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 renowned travel journalist and National Geographic author and photographer Christopher P. Baker--the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 'Travel Journalist of the Year.' Chris first visited Colombia on magazine assignment almost two decades ago. He later spent five months on assignment traveling to every corner of Colombia to research, write and photograph the National Geographic Traveler Colombia guidebook. He has returned on many occasions, not least as leader of Jim Cline Photo Tours' 2018 and 2019 tours (see 'Tour Leader,' right).

We’ll begin in Bogotá, the vibrant capital, where we’ll explore the colonial-era and administrative heart of La Candelaria, plus the colorful Paloquemao fruit and flower market. Then we’ll we be wowed by a visit to a paso fino horse stable plus the world-famous Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. A highlight will be our two full days in Coffee Country—the Zona Cafetera—where we base ourselves in an antique coffee hacienda. Here our photographic excursions will include the exquisite colonial village of Salento, plus a photographic hike in the Valle de Cocora, known for the world's tallest palm trees..

We’ll venture off the traditional tourist route as we drive a scenic mountain route to Medellín via colorful colonial pueblos. Our time in exciting Medellín includes a visit to Comuna 13—until recently a dangerous no-go zone, this impoverished barrio is now visitor-friendly and offers sensational photographic opportunities. Plus, we’ll visit a flower farm in advance of the world-renowned Fería de Flores (Flower Festival). We end in Cartagena, 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.

ITINERARY (subject to change)

Day 1: Tuesday
All participants arrive and settle into our hotel in Bogotá. Meet with Christopher in the evening for orientation and slide show, followed by a welcome dinner at El Son de Los Grillos.

Day 2: Wednesday
Today, a full day in the historic colonial neighborhood of La Candelaria as we explore the political and artsy side of the city on a fascinating (and superbly photogenic) guided “Graffiti Tour,” focused on Bogotá’s amazing street art. We end at the Botero Museum, where we’ll lunch. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure to further explore La Candelaria on your own. During “golden hour,” we’ll head to Bogotá’s highest skyscraper, the Torre Colpatria, to photograph the city from the rooftop into the “blue hour.” This evening enjoy a delicious three-course meal together at La Bruja. (If you arrive early for the tour, you can explore the Museo de Oro Precolumbino, or “Gold Museum,” displaying the world’s largest collection of pre-Columbian gold; it is closed on Mondays.)

Day 3: Thursday
This morning we’ll journey beyond Bogotá to a stable where we’ll visit the underground Roman Catholic church (unofficial) known as the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Considered one of the most notable achievements of Colombian architecture, the cathedral lies within the tunnels of a salt mine 200 meters underground. We’ll see and photograph icons, ornaments and architectural details hand carved in the halite rock. We then enjoy a traditional bandeja paisa platter lunch and photograph a stable and paso fino demonstration with Colombia’s unique Paso Fino horses. Returning to Bogotá, we hope to arrive in time to take a cable car to Monserrate hill for sunset photos.

Day 4: Friday
We begin with an early start to visit the colorful market known as Paloquemao. Founded in 1947, the market offers one of the most authentic experiences you can have in Bogotá. The photo opportunities are endless, notably of its outside flower section. Then we’ll fly from Bogotá to Pereira (or Armenia, depending on air schedules), in the heart of Coffee Country—the Zona Cafetal. Upon arrival, we’ll head to the hilltop Finca San Alberto (or Hacienda Brusela). Here, we’ll photograph a working coffee-estate and to learn the techniques of coffee-tasting while savoring samples and photographing the colonial-era estate and its stupendous mountain setting. We arrive Salento and settle into our hotel in the heart of this most colorful and vibrant colonial hill-town, with its many Willys Jeeps and geranium-adorned filigreed balconies and traditional street life, perfect for “golden hour” and “blue hour” photography.

Day 5: Saturday
No doubt you’ll want to be up early for your own serendipitous “golden hour” photography before we head out of town (avoiding the hordes of day-tripping tourists who swamp beautiful pedestrian-only Calle Real, the main street). Our short drive leads into the Cocora Valley, a scenic stunner renowned as the last refuge of the critically endangered yellow-eared parrot and the Colombian wax palm—the world’s tallest palm species—reaching towards the ethereal mists for which the valley is known. The physical setting is sublime! We’ll take a short hike that guarantees wonderful landscape photography and a healthy appetite for enjoying a lunch of fresh-caught pink trout. Returning to Salento, the balance of the day is at leisure to enjoy a siesta and for your own photographic pursuits in late afternoon and early evening.

Day 6: Sunday
This morning we journey via the lovely colonial-era hill-town of Filandia (time permitting) for street photography. Later in the day, we'll fly from Pereira (or Armenia) to Medellín via Bogotá. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: HOTEL PARQUE 10

Day 7: Monday
This morning we’ll take a guided walking tour of downtown, including Plaza Botero, with its remarkable Botero statues. Then a true highlight this afternoon as we visit Comuna 13, a once-dangerous barrio and FARC (and, later, paramilitary) fiefdom brought back from the abyss by bold revitalization. We’ll engage with locals and achieve some astounding photography. We’re accompanied throughout by a local guide whose involvement in Comuna 13 community projects opens hidden doors and assures a more-than-fulfilling experience.
Overnight: HOTEL PARQUE 10

Day 8: Tuesday
We begin with an early morning Metro-Cable tram ride over the Santo Domingo shantytown to Parque Avri, from where we’ll drive into the hills south of town to visit a flower farm in Santa Elena. The region will be full of energy as Colombian visitors dressed in ruanas (shawls) and sombreros vueltos (distinctive Colombia straw hats) flock to see farmers putting the finishing touches to their silletas—flower arrangements—for the following week's flower festival parade. Return to Medellín for free time and dinner at leisure.
Overnight: HOTEL PARQUE 10

Day 9: Wednesday
This morning, we'll head to El Peñol de Guatapé, a sugarloaf massif with stupendous views over lake country from its summit (reached by a 740-step exterior staircase, this is only for the hale and hearty). We’ll focus our time and cameras in photographing the cobblestone hillside village of Guatapé, with its colonial houses adorned with zócalos—colorful murals (many of village life) painted at the base of houses. Return Medellín for dinner at leisure.
Overnight: HOTEL PARQUE 10

Day 10: Thursday
Our group will transfer to the airport to fly from Medellín to the coastal colonial city of Cartagena. After lunch, we will have a brief optional “get-your-bearings” guided tour around the historic walled city and vibrant street life. We end with a private photo shoot with one or more of the palenqueras—Afro-Colombia fruit-sellers dressed in traditional rainbow-hued costumes. The rest of the afternoon is free for exploring at leisure.

Day 11: Friday
This morning we’ll journey outside the walled city to visit the authentically untouristed and astonishing 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. This evening we’ll close with a presentation of everyone’s favorite images, then enjoy a farewell dinner together at Marea harborfront restaurant.

Day 12: Saturday
This morning we’ll transfer participants to the airport to connect with their flights home.

Trip Details

July 15 - 26, 2025 (to be confirmed)
Trip cost: $TBD

Limit: 10 participants

All participants are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid.


  • Photograph the fabulous street art of Bogotá on a walking tour of historic La Candelaria.
  • Visit a colonial-era coffee estate, hike the Cocora Valley, and stay in the heart of the prettiest little town in Coffee Country.
  • Explore Comuna 13 (once the most violent barrio in Colombia, and now its most vibrant), visit a flower farm, and photograph the acclaimed Flower Festival parade in Medellín.
  • Photograph Cartagena's palenqueras (fruit-sellers), the earthy Bazurto market, and charming walled colonial heart.

Tour Leader

National Geographic author, photographer, and Colombia expert Christopher P. Baker–the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 ‘Travel Journalist of the Year’--has written and illustrated some 30 travel books, including the National Geographic Traveler Colombia guidebook, for which he spent five months exploring Colombia tip to toe on assignment. He has written self-illustrated feature articles for more than 200 publications worldwide, from BBC Travel, CNN Travel, and Elle to National GeographicNew York Magazine, and Playboy . He frequently speaks about Colombia on behalf of the Colombia Tourist Board, and has led our previous photo tours of Colombia for Jim Cline Photo Tours, as well as for National Geographic Expeditions. He also leads Jim Cline Photo Tour trips to Cuba, Japan, Oman, Mozambique, and Scotland.

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.”

Thanks for the master class in photography. I learned so very much from you, particularly about context, ambiance and milieu to create a riveting picture.

Chris, you are a one of a kind. Really enjoyed you as a photographer, a guide, and of course as a fabulous story teller. You have so much Cuba knowledge and I loved your positive energy

Molly Danner [Program Director & Director, Photography Trip Talent, National Geographic] came back with a rave review of your performance on our Eastern Cuba trip, along with the recommendation that I consider featuring you as NG photographer on future private jet trips—which I most definitely will do!


Local guide

We’ll be accompanied throughout by Alex, a professional and amenable tour guide, former policeman, and a fluent English speaker, with whom Chris has previously led several tours in Colombia.