COLOMBIA PHOTOGRAPHY HOLIDAY |  23 MAR - 1 APR 2022 ** AVAILABLE **  | £2850 / INTERNAL FLIGHTS X 3 £175 / SINGLE SUPLIMENT £540

COLOMBIA PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Colombia is without a doubt one of the best places to visit right now and relatively new to the outside world. A “megadiverse” country, ranking as the 2nd most biodiverse in the world boasting lush green coffee plantations, snow-topped mountains, the largest tropical rainforest national park in the world and of course beaches make this a photographers paradise. 

Of course, It’s also a lot of fun with its heady mix of Latin and Caribbean influences, 87 ethnic groups and 65 different languages. This rich mix and its generous people make Colombia a fantastic destination to explore and we have curated authentic local experiences to really help you get under the skin of this incredible country. 

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“I’ve also made a group of friends I’ll stay in touch with for life. You can’t get better than that” 

TOP Sante

Highlights.

With its Caribbean beaches, snow-capped Andean mountain peaks, rainforests, and national parks, Colombia offers something for everyone. Its astonishing variety of climates, landscapes and the friendliness of its people turn every trip into an unforgettable experience.

Colombia has not been open to the world for that long after a very public and troubled period but it has put all that behind it and is flourishing artistically and financially.

This latest tour takes in some of the must-see locations and gets you up close to the lives that have made it so much of a great destination.

On our Colombia Photography Tour, you’ll learn to :

Think like a street photographer in the vibrant La Candelaria and Cartagena.

Slow things down and take in the intricacies of a portrait. 

Learn to shoot sequentially as these skills are essential in bringing your images to life and telling stories. 

Use reflectors, led lights or flash to bring portraits to life.

Think about how props can enhance the image and ultimately reveal more about a subject

Plus many hints and tips our pro photographer has up their sleeve to get you shooting even better.

Itinerary.

We will be waiting for you at the International Airport (Bogota, BOG El Dorado) to take you to your newly renovated hotel in the heart of La Candelaria, the city’s downtown historic 17th neighbourhood. It’s a mix of Spanish Colonial, Baroque and Art Deco buildings. Full of old houses,  churches, several universities, libraries and museums and just happens to be the coolest end of town.

Once bags are dropped and you have had a chance to freshen up we will get you introduced and excited about the trip before we head out for a leisurely photo walk around the cobbled streets close to our hotel. It’s a chance to get your cameras warmed up or If you are just starting out then your tutor will be able to show you the ropes whilst you acclimatise. 

The following morning our local guide will take us to some of the cities finest markets, here we can get you up to speed with the basics or hone your killer photography eye. There are so many climates and regions in the country that you will see all manner of foods, from exotic fruits, flowers and vegetables all piled up high to tempt your shutter finger and stomach! We have arranged a special lunch with our local hosts for some great Colombian delicacies and an opportunity to discover the traditions through food. 

After lunch we head back to the streets but this time we are away from the crowds, in what used to be the real Badlands up into the hills behind La Candelaria where we meet an ex ‘la 10ma’ gang member. Juan “Calabazo” Roncancio, one of the gang’s leaders decided to not let his 3 boys live the same life of crime he had. Instead, after 8 years in prison he created the Breaking Borders Tours. It’s an amazing opportunity for some real-life stories and killer portraits. 

To finish off our Bogota adventure we have a classic evening planned at the famous San Anders, so it’s back to the hotel to freshen up, relax and enjoy a sundowner before the pickup.

 

Time to move on from the capital as we head to Villa de Leyva, a town founded in 1572 and named after the President of Nueva Granada, Andrés Díaz Venero de Leyva. It is the perfect example of a colonial town, located 110 miles northeast of Bogotá. En route and out of Bogota is an amazing and somewhat surreal salt mine cathedral that is popular but a bit of a must as we are passing by.

Our hotel is a beautifully renovated old house, located in the historic centre, charming and oozing with character, frankly, it’s gorgeous. We will set up for lunch in the garden and use the time to take stock of how your pictures are going with more 1 on 1 tuition. The rest of the afternoon is for exploring the local area, taking in the unique eco terracotta house or simply relaxing.

In the evening we are booked into a premier dinner spot, it’s another old colonial house where the chef resurrects ancient cooking techniques. Famed for the underground wood-burning barbecues that render meat so tender it slides effortlessly off the bone. But if meat is not your thing, don’t worry there are plenty of interesting veg options, like the risotto which is made from locally grown rice and fresh palm hearts.

Every Saturday morning there is a lively market where our local guide will give us unique behind the scenes access to some of the farmers who sell their goods. It’s a very special opportunity to get up close to some fantastic characters who are very strong and proud of being Colombian and your chance to explore portraiture or storytelling.

After lunch, we’re on the move with a short flight to the city of Medellin. The city is known historically for a very famous inhabitant However this place has reinvented itself in some very novel ways which are proving to be very successful. We are obviously keen to help them look to the future so first off let’s get a bit of a feel for the city. We have arranged for our ground staff to take us to some of the city’s most interesting architectural highlights, including the Botero Park, where plump sculptures by Colombia’s most famous artist are on display, and as the sun sets the Lights Park for a unique series of light sculptures in a once no-go public space. 

Today we go deeper. This is another chance to see real lives and be close to the stories that have changed lives. We start by learning a bit about initiatives and people that made these things happen in ‘Communa 13’. This was another really dangerous place not so long ago and the human scars are still visible today but don’t let that put you off. On the contrary, this will throw up photographic opportunities at every turn. The winding narrow streets are bustling with activity and the street art speaks volumes. 

Talking of artists, we have arranged special access to meet some of the most influential street artists in Comuna 13 and they have agreed to let us take some portraits. This is another exclusive that will allow you to explore more portraiture.

There is also a metro cable car that glides above and takes you to the Barefoot park botanical gardens. This city has an incredible flower festival every year that takes over the entire centre. These flowers are found in the surrounding hilltop farms outside the city. We are going to go and visit one and take in the riot of colour and the people that make it happen.

With so much already in the bag, we need another slideshow over dinner.

We’re off to visit the unique and bizarre sight of a giant rock that sticks up overlooking thousands of mini islands where the rich and famous have their holiday homes. This is Guatape, a little town where the Cowboys hang out playing pool and tourists wander the brightly painted streets, colourful decorations adorn the lower section of every building. You would be mistaken to think you were on the set of a kids tv show. It’s 600 steps to the top of the 220-meter high rock and if you are game you will be rewarded with a bar! Oh and experience 360 degrees of breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. If not the town has plenty to keep you occupied with its heady mix of colour and life, we have also organised to meet some locals and get away from the usual trail. 

After enjoying a traditional Antioqueño lunch, we will transport you to San Rafael for a bit of a wind-down, another traditional, yet less visited pueblo only an hour’s drive down the mountain from Guatape. With several picturesque waterfalls to enjoy, as well as wild monkeys in the surrounding forests, San Rafael is great for a bit of nature and most importantly it’s off the beaten track. 

Our last night in Medellin means we splash out on the inventive tasting menu at Carmen, one of Colombia’s top restaurants.

A quick flight to the magnificent Cartagena de Indias, the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast, a fairy-tale city, superbly preserved lying within an impressive 13km of centuries-old colonial stone walls. The old town is a Unesco World Heritage site and a maze of cobbled alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and massive churches that cast their shadows across the plazas. This place screams street photography, you will want to stroll through the old town day and night. 

Lunch will be light but out of the hard midday light and a nice prep for the afternoon. We are supporting good causes by incorporating amazing work in our itinerary. Meet Alex Rocha, he opened the Alex Rocha Young Center a community school located in a disadvantaged part of Cartagena that teaches English, art, and moral values to children, teenagers, and adults as well as offering recreational activities. The centre provides a safe haven for children who may be exposed to crime and violence, as well as helping children who come from dysfunctional families. This however is not just a pop-in. You are here to work! There is a live brief and an opportunity to test your skills in a limited time. We are here to shoot pictures they can use to help spread their work. 

Dinner is again rather special. Hey, you earned it.

You have been working hard and we know you are on a break, so what’s a visit to the Caribbean without a fun day at the beach? A 30-minute boat trip will jumpstart your morning as it takes you to Tierra Bomba, in the Rosario Islands where you will spend the day relaxing in a picture-perfect beach chair with turquoise waters at your feet. The location of this tropical bliss is the idyllic Blue Apple Beach House, an exclusive private beach club that features an excellent restaurant serving fresh, local seafood dishes.

Lounge by the pool in a hammock, take a dip in the blue Caribbean waters, sample some cocktails at the bar, or enjoy a rejuvenating beachside massage: the choice is yours.

Today we head to Palenque de San Basilio, which is located 60 km from Cartagena and is a community of the descendants of the 17th century African Maroons. Since 1603, escaped slaves from the city of Cartagena and its surroundings left with tools and firearms to found towns in the inaccessible swamps of the region. This is The Americas first free town and the culture is immense. From boxing champs to actors and dance moves. The women in bright coloured costumes that you will have seen in Cartagena also come from this town. It’s got a lot going on but few ever get this far. 

This is our final day to capture yet another side of this country so we have arranged more experiences to make your cameras smile. Through our ground staff and local expertise, we have a host of people for you to meet. From farmers to award-winning hairdressers. This is your last chance to tell some unique stories, experience a different life and cook some ‘Palenquera’ It’s also a great spot for a couple of beers in the town before heading back to Cartagena. 

This is your last night so we have our traditional slideshow and wrap party.

Your final morning is another opportunity to catch this amazing city as it wakes with a little bit of walking the camera or a final chance to have a 1 on 1 session with your tutor. Of course, you could also do some last-minute shopping or grab a well-deserved massage before a farewell lunch and flight back to the capital where we will say our goodbyes. 

BOGOTA

Details : Colombia Photography Tour

23 Mar – 01 April 2022
** Available **

10 days. 09 nights. Starts and ends in Bogota.

£2850 / Internal flights x 3 £175 /  single supplement £540

Price includes
10 nights boutique accommodation at listed hotels, including breakfast
9 full days tuition from our UK-based professional photographer
Group transfers to and from the airport
All transportation between shooting locations
All entrance passes – Salt cathedral, El Pinole
Multiple 1-on-1 tuition sessions

Price excludes flights, lunch and dinner.

 

At the time of posting, flights are still limited but improving fast. There are direct flights to Bogota from the UK, serviced by Avianca. Prices start from about £750.

"Fabulous locations, amazing hotels & great memories. Thanks to Creative Escapes I have moved from taking a gazillion bland photographs to images I am really proud of. Already thinking about my next trip!"


Lorraine Byrne, Dublin