Colombia: Colonial Charm; Flower Festival; & Coffee Culture – 29 July - 9 Aug, 2017
This twelve day tour through Colombia will provide the photography enthusiast with three distinct immersive experiences. Photography opportunities will move from shooting the cobblestone streets of Cartagena the Coffee Zone and culture and culminate in Medellín, where we will attend the world famous Féria de Las Flores (Festival of the Flowers).
Cartagena de lndias is known as the queen of the coast. It was the main port of the Caribbean, and was built by the Spanish empire during the colonization of the Americas. It is an impressive city circled by seven miles of colonial stone walls, centuries old. Cartagena's old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a maze of cobbled alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and massive churches, and is populated by thousands of people. We will spend time photographing Getsemani, which was the lower class neighborhood during colonial times. This vibrant neighborhood still throbs with ambiance and we will engage in much street photography. Photography opportunities will include street shooting and architecture.
The one internal flight will take us to our next destination. Coffee Culture In the coffee zone we wil visit the mountainous towns of Alban, Calarca, Cordoba, and Jardin. Each drive will be through the rugged high terrain and be approximately two to four hours. Once there, we will travel in jeeps to the plantations and photograph the pickers at work and in their homes. The architecture of these towns is colorful. We will be lodged in haciendas where the food is locally grown and the coffee is as good as it gets.
Medellín. It is here that we will attend the Féria de Las Flores. Colombia is the second largest grower of flowers and this yearly festival is a photographers delight. The group will have press passes so that we can have a "behind the scenes" photo shoot. Men, women and children carry their floral displays along the mile and a half parade route. These large displays (silleteros), are works of art and comprise gladiolas, lilies, carnations, pansies, sunflowers orchids and numerous other flowers. We will also photograph the horse parade (cabalgata) which is the world's largest equestrian spectacle and has over 7,000 horses. Medellín will be alive with music and dance during this event.
About this Trip
The trip is suitable for photographers of all levels. The activity level is moderate and it does not involve any hiking, steep climbs or rigorous physical exertion. What is important to know is that this intensive photography tour will blend the city with the country and have a truly Colombian vibe to it. Colors, coffee, culture, people, colonial architecture can all be easily photographed.
In Cartagena and Medellin we will be in 4 star hotels that have been selected for their ambiance and proximity to the sites we want to photograph. We will be eating in both local restaurants and the hotel where we will be residing. It is also important to know that the Feria de la Flores draws people from around the world and the crowds at the parade can be quite large. Our group will be accompanied by one of the leading photographers in Colombia who is fluent in English and has experience in guiding photography trips.
Day 1: Fri, July 29 – Cartagena
Upon arrival in Cartagena transportation will be provided to the hotel. The group will meet at five o'clock in the hotel lobby for a trip overview and a meet and greet. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.
Day 2: Sat 30 July – Cartegena
After an early breakfast we will wander and photograph the streets in Cartagena's historic district. The fortress walls built by the Spanish empire make for a wonderful backdrop. We will engage in street and architectural photography for most of the day. A sunset photoshoot will take place in the evening.
Day 3: Sun, July 31 – Cartagena
The group will venture out at six-thirty in the morning and head directly to the Basurto open air market. It is noisy and crowded, but also a mosaic of commerce. We will photograph the fishmongers, vegetable dealers, and local butchers, and immerse ourselves in the hustle and bustle of this slice of Cartagena. After this shoot we will return to the hotel for a late breakfast and have time to download images and wash up. The afternoon will be spent photographing in the Getsemani neighborhood.In this traditional neighborhood we will shoot the craftsmen in their shops, and the locals hanging out on their porches and in the main square
Day 4: Mon, Aug 1 – El Cairo
After an early breakfast we will go the airport to travel to Pereira with a one stop flight stopping in Bogotá. From Pereira we will make the four hour journey to El Cairo. This mountainous village is home to numerous family plantations. The road has numerous switchbacks and the altitude is 6,000 feet. We will photograph the pickers in the fields and explore the local market where the campsinos come to buy and sell their wares.
Day 5 & Day 6 Tue, Aug 2 & Wed, August 3rd – Calarca
For the next two days we will be lodged at the Hacienda la Cabana, which is situated in the scenic town of Calarca. The group will travel by 4x4 jeep into the coffee plantations to see the way of life of the pickers, photograph the coffee bean processing, and meet the local villagers. We will have a local with us so that we can gain admittance to the roastery.
Day 7: Thurs, Aug 4 – Salamina
We will be lodged at the boutique hotel La Casa de Lola Garcia, which is in the center of this "City of Lights". In this quaint village we will walk the streets and photograph ornately carved doors, elaborate water fountains, interesting churches, and parks. This old town has architecture from Antioquia, and its characteristics and details are deliciously original. Beautiful carved balconies and gates adorned with Baroque designs give an idea of how skillfully craftsmen worked the wood in the past. If time permits we will have a group slide show.
Day 8: Fri, Aug 5 – Medellín
Leaving coffee country we will arrive in Medellín in mid-afternoon. The group will be free to download images, wash clothing, or recharge themselves. We will reconvene for dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 9: Sat, Aug 6 July – Medellín
After breakfast we will join the festivities at the largest flower festival in the world. Crowds have reached over 500,000 people We will photograph the horse and antique car parades, flower preparation, and the people who descend upon the city from the mountains and rural regions surrounding Medellín.
Day 10: Sun, Aug 7 – Medellín
The Silleteros parade is the main event of the Flower Festival. With a press pass we will be able to get exclusive access to some places where we will be able to capture images of these five foot, 150 pound floral displays, made up of over twenty varieties of flowers. Music, dance and art are in abundance during the day and we will join in and photograph it all.
Day 11: Mon, Aug 8 – Medellín
After breakfast we will take the public transportation system of airborne gondolas that cruise up the hillside like ski lifts. Getting on at Acevedo station we will travel up the mountain over brick houses with corrugated metal roofs. The transfer is at Santo Domingo and from there, we get on the second leg, a 15-minute ride during which the city recedes, ending in Parque Arví, some 4,350 acres that feel surprisingly rural, right down to the men on horseback or herdsmen leading their cows. There are extensive walking trails among the pine and eucalyptus trees; after exploring, we will take the Metrocable to Santo Domingo Savio, a colorful shantytown that’s now home to the Biblioteca España — three giant black slate monoliths designed by the Bogotá architect Giancarlo Mazzanti. We will return to the hotel in the late afternoon and have a farewell dinner.
Day 12: Tue, Aug 9 – Medellín - Homeward Bound
Airport transfer will be provided to those leaving in the morning.
Photograph colorful and charming street scenes in colonial Cartegna.
Behind the scenes access to the flower festival
Photo immersion in Salamina , a colorful town in the coffee region. Considered the jewel of the country growing region.
Travel by jeep to coffee plantations and photograph the pickers and local mountain towns.
Numerous gastronomic experiences will be offered. Lodging at boutique hotels.
Jully 29-August 9, 2017
8 SPOTS OPEN
Single supplement $820
(Daily breakfast, 8 lunches, 6 Dinners)