natural beauty in the region and relax on sun soaked sandy beaches. In just a short time you will get to know some of the important Colombian history and treasures, as you begin to understand the things that inspire local artists and artisans to produce their own expressions of creativity through food, music, dance, graffiti, sculpture and stories. When it’s all over, you too will be changed by these experiences.

Aims & Objectives

  • Help you familiarize yourself with the local surroundings
  • Practice some helpful Spanish words and phrases
  • Broaden your knowledge of the local customs, history and culture
  • Provide a full induction, preparing you for a longer stay

Schedule

Monday

In the morning, after breakfast,

  • Introduction to the Projects, House rules, Setting Expectations, Health and Safety Advice and handling of documents.
  • Colombian Do's and Don'ts, Colombian Culture Lessons and Spanish Language Lessons.
  • Tour around the compound and local area; where to find local shops, and arrange a sim-card if necessary
  • Lunch

In the afternoon we will take you to el muelle La Bodeguita, you will join a local Hop-on Hop-off bus tour (part one) around some of Cartagena’s main points of interest, you will be able to contemplate the main attractions of la casa de Rafael Nuñez, el castillo de San Felipe and many others.

In the evening, join the other members of the group at our accommodation where dinner will be provided.

Tuesday

During the day or possibly in the evening, we will take you to el muelle La Bodeguita, where once again you will join the local Hop-on Hop-off bus tour (part two) and will finish exploring and getting to know more about Cartagena.

We will return to the accommodation for lunch or dinner. The rest of the day or afternoon will be free to explore and/or relax. In the evening, join the other members of the group at our accommodation where dinner will be provided.

Wednesday

Get ready for a very full and eventful day. We will get an early start, leaving right after breakfast to Playa Blanca beach. Then we will spend the rest of our day enjoying the sun and having fun, before returning to our accommodation for dinner.

Thursday

During the day or possibly in the evening, you will be taken to visit the more modern part of the city, with stops in Bocagrande, Laguito and Castillo Grande, these sites are the perfect combination between the old, the modern and the picturesque beaches. You get to choose to do this tour as a group on a bike or with a combination of public transportation and walking. We will return to our accommodation for lunch. You will then have free time to enjoy the many offerings of Cartagena followed by dinner in the evening.

Friday

We will begin our day with breakfast at our accommodation and then leave for El Totumo, an active mud volcano in Santa Catalina. The mud in this volcano is enriched with minerals that are said to be therapeutic and to have healing or curative properties. Along the way we will pass some nice beaches and jungle landscapes. At the Volcano, we will climb the 15 meters to the top where you can dip yourself into a relaxing and rejuvenating mud bath and enjoy the unique swimming experience because of the high level of buoyancy. When done, we will clean up at the Sweetwater lagoon right next to it and afterward we will enjoy lunch. Before returning to Cartagena we will just cool down and relax at the Manzanillo del Mar beach. Later in the evening we will have dinner.

   Note:   This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:

Maximum age:

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: No

Resume copy required: No

Required qualification: None

Additional Requirements

There are no further requirements for this program.

Additional Equipment

  • Good hot weather walking shoes
  • Appropriate clothing for, swimming and hot weather

Location

Welcome to Cartagena City, once known as Cartagena de Indias, it continues to be a majestic shining gem among the other jewels of the Caribbean coast. As the town grew in importance because of the trade riches passing through its’ port, the town erected a barricade of stone walls. Originally used for protection, the walls engulfing the old city add to its distinctive character and old-world charm.

Known for its striking architecture, Cartagena is a city full of life and vibrancy. When you stroll through its streets you feel as though you are moving through a painting, where the sights and sounds of the city have come to life.

Being able to speak some Spanish is definitely a plus, but even if you are a novice to the language, a few gestures and a sense of adventure with attempting what you have learned, will be helpful as you communicate with locals. Don’t forget that smiles are universal and they will likely help get you whatever you need.

About the Accommodation

You will be enjoying your stay in one of the vibrant neighborhoods around Cartagena Colombia, from where you can access numerous sites and attractions, as well as your program very easily via public transport or local taxi.

All participants are expected to be environmentally aware and to use all resources with restraint, especially water, paper and electricity. You will be expected to clean up after yourself, and to play your part to keep the accommodation neat and organized.

   Note:   The accommodation location can be changed and/or amended depending on local conditions and unforeseen circumstances, but the same standard will be maintained.

Food Arrangements

The food will be typically Colombian meaning lots of corn, beans, rice, chili peppers, potatoes and other grain, all very vegetarian friendly. Keep in mind that some local dishes may be spicy!

Facilities

Shops

There are many local coffee shops and restaurants in the main township within walking distance of our centre. Restaurants & Cafes, the beach, mini-marts, fitness gyms, the supermarket, and shopping mall are all close by.

Internet use

There is Wi-Fi in common areas at your accommodation, but there are also many internet cafes in the main township where you can access online information.

Money

There are numerous shops and ATMs throughout the town.

Activities & Events

Cooking Lessons

One to two evenings per week

Join your cooks as they prepare meals for you and other participants. Take notes, learn new recipes, traditional food preservation techniques and more! Try not to spoil your dinner as you learn!

Sights & Surroundings

In Cartagena

Bicycle day tours

For a change of pace, an exciting way to experience Cartagena and the vicinity, is by hopping on a bicycle or joining an organized group bike tour around the city.

Horse and Carriage tours

Explore walled city of Cartagena via horse and carriage. Travel through narrow cobblestone streets as you venture to historical locations throughout the city, from the quaint comfort of a horse driven carriage.

Chivas tours

Once used as local transportation, the Chivas of today are the new colorful life for old wooden buses. They come packed with people, music and good vibes, as they bustle down the streets of Cartagena! Jump on one if you see it coming your way and let the good times roll!

Aerobics

Make your way to La Plaza de La Trinidad in Getsemani for free classes which are offered to the public every weekend.

Centro Cultural

The place to be for a variety of live music and dance is the Centro Cultural Ciudad Movil. All types of music ranging from Folk to Cumbia, Rock to Funk, and Champeta to Jazz are performed her live. There are even nights where the DJ is the one pumping up the volume for the crowd. This place is not to be missed when you come to Cartagena!

Around Cartagena

Islas del Rosario

If you love the sea and all things related to it, then you will love Islas del Rosario. Located about a 100 kilometers away from Cartagena, this archipelago off the coast of Colombia is one of the national parks that is not to be missed. You can take tours, visit the aquarium and open-sea oceanarium or explore the coral reefs while swimming and snorkeling.

Baru, Aviario Baru and Playa Blanca (15 km or 1 hr away)

Playa Blanca offers one of the best beach experiences in the region. You can visit for the day or even stay overnight at one of the hostels or hotels in the area. You can get there by motor boat from the port or take one of the direct buses on Sunday mornings.

A bit further down the way is the Isla Baru which is located in the bay of Cholon. There are tours and packages available which will give you access to kayaks, water sports, boat tours, restaurants  and even a private beach.

Parque Nacional Tayrona (Camping trips)

Imagine a clear dark night and a sky that make just about every twinkling star visible. This is more than a wish it is a near nightly occurrence at the Parque Nacional Tayrona. Here you can go camping in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Enjoy mountain views, mangroves, clear water and sandy beaches all in one place. You can partake in any number of outdoor activities here including swimming, snorkeling and hiking. You’ll never be at a loss for things to do in this wonder of nature.

Santuario de Fauna y flora Los colorados

This area of northern Colombia is a small but well kept sanctuary, with a huge ecological significance because of its endemic forest.

Jardin Botanico of Cartagena (Turbaco) (12km,  less than 1 hr. Away)

Cartagena’s Botanical Garden is outside of the city limits and located in the municipality of Turbaco. It is home to a rare resource of a virgin native forest and hosts more than 300 different uniquely beautiful species of plants from the Caribbean and other tropical zones throughout the world.

Transportation

From this location we do not provide free transport to other locations.

Quick Facts

Name: Republic of Colombia

Population: 48.7 million inhabitants

Capital: Bogota

Language: Spanish, 68 Regional/Ethnic Languages, English (San Andres, Providencia)

Currency: Colombian Pesos (COP)

Time zone: COT (UTC -5)

Country Information

Colombia has coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and covers about 440,000 square miles (1.14 million square kilometers). It is home to the Amazon rainforest, Andes mountains, and the Llanos ( grassland plains).

Colombia is the fourth largest country in South America and it has several islands in the Atlantic and Pacific (San Andres and Providencia, and in the Pacific, the Malpelo and Gorgona, respectively). It shares borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Some of the major cities include Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla.

Climate

Weather in Colombia can range from desert to tropical to freezing because it contains a variety of climate zones. To experience the most pleasant weather and the most local activity, you might want to visit during the months of December to March or July to August.

Culture

Culture in Colombia has been greatly influenced by its diversity. It is easy to recognize African, Caribbean, European, Middle Eastern and Native American impacts on the area as well as that of the Indigenous people of the region. Unfortunately during the colonial era many European settlers decimated the Indigenous population which left the Spanish influence as the most pronounced. What has evolved over time is now a melange of distinctive layers which make up Colombia today.

Early in the 19th century the country gained independence and in 1886 the Republic of Colombia was formed.

Transportation

For the most part, public transportation costs in Colombia are minimal and fairly easy to access. Most of the larger urban centers and even some of the smaller towns have a bus system. Taxis are very common and offer even greater convenience to the traveler. Some of the main tourist areas have moto-taxis and a bustling city like Medellin even has a Metro commuter rail.

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