Author: Tom

I fell in love with Colombia 5 years ago. Through this website, we help every month thousands of travelers to plan their trip to this beautiful country. Use our Premium service on the site www.Colombia-insider.com if you want us to take care of everything for the organization of your trip to Colombia.

Our Glamping Colombia Guide to Pick the Best Ones (2020)

The new trendy experience is to do glamping in Colombia.

Every day, great photos invade our Instagram feed, transparent bubbles to admire the stars from your bed, Jacuzzis with breathtaking views, candlelit meals… Sounds wonderful.

Yet there is a catch.

Glamping in Colombia is often expensive.

Pay more to sleep in a tent at the bottom of a garden with a few rose petals and mosquitoes, no thanks.

So, how to choose the ideal glamping?

By reading our Glamping Colombia guide of course!

Thanks to our experience in tourism (do you know Colombia-insider?), we have analyzed the best glamping in Colombia, and we hope to visit as many of them as possible in 2021!

Glamping in Colombia: Our top 3

T. Contents: Glamping in Colombia

1. How to choose your glamping
2. Luxury glamping
3. Nature glamping
4. Glamping with activities
5. Glamping sorted by region
6. Our advice to enjoy it

How to enjoy Colombia?

👉 45 unique travel guides | Transportation, accommodation, and activities.
👉 An online map of Colombia.
👉 Our best advice for preparing your trip.
👉 A great interactive ebook to travel like an expert.
👉 Our solution for not stressing about a trip.

1. How to choose your glamping in Colombia

On Booking alone, there are more than 174 establishments that offer a glamping experience in Colombia.

And this figure will only increase over the next few years.

The term “Glamping” being a rather vague term used by new hotels, let’s start by defining it precisely.

A# What is Glamping?

Camping
No, this is not a glamping experience.

The notion of Glamping is not new. Far from it!

Glamping= Glamor + Camping

Already in the Middle Ages, kings demanded to sleep in luxurious tents when moving around their kingdoms.

Don’t worry, today you don’t have to be a king to do glamping in Colombia.

Through their glamping experience, travelers simply wish to get closer to nature while maintaining a certain comfort.

There are therefore some essential criteria to take into account before making your reservation.

B# How to evaluate the various glamping in Colombia

Glamping in Colombia evaluation (1)

Glamping (in Colombia or elsewhere) is much more than sleeping in a tent with an inflatable mattress.

It’s an experience in itself.

The beauty of the place

It’s much more enjoyable to try to commune with nature when the environment is pleasant.

Waking up with the sun, then listening to the birds while drinking your coffee is the best way to enjoy your glamping experience.

Before you make your reservation, verify which zone of Colombia the glamping is located. Is it in the mountains? Is it far enough away from the cities? Are there any nice spots where you can admire the landscape?

Silence is golden

During a glamping experience, you will want to disconnect from outside noise.

You may not realize it, but in our everyday lives, we are surrounded by a constant hubbub.

Take the opportunity to embrace the silence for a few days. Select glamping in Colombia that:

  • Is far from roads and farms. Yes, run away from insomniac roosters!
  • Prohibits loud music and parties.

Be aware that some establishments do not allow pets and minors.

To live happily, let's live hidden

It is the ideal occasion to strengthen the bonds of love or family.

You don’t go on a glamping trip to meet other people or hit on the girl who is doing her yoga peacefully.

No, you come here to spend a pleasant time with your clan.

Therefore, it is important that:

  • Homes are far away from each other.
  • You can enjoy your privacy. Be careful when you choose to sleep in one of those famous transparent bubbles.

Have a cozy little nest

In glamping, there is the word “camping”, but above all there is the word “glamor”!

It is not necessary to have a jacuzzi and a bottle of champagne to have a good time.

On the other hand, it is important to feel comfortable.

  • Look for glamping with a shaded area to protect you from the sun.
  • The possibility to admire the lightning in the sky while being sheltered.
  • To have enough space to store your belongings and change easily.
  • A good bed and a coffee maker nearby.

Also, remember to choose your room carefully, because there can be a big difference between them.

Do not be bored

Even if you don’t want to do much during your glamping trip, it’s nice to have a few options to pass the time.

This can mean reading the 7 volumes of Harry Potter, or you can ask at the front desk of your hotel to find out what there is to do in the area.

In any case, choose a glamping with activities nearby.

  • SPA and massages.
  • Hikes departing from the establishment.
  • Kayak and paddle.
  • Bird watching.
  • Cycling.

How to get there?

Some glamping in Colombia are not easy to access. Think about it before you realize at the last moment that there is a thirty-minute walk with your suitcase.

  • Do you need to rent a car?
  • Does this glamping have a shuttle service?
  • How is the road?

We used these different evaluation criteria to select the best glamping in Colombia and then group them according to the experience you may look for.

2. Glamping in Colombia to live like a prince

Some glamping companies in Colombia attach great importance to the comfort of their customers.

Everything has been studied so that a couple can share an intimate and unforgettable moment. Usually, you don’t want to come there with your children.

It is an ideal stay for:

  • A honeymoon trip.
  • Celebrating a wedding anniversary.
  • Making amends for insulting the mother-in-law at the last family dinner.

1# Glamping Bosko | Towards Guatape

It is challenging to find glamping in Colombia more romantic and glamorous than Bosko. The 8 “mush-rooms” of the establishment have a magnificent view of the lake. Don’t hesitate to take the paddle or the kayak to venture among the islets of Guatape. The rooms are spacious, and you can have your meals inside the dome or on your private terrace. By the way, room service is free ;). If you come to Bosko for a special occasion, take the opportunity to order a candlelight dinner or a massage for two.

Notes on this glamping

  • The rooms are well spaced.
  • Minors and pets are not accepted.
  • 45 min from the airport of Medellín.
  • The Internet is only available at the entrance.
  • 2 nights are enough to visit Guatape and enjoy the place.
  • Parties are not allowed.
  • The Jacuzzi is only available for the “Mushroom Gold”.
  • The food is good but not exceptional.

2# Glamping Teva Retreat | Towards Santa Elena

The TEVA retreat glamping is the perfect stopover before taking your plane from Medellín. Select one of the 7 bungalows that are scattered among the trees of the property. These houses, built entirely of wood, are very comfortable, and some of them have a private Jacuzzi with a view of the valley. In the evenings, you can sit on your terrace to enjoy the scenery.

Notes on this glamping

  • TEVA retreat is 10 min away from the airport. Even if the place is quiet, you are not in the middle of nature.
  • Take a Uber to come.
  • There is no activity proposed. Stay there one day.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • There are also classic rooms. Select a “glam-type” home.
  • Read our guide to enjoy Medellín.

3. Glamping in Colombia to admire nature

These glamping establishments in Colombia offer accommodations with more attractive price ranges. Comfort is always there, but there are fewer VIP services such as private Jacuzzi or candlelight dinner.

The rooms blend perfectly into the landscape and it is very easy to go for a walk in the surrounding mountains.

3# Montaña Glamping | Towards Salento

Montaña Glamping is a great place to discover a glamping experience at an affordable price. The tents are small but very well equipped, and you will love waking up facing the hilly landscape of the coffee region. Toilets and showers are separate, but it is not unpleasant to walk barefoot in the cool morning grass. The temperature drops in the evening, so don’t hesitate to warm your hands around the campfire. If you are looking for an even more extraordinary experience, take a look at their “bubble room.” This room is located away from the other tents and has a jacuzzi, shower, and terrace of its own!

Notes on this glamping

  • Montaña Glamping is 1.5km from Salento, or 10 min by cab.
  • They don’t organize any activities, but the staff will be happy to advise you. Read our guide about Salento to learn more.
  • The tents have no private shower.
  • There is a restaurant, but you can also have meals delivered from Salento.
  • There is no internet.
  • Pets are not allowed.

4# Lumbre Glamping | Towards Valle de Cocora

While Lumbre Glamping is a little more expensive than its neighbor (Montaña), you will be able to wake up close to the Cocora Valley (3km). Since the closest village is 7km away, you will be a bit dependent on the passage of the Willis – the jeeps that regularly commute between Salento and the Valle de Cocora. It will allow you to fully enjoy the surrounding nature (there is even a waterfall) and to snuggle comfortably in your tent in the evening. The site of this glamping in Colombia is magnificent.

Notes on this glamping

  • There are cabins or tents.
  • Small heatings are available for each accommodation.
  • The restaurant is all right, but nothing more.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • The staff can advise you on the different activities. Read our travel guide on Salento to have more ideas.
  • Wifi in common areas.

5# Glamping Nido Verde | Towards Iza

If you are looking for a glamping experience in Colombia that is comfortable and economical, then Nido Verde is a perfect choice. On the other hand, it is necessary to have your vehicle to enjoy the place. The wooden domes of Nido Verde have a magnificent view of the Iza Valley and are perfectly arranged. You can even do your shopping in the village of Iza (a 15-min walk) and then cook yourself a small dish in front of your private fireplace! This glamping doesn’t offer any activity, so don’t hesitate to visit the lake of Tota, the colonial village of Monguí, and the paramó of Oceta!

Notes on this glamping

  • Pets are accepted.
  • No restaurant or bar.
  • Only 2 houses.
  • There is an ascent with steps to access the domes.

6# Glamping La Quinta | Towards Cuítiva

Do your shopping for the barbecue (not forgetting the bottles of wine), then head to La Quinta! This small Colombian glamping place, with its 5 small triangular-shaped huts, has an extraordinary view of Lake Tota. Although there is an option of private transportation from Sogamoso, you should come with your vehicle. La Quinta does not organize activities for its guests, and there is not much to do around the lake. Fortunately, the area is lovely, and you will be able to visit Iza, Monguí, and Paipa. Don’t hesitate to join the campfire at nightfall and order one of the good dishes from the restaurant.

Notes on this glamping

  • No wifi.
  • There is no shelter in the social area in case of rain.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • There is an ascent to access the huts.

7# Glamping Serrania del Viento | Towards Barichara

This Colombian glamping is a little wonder, and it will be the ideal starting point to visit the colonial village of Barichara and the deep canyon of Chicamocha. Serrania del Viento is 1.6km from the town and provides a peaceful and pleasant place to rest between two excursions. The wooden domes and small houses built according to the traditional methods of the region are comfortable and perfectly furnished. Some even have a porch and hammock. If you feel in the mood for socializing, don’t hesitate to head for the common areas. There you will find a swimming pool, hammocks, a restaurant, and a small campfire in the evening. In one word, paradise.

Notes on this glamping

  • You can get to Barichara by bus from San Gil and then walk or take a cab (1.6km) to arrive at the hotel.
  • There are some nice hikes to do in the surrounding area. Ask at the reception if you would like to do some sports activities such as paragliding or rafting.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • Wifi in common areas.

4. Glamping in Colombia to do activities

Some travelers can’t stand to do anything. Some Colombia glamping are located in such beautiful places that it would be a shame not to benefit from it.

Fortunately, there are glamping sites that offer comfortable accommodation and activities.

So, are you ready to work up a sweat?

8# Glamping Nativo | Towards Barichara

With comfortable tents scattered among the trees, come to Nativo to discover a simple and peaceful glamping experience. Plus, the accommodations are spacious enough for you to share with family and friends. The place is a bit isolated, 4km from Barichara, so I advise you to have your vehicle. Nativo offers many activities such as caving, rafting, or bungee jumping to keep you busy during your days. You won’t get bored!

Notes on this glamping

  • Pets are allowed (extra charge).
  • Use the Waze application to find the glamping if you come by car.

9# Glamping Bajo el Cielo | Towards Guatavita

With an incredible view of Lake Tominé, Bajo el Cielo is without a doubt one of the best glamping spots in Colombia to watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets. In order to enjoy the best of this spectacle, remember to select the domes. These houses are comfortable and have a huge window to admire the landscape. To escape from the heat of the day, the Bajo el Cielo glamping offers activities in the lake (sailing boat, kayak) or hiking in the mountains. Two domes have their own Jacuzzi. Don’t forget to ask for it when you make your reservation!

Notes on this glamping

  • This glamping is recent and they still need to find their bearings to improve the organization.
  • It is cold at night and the small heaters sometimes break down. Also, hot water is sometimes not very hot.
  • The tents do not have private showers.
  • Pets are allowed.
  • There is wifi at the entrance.
  • The glamping is 4km from Guatavita. You can take a cab to get there.

10# Glamping Entre Rios | Towards Calarcá

I saved the best Colombia glamping for the end. Entre Rios combines all the important features for an unforgettable glamping experience. The 5 safari-style tents face two river arms that slalom between the lush green hills of the coffee region. It’s a superb sight, especially from the jacuzzi, with a fresh fruit juice in your hand. One of the peculiarities of Entre Rios is that many activities are included in the price. Take a bike tour to explore the area, bird watching with a guide and improve your fishing skills (in case the planet turns into Walking Dead II).

Notes on this glamping

  • Minors and pets are not allowed.
  • Access is not easy. The easiest way is to take a cab from Armenia.

5. Colombia Glamping by area

You don’t know what to do for the weekend or you want to explore a new region of Colombia?

In both cases, glamping can be the perfect solution!

A# Glamping around Bogotá

Laguna de tota
Laguna de tota

There are many glamping sites around Bogotá, especially towards San Francisco and Guatavita.

And, if you don’t mind driving a bit further, don’t hesitate to look for glamping in the Boyacá department. The colonial towns in the area are beautiful and there are many hikes through the páramos.

Glamping towards Guatavita | 1h30 – 2h from Bogotá

Glamping towards Sogamoso (Boyacá) | 3h30 – 4h from Bogotá

B# Glamping around Medellín

Guatape Piedra del Peñol
Guatape – Piedra del Peñol

Antioquia has incredible touristic potential, and I am sure that many glamping sites will appear in the next few years.

Take the opportunity to rest for a few days before continuing your adventure in Colombia.

Glamping towards Guatape | 2h from Medellín

Glamping towards Rionegro | 30 – 45 min from Medellín

C# Glamping around San Gil

Cañón de Chicamocha
Cañón de Chicamocha

Santander is a department of choice for travelers who wish to do extreme activities such as rafting, caving, or paragliding.

Without forgetting that there is the beautiful village of Barichara to visit!

Glamping towards Barichara | 1h from San Gil

D# Glamping in the Coffee region

Buenavista Eje Cafetero
Buenavista – Eje Cafetero

The coffee region has many treasures such as the Nevados National Park, the thermal baths of Saint Vincent, or the village of Buenavista.

Yes, you’ll soon realize that Salento and the Cocora Valley are not the only places around here!

In addition, the roads are in good condition and it is therefore very easy to move between the various tourist sites.

Glamping towards Salento | 40 min from Armenia

Glamping towards Armenia | 20-30 min from the airport

6. Our tips for glamping in Colombia

Questions (1)

Some travelers are disappointed by their glamping experience in Colombia. In 99.9% of the cases, I think they could have avoided this feeling of I-paid-too-much-for-what-it-is.

Read the following tips to best prepare yourself (or simply to decide that glamping in Colombia is not for you).

  • In Colombia, even the best establishments sometimes have no hot water. Don’t hesitate to mention it at the reception desk.
  • You will be in the middle of nature. So there are bound to be insects. Take your mosquito repellent and high socks (they love ankles).
  • Glamping sites are often in the mountains. It is cool/cold in the evening. Take something to cover yourself.
  • On the other hand, it is very hot during the day, so you won’t be able to wake up late in the morning in your tent.
  • Colombia is a tropical country. It’s humid, and you will feel it a lot more in glamping.
  • It isn’t very easy to have the internet. Let go of your phone.
  • Bring comfortable clothes and avoid heels.
  • These are not places to party.
  • As a general rule, Colombia’s glamping sites are in isolated places. It will be easier if you have your vehicle.

Ebook to plan your trip

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Have fun while we do the hard job

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Glamping in Colombia

The Best Guajira Tours To Fall in Love With The Desert (2020)

Are you looking for a tour to discover the Guajira Desert?

Like many of us, you are probably attracted by the great arid landscapes. Perhaps you want to experience the thrill of feeling small in the midst of cacti and sand dunes?

One thing is certain, The Guajira desert will be an out-of-the-ordinary adventure.

Since this is an unusual experience, you will find all kinds of reviews on the internet. Some people loved it, others hated it.

For what reasons?

  • Expectations that do not match reality. It is now fashionable to go to Cabo de la Vela or Punta Gallinas. In fact, travelers add these destinations to their itineraries without really knowing what they’re going to find there.
  • A local agency (sometimes illegal) with jeeps in poor condition or unfriendly drivers.

We went 3 times to the Guajira desert and had the opportunity to meet great local partners!

Find out in this article how to best prepare yourself to do tourism in La Guajira, and above all, discover what to expect!

Table of Contents: The Guajira tours

1. My Field report
2. Why take a tour?
3. Why visit La Guajira?
4. Who can be disappointed?
5. Our favorite local agency
6. Book it now with 5% off
7. Your questions about La Guajira

1. A tour on my own in La Guajira

During my first trips to Colombia, I always tried to avoid organized tours.

Two reasons for that:

  • The budget
  • The feeling of freedom

My arrival in Cabo de la Vela

D – 1: One evening in Palomino, I meet Clement and he tells me about a desert further north on the coast. The experience seems rather nice and I let myself be tempted.

9 am: We leave with a small bag each in the direction of Riohacha. It seems that we have to stop in a place called “4 Vias” and then take a car to Uribia.

11 am: I realize that “4 vias” is simply a crossroads. A local packs 4 of us in a car in the direction of Uribia.

1 pm: After buying 10 L of water, we start looking for a truck in order to go to Cabo de la Vela. It’s quite easy to find. We get in the back with 12 people plus a few chickens, eggs, and at least 250 small packages of chips.

2h30 pm: It’s been a little while since we’ve left the road. I don’t know how the driver knows where to go. Maybe we are lost? At least there are big supplies of chips.

4h00 pm: We finally arrive in Cabo de la Vela. The village spreads out along the coast and there are very few people outside. The houses are mostly built with earth and plants that grow in the area (mostly cacti).

4h30 pm: In less than 20 min, a family sets up 2 hammocks on the beach for us, offers to take us to see the sunset at the lighthouse, and they know someone to drive us to Punta Gallinas.

6h00 pm: I silently contemplate the sun disappearing in a sea without waves. The colors blend, break up, and spread out in the sky. It is beautiful.

9h00 pm: The wind rises as we settle into our hammocks. I cover myself with my towel.

10h00 pm: I wake up and go back to sleep.

11h00 pm: I wake up and go back to sleep.

12h00 pm: Anyway, you understood me.

Departure for Punta Gallinas

5h00 am: Departure for the tour to Punta Gallinas. We are 9 travelers in the jeep.

6h00 am: I stop trying to sleep after the thousandth bounce of my buttocks on the bench in the back of the jeep. We take a short break to watch the sunrise.

8h00 am: The jeep drops us near a sea inlet, then we squeeze into a small boat to reach the camp. I realize that the driver does not come with us. He did not say more than 15 words in 3 hours.

8h30 am: The camp consists of a restaurant and a small store to buy beers, an area to hang hammocks, and some showers + toilets. It’s time for breakfast.

9h30 am: Their jeep doesn’t seem to work today. As a result, we climb into the dumpster of a construction truck. There is one advantage; we can utterly admire the landscape. On the other hand, we have to protect ourselves from the sun and the sand.

10h30 am: The first stop is in Bahia Hondita. The spectacle of colors between the yellow-orange of the desert, the green of the mangroves, and the palette of blues of the sky and the ocean is striking.

11h00 am: We are at the Punta Gallinas lighthouse, the northernmost point of the South American continent.

11h50 am: Taroa is the last stop of this adventure in the desert. Large sand dunes overlook the ocean. I begin to race down the dune with Clément to finish by throwing us in the water. The current is incredibly strong.

12h15 pm: After a grueling climb to the top of the dune, I realize that our truck is gone. It is supposed to come back “ahorita”, that is to say between 15 min and 2 days. I take shelter under the only tree in the area.

1h30 pm: The truck is there. It is time to return to the camp for lunch.

4h30 pm: Our small group decides to take a walk in the desert to admire the sunset.

9h30 pm: The stars are starting to shine in the sky. There is very little light pollution in the Guajira Desert, lovers of beautiful starry skies will be in heaven.

10h00 pm: I settle down in my chinchorro: the typical hammock of the region. It is wide and the sides fold down to be used as a cover. I’m going to sleep like a baby.

Back to Palomino

8h30 am: Let’s go for a long trip back!

9h00 am: A jeep is waiting for us on the other side of the sea inlet. Thank goodness! There is someone to pick us up.

11h00 am: We arrive in Uribia, then we decide to take a cab back to Palomino.

2h30 pm: The end.

2. Why book a tour to discover La Guajira

As you can see, it is possible to organize a tour in La Guajira without going through a local agency.

I mention it more explicitly in our article on Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas.

Therefore, you are probably asking yourself the following question:

Why should I book a Guajira tour with a local agency?

1# A well-structured Guajira tour

Tour Pura guajira Dune
Taroa dune | Credit: PuraGuajira

Being completely free and only making decisions once you’re on the spot is pleasant. But there are three important conditions for this to work well:

  • Speaking Spanish.
  • Having time.
  • Knowing how to search and find information.

As you read my report, you notice that we took a lot of transportation to get to Cabo de la Vela and that we never knew what was going to happen.

By going through a local agency to take a tour in La Guajira, you avoid unpleasant surprises, you make your life easier and you travel much more comfortably.

2# You visit more places during your Guajira Tour

Tour Pura guajira Manaure
Manaure | Credit: PuraGuajira

Since it is easier to travel by private transportation, you will be able to visit more places on your La Guajira Tour.

Going by ourselves to Cabo de la Vela, we missed the following places:

  • Salt mines in Manaure.
  • Punta ArcoIris and Pilón de Azúcar in Cabo de la Vela.

3# A good jeep and a friendly driver

Tour Pura guajira Jeep
Jeep | Credit: PuraGuajira

Good local agencies take care of their vehicles and train their drivers to be more sociable with travelers.

They are not bilingual guides but at least they don’t grunt when you ask them a question.

Note that no one is safe from a flat tire in the desert. Do not stone the driver if this happens. 😀

4# A tour to La Guajira is almost as expensive as if you were going alone

Without going through a local agency, you might be able to spend about 350 – 400,000 COP for this trip.

On the other hand, you’ll spend more time in transportation and do fewer activities.

Now, if you are a group of 4 travelers, it is possible to find private Guajira tours for less than 600,000 COP per person!

That is a difference of 50 USD over the whole trip, which finally represents only 17 USD more per day if you spread this expense over the duration of the tour.

It’s worth thinking about, isn’t it?

Note: If you are traveling alone or in pairs, you can also inquire about joining a group 😉

3. Why visit La Guajira?

How do I know it’s worth coming to the Guajira Desert?

1# La Guajira is an adventure

Tour Pura Guajira Chinchorro
Chinchorro | Credit: Pura Guajira

The Guajira Desert is a hostile environment. Tourist infrastructures, roads, and jacuzzis are non-existent.

You will spend hours being shaken in a jeep, your bed will be a Chinchorro (traditional hammock) for the next two nights and it will be hot.

This allows you to discover another lifestyle, that of the Wayúu natives.

This is the ideal expedition to add a little spice to your adventure in Colombia.

2# Breathtaking scenery in La Guajira

Tour Guajira landscapes

It is not every day that we have the chance to travel through a desert along the Caribbean coast.

The color contrasts between the ocean, the barren land, the mangroves, and the sky are magnificent.

Not to mention the sand dunes.

And the sound of silence.

Shhh.

3# Sunsets in La Guajira

Tour Pura Guajira sunset
Credit: PuraGuajira

Everyone loves sunsets. You too, I guess?

Well, in the Guajira Desert, it’s even better. 😎

Why is that?

That’s because the sun sets directly in the ocean. Isn’t that cool?

4# A romantic night under the stars

There is very little light pollution in the desert. Don’t hesitate to walk around when all the lights in the camp are off.

You’ll love it.

4. Why could you not like your Guajira tour?

La Guajira is not for everyone. Some travelers may be disappointed because they expect something different.

A bit like when all your friends tell you about that great movie that just came out and you leave the room disappointed.

They also maybe booked their Guajira Tour with the wrong local agency.

1# There are no 5-star hotels during a Guajira Tour

Camp in Punta Gallians
Punta Gallinas

All travelers are accommodated equally.

Be ready to sleep in a hammock, take cold showers, and don’t choose your meals.

That’s part of the beauty of this adventure. But if you like your little comfort when traveling, then think twice before coming 😉

Note: It is also complicated to cook vegetarian/vegan dishes. If this is your case, prepare yourself to eat rice with rice.

2# Many hours in the jeep

Jeep Pura Guajira Tour
Jeep | Credit: PuraGuajira

The Guajira Desert is vast and there are no roads. Therefore, you spend many hours in the jeep, especially if the jeep breaks down during the adventure.

This is why it is important to choose a good local agency.

You can also decide to stay one more day in the Guajira Desert (4 days instead of 3).

3# Few explanations about the Wayúu culture during the tour

Wayuu Pura Guajira Tour
Pueblo Wayúu | Credit: PuraGuajira

Jeep drivers are not guides. Some of them know the Wayúu culture very well, although it is a knowledge they have learned over the years.

Other drivers do not want to interact with travelers.

In addition, the indigenous Wayúu are shy people who don’t mix much with tourists. Not to forget that nobody speaks English in La Guajira.

This may give you the impression that the trip is a bit “superficial”.

Fortunately, you will see (a little further on in this article) that it is possible to leave for 4 days to immerse yourself more in the Wayúu culture.

4# Unfriendly drivers

No, he is not a La Guajira driver.

Some local agencies are less concerned about the well-being of their clients. They lower their prices to attract as many people as possible, and as a result, working conditions are less attractive too.

There is a greater turnover between drivers and their mission is only to get you from point A to point B.

Others companies are just plain illegal.

It is with full knowledge of the subject that we preferred to work with a legitimate local agency operating on a human scale:

PuraGuajira Travel!

5. Why do we like PuraGuajira?

Colombia Insider et Pura Guajira
Us on a tour with PuraGuajira.

There are more than a dozen local agencies that offer tours in La Guajira.

How to choose our future local partner?

We decided to start our research in Riohacha.

Starting from Riohacha

  • It is the principal city in the Guajira Desert.
  • It is accessible by bus or plane.
  • The drivers are locals who know the area.
  • Tours in La Guajira are less expensive (0 intermediate).

Then we did some benchmarking and decided to contact Beatrice of PuraGuajira.

And there… Love at first sight in Notting Hill Riohacha.

1# They love what they do

Pura Guajira team
Beatrice & Esneider | Credit: PuraGuajira

Beatrice and Eisneider are lovers of the Guajira Desert and the Wayúu culture.

Every day, they prove by their actions that tourism and sustainable development are perfectly compatible.

Through their expeditions, they try to transmit these emotions and values to travelers.

2# Quality over quantity with their La Guajira tours

Esneider kids Pura Guajira Tour
Esneider | Credit: PuraGuajira

It’s a local agency on a human scale and you won’t be just a number.

6 key quality points

  • Beatrice is the queen of the organization and speaks perfect English, Italian, and Spanish.
  • Esneider is the most smiling and friendly driver in the entire Guajira Desert.
  • The jeep and the driver stay with you throughout the trip.
  • Tours may be private and limited to a maximum of 4-6 (depending on COVID situation) travelers.
  • Their jeeps have comfortable seats in the back (not benches on which you squeeze 8 people) and are very well maintained.
  • The circuits are built in a smart way. That is to say that you won’t stand on a dune at noon and you will avoid a significant part of the other travelers.

3# You can ask for an English or French translator

Speak English

You should know that it’s not easy to find someone who speaks English (let alone French) in La Guajira!

If you are interested, remember to inform PuraGuajira in advance 😉

4# Prices are very reasonable for a tour in La Guajira!

Budget

It is normal to take the price into account to decide between two local agencies.

If you are a group of 4 people, their prices are in the low average of the tours departing from Riohacha.

It is possible to find tours for 500 000 COP in Riohacha, but the quality will be lower and it won’t be a private tour 😉

A private tour may seem expensive to you if you’re only a group of 2 people. If so, you can;

  • Convince other travelers to join you
  • Ask Puraguajira to find other travelers for the date of your tour. If they are able to do it, the price will be less depending on the total number of travelers.

In short, do not hesitate and go for it!

5. Book your La Guajira Tour and get 5% Off

We have a partnership with the agency PuraGuajira. By using our form, you will directly get a 5% discount on all their tours of La Guajira.

Note: PuraGuajira has all the bio-security protocols to operate during this difficult COVID-19 period.

1# Steps to book your La Guajira Tour

  1. Click on the “start” button of our form (See the point3# 🔽).
  2. Answer a few questions (first name, last name, dates, telephone, etc.).
  3. Choose the tour you wish to do.
  4. You will receive an email from us to confirm that your request has been taken into account.
  5. Wait for PuraGuajira to contact you within 12 hours.
  6. There is no deposit to pay. PuraGuajira works on trust. Don’t disappoint them 😉
  7. Payment in cash or credit card once on site.

Note: If you wish to join a group (in order to pay less), PuraGuajira will put you on a waiting list and keep you informed as you go along.

2# Tours offered by PuraGuajira

Find below 3 tours to explore the Guajira Desert:

  • The classic 3-day / 2-night tour in Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas.
  • The 4-day / 3-night tour if you want to learn more about the Wayúu culture.
  • The 4-day / 3-night tour to Macuira if you want to go where very few travelers have set foot. Yes, there is also an oasis in this desert.

Don’t hesitate to visit their website to learn more about their La Guajira tours.

3# Our reservation form

powered by Typeform

6. Questions about the La Guajira tours

Questions

Here are the questions/answers that you can ask yourself before taking a tour in the Guajira.

How much does it cost?

Le prix varie selon si c’est un tour privé ou non.

  • A 3-day / 2-night tour to La Guajira (not private) from Riohacha costs on average 550,000 COP/Pers.
  • A private 3-day / 2-night tour to La Guajira (if 4 people) from Riohacha costs on average 600,000 COP/Pers.

How to choose an agency?

For us, the most important points are:

  • The quality of the jeep and the friendliness of the driver.
  • The itinerary within the tour.

That’s why we chose PuraGuajira. Check out their Instagram if you still have some doubts 😉

Safety in the desert?

Yes, it’s 100% safe if you leave with a tour. However, don’t venture alone to the border with Venezuela.

The best season?

It is best to avoid the period from September to November. It is considered the rainy season, the dirt roads become muddy and travel times increase considerably.

Which tour should you choose?

PuraGuajira offers three very interesting and different packages:

  • If you have little time, choose the classic option of 3 days / 2 nights to Punta Gallinas + Cabo de la Vela.
  • If you want to spend more time with a Wayúu family and spread out the number of hours in the jeep, then choose the 4-day / 3-night tour to Punta Gallinas + Cabo de la Vela.
  • If you want to walk in the desert and discover an oasis off the beaten track, then take the tour to Macuira Park!

Ebook to plan your trip

Why bother if we do it better?

Have fun while we do the hard job

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. It’s a nice gesture to thanks us for the many hours we put in Tomplanmytrip 🙂 
Guajira tours desert

Should you Really Book This Ciudad Perdida Tour?

The Ciudad Perdida Tour is often considered a must-see on the Caribbean coast.

Yet every year, a few travelers come back disappointed from their experience.

Is it because they were expecting something else? Because they were unprepared for this jungle trek?

Probably a bit of both.

In any case, I am certain that they were not sufficiently informed, or that the information obtained was incomplete.

I did the Ciudad Perdida Tour in 2019, and thanks to this article, you will be able to:

  • Decide if it’s an experience that suits you
  • Book this tour
  • Prepare yourself to get the most out of it

Table of contents: The Ciudad Perdida Tour

  1. My Report
  2. Why participate in this adventure?
  3. Who could be disappointed?
  4. What to bring on this trek?
  5. How to book your spot?
  6. FAQ’s

My expedition to the Lost City Tour

It would be a shame to spend four days hating this experience. To help you visualize it, let me tell you a little bit about my adventure.

Day 1: Climbing and sliding

9h00 am: After a quick stop at the agency, I find myself in the back of the jeep with my walking buddies. There is a 2h30 ride before arriving at the beginning of the trail. It’s perfect for getting to know each other. We are only 8 because it is the low season (October).

11h30 am: The lunch is gargantuan with soup, chicken, rice, beans, and plantains. I’ll have to roll to get going.

12h30 pm: Here comes the adventure. We take a fairly wide dirt road on which two cars could easily meet. A few motorbikes pass us on the way up. They look much happier than we do.

2h30 pm: We stop at the side of the road to enjoy a delicious squeezed lemon juice. The weather is hot and humid. Everyone is sweating and breathing hard, except for the guide and the young translator.

3h00 pm: The path narrows, and even motorcycles are no longer allowed to pass. We discover some beautiful viewpoints, before going deeper into the Sierra Nevada.

3h10 pm: Oh, it starts raining. That’s refreshing. We protect our bags, but no one takes the raincoats out. The clay path becomes an ice rink, and I pass one of my walking sticks to Alex. He came with an old pair of tennis shoes and is now performing unwished figure skating demonstrations.

4h00 pm: It’s raining so hard that gills and fins are starting to appear on my body.

4h30 pm: We finally arrive at the camp. Everyone is a little tired after this first day. We spread our soaked stuff everywhere where we can hang them up, and we rush to the shower.

5h30 pm: I wear my sock/tongue/pants to avoid mosquito bites. It’s ugly but effective. Our small group gathers at one of the camp tables, and we share our first impressions while sipping our hot drink. We are in a good mood.

9h00 pm: After a massive plate of pasta and a few beers, we head to our bunk beds, all protected by mosquito nets. It must not have been easy to bring all those mattresses back from Santa Marta.

Camp: Casa Alfredo | Distance: 9 km | Duration: 4 hours | Difficulty: 6/10

Day 2: Rivers and Indigenous Culture

5h00 am: All the lights are on so no one can hide under the sheets. Even though I woke up many times during the night, the sleep has been restorative and I feel great.

5h15 am: The jungle arises, and a light mist rises in the valley. The parrot/pet of the camp is the star and lets itself be photographed. It also gives quick pecks, but nobody loses their finger.

6h00 am: Departure under the sun. Our clothes didn’t dry overnight because of the humidity. We ascend a good hour before starting to go down.

9h00 am: We’re arriving at Casa Mumake. We’re already halfway for this second day. There’s always a lot of sunshine. We take the opportunity to dry our things finally; then, we throw ourselves in the river. The swim is invigorating. Meanwhile, the staff prepares lunch.

10h00 am: I devour my lunch and then I find a bench to take a nap on.

11h30 am: I wake up with the bench’s mark on my cheek. Let’s go for the remaining 9 Km. It goes up and down steadily.

12h30 pm: We’re visiting a native of the Kogi tribe. During 20 minutes, we discuss different aspects of his culture, such as the use of the Poporo and the importance of the Mamos in their society.

2h30 pm: We are arriving at Casa Paraiso. There is a beautiful river alongside the camp. It’s ideal for refreshing and passing the time until dinner time.

8h00 pm: Everybody’s asleep.

Camp: Casa Paraiso | Distance: 18 km | Duration: 6 hours | Difficulty: 5/10

Day 3: Discovery of the Lost City

6h00 am: It’s D-Day. Our guide gives each of us a small bag to take only the necessary (camera, passport, and water). We’ll pick up the rest of our stuff on the way back.

6h30 am: We have to cross a river for about ten meters. The water level rises to our knees, and we use two ropes to keep our balance against the current.

06h50 am: 1,200 steps to the Lost City. Perfect to warm our legs after our forced swim.

7h30 am: The steps are small, and the ascent is relatively easy. We finally start to see the terraces of the Ciudad Perdida between the dense foliage of the vegetation.

08h30 am: Juan gives us many explanations about the history of the Ciudad Perdida. During 2 hours, we walk around the site without meeting the other groups. It gives the impression of being the only one on the site. We can fully enjoy the beauty of the different points of view and the mysterious energy released by this sacred place. We even get a small snack on the highest terrace!

11h00 am: We’re back at the camp for lunch. We still have 3 more hours of walking to end this day.

04h00 pm: With our hot drink in hand, we watch the last group arrival through the rain. They don’t look pleased. Luckily we had reached the camp before the downpour. Tip: Don’t hesitate to abandon a fellow walker in the jungle if he is too slow.

06h00 pm: Okay, here we go. Beer, fun, eat, roll, sleep. We’re in the groove now.

Camp: Casa Mumake | Distance: 13 km | Duration: 5 hours | Difficulty: 5/10

Day 4: The Long Journey Home

06h00 am: We have to cover the remaining 19km in the morning. Luckily, around 9:00 a.m., there’s a break for a little snack. It gives us energy.

12h00: We’ve finally arrived! I spread out my wet and smelly clothes in the sun, hoping that they will dry before we leave in the jeep. Our little gang gathers around the table with a few cold beers; then, we start planning our evening out in Santa Marta. We all deserve it.

Camp: El Mamey | Distance: 19 km | Duration: 6 hours | Difficulty: 6.5/10

Why book the Ciudad Perdida Trek in Colombia?

Yes, it is worth spending 4 days of your trip for this adventure. On the other hand, the Ciudad Perdida trek is a demanding hike that is not for everyone.

1# Ideal to discover the world of multi-day trekking

Trek Ciudad Perdida Colombia (3) (1)

Even if the Ciudad Perdida tour is demanding, it is still accessible to many travelers. All you have to do is enjoy walking and agree to get wet all the time.

Yeah, that’s it.

Why is it an easy trek?

  • Mules carry the food, and the water comes from the river. You just have to take your personal belongings and a bottle, which is about 5-6 kg in total.
  • The highest point is 1200 m above sea level. You don’t need to acclimatize.
  • You don’t walk more than 6-7 hours a day, and the elevation gain is less than 600 m/day.
  • You sleep in a bed with a roof over your head.
  • There are no sections considered complicated or technical, although be careful with the stairs of the Lost City.

There are all the right conditions for you to try the adventure.

2# Surpassing yourself

Trek de la cité perdue en Colombie

The Ciudad Perdida Tour is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and be proud of yourself (if you come back alive; #joke).

It’s not so easy to complete a 4-day hike in the Sierra Nevada. Every morning you will wake up at dawn, with heavy legs, an eyelid that is still half open, and your skin moist from the humidity in the air. After a hearty breakfast, it will be time to set off again, with your shirt still wet from the previous day and the sound of your shoes doing Squitch Squitch because of the rain.

A real little Indiana Jones.

Yes, you will earn the right to explore Colombia’s Lost City, and you will have new stories to tell at your next family dinner!

3# The landscape from the Lost City in Colombia

Because of the dense vegetation of the Sierra Nevada, there are very few viewpoints to appreciate the immensity of this environment.

That’s not the case when you’re in the Ciudad Perdida.

Once at the top of the 1200 steps, you have a 180-degree view of the green ocean that surrounds the site.

And, like Robinson Crusoe on his island, you feel very small.

4# Creating bonds and memories

Trek ciudad perdida Colombie

When people face the same challenges, they form bonds.

I loved sharing this amazing experience with the other members of my group when I didn’t even know them!

I think it’s the ideal kind of activity to do as a couple, with family or with a group of friends. It will remain a topic of conversation for the next 10 years.

5# Discovering a new culture

Kogi indigene cité perdue Colombie

The ethnic groups living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta have been able to preserve their cultures and traditions by staying away from the conquistadors and then the Modern Man.

They venerate Aluna, our Mother Nature, whose heart is represented by the highest peak of the Sierra Nevada: Mount Pico Cristobal Colón.

They see themselves as our Big Brothers and wish to educate us so that we stop destroying the planet. We can’t say they’re wrong about that.

To spread their message, the Kogis have invited twice the BBC to report on the subject.

This expedition does not focus on discovering indigenous cultures. However, you will still have the opportunity to chat with a Mamo ( leader) and learn more about the history of the Ciudad Perdida.

Besides, your guide is a local who grew up in the Sierra Nevada. Don’t hesitate to ask him many questions if the subject interests you!

Who can be disappointed by the Ciudad Perdida Tour?

The Ciudad Perdida Tour is a fabulous experience, but it is not for everyone.

If you find yourself in one of the situations below, take a good look at the pros and cons before you embark on this adventure.

1# Be in good physical shape

Strong Man

Even if this trek is classified as “accessible”, you will still have to walk for 4 days.

And, 4 days is a long time when you’re exhausted after 2 hours of walking.

If you have never hiked for at least 8 hours, the trek to Colombia’s Lost City is probably not the best option.

Same for those with weak ankles and knees. The path is made of dirt and pebbles. It turns into a slippery trail when it rains.

2# Having a good mindset

Strong Mentally

The Ciudad Perdida Tour is an adventure that is demanding. If you are prepared to keep smiling when facing possible difficulties, then nothing will stop you.

What are they?

  • Your clothes will never dry. It’s very humid in the Sierra Nevada. You’ll get wet from rain or sweat.
  • It can rain very regularly and the paths become slippery.
  • It’s very hot!
  • You’ll have to keep walking while you’re tired.
  • Mosquitoes will be your pets.

3# You won’t be the only one visiting the Ciudad Perdida

foule

The Lost City is no longer a secret, and many travelers add it to their itinerary in Colombia.

The local agencies are well organized. Groups depart at regular intervals so that hikers do not concentrate in the same places.

During the high season, the group sizes are around 20 people, and it is not uncommon to be about 100 in the camp.

If you want to experience nature without meeting a living soul, consider an expedition to Los Nevados or the Amazon instead.

4# You will not meet any animals (except those that sting)

Jaguar sleeping

Wild animals don’t like the company of sweaty, noisy bipeds.

There is very little chance you will see birds, monkeys, and other animals.

What’s the best way to prepare for the Ciudad Perdida Trek?

Even if 95% of the preparation is taken care of by the local agency, you still have to ensure the remaining 5%.

I’m just talking about packing your backpack and wearing the right hiking clothes.

1# The ideal bag for the Ciudad Perdida Tour

Packing your bag (1)

When hiking over several days, every kilo counts. The aim is to carry only what is necessary for a minimum of comfort.

Let’s start with the size of your bag.

A 30 L bag is ideal for this trek. You can take it smaller, but it’s annoying to have to play Tetris to close it.

What to put in your bag?

  • 4 pairs of socks and 4 pairs of underwear. It is important to put on dry socks to keep your spirits up and avoid blisters.
  • 1 spare T-shirt.
  • 1 long sleeve t-shirt for the evening (protects against mosquitoes).
  • 1 pair of light pants for the evening (protects against mosquitoes).
  • 1 pair of flip-flops. Yes, you’ll have to assume the flipflop-sock style. You’ll befriend with Germans.
  • 1 Bathing suit.
  • 1 Towel. Take one that dries quickly.
  • 1 toilet bag with the minimum.
  • 1 roll of toilet paper.
  • Passport to enter the park on the 3rd day.
  • 1 waterproof plastic pouch to protect passport and phone.
  • Mosquito repellent and sunscreen.
  • Immodium (you never know).
  • Dressings and bandages for possible blisters.
  • Headlamp.
  • 1 rain cover for your bag.
  • 2 thick plastic bags (1 to put your dirty laundry, the other to protect your clean things).
  • 1.5 L gourd for water.
  • Money to buy beers/snacks.

Your bag shouldn’t weigh more than 5-6 kg.

2# The ideal hiker’s equipment for the Ciudad Perdida Tour

HIking equipment (1)

Again, don’t take it lightly. With the right equipment, you’ll avoid a lot of little annoyances.

What to wear?

  • A good and comfortable pair of hiking boots. Don’t take them new to avoid blisters. Look to see if the soles still have studs so you don’t slip on the mud.
  • Lightweight hiking pants that dry quickly. If you don’t care about mosquito bites, you can take a pair of shorts.
  • A merino wool T-shirt. This textile dries quickly and does not retain the smell of perspiration.
  • Walking sticks. If you have them, don’t hesitate to take them. They’ll be very useful.
  • Hat
  • The raincoat is not useful. It’s too hot to wear it when it rains. Think of it as a hiker’s shower.
  • A 30-35 L hiking bag with a strap to attach it at the waist. This will relieve the weight on your shoulders. Leave your Eastpack at home.

How to book your Ciudad Perdida Tour in Colombia?

There are 5 local agencies authorized to organize tours of the Lost City. The other agencies are just resellers.

The official local agencies are:

  • Magic tour
  • Expotur
  • Baquianos
  • Turcol
  • Wiwa Tour

They all have a good reputation and the price of the tour is always the same. After some discussions with travelers and a lot of research on the internet, we chose to go with Magic Tour.

Why Magic Tour?

  • Excellent logistics and customer service.
  • Good knowledge of the guides about the Ciudad Perdida and the culture of the indigenous Kogis.
  • Quality certification NTS standards AV01, NTS AV02, and NTS TS 003.
  • Respect for the environment and sustainable tourism.
  • Member of the association CorpoTeyuna to help the natives of the Sierra Nevada.

1# Go to Magic Tour’s website

Magic tour Colombia (1)

First choose whether you wish to do this hike in 3, 4, 5 or 6 days.

How many days?

  • Usually, the trek to the Ciudad Perdida is done in 4 days. You walk 6 – 7 hours a day.
  • The price is the same for the 5-day option. The last section is divided in half. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth it.
  • A minimum of 4 people is required to book the 6-day tour.
  • You must be at least 2 people for the 3-day tour. There is a minimum of 8 hours of walking per day. You better be in shape.

Then you just have to pay the 20% deposit to reserve your place. Payments by credit card and Paypal are allowed. The 5 agencies offer the same rates.

Departures are every day of the week.

Save your spot for the Ciudad Perdida Tour

2# You will receive a confirmation email

Check your email inbox to receive and read the latest recommendations.

You’ll have to answer this email to report:

  • If you prefer to go directly to the agency in downtown Santa Marta or be picked up at your hotel.
  • Any allergies or dietary restrictions.

3# The day of departure for the Ciudad Perdida Trek

Let's go bridge ciudad perdida (1)

Go to Santa Marta the night before departure to get some rest and organize your things.

Regarding your travel bags, there are several options to store them for the duration of the tour.

Where to leave your big bag?

  • Your hotel in Santa Marta can keep it in a secure location. The easiest way is to book 2 nights (the night before departure and on the way back from the trek). We have mentioned the best accommodations in Santa Marta in our guide.
  • Right to the Magic Tour office. There’s no charge.
  • At Camp Mamey, if you wish to be dropped off nearby Tayrona on your way back from the trek.

Also, remember to withdraw money to pay the balance of the activity. It is possible to pay by card but there is a 3% surcharge.

Save your spot for the Ciudad Perdida Tour

Your questions about the Ciudad Perdida Tour

Questions (1)

We’ve put together some questions (and answers) you might have about the Ciudad Perdida Trek. They are sorted by category.

Also, take the time to read the previous sections, and don’t hesitate to ask us in the chat if you have any doubts.

Preparation for the Ciudad Perdida

Do you have to get snacks?

I was never hungry during the trek. The portions of the meals are huge, and the guides regularly give you snacks. Bring some energy bars if you are afraid of having low blood sugar.

Do you have to take water?

The guides take the water directly from the river and then sterilize it with tablets. Just take a bottle that you can refill during meals.

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Do you have to take a mosquito net?

No, there are in every camp.

Take your huge camera?

There is little chance you will be able to observe birds, and you will not have much time to take it out during the hike (except at the campsites and the Lost City). Besides, you have to put it away when it rains. In short, it’s possible, but I don’t recommend it.

Get a sleeping bag?

No, it’s not cold, and there are sheets. Take a “sleep bag sheet” if you don’t want to use the sheets.

Yellow fever vaccine?

It is not obligatory but I advise you to do it!

Malaria pills?

Nobody took any during our tour, and the local agencies say it’s not necessary. There are many unpleasant side effects with these drugs, including diarrhea. It’s not great when you go on a 4-day jungle trek.

Time and seasons for the Ciudad Perdida Tour

What are the sunniest months?

The sunniest months are from mid-December to March and from July to August. These are also the most humid months.

What are the rainiest months?

The rainiest months are April, May, October and November.

Is it raining a lot?

Yes, it usually rains in the afternoon and evening.

When's the high season?

The trek is less fun when there are 150 people in the camp. Avoid trekking between mid-December and mid-January and during Holy Week (Easter).

Is it cold at night?

No.

Payment and reservation of the Ciudad Perdida Tour

Don’t forget to read our section “How to Book”.

Do you have to go through an agency?

Yes, it’s mandatory.

How many days?

You can do it in 3, 4, 5 or 6 days.

Can you make a reservation on site?

There are departures every day, in fact, you shouldn’t have any problems booking for the following day. It will be the same price if you make your reservation directly on their website (smoother and faster).

Payment by credit card?

Yes, but there’s a 3% Fee.

About the hike

Is there a minimum and maximum age?

No. It depends on your physical condition. There are kids as young as 8 and people over 65 who do very well.

Do you sleep in hammocks?

All the camps used by Magic Tour now have beds. During the high season, there may not be enough beds for everyone. The last ones will have to sleep in hammocks.

Do you recommend the 5-day trek?

No. You’ll be spending as much time in the Lost City. The last section of the trek is divided into two parts: 9km for day 4 and 9km for day 5.

How fast are we walking?

You walk at your own pace but there are regular breaks to wait for the last of the group. It’s an average of 3 km/h.

Is it a difficult trek?

No, but you still have to be in good physical and mental shape to enjoy it. See the section “Who can be deceived.”

Is it slippery?

Yes, there are many muddy sections that turn into an ice rink when it rains.

Are there mosquitoes?

Yeah, but it’s manageable if you’re well-equipped.

Is it comparable to the Amazon?

No. Experience in the Amazon jungle will be wilder and more adventurous. You have more opportunities to observe animals, and the groups are smaller.

Is it comparable to Tayrona?

No. Tayrona can be visited without a guide, and there are many beaches. Remember to rest one day between these two excursions.

Is that a round trip?

Yes, you’ll come back the same way.

Do you have to carry your bag?

Yeah. Maybe this trek isn’t for you if you’re considering it. You can also pay extra to use a mule if you get tired on the way.

Is it safe?

Yes. There’re many militaries on the way.

Is vertigo a problem?

No. There are no dizzying areas to cross. Just be careful going down those 1,200 steps.

So, are you ready for this adventure?

Ciudad Perdida tOUR tREK (1)

Book your trip to the Lost City now!

Ebook to plan your trip

Why bother if we do it better?

Have fun while we do the hard job

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. It’s a nice gesture to thanks us for the many hours we put in Tomplanmytrip 🙂 
Ciudad Perdida Tour Colombia (1)

28 Things to Do in Cali, Colombia, to Fall in Love With It (2020)

What else is there to do in Cali besides salsa dancing?

Cali has no majestic buildings or must-see museums. However, the city has a dancing soul, and it will make your head spin if you decide to get carried away.

You’re not coming to Cali to visit. You come to Cali to experience Cali.

Between two wild evenings, the town and its surroundings still allow many excursions to breathe the fresh mountain air and bathe in one of the many rivers that flow through the valley.

To help you create your itinerary, I have just written an exhaustive list of things to do in Cali. Discover all the possible activities and select the ones that interest you to determine how long you would like to stay there.

Booking links are referring to reliable local agencies. Don’t hesitate to bookmark this page for your trip to Colombia 😉

There is also a list of events for each day of the week at the end of this article. Read it all the way through!

Cali travel guide

Free online guide on Cali to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit it.

Table of contents: Things to do in Cali, Colombia

Things to do in the city of Cali, Colombia?

A visit to Cali is not going to be particularly attractive if you do it without a local guide. The city is full of anecdotes and nice little corners to explore. However, you will find it challenging to discover them on your own.

If you just want to wander around for an hour or so, head to the San Antonio neighborhood and stop for ice cream or coffee. Tierradentro’s coffee is a nugget!

There are also a few museums, parks, and pleasant walks to lighten up your day before exploring the city’s salsa bars.

Fun and easy things to do in Cali

No, I won’t mention Cali’s cats. It’s the most boring thing to do in Cali, and yet everyone mentions it in their list of must-does.

1# Attend a salsa show in Cali

Delirio Salsa Show Cali
Delirio | Credit: FabianOrtiz

Some very good dancers come to dance in the different clubs of Cali. They are beautiful to see. But, if you want to admire an elaborate choreography and colorful costumes, go to a cabaret. It’s a magical thing to do in Cali!

Learn more about Salsa shows (+)

  • Where: Different clubs in the city of Cali
  • Duration: Evening
  • Price: $$
  • Advice: There are only a few events per month. Check out the different Facebook pages. Call to book in advance.
  • More information: Ensalsate (El Peñon) | El Mulato Cabaret (San Fernando) | Delirio (Outside Cali)

2# Learn to dance salsa at a school in Cali

Salsa Pura Cali
Credit: Salsa Pura

The Caleños (inhabitants of Cali) say that it is easy to dance salsa. All you have to do is “feel the music”. Following their advice, I felt like an octopus sliding on butter. Well, it’s not that simple. Fortunately, many schools give salsa lessons. It’s up to you whether you stay long enough to take a 10-hour package or just a few one-off classes. It’s one of the most famous things to do in Cali.

Learn more about Salsa lessons (+)

  • Where: Salsa Pura (San Antoñio), Son de Luz (Miraflores), Swing Latino (El Alameda)
  • Duration: 1h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: Salsa Pura is a great school for beginners who want to take some classes.
  • More information: Salsa Pura | Son de Luz | Swing Latino

3# Enjoy Cali’s nightlife

La Topa Tolondra Salsa Cali

If you like to dance, then you may never leave Cali. Around 5 pm, a light breeze blows and “refreshes” the streets of the town, and legs start to shake. This is the best time to have a drink on the terrace and plan the things you can do in Cali for the evening. As you will see, the Caleños are always up for a party. Check out the trendy bars of the moment.

Learn more about Cali's nightlife (+)

  • Where: La Topa Tolandra, MalaMaña, Tintindeo, El Rincon de Hebert, Donde Fabio
  • Duration: Evening
  • Price: $
  • Advice: Check out the trendy bars of the moment.
  • More information: we’ve listed the best bars on our “Colombia Insider” map. You can download it for free on Mapstr. There is also a list in our Ebook on Colombia.

4# Visit Cali during the Feria or the Mondial de Salsa

Salsa Show Cali
Credit: Ben Bowes

Salsa is danced all year round in Cali, but some moments are even more appropriate than others. Feria de Cali is one of the most important festivals in Colombia. It takes place from 26/12 to 31/12. Numerous events and colorful parades take place in different parts of the city. In September, there is the World Salsa Festival. During five days, dancers from all over the world give spectacular performances to the delight of the spectators.

Learn more about these events (+)

5# Admire Cali from El Cristo Rey

Cristo Rey Cali

A giant statue of Jesus watches over Cali. The monument in itself does not deserve the detour, but the panorama over the city is impressive, especially at night. Numerous pizzerias are established along the path leading to Christ. Enjoy a meal in one of them. It’s an easy thing to do in Cali.

Learn more about the Cristo Rey (+)

  • Where: 20min by taxi from San Antonio
  • Duration: 1h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: Make arrangements with the taxi to take you, be waiting while you enjoy the view, and drive back to town. It’s hard to find a taxi once you get up there—roughly 50,000 COP.

6# Hiking to the 3 cruces in Cali

Reaching Las 3 Cruces is the most accessible hike to do in Cali. However, it is not a very easy trail. Some sections of the path are quite steep, and there is no shade to escape the heat of the sun. Fortunately, vendors of freshly squeezed orange juice are there to make the experience more enjoyable. Once at the top, you are rewarded with a beautiful view of Cali. It’ s the Sunday morning activity for many Caleños.

Learn more about Las 3 Cruces (+)

  • Where: Departure from Normandia or Santa Monica. Ask the taxi to leave you at the beginning of the Las 3 Cruces trail.
  • Duration: 45 – 60 min to reach the top
  • Price: Free
  • Advice: Take some money to buy some juice and water. Start around 7:30 to avoid the heat. It’s also safer at that time (police presence).
  • More information: Cerro de Las 3 Cruces

7# Andoke, the butterfly paradise in Cali

Andoke is a foundation that helps to educate new generations to preserve their environment. It is also home to an impressive butterfly house that can be visited with a guide (only in Spanish). Take the time to wander around the park to visit their laboratory and have a bite to eat. It’s an excellent thing to do in Cali with kids.

Learn more about Andoke (+)

  • Where: accessible in 20 min by taxi
  • Duration: The tour lasts 2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Advice: There are 3 guided tours per day. Take the opportunity to go to Cristo Rey.
  • More information: Andoke

8# The Tejo, a game of explosion and beer

When you put it like that, it sounds dangerous. Don’t worry; it’s not. Tejo is a traditional Colombian game that consists of throwing a metal disc (500 – 700 g.) at a clay-covered target. The goal is to hit a metal circle in the center. Paper triangles filled with explosive powder are placed on this circle, and there is a loud detonation when the pebble hits them. The games are free of charge, but you have to consume (traditionally beers). It’s a thing I love to do in Colombia.

Learn more about tejo (+)

  • Where: Cancha De Tejo Los Amigos
  • Duration: 1h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: Go there on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday at the end of the day
  • More information: Playing Tejo in Cali

9# Take a trip to Loma de La Cruz

Loma de La Cruz is a small craft market in front of the Topa Tolandra. Each merchant has his own small stand with variable opening hours. The best time is around 4 pm. Every Thursday, people gather around 7 pm to dance together.

Learn more about Loma De La Cruz (+)

  • Where: Loma de La Cruz, 15 min walk from San Antonio
  • Advice: Go there on Thursdays around 7 pm
  • More information: Google Map

10# Listening to music in the Parque del Peñon

Musician Cali
Credit: Jorge Mejia Peralta

El Peñon is a wealthy neighborhood in Cali. Every evening, singers take turns playing music in this small park. It’s charming!

Learn more about it (+)

  • Where: Parque del Peñon, 10 min walk from San Antonio
  • Duration: Few hours
  • Advice: It starts around 5 pm
  • More information: Google Map

11# Have a Cholado in Cali

Cholado Cali
Credit: Michael Geminder

It’s a tasty thing to do in Cali. A Cholado is a mixture of condensed milk, fresh fruit cut into small pieces, and syrup (or other). Here it is, the ideal solution to fight against the heat of the city. A gourmet and sweet thing to do in Cali.

Learn more about Cholado (+)

  • Where: They’re all over the place, especially around the football stadium… – “Las Canchas Panamericanas”
  • Price: $
  • More information: Google Map

12# Watching airplanes at the Aereo Fenix Museum in Cali

The Aereo Fenix museum contains many aircraft models from World War II to the present day. You will also find steam locomotives, old cars, and many miniatures.

More about the Aereo Fenix museum (+)

  • Where: The Museo Aereo Fenix is close to the airport. 30 min from San Antonio.
  • Duration: 3h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: There are no guided tours. Try to get in touch with the employees or the manager to get some additional information.
  • More information: Aereo Fenix

13# Caliwood, Colombia’s Hollywood

Cali and cinema had a love affair that resulted in an explosion of cinematic creativity. A visit to the museum, with the help of an English or Spanish audio-guide, allows you to learn how the film industry began in Colombia. There are many old cameras and projectors here. For movie lovers, this is the museum you must do in Cali.

More about Caliwood museum (+)

  • Where: El Peñon, 20 min walk from San Antonio
  • Duration: 1 – 2h
  • Price: $
  • More information:  Caliwood

14# The Modern Art at the Tertulia Museum

La Tertulia is a museum of modern art that organizes many temporary exhibitions on artists from all over the world, with a focus on Cali and Colombia. Explanations in Spanish.

More about la Tertulia (+)

  • Where: El Peñon, 15 min walk from San Antonio
  • Duration: 2-3h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: It’s free on Saturday afternoon, and there are some nice animations all around. It is closed on Mondays.
  • More information: Tertulia

15# The history of salsa

Discover the history of salsa (which is a general term for several types of salsa). The bar/museum has many photos of dancers and artists taken by the owner, Carlos Molina, over 50 years. The pleasant atmosphere and the 33-rpm pieces of vinyl make it perfect. It’s an authentic experience that is easy to do in Cali.

More about the Salsa Museum (+)

  • Where: Museo de la Salsa, Barrio Obrero. 15 minutes by taxi.
  • Duration: 1 – 2h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: The museum does not open until 2 pm.
  • More information: Museo de la Salsa

Best tours and activities to do in Cali, Colombia

Between two salsa nights, Cali offers many activities and experiences to make your trip to Colombia unique!

Let’s see the things to do in Cali!

16# A guided tour of Cali

Niels is a Dutchman who fell in love with Cali in 2010. Follow him on a Free Walking Tour of the city center to admire the different churches built from the 16th century while listening to exciting anecdotes. It’s a great and cheap things to do in Cali.

More about this Free Walking Tour (+)

  • Where: Meeting at the church la Merced, 10 min walk from San Antonio
  • Duration: 2h
  • Price: Tips
  • Advice: Tours in English
  • More Information: Callejeros

A more personalized experience? Book a private tour

17# Taste Cali’s specialties

Niels accompanies you in this culinary adventure that will enchant your taste buds. You leave San Antonio to reach the largest market in Cali, the “Galeria Alameda.” Along the way, your guide will tell you different anecdotes about the places you pass through. Once you are in the area around the market, you will be able to taste delicious dishes such as empanadas de chontaduro, ceviche, lulada, or lechona. Finish with a short coffee break to digest and feel the flavor of an exquisite Colombian coffee. It’s a fun thing to do in Cali.

More about this food experience (+)

  • Where: Departure from the hostel El Viajero, in San Antonio.
  • Duration: 3h
  • Price: $
  • Advice: It’s hot, get a cap. English tour.
  • More information: Callejeros

Private Tour: Cooking Pacific specialties with a chef

18# Visit of Cali in salsa

This Free Walking Tour cleverly mixes “street art”, “street food” and salsa stories. There is a visit to the Museo de la Salsa Jairo Varela. Don’t hesitate to ask all your questions! It’s an easy thing to do in Cali.

More about this Salsa Free Walking Tour (+)

  • Where: Meeting at the Iglesia Ermita, a 15-minute walk from San Antonio.
  • Duration: 2h
  • Price: Pourboire
  • Advice: Tour in English or Spanish. Not on Sundays.
  • More Information: Free tour Cali

Private tour: a local will show you a typical district of Cali

19# Go bird-watching around Cali

Colombia is a country that bird lovers appreciate. The Valle del Cauca department is a particularly famous area for bird watching. Some local agencies know the best spots to admire them with binoculars, such as La Finca Alejandria or El Descanso. It is at dawn that these colorful feather balls are most active. Be prepared to get up very early!

More about birdwatching in Cali (+)

  • Where: 1h30 – 2h30 outside Cali
  • Duration: Full day
  • Price: $$$$
  • More information: Piculet birding has got an excellent reputation

20# Waterfalls and tubing in San Cipriano

San Cipriano is a small village hidden in the middle of a green jungle. The inhabitants have built an unusual machine to access it, as the town is entirely isolated. La Brujita is a platform propelled by a motorbike moving on train tracks. Yes, it seems strange. Yes, you have to see it to believe it. Once you arrive in San Cipriano, go to discover the local waterfalls and go down the river on an inflated inner tube. Welcome to the world of tubing! San Cipriano is the most memorable day trip you can do in Cali.

More about this trip to San Cipriano (+)

  • Where: San Cipriano is 2.5 hours from Cali.
  • Duration: 12h
  • Price: $$$
  • Advice: You can go to San Cipriano by yourself and sleep there. The tours will be cheaper if you can join a group (especially on weekends).
  • More information: Video on San Cipriano

We recommend Valley Adventours who organizes it perfectly!

21# Canyoning to explore the rivers

Travel by jeep to Pance to descend superb waterfalls using ropes, karabiners, and other gear. Canyoning is a sports activity that is becoming more and more popular in Colombia, for our greatest pleasure. You will be able to appreciate the beauty of nature from a new angle while receiving a good dose of adrenaline. The New Order Adventure agency impressed us with its professionalism and good mood! It is a thing you must do in Cali!

More about this Canyoning experience (+)

  • Where: Around Cali, it takes an average of 1 hour’s travel time.
  • Duration: 4 – 7h
  • Price: $$
  • Advice: Avoid if you’re afraid of heights and do not swim. Canyoning of different levels are offered.
  • More information: New Order Adventure

We recommend: Colombia insider includes it in his travels

22# Discover the Rio Danubio and the oasis La Sirena

Rio Danubio Cali

It’s a turquoise blue river that few travelers are aware of (even we haven’t had the time to go there yet). With the help of a local agency, venture into a lush jungle, jump from rock to rock, and enjoy the beauty of the Rio Danubio.

More about this trip to Rio Danubio (+)

  • Where: Natural reserve El Danubio, 2h from Cali
  • Durée: 12 – 15h
  • Price: $$$$
  • Advice: Go during the week because it’s a very popular place on weekends.
  • More information: Vidéo youtube

Book this unique experience now (easy to cancel)!

23# An unforgettable view from Pico Loro

If you love nature and spectacular views, then Pico Loro is the best hike to do near Cali. However, it is not very easy to organize. Departures are only allowed between 6 am and 8 am, and it is mandatory to go there with a guide from the village of Pance. He accompanies you for an ascent from 4 to 6 hours, with some parts of the path very inclined. Once at the top, the 360-degree panorama quickly makes you forget the liters of sweat that have been running down your back. You will be able to admire the whole Valle del Cauca, as well as the Western and Central Cordilleras!

More about the hike Pico De Loro (+)

  • Where: The hike starts from Pance, at 1h30 by car from Cali.
  • Duration: 10 – 12h
  • Price: $$
  • Advice: Good physical fitness is necessary. The best months are January, August, and September. You can also sleep in Pance and find a local guide on site.
  • More information: Video youtube

Book this incredible hike now! (Easy to cancel)

Things to do around Cali, Colombia?

From Cali, it is very easy to travel for a few days to discover other places in Colombia.

Take a trip to the Pacific coast, run through the coffee plantations, learn how to kitesurf, or watch the condors. In short, there are plenty of unforgettable experiences that can be added to your things to do in Cali.

Let see the multi-day trips you can do outside Cali.

24# Fresh air at Pance

Pance Cali

Pance is a small town 2 hours from Cali, and the caleños love to go there on weekends. Come here to breathe the fresh air of Las Farallones Park, reach the Pico Loro summit, watch birds, and/or cool off in the river that flows nearby. There is no public transportation in Pance. Choose a hotel close enough to the village if you come by bus.

More about Pance (+)

  • Where: Two hours by bus from Cali. Departure from the terminal.
  • How many days: 3
  • Advice: Avoid going there on weekends
  • Where to stay: We love staying at Casa Batara
  • More information: How to visit Pance

25# Kitesurfing Sessions on Lake Calima

Lago Calima Cali
Credit: Sabastian Leal

With a strong and constant wind and an area of 70km², Lake Calima is an ideal place to practice kitesurfing and windsurfing. Many small hotels and fincas are close to the public entrada N 5, just past the town of Darien. Kitesurfing schools offer 5-day stays with accommodation, equipment, and 10 hours of lessons.

More about kitesurfing (+)

  • Where: 3h by bus from Cali
  • How many days: 2 – 5 days depending on how much time you spend taking classes
  • More information: Calimakitesurf

26# Explore the beaches of the Pacific barefoot

La Barra Bahia Malaga

From Cali, it is effortless to reach the Pacific coast. It is also the most economical option to visit this cut-off region of the world. Take a bus to Buenaventura and then a boat to Juanchaco. Get closer to La Barra to enjoy the long beaches as far as the eye can see. It is difficult to find a local agency on the spot, so I advise you to book an establishment that offers its own activities. Don’t miss the humpback whale season from July to September!

More about the Pacific coast (+)

  • Where: La Barra and Ladrilleros, at 5h from Cali
  • How many days: 4
  • Advice: It is a very humid area where it rains regularly, especially in April – May, and October – November. Don’t waste time in Juanchaco. The village is rather dirty and not very interesting.
  • Our travel guide: Discover the best accommodation and activities in La Barra

27# Observe condors in the paramos

Take a few days to Popayan if you want to discover a beautiful colonial city with white streets and eat the delicious local specialties. Its proximity to “El Purace” is the main advantage of Popayan. This national park can be visited in 1 or 2 days, and allows you to observe condors during magnificent hikes in the paramos (an ecosystem present in only 5 countries of the world).

More about Popayan and the Purace park (+)

28# All about coffee

Buenavista Zona Cafetera

Since Cali, you’re only a few hours away from the coffee region. It would be a shame not to go! Buenavista is the ideal place to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of a small Colombian village. In the morning, when the sun’s rays warm your face slightly, have your coffee on the terrace and enjoy the view over the valley. The icing on the cake, if the subject of coffee interests you, there is one of the best tours we have tested in Colombia. So, isn’t life beautiful?

More about Buenavista (+)

Things to do in Cali in the evening?

You have to enjoy going out at night to get the most out of Cali. Let yourself be swept away by the frantic rhythms of the salsa. Admire the dancers and, if you are brave enough, invite locals to join you on the dance floor. The authentic and magical atmosphere of the city will not leave you indifferent, especially if you are part of it.

You’ll find something to do in Cali for every night of the week.

We have listed the weekly events for Bogotá, Cartagena, Cali, and Medellín in our free travel guide.

The calendar of events changes regularly. Please check the Facebook/Instagram pages for the latest news.

Things to do in Cali on Monday?

  • Free Salsa lesson at la Topa Tolondra | 7 – 9 pm | Loma de la Cruz
  • Salsa Live music at Balneario Las Brisas | Evening | South of Cali

What to do in Cali on Tuesday?

  • Dance Salsa at the Siboney Club | evening | Alameda

Things to do in Cali on Wednesday?

  • Salsa regulars gather at the bar La Topa Tolondra | Loma de la Cruz

What to do in Cali on Thursday?

  • Indigenous dances at Loma de la Cruz | 7 pm |
  • Salsa regulars meet at the bar Rincon de Heberth | Miraflores
  • Live music at the bar Zaperoco | Granada

Things to do in Cali on Friday?

  • Rock live music at Bourbon St Cali | Granada
  • Live Dj (electro) at the club 10-60 | San Nicolas

What to do in Cali on Saturday?

  • Salsa live music at Donde Fabio | San Nicolas
  • DJs at the club Garden Lounge | Ciudad Jardin

Things to do in Cali on Sunday?

  • Locals dance at the Alameda park | Afternoon
  • Salsa show at the Mulato Cabaret | From 4 pm | San Fernando

So, what activities have you decided to include in your itinerary in Colombia? Don’t hesitate to let us know your feedback!

How to enjoy Colombia?

👉 45 unique travel guides | Transportation, accommodation, and activities.
👉 An online map of Colombia.
👉 Our best advice for preparing your trip.
👉 A great interactive ebook to travel like an expert.
👉 Our solution for not stressing about a trip.

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Best things to do in Cali

40 Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia (2020): What travelers love

The first time I went to Cartagena, I didn’t like the city. I didn’t know the things to do in Cartagena. I was only expecting to have my feet in the water and a Caribbean-flavoured cocktail in my hand.

What a mistake! In Cartagena, you can forget about walking on the beach in a bathing suit. With no plan B and a small budget, I got bored quickly.

However, there are many tours to enjoy the city if you organize yourself a little bit in advance. Moreover, it is also possible to escape for one or more days to the islands of Rosarios.

To help you create your itinerary, I have just written a very complete list of things to do in Cartagena. Take a look at all the activities that interest you to find out how long you should stay there.

Many booking links are to reliable local companies. Don’t hesitate to bookmark this page for your trip to Colombia 😉

There is also a list of events for each day of the week at the end of this article. Read it all the way through!

Must read: Our top-notch Cartagena travel guide

Table of contents: What to do in Cartagena

  1. Entertainment (easy to do)
  2. Museums
  3. Free Walking Tours
  4. Paid Cultural tours
  5. Bikini trips on Rosario Islands
  6. More day trips from Cartagena
  7. Where to escape for a few days?
  8. Things to do during the week
  9. Our guidebook to create your itinerary
  10. Relax while we organize your Colombia adventure

Things to do inside Cartagena

With its many gastronomic restaurants and colorful alleys, Cartagena is the ideal city for lovers who wish to make a comfortable stopover during their stay in Colombia.

However, it is one of the most expensive cities to visit in the country. You’ll need to dip into your pockets if you want to make the most of it.

My little piece of advice, avoid going there during the tourist season.

Let see the best things to do in Cartagena.

Fun and easy things to do in Cartagena

The tourist sites are concentrated in two-quarters of the city, the old town center, and Getsemani. They are only separated by a hundred meters. You can get around on foot. No need for a taxi!

1# Pick the best ice cream in Cartagena

Ice cream cartagena

Let’s start with the most important thing, food! In Cartagena, it can be very hot and there is nothing better than devouring some ice cream to cool down. 3 establishments have a good reputation. It’s up to you to decide between them!

Where to eat ice cream (+)

  • Where: The old town center
  • Duration: Depends on the number of ice creams ingested.
  • Price $
  • More information: Paradiso | Paletteria | Tramonti

2# Book a table for a romantic dinner in Cartagena

Diner romantique que faire à Carthagène

Imagine gourmet dishes served away from prying eyes in a charming patio lit by a subdued light. That’s pretty good, isn’t it? A great opportunity to celebrate your trip. It’s a delicious thing to do in Cartagena.

Best restaurants in Cartagena (+)

  • Where: The old center
  • Duration: Depends on you
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Service is often slow on the Caribbean coast, so be patient. Book in advance.
  • More information: Alma | Restaurant 1621 | Carmen

VIP Experience: Dinner in Cartagena’s Bay

3# Taste the flavours of the Caribbean

Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia

Caribbean meals things to do in Cartagena

In Cartagena, many renowned chefs use traditional recipes to prepare dishes that make Gordon Ramsay blush. What will be your favorite dishes?

Cartagena's specialities (+)

  • Where: The old center and Getsemani
  • Duration: Depends on you
  • Price: $$
  • Dishes you should order: Ceviche, Posta Negra, Cazuela de Mariscos
  • More information: Eater

4# Sipping delicious cocktails in Cartagena

Cocktail que faire à Carthagène

With this warmth and holiday atmosphere, I advise you to start the evening with a nice cocktail. Some establishments are not lacking in ingenuity to surprise your taste buds. Count 10 Euros for a good cocktail.

Favorite Cartagena's bars (+)

  • Where: The old center
  • Duration: Before dinner
  • Price: $
  • Tips: The Alquimíco rooftop and Town House are top-notch
  • More information: Alquímico | La Baron | Town House

5# Admire the sunset in the ocean

Coucher de soleil que faire à Carthagène

If for you, the view of the sunset takes precedence over the quality of your cocktail, then go to the city wall facing the sea. There you can buy beers on the sly or order a bottle of white wine from the Cafe del Mar. An easy thing to do in Cartagena.

Best sunset experiences (+)

  • Where: On the wall, near the Cafe del Mar
  • Duration: For the sunset
  • Price: Free – $$
  • Tips: Arrive at least 30 minutes early if you want to sit down at Cafe del Mar. Another good plan is to enjoy the rooftop of the Movitch. The view of the old town is breathtaking.
  • More information: Cafe del Mar | Movitch

We love: Enjoy the sunset from a Catamaran!

6# So we’re dancing… the Salsa

Things to do in Cartagena

We suggest it for every major city in Colombia. If you come here, you have to learn some salsa steps. It’s MANDATORY. You can take some private or group lessons. Don’t forget to head to Cali if you’re a salsa fan.

Where to learn salsa (+)

  • Where: Crazy Salsa School | The old center
  • Duration: 1h
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Beginners group is at 10:00. It’s perfect to start the day on the right foot. Closed on Sundays. Take a trip to Quiebra Canto if you’d rather watch people dance.
  • More information: Crazy Salsa

Experience: Follow La Guia Cartagenera in a fiery salsa party

7# Or Champeta (but it’s even harder)

Champeta things to do in Cartagena
@ Fundacion Gabo

Champeta is a musical style invented on the Caribbean coast and strongly influenced by African culture. Cartagena was a slave port of great importance. Champeta can be danced alone or in pairs. Expect to sweat a lot!

Where to dance champeta (+)

  • Where: Bazurto Social Club | Getsemani
  • Duration: Evening
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Free lessons (but cover) at 10:30 pm from Wednesday to Saturday.
  • More information: Bazurto

8# Show of traditional African dances

Danse sur Plaza Bolivar
@ Young Shanahan

If you think the sunset is not going to be great because of the clouds, change your plans and head for Bolivar Square. Every night, a group of musicians and dancers come to perform for about fifteen minutes. It’s very nice! This is a simple and pleasant thing to do in Cartagena.

More about this activity (+)

  • Where: Place Bolivar | Old city center | Google Map
  • Duration: 15 min
  • Price: Free, but leave a tip 🙂
  • Tips: It’s just before sunset.

9# Enjoy the bohemian atmosphere of Getsemani

Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia

Trinidad Square Cartagena
@Joe Ross

The old center is beautiful but not representative of Colombia. Stroll through the colorful streets of Getsemani if you want to escape the hordes of tourists arriving from the cruises. There is a lot of graffiti to admire and the early evening festive atmosphere is entertaining. It’s a free thing to do in Cartagena.

More about Getsemani (+)

  • Where: Getsemani
  • Duration: 1 – 2 h (or all night)
  • Tips: There are artists dancing in Trinidad Square from 7:00 p.m. Pass by Café Mural.

10# Take colourful pictures of the old city

Photo vieux centre que faire à Carthagène

Visit the old center! It’s a must in the things to do in Cartagena. It’s the must-see of Cartagena. The problem is that everyone does the same thing. A cute alley with 195 people, that’s 194 people too many. Don’t despair, nothing is lost. If you want to take nice pictures, without having pieces of legs lying around, just get up early!

More about this experience (+)

  • Where: The old center
  • Duration: 1 – 2h
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Be in the old center around 7:00 am and then have breakfast at La Brioche. The streets of the San Diego neighborhood are even more photogenic.

Be a star: Ideal activity for a group of friends or on honeymoon

11# Look for the monkeys in Centenario Park

Centenario Park is located between Getsemani and the old center. It is small and not very well laid out. On the other hand, there is a small colony of monkeys that settled there a few years ago. Probably capuchin explorers and chip lovers.

More about this experience (+)

  • Where: Park Centenario | Between Getsemani and the old center
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Ask the vendors in the park where to find them
  • Information: Google Map

12# Admire Cartagena from La Popa

La popa things to do in Cartagena
@Manuel Castro

This convent is nicknamed “La Popa” because it is located on a hill that looks like the stern of a boat. It is the best place to admire the city of Cartagena.

How to get to la Popa (+)

  • Where: Convento la Popa | 15 min by taxi from the old center
  • Duration: 1 h
  • Price: $$ (Taxi + entrance)
  • Tips: Ask a taxi to take you up to the “Convento” and then wait for you to come down.
  • More information: Lonely Planet

We recommend: Get a ride to different Cartagena places

13# Do a bit of shopping

Shopping que faire à Carthagène
@Alex W

The old center is full of small shops selling colorful swimwear or handicrafts that will fit perfectly into your living room. Make sure you leave some room in your suitcase! Yes, shopping is also one of the things to do in Cartagena.

Best Cartagena's shops (+)

  • Where: The old city center
  • Tips: There are some great cigars at the cava del Puro, delicious sweet pancakes under the arcades in front of the Puerta del Reloj, or OndadeMar for a bikini.
  • More information: Shopping in Cartagena

Museums to visit

Things to do in Cartagena

Don’t come to Cartagena to visit museums. You’ll find a few explanations and all of them in Spanish. There are still two places to visit if you are a fan of history (y que hablas Español).

14# Learn the history of Cartagena at the Naval Museum

Museo Naval que faire à Carthagène
@Joe Ross

During the time of colonialization, pirates have always loved Cartagena. In fact, a large majority of the assaults were ordered by other countries such as France or England (privateers). Discover the defeats and victories of this fortified city.

More about the Museo Naval (+)

  • Where: Museo Naval del Caribe | Old city center
  • Duration: 1 – 2 h
  • Price: $
  • Tips: 9 – 17h. You can pay for a guided tour
  • More information: On their Facebook page

15# Attacking Fort San Felipe

Castillo San Felipe things to do in Cartagena
@JD Lasica

Always with the idea of protecting itself from attackers, Cartagena built many forts, the most imposing being San Felipe. The walk around the fort is nice, but there are better things to do in Cartagena. It might interest you if you have never visited this type of monument before.

More about San Felipe (+)

  • Where: Castillo San Felipe | 5 min by taxi from Getsemani
  • Duration: 1 -2 h
  • Price: $
  • Tips: It’s better in the morning.
  • More information: Explanations

Free walking tours we love

Things to do in Cartagena

Free walking tours are organized by local agencies to help travelers discover their city when they come to visit. These tours are free of charge, however, it is strongly encouraged to leave a tip. There are also some in Medellin and Bogota.

16# Follow the colorful umbrellas in the historic center

Centre historique Carthagène

There are two companies known for doing free walking tours of the historical center of Cartagena. This is a good way to get to know some good tips and discover the history of the city. It’s up to you to see if you prefer yellow or red.

Free walking tours in Cartagena (+)

  • Where: The old center
  • Duration: 2 h
  • Price: Free, but leave a tip:)
  • Tips: Grab a hat! Do it in the morning so you don’t miss the sunset. You have to book online.
  • More information: Beyond Colombia | Free Cartagena

17# Follow the colourful umbrellas in Getsemani

Another option to discover the cultural heritage of Cartagena is a visit to the Getsemani district. Getsemani was at the time a notoriously bad neighborhood of workers and prostitutes, then it gradually turned into a bohemian and artistic district. There is a lot of graffiti to admire.

Tours in Getsemani (+)

  • Where: Getsemani
  • Duration: 2h
  • Price: Free, but leave a tip 🙂
  • Tips: Grab a hat! Do it in the morning so you don’t miss the sunset. You have to book online.
  • More information: Beyond Colombia | Free Cartagena

The best tours & activities

Things to do in Cartagena

Being the most visited city in Colombia, there are plenty of tours and activities to do in Cartagena. Some of them can be quite expensive. Make your choice according to your budget and your desires.

Enjoy your weekend while we plan your itinerary

18# A private tour in the city of Cartagena

Tour privé que faire à Carthagène

It’s nicer not to share the guide with other tourists. You go at your own pace, you choose what interests you and you can exchange more easily and freely. Contact Beyond Colombia directly if you want to visit the historical center of Cartagena and Getsemani. The tours are only in English or Spanish.

Our favorite private tours (+)

  • Where: Getsemani and the old town
  • Duration: 2 h
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: It’s more pleasant early in the morning.
  • More information: Beyond Colombia

VIP and French Experience: Sion Tour will take care of you

19# Soak up Bazurto’s open market

Food Bazurto Cartagena

For an experience rich in color and flavor, visit at least one market in Colombia. With Cartagena Insider, discover the different facets of the Bazurto market, from the creation of posters, medicinal plants, fresh fruit juices, and a delicious meal. This is one of the great things to do in Cartagena.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Bazurto Market | 10 min by car
  • Duration: 4 h
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Save room for lunch. It’s delicious.

We recommend: Add Bazurto Market to your itinerary (Free cancellation)

20# Bring a recipe home

Things to do in Cartagena, Colombia

Cooking lovers, I have just the thing for you. Depending on your budget, you can choose the number of dishes you wish to prepare (and eat). You can even go shopping at the market with your chef. It’s a unique opportunity to share a moment with the locals.

Our favorite experiences (+)

  • Where: depends on the chosen experience
  • Duration: 2 – 5 h
  • Price: $$ – $$$$
  • More information: Cartagena Connection has a list with several proposals for cooking classes.

VIP Experience: Ask Duran Duran to impress you

21# Crabs, mangroves and net throwing in La Boquilla

La boquilla que faire à Carthagène

La Boquilla is a fishing village surrounded by the city of Cartagena. In a small canoe, your fishing guide will take you into the mangroves with a long pole. The atmosphere there is both peaceful and pleasant. Your guide will teach you the local fishing techniques to catch fish and crabs in this natural environment. Trapping and netting is an art!

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: La Boquilla | 20 min by car from the old center
  • Duration: 3 h
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Take things you’re not afraid to get wet.

Add La Boquilla to your itinerary in Colombia (free cancellation)

22# How do you like your coffee?

Coffee tasting things to do in Cartagena

Colombian coffee is known worldwide for its balance and its acid and sweet notes. Participate in a tasting workshop to discover the characteristics of Colombian coffee. Also, find out how the different preparation methods impact the final flavors in the cup. An easy thing to do in Cartagena!

Where to drink your coffee (+)

23# Do you know Gabriel Garcia Marquez?

Things to do in Cartagena

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Marquez is a famous Colombian novelist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, rewarding a singular writing style, a mixture of realism, and a skillful touch of surreality. The writer is much inspired by the Caribbean coast for his books. Discover his story as you wander through the alleys of Cartagena.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: The old city center
  • Duration: 3h
  • Price: $$$

Ask Duran Duran to save you a spot on this tour

24# Cycling and eating (but not both at the same time)

Bike tour Cartagena

You burn calories, then you get them back, then you burn them again while having your hair in the wind. Free bike Tour organizes this appetizing activity to make you discover the city of Cartagena and its “street food”! A simple, interesting and delicious experience to do in Cartagena.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Getsemani and the old city center
  • Duration: 4 h
  • Price: $$

Ask Free bike tour to save you a seat!

25# Where to ride a bike and look for film locations?

Movie and bike tour

Every year there is the Cartagena Film Festival (in March). The city has regularly been in the spotlight with films such as “Cartagena ou l’homme de chevet” and “El amor en los tiempos del Colera”. A sporting apprenticeship 🙂

Our favorite tour (+)

Ask Gerardo to save you a bike!

26# Make your own chocolate and take it away

Things to do in Cartagena

Museo del chocolate

If you’re looking for a gourmet experience to do in Cartagena, this is for you. Chocolate is like a toothbrush, it can’t be shared, except maybe with your favorite granny. In Cartagena, there’s the Chocolate Museum for family fun. Let’s go, put on your apron!

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: The historic center
  • Duration: 2 h
  • Price: $$
  • More information: Choco Museo

27# With a bit of rum, it’s even better

Rhum dégustation Que faire à Carthagène

Luckily there is a rum for Colombians who don’t like Aguardiente, a local alcoholic beverage that is drunk in shots between two sips of beer to get it through. There are five known rums in Colombia, and one of them has received many awards. So, any ideas?

Rum tasting (+)

  • Where: El Arsenal | Getsemani
  • Duration: 1 – 2h
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: The food is also very good!
  • More information: El Arsenal Rumbox

28# Like Cousteau before you, visit the seabed

Scuba diving

The advantage of diving in the Caribbean Sea is that it’s warm enough to avoid putting on a full suit. Many boats have been sunk off Cartagena. It’s perfect for playing hide-and-seek with sharks.

Our favorite tour (+)

29# Like our friends the birds, fly over Cartagena

Cartagena view from the sky

Climb aboard a paratrike – a kind of three-wheeled motorcycle with a sail and a propeller – to admire the city of Cartagena and the Caribbean coast. Surprisingly, it flies very well :D.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Nearby La Boquilla | 20 min by taxi from the old center
  • Duration: 15 min
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: There’s also skydiving if you’re looking for more adrenaline.

Ask Fly Cartagena to save you a seat!

Things to do outside of Cartagena

Unlike Santa Marta, there is not much to do around Cartagena, apart from sunbathing on the paradise islands of San Bernardo or Rosario.

Venturing on the islas of Rosario

Things to do in Cartagena

The vast majority of the Rosario Islands are only 1 hour from Cartagena and it can be an interesting expedition if you don’t plan to visit the rest of the Caribbean coast in your Colombian itinerary.

The problem with these islands is that they can be invaded by tourists. Avoid going there on weekends and choose your tour carefully.

Let’s take a closer look.

30# The most famous beach is Isla Baru (Playa Blanca)

Isla Baru is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is therefore possible (and recommended) to get there by road! The beach is beautiful, but there are too many people. Don’t book a tour, walk to the end of the beach and spend the night in a small hut so you can enjoy Playa Blanca at the end of the day with fewer people.

How to get to Playa Blanca (+)

  • Where: Playa Blanca | 45 min by car
  • Duration: 1 – 2 days
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Take the shuttle that leaves from Mamallena.

32# You can also sail around the islands on a sailboat

Catamaran things to do in Cartagena

It’s a simple and pleasant way to avoid tourists. The crew of the catamaran is taking care of its guests and offers juice at will. It’s the perfect plan to take a break between two snorkeling sessions. Lunch is included, but don’t eat too much as you risk sinking.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Las Islas de Rosario |Departure from the port near the old center
  • Duration: 8 h
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Tee shirt, cap, and bikini!

Reserve your place to be aboard the catamaran (limited places)!

33# It’s even better if you rent your own boat

Location Bateau que faire à Carthagène

This is THE thing to do in Cartagena if you are traveling with a group of friends or family. Rent a boat (with captain) to explore the islands. Don’t forget to have some cold beers!

How to rent your boat (+)

  • Where: The boat’s waiting for you at the port, near the old town.
  • Duration: 8 h
  • Price: $$$$
  • Tips: go party on Isla Cholon for a little while if it’s the weekend.

34# Drink cocktails at a beach club

Things to do en Cartagena, Colombia

Beach club things to do in Cartagena

There are many resort hotels that organize “day passes” for those who wish to rest on a paradise island and do nothing during the day. It’s not very exciting but the scenery is splendid.

Our favorite beach clubs (+)

  • Where: On the Rosarios Islands, an average of 1 hour by boat
  • Duration: Full day
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Avoid weekends and high season
  • More information: Carolina Island | Isla del Pirata | Gente de Mar

35# Leave for a few days on Isla Grande

Isla Grande que faire à Carthagène

I’m all for doing it right. Spend several days on the islands to really enjoy the atmosphere there. There are some beautiful (and expensive) establishments to fully appreciate the Rosarios Islands.

Where to stay on Isla Grande (+)

36# Tierra Bomba, it’s just 20 minutes away

Tierra bomba things to do in Cartagena

Well, technically, the island of Tierra Bomba is not part of the Rosario Reserve. Because of its proximity to the coast, the sea is more turbid than turquoise around this island. This is still a good option if you want to relax on your deckchair listening to good music.

Our favorite beach club (+)

  • Where: Tierra Bomba – Blue Apple Beach | 20 min by boat
  • Duration: Full day
  • Price: $$$
  • More information: Blue Apple beach

Things to do without bathing suits

Things to do in Cartagena

You can organize 2 tours that are a bit out of the ordinary to observe nature or to learn more about the African-Colombian mix.

37# San Basilio de Palenque, America’s first free slave village

Cartagena was an important slave port. Thousands of slaves passed through the city. Some – including the African king Benkos – escaped and built San Basilio de Palenque. Even today, African culture is still very much present there. It’s a very interesting cultural tour to do in Cartagena.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: San Basilio de Palenque | 2h by car
  • Duration: Full day
  • Price: $$$$
  • Tips: There is the festival in Palenque every year in October. A strong and authentic cultural moment.
  • More information: Website

Add the tour of Palenque to your itinerary in Colombia (free cancellation)

38# Thousands of birds on Isla Baru

Hummingbirds Valle de Cocora Salento

The Avario Nacional de Colombia is a huge aviary with more than 2,000 birds and 135 different species.

How to get there (+)

  • Where: Avario Nacional de Colombia | 1h30 by car
  • Duration: Full day
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: There’s a daily shuttle to get there | Don’t miss the 11:30 or 15:30 show
  • More informationAviary’s website

Escape to a secluded beach/island

Trips from Cartagena

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, I know two places that are worth a visit.

39# The paradise islands of San Bernardo

San Bernardo islands colombia

The islands of San Bernardo are beginning to be well-known but there are still fewer people than on the Rosario Islands. Choose between Isla Mucura and Isla Tintipan to feed yourself with coconuts and fresh fish with your feet in the water.

How to get to San Bernardo (+)

40# Rincon del Mar, a little piece of paradise

Rincon del Mar (1)

Colorful little houses on the beach, sparkling blue sea, and fresh lobsters. Once in Rincon del Mar, it is difficult to leave. This is one of our favorites on the coast.

How to get to Rincon (+)

Going out in Cartagena

Except during the high season, there are few events at the beginning of the week (Monday and Tuesday).

I’m putting together a little list of our favorite events in Cartagena. Don’t forget to check on the social networks before going there 😉

Download our Travel Guide (free) for a complete list of events in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, and Cartagena.

Going out in Cartagena on Monday

  • Cocktail party at Alquimico | historic centre

Going out in Cartagena on Tuesday

  • Take a little stroll around Trinidad Square | Getsemani

Going out in Cartagena on Wednesday

Going out in Cartagena on Thursday

Things to do in Cartagena on Friday

Things to do in Cartagena on Saturday

  • All events on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (except pool party)

Things to do in Cartagena on Sunday

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Things to do after Cartagena

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

Ebook to plan your trip

Why bother if we do it better?

Have fun while we do the hard job

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Things to do in Cartagena (1)

46 Best Things to Do in Bogota (2020): What Travelers love

I wrote down a complete list of things to do in Bogota and around so that you can decide the length of your stay there.

Through this post, you will get insightful and practical information to decide what to do in Bogota. I put on the side all the useless stuff like visiting the commercial center or banal activities like eating an Ajiaco.

Use our post to create a fantastic itinerary to explore Bogota and its region.

Also, there is a bonus at the end of this post. I give you a list of things to do in Bogota for each day of the week. Don’t miss it. 😉

Must read: Our top-notch Bogota travel guide

Table of contents: Things to do in Bogota

  1. Entertainment
  2. Free walking tour
  3. Paid Cultural tours
  4. Hikes in Bogota
  5. Museums
  6. Natural wonders around Bogota
  7. Cultural day trips
  8. Fun outdoor activities
  9. Cute colonial towns
  10. Cool events during the week
  11. How to decide among all these places?
  12. Lay back while we plan your trip

Stop being stressed and ask us to plan your trip

What to do inside Bogota, Colombia

Let’s start this post with the best tip ever.

When visiting Bogota, the best thing to do is to take an umbrella. Indeed, it’s not unusual to get the 4 seasons in one single day.

Bogota is super stretched, and it’s NOT fun to move around – traffic jams, pollution, and so on. I recommend optimizing your days. It means that you should plan your daily activities.

Also, this why it’s important to pick carefully your district.

Entertainment in the capital

Things to do in Bogota

There are many interesting districts in Bogota. Don’t hesitate to venture outside of la Candelaria to enjoy the various atmospheres.

1# Go to a Language Exchange event to meet locals

Colombian woman Language Exchange

Many Colombians can’t afford to travel abroad. They’re curious to meet foreigners and crave to improve their English (or French). The best events are Gringo Tuesday and Cafe Polyglot.

Where to meet locals (+)

  • Where: Gringo Tuesday (Zona Rosa) & Cafe Polyglot (Candelaria)
  • Duration: 1 – 3 hours
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Gringo Tuesday is on Tuesday from 4 pm & Cafe Polyglot on Wednesday from 5 pm
  • Contact: Gringo Tuesday & Cafe Polyglot

2# Ciclovia: Bike freely in Bogota

On Sunday, Bogotanos invade the city on their bike. It’s the exercise day of the week. Don’t hesitate to wander in parks if it’s a sunny day. Virrey Park or Simon Bolivar Park are both good options.

Where to ride your bike (+)

  • Where: There are more than 110 km of Ciclovia.
  • Duration: 7 am – 2 pm
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: On Sunday
  • Contact: Map here.

3# Flea market in Usaquen

Things to do in Bogota

USAQUEN BOGOTA

Usaquen is a lovely colonial town that has been soaked up by Bogota. It’s pleasant to have a walk around this area, especially when there is the flea market. It’s only on Sunday.

When is the flea Market (+)

  • Where: In Usaquen, Carrera 5 Calle 120 | 40 min from Chapinero
  • Duration: 11 am – 4 pm
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Only on Sunday. Head up the hill to the flea market.
  • Info: Here

4# Taste delicious craft beers

National beers are very common in Colombia, but most of them are flavorless – as almost any national beers. Fortunately, various microbreweries pop up in the capital. Some of them are fantastic! Book a tour to find out these secret gems. This is a tasty activity to do in Bogotá.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Chapinero | 20 min from la Candelaria
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: It’s usually at the end of the afternoon.

We recommend: We loved to do it with these guys

5# Party in the Zona Rosa

Travelers speak all the time about the nightlife in Medellin, but did you know that it’s even better in Bogota? You must head to the Zona Rosa (Calle 84) or Parque 93.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Zona Rosa | 40 min from La Candelaria
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting 9:00 pm.
  • Info: Here

Add it to your Colombia itinerary (Easy cancellation)

6# Enjoy Chapinero, a Hipster-trendy district

Things to do in Bogota

Zona Rosa is fun to party at night, but if you’re looking for more underground parties, then you need to head to Chapinero. It’s my favorite district (if you know where to go).

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: South of Chapinero | 20 min from La Candelaria
  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Start at 7 pm

Add it to your Colombia itinerary (Easy cancellation)

#7 Go dancing Salsa at night

It’s one of my favorite things to do in Colombia. You can dance Salsa in every big city in the country, but you have to find Salsa bars (otherwise you’ll spend the night moving your hips on Reggaeton music). We can plan salsa classes in different cities.

Where to dance salsa in Bogota (+)

  • Where: Sandunguera (Chapinero), Quiebra canto (Centro), El Goce Pagano (Centro) and more
  • Duration: Close around 3 am on the weekend
  • Price: $ if there is a live band
  • Tips: Better to go out from Thursday to Saturday
  • Info: A full list of the bars

8# Food excursion in La Macarena

Chapinero district is for hipsters and La Macarena is the perfect neighborhood for eating in delicious (and not expensive) restaurants and visiting art galleries. I love the restaurant Anna y Otto. If you like eating and you have some time, don’t wonder what you can do in Bogotá, go there.

Where to eat in la Macarena (+)

9# Explore the art galleries in San Felipe

Things to do en Bogota

Art galleries things to do in Bogota

Since 2010, artists and galleries try to turn San Felipe into the new New York’s SoHo. Nowadays, there are more than 70 art spaces in this district.

More about San Felipe (+)

  • Where: San Felipe, next to Quinta Camacho (Chapinero).
  • Tips: There are various events organized by Open San Felipe
  • Info: Here

10# Play Tejo, a national Colombia game

It’s one of the fun things to do in Bogota. You must throw a metal disk into a box filled with clay and hope for hearing a loud explosion. You usually drink many beers too! This is one of the fun things to do in Bogotá, Colombia.

Where to play tejo in Bogota (+)

  • Where: Club de Tejo La 76 (San Felipe) & The Bucaros (Centro)
  • Duration: 1 – 2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: More space during the day

Add it to your Colombia itinerary (Easy Cancellation)

11# Horse riding from Guadalupe to Monserrate

Guadalupe and Monserrate are two of the highest points to admire the city of Bogota. Visit both throughout a relaxing horse riding trip – then come down with the cable car.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Guadalupe and Monserrate (Centro)
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Guadalupe has a reputation for being dangerous. Don’t get there on your own.

Add it to your Colombia Itinerary (Easy cancellation)

12# Crazy dinner at Andres Carne de Res

Things to do en Bogota

Andres carne de res things to do in Bogota

Many guides and blogs recommend it. It’s a restaurant-nightclub for meat lovers. There are several events while you’re eating. In the end, everyone dances. It’s typical and fun.

More about this restaurant (+)

  • Where: Andres Carne de Res | Chia (1 hour from la Candelaria)
  • Duration: At night
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Book it in advance, especially on the weekend. There is a small one in Parque 93
  • Contact: Website

Make it easy: Ask these guys to take care of it

13# Admire the view from Torre Colpatria

Colpatria view things to do in Bogota
Photo taken by Biusch

It’s the fifth-tallest in South America, and you can get to the top to admire the view! A simple and impressive thing to do in Bogotá.

When to get there (+)

  • Where: Torre Colpatria, Carrera 7 No. 24 – 79 | La Macarena (10 min from La Candelaria)
  • Duration: < 1 h
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Only open from Friday to Sunday. Opening hours.

14# Take a Colombia’s train to get to the Salt Cathedrals

Train Sabana things to do in Bogota

It’s a fun thing to do in Bogota, especially if you travel with kids. The train stops at different places and you can decide to visit one of the two Salt Cathedrals.

How to take the train (+)

  • Where: Departure from Station Sabana or Station Usaquen | 45 min from La Candelaria
  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Only on Saturday, Sunday and public holiday (book it in advance if it’s the case). Sabaneta’s train.
  • Article: Read this post

Hikes and parks in Bogota

Things to do in Bogota

The Andean mountains flank the Eastside of Bogota and there are various hiking trails you can take early in the morning. Policemen watch out the paths to ensure the security, but it’s recommended not to hike alone. Bogotanos love to do it on a Sunday morning.

15# Quebrada La Vieja

Quebrada La Vieja things to do in Bogota
Photo taken by Gabrielizalo

It’s the most visited trail. There is a cool view of Bogota. Once arrived at Claro de la Luna, this path divides into 3 sections: La Virgen (easy), Cerro de la Cruz (medium), Los paramos (difficult). That’s a good thing to do in Bogota if you’re looking for a walk.

More about this hike (+)

  • Where: Departure from Carrera 7 with 71
  • Duration: 1 – 4h
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: You must first register online. Tue – Sat: 5h30 – 8h30 am; Sun: 6 – 11 am
  • Contact: Amigos de la Montaña

16# Quebrada Las Delicias

A short hike leads to a crystalline river and a waterfall. Do not enter if you don’t see the police at the beginning of the trail.

More about this hike (+)

  • Where: Politécnico Gran Colombia campus | South of Chapinero
  • Duration: 1 – 2 hours
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Every day: 7 – 11 am
  • Contact: Amigos de la Montaña

17# Take the stairs up to Monserrate

Monserrate Stairs

It’s tough and you will suffer, but thousands of Colombians do it every week. Avoid going on Sunday as it’s crowded. The view from the top is great. You can also take the cable car.

How to get there (+)

  • Where: The steps start from the Cable car station (on your left) | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 1h to get to the top
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Get there for sunset. Mon-Sat: 6h30 – 23h30; Sun: 5h30 – 16h30.
  • Contact: Cerro Monserrate

Free walking tours

Things to do in Bogota

When traveling on a shoestring budget, it’s always pleasant to know the cheapest way to visit a city. Free walking tours allow you to learn about the Culture and History of a country without spending too much money. Besides, it’s super easy to organize. You just have to show up – Although it’s better if you book it online.

18# Walking tour in La Candelaria

La Candelaria Bogota

I’m a big fan of Beyond Colombia. They offer various tours in the capital, and their local guides always bring a lot of good energy. Walk around La Candelaria to learn a bit of everything about Bogota.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Departure point at the Gold museum | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 3 h
  • Price: Free, but don’t forget to let a tip at the end
  • Tips: Every day, 10 am & 2 pm. Bring your umbrella.
  • Contact: Website

19# Taste Colombian specialties

Street food Colombia

Explore Bogota’s Downton while eating different types of street food. It’s fun and tasty. It’s a fun and tasty thing to do in Bogotá.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Departure point at the Gold museum | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 3 h
  • Price: $ (tips + food samples)
  • Tips: Mon – Fri: 2 pm. Bring your umbrella.
  • Contact: Website

20# Understand the socio-political situation of Colombia

Things to do in Bogota

War and peace things to do in Bogota

Drug traffickers, paramilitaries, power, corruption, evil politicians… Colombia never enjoyed a long period of peace. Why is it so messed up? The War and Peace tour gives you some clear insight to get a better understanding of the situation. For me it’s one of the best things to do in Bogotá.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Departure point at the Gold museum | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 3 h
  • Price: Free, but don’t forget to let a tip at the end
  • Tips: Mon – Fri: 10 am. Bring your umbrella.
  • Contact: Website

21# Colombia is not what you think

There are tons of prejudices and wrong information about Colombia. Book a Heroe tour to be able to prove your friends back home that they’re wrong. It’s a comprehensive tour with fruit tasting and a Tejo game!

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Bolivar square | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 3h30
  • Price: Free, but don’t forget to let a tip at the end
  • Tips: Every day at 10h30 am. Yellow umbrella.
  • Contact: Website

22# Admire the street arts around La Candelaria

Free Graffiti tour things to do inBogota

Thanks to Justin Bieber, artists are nowadays allowed to express their feeling with graffiti. Learn about this not-so-funny anecdote and admire the most beautiful street arts in La Candelaria.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Parque de Los Periodistas | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 3 h
  • Price: Free, but don’t forget to let a tip at the end
  • Tips: Every day, 10 am & 2 pm. Bring your umbrella. | Look for the blue umbrella. It can be super crowded during the high season.
  • Contact: Website

Best cultural tours in the city

Things to do in Bogota

Although free walking tours are an excellent way to discover Bogota, don’t hesitate to book a private tour (or a small size group) to discover the city. By doing so, you get a more personalized experience, and you help small local companies. 😉

23# Walking tour in La Candelaria

Walking tour things to do inBogota

It’s quite easy to move to the different Candelaria’s highlights, but it’s always better when you get the thrilling stories while strolling in the alleyways!

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: La Candelaria + Monserrate
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: The gold museum is closed on Monday. Bring your umbrella.

Add it to your Colombia itinerary (Easy Cancellation)

24# Graffiti tour in La Candelaria

Graffiti street bogota

The guys from the Free Bogota Graffiti Tour allow you to book a private tour. It’s quite cheap and the price is fix up to 5 people. We loved it.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Parque de Los Periodistas | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 3 h
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Bring your umbrella
  • Contact: Website

25# Ride on a bike in the various Bogota’s districts

Bike tour things to do in Bogota

It’s one of the best things to do in Bogota if you don’t have much time. Your local guide shows you different areas of Bogota (Downtown, Teusaquillo, La Macarena), plus you visit a coffee roaster, play Tejo and taste Colombian fruits.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Meeting point at Bogota Bike tour in La Candelaria
  • Duration: 4 h
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Everyone can do it! Just show up at 10h30 or 13h30
  • Bogota bike tours

26# Coffee tasting in trendy Bogota’s cafes

Things to do in Bogota

Coffee tours Arte late

There are several excellent coffee tours in Bogota. It’s a unique opportunity to taste different types of coffee and learn about the various preparation methods. Plus, I always love the cozy atmosphere in Bogota’s cafes.

Best coffee tours (+)

Add it to your Colombia itinerary (Easy Cancellation)

27# Colombian fruit tasting

Fruit tour

There are tons of delicious and juicy fruits in Colombia – some are super weird as well. Cover your eyes, and let your 4 other senses to be amazed by this experience.

Our favorite tour (+)

Add it to your Colombia Itinerary (Easy Cancellation)

28# Devour Colombian street food

Street food Colombia Patacones

Colombia isn’t famous for its local food, and you’ll probably be tired of ordering rice, plantains, and chicken. Eating street foods is a great way to add diversity to your daily meals. Head to Paloquemao – largest market in Colombia – or have a look on Septimazo avenue. Read this post from our friend Karen to know more about street food.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Cranky Croc | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 3 h
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: Don’t east before coming!
  • Booking: Food tour

We recommend this tour instead if you want to include Paloquemao

29# Buy ingredient at the market and cook with a local

Market cooking colombi

It’s one of my favorite things to do when traveling to a foreign country. Through cooking experiences, you share so much that you didn’t even need to be fluent to communicate. Bon appetite!

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: “Near” Chapinero | 30 min from La Candelaria
  • Duration: 3 h
  • Price: $$$

Add it to your Colombia itinerary (Easy cancellation)

Museums to visit

Things to do in Bogota

Usually, I’m quickly bored in museums. However, some of my favorite museums are in the capital, and you shouldn’t hesitate to add some to your Colombia itinerary. It’s one of the cheapest things to do in Bogota.

30# National Museum to get the full story

Museo National

That’s one thing to do in Bogotá that’s worth the detour. I was surprised by the quality of the explanations in this museum. This old prison is an ideal stop if you want to learn about Colombia’s History.

How to visit this museum (+)

  • Where: Museo Nacional | La Macarena | 15 min taxi from La Candelaria
  • Duration: 2 – 4 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Almost no English explanation, but you can book an English guide in advance. Close on Monday! Get there in the morning and head to La Macarena for lunch.
  • Contact: Museo Nacional

31# Beautiful Golden artifacts

Spaniards became crazy when they saw all these amazing golden artifacts made by the indigenous. Learn about the different methods used on this metal.

How to visit this museum (+)

  • Where: Museo del Oro | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 1 – 2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: English explanations. Close on Monday
  • Contact: Website

32# Art Museums with 4 exhibitions

Mamu Bogota Botero

It’s an ideal thing to do in Bogota if you’re an art lover. There is a permanent exhibition of Botero – most famous Colombian artist – and paintings of Dali and Picasso. The building is quite small, and there is a lovely courtyard where people can rest.

How to visit this museum (+)

  • Where: Mamu Museo | La Candelaria
  • Duration: 1 – 3 hours
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: You can rent an audio guide for the Botero exhibition. Closed on Tuesday.
  • Contact: Mamu

Things to do outside of Bogota, Colombia

The Andean mountains surround Bogota, and there are tons of exciting day trips you can add to your Colombia itinerary. You’ll realize than you can stay over one week without being bored at all!

And if you want to try new experiences, why not try glamping? This new type of accommodation is very popular in Colombia, and we have selected for you the best glamping near Bogotá.

Natural wonders you can visit from Bogota

Things to do in Bogota

Between astonishing landscapes, mighty waterfalls, and wildlife, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re a nature lover. Don’t hesitate to book a private tour to reach the different highlights faster – It takes at least one hour to get out of Bogota by public transportation.

33# The highest of Colombia’s waterfalls

With its almost 600m high, La Chorrera is an impressive waterfall you can admire from Bogota. The path is well-made, and there is a second waterfall you can admire on the way, El Chifflon. It’s an easy thing to do around Bogotá.

How to get to there (+)

  • Where: On the way to Choachi. 1h bus drive + 4 km walk to arrive at the part entrance.
  • Duration: 3h inside the park
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Avoid going there during the dry season (Dec-March).
  • More information: Here

We recommend: Ask these guys to drive you to La Chorrera!

34# Observe colorful hummingbirds

Hummingbirds Valle de Cocora Salento

Colombia is one of the countries with the most hummingbird species in the world. Don’t hesitate to plan a trip to hummingbird observatory to admire the 18 species present in this reserve. You can also stay there overnight.

How to get to there (+)

  • Where: Observatorio de Colibri | 45 min drive
  • Duration: 3h or the full-day pass
  • Price: $
  • Tips: You must book it in advance. 9 am – 4 pm
  • Contact: Observatorio de Colibries

35# The largest Paramo in Colombia

Things to do from Bogota

Paramos are a unique type of ecosystem present in 4 countries only. The paramo of Sumapaz is the largest in the world and the hike to get there isn’t too demanding. The landscapes are surreal. It will be complicated to do it on your own, book a tour.

Our favorite tour (+)

We recommend: Ask these guys to explore Sumapaz

36# Mysterious Lagoon and Paramo

Chingaza hike Bogota

The Chingaza Paramo is a bit closer to Bogota than Sumapaz, but you have to pay an entrance fee to get in. Follow your guide across beautiful sceneries made up of scared lagoons and endless valleys of Frailejones – giant plants – and observe the wildlife.

Our favorite tour (+)

We recommend: Ask these guys to explore Chingaza

37# Visit a natural reserve (and sleep in a treehouse)

Chicaque nature reserve bogota
Photo taken by Young Shanahan

Chicaque is an excellent thing to do in Bogota if you like nature, but can’t afford a tour to the paramos. There are various well-marked trails to explore the reserve and admire the wildlife.

How to get there (+)

  • Where: South of Bogota | 45 min
  • Duration: Day trip
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Not allowed to enter after 3 pm. You can stay overnight in a treehouse!
  • Information: Chicaque Park

Make it easy: Impulse Travel drives you to Chicaque

38# The myth of the Eldorado

Guatavita lake near Bogota, Colombia
Guatavita lake near Bogota, Colombia

The Muiscas used to burry various golden artifacts during religious ceremonies. The stories also mention naked bodies covered by golden dust. Go to the Laguna Guatavita to hear the full story and admire the green lagoon.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: North of Bogota, 1h drive.
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: It’s better if you pair it with a tour to the Salt Cathedral or when you head to Villa de Leyva. Closed on Monday.
  • Contact: Info in Spanish

We recommend: Ask these guys to show you Guatavita and Zipaquira

Travel stress-free: Go playing tennis while we book your activities

Cultural day trips outside Bogota

Things to do in Bogota

I’ve got two interesting things to do in Bogota if you want to escape the city and learn exciting facts about Colombia’s culture.

39# Go working in a coffee farm (to deserve your beverage)

Once you’ve found your favorite Bogota’s cafe, tasted various flavors, and learned the different preparation methods, it’s time to visit a local coffee farm. It’s an excellent option if you don’t travel to Antioquia or the coffee region.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Choachi | 1h from Bogota
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Price: $$$

Add it to your Colombia itinerary (Easy cancellation)

40# A famous religious Salt Cathedral

Zipaquira is one of the most well-known things to do in Bogota, but I found it disappointing. People are everywhere, and you don’t have much information about the construction. You can take the bus to Zipaquira at Portal del Norte.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Zipaquira | 1h up north from Bogota
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: The main square is lovely. You can take the train. 😉
  • Contact: Website

We recommend: Go to Zipaquira with these guys

41# Another alternative to Zipaquira

If you absolutely want to visit a salt cathedral, but you’re allergic to people, then decide to include Nemocon instead of Zipaquira. Besides, the entrance fee is cheaper.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: 20 min from Zipaquira
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Tours are only in Spanish

We recommend: Ask these guys to drive you to Nemocon

Get your adrenaline fix outside of Bogota

Things to do in Bogota

I love outdoor activities! The two following places are ideal for adding some fun to your itinerary. There are day trips organized from Bogota, but I recommend staying overnight.

42# More than 500 climbing routes in Suesca

If you’re serious about outdoor rock climbing, then you probably have heard of “Roca de Suesca.” It’s a long cliff along a railway where Colombians love to practice during the weekend. You can rent the gear and take some classes.

Read our travel guide (+)

We recommend: We love working with this company

43# Extreme sports activities in Tobia

You don’t have to travel to San Gil if you want to defy a mighty river and fly over canyons. Tobia is a little town with several local agencies ready to offer you canyoning, rafting, and zipline activities.

Read our travel guide (+)

  • Where: Tobia | 3.5 hours from Bogota by bus
  • Duration: 1 – 3 days
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Go to Tobia on the weekend to be added to a Colombian group or privatize a tour!
  • More information: Read our top-notch Tobia travel guide

Lovely colonial towns close to Bogota

Things to do in Bogota

Being in Bogota for a couple of days can be quickly overwhelming. The best way to enjoy the capital and its region are to mix your itinerary with some lovely colonial towns.

44# Mongui and the Paramo de Oceta

Mongui is a little town outside of the beaten path, and it’s an excellent option to discover the quiet atmosphere in the villages in Boyaca. Hiking to the Paramo de Oceta is the main highlight in Mongui. It is quite demanding but it is a very good thing to do around Bogota 😉

How to get to Mongui (+)

  • Where: 5 hours from Bogota
  • Duration: 3 days
  • Tips: It’s not mandatory to hike with a local guide to the Paramo de Oceta, but I recommend it. The trail isn’t well-marked and you help the local economy by doing so. 😉
  • More information: Mongui Travels

45# The unknown town of Guaduas

Guaduas Colombia
Photo taken by Mikesokete

Come to Guaduas to get fully immersed by the everyday life of a strange and typical colonial town. Pick a lovely hotel and switch between some wandering among the white alleys and short excursions in the hilly landscapes.

How to get to Guaduas (+)

  • Where: 3 hours from Bogota
  • Duration: 2 – 3 days
  • Tips: You can stop in Guaduas on your way to Medellin.
  • More information: Our multi-day trip post

46# A romantic getaway to Villa de Leyva

Villa De Leyva Guidebook

I love Villa de Leyva, and it’s a perfect place to end your adventure in Colombia. Stay in a lovely hotel with a SPA, stop in Guatavita, and Raquira on the way (you need to book a private vehicle to do so) and eat in delicious restaurants.

Read our travel guide (+)

Travel stress-free: Hug your grandmother while we organize your stay in Bogota

Going out in Bogota

In addition to comprehensive cultural tours and museums, visiting Bogota is also an excellent opportunity to experience Colombia’s nightlife. I strongly recommend staying in Chapinero if it’s the case.

Check out the Facebook pages of the places I’ve listed below before going.

You will find the full list in our Free Colombia guidebook.

Things to do in Bogota on Monday

Things to do in Bogota on Tuesday

Things to do in Bogota on Wednesday

  • Language Exchange at Galeria 419 (Polyglot club) | 5 pm | Candelaria
  • Gay party at El Theatron (most famous electro club in Bogota) | Evening, open bar till 1 am | Chapinero
  • Salsa Live Music at Quiebra Canto | 7 pm | Candelaria

Things to in Bogota on Thursday

Things to do in Bogota on Friday

Things to do in Bogota on Saturday

  • Live Colombian music at El Sitio | Evening | Zona Rosa
  • Live music at Asilo Bar | Evening | Teusaquillo

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Things to do after Bogota

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

Ebook to plan your trip

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40 Best Things to Do in Medellin (2020): What Travelers Love (+bonus)

I wrote down a complete list of things to do in Medellin and around so that you can decide the length of your stay there.

Through this post, you will get insightful and practical information to decide what to do in Medellin. I put on the side all the useless stuff like visiting the commercial center or banal activities like eating a Bandeja Paisa.

Use our post to create a fantastic itinerary to explore Antioquia.

Also, there is a bonus at the end of this post. I give you a list of things to do in Medellin for each day of the week. Don’t miss it. 😉

Must read: Our top-notch Medellin Travel guide

Table of Contents: Things to do in Medellin

  1. Entertainment
  2. Free walking tour
  3. Paid cultural tours
  4. Museums and places
  5. Hikes in Medellin
  6. Outdoor activity paradise
  7. Colonial towns
  8. Hikes around Medellin
  9. Things to do during the week
  10. Start deciding which places you visit
  11. Lay back while we do the hard job

Stop being stressed and ask us to plan your trip

What to do inside Medellin, Colombia

Let’s start with the fun things to do in Medellin. Because of its growing popularity, new local agencies offer excellent tours and cool social events are scheduled every week.

Entertainment in the city

Things to do in Medellin

Many travelers stick to Poblado when traveling to Medellin. Don’t hesitate to venture to other districts to be soaked by the city’s atmosphere. I’m personally a big fan of Laureles.

#1 Drink beers in the 3 Cordilleras factory

It’s one of my favorite places to hang out in Medellin. You pay a cheap cover to drink 5 tasty craft beers and listen to some live music.

When going to 3 cordilleras (+)

  • Where: Ciudad del Rio | 10 min taxi from Poblado
  • Duration: 2-4 h
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Get there early to have a table. Only on Thursday and Friday.
  • Website: 3 Cordilleras

#2 Dancing Salsa in Medellin

Travelers love to party in Poblado, but they miss the opportunity to learn some Salsa moves. There are free classes during the week in various bars.

Best salsa bars (+)

  • Where: Son Havana (Laureles) and Social Club Academia (South of Poblado).
  • Duration: 1h
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Wed – Thu > Son Havana. Thu – Sat > Social Club. Better to arrive early
  • Website: Son Havana | Social Club

We recommend: Explore Medellin by night with these guys

#3 Play Tejo in Medellin

It’s a national game where you throw a metal disk and hope for loud explosions. You MUST drink beers. It’s a fun thing to do in Medellin and some locals are super skilled!

Where to play in Medellin (+)

  • Where: Cancha de Tejo Polideportivo Sur (Envigado) | 25 min from Poblado
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Avoid the rush hour from 5 to 8 pm.
  • Website: You can practice with these guys!

#4 Watch a football game at the Stadium

Colombians love football. Players’ performances on the field aren’t spectacular, but the atmosphere is a lot of fun. Don’t wear the wrong colors! It’s the most authentic experience to do in Medellin.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Estadio (Laureles) | 20 min from Poblado
  • Duration: 6h
  • Price: $$
  • Tips: There is a game twice a week. Ask locals to know the dates. Buy your ticket in advance.

We recommend: Go to a game with locals!

#5 Ciclovia on Sunday in Medellin

Colombians are fond of the “Tour de France”. Every Sunday morning, they close several main roads so that inhabitants can ride -almost- all over Medellin.

More about it (+)

  • Where: Avenida Poblado, from the south in Envigado until El Centro in the north
  • Duration: From 7 am to 1 pm – Sunday
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Only on Sunday and Public holidays
  • Article: Ciclovia in Medellin

#6 Paragliding above Medellin

From the sky, the city of Medellin is quite impressive. Head to San Felix and pick one of the several certified companies.

Our favorite tour (+)

We recommend: Ask these guys to drive you to San Felix

#7 Horse riding in the green hills

Horse riding Medellin

Traveling is a great opportunity for experiencing new things. Ask Andres to pick you up wherever you want in Medellin and explore the surroundings on a well-trained horse.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Sabaneta | 45 min away from Poblado
  • Duration: 3h
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Morning activities are always better

We recommend: Travelers love to do it with that guy!

#8 Rafting on the most beautiful Antioquia’s river

Rio Verde and Rio Samana are two beautiful rivers hidden in the hilly landscapes of Antioquia. You can pick a 1 or 2-day rafting trip. The local agency takes care of everything. I’m a big fan! It’s a thing to do in Medellín if you like adventures.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: San Francisco | 2-hours jeep drive from Medellin
  • Duration: 1 or 2 days
  • Price: $$$$
  • Tips: Fantastic experience. You can get there on your own to reduce the cost.
  • Booking below: We always work with these guys. I’m putting my foot down that your experience is going to be unbelievable.

Plan your 1-day expedition with real professionals

If you’re an adventurer, plan on a 2-day –> unforgettable one

#9 Language Exchanges: have a chat with locals

Colombian woman

I know that it is not easy to talk with locals when you don’t speak Spanish. Look on the internet the Language Exchanges events to practice and meet new people! It’s one of my favorite things to do in Medellin.

Where to meet locals (+)

#10 Mountain bikes and adrenaline rush

mOUNTAIN BIke Medellin

Ask Medellin Adventure tours to show you their favorite biking spots. Breathless landscapes and unforgettable experiences. They’ve got excellent pieces of equipment.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: They pick you up In Medellin or at the Jose Cordova Airport
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Book it only if you’re in an excellent physical condition
  • Website: Medellin adventure tours

We recommend: Add it to your Colombia itinerary

Free Walking Tours

Things to do in Medellin

A free walking tour is a cheap and informative thing to do in Medellin. You join a local guide who shows you his city and give you tons of information. Then, you give a tip at the end.

I love it because it’s an excellent way to understand a city/country and get a more in-depth travel experience.

#11 Visit the center of Medellin

Real City Tours does a great job to explain to you the complicated past of Medellin while showing you the various monuments and places. Do it if you can’t afford to book a private tour. It’s an enlightening experience to plan in Medellin.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Alpujarra Metro Station | Near the center
  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Price: Free, but don’t forget to let a tip
  • Tips: Book it a couple of days in advance
  • Website: Real City tour

#12 Visit the Comuna 13 in Medellin

The stories behind the colorful streets of Comuna 13 are super interesting, but there are too many tourists nowadays.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: San Javier Station| 15 min by metro from Laureles
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Price: Free, but don’t forget to let a tip
  • Tips: Pick the morning tour. Don’t forget your sunscreen.
  • Website: Zippy Tour

Best cultural tours to experience

Things to do in Medellin

While Free walking tours are an excellent choice when you travel on a shoestring budget, you can’t compare it with a private tour (or at least a small group size).

Also, you don’t interact much with your environment when strolling randomly among the streets – without mentioning the fact that big Colombia cities aren’t sexy.

If you really want to learn from this trip, then booking at least one cultural tour is the thing to do in Medellin.

#13 Bike tour to visit several districts at once

Moutain bike Valle de Cocora Salento

Medellin is situated in a valley. It means the roads are mostly flat. Also, there are many cycling routes, so you won’t die hitten by a truck (hopefully).

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Departure from Poblado. 19 Km.
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Do it in the morning.
  • Website: Bici tour

We recommend: Travelers love to do it with that guy!

#14 Food tour to la Minorista Market

I love eating street food and fruits when I’m in Colombia. It’s even better when you do it in a massive market with hundreds of stands. There is no interest if you don’t do it with a tour as you’ll miss all the interesting explanations. It’s a must-do in Medellin.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: La Minorista Market | 15 min from Laureles
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Don’t eat before the tour!
  • Website: Real City Tour

# 15 Visit of a local brewery in Medellin

Microbrewery are becoming a big thing in Colombia. Pay your entrance fee to get 5 samples and visit the Apostol’s Factory.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Sabaneta | 30 min from Poblado
  • Duration: 3 hours.
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Every Thursday, at 6h30 pm. Better to make a reservation. Spanish only.
  • Facebook Page: Apostol

#16 La Sierra: A great alternative to Comuna 13

Be an insider and go where 99% of the tourist are not. The district of La Sierra was one of the most dangerous in Medellin. Learn its history. Fantastic view of Medellin.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: The tour starts in San Antonio, then you take the tramway and the cable car to get to La Sierra (30 min).
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Contact the local agency before showing up. There are many stairs.
  • Website: La Sierra Tours

#17 Visit a coffee farm in Medellin

You can visit a coffee farm even if you don’t plan to visit the coffee region. Ask Andres to pick you up at your hotel then visit a Finca in Sabaneta. Andres knows tons of stuff about coffee. It’s a tour we did last year in Medellin and we loved it.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Andres picks you up wherever you want. The farm is in Sabaneta, a 35-min drive from Poblado.
  • Duration: 3 hours on-site.
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Do it in the morning.

We recommend : Travelers love to do it with that guy!

#18 Coffee and walking tour in La Floresta

Stroll in the district of La Floresta and Santa Lucia with your local guide and speak about coffee and architecture. You’ll visit a coffee roaster!

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Tour starts at La Floresta Metro Station. | 10 min taxi from Laureles.
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Contact the local guide by Whatsapp first. He speaks English.
  • Facebook page: Urban coffee tour

#19 Cook delicious meals with locals in Medellin

Cooking is a universal language and an excellent way to bring some delicious memories back home. Go shopping to a traditional market then cook with a lovely Colombian family. It’s a tasty thing to do in Medellin.

Our favorite tour (+)

#19′ Smell the colorful flowers of Santa Elena

Santa Elena

The Flower Fair is an important event in Medellin. Each year hundreds of Silleteros parade to show their creations. Learn about their traditions in Santa Elena.

Our favorite tour (+)

  • Where: Santa Elena | 45 min from Laureles
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Price: $$$
  • Tips: Don’t go there if you’re not interested in flowers.
  • Website: More information here

Lovely hikes to do in Medellin

Things to do in Medellin

There are several hikes you can do to admire the city of Medellin. You can also find many hiking tips around Medellin on this post.

I don’t recommend Arvi Park (boring).

Because the most dangerous areas of Medellin are on the outskirts, you should always ask around you before hiking somewhere in the city.

#20 Sunday hike to 3 Cruces in Medellin

Colombians love to hike to 3 cruces on Sunday. It’s super steep, and the view from the top is outstanding. Besides, it’s also a funny thing to do in Medellin to observe the fashion style of its inhabitants.

How to plan this hike (+)

  • Where: Start from the Collegio Padre Manyanet | 20 min from Poblado
  • Duration: 1h to get to the top
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Take a bottle of water and a hat. There is no shade. Do it early morning on Sunday.
  • Website: Kinkaju organizes many hikes around Medellin

Places, museums, and gardens

Things to do in Medellin

While there are not so many interesting museums in Medellin, some of them are worth visiting if it’s a rainy day.

You won’t find lots of content in English or French inside the museums. We know some excellent local guides if you need it.

#21 Museo del Castillo in Medellin

Museo del Castillo

A wealthy Colombian, fond of the middle age, built the castle in 1930. Now, it belongs to the State. You can admire the gardens and there is a tour to contemplate the piece of arts inside.

More about this Museum (+)

  • Where: Next to Poblado
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Take the time to lay back in the garden. Visit only in Spanish
  • Website: Museo El Castillo

#22 Get to know el Señor Botero in Medellin

Botero is a world-famous artist who loves to exaggerate the proportions of his subjects. Many of its sculptures are in front of the Museo de Antioquia, that you can also visit to learn more about Botero’s life. It’s an interesting thing to do in Medellin.

More about this Museum (+)

  • Where: Plaza Botero | 15 min from Laureles
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Website: Museo de Antioquia

#23 Museo Moderno del Arte in Medellin

Beautiful building with a small art collection, various exhibits throughout the year. It’s also a good option to watch independent movies and the view from the terrace is quite nice!

More about this Museum (+)

  • Where: Ciudad del Rio | 10 min from Poblado
  • Duration: 1 – 2 hours
  • Price: $
  • Tips: There is an open house every last Friday of the month, at 6 pm.
  • Website: MAMM

#24 Museo Casa de la Memoria in Medellin

An instructive thing to do in Medellin to get a better understanding of the various conflicts in Colombia. Many different communication supports to make this visit very interesting.

More about this Museum (+)

  • Where: In the center | 30 min from Poblado
  • Duration: There are lots of content, but your brain will probably blow up after 2 hours.
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Take a cab to get there, the neighborhood is dodgy. Go early to avoid the crowd. Spanish only.
  • Website: Museo de la Memoria

#25 Parque Explora in Medellin

Parque Explora

I’m a big fan of that park/museum. You can visit the aquarium and learn in a playful way through many experiments. It’s a fun thing to do in Medellin with your family.

More about this Museum (+)

  • Where: Metro station Universidad | 20 min from Laureles.
  • Duration: You can easily stay 6h
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Go early and during the week.
  • Website: Parque Explora

# 26 Jardin Botanico & butterflies

Jardin Botanico

You won’t learn a lot about flowers but it’s a lovely place to hang out for 30 min. Visit the butterfly garden and look for the iguanas. You can pair it with Parque Explora.

Where is the Botanical garden (+)

  • Where: Metro station Universidad | 20 min from Laureles.
  • Duration: 30 min
  • Price: Free
  • Tips: Go early to be able to enter in the butterfly garden. Have lunch at In Situ.
  • Website: Jardin Botanico

#27 Take the Metro Cable in Medellin

Cable Car

It’s not a secret, and every traveler does it. Get to Santo Domingo at sunset and admire the city by night.

Information (+)

  • Where: Metro Station Santo Domingo
  • Duration: 30 min by metro from Laureles
  • Price: $
  • Tips: Don’t wander too far away from the metro station.

Things to do around Medellin, Colombia

The region of Antioquia offers many opportunities for day trips from Medellin.

Colonial towns in the region, with colorful wooden doors and gigantic main squares, are among the most charming cities in Colombia. Also, travelers who like adventure trips will be spoilt for choice.

With all our suggestions, you can easily travel for one month just in Antioquia.

Use the following information to decide your favorite things to do around Medellin.

Also, don’t forget to check out the glamping sites around Medellín we selected for you!

Travel Stress-Free: Watch Game of Throne while we plan your trip.

Where to get your adrenaline fix

Things to do in Medellin

There are beautiful rivers that flow through the hilly landscapes of Antioquia.

#28 Tubing in San Rafael

San Rafael

San Rafael is a little town surrounded by natural pools and waterfalls. It’s an excellent place for tubing.

Read our travel guide (+)

  • Where: 3h bus drive from Medellin | Terminal North
  • Duration: 3 days
  • Tips: Stay in San Rafael and visit Guatape on the way back.
  • Travel guide: San Rafael

#29 Canyoning in San Carlos

San Carlos is a little town that offers stunning canyoning opportunities and lovely hikes.

Read our travel guide (+)

  • Where: 5 hours bus from Medellin | Terminal North
  • Duration: 3 days
  • Tips: You can include Guatape and San Rafael in the loop.
  • Travel guide: San Carlos

#30 Tamesis, a town with a mind-blowing view

Tamesis Antioquia

You won’t meet many travelers in Tamesis despite it’s an excellent spot for extreme sports and outdoor activities.

Read our travel guide (+)

  • Where: 4 hours bus from Medellin | Terminal South
  • Duration: 3 days
  • Tips: You must stay at least one night at the Hotel Monte Magico.
  • Travel guide: Tamesis

#31 La Peña, the paradise for rock climbers

Stay at Casa en El Air hostel or at La Peña Abejorral and plan your climbing activities.

Where to stay in La Peña (+)

  • Where: 5 hours from Medellin | Terminal North
  • Duration: 3 days
  • Tips: Book many days in advance, avoid the weekends.
  • Website: La Peña Abejorral

#32 Magical stay in Rio Claro

Rio Claro is a nature reserve with crystal-clear water and lush vegetation. The park offers various activities like tubing, zipline, and cave exploring and you can stay overnight!

How to get to Rio Claro (+)

  • Where: 4 hours from Medellin | Terminal North
  • Duration: 3 days
  • Tips: Customer service isn’t great
  • Website: Rio Claro

Lovely colonials towns around Medellin

Things to do in Medellin

There are many cute colonial towns in Antioquia that are perfect for a multi-day trip from Medellin. Don’t hesitate to take the Chivas (colorful buses typical from this region) to move from one town to another.

There is one thing you must keep in mind: You can’t rush if you really want to enjoy the experience.

#33 Guatape and El Peñol

Hikes around Guatape

Every traveler plans a trip to Guatape. The view from el Peñon (the rock on the picture) is fantastic, but the town is a bit overrated.

Read our travel guide (+)

  • Where: 2 hours bus from Medellin | Terminal North
  • Duration: Day trip or stay overnight near the lake
  • Tips: Avoid going on a public holiday. You can continue your trip to San Rafael, it’s just 45 min away.
  • Travel guide: Guatape

Make it easy: Ask these guys to show you around if you’re in a hurry

#34 Santa Fe de Antioquia and its famous bridge

It’s a lovely colonial town with some beautiful hotels – pick one with a pool. You can learn about gold seekers and contemplate the bridge “El Puente del Occidente”.

Our favorite trip (+)

  • Where: 1.5h bus from Medellin | Terminal North
  • Duration: Day trips or 2 days
  • Tips: It’s not worth it if you don’t book a tour. You will miss 95% of the experience.
  • Website: More information here

#35 Horizontes, our best-kept secret

Horizontes is a tiny colonial town, up a hill, with a great view of the valley. The inhabitants all know each other and you won’t find any tourists. It’s an excellent tour if you pair it with Belmira and Santa Fe de Antioquia.

Our favorite trip (+)

  • Where: 2h bus to Belmira (Terminal north) + 2 h Chiva to Horizontes.
  • Duration: Package 3 days
  • More information here

#36 Jerico, a religious colonial town

Jerico Antioquia

Jerico is a colonial town made up of colorful houses and magnificent churches. It’s ideal for staying a couple of days and be soaked by the atmosphere.

Read our travel guide (+)

  • Where: 3.5 hours from Medellin | Terminal South
  • Duration: 3 days
  • Tips: Don’t miss the Finca Ariel and the waterfall Arco Iris
  • Travel guide: Jerico

We recommend: This kick-ass tour to Finca Ariel

#37 Jardin, cowboys’ land and waterfalls

Jardin Antioquia

Jardin is a vibrant town where the inhabitants drink coffees all day on a vast and flowery main square. It offers several beautiful hikes to reach mighty waterfalls.

Read our travel guide (+)

  • Where: 4 hours bus from Medellin | Terminal South
  • Duration: 4 days
  • Tips: There is a Chiva Jerico-Andes twice a day, and you can do a 2-day hike to Tamesis.
  • Travel guide: Jardin

Hikes to plan from Medellin, Colombia

Things to do in Medellin

There are many opportunities around Medellin if you’re a mountain lover.

#38 The Paramo de Belmira

A tough 11km hike to get to the laguna and come back through the Paramo. You can hire a local guide in Belmira. Departure from town.

How to get to Belmira (+)

  • Where: Belmira, 2 hours bus from Medellin | Terminal North
  • Duration: 7 hours hike (in total)
  • Tips: Leave super early from Medellin.
  • The trail: Wikiloc.

#39 Cerro Tusa, the biggest natural pyramid

A super steep hike to reach the super-sharp end of the mountain. The view is beautiful. You must get a bus to Venecia first, then ask for a local guide.

How to get to Cerro Tusa (+)

  • Where: Venecia, 2h from Medellin | Terminal South, Flota Fredonia
  • Duration: 2-3 hours to get to the top.
  • Tips: Stay overnight in Venecia. Stay in Las Palmas. Do it during the week.
  • More information: Here

#40 Multi-day hike to El Paramo del Sol

A stunning 2 or 3-days hike to get to the highest point in Antioquia. Dreamy sceneries and super cold. You can take a local guide in Urrao and get your camping gear.

How to plan this trip (+)

  • Where: Urrao is 5h away from Medellin | Terminal South
  • Duration: 2 or 3-day hike
  • Tips: Be a maximum prepared and opt for the 3-day tour
  • More information: here

Going out in Medellin

Medellin is a vibrant city, and you will always find something to do (if you know what to look for).

I want to give some cool weekly events you can add to your Colombia itinerary.

The schedule of the event can regularly change, so double-check on the Facebook/Instagram pages.

You can find a cheat-sheet of the weekly events (for Bogota, Cartagena, Cali, and Medellin) in our Free travel guide.

Things to do in Medellin on Monday

Things to do in Medellin on Tuesday

Things to do in Medellin on Wednesday

  • Listen to live music at Cafe Zorba (delicious pizza) | 8 pm | Poblado
  • Free Salsa Class at Son Havana | 8 pm | Laureles

Things to do in Medellin on Thursday

Things to do in Medellin on Friday

Things to do in Medellin on Saturday

  • Listen to live music at El Arranque | 8 pm | Poblado
  • Listen to live Salsa Music at Son Havana | 11 pm | Laureles
  • Electro DJ’s at Club 1984 | Ciudad del Rio
  • Language exchange and live music at Dance Free | 8 pm | Poblado

Things to do in Medellin on Sunday

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Things to do after Medellin

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

Ebook to plan your trip

Why bother if we do it better?

Have fun while we do the hard job

Things to do in Medellin (1)

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Things to do in Medellin

45 Best places to visit in Colombia (2020): An Awe-Inspiring list + guides!

When I planned my first trip to Colombia, I asked Google God, “What are the best places to visit in Colombia“.

I bet you did the same.

It’s a smart reaction, after all. You’re creating your Colombia itinerary, and you want to do a pre-selection of the top destinations in Colombia.

However, there is a glitch in your plan.

We’re all different.

It means you maybe won’t like the same places as your cousin or friend – or the travel blogger who only spent 3 weeks in Colombia and wrote a “Best of Colombia” post.

I want to do things differently. You deserve it – especially if you share this article on the internet, love y’all.

I wrote down an exclusive list of all the Colombia places we have been in the last 5 years, and I regrouped them by theme.

And, there is a travel guide for (almost) each of them.

Have Fun. – Don’t forget to read our top-notch article about the mistakes to avoid when creating a Colombia itinerary.

Premium service: Let us take care of everything

Table of Contents: Best places to visit in Colombia

  1. The best major cities in Colombia
  2. The best beach towns in Colombia
  3. The best colonial towns in Colombia
  4. The best jungle towns in Colombia
  5. The best islands in Colombia
  6. The best outdoor activity towns in Colombia
  7. The best deserts in Colombia
  8. The best archeological sites in Colombia
  9. The best off the beaten path places in Colombia
  10. The best national park to hike in Colombia

Major cities to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

Big cities in Colombia aren’t sexy. It can be loud, polluted, dirty – like every city in the world.

However, there are many reasons why you would like to include some of them in your Colombia itinerary.

  • Some local guides speak French/English
  • Local travel agencies offer kickass tours and activities
  • There are airports and principal bus terminals
  • Interesting museums to learn about Colombia history and culture
  • It’s your best chance to experience a fantastic nightlife

Let’s have a look at the best cities to visit in Colombia depending on what you’re looking for

#1 Medellin, best city for living as a digital nomad

Many travelers stop in Medellin because they like partying in Poblado. I agree it’s fun, although there are better cities.

I’m also fond of Medellin. I lived there for 4 months, and it was fantastic. It’s “easy” to move around – except if it’s rush hour -, the weather is mild and the Paisas – Medellin’s people – are super friendly.

From Medellin, you can plan many multi-day trips to explore Antioquia and the Pacific coast.

It’s one of my favorite places to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Medellin travel guide

Medellin Best places to visit in Colombia

#2 Bogota, best city to learn about the Colombia culture

I know that every traveler hates Bogota, but it’s a mistake. I didn’t like it the first time – and the 2nd time. It’s because I didn’t know how to understand Bogota.

Go to Bogota if you:

  • Love good food. The Zona G is filled with delicious restaurants.
  • Have the budget for paying fantastic activities. We met some excellent partners there. It’s the best way to experience Colombia Culture – and you participate in the local economy.
  • Like museums. Bogota’s museums are the most interesting
  • Want to party hard. Parque 93 and Chapinero districts host mind-blowing parties.
  • Include San Jose del Guaviare or the Amazon on your Best of Colombia list. You must take your flight from Bogota.
  • I recommend staying in Chapinero.

Read more: Our Bogota travel guide

#3 Cali, best city for dancing Salsa

Travelers skip Cali because they think they’re going to be bored – and 99% of us dance with 2 left feet.

It’s true that if you don’t care about dancing, then you might don’t want to include it in your Colombia itinerary. However, you don’t have to dance all day long. There are many day trips to visit exciting Colombia sightseeings around the city.

  • Hike in the Western Andean mountains
  • Plan a trip to La Barra or Popayan
  • Tubing in San Cipriano
  • Kitesurfing in the Colima lagoon

Have fun at night, and explore during the day. I can’t think of a better situation.

Read more: Our Cali travel guide

Cali best places to visit in Colombia

#4 Cartagena, best romantic city in Colombia

Cartagena already has a tremendous reputation around the world and many travel websites consider it’s one of the best places to visit in Colombia. The old city center is made up of colorful facades, flowery balconies, and fantastic restaurants.

Therefore, it’s an ideal city for a honeymoon journey, but there are some inconveniences you should know.

  • Beaches in Cartagena aren’t pleasant
  • Depending on the season, the city can be super crowded
  • It’s expensive
  • There are not many Colombia sightseeings around Cartagena

Read more: Our Cartagena travel guide

Cartagena itinerary 1 week in Colombia

#5 Santa Marta, a touristic hub on the coast

There is 0 interest in visiting Santa Marta. However, you may have to stay there one night as it’s the easiest way to reach the Eastern side of the Caribbean coast.

It’s also the departure point for various excellent multi-day trips to La Guajira or the Lost City.

Read more: Our Santa Marta Travel guide

Santa Marta

#6 Pereira, a touristic hub in the Coffee Region

As Santa Marta, Pereira won’t blow your mind. However, it’s a strategic place to visit the coffee region. It’s also easy to get there as there are an airport, a major bus terminal, and AVIS Rental car company.

We’ve met one of the best local travel agencies when we were there. Thanks to them, you can plan different adventures:

  • Multi-day trips to the Paramo Los Nevados
  • Canyoning and thermal baths
  • Visit unknown-and-beautiful colonial towns

The coffee region is one my favorite region to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Pereira Travel guide

Pereira Zona Cafetera

The best beach towns to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

Colombia is the only country in South America with two coastlines. Therefore, there is a bunch of cool beach towns where you can relax.

#7 Capurgana & Sapzurro, visit 2 beach towns in the Darien Gap

First of all, yes, it’s safe to travel to Capurgana and Sapzurro. I know that the Darien Gap as a bad reputation because of the Colombia paramilitaries, but I stayed there for over 1 year without having any issues.

Both towns are remote, and only accessible by boat. I loved it there. There are some nice beaches, an authentic beach town atmosphere, and many half-day trip activities you can do by yourself.

Read more: Our Capurgana travel guide

Read more: Our Sapzurro travel guide

Capurgana best places to visit in Colombia

#8 Rincon del Mar, the ideal beach town

Rincon del Mar is a little hidden paradise that we must preserve. The inhabitants are the nicest people I’ve met on the coast, and it’s the most beautiful beach town in the Caribbean with its endless white-sand beach and colorful houses.

Moreover, there are plenty of activities you can organize with the locals, as snorkeling tour, bioluminescent plankton, and a trip to the San Bernardo Islands.

Rincon del Mar is one of my favorite places to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Rincon del Mar Travel guide

Rincon del mar best places to visit in Colombia

#9 Palomino, visit the most famous beach town

Nowadays, every traveler knows about Palomino – it wasn’t the case a few years ago. It’s a chill beach town with not many things to do, except tubing on the river. It’s maybe not the best option if you’re looking for a place with fewer foreigners. However, there are some nice accommodations and restaurants.

Unfortunately, the current is quite strong in this area, so you won’t be able to swim in the ocean.

Read more: Our Palomino travel guide

Palomino

#10 Dibulla, an authentic fishing town

If you want to experience living and chilling in an authentic Caribbean beach town, then you should ditch Palomino and pick Dibulla instead.

There are not many things to do around, but it’s enough to occupy you for a couple of days.

Organize a horse riding activity at sunset or an ecological hike in the Sierra Nevada, then plan a multi-day expedition to La Guajira.

Read more: Our Dibulla Travel guide

dibulla best places to visit in Colombia

#11 Thermales & Guachalito, visit the paradise on earth

The pacific coast is wild and beautiful. There is no road to get there, and you shouldn’t expect a 5-star hotel. However, it will be the perfect place for disconnecting from the modern world.

Guachalito is a magnificent black-sand beach surrounded by lush vegetation. There are few eco-lodges scattered alongside the beach, and it can be an excellent option for enjoying some slow vacation days with your loved one.

And, if you don’t have the budget for it, Termales remains an excellent choice. Take the opportunity to learn how to surf. 😉

It’s one of the wildest places to visit in Colombia and it’s just half an hour by plane from Medellin. The contrast between the city and Guachalito is striking.

Read more: Our Guachalito & Termales travel guide

Nuqui and Guachalito

#12 El Valle, it will be hard to say goodbye

El Valle is a small beach town on the Pacific coast, at 30 min from the Bahia Solano’s airport. There are a few restaurants, nice hostels, and guesthouses. It’s more affordable than Guachalito.

Read more: Our El Valle travel guide

El Valle Bahia Solano best places to visit in Colombia

#13 La Barra, the cheapest zone of the Pacific coast

Being quite close to Cali (3h bus + 1h boat), Juanchaco attracts many Colombian tourists, especially during the whale watching season.

Juanchaco doesn’t deserve your attention, but we really liked La Barra and its surroundings. It’s a tiny beach town, with not many things to do. Fortunately, some hotels offer some entertaining and affordable activities.

Read more: Our La Barra travel guide

La barra et bahia Malaga

The most beautiful colonial towns to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

Because of the reputation of Villa de Leyva or Barichara, some travelers are willing to spend a day in transportation just for staying 24 hours.

It makes no sense to me.

Colombia’s colonial towns are indeed pleasant to visit, but the genuine interest lies in the atmosphere. And, you won’t get it by flying 30 seconds around like a hummingbird.

  • There are always some cool activities to do around.
  • Try all the restaurants and decide which one is your favorite
  • Stay in a lovely guesthouse and lay back for an afternoon
  • Grab a coffee on the main square and watch bystanders

#14 Barichara, ideal for planning extreme sports activities

Many travelers consider Barichara as one of the best places to visit in Colombia.

I’ve to admit that this colonial town is super lovely and pleasant. However, it’s a bit of a headache to get there.

Add this famous Colombia destination to your itinerary if you like extreme sports activities. There are excellent local travel agencies that offer fantastic experiences like rafting, cave exploring, paragliding, canyoning.

If you’re not interested in that, pick another village.

Barichara Lieux a visiter en Colombie

#15 Villa de Leyva, my favorite romantic getaway

Villa de Leyva is a town I like to visit again and again. It’s close to Bogota and there are all the conditions needed to enjoy a fantastic stay.

  • Delicious restaurants and lovely hotels
  • Many entertaining outdoor activities: bike, vineyard, hikes
  • Massages
  • Colombia sightseeings where you can stop on the way back
  • Cool nights which is perfect for sleeping well

Villa de Leyva is one of my best places to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Villa de Leyva travel guide

#16 Buenavista, the best view in Colombia

Buenavista is a little colonial town nestled up a hill in the coffee region. There are two excellent coffee tours and some delicious ice-creams.

Read more: Our Buenavista travel guide

Buenavista zona Cafetera

#17 Filandia, an excellent alternative to Salento

Filandia is my favorite alternative to Salento and the atmosphere is much more authentic there. Moreover, there are some really good restaurants and cafés – Helena Dentro & Cultivar.

From Filandia, you can easily organize a trip to Valle de Cocora or an expedition to listen to howler monkeys in the Barbas Bremen nature reserve.

Read more: Our Filandia travel guide

#18 Salento, the departure point to Valle de Cocora

Like Cartagena & Palomino, Salento is always listed in every “where to travel in Colombia” article. Nowadays, the colonial is so famous than most of the locals have run away.

There are some excellent accommodation options and the main square is the official departure to Valle de Cocora, where you can find the tallest wax palm trees in the world.

It’s also a good option if you want to get a more in-depth explanation about coffee.

Read more: Our Salento travel guide

Salento and Valle de Cocora

#19 Salamina, another secret alternative to Valle de Cocora

Salamina is a lovely colonial town, with colorful streets and carved wooden balconies.

The main Colombia highlight nearby is Valle de Samaria, another valley where you can observe the tallest wax palm trees in the world. It’s a great alternative to Valle de Cocora, and there is nobody!

Read more: Our Salamina Travel guide

Salamina coffee region Colombia

#20 Jardin, a town for drinking coffee and chasing waterfalls

While Jardin starts being famous among travelers, it’s still not invaded by foreigners.

I recommend Jardin to people who like hiking and waterfalls. There are many day-trips you can organize with excellent local agencies.

Moreover, we discovered a couple of beautiful hotels and mouth-watering restaurants.

I love visiting this Colombian town.

Read more: Our Jardin Travel guide

Jardin

#21 Jerico, a religious town made up of churches and coffee farms

Jerico is nestled on the top of a green hill and offers some beautiful sceneries to visitors. Like Jardin, Jerico is situated in Antioquia – one of my most beautiful Colombia departments. I like to include both towns in the same itinerary as you can move from one to the other thanks to a Chiva – a large and colorful bus typical from there.

Read more: Our Jerico Travel guide

Jerico Antioquia best places to visit in Colombia

#22 Guatape, get to the top of a giant monolith

Guatape is the most famous day trip from Medellin. Let’s see why:

  • It’s easy to get there from Medellin by bus
  • You don’t need a guide
  • The view from El Peñol – a giant monolith nearby – is breathtaking
  • The colonial town is cute

Even if it’s straightforward to get to Guatape, you will still spend at least 4h on a bus (round trip). Therefore, I recommend staying 1 night in Guatape or heading to San Rafael and San Carlos.

Read more: Our Guatape Travel guide

Guatape

Towns surrounded by lush vegetation to visit in Colombia

Best places to go to Colombia

Colombia is not only made up of beaches, cute colonial towns, and big cities. Actually, an important part of the country is covered by thick green plants AKA jungle.

You can let your machete at home, but don’t forget your repellent.

#23 Minca, a town to visit in the middle of the Sierra Nevada

If you want to travel on the Caribbean Coast, then it’s interesting to stop a couple of days in Minca to take a break from the beaches. It’s straightforward to get there from Santa Marta.

It’s a well-known place to do some birdwatching and relax a few days in an Eco-lodge. The town itself doesn’t offer any interest. The best Colombia sightseeing is the 2-day hike to Cerro Kennedy.

Avoid the weekends as many Colombians like to get to the Pozo Azul -natural pools- and the Marinka waterfalls.

Read more: Our Minca travel guide

MINCA

#24 Paso del Mango, an excellent alternative to Minca

You won’t find many “Best places to visit in Colombia” articles mentioning Paso del Mango. It’s because only a few people know about this place.

Paso del Mango is an alternative to Minca. It’s a bit more complicated to get there, but it’s worth it as you won’t meet many other foreigners. There is an excellent hostel that offers various activities and an excellent setting.

There is a “secret” 5h hike between Minca and Paso del Mango in case you would like to visit both ;).

Read more: Our Paso del Mango travel guide

Paso del Mango best places to visit in Colombia

#25 Mocoa, A city at the border with the Amazon

Mocoa was half shattered by a terrible mudslide a few years ago, and the city is not appealing at all.

Pick your accommodation nearby the departure of the trail “Cascada fin del Mundo”. There is a bunch of superb waterfalls and the area is excellent for birdwatching.

The zone is super humid. Your clothes won’t dry.

Mocoa

#26 Leticia, the only access to the Amazon

If you want to visit the Amazon in Colombia, you must pass by Leticia. The city is vast and loud, but it’s interesting to move around as you can eat your breakfast in Colombia, have lunch in Brazil and dinner in Peru.

Most of the multi-day tours with a local agency will start from Leticia. Also, don’t hesitate to pick an eco-lodge distant from the city to immerse yourself in the wild.

There are two seasons in the Amazon:

  • December to May: the water level increases
  • June to November: the water level decreases

Read more: Our Leticia Travel guide

Leticia best places to visit in Colombia

#27 Puerto Nariño, the green lungs of the Amazon

Although Leticia can be “fun” for a couple of hours, it’s far from being the best place to visit in Colombia to embrace nature.

Take the public boat to head to Puerto Nariño, an eco-friendly town where motor vehicles are forbidden. From there, you can plan different activities to observe wildlife and visit various cultural centers.

Read more: Our Puerto Nariño Travel guide

Puerto Nariño (1)

Best islands to visit in Colombia

What to see in Colombia

We can’t create a list of the best places to visit in Colombia without mentioning some paradise islands.

#28 Archipelago de Rosario, visit the Caribbean islands near Cartagena

Beaches in Cartagena aren’t appealing at all. Fortunately, visitors can easily travel to the Rosario islands from the Walled City. I don’t recommend picking the day-trip tours selling by the hotels & street vendors. There are too many people and not enough time on the islands. The best option is to stay overnight.

Be aware that most of the Rosario Islands are invaded by tourists, especially during the high season.

  • Mamallena Shuttles to Playa Blanca
  • Public Boat to Isla Grande
  • Private transport to various upscale Eco-lodges/resorts.

Read more: Our Rosario islands Travel guide

#29 Archipelago de San Bernardo, Caribbean islands in front of Rincon del Mar

The Archipelago of San Bernardo is made up of 10 paradise islands, and there are only 2 tiny portions considered as public beaches.

Crystal-blue water, white-sand beaches, and palm trees, the setting is mind-blowing.

Pick well your accommodation as you won’t be able to wander from one place to the other, as most parts of the islands are privatized. There is a hotel or hostel for every taste.

Read more: Our San Bernardo travel guide

San Bernardo islands

#30 Isla Fuerte, an island forgotten by travelers

Most travelers are not aware of Isla Fuerte as it’s a bit isolated from the other Colombia sightseeings.

Isla Fuerte is a good choice to relax for a few days and enjoy the island vibe. There is not much to do except hang out in a nice hotel and book their different activities: Scuba diving, paddle, rafting…

Read more: Our Isla Fuerte Travel guide

#31 San Andres, A paradise island victim of mass tourism

We didn’t stop there, but from what I’ve heard, there are many hotel resorts and loud Colombians.

You should pick your accommodation nearby San Luis if you look for a better paradise island atmosphere.

There are still some excellent diving spots.

San Andres

#32 Providencia, the ideal paradise island

We chose not to stop in San Andres because we wanted to stay longer on Providencia. I assure you it’s one of the best places to visit in Colombia – if you’ve got the budget and the time for it.

You must take 2 flights to get there, so it’s not worth it to plan on staying 3 days.

I can’t imagine a better island life. Book a little guesthouse and rent a scooter to move from secluded beach to secluded beach. And don’t forget to book a scuba diving expedition and a snorkel tour to explore the mind-blowing submarine world around Providencia.

Read more: Our Providencia travel guide

Providencia

Best places to plan exciting outdoor activities

Best places to visit in Colombia

Because of the Andean mountains, there are various places where you can get some adrenaline rush. It’s affordable and safe ;).

The most commons in Colombia are:

  • Canyoning
  • Rappelling
  • Zipline
  • Rafting
  • Paragliding
  • Cave exploring

Let’s find out the best places to visit in Colombia for practicing extreme sports activities.

#33 San Gil, a town with a solid reputation for outdoor activities

Santander was the first department to develop extreme sports activities in Colombia seriously.

Many travelers go to San Gil for this reason. Everyone can show up in the city and book the tours they want for the next day. The only inconvenience is that you spend many travel hours to get to San Gil.

Usually, people like to paragliding above the Chicamocha Canyon and rafting on the Suarez river – Rapid class 4/5.

#34 Tobia, visit a 3-h getaway from Bogota

The town of Tobia is not famous enough yet to be able to plan outdoor activities during the week.

However, many Colombians from Bogota get there on weekends. You can book some affordable all included packages (rafting + rappelling) or you can ask for something more specific.

We did some excellent canyoning tours in Tobia.

Read more: Our Tobia travel guide

Tobia Best places to Colombia

#35 Paicol, an off the beaten path colonial town

Paicol is a little colonial town not “far away” from the Tatacoa desert and Tierradentro.

It’s an ideal stop to plan a few outdoor activities with the top-notch local agency present in town.

As in Tobia, there are not many visitors during the week. Therefore, it can be complicated to organize a rafting trip if you’re not a group of 4.

In any case, cave exploring, biking, and rappelling trips are always doable.

Read more: Our Paicol travel guide

#36 Tamesis, a 4h getaway from Medellin

Tamesis is an excellent pick if you want to stay in a town that nobody knows, except a few aficionados. Moreover, the landscapes around Tamesis are mind-blowing.

It’s a great spot for rappelling.

Read more: Our Tamesis travel guide

Tamesis

# 37 San Rafael, an ideal place to cool off

San Rafael is only 45 min from Guatape, but almost no travelers get there. It’s an excellent spot to swim in crystal-clear rivers.

Canyoning and tubing are the two main activities in San Rafael.

Read more: Our San Rafael travel guide

San Rafael (1)

#38 San Carlos, a paradise for canyoning lovers

San Carlos is 1h away from San Rafael and there are some excellent spots for canyoning.

It’s the perfect place to visit in Colombia if you’re looking for a mix of adrenaline, peaceful colonial town and mighty waterfalls.

Read more: Our San Carlos travel guide

San Carlos (1)

#39 Suesca, more than 400 rock climbing routes

If you like playing Spider-pig, then you will love Suesca. Roca de Suesca is a large cliff at a 15 min walk from town. There, more than 400 routes are equipped so you can practice your climbing skills.

There are also qualified local agencies where you can rent pieces of equipment or take some lessons.

Read more: Our Suesca travel guide

Best Deserts to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

There are 2 deserts in Colombia. You won’t find dunes on hundred of miles, but it’s worth a visit.

Let’s have a look at the best places to visit in Colombia for kissing a cactus.

#40 La Guajira desert, visit the northernmost point of South America

La Guajira is quite a vast desert starting from Riohacha to the Venezuelan border. There are different Colombia sightseeings you can include in a tour, the 3 main ones being:

  • Cabo de la Vela
  • Punta Gallinas
  • The national park Macuira

Except for Cabo de la Vela, you need to book a tour to explore it and you will spend many hours in the jeep.

A trip to La Guajira is also an opportunity to share with the Indigenous Wayuu and live in a Rancheria (farm).

Read more: Our La Guajira travel guide

LA Guajira

#41 Tatacoa desert, a place to observe the starry sky

Frankly, I was a bit disappointed with the Tatacoa desert. The most photogenic section – Cuzco – is quite small, and a couple of hours is enough to visit it.

We heard it was fun to sleep in the desert, but most of the hotels are illegals as it’s forbidden to build constructions within the park. So, we didn’t do it and stayed in Villavieja instead.

Nevertheless, it can be a nice day trip if you pass nearby.

Read more: Our Tatacoa desert travel guide

Tatacoa desert

Best archaeological sites to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

Colombia isn’t like Peru, Guatemala or Mexico. You won’t find sumptuous pyramids or other mysterious constructions.

However, Colombians found many gold artifacts and proof of old civilizations, especially two crucial necropolis sites in the South of Colombia, both declared UNESCO world heritage sites.

Lots of concrete explanations are still missing.

#42 Tierradentro, visit a necropolis made up of deep underground tombs

Tens of underground vaults (5-7m deep) have been discovered in Tierradentro. You can freely move from site to site with a local guide – (Spanish only).

My favorite spot was “El Aguacate” as the view was breathtaking.

It’s a bit of a headache to get there, a mode of private transport isn’t a bad idea ;).

Read more: Our Tierradentro travel guide

Tierradentro

#43 San Agustin, a place with more than 500 giant stone statues

San Agustin is famous for its various archeological sites where you can contemplate massive stone statues of 4-5m high.

There are many lovely accommodations outside the city, and the landscape is quite lovely. Horse riding is an entertaining way to move from one site to the other.

Don’t plan only to stay 1 night as you can book many other fun experiences like rafting, birdwatching, zipline, and various cultural tours.

Read more: Our San Agustin travel guide

San agustin

Hidden gems recently open to the public

Best places to visit in Colombia

20 years ago, Colombia was really messed up because of the Guerillas and Narcotraficants. While there are still presents in some remote areas in the country, the situation has improved a LOT.

In 2016, the most prominent rebel armed group, the FARC, signed a peace agreement with the government.

Today, various incredible new-safe places start receiving tourists.

#44 La Macarena, contemplate the rainbow river

The easiest way to reach la Macarena is to take a charter with a local travel agency. They will take care of everything, from transportation to the park entrances. Moreover, if you pick the right local agency, it’s almost the same price as if you do it by yourself.

Caño Cristales is a world-famous 5-colors river you can sight from mid-June to November when the national park is open to the public. All the tours leave from La Macarena.

It’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Caño Cristales travel guide

Caño-Cristales

#45 San Jose del Guaviare, our favorite off the beaten path destination

If you’re looking for a unique Colombian experience, then San Jose del Guaviare is a perfect pick.

It’s an authentic town with local farmers coming every weekend to sell their products. There are top-notch Colombia sightseeings scattered all around like rock paintings, waterfalls, colorful rivers, natural pools, birdwatching, dolphins…

You can’t move around without a means of private transportation. The easiest way is to book an all-included package – and the prices can be super interesting.

We loved visiting San Jose del Guaviare in Colombia.

Read more: Our San Jose del Guaviare travel guide

San Jose del Guaviare

The national parks to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

There are 58 protected areas in Colombia, and you can visit 29 of them. Local agencies organize day trips or multi-day hikes to explore the Paramos, contemplate beautiful rivers and so on.

We will write a more in-depth post next time, but here is a list to give you some leads:

  • Tayrona: It’s a beautiful park on the Caribbean coast. No guide mandatory.
  • Los Nevados: It’s a vast protected area with snow peaks, paramos, and the famous Valle de Cocora. Many multi-day trips. Guides are not mandatory, but I recommend taking one.
  • Purace: It’s a reserve and a volcano near Popayan.
  • Cocuy: There are 3 beautiful hikes, but you can’t sleep within the park. Guides are mandatory.
  • The Ciudad Perdida: A 4-day trek in the Sierra Nevada. A guide is mandatory.

Read more: Our Tayrona travel guide

Read more: Our Popayan travel guide.

Best places to visit in Colombia on a MAP

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Best places to visit in Colombia

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Best places to visit in Colombia (1)

Best Luxury Hotels in Colombia (2020): Our Mind-Blowing selection

After 1 year of traveling in the country to meet reliable partners, I realized there were many luxury hotels in Colombia.

It’s excellent news, especially if you want to plan an epic honeymoon journey or an unforgettable bachelor(ette) adventure with your friends.

However, we don’t mix apple and pears.

I believe the surroundings, atmosphere, and quality of the services offered are all equally important.

It’s the reason why I refuse to include all the Mariott, Hiltons, and other famous Colombia resorts. I don’t like being a random room number, surrounded by other pinky numbers.

I prefer cute boutique hotels, secluded eco-lodges, and emblematic hotels. Therefore, I’m not just considering 5-stars hotel – almost inexistent in Colombia – for this article.

We have visited 14 of the 16 luxury Colombia hotels listed in this post, and we’re working with the majority of them when creating Colombia itineraries.

Our premium service: We take care of your trip and you get special discounts!

Best luxury hotels in Colombia: What you must know

In case you’ve got a tea time appointment with the Queen.

Here the list of our favorite luxury hotels in Colombia:

Luxury hotels in Cartagena

Cartagena is a beautiful colonial city with colorful and flowery alleys. It’s also super easy to get there from the United States.

If you include Cartagena in your Colombia itinerary, it’s because you want to spend a dreamy time with your loved one – if you’re looking for good parties, Bogota and Medellin are a lot better. Therefore, I suggest staying in the old city center. You can’t find a more romantic city in Colombia.

Read Our Cartagena Travel guide

For the ones who want to bury their toes in the white-sand, the Rosario Islands are nearby. The scenery is incredible, but it can be crowded and most of the accommodations are overrated. Fortunately, I know one secret gem.

Find our selection of the best luxury hotels in Colombia for Cartagena.

#1 TownHouse, the hotel for trendy partygoers

Townhouse is the perfect place for travelers who wants a fun stay while visiting Cartagena. There is a cool atmosphere flowing from the pieces of art on the walls and each of the 11 bedrooms is unique. To tell you the truth, if you’re older and want to sleep at 8 pm, don’t pick this luxury boutique hotel in Cartagena. The music would keep you awake. Their motto is “fancy doesn’t have to be boring”.

Our rating for Townhouse (+)

Townhouse’s strong point: The well-equipped rooftop with a great view of the old city center. The place is famous for hosting many social events and trendy parties.

  • Surroundings: 8.5/10 | Cartagena old center’ roofs
  • Uniqueness: 7.5/10 | local artists
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 180 $
Townhouse best luxury hotels Colombia Cartagena

#2 Casa San Agustin: The Cartagena’s Rolls-Royce

In terms of convenience & personalized services, it will be complicated to find better. This quite large boutique hotel – 31 bedrooms – is situated in a splendid colonial house. There are many pleasant common areas – library, rooftop, pool,- where you can relax if you want to hide from your stepmother. If you’re a romantic old school person, then the luxury hotel Casa San Agustin is for you.

Our rating for C. San Agustin (+)

Casa San Agustin’s strongpoint: The staff is perfectly trained and knows how to please the guests. Also, the beauty of the building is mind-blowing.

  • Surroundings: 8.5/10 | Cartagena old center’ roofs
  • Uniqueness: 9/10 | Stunning colonial building
  • Comfort: 10/10 | Top-notch services and staff
  • Price: From 530 $
Casa San Agustin Best place to stay luxury hotel Cartagena

#3 Carolina island: Best Luxury hotel in the Rosario islands

The luxury hotel Carolina island is situated in Isla Marina – a few meters away from Isla Grande. And, it’s great news as tourists often invade Isla Grande. Carolina island is a small resort – 9 rooms – surrounded by crystalline-blue water and mangrove in the Rosario Islands at 1 h boat ride from Cartagena. Let the hectic days within the walled city, and come here to relax a couple of days. There is everything you need to be happy. Say hi to the private chef for me, would you?

Our rating for Carolina island (+)

Carolina island’s strongpoint: Its location in the Rosario Islands. The resort is split into two parts, and the Westside is for guests only. It’s a genuine little gem.

  • Surroundings: 10/10 | Paradise islands
  • Uniqueness: 9/10 | The only human on earth
  • Comfort: 8/10
  • Price: From 260$ | Full board
Coralina islands Best luxury hotel in Rosario Islands

San Bernardo Islands

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

If you’re looking for paradise islands less-known than the Rosario islands, then you should head to the San Bernado islands.

Because it’s far from everything – 2h boat ride from Cartagena -, the value for money isn’t at its best, but the setting is 100% worth it.

Read our San Bernardo travel guide

Choose your accommodation with care as 95% of the islands are private and you will spend most of your time in your hotel. Don’t worry; Our favorite boutique hotels offer the best services and food on the islands.

Find our selection of the best luxury hotels in Colombia for the San Bernardo Islands.

#4 Punta Faro: The top-notch luxury hotel on Isla Mucura

Punta Faro is an old luxury hotel that has privatized the best part of the Mucura island. You’ve got everything on the spot to be happy. The amazing staff is always willing to help, but never pushy. The rhythm of the day is at your convenience. Lay back on the beach all day, or book one of the many activities offered by the upscale hotel Punta Faro – plankton tour, paddle, snorkeling, diving, boat trip. Also, the food is delicious.

Our rating for Punta Faro (+)

Punta Faro’s strongpoint: The privacy on the best part of the island.

  • Surroundings: 9/10 | Paradise island
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 317 $ | Min. 2 nights. Full board
Luxury Eco Resort hotel Punta Faro Isla Mucura

#5 Sal Si Puedes: Luxury hotel on Isla Tintipan

Quite frankly, Isla Tintipan is even better than Isla Mucura. The only hitch is that you can be a bit bothered by the music when daytrippers come around on the weekend. On Isla Tintipan, there is only 1 upscale option: the hotel Sal Si Puedes. Don’t expect the facilities of a 5-stars hotel, but the setting worth hundreds of Hilton hotels. We fell in love with the Deluxe room. Guests wake up with the feet in the ocean, and there is a secret wood pier through the mangrove at the back.

Our rating for Sal si Puedes (+)

Sal Si Puedes’s strongpoint: Beautiful paradise island

  • Surroundings: 10/10 | Paradise island
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 7.5/10
  • Price: From 250$ |Min. 2 nights
Sal Si Puedes Luxury hotels Colombia Isla Tintipan

Providencia

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

Providencia is my favorite Colombian island. However, it’s a bit complicated to get there as you must arrive in San Andres first then take another 15 min flight. Thanks to the efforts of its inhabitants, Providencia has kept its magic soul, and you won’t find any resorts there.

Read our Providencia Travel guide

Some hotels work with Decameron, but the value for money isn’t outstanding.

#6 Deep Blue: Luxury hotel in front of the sea of seven colors

Deep blue is expensive, but it’s the price to pay when you’re isolated on a paradise island. And you won’t be disappointed! The different rooms are scattered on a small hill so all the guests can have an incredible view of the ocean and Crab Cay. Rent a golf car and explore the different secluded beaches of Providencia, or ask the staff to book you one of the activities of the hotel.

Our rating for Deep Blue (+)

Deep Blue’s strongpoint: The view is incredible, especially at sunset. Go to the hotel’s pier and order a delicious cocktail while falling in love with the last sun’s breath of the day.

  • Surroundings: 10/10 | Paradise island
  • Uniqueness: 9/10 | The only human on earth
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 300 $
Deep blue best luxury hotels Colombia Providencia

Nearby Tayrona

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

Many travelers go to Tayrona without realizing there are some sumptuous hotels a few kilometers away from the Zaino entrance, between Playa Naranjo and Buritaca. On this endless beach, between palm trees and beach towns, every traveler will find something he likes. It’s peaceful and mesmerizing. However, be careful with the current. It’s quite strong over there.

Read our Tayrona travel guide

Don’t stay overnight in Santa Marta if you aim to visit the Tayrona park and rest a few days on the beach. Take a bus or private transport and head to Naranjos Beach and Buritaca. There is only 1 road. You can’t be lost.

#7 Gitana del Mar: A luxury place to explore the Sierra Nevada

It was complicated to pick a favorite among the excellent hotels in the area, but we fell in love with Gitana del Mar. This upscale hotel aims to be a peaceful home where you can recharge your battery and disconnect from the world. In addition to the amazing tours and massage they offer, Gitana del Mar is always willing to help the indigenous communities and preserve the environment through its foundation.

Our rating for Gitana del Mar (+)

Gitana del Mar’s strong point: The well being in the hotel and the strategical location.

  • Surroundings: 8.5/10
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 200 $ | Min. 2 nights. Full board
Gitana-del-Mar-Luxury-hotel-Tayrona

Zona Cafetera

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

The Zona Cafetera is one of my favorite regions in Colombia. There are majestic waterfalls, stunning colonial towns, and epic hikes in Los Nevados.

I love staying in little authentic villages like Filandia or Buenavista. All the restaurants and cafes are nearby, and I could spend hours on the main square, watching cowboys with their colorful check shirts while drinking a good coffee.

However, if you’re looking for luxury experiences, you might be interested in staying in Pereira.

Read our Pereira travel guide

Let me give you my best luxury hotel in Colombia for the Zona Cafetera

#8 Sazagua: luxury experiences and SPA

Sazagua is a luxury hotel, outside of Pereira, that wants to offer the best travel experience to its clients. Through their services, you can taste tens of different fruits, visit a coffee farm, organize a romantic picnic in Valle de Cocora or get a unique massage experience. In the morning, colorful birds fly everywhere in the garden. It was such a peaceful moment when we were there!

Our rating for Sazagua (+)

Sazagua’s strongpoint: In addition to the fantastic facilities, they give you the possibility to book unforgettable experiences.

  • Surroundings: 8/10 | Beautiful garden
  • Uniqueness: 8.5/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 85$!
Sazagua boutique hotel in Colombia Pereira

Pacific coast

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

The pacific coast is wild and unknown. Therefore, it’s the ideal place if you want to escape the madness of modern life. Let your phone at home or throw it against a palm tree. You won’t need it there.

Because there is no road to get to the Pacific coast, it’s kind of complicated to build luxury boutique hotels. However, the setting is so unbelievable that you don’t care if there is no hot water (the weather is never cold anyway) or jacuzzi. Also, don’t complain if there is a spider or a bat. You’re in their house, not the other way around.

For me, the most magical part on the Pacific coast is the area around Nuqui.

Read our Guachliato travel guide

#9 Morromico: Live like a wealthy Robinson Crusoe

As I said below, don’t expect to stay in a luxury eco-lodge. On the Pacific coast, you pay for the location. Morromico is at a 1h boat ride from any other places on the Pacific coast. This eco-lodge is situated in a majestic bay made of black-sand and palm trees. The owners are super friendly, and they will take care of you from the beginning until the end of your stay.

Our rating for Morromico (+)

Morromico’s strongpoint: The perfect spot to embrace nature and relax.

  • Surroundings: 10/10
  • Uniqueness: 10/10
  • Comfort: 5.5/10 | Basic rooms
  • Price: From 200 USD | Full board. Min 2 nights
MorroMico-Cabanas-Pacific-coast-hotel

San Agustin

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

Travelers go to San Agustin because of the UNESCO archeological sites. Book a horse riding or a jeep tour, and learn about this pre-Colombian era.

Read our San Agustin travel guide

#10 Monasterio: Luxury hotel near the Archeological sites

Monasterio is the only luxury hotel in San Agustin and its surroundings. Their flowery garden is quite sumptuous and offers an attractive setting for resting after a long day. Besides, the view of the landscape around is beautiful. We also love the successful mix of the old-school decoration with the vintage style of the building.

Our rating for Monasterio (+)

Monasterio’s strongpoint: Perfect location near some of the most famous archeological sites.

  • Surroundings: 8.5/10
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 115 $
Monasterio-San-Agustin

Villa de Leyva

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

I met so many travelers who just want to organize a day trip to Villa de Leyva from Bogota. It’s foolish.

Take the time to appreciate this authentic colonial town. Stroll among the cobblestone streets, buy a mouth-watering chocolate bread and eat in delicious restaurants. For me, Villa de Leyva is the perfect romantic stop to add in a Colombia itinerary.

Read our Villa de Leyva Travel guide

Find our selection of the best luxury hotels in Colombia for Villa de Leya.

#11 Casa Terra: a peaceful oasis in the center

Casa Terra is the perfect example of a successful hotel boutique. The top-notch personalized advice, the homely atmosphere, and the comfy bedrooms. Everything is ideal for experiencing an enjoyable stay in Villa de Leyva.

Our rating for Casa Terra (+)

Casa Terra’s strongpoint: The owner takes the time to give you the best recommendations.

  • Outdoors: 8.5/10
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 9.5/10
  • Price: From 68$!
Casa Tierra Hotel Boutique Villa de Leyva

Best luxury hotels in Bogota

Many travelers don’t like Bogota because they’re not prepared. Take an umbrella and a sweater and you will fix half of Bogota’s problems.

The 2nd significant issue is traffic. Bogota is enormous, and public transportations aren’t optimal for a city of 9 million inhabitants. You want to avoid long-distance by car. The easiest way is to avoid the rush hour -you’re on holiday for god’s sake – and pick your district wisely.

Read our Bogota travel guide

Yes, the street art in La Candelaria is lovely, but the neighborhood is pretty dead – and dodgy – at night. I prefer staying in Chapinero, especially in Quinta Camacho. It’s closer to the airport/bus terminal, and there are tons of delicious restaurants and trendy bars!

Find out the selection of our favorite luxury hotels in Colombia for Bogota.

# 12 Casa Medina: The Rolling Stones stayed there

Casa Medina is part of the Four Seasons chain, but it’s far from being a cold and impersonal establishment. The top-notch customer service makes you feel like if you’re Elvis Presley’s cousin. The elegant decorations and the designer furniture match perfectly. Casa Medina is the perfect example of an old building renovated with taste.

Our rating for Casa Medina (+)

Casa Medina’s strongpoint: The professionalism of the staff and the building

  • Surroundings: 6/10 | You’re in Bogota
  • Uniqueness: 8.5/10 | Beautiful colonial house
  • Comfort: 10/10
  • Price: From 360$
Casa Medina Luxury hotel bogota

#13 Casa Legado: A hidden luxury home

When traveling, you sometimes miss the comfort of your own home. It’s pleasant to have everything within arm’s reach, take a cold fresh juice in the fridge, hang out naked while eating ice-cream… Casa Legado does its best to make you comfortable in a homely atmosphere. Bedrooms are spacious and comfy, foods and beverages are always available for free in the kitchen, you can also cook if you want. In short, you will never miss home again.

Our rating for Casa Legado (+)

Casa Legado’s strongpoint: The personalized customer service and the homely atmosphere.

  • Surroundings: 6/10 | You’re in Bogota
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 10/10
  • Price: from 260$
Casa Legado luxury hotels in Colombia Bogota

Best luxury hotels in Medellin

Travelers love Medellin because of its friendly Paisas and wild parties. Even if I prefer staying in Laureles, there is no luxury hotel there.

Read our Medellin travel guide

Therefore, I decided to pick both hotels in the well-known Poblado district. It’s a strategical place if you want to party hard, but there is also a quiet area if you wish to relax and enjoy the cultural side of Medellin.

Find out our selection of the best luxury hotels in Colombia for Medellin.

#14 The Charlee: The most famous upscale hotel in Medellin

The Charlee is an iconic luxury hotel in Medellin. Located on Parque Lleras, it’s the perfect spot to go clubbing in Poblado. The Charlee offers the ideal combo to experience an unforgettable stay: delicious meals, 3 floors for the Gym only, private kitchen and jacuzzi in the best rooms, a rooftop on the 17th floor of the hotel that hosts epic parties. Let’s the party begin.

Our rating for The Charlee (+)

The Charlee’s strongpoint: The stunning rooftop with restaurant and trendy parties.

  • Surroundings: 7/10 |Good location for partying
  • Uniqueness: 8.5/10 | Fantastic building
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 190$
The Charlee Best luxury hotels in Medellin

#15 Patio del Mundo: A secret oasis in Poblado

If partying is not your thing, I still have another excellent option for you. Patio del Mundo is located uphill, in the fanciest Poblado area. This little boutique hotel – only 7 rooms – is close to the best restaurants and trendy bar, and still, you won’t be bothered by the music at night. The French owners are super cute and will give you the best advice to enjoy the city.

Our rating for P. del Mundo (+)

Patio del Mundo’s strongpoint: There is a beautiful garden with lots of plants, trees, and a jacuzzi! You don’t have the impression to be in Medellin.

  • Surroundings: 7.5/10 | Beautiful garden
  • Uniqueness: 7.5/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 130 $
Patio del Mundo luxury hotels in Medellin

Amazon Rainforest

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

If you’re looking for a unique experience, then traveling to the Amazon is an excellent choice.

And, to maximize this once in a lifetime experience, you must go deeper into the jungle, where there are more Ents – walking trees in the Lord of the Rings – than human beings.

Read our Amazon travel guide

Don’t hope for a luxury comfort in this part of the world. However, the memories will stay forever, especially when you’re face to face with a tarantula in the toilet.

Find out my favorite luxury hotels in Colombia for the Amazon.

#16 Palmari: A natural reserve with fantastic activities

Palmari takes care of everything as soon as you arrive in Leticia. This natural reserve, at a 2h30 boat ride from the closest town, is a magical and wild place. Upon arrival, you get an assigned local guide, and you plan your days with him as you want: Kayak, multi-day trip in the jungle, traditional fishing, cultural workshop, ecological walk,… Everything is included and available. The comfort is quite basic, but it’s hard to do better when you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Our rating for Palmari (+)

Palmari’s strong point: All the activities are included in the price, and you decide day to day what you’d like to do.

  • Surroundings: 10/10 | Amazon rain forest
  • Uniqueness: 10/10
  • Comfort: 5/10 | Basic
  • Price/Night/2pers: From 360 $ | Full board + activities + transport included – Min 3 nights
Palmari Amazon

More hotels in Colombia

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Best luxury hotels in Colombia

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. It’s a nice gesture to thanks us for the many hours we put in Tomplanmytrip 🙂 
Colombia luxury hotels