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Palms, the Journal of the IPS

BIENNIAL 2018 - Colombia - May 26 - June 2, 2018

REGISTRATION CLOSES MARCH 12, 2018 or when all places if filled, which ever occurs first.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
Attendees should plan on flying into or arriving in Armenia (AXM) on Saturday May 26 and departuring from Cali (CLO) on Saturday June 2.

IPS board members should arrive in Armenia on May 25 in order to attend the all-day Board Meeting on May 26.

Below is a summary of the Biennial. For more detailed information and to register, click here

ABOUT THE BIENNIAL
This eight-day journey will take us through Colombia’s Quindío Region with stops in Armenia, Tochecito and the Cocora Valley.  We then drop to the port of Buenaventura and the palm-rich archipelago of Bahia Malaga, ending in the cosmopolitan city of Cali. This is a unique opportunity to see an array of palm species such as Ceroxylon quindiuense, Colombia’s national tree and the world’s tallest palm. 

A Pre-tour, May 21-25 is also being offered: "Meet the Spectacular Sabinaria magnifica with Dr. Rodrigo Bernal and Botanist Saul Hoyos".

There are also other pre- and post- tours where participants will have the opportunity to visit biologically diverse regions of Colombia including Santander, Cartagena, Bogota, Tayrona National Park, Medellin and the Amazon and Ecuador. 

To register or for more information:

Click here for full information, costs, and to make your reservations.
Click here for details of the May 21-25 pre-tour "Meet the Spectacular Sabinaria magnifica with Dr. Rodrigo Bernal and Botanist Saul Hoyos"

BIENNIAL ITINERARY

There are two exciting program options.  

The Jungle Island Adventure (click here for itinerary)

  • Single room - $1,840 per person
  • Double room - $1,490 per person

Cali Comfort Option (click here for itinerary)

  • Single room - $1,850 per person
  • Double room - $1500 per person

We have focused on variety – striving to offer something appealing for all tastes.  This option allows you to extend your time in the palm-rich jungle in Bahia Malaga by spending the night in rustic accommodations on the island of Ladrilleros. In exchange for an evening of shared accommodations and no AC or WiFi, these hardy explorers will have an extra day to explore the Jungle and its 40+ palm species. Given limited availability of lodging, this Option is limited to the first 90 participants to register. 

Those seeking soft beds, air-conditioning and fine food should consider the itinerary for the Cali Comfort Option.

Jungle Island Adventure Option

Saturday May 26 - Arrival to Armenia

Check in at Hotel Campestre Las Camelias – a beautiful, country inn featuring exposed bamboo beams on the ceilings, a state-of-the-art health and fitness center, pool and two restaurants serving Colombian and international cuisines.

Note: Meals are on your own.

Sunday May 27 - Day 2 – Armenia:  A Walk in a Garden

This will be a full day to explore the Quindio Botanical Garden.  Located just outside of Armenia, Quindio Botanical Garden is one of the finest botanical gardens in Colombia. Featuring a wide variety of plant varieties, including examples of all palm species found in Colombia, the gardens are most famous for the stunning mariposario – a butterfly-shaped greenhouse featuring over 1,500 different species.

Participants will tour the garden in groups of approximately 20, and will be accompanied by a bilingual guide. An included boxed lunch will be served in the garden. 

You will wrap up the day with a Welcome Dinner at Las Camelias with a typical Colombian meal included.

IPS Member and renowned palm specialist Dr. Rodrigo Bernal will present “The Palms of Colombia.”

Monday May 28 - Day 3 – Tochecito:  A Day of Tall Palms

After a typical breakfast, we will board buses for the hour-long trip to Salento – jumping-off point for Tochecito, home to the newly created forest reserve and hundreds of thousands of Ceroxylon’s in habitat. 

We will enjoy a brief stop in Salento, a typical coffee town located in the heart of Colombia’s coffee producing region. 

You will then hop aboard World War II era Willys Jeeps, on which you will climb through the lush cloud forests of the steep Andean foothills to the heart of the newly-created National Forest Reserve (so new, in fact, that the name has not been finalized). The Forest Reserve is home to one of the largest natural stands of Ceroxylon quindiuense in the world, as well as Ceroxylon alpinum.

An included box lunch will be served where you will enjoy the view overlooking hundreds of thousands of wax palms.

From there you will travel a short distance to visit what is thought to be the tallest palm in the world.

Following a day in the valley of wax palms, our jeeps will return you to Salento where you will take a short break for coffee and restrooms before boarding busses back to Las Camelias Hotel for dinner included.

Tuesday May 29 - Day 4 - Valle de Cocora & Buenaventura:  A Dramatic Change of Habitat

We will start the day experiencing again Colombia’s majestic wax palms.  Our first stop is the Cocora Valley. This cloud forest was designated as a National Park and Protected Area by the Colombian government in 1985 to protect the wax palm from deforestation, cattle grazing and urbanization. Beyond its famed palms, Valle de Cocora is also home to numerous other interesting flora – including the pino romeron, puyas (bromeliads), frailejónes (espeletias), and encenillos (Weinmannia tormentosa), as well as a host of endangered or rare animals, including mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, and sloths. While the lower reaches of the park have been affected by cattle grazing and deforestation of all species other than the wax palms, it affords an up-close view of the palms in a garden-like setting.

Following the visit to Valle de Cocora, you will travel to the port city of Buenaventura by bus and receive an included boxed lunch. Like most port cities, Buenaventura is not known for its picturesque views or spotless streets. Rather, this bustling, un-polished stop is the jumping-off point for the Day 5 exploration of the Pacific lowlands at Bahia Malaga, located north of the port of Buenaventura. 

You will enjoy a well-prepared included dinner followed by an IPS presentation, with time for a swim in the hotel’s roof-top pool.

Wednesday May 30 - Day 5 - Bahia Malaga: A Full day on Palm Islands

This palm-rich day will offer participants the opportunity to see as many as 40 species native to Colombia. The day will begin with an early departure following breakfast at the hotel. You will then enjoy a 90-minute boat ride to La Plata (see maps for more detail). From La Plata we leave in four groups. This is a unique opportunity to experience a wide variety of palms while travelling through the dense Colombian coastal rainforest via boats and on foot.

The Pacific lowlands of Colombia are among the world’s rainiest places. With annual rainfall of up to 12,000 mm (472 inches), this area is a paradise for rainforest palms. This bay, recently established as the Uramba Bahia Malaga National Park, is the breeding place of the humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), which swim every year from Antarctica to the warm waters of the Pacific, where they remain between July and October. The bay itself is surrounded by a pristine rain forest, where 40 species of palms can be found. Among them we will see some rare species, like the unusual Ammandra decasperma, the endemic Chelyocarpus dianeurus and the uncommon Aiphanes tricuspidata. We might even bump into the extremely rare Socratea hecatonandra. (For full list please click here.)

The group will be divided into four routes.  Each route will offer a wide variety of species – some new and some unique on each route. And, each route will vary according to level of fitness required. The routes will include:

Group A:  El Morro (boat and hike)

Group B:  Sendero de Las Palmas (boat and hike)

Group C:  Sierpe (boat and hike)

Group D:  Boat tour of the Archipelago (no hiking)

In late afternoon, we board boats which will transport you to your hotel. The Jungle Island Adventure Group will be divided between two hotels due to limitation on space. Those in the Cali Comfort group will return to Buenaventura where they will meet a bus that will transport them to Cali.

Those in the Jungle Adventure Group will enjoy a typical “islander” evening, including a dinner prepared by local cooks.  All rooms will be shared (no singles).  To request a specific roommate please email us at colombia@esalatinamerica.com.

Thursday May 31 - Day 6 – Bahia Malaga:  Seeing What You Missed the Day Before 

Participants will be divided into three groups to visit the portions of the Day 5 itinerary they did not visit the day before. (Note:  Those choosing the Cali Comfort group have already traveled to Cali the afternoon of Day 5)

Note - Each person will receive an included boxed lunch upon departure.

We will depart in the late afternoon for Buenaventura where we will board buses to head to Cali. Weary but having spent the day in a palm habitat, you will check in and enjoy an included dinner.

Friday June 1 - Day 7 – Cali:  Optional Day Activities, Board Meeting and Farewell Dinner

This is a day to enjoy Cali and optional activities (see descriptions), do a little shopping, visit the local botanical garden or simply rest.

Note: Lunch is on your own.

We will conclude the 2018 Biennial with a Farewell included Dinner for the whole group including a few awards, and typical salsa dancing for which Cali is so renown.

Saturday June 2 - Day 8 – Return home from CALI or continue with a Post Tour.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Cali Comfort Option

We have focused on variety – striving to offer something appealing for all tastes. This option allows you to enjoy your comfort at an enchanting city and a 4 star hotel with soft beds, air-conditioning and fine food everything you need in the itinerary for the Cali Comfort Option. You will be given optional activities to and free time to explore and enjoy everything Cali has to offer. 

Day 1 (Saturday, May 26) - Arrival to Armenia

Check in at Hotel Campestre Las Camelias – a beautiful, country inn featuring exposed bamboo beams on the ceilings, a state-of-the-art health and fitness center, pool and two restaurants serving Colombian and international cuisines.

Note: Meals are on your own.

Day 2 (Sunday, May 27) – Armenia:  A Walk in a Garden

This will be a full day to explore the Quindio Botanical Garden. Located just outside of Armenia, Quindio Botanical Garden is one of the finest botanical gardens in Colombia. Featuring a wide variety of plant varieties, including examples of all palm species found in Colombia, the gardens are most famous for the stunning mariposario – a butterfly-shaped greenhouse featuring over 1,500 different species.

Participants will tour the garden in groups of approximately 20, and will be accompanied by a bilingual guide. An included boxed lunch will be served the garden. 

You will wrap up the day with a Welcome Dinner included at Las Camelias with a typical Colombian meal. 

IPS Member and renowned palm specialist Dr. Rodrigo Bernal will present “The Palms of Colombia.”

Day 3 (Monday, May 28) – Tochecito:  A Day of Tall Palms

After a typical breakfast, we will board buses for the hour-long trip to Salento – jumping-off point for Tochecitos, home to the newly created forest reserve and hundreds of thousands of Ceroxylon’s in habitat. 

We will enjoy a brief stop in Salento, a typical coffee town located in the heart of Colombia’s coffee producing region. 

You will then hop aboard World War II era Willys Jeeps, on which you will climb through the lush cloud forests of the steep Andean foothills to the heart of the newly-created National Forest Reserve (so new, in fact, that the name has not been finalized). The Forest Reserve is home to one of the largest natural stands of Ceroxylon quindiuense in the world, as well as Ceroxylon alpinum.

An included box lunch will be served where you will enjoy the view overlooking hundreds of thousands of wax palms.

From there you will travel a short distance to visit what is thought to be the tallest palm in the world.

Following a day in the valley of wax palms, our jeeps will return you to Salento where you will take a short break for coffee and restrooms before boarding busses back to Las Camelias Hotel for an included dinner.

Day 4 (Tuesday, May 29) - Valle de Cocora to Buenaventura:  A Dramatic Change of Habitat

We will start the day experiencing again Colombia’s majestic wax palms. Our first stop is the Cocora Valley.  This cloud forest was designated as a National Park and Protected Area by the Colombian government in 1985 to protect the wax palm from deforestation, cattle grazing and urbanization.  Beyond its famed palms, Valle de Cocora is also home to numerous other interesting flora – including the pino romerón, puyas (bromeliads), frailejónes (espeletias), and encenillos (Weinmannia tormentosa), as well as a host of endangered or rare animals, including mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, and sloths. While the lower reaches of the park have been affected by cattle grazing and deforestation of all species other than the wax palms, it affords an up-close view of the palms in a garden-like setting.

Following the visit to Valle de Cocora, you will travel to the port city of Buenaventura. Like most port cities, Buenaventura is not known for its picturesque views or spotless streets.  Rather, this bustling, un-polished stop is the jumping-off point for the Day 5 exploration of the Pacific lowlands at Bahia Malaga, located north of the port of Buenaventura.

You will enjoy a well-prepared included dinner followed by an IPS presentation, with time for a swim in the hotel’s roof-top pool.

Day 5 (Wednesday, May 30) – Bahia Malaga: A Full day on Palm Islands

This palm-rich day will offer participants the opportunity to see as many as 40 species native to Colombia. The day will begin with an early departure following breakfast at the hotel. You will then enjoy a 90-minute boat ride to La Plata (see maps for more detail). From La Plata we leave in four groups.  This is a unique opportunity to experience a wide variety of palms while travelling through the dense Colombian coastal rainforest via boats and on foot.

The Pacific lowlands of Colombia are among the world’s rainiest places. With annual rainfall of up to 12,000 mm (472 inches), this area is a paradise for rainforest palms. This bay, recently established as the Uramba Bahia Malaga National Park, is the breeding place of the humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), which swim every year from Antarctica to the warm waters of the Pacific, where they remain between July and October. The bay itself is surrounded by a pristine rain forest, where 40 species of palms can be found. Among them we will see some rare species, like the unusual Ammandra decasperma, the endemic Chelyocarpus dianeurus and the uncommon Aiphanes tricuspidata. We might even bump into the extremely rare Socratea hecatonandra. (For full list please visit the DOCUMENTS section of the website.)

The group will be divided into four routes. Each route will offer a wide variety of species – some new and some unique on each route. And, each route will vary according to level of fitness required. The routes will include:

Group A:  El Morro (boat and hike)

Group B:  Sendero de Las Palmas (boat and hike)

Group C:  Sierpe (boat and hike)

Group D:  Boat tour of the Archipelago (no hiking)

In late afternoon, we board boats which will transport you to your hotel.The Jungle Island Adventure Group will be divided between two hotels due to limitation on space. Those in the Cali Comfort group will return to Buenaventura where they will meet a bus that will transport them to Cali and have a wonderful included dinner at the Spiwak Hotel.

Day 6 (Thursday, May 31) – Cali:  Rest, Relax, Explore

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

Spend the day on your own exploring the city. Or, choose one or several of the Optional Activities offered by our tour operator (See Optional Activities Tab on this website).

Note: Lunch is on your own.

Enjoy an included dinner at the hotel.

Day 7 ( Friday, June 1) – Cali:  Optional Activities, Board Meeting and Farewell Dinner

This is a day to enjoy Cali and optional activities (see descriptions), do a little shopping, visit the local botanical garden or simply rest. Board of Directors will meet at 9:00AM.

Note: Lunch is on your own.

We will conclude the 2018 Biennial with an included Farewell Dinner for the whole group including a few awards, and typical salsa dancing for which Cali is so renown.

Click here for an interesting article on Colombia - Valley of the Palms.

Also, watch the U-Tube video: ¿Por qué Colombia? Why Colombia? Pourquoi la Colombie?

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