Get in touch for future dates or a private tour

Get in touch for future dates or a private tour

Get in touch for future dates or a private tour

Get in touch for future dates or a private tour

Colombia

“The tours are well prepared and researched, but retain the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities e.g the FARC leader. Also Nick is good at spotting the gaps mid tour and sourcing new angles of attack.” DT, 2017

“Best was the group: wonderful smart and interesting people.” MH, Colombia 2017

“The tour educated me to a part of the world and its recent history that I had read about but not understood.  I can’t say I understand it fully, not even close, but a very good start… A great way to learn!” MH, Colombia 2017

I thought the PT team were amazing. Not only were they knowledgeable, they were very good at making me feel welcome, at managing the group, keeping the focus on the topic at hand and encouraging questions and follow up discussions. Colombia 2017

“the reading list very good and I’m still working on it.” Colombia 2017

“Good quality throughout” Colombia 2017

“Emotional high was the children’s home, Entertainment high was El Cielo restaurant, Educational highs were numerous.” Colombia 2017

 

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Colombia Reading List

We have compiled an extensive reading list with a wide range of books. Our expert Laura Dixon has recommended her top six, and there are many more political, historical, non-fiction and fiction books as well as travel guides to choose from.

Political Tours expert Laura Dixon recommends:

 Tom Feiling – Short Walks from Bogota

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

Michael Jacobs – A river journey through Colombia

Laura’s Top 6

1. The FARC: The Longest Insurgency

by Garry Leech

 Paperback: 176 pages, Publisher: Zed Books (12 May 2011), Language: English, ISBN-10: 1848134924, ISBN-13: 978-1848134928

Review

“Using original sources and key interviews, this book serves as an invaluable guide that places the FARC, Latin America’s oldest and largest insurgency movement, in its political, economic and strategic context.” — Dr. Doug Stokes, University of Kent at Canterbury “You may disagree with this book. But whether you believe that the FARC are terrorists, drug traffickers, the armed poor, freedom fighters, or just a group that has lost its way, Garry Leech’s history of the guerrillas will make you view them differently – and may change your view of Colombia’s long conflict and how it can be brought to an end. “The FARC” acknowledges and addresses the many deserved criticisms leveled at Latin America’s oldest insurgent group, and seeks to explain what continues to motivate it today. Whether you think the FARC should be fought, negotiated with, or both, Leech’s book is an essential text. There’s nothing like it in English.” – Adam Isacson, Director of the Regional Security Policy Program at the Washington Office on Latin America

About the Author

Garry Leech is a British born American independent journalist and editor of the online publication Colombia Journal, which analyses U.S. foreign policy in Colombia. He also teaches international politics at Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.

2.  Even Silence Has An End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

by Ingrid Betancourt

 Paperback: 608 pages, Publisher: Virago (2 Jun. 2011), Language: English, ISBN-10: 1844086135, ISBN-13: 978-1844086139

Book Description

Ingrid Betancourt’s astonishing, powerful and deeply moving account of her six-year ordeal in the Colombian jungle as a hostage of the terrorist organisation FARC

About the Author

Ingrid Betancourt lived in France and New Zealand before returning to Colombia to campaign for the presidency, when she was kidnapped.

3.  News of a Kidnapping

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 Format: Kindle Edition  File Size: 1699 KB  Print Length: 293 pages  Publisher: Penguin (6 Mar. 2014)Language: English  ASIN: B00HVPSXMO

Book Description

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s News of a Kidnapping is a powerful retelling of actual events from a turbulent period of Colombian history. In 1990, fearing extradition to the United States, Pablo Escobar — head of the Medellin drug cartel — kidnapped ten notable Colombians to use as bargaining chips. With the eye of a poet, Garcia Marquez describes the survivors’ perilous ordeal, depicting the keening ache of Colombia after nearly forty years of turmoil. ‘She looked over her shoulder before getting into the car to be sure no one was following her”Reads with an urgency which belongs to the finest fiction. I have never read anything which gave a better sense of the way Colombia was in worst times’ Daily Telegraph  Compellingly readable. A book with all the panache of Marquez’s fiction, hitting home rather harder’ Sunday Time  ‘A piece of remarkable investigative journalism made all the more brilliant by the author’s talent for magical storytelling’ Financial Times.

4.  Love in the Time of Cholera

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Paperback: 432 pages   Publisher: Penguin Classics (6 Sept. 2007)   Language: English   ISBN-10: 0141189207   ISBN-13: 978-0141189208

A poignant meditation on the nature of desire, and the enduring power of love, Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera is translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman in Penguin Modern Classics.

Florentino Ariza is a hopeless romantic who falls passionately for the beautiful Fermina Daza, but finds his love tragically rejected. Instead Fermina marriesdistinguished doctor Juvenal Urbino, while Florentino can only wait silently for her. He can never forget his first and only true love. Then, fifty-one years, nine months and four days later, Fermina’s husband dies unexpectedly. At last Florentino has another chance to declare his feelings and discover if a passion that has endured for half a century will remain unrequited, in a rich, fantastical and humane celebration of love in all its many forms.

About the author- Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez was born in Aracataca, Colombia, in 1928. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. He now lives in Mexico City.

Márquez studied at the University of Bogotá and later worked as a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador and as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas and New York. His first full-length work, One Hundred Years of Solitude, was published in 1967 to immediate worldwide success.

5.  Short Walks from Bogotá: Journeys in the new Colombia

by Tom Feiling

Paperback: 288 pages  Publisher: Penguin (29 Aug. 2013)  Language: English  ISBN-10: 024195990X  ISBN-13: 978-0241959909

Writer and journalist Tom Feiling travels throughout Colombia, talking to people from former guerrilla fighters to nomadic tribesmen and millionaires. “A portrait of Colombia that is perceptive, un-sensational, and full of humanity… one of the most consistently intelligent and compelling books to have appeared on any South American country in recent years”, Michael Jacobs, The Independent.

A deeply political account of one man’s journey to the violent heart of modern, rural, Colombia … a must read (Kevin Howlett Colombia Politics)   Feiling… venture[s] into areas that have been off limits for decades … the sense of a vibrant nation worth discovering peeks out (Siobhan Murphy Metro)   Elegantly written and knowledgeable. Feiling writes with the eye of a seasoned journalist and the style of a travel writer (Carl Wilkinson Financial Times)

About the Author

Tom Feiling spent a year living and working in Colombia before making Resistencia: Hip-Hop in Colombia, which won numerous awards at film festivals around the world, and was broadcast in four countries. In 2003 he became Campaigns Director for the TUC’s Justice for Colombia campaign, which organizes for human rights in Colombia. His first book was The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over The World, which was based on over sixty interviews with people involved in all aspects of the cocaine business and the ‘war on drugs,’ and was published by Penguin in 2009.

6. Michael Jacobs – A river journey through Colombia

 Paperback: 256 pages Publisher: Granta (1 Aug. 2013) Language: English ISBN-10: 1847084087 ISBN-13: 978-1847084088

Jacobs writing deploys a poetic ear and painterly eye to achieve ruminations akin to those of Coleridge wandering Lakeland… we reach the point that no travel book is supposed to reach, whereby the snake eats its tail: instead of breaking free into the wild he adores and does often find, Jacobs gives the lie to travel writing in this shrunken world conquered by mobile phones, contempt for nature and the plague of tourism –Observer

Jacobs’ literary skill and passion for all things Latin makes this a must-read for anyone contemplating a trip to one of South America’s most neglected yet enthralling destinations. –Lonely Planet guide

About the Author

MICHAEL JACOBS was born in Italy and studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute in London. He is the author of several travel books, including Andes (Granta, 2010) and was shortlisted for the 2004 Thomas Cook prize. He lives in Spain and London.

Other titles

History & Politics

Colombia: A Concise Contemporary History Mejia, German R., Michael LaRosa

2013, PAPER, 288 PAGES, 
This refreshing history of Colombia showcases the country’s political, social and cultural accomplishments over the past two centuries — a welcome break from all the focus on Colombia’s failures and disappointments.

 

Beyond Bogota, Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia
  Gary Leech

2010, PAPER, 260 PAGES, 
Part memoir, part history, this is the tale of journalist Leech’s 11-month captivity in Colombia at the hands of FARC, a guerilla group. Leech is very critical of the drug war, and uses his ordeal as a frame for exploring the history, culture and current politics of Colombia.

 

The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself  David Bushnell

334 PAGES, 
A leading historian of the region, Bushnell traces the political history of Colombia from before the arrival of the Spaniards through independence and reform in the 19th century, then through to the 1980s in this thoroughly enjoyable, incisive portrait of a nation.

 Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the Richest, Most Powerful Criminal in History Mark Bowden

2012, PAPER, 400 PAGES, No trip to Colombia is complete without giving mention to the drug baron Pablo Escobar. This is a gripping biography that gives a good background to the violent history of Colombia while describing Escobar’s extraordinary rise to power and the manhunt that led to his assassination.

Looking For History, Dispatches From Latin America
 Alma Guillermoprieto

2002, PAPER, 303 PAGES, 
A beautifully written, incisive collection of essays on contemporary Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Peru and Mexico.

Travel Writing & Memoirs

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life

A well-researched biography of the Nobel Prize winning author: “This first biography in English helps readers to ground his exceptional fiction in history”, Jason Wilson, Independent Book of the Week

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Living to Tell the Tale

2004, PAPER, 496 PAGES, 
Garcia’s celebrated memoir, as captivating, warm and spirited as any of his fictional tales, covers his youth in Aracataca, memorably recast as fictional Macondo on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

 

Silvana Paternostro: My Colombian War, A Journey Through the Country I Left Behind

2008, PAPER, 323 PAGES, 
Now a journalist living in New York, Paternostro travels back to her homeland in a search for the roots of Colombia’s bloody civil war.

 

Hector Abad:  Oblivion, A Memoir

2013, PAPER, 263 PAGES, Written by his son, this searing memoir celebrates the life of a Colombian doctor who fought against oppression and inequality and who was murdered by paramilitaries in 1987.

 

Charles Nicholl:  The Fruit Palace

1998, 336 PAGES, Charles Nicholl’s search for the story behind the cocaine trade of Colombia takes him from a café on the Caribbean Sea to shanty towns, barrios and the jungle. A thrilling piece of travel writing.

 

Silvana PaternostroMy Colombian War: A Journey Through the Country I Left Behind

2007, HARDCOVER, 336 PAGES, Acclaimed journalist Silvana Paternostro skilfully weaves her own childhood experiences into a history of the civil war in Colombia.

Fiction

 The Informers, Juan Gabriel Vasquez

A story of personal and political betrayal in Colombia in the years following the Second World War. “Vasquez is one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature. His first novel is testimony to the richness of his imagination as well as the subtlety and elegance of his prose”, Mario Vargas Llosa.

 

Sound of Things Falling Apart, Juan Gabriel Vasquez

“This terrific novel draws on Colombia’s tragic history and cycles of violence to tell the story of a troubled man trying to come to grips with the distant forces and events that have shaped his life”, Khaled Hosseini, Books of the Year 2013.

 

The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, Louis de Bernieres

The first in Louis de Bernieres’ enchanting, funny and moving trilogy set in a fictional Colombia.

 

Tales from the Town of Widows, James Canon

A beautifully told story about a group of women in a Colombian village who find their lives changed while their husbands and sons are away fighting a deadly civil war.

 

Delirium, Laura Restrepo

Returning home from a business trip, Aguliar finds that his wife has gone insane; a Colombian story of money, power and corruption described by Jose Saramago as one of the finest novels written in recent memory.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

2006, PAPER, 417 PAGES, 
The breathtaking, life-altering, much-celebrated tale of life and love is on most everyone’s list of the greatest books of all time, ours included. Its setting and themes are universal.

 

Our Lady of the Assassins, Fernando Vallejo, Paul Hammond

2001, PAPER, 144 PAGES, 
A vivid, cynical portrait of Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city and the stronghold of ruthless drug lord Pablo Escobar. The narrator returns to the town after a long absence to find it beset by horrific violence and a chilling indifference to death.

Guidebooks

Lonely Planet Colombia

2015, PAPER, 352 PAGES, 
A practical guide to Colombia featuring maps and detailed information on excursions, accommodations and sightseeing. With a few color photographs and excellent travel information.

Also Recommended

Colombia Green Guide, Michelin

A new guide for Michelin containing good maps, and thorough historical and cultural background.

 

Colombia, Footprint An excellent guide to Colombia, including detailed background information on history and culture as well as the usual range of hotel and restaurant recommendations.

 

Colombia, Bradt Less historical and cultural information than the Footprint Guide, but includes a good section on Colombian wildlife.  Strong on practical information and ideal for travel planning. With detailed sketch maps.

 

National Geographic Traveler Colombia

2016, PAPER, 320 PAGES, 
The intrepid Christopher Baker, author of National Geographic Cuba and other titles, penned this guide to exploring the cities, beaches and towns of Colombia, noteworthy for its attention to detail, maps and striking color photographs.

Rough Guide to Colombia Stephen Keeling

2015, PAPER, 416 PAGES, 
A comprehensive guide to Colombia in the hip, literate and very infomative Rough Guide style. It’s divided cleanly between practical information and illuminating background on culture and history.

 

Wallpaper City Guide Bogota Rachael Moloney

2012, PAPER, 103 PAGES, 
A stylish, thin (it fits in your back pocket) city guide compiled by the design magazine Wallpaper’s local reporters. Well-organized, with chapter tabs, many photographs and of-the-moment recommendations.

 

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