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Colombia Tour

A year on from the historic agreement between government and the leftist guerilla movement the FARC, we examine Colombia’s progress on the road to peace. This tour is led by Times journalist Laura Dixon.

 

Dates: Sat 30 Sept – Mon 9 Oct 2017

Price: from £4410.00

Single Supplement: £500.00

 

Book Today - Only 6 Places Left




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    Tour Itinerary

    In September 2016 the Colombian government and the leftist guerilla group the FARC signed a historic peace deal ending the longest running conflict in South America. After a shaky start the agreement is being implemented and the conflict has subsided. We look at the huge issues that remain one year on from the accords; from land reform to the disarming of the former rebels and the long hoped for peace-dividend for the economy.

    Our 10-day tour through this beautiful and varied country includes the capital Bogota, former drugs capital and now coffee mecca, Medellin and the colonial city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast.

    Colombia has a huge amount to offer with rich natural resources and one of the most diverse ecologies on the planet. Remnants of organised crime, several million refugees as well landmines left over from the conflict are reminders of the challenges ahead.

    The tour is led by, Laura Dixon, a British journalist based in Bogota, who has seen the changes first-hand. She writes for the The Times, and has been published in The Guardian, Monocle magazine, and was the Sander Thoenes fellow at the Financial Times.

    Please contact us for further details and to register your interest. This is one of our new destinations for 2017 and is proving to be a popular tour – we only have 12 places available.

    Colombia Tour Details

    Day One: Medellin
    We start in the once infamous city of Medellin, an ideal place to examine the challenges that lie ahead for Colombia as it assesses security, clamps down on organised crime and looks forward to a peace-dividend for the economy. Over dinner we look at the week ahead with Laura Dixon. Overnight in Medellin

    Day Two Medellin
    We visit a project that is helping farmers convert from cocoa growing to coffee – part of a wide-ranging effort to eradicate the ingrained drugs industry. After lunch we visit a community that has faced an even tougher problem; landmines. Colombia is the second most mine-affected country after Afghanistan and efforts to rid the country of the problem may last decades. This village was recently demined by a local charity. Over dinner we meet former soldiers who fought during the conflict with the FARC. Overnight in Medellin

    Day Three: Medellin
    We tour the city and examine the rise and fall of it’s most infamous resident, Pablo Escobar. We visit the mayor’s office. Medellin has changed from being one of the most dangerous cities in the world to one that wins awards. However the mayor has come under threat due to his recent efforts to tackle drug gangs. We then meet members of the InSight Crime team, former BBC reporters turned investigators to talk about the peace deal, organised crime, and Escobar. Overnight in Medellin

    Day Fou: Medellin – Bogota
    We catch a mid-morning flight from Medellin to Bogota (flights need to be booked by customers; we will advise you of flight times). Local analysts introduce us to the peace-deal a year after it was signed. With considerable local opposition to the deal (a majority of people voted against the deal in a referendum) what are the perceptions today? We visit both Congress and the Supreme Court. At dinner we meet with a politician who was kidnapped by the FARC. Overnight in Bogota

    Day Five: Bogota
    We visit the former Supreme Court building seized by Marxist guerillas in 1985, widely regarded as one of the lowest points in the conflict. A new Special Jurisdiction for Peace has been formed to process many of the cases stemming from the conflict. It takes lessons from South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation process. We meet with authors of the process and if possible see hearings. Dinner with guest speakers. Overnight in Bogota

    Day Six: Bogota
    Colombia’s undoubted strength is it’s natural and environmental wealth. The peace-process is expected to boost outside investment as well as tourism. We meet with local business leaders. Mining in particular is one of Colombia’s biggest exports – but faces opposition from environmentalists and groups who are in favour of land-redistribution. Time off to explore the city and a free evening. The Historical Memory Museum, Museo Banco de la Republica (traditional and modern art), and the Colon Theatre where the peace deal was signed, are all highly recommended. Overnight in Bogota

    Day Seven: Sierra Nevada
    Morning flight to Cartagena (flights need to be booked by customers; we will advise you of flight times). We travel to the Sierra Nevada/Tayrona National Park: Home to three of Colombia’s indigenous communities, and a plethora of fauna and flora that make it one of the most beautiful and precious landscapes in Colombia. Colombia is rich in natural resources, what opportunities and challenges does the peace deal offer? What are the risks for one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet? Overnight Tayrona National Park

    Day Eight: Cartagena
    Visit the Wiwa community and learn about their daily life, what happened to them and other indigenous communities during the war. They are concerned about mining and development in this area. The Sierra Nevada mountain range has experienced heavy deforestation, and many of its species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss. The Wiwa use traditional conservation and cultural practices to manage forests, and believe it is their purpose to act as environmental stewards. They have been buying up the land around the park. Is this the way forward? We leave the park and drive to Cartagena for dinner. Overnight in Cartagena

    Day Nin:e Cartagena
    In the morning we tour Cartagena’s beautiful old city, a place that Colombia’s most famous writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez called home, and meet the organisers of Hay Cartagena – Colombian sister to the well known British book festival. There are currently seven million internally displaced people in Colombia. Lastly we look at refugees and visit some of the communities in Cartagena to hear why they left and if they will be going home. What are the barriers to them returning? What does land reform mean for those whose territory was taken over during the conflict? At dinner we look back over the tour and assess the hopes for this diverse and amazing country. Overnight in Cartagena

    Day Ten
    Tour ends

    Comments from customers who travelled with us on new tours last year

    “I thought it was beyond excellent – an exceptional introduction to and portrait of a complex, multi-faceted country in just a week. I had high expectations of the tour, having been on a PT before.”

    “Fabulous. Exceeded expectations, access unparalleled”

    “Quite the most comprehensive way of finding out what makes a country and the individuals in it tick. Political Tours arrange access to all sorts of different people and experiences that would be impossible to access on one’s own and the organisation is excellent.“

    If you would like to book a tour please click here to fill in our booking form. Or call us on 0843 289 2349 or email us at info@politicaltours.com to find out more.

    Essential Information

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    Further Reading

    We have compiled an extensive reading list with a wide range of books, please contact us for the full list.

    Our expert Laura Dixon has recommended her top six books. There are many more political, historical, non-fiction and fiction books as well as travel guides to choose from. Let us know if you would like the comprehensive list.

    Garry Leech - The FARC: The Longest Insurgency
    Ingrid Betancourt - Even Silence Has An End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle
    Gabriel García Márquez – News of a kidnapping
    Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the time of Cholera
    Tom Feiling - Short Walks from Bogota
    Michael Jacobs - A river journey through Colombia