Sounds of Colombia

Cartagena

8 days

Group Tour

Discover Colombia through music, food, and connecting with locals on this 7-day adventure on the Caribbean Coast. It's time to explore The Land of a Thousand Rhythms!

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English, Spanish

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Description

Music is the key to a Culture as it serves as a bridge to meet and interact with people with whom you wouldn't otherwise meet. It allows us to discover new places and ways of life, It opens the door so that we can interact with different cultures, and allows us to learn about history and heritage way beyond sounds. Colombia, “The Land of a Thousand Rhythms”, has the perfect balance between having a flourishing culture and a growing infrastructure, while also being full of music and off-the-road hidden jewels that you’ll be able to experience. It’s a country of vast musical diversity with an enchanting atmosphere where Native, African, and European influences have met to create a lush cultural mosaic.  By joining this community-based tour, you will be getting the experience of a lifetime, while at the same time, supporting and meeting more than 50 talented traditional musicians (and their communities*), and knowing 2 UNESCO world heritage sites and 2 UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. 

Day 1 

Arrive in Cartagena, and start the adventure with a welcome cocktail and a wonderful rooftop workshop/ “parranda”  that will introduce you to the music genres of the accordion. 

In this no-stage experience you will be able to share, dance, and even play with the musicians of Carmelo Torres y Su Cumbia Sabanera; heirs of Andrés Landero - the king of Accordion Cumbia. 

Learn straight from the experts about history, heritage, inspiration, and diversity of the music you’ll listen to. After, you will have dinner with the band members before resting at your hotel. 

Day 2

Visit San Basilio de Palenque, the first free town of America, and explore the vibrant afro-culture through history, traditional music, and tasty food.


San Basilio de Palenque was the first free town in America, founded by self-emancipated former Slaves during Colombia’s colonial period. This town remains a symbol of resistance and of African pride due to its impressive story. Thanks to isolation and resistance, Palenqueros preserved African culture while creating new local manifestations such as Alegrías (a type of candy), Son Palenquero (a music genre) and the first Spanish-based creole language, which is still spoken in this place.

After lunch we will meet the Sexteto Tabala, this is the most renowned band within the very obscure “Sexteto Palenquero” music, a genre that perhaps could be considered an endangered music genre. This music came about due to the migration of Cuban workers to the “Dique Canal” region in the beginning of the 1900’s. It’s founder Rafael Cassiani passed away recently but his son and other members of the community continue his legacy. The band has toured internationally and it’s charismatic leader Juan Cañate is a very respected musician within the town of Palenque where he also performs with a well known “champeta” (another music genre) band known as Las Estrellas del Caribe. Pepe Cañate (the son of the founder) for many years worked as a chef in Cartagena and later came back to his town of Palenque where he joined the band. Franklin is also a very valued member of the band who’s for a younger generation and has founded his own school for local children so that he can help preserve local music.

 In the evening you will have a group dinner where you will taste the typical Mote de Queso from Montes de María, and you will end the day with a Gaita performance where you can join in and play or enjoy the lively music.

Day 3

After having your breakfast at San Jacinto, you will head in a 5-hour transfer to Santa Cruz de Mompox, a colorful colonial town that will give you a feeling of being in another time. Recognized as a heritage town, this place will charm you with its abundant history and impressive living culture. After your arrival, you will have a typical lunch by Magdalena River, one of Colombia’s most important rivers, and the one that once brought huge prosperity to Mompox. You will then have a hotel break before having a bike tour through Mompox where you will get to know its many churches, plazas, and charming streets, as well as having a visit to a filigree workshop where you will see amazing crafts and the talented jewel makers that keep alive the long tradition of famous Mompox’s filigree.  

After the dinner, you will have a music experience of “Bailes Cantados” (sung dances) with Don Abundio, where you will have a behind the scenes entry to see the elements and masks of a carnival as well as having a complete explanation and demonstration of dances, drums, and singing. 

Day 4 

Bathe in the golden glow of a Mompox morning. As the sun peeks over the pastel-hued houses, casting long shadows on the cobblestone streets, embark on a magical walking tour. Start at Plaza de la Constitución, the town's beating heart, where coffee wafts from cafes and birdsong fills the air. Admire the candy-colored facades adorned with intricate woodwork and ironwork, each a testament to colonial charm.

Weave through narrow lanes, catching glimpses of local life unfolding through open doorways. Greet friendly faces, savor the aroma of fresh bread wafting from bakeries, and listen to the rhythmic clack of filigrana artisans crafting delicate gold and silver threads. Soon, you'll reach the majestic Iglesia de Santa Barbara, its golden altar aglow in the morning light. Step inside and marvel at the centuries-old murals whispering tales of faith and history. Continue to the serene San Carlos Cloister, where the hushed courtyard offers a welcome respite and invites quiet contemplation. As the morning unfolds, Mompox reveals its soul, one enchanting corner at a time.

The afternoon in free to enjoy the town or relax at the pool.

Day 5 

Cruise from Mompox to Zambrano and drive to Cartagena. This experience will allow you to go on an incredible boat from Mompox to Zambrano. The boat has hammocks, board games, music and all that with the beautiful landscape and breeze of the Magdalena River.
 

Day 6

You will be departing early to Rosario Islands’ main island Isla Grande by speedboat through beautiful turquoise waters and you will arrive after 1 hour to an Eco Hotel from the community where you will be able to relax by the beach or embark on an extra adventure such as snorkeling or bike riding. You will then have a typical island lunch, and an immersion into another music genre called Champeta. This genre is created with a strong influence of African Sukus and Highlife from the ’70s plus a local adaptation. It is a reconnection to Africa through music and dance, but it also is a creation of an entire graphic aesthetic and sound system culture. With modified electronic components and sound equipment, a Pikó (sound system) is built, named uniquely and painted with vivid colors accordingly to its name to light up the party.  After, you will have a nice dinner at the hotel. 

Day 7 

On this day you will have some time in the morning to relax and then return to Cartagena by speedboat. After your arrival you will have lunch and a free afternoon before meeting at the hotel by 4 pm to have a Workshop/Concert of a genre called Porro. This genre could be the Caribbean’s equivalent of a New Orleans Big Band; with a 20 piece brass band with trumpets, clarinets, trombones, and drums this lively music from the Caribbean Savannah will give you the feel of a parade before ending the trip with a nice dinner. 
 

Included

  • All inner Transportation
  • Gregorio Uribe's guidance
  • Described Activities
  • All Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • Lodging

Not Included

  • Breakfast & Lunch - Day 1
  • Lunch and Dinner - Day 3 & 4
  • Dinner - Day 5
  • Lunch - Day 7
  • Lunch & Dinner - Day 8
  • Transfer -In
  • Transfer - Out
  • Extra activities

Important information


• You will be Joined by Gregorio Uribe, your expert musician guide. A representative of Sonidos Enraizados, in charge of bonding with communities and facilitating interaction with local musicians. An Impulse Travel Tour Leader, taking care of logistics and customer service. 

• Musicians on the description are professional musicians which may be unavailable due to touring dates. However, other professional musicians will be booked for the activities in this case. 

• Sounds of Colombia is powered by

 - IMPULSE Travel

 - Gregorio Uribe Your Expert Musician Guide

 http://www.gregoriouribe.com

 - Sonidos Enraizados A non-for-profit organization that for years has helped dozens of traditional musicians - many of them farmers and seniors citizens - preserve and develop their art by acting as a grass-roots music label, management and culture platform. They’ve taken many of these artists to tour Europe and the Americas including renown stages such as Lincoln Center.

www.sonidosenraizados.com
 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites 

•Port, Fortresses and Group Monuments, Cartagena (cultural) (1984) 

•Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox (cultural) ( 1995 ) 
 

UNESCO Intanglible Cultural Heritage 

•Cultural space of Palenque de San Basilio ( 2008 ) 

•Traditional Vallenato music of the Greater Magdalena region (2015) 

How this tour creates an impact

This will be the experience of a lifetime for you while supporting more than 50 local musicians and their communities, enjoying their diverse heritage and culture. On this trip, you'll have the chance to visit 2 UNESCO world heritage sites: Cartagena & Mompox. You will also get to know 2 cultural expressions declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO: The cultural space of San Basilio de Palenque, the first free African town in the Americas & Traditional Vallenato Music.

This tour is part of our HEART experiences.

Additional information

Things to bring:

  • Comfortable shoes and clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat or Cap
  • Water bottle to refill

Cancellation policies

This experience has special cancellation conditions that will be informed once you receive your requested quote.

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