Summer ‘19: Colombia

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This summer Cada Casa will be organizing a trip for a group of four to six students to explore the unique and rich culture of Colombia. The trip will be broken into three parts: Bogotá, Medellín and the coast (primarily Cartagena and Santa Marta). There are two primary educational objectives to this trip:

  • Research, explore, and immerse oneself in the unique culture and history of Colombia

  • Understand the biological and ecological differences presented in the different biomes

The experience begins in June with a primer in Colombian history. Students will analyze specific texts and art to understand pre-columbian indigenous groups, the Spanish conquest, independence, the post-national front, the FARC, and the country’s modernization. A focus will be given to the development of stereotypes of Colombia and Latin America in general. Each student will be responsible for preparing and presenting a cultural and historical summary to the rest of the group before we depart.

Modern Colombia has a unique and vibrant culture that differentiates itself from much of Latin America. Its distinctive geography, history, and devotion to the arts has provided for a lifestyle that has been preserved its culture much more so than other countries. With a population and municipality that truly supports and values the arts, we will be exploring and analyzing amazing contemporary art galleries (such as Neebex, Cero Galeria, and Galeria Baobab),world-renowned street art, and the photography and film scene of Bogotá. Each of these will be curated by local art students from the Universidad ECCI.

In both Bogotá and Medellín students will take two different dance classes, one that introduces the three genres (Salsa, Cumbia, and Merengue) and their basic steps, and the second that dives further into the preferred. The country’s love for dance means that each destination will provide ample opportunities for practice.

Colombia has a rich ecological diversity that directly relates to its economy and history. Bogota sits at 8,600 feet above sea level and is considered a high plateau of the Andes mountain range. We will spend a day exploring the páramo, which is considered the largest alpine tundra of ecosystems of the world. Medellín, on the other hand, sits at half of the elevation and is considered a humid subtropical climate. One day will be spent exploring the surrounding area’s coffee plantation. The Sierra Nevada is an isolated mountain range in North Eastern Colombia. Starting at the Caribbean the range reaches an elevation 18,700 feet while only being 26 miles from the coast. There are cloud-forests, montane forests, tropical rain forests the later of which we will explore with a biologist guide.

The last part of the trip will be devoted to exploring and studying the fragile ecosystem of the coast. Time will be spent exploring the ocean, including the impact of modern society and ecological preservation. A community service event will be planned either here or in Medellín to draw a connection between ecology, ecosystem preservation, and responsible societal impact.

Brief Logistics

  • Leave Portland on July 30th and return on August 13th.

  • $2000-$2250 total price (including airfare)

    • $600 airfare deposit due by January 31st

    • $600 hotel deposit due by March 31st

    • $800 due by July 1st


Bogota: the art of the city


The purpose of Bogota is to see the rich city culture that the capitol provides. “Bogotá is Colombia's beating heart, an engaging and vibrant capital cradled by chilly Andean peaks and steeped in sophisticated urban cool. The city's cultural epicenter is La Candelaria, the cobbled historic downtown to which most travelers gravitate. Here, a potpourri of carefully preserved colonial buildings is home to museums, restaurants, hotels and bars, peppered amid 300-year-old houses, churches and convents. Nearly all of Bogotá's traditional attractions are here, radiating from Plaza de Bolívar, and gorgeous Cerro de Monserrate is just east.” - Lonely Planet

  • July 30th - August 3rd

  • Bike tour of the best street art

  • Local art museums, shows and concerts

  • Dance lessons

  • Stay at Selina: Candelaria

Medellin: the heart of the valley


“Situated in a narrow valley, Medellín packs the punch of a city twice its size. Its skyline reaches for the heavens, setting high-rise apartments and office buildings against a backdrop of jagged peaks in every direction. Its pleasant climate gives it its nickname – the City of Eternal Spring – and the moderate temperatures put a spring in the locals' steps, at work and at play. It's a bustling place of industry and commerce, especially in textile manufacturing and exported cut flowers. - Lonely Planet

  • August 3rd-6th

  • Coffee plantations

  • Mountain Biking

  • Local cuisine cooking class

  • Guadapte

  • Stay at Selina: Medellin

The Coast


  • August 6th-8th

  • Historical architecture, Caribbean and Spanish conquest history


Sierra Nevada

  • August 8th-10th

  • Biologist guided tour of national parks

  • Multiple biomes and focus of diversity


Santa marta

  • August 10-12th

  • The beach, snorkeling, swimming

  • Coastal cleanup and community services project

Price Estimates: $2000-2250

  • Total Airfare: ~ $700

    • $550 for Portland <-> Colombia

    • $150 for internal Colombia

  • Food: ~$350

  • Accommodations: $450

  • Activities & Entertainment: $500

    • National Parks: $80

    • Lessons: $120

    • Internal Transportation: $100

    • Museums: $50

    • Miscellaneous: $150