Join National Geographic author / photographer and Colombia expert Christopher P. Baker on a one-of-a-kind photo tour of Colombia!

CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER
No-one knows Colombia as well as renowned travel journalist and National Geographic photographer Christopher P. Baker–the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 ‘Travel Journalist of the Year.’ Chris first visited Colombia on magazine assignment more than a decade ago. He later spent five months on assignment traveling to every corner of Colombia to author and illustrate the National Geographic Traveler Colombia guidebook. He has written about and photographed Colombia on behalf of entities from BBC Travel and Caribbean Travel & Life to National Geographic Traveler and South China Morning Post. He has also written and photographed for hundreds of other publications and publishers, from Lonely Planet to Penthouse, and has authored and illustrated more than two dozen guidebooks and coffee-table books to destinations worldwide. A gifted photo instructor, he has led photo tours for Jim Cline Photo Tours, National Geographic Expeditions, and Santa Fe Photo Workshops, among others.

Chris was the perfect trip leader. His knowledge of the country and its history is vast and he enthusiastically wanted to share it with us along with his years of experience as a photographer… He’s talented, interesting, accessible, and fun to travel with. Plus, he really did seem to care about each of us — if we were okay, getting good images, too tired, too hot, etc. I would certainly travel with him again. He certainly kept up the high standards of a Jim Cline Photo Tour.”  – JUDY B., Colombia 2018

Colombia is trending as a hot new travel destination now that peace prevails and the country has turned its back on past travails. There’s never been a better time to visit this scenically stunning, culturally diverse, and simply fascinating country. And few people know Colombia as well as trip leader Christopher P. Baker, who wrote and photographed the National Geographic Traveler Colombia guidebook.

Chris has designed a sensational itinerary themed to northern Colombia’s indigenous cultures and “magic realism”… the quintessential, surreal and allegorical Latin American literary style birthed here and made famous by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez (“Gabo”).

We’ll begin in Cartagena, the colorful city where Gabo lived and set such novels as Love in the Time of Cholera… and where the boundless photo ops include colorfully-dressed palenqueras and colonial houses adorned with bougainvillea and tropical ice cream pastels, plus the earthy and über-photogenic Bazurto market. We’ll visit Gabo’s birthplace of surreal Aracataca, and the landlocked time-warp city of Mompox… either of which could transport you in your imagination to Gabo’s mythical Mancodo–the setting of One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, we’ll visit the autonomous lands of the Arhuaco/Kogi people, as profiled in Christopher’s article for BBC Travel. And we’ll venture into La Guajira desert at the tip of South America to spend time photographing the Wayúu indigenous peoples during the Festival de la Cultura Wayúu.

TOUR DATES:
May 23-June 5, 2021 (tenative dates)
PRICE:
TBD
ITINERARY (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):

Day 1 – ARRIVE CARTAGENA
Arrive Cartagena. We’ll have a welcome reception and dinner together at one of the city’s best restaurants.
Overnight: HOTEL BOVEDA

Day 2 – CARTAGENA
We’ take a leisurely walking tour of the historic walled city, pointing our cameras at the stunning architecture and vibrant street life. The afternoon is free for exploring at leisure (and/or a siesta) before our private photo shoot with a palenquera–one of the Afro-Colombia fruit-sellers dressed in traditional rainbow-hued costumes. This evening perhaps take a ride by horse-drawn carriage to photograph floodlit and moonlit at night.
Overnight: HOTEL BOVEDA

Day 3 – MOMPOX
Today journey to the bank of the mighty Río Magdalena, where we’ll catch a ferry through the swampy delta. The two-hour voyage offers great birding photography… and keep your eyes peeled for caimans, crocodiles, and Neotropical river otters! We spend our afternoon and night in Mompox, once a thriving landlocked river port where time seems to have stopped in the 19th century… offering us sensational photo ops.
Overnight: BIOMA BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Day 4 – MOMPOX
We’ll spend the day shooting the silversmiths and ironsmiths for which Mompox is renowned… as well as the riverside market… yesteryear architecture… and straight-out-of-a-Márquez-novel streetlife.
Overnight: BIOMA BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Day 5 – PUEBLO BELLO 
Today, journey east to the base of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The world’s tallest free-standing coastal mountain range is sacred to the local Arahuaco and Kogi indigenous people, with their remarkable dress and lifestyle based on their self-perception as guardians of Mother Earth.
Overnight: CENTRO DE INTERPRETACIÓN DE LA CULTURAL ARHUACA (PUEBLO BELLO)

Day 6 – PUEBLO BELLO & NABUSIMAKE
We hope to gain permission to venture by 4WD into the resuargo (autonomous indigenous territory) to the sacred village of Nabusimake, accompanied by mamo (tribal leader) Luis Guillermo Izquierdo. Luis will share his people’s unique cosmovision and provide opportunities for superb photography.
Overnight: CENTRO DE INTERPRETACIÓN DE LA CULTURAL ARHUACA (PUEBLO BELLO)

Day 7 – LA GUAJIRA
Descending from the Sierra Nevada, we continue east into the Guajira desert–home to the Wayúu peoples. This vast cactus-studded region at the tip of South America offers sublime photo ops, and we’ll be visiting during the Festival de la Cultura Wayúu.
Overnight: HOTEL WAYA GUAJIRA

Day 8 – LA GUAJIRA
We’ll spend the day visiting Wayúu communities to photograph indigenous dances, face-painting, and vibrant costumes and hammocks. This will include the community of Sainn Wayúu and/or the Festival de la Cultura Wayúu at Uribia; plus the crossroads market at Cuatro Caminos, with its livestock, caged chickens, scrawny goats, and Wayúu women in their colorful traditional garb and blackened faces to guard against wrinkles during their lifetime under a searing sun.
Overnight: HOTEL WAYA GUAJIRA

Day 9 – TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK
This morning journey west along the Caribbean coast at the northern base of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Arriving Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona after lunch, we’ll relax at our deluxe hotel on a forest-clad mountainside overlooking the teal waters of the Caribbean.
Overnight: HOTEL ECOHABS, TAYRONA (OR) PLACITA VIEJA HOTEL BOUTIQUE, SANTA MARTA

Day 10 – TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK
Spend the early morning photographing the fishermen with their colorful pangas (long, slender boats) at Tagnanga OR explore Santa Marta in early morning. Spend the rest of the day for optional activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, or nature hikes in  Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, with its monkeys, sloths, and fantastic birdlife.
Overnight: HOTEL ECOHABS, TAYRONA (OR) PLACITA VIEJA HOTEL BOUTIQUE, SANTA MARTA

Day 11 – MINCA
A short ride into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta delivers us at Minca, where we briefly escape the coastal heat amid coffee-fields and montane cloud forest. This is a great spot for birders and a chance to photograph toucans, oropendolas, and hummingbirds.
Overnight: ECOHABAS MINCA

Day 12 – ARACATACA & CARTAGENA
Today we’ll make an early start and journey via Santa Marta to Aracataca, the somnolent little town where Gabriel García Márquez was born and raised. We’ll explore this mini-Macondo in the heart of the steamy banana belt, and afflicted (as was Macondo) by a charming trapped-in-time drowsiness. Ground zero is Casa Museo Gabriel García Márquez, plus the Museo Telégrafo, stuffed with dusty period miscellany. We’ll lunch here before our all-afternoon drive via Barranquilla to Cartagena, with a stop at Volcán de Lodo Totumo–a mini volcano that spews warm mud. Tonight is at leisure.
Overnight: HOTEL BOVEDA

Day 13 – CARTAGENA
This morning we’ll journey outside the walled city to visit the authentically untouristed Bazurto open-air fruit, meat and fish market. Superb photography here! We’ll then make a short walking tour in Getsemani—a rapidly gentrifying historic district with vibrant street life. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy at your leisure before enjoying a slide show of everyone’s favorite images, plus a farewell dinner at Club de Pesca.
Overnight: HOTEL BOVEDA

Day 14 – DEPART
This morning we’ll transfer participants to the airport to connect with their flights home.