This trip explores the cultures of Panama and Colombia. We begin in Panama, to learn about the Embera, Wounaan and Kuna people. From Panama, we travel to Bogota to attend the incredible Expoartesanias Colombia, where we’ll meet the finest artisans from all of Colombia. The Zenu, Wayuu, Arhuaco, and other ethnic communities from throughout the country, will demonstrate, exhibit and sell their craft, expressions of their material culture. We’ll visit some highlights in Bogota, as well. Then, we’ll travel to Medellin, to explore this beautiful city of Antioquia to learn about urban and social renewal. Join us on a journey to explore people, craft and cultures of Panama and Colombia!
Day One: Thurs. Nov. 26, Arrive Panama, Welcome Dinner, Overnight Panama City (D)
We’ll stay in Panama’s Old Town and enjoy a delicious Panamanian meal tonight! Depending on arrival time, we’ll tour by foot in the “Casco Viejo” neighborhood. We’ll enjoy a fun welcome dinner.
Day Two: Fri. Nov. 27, Embera/Wounaan Villages, Overnight Panama City (B, L)
Today we’ll immerse in the indigenous Emberá culture, enjoying a 7-hour excursion from Panama City. We’ll journey up the Chagres River in a traditional dugout canoe to the Parara Puru village in Chagres National Park. Meet members of the tribe and learn about their traditions and way of life in the forest, witness ceremonial dances and eat a traditional lunch.
Day Three: Sat., Nov. 28, Islands, Yandup Island Lodge, Overnight Yandup Island (B, L, D)
The San Blas Islands are located in the Comarca de Kuna Yala and the nearly 400 islands archipelago is home to the Kuna Indians. This trip is a unlike any other. It gives you the chance to mingle with the Kuna on their coconut-covered islands, enjoy the beaches, learn about Kuna culture, and more. This tour is truly authentic and offers you amazing experiences in some of the most remote parts of the San Blas Islands. Our trip starts with an early flight from Panama City to San Blas where we’ll be met by our Kuna guide who will take us to our cabins on one of the islands in time for breakfast on our first day. We’ll enjoy snorkeling and swimming and just relaxing in this beautiful setting.
Day Four: Sun. Nov. 29, Islands Day Two, Yandup Island Lodge, Overnight Yandup Island (B, L, D)
Today we will take an excursion by boat, to the nearby community. We’ll walk the streets and meet the Kuna people who live in this region. The Kuna have their own social and political organization, semi-autonomous from the Panamanian Federal Government. We’ll see demonstrations on the art of the mola, as well as enjoy the vast array of molas that the women make, both for their own dress, and for selling to tourists (us!)
Day Five: Mon. Nov. 30, Yandup-Panama, Tour Panama City, Tinajas for Dinner, Overnight Panama City (B, L, D)
We’ll take an early morning flight back from Yandup Island to Panama. Arriving, we’ll visit the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks, enjoy the viewing platforms, four floors of exhibits and a short film about the canal’s history at the Miraflores Visitor Center. We’ll then drive around the famous Cerro Ancon inside the former U.S. Canal Zone and out to the islands down the Amador Causeway for the best view of Panama’s skyline. We’ll stop on Naos Island for lunch. We’ll return to the hotel, before going out to Tinajas to enjoy a fun dinner and show of Panamanian dress and music.
Day Six: Tues. Dec. 1, Panama to Bogota, Bogota City Tour (B, L, D)
We’ll arrive in Bogota and enjoy a City orientation walking tour. We’ll explore highlights of Bogota, including: The Gold Museum, La Candelaria and other important stops and visits in this bustling capital city.Check into our hotel. Rest, relax, before going to enjoy a group dinner.
Day Seven: Wed. Dec. 2, Expoartesanias Colombia Day One (B, L)
Today is the opening day of Expoartesanias Colombia, and we’ll be among the first to arrive to tour and experience this incredible gathering of the finest artisans of Colombia. From La Guajira, the Pacific, Tuchin and other regions, the Wayuu, Waunaan, Zenu people will showcase their famed “mochilas”, werregue fiber and the sombrero “vueltiao” or turned hat, that is Colombia’s iconic symbol. We’ll be hosted and escorted by Artesanias de Colombia personnel, who will help us navigate the expo. We will visit artisans dedicated to: Contemporary Fashion, Homewares, Jewelry, Ethnographic craft, Experimental Design “Laboratory”, Cuisine and more! It’s truly outstanding in its concentration of the finest artisans and crafts of Colombia!
Day Eight: Thurs. Dec. 3, Expoartesanias Day Two (B)
Today we will enjoy our 2nd full day at the Expo Artesanias, as one day is definitely not enough. The fine folks of Artesanias de Colombia will help us with packing and shipping, should we need this! We’ll enjoy specially arranged meetings and talks with some of Colombia’s great masters. Artesanias de Colombia will also help us better understand the importance and role of craft in their country’s future and economy. The economic well-being of the artisan sector of Colombia is key in their goals to secure long-term peace and stability. Beyond this, they also recognize the importance of sustaining their cultural identity, of which craft is one of its greatest expressions. (Note: the craft we’ll see is an integral part of Colombia’s diverse ethnographic cultural expression). Artisans and designers are also joining forces for new and contemporary designs and expressions. We’ll meet with the Director of Moda Viva, Living Fashion, who will inform us of their collaborative work between fashion designers and artisans from various communities.
Extension to Medellin Option
Day Nine: Fri. Dec. 4, Bogota to Medellin, Los Silleteros, Medellin Walking Tour (B, L)
We’ll be met at the Medellin airport and transfer to the community of Santa Elena, to learn about and experience the “Silletero” Customs and Culture, found only in this region. This is all about flowers! We’ll enjoy a typical lunch in the region. The mountain air is crisp and clear here. Arriving in Medellin, we’ll tour the city center and learn about the importance of Fernando Botero, who was born here. Hotel check in, and evening at leisure.
Day Ten: Sat. Dec. 5, Comuna 13 and Innovation in Mass Transit (B, L)
Today we’ll visit Comuna 13, a neighborhood in Medellin that has transformed itself from a center of conflict to a center of art, music and dance. We’ll gather with members from Proyecto Son Bata and we’ll enjoy a drumming workshop! We’ll ride on the Metro Cable, an innovative transportation system that helped bring marginalized people into the city to work and have more dignified and viable livelihoods. The urban renewal of Medellin is a global model of transformation through education, the arts and transportation.
Day Eleven: Sun. Dec. 6, Carmen de Viboral, Guatape, Overnight near Airport (B, L, D)
We’ll begin our day visiting the pottery town of Carmen de Viboral, before going to the colorful and charming town of Guatape. We’ll walk the town and learn about the architecture, town layout, zocalos, in the Spanish style. Lunch in town. We’ll visit this amazing natural phenomenon, a huge rock formation and enjoy the views here. We’ll also enjoy a fun boat ride to see the views from the water. Overnight in Guatape.
Day Twelve: Mon. Dec. 7, Return Flights
Panama: 5 Nights
Bogota: 3 Nights
Medellin: 3 Nights
11 Nights Total