International marketing firm ProColombia launched a brand manifesto that calls the country “the most welcoming place on Earth.” Though it’s a promotional message, it’s hard to deny its truth in a place where “the happiness and diversity of traditions are almost as great as the variety of climates and regions.”
In the magical Gateway to South America, people from the Caribbean and Pacific coast to the massive green Andes Cordillera mountain range down into the Amazon basin spill over with magnetic joy and positive energy. Now you can join in on this boundless adventure with a multitude of assorted trips with Naya Traveler’s personalized and curated itineraries.
Naya, specializing in culturally immersive experiences around the world, launched its private, tailor-made Colombian journeys in March. Two ocean coastlines lead to the second most biodiverse place on Earth, offering historical wealth amidst charming hosts in the beating heart of Latin America.
For those seeking outdoor adventure, Colombia’s contrasting landscapes set the stage for incredible mountain hiking in the Sierra of Cocuy, birdwatching and jungle treks to the Ciudad Perdida in Tayrona, cycling through the valleys of Zona Cafetera, scuba diving in the Caribbean reefs, and whale spotting in the Pacific coast of Cali. History, culture, and art abound in the cobble-stoned streets of colonial Cartagena and Barichara, from national museums housing extensive collections of pre-Columbian gold and Fernando Botero’s sumptuous sculptures, to the local markets and craftsmanship of family-run ateliers. This is the heart of Naya, bringing authentic culture to travelers and transcending mass tourism.
A Naya excursion brings visitors to Blanca Ligia Londoño, for example, the woman behind Colombia’s Finca Silletera, a multi-generational female-owned (and empowered) business in Santa Elena, a corregimiento (village) close to Medellín, the so-called “city of eternal spring.” There, Londoño carries her family’s 104-year-old tradition as silleteros, who grow flowers year-round and parade in late July wearing floral art on their backs — immense flower arrangements full of delightful colors and fragrance.
Londoño is head of a large, multi-generational silletero family, raising eight children and now grandmother to 16 and great-grandmother to one. This role model for strength and pride carries this traditional work from generation to generation, observing time-honored processes, while caring for the natural environment as well as traditions. Now with Naya, Londoño passes these practices on to travelers.
“We actively receive travelers and organize visits to the farm. We teach them how to put up a silleta, serve typical dishes such as sancocho antioqueño, beans, rice, fresh salads, pork rinds, chorizo, and ground beef,” Londoño said in an interview with Naya Traveler.
In addition to growing flowers, the Londoños grow their own food, caring for the land as they do their families.
“Santa Elena has very good, generous land. We are located 8,500 ft above sea level: we could plant anything in this soil. We don’t use greenhouses, everything is open air land, and we only use organic fertilizers,” Londoño said.
This care the great-grandmother passes on not only to her family but to the people who come to interact with Finca Silletera.
“Colombians are hardworking, honest, straightforward,” Londoño said. “We value peace, tranquility, and have much respect for visitors, wanting them to have a great experience when traveling around our country. To me, being Colombian is the greatest thing in life. And living in Santa Elena is something I take immense pride in.”
Naya Traveler brings back purpose and depth to travel through connecting to the people who live in its destinations, honoring local traditions, and celebrating time-honored heritage. Rates start at $1,000 per person, per day, based on double occupancy, and are subject to season and itinerary specifics. This includes all accommodations, domestic airfare, transportation, host and expert guides, daily activities and excursions in private, some meals, and an on-call operational team. (International airfare is not included.)
If this sounds like a trip worth taking, more information is available below.
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