Luxury Gold latest tour company to offer Colombia

Luxury Gold is adding Colombia to its 2020 portfolio. Pictured, Cartagena's Old Town.
Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Once the haven of violent drug cartels, Colombia in recent years has become an increasingly popular tourist hotspot.

And with a growing number of international brands opening or having recently opened new hotels there, it's also increasingly featured alongside more mainstream destinations like Mexico and Hawaii by tour operators such as Pleasant Holidays, which this year added the country to its portfolio.

Next year, The Travel Corporation’s Luxury Gold line will up the ante for upscale travelers by not only adding Colombia it to its portfolio, but also including it among its handful of ultra-exclusive Chairman's Collection itineraries that offer special access to famous residents and special destinations.

Luxury Gold's new Colombia itinerary, which launches in January, focuses on the art, culture and cuisine of Colombia.

Its Chairman's Collection departure in February includes a meeting with Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vasquez, best known for his 2011 award-winning novel, "The Sound of Things Falling."

Other highlights include meeting a long-time local of the Comuna 13 neighborhood that has transformed itself from a deadly battleground for gangs and cartels into one Medellin's coolest neighborhoods. Guests will also meet the niece of literary great Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Cartagena, the owner of a coffee plantation in the Paisa region, gain private access to the Museum de Antioquia before hours and take a guided tour of the famous Paloquemao Market in Bogota.

Of particular interest to travelers to Colombia in recent years is what has been dubbed "narco-tourism," a movement fueled in part by the popularity of television shows like "Narcos" and a spate of documentaries about Colombia's notorious cocaine kingpin, Pablo Escobar.

The Luxury Gold itinerary includes time in Escobar's former base of Medellin - once considered the crime capital of the world - where they will meet with locals to learn about the how the city  overcame its dangerous history to become a model city and haven for American retirees.

In Medellin, guests will get a tour of Comuna 13 from Chota, a young graffiti artist who was born and raised in the neighborhood, along with someone lived there when it was its most dangerous.

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