Afro Colombia and the Petronio Alvarez Music Festival

Afro-Colombia & The Petronio Alvarez Music Festival

Cartagena & Cali

Trip Summary


Join us on an extraordinary journey to Colombia to learn about the heritage & traditions of African Descendants of this South American country. We will explore the History and Present Day expressions from the Caribbean Coast to the Pacific. Traveling to Cartagena & vicinity, we visit a community called San Basilio Palenque, established in honor of Cimarron, liberator and martyr, Benkos Bioho. San Basilio developed an internal creole language, designed to keep information tightly held within the community. Following our explorations of the Caribbean Coast, we travel to Cali, to attend the world renowned Festival del Pacifico Petronio Alvarez to learn about and become immersed in the rhythms of
Pacific Colombia. Rhythms such as the marimba and chirimia are amazingly vibrant and mesmerizing. Entering its 16th year, the Festival de Musica del Pacifico Petronio Alvarez is the most important festival of its kind and has made groups famous, such as…



  • Touring the Colonial city, Cartagena, to learn about life here in the Colonial Period. We visit some of Cartagena’s oldest neighborhoods.
  • TTraveling to San Basilio Palenque and meeting with community leaders to learn about the First Free Slave Community of the Americas.
  • Visiting the stunning Gold Museums in Cartagena & Cali to learn about the early ancestors, prior to the arrival of the Spaniards.
  • Enjoying the music, dance and cuisine of the Caribbean Coast.
  • Traveling to Cali to tour the capital of the Valle de Cauca region. We visit highlight s of this city.
  • Attending workshops held by musicians in the Petronio Alvarez Festival.
  • Attending the Festival del Pacifico Petronio Alvarez to sway to the rhythms of Pacific Colombia!

Trip includes:

  • Accommodations
  • Expert Guides and/or Academics
  • Comfortable / Secure Transportation
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners
  • Breakfasts
  • Meals according to itinerary
  • Water on Van/Coach
  • Airport Transfers
  • Entry Fees




Itinerary at a glance


Day 1, Welcome to Cartagena!: Arrive in Cartagena where you will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel located in Cartagena’s Historic Center. We meet our fellow travelers at a wonderful welcome dinner overlooking the Cartagena Bay.


Day 2, Morning Lecture & Cartagena City Tour: Today we enjoy a Morning Lecture on the History of African Descendants in Colombia. We will learn about their Liberation Movement and the importance of Benkos Bioho. We will learn how this history is similar or different to other African diasporas in Latin American countries. In addition to the History we will learn about present day issues of Afro Colombians on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Colombia. Following our lecture, we enjoy a City Walking tour of Cartagena, Neighborhoods & Museums.


Day 3, San Basilio Palenque: Today we visit the community of San Basilio Palenque; founded by a community of Cimarrones,
lead by their liberator, Benkos Biahlo. Here, we will learn of the History of the Palenque, or settlements of freed slaves and how they developed a unique and private language to conceal their discussions & activities from the outside. We will meet with community leaders, educators, artists
who will share their vision & experience of living in San Basilio.


Day 4, Fishing Community: Today, we enjoy an excursion into the mangrove communities of to learn the ways and stories of the local fishing communities and people who have made fishing their livelihood in the mangroves near the Caribbean Coast. We enjoy a fish cook out with our new friends and be sure to bring your bathing suits so we can enjoy a dip in the refreshing waters!


Day 5, Transfer to Cali City Tour / Museums: Today we say hello the vibrant City of Cali, where music and dance are everywhere! We get our first impressions of the city by taking an orientation walking tour, including its fantastic museums, that are all located within walking distance (name the museums). In the evening, we enjoy a salsa dancing class, but Colombian style, so get your dancing shoes on! We enjoy a welcome to Cali dinner to experience the delectable cuisine from Colombia’s Pacific coast. Optional evening dancing!


Day 6, Workshops:: Pacific Colombia’s Musical Heritage Workshop & Thursday, Petronio Alvarez Today we begin our explorations of the Music of the Pacific by attending a workshop to review the instruments from the region and their history. The Marimba de Chonta has been declared Cultural Patrimony of Colombia, and its origins are from Africa. We will explore what chirimia music is and understand
the differences in the musical types and styles we will be experiencing at the Festival. Then get ready, as we head off for our first night at the Petronio Alvarez Music of the Pacific Festival.


Day 7, Museum of Sugar, Petronio Alvarez, Friday, Overnight Cali: Today we visit a sugar plantation to learn
about the sugar economy during the colonial period. We will meet a special dance troupe and enjoy a regional meal. Arriving back in Cali, we enjoy our second day at the Petronio Alavarez Music Festival!


Day 8, Free Day, Festival Gastronomy, Petronio Alvarez Festival & Farwell Dinner (Saturday): Today we are at leisure to explore freely. Options include, strolling in the Historic Center of Cali, visiting more museums, going to markets, visiting craft stores. We will
arrive early to the Petronio Alvarez Festival to explore the Gastronomy Tables that are set up so we can learn more about the foods from this region and of course sample them! After the Festival we will enjoy a festive farewell dinner at a favorite local restaurant.


Day 9, Transfer Out: To Cali



Photos from this trip


















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