Life-Changing Dance Moves

A Life-Changing Trip that's Good for You, Good for the Destination, Good for Everyone
Start the Journey Here

Dance like nobody's watching on a life-changing journey that’s built around creative expression, empowerment of young women and meaningful cultural exchange that’s good for you and good for Colombia.

Gratitude weaves its way through this magical voyage deep into Colombia's rich musical and political landscape, a year-long journey that starts with an uplifting commitment to a young, inspirational dance troupe and ends with a series of emotional musical encounters with old friends that you’ve only just met. 

  • The Lowdown

    Life-Changing Dance Moves

    It’s time to re-imagine how we travel with a series of mindful voyages that are good for you, good for the destination, good for the planet, good for everyone.

    Imagine a journey where you are investing in the place you are going to visit before you arrive, constructing wealth and abundance in the local population whilst generating important improvements in the environment and places you will visit. 

    All great journeys are built on three pillars: the dream, the experience and the memory.

    In this very special trip you'll share a dream with the people you visit and work with them to create a truly moving experience that leaves both sides with the kind of lasting memories and meaningful ties that we all search for, but few of us actually achieve, when we travel. 

    THE DREAM (THE FUTURE OR...PRE-ARRIVAL)

    Day 1 | Welcome to a Shared Dream 
    Meet Teofilo Mercado online. He's a role model to his neighbors in the impoverished district of Olaya Herrera. He's been training the city's first international dance troupe for young children. He'll introduce you to the class of 2020, a talented group of kids in search of a way out of the violence that prevails in the ram-shackle homes on the other side of Cartagena.

    Day 2 | Dance Classes
    Dance classes start today. You’ll get to see what it's like for the girls to work with Teofilo Mercado as well as get a glimpse of life in Olaya. We'll also set up an online Just Dance session on the PlayStation to see what level you're at. Be warned these girls are already very good. Not a fan of Just Dance check out Little Siha on YouTube. We can set up a series of these virtual dance sessions to get rid of those wooden hips and a fantastic way to get to know everyone before you arrive. Money from the virtual classes goes straight into the local economy.

    Day 3 | Spanish Classes
    It's going to make your trip so much more enjoyable if you can speak the language so why not set up some virtual classes with our favorite Cartagena-based Spanish teacher, Gustavo. He's not just a great teacher but he's highly intelligent and incredibly social. He's a perfect newfound old friend to bring you up to speed on the Colombian political situation before you travel. By the time you arrive you'll really know what you're talking about and you'll have another old friend to meet on arrival. Money from the virtual classes goes straight into the local economy.

    Day 4 | A Cooking Class
    DanFroc is as much about bringing some structure to the families of the girls as it is about keeping the children away from some of the city's most challenging social problems - child prostitution, sexual abuse and teenage pregnancies. There's some reverse education going on at home with the girls teaching their parents how to build some discipline into their lives. There's definitely something to learn from the parents and that's how to prepare some traditional delicacies including the best arepa de huevos in Cartagena. Try your hand at one of the traditional fast food treats with a Zoom session in a local kitchen and offer a chance to break bread virtually with the families before you make it to Colombia. Money from the virtual class goes straight into the local economy.

    Day 5 | Happy Birthday / Christmas
    There’s something in the post, a souvenir made with recycled plastic pulled out of the mangroves of the fragile eco-systems of the cienega slowly being eaten by the expansion of Olaya. Your money goes towards supporting recycling projects in the barrio. We’ll also host a virtual party with the troupe including a specially prepared Christmas show for the community supporting this initiative.

    THE EXPERIENCE (THE PRESENT)

    Day 1 | Welcome to the Present 
    The past is already gone, the future doesn’t exist, and the present is just that, a gift. Welcome to a wonderful present created by yourself for - and with Teofilo Mercado and his talented dance troupe. You’ll be met at the airport and taken to your hotel (chosen from a selection of properties to fit every budget) by the This Is Colombia Travel team. The trip starts with a casual dinner at Club de Pesca where you get to meet the like-minded members of the group that made this possible. You’ll be joined at dinner by Teofilo and the children who's lives you've improved over the last six months. There will be a short presentation by the group to celebrate your arrival.

    Day 2 | A Day at the Islands   
    You'll spend the day going to the islands on a private boat. The girls will join you on an idyllic day after meeting the group for a short presentation at the San Fernando Castle, one the impressive fortifications that protected Cartagena from marauding pirates intent on liberating the Spanish loot being stored in colonial Cartagena. As you dive into the crystal clear waters of the Rosario Islands national park, you'll be free to appreciate nature at its best - beautiful beaches, coral reefs and wildlife. We'll host a delicious BBQ at one of our secluded beach hideaways. In the evening you'll be free to enjoy dinner at one of Cartagena's top restaurants. 

    Day 3 | A Day of Literary Reflection  
    After an early morning yoga session with one of our favorite instructors on the stunning rooftop of your colonial mansion, you'll get a day to stroll through the picturesque streets of Cartagena with your newfound friend Gustavo and an expert on the literary masterpieces penned by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that were inspired by his time in Cartagena, including Love in the Time of Cholera. Enjoy a coffee tasting of the best coffee in the world in the afternoon and slide into the pool with a good book at hand. Evening at leisure.

    Day 4 | Dance with Joy 
    During the day you'll get a chance to explore some of the city's architectural highlights on foot, enjoy a light lunch at one of Cartagena's top restaurants and enjoy a dance class Teofilo and his troupe in the afternoon. In the evening you'll get to experience a live salsa concert in the world famous Cafe Havana, one of the corner stones of Cartagena's thriving live music scene. 

    Day 5 | Head to Santa Marta
    You’ll travel overland from Cartagena to Santa Marta with the rest of the group. On arrival in Barlovento, just outside the Tayrona National Park, you’ll be free to spend the rest of the day enjoying the rugged beaches of jungle trails.

    Day 6 | Explore Parque Tayrona
    Awake early and make the most of the day. Explore the park's nature trails and stop for a chance to swim in La Piscina Natural. A guide will be made available to accompany you but you're free to venture off on your own. You'll have a picnic to take with you and tide you over until your return to your jungle lodge.

    Day 7 | Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
    Breakfast will be served on the beach before your vehicle arrives to take you into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world's fastest climbing coastal mountain range. You will be taken by 4x4 to Minca, a sleepy coffee town emerging from a troubled history. We'll visit the La Victoria, organic coffee farm and craft brewery where you'll have lunch and learn all about coffee cultivation in Colombia. By early afternoon we'll reach the jungle lodge where you'll stay for the next two nights. 

    Day 8 | Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
    There's a chance to check out some of Colombia's beautiful wildlife with a chance to stand up paddle down the River Don Diego, one of a series of magical rivers snaking down from the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. There are some wonderful treks in the area too.

    Day 9 | Travel to Cartagena
    Breakfast will be served before your vehicle arrives to take you down the mountain and take you back to Cartagena de Indias. On the way we'll stop for lunch in Baranoa, a sleepy village outside Barranquilla where you'll stretch your legs with a blast of the city's famous Carnival celebrations. In the evening you'll have a special dinner prepared by the exploratory culinary lab, Celele by Proyecto Caribe, at the Teatro Adolfo Mejia followed by a gala performance by DanFroc and a supporting cast of talented musicians. Tonight's performance is a work that was created specially for your group, one of a series of Teofilo's creative reflections on the impact of the pandemic on his surroundings.

    Day 10 | Fly Home
    A vehicle will collect you from the hotel and take you to the airport. We'll send you home with some little gifts from the ocean for those left at home. Hasta Luego.

    THE MEMORY (THE PAST THAT CREATES A NEW FUTURE)
    As well as the lasting connections you will make on your trip, we’ll prepare a video and book of the entire journey – including the training of your inspirational dance instructors. The memory of your journey will, of course, travel with you and we’ll send updates of the ongoing progress of the troupe and the butterfly effect their personal growth is having on their community.

  • WHY THIS IS CARTAGENA

    • With Us, Colombia's Yours

      We think differently to other travel specialists in Colombia and our multi-day e…

      Go Bespoke

      Aside from being fully certified, our talented team of Colombia travel experts a…

      Quality Assurance

      All the tours you see on here have been hand-picked or created by our team of ta…

      Insider Intel

      We really do know Cartagena better than anyone else. Our clued up insiders live …

    • Go Bespoke

      Aside from being fully certified, our talented team of Colombia travel experts aim to go above and beyond to ensure you have a unique travel experience. Our team thrives on left-field requests and strives to make your travel dreams a reality

    • Quality Assurance

      All the tours you see on here have been hand-picked or created by our team of talented travel experts. We encourage sustainable tourism and collaborate with local, independent providers where possible

    • Insider Intel

      We really do know Cartagena better than anyone else. Our clued up insiders live and breathe Cartagena 24/7. We’re on-the-ground, all-year-round so we can share with you all of our favourite things to do and places to eat, drink and relax



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