Colombia Itineraries

Thanks to our recommendations and services, plan the perfect Colombia itinerary for your next vacation.

One Week In Colombia (2020): 4 Inspiring Examples For Your Itinerary

One week in Colombia is a short amount of time, but you can spend unforgettable moments if you build a practical Colombia itinerary.

Be ready. It will be a real brainteaser to choose among all the Colombian destinations.

To make your life easier, you have to give up the idea of visiting-a-maximum-of-Places within 7 days in Colombia. You don’t want to spend half your holiday with your butt stuck on an uncomfortable aircraft or bus seat.

I know. Most of you are scared of being bored. You want your days filled with activities and fantastic experiences. I’m like you!

Fortunately, thanks to our 4 examples of itineraries for Colombia, you’re going to realize that you can spend 7 days in the same area!

It’s been 4 years that we’re exploring Colombia. We had time to look for cool things to do :).

Read more: Our Pro tips to create perfect Colombia Itineraries

Table of contents: One Week in Colombia

  1. 7 days in Cartagena and around
  2. 7 days in Medellin and around
  3. 7 days in Cali and around
  4. 7 days in Bogota and around

How to decide which places you should add to your itinerary?

1# One Week in Colombia: Cartagena

Cartagena is on the Eastern Caribbean coast of Colombia. The airport is international with direct flights from Miami, Atlanta, New York, Orlando, Atlanta, Toronto, Montreal, Lima & Mexico City.

Moreover, there are many daily flights from Bogota (Every 30 min), so you could consider a flight with 1 stop in Bogota.

Although the airport is nearby the old city center, you might appreciate a private transfer.

Read more: Our Cartagena travel guide

Rincon del Mar Beach 1 week in Colombia itinerary
Rincon del Mar

How many days in Cartagena

If you decide to fly to the Walled City, it means you want to explore it and find out its best-kept secrets. However, you should know three things about Cartagena:

  • Beaches within the city aren’t pleasant
  • It’s touristy
  • It’s the most expensive place in Colombia (with Providencia)

2 Days in Cartagena (+)

If you’re traveling on a shoestring budget during this one week in Colombia, you won’t be able to do many extra activities in Cartagena.

I’m not a fan of the City’s museums – except maybe the Castle San Felipe if it’s the first time you visit one.

Within two days in Cartagena, you should focus on enjoying the romantic atmosphere of the walled city.

First, plan a city tour in the old center. There are some good free walking tours or private tours – if you prefer a more in-depth explanation. You can also book a bus tour if you’re feeling lazy. Don’t forget to contemplate the sunset from the walls.

The next day, wake up early and wander among the colorful alleys in Getsemani and Cartagena. It’s the best moment to take fantastic pictures.

Then, head East or West for your next stop.

3 Days in Cartagena (+)

If you don’t have a tight budget, there are 2-3 activities we loved during our 2 weeks in Cartagena:

Also, eat lots of delicious ice cream and book a table at the top-notch restaurants in the city.

Where to stay in Cartagena (+)

Which destinations to add to your 1 week Cartagena itinerary

You don’t want to travel too far away from Cartegena as you have to come back the day before your flights – In Colombia, always arrive 1 day before your international flight.

From Cartagena to Rincon and San Bernardo islands (+)

Do you want some beach time for this one week in Colombia?

Then avoid spending a day trip to the Rosario Islands and head to Rincon del mar and/or the San Bernardo islands.

Rincon del Mar is a small beach town with friendly locals, cheap activities and lovely beaches. It’s 4 hours away by bus.

San Bernardo is an archipelago of 10 paradise islands. The most visited are Isla Tintipan, Mucura, and Palma. There is a 2-hours boat from Cartagena.

Read more: Travel guide to Rincon del Mar & San Bernardo

From Cartagena to the Rosario islands (+)

Day trips from Cartagena to the Rosario Islands are legions. However, the experience will be better if you spend at least 2 nights on Isla Grande. It’s the best way to avoid the crowds. Public boats leave the dock every morning.

Read more: How to get to Isla Grande

From Cartagena to Tayrona, Paso del Mango or Minca (+)

The Sierra Nevada perfect option for a mix of mountains and beaches for your Colombia itinerary.

Even with a door to door shuttle, you need at least 6 hours to get there. Skip Santa Marta, and don’t try to visit more than one place. It would be silly and superficial.

Tayrona is a National Natural Park with easy hikes through lush vegetation and beautiful beaches. It worths spending 2 or 3 days there.

Minca is a touristy town in the Sierra Nevada. It’s an excellent place for birdwatching, hiking and staying in beautiful hostels.

Paso del Mango is similar to Minca, but nobody knows about it. Don’t hesitate to check this out.

Read more: Our travel guides about Santa Marta, Tayrona, Minca and Paso del Mango.

2# One week in Colombia: Medellin

Medellin is in the department of Antioquia. The airport is international, and there are direct flights from New York, Miami, Orlando, Cancun, Mexico city & Madrid.

Moreover, there are many daily flights from Bogota (Every 30 min), so you could consider a flight with 1 stop in Bogota.

The international airport is 45 min away from the city, and there are many taxies at a fixed price.

Read more: Our Medellin travel guide

Jerico, main square with a giant tree. 1 week in Colombia itinerary
Jerico, main square

How many days in Medellin

Many travelers fall in love with Medellin because of the weather and its tremendous nightlife.

However, there are also many hidden gems in Antioquia. You will have to decide if you want to spend more time in the city or in the countryside.

Less than 24 h in Medellin (+)

If you don’t want to visit Medellin and focus on the highlights around, then you don’t have to stay more than 1 night. Pick your accommodation in El Poblado if you want to head South the next day or Laureles if you prefer exploring the East Side. The bus terminals are different according to the final destinations.

2-3 days in Medellin (+)

Main cities are important to understand Colombia’s history and cultural heritage.

There is an excellent and entertaining walking tour offered by Real City Tour. We recommend! Otherwise, you can book a private tour if you’re looking for something more personalized. Try to include the Museo de la Memoria. It’s worth it!

Stopping in Medellin is also the opportunity to learn about social transformation. Visit a notorious district like Comuna 13, Moravia, or La Sierra with a local guide.

Before leaving, delight your palate with a coffee tour or a food tour!

Finally, add some Salsa and a football game at the Stadium, and you will live an excellent cultural experience.

We give you tons of things to do in Medellin.

7 days in Medellin (+)

Medellin is an excellent city to experience Colombian life. Stay in a social hostel in Laureles and plan your stay between day trips and social events.

  • My favorite night events are at La Pascasia, Cafe Cliche, 3 Cordilleras, Colombia immersion Exchange language
  • Dance Salsa and take some classes in Son Havana, El Tibiri or Academia Social Club
  • Day trip to Guatape
  • Day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia
  • Paragliding above Medellin
  • Day trip to Santa Elena
  • Expedition rafting on Rio Verde
  • Hiking to the Paramo de Belmira

Where to stay in Medellin (+)

Which destinations to add to your 1 week Medellin itinerary

Depending on how long you decide to stay in Medellin, there are 3 loops we love to organize.

From Medellin to San Carlos (+)

This one week Colombia itinerary is for travelers who love aquatic activities. San Rafael and San Carlos are two small towns surrounded by crystal-clear rivers and they’re not touristy at all. Both places are ideal for tubing, canyoning, and chasing waterfalls.

Take a bus to visit Guatape then head to San Rafael (1h) then another to San Carlos (1h).

From Medellin to Jardin (+)

This one week Colombia itinerary is for travelers who want to visit cute colonial towns. Everyone falls in love with Jerico and Jardin. It’s the perfect occasion to visit a coffee farm and hike through the incredible landscapes of Antioquia.

Take a bus to Jerico (3h), then a Chiva – local bus- to Jardin (3h).

From Medellin to the Pacific Coast (+)

All flights to the Pacific coast leave from Medellin. Therefore, don’t hesitate to plan a trip there if you dream of wild beaches and coconuts. It’s also the whale season from July to September.

Book an ecolodge in Guachalito (Nuqui) or a romantic hotel in El Valle (Bahia Solano). Both places are safe.

3# One week in Colombia: Cali

Cali is in the Cauca region, in the “South of Colombia“. The airport is international, with direct flights from Miami, Santiago, Panama City, and Madrid.

Moreover, there are many daily flights from Bogota (Every 30 min), so you could consider a flight with 1 stop in Bogota.

Cheap buses leave from the airport, or you can take a taxi – 40 min.

Read more: Our Cali travel guide

Cali Street Art Caleña
Cali

How many days in Cali

If you pick Cali, it means you want – or at least try – to dance Salsa. Take some classes during the day and go practicing at night.

The number of days to explore the surroundings will depend on how much you like dancing Salsa.

3 days in Cali (+)

For us, people-who-are-ashamed-to-dance, it’s complicated to learn how to dance. We don’t have rhythm and sensuality, but it’s not a reason for not trying.

We travel for these new experiences, no? Excellent. Here are my recommendations:

  • Listen to a lot of Salsa before coming
  • In Cali, take at least 5 hours with a private teacher
  • Take group lessons in Salsa Pura in the evening
  • Go out the two nights in a row: Tintindeo, Rincon de Heberth, Malamaña or La Topa Tolondra are great salsa bars.

Between 2 salsa classes, you can book a street food tour, a salsa tour and admire the view from El Cristo Rey.

7 days in Cali (+)

“Cali es Cali, lo demas es Loma”. It means “Cali is great, and the rest is s**t.” It’s hot and there is not much to do within the city. And yet, many travelers love it – if you like dancing.

Each evening, around 5 pm, there is a little breeze that indicates “Party is ON”.

Besides, there are many day trips you can organize/book when you don’t want to dance Salsa.

  • Paragliding
  • Canyoning – There are 7 rivers around Cali
  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking to Pico Loro
  • Tubing in San Cipriano

Where to stay in Cali (+)

Which destinations to add to your 1 week Cali itinerary

Cali is a city near many exciting Colombian highlights. You will have to choose between Zona Cafetera, Pacific coast, and Andean mountains for this one week in Colombia.

Weekend trip to Pance or San Cipriano (+)

Both are easy weekend trips you can organize.

Pance is a small town situated in the Western Andean mountains, at 1.5 hours from Cali. It’s ideal for hiking, birdwatching, and breath some fresh air. I recommend the hostel Casa Batara.

San Cipriano is a town surrounded by lush vegetation. It’s an adventure to get there. It’s 2.5 hours away from Cali. The main activity is tubing on the river.

From Cali to the Zona Cafetera (+)

You need 5 hours to reach Filandia, Buenavista or Salento. All of them are pleasant colonial towns, even if I have a preference for Buenavista.

An interesting 1 week Colombia itinerary would be Cali – Buenavista – Filandia – Cali. By doing so, you can book a fantastic coffee tour and visit the Valle de Cocora.

From Cali to the Pacific Coast (+)

It’s the easiest and cheapest way to reach the Pacific coast. You just have to take a 3-hour bus to Buenaventura then a 1-hour speedboat to Juanchaco. However, don’t stay in Juanchaco. It’s dirty. I recommend sleeping in La Barra or in front of the National Park Bahia Malaga. Don’t miss the Humpback whales!

From Cali to Popayan (+)

Popayan, also known as the “White Colonial City”, is situated 4 hours down South. There are interesting historical sights, and it’s the departure point for a breath-taking 2-day adventure to the Volcano Purace. Moreover, you can attend the indigenous market on Tuesday in Silvia.

Read more: Our Popayan travel guide

4# One week in Colombia: Bogota

Bogota is in the Cundinamarca department. The airport is international with direct flights from Munich, Paris, Madrid, London, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Mexico City, Lima, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Washington, Toronto, Montreal, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago. Yes, it’s a lot.

Taxis leave from the airport – 30 min. Don’t pay more than 30 000 COP! Taxis are not friendly in Bogota, don’t hesitate to book a private transfer from the airport.

Read more: Our Bogota Travel guide

Mongui Oceta Paramo 1 week in Colombia itinerary
Paramo de Oceta

How many days in Bogota

Many travelers don’t like Bogota because they’re not well prepared. They have no idea where to stay, what to do and they’ve got only shorts and flip-flops in their bag.

Although the weather isn’t the best in the world, there are tons of things to do if you’re interested in Colombia’s culture and history.

1 night in Bogota (+)

Stay just 1 night if you want to visit Caño Cristales or San Jose del Guaviare. Also, remember that you have to come back to Bogota the day prior to your departure flight.

Stay in Chapinero or the Zona Rosa/Parque 93. Both districts are safe, closer to the airport and it will be easy to find delicious restaurants.

3 days in Bogota (+)

There are many excellent tours we loved in Bogota. You don’t have to book them in advance:

Moreover, there are many excellent private tours if you’re looking for something more personalized:

In addition, there are cool stuff you can do by yourself:

  • Tasting the best restaurants and trendy cafe place
  • Climbing to Monserrate
  • Visiting the National Museum and the MAMU

7 days in Bogota (+)

Yes, you can spend 7 days in Bogota without being bored.

In additions to all the activities previously listed, there are cool day trips to organize:

  • Contemplate La Chorrera, the tallest waterfall in Colombia
  • Visit a cacao farm and a coffee farm
  • Hike through the Paramo Sumapaz or Chingaza
  • Outdoor rock climbing in Suesca

Where to stay in Bogota (+)

Which destinations to add to your 1 week Bogota itinerary

From Bogota, you can take a charter in the direction of La Macarena/Guaviare or plan an adventure to the colonial towns nearby.

From Bogota to San Jose del Guaviare (+)

San Jose del Guaviare is at the limit with the Llanos and has a lot to offer: colorful rivers, natural pools, rock paintings. You must take a 1-h flight to get here.

Read more: Our San Jose del Guaviare Travel guide

From Bogota to Caño Cristales (+)

Caño Cristales is a natural park that opens from June to November. The site is famous for the aquatic plant Macarenia Clavigera that gives different shades of red to the river. You must take a 1-h flight to get here.

Read more: Our La Macarena Travel guide

From Bogota to Tobia (+)

Tobia is a town 3 hours away from Bogota. There are a lot of extreme sports activities like rappelling, rafting, canyoning, zipline. Most of the local agencies are only open on weekends.

Read more: Our Tobia Travel Guide

From Bogota to Villa de Leyva (+)

Villa de Leyva is my favorite colonial town, at 4 hours from Bogota. There are many activities to do around and delicious restaurants. You can easily spend 3-4 days there.

Read more: Our Villa de Leyva Travel Guide

From Bogota to Mongui (+)

Mongui is another colonial town, situated at 5-6h from Bogota. You must go to Sogamoso first. It’s famous for the Paramo de Oceta.

We create Colombia itineraries for our Clients

We are Adrien and Thomas, two Frenchies who fell in love with Colombia and its inhabitants 4 years ago.

Traveling on his own is the best way to interact with the locals. With Colombia Insiderwe offer you the possibility to travel independently while following an itinerary off the beaten path that suits your desires

We can build your itinerary from scratch or you can pick among the ones here -cheaper.

Our favorite places in Colombia

Take a look at our interactive map to find out your next stop. Each destination is linked to a practical travel guide article.

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Create Your Ideal Colombia Itinerary in 2020: A Step by Step Guide

Thanks to the internet, any travelers can try to create a Colombia itinerary. After all, it’s not complicated to write “Best places to visit in Colombia”, “2 weeks in Colombia”, or “Colombia points of interest” in the Google research bar.

Then, you read the top 5 results, pick some Colombian places – because the pic is pretty cool -, try to measure the distance on Google Map and you start building your itinerary.

Is it what you’re doing right now? (Yes, I’m a magician – Harry’s cousin – and I can read your mind.)

While it’s a good way to begin your roadmap, it’s far from being sufficient. Sorry.

The country changes fast, and most of Colombia’s travel blogs aren’t updated enough. Besides, too many travelers write about Colombia even if they just have spent 2 months in the countryDid you know it’s twice the size of France?

We created this Colombia Travel Blog to help travelers to create unique Colombia itineraries. And this is what we’re doing to do right now.

Table of Contents: Build your Colombia Vacation Itinerary

  1. Major mistakes when creating a Colombia itinerary
  2. Our secret for creating a mind-blowing Colombia itinerary
  3. Which Colombia destinations can you visit
  4. Think about the weather when creating your itinerary
  5. Examples of Colombia Itineraries

Major mistakes when creating a Colombia itinerary

Creating an excellent Colombia travel itinerary is not simple and takes a lot of practice.

With Colombia Insider, we spend our days making Colombia tours for our clients, so we know a bunch of mistakes that people usually do.

Learn about them, and I guarantee you it will be a lot easier to build a roadmap for your two weeks in Colombia.

#1 Don’t pick too many Colombia places

Take your time (+)

Colombia is twice the size of France. Even if you were traveling 1 year non-stop, you wouldn’t be able to be everywhere.

I know you want to tick off “Colombia” from your bucket list, but I ask you to answer the following question:

Why do you travel?

If it’s because you want to spend joyful moments in a foreign country, try new experiences and learn about a different culture, then you should seriously consider reducing the number of stops in your Colombia itinerary.

#2 Don’t base your decision on a Cool Instagram pic

Instagram pictures are fake (+)

Instagram is a great tool to find some inspiration, but you should be aware that many pictures are “fake”Except our account :p. Influencers spent hours to get the perfect shot then they edit the pic with a software.

Don’t try to be like this guy with his tiny Italian bathing suit, who is kissing a hot babe and watching hundreds of doves from their infinity pool. It doesn’t exist.

It will be silly to make a detour in your itinerary for a picture.

#3 Don’t think that roads are in good conditions

You need time to move from one place to another (+)

To estimate the transportation time, many travelers use Google Map.

– “Oh, there is only 100 km, I’m sure we can do it in 1 hour.”

Wrong!

In many cases, it will be 5 hours.

#4 Don’t miss half of the activities

Ask around to know how long you should stay (+)

Tourism is growing and many activities aren’t on the internet. Send emails to the hotels in the area, ask in Facebook groups or check our Colombia website (the easiest way).

Then, you will know how long you can stay in a place.

#5 Don’t follow the other travelers

Be different (+)

People don’t have time, so 95 % of them decide to follow classic Colombia itineraries. I’m sure you’re different. Hence, create something different. Work hard on it. Or use our services :).

Furthermore, most of the “perfect week in Colombia” articles are far from being perfect ;).

#6 Don’t spend too much time in big Colombia cities

The country side of Colombia is mind-blowing (+)

I love big cities in Colombia. They are excellent places for partying, organizing Colombia tours and learn about the history, dance Salsa, etc. However, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to go.

Colombia is a gorgeous country with all kinds of beautiful landscapes. Don’t hesitate to spend most of your time in the countryside.

#7 Don’t be scared of night buses

Everyone use night buses (+)

Night buses are safe, numerous, and every Colombian uses them. We love Copetran, Expreso Brasilia Rapido Ochoa, and Bolivariano. Most of the bus company’s website are terrible, with half of the departures missing. Call or ask the bus company to be sure.

It will help you to save 1 or 2 days in your Colombia itinerary.

#8 Let you some extra time

Public transportation arrive often late (+)

Colombian time is a real thing. With public transportation, you know when you leave, but you never know when you arrive.

The same problems can happen with small airline companies like Viva Air and Satena.

Arrive the day before your flight return. Trust me.

Dibulla

The secret for building a mind-blowing Colombia itinerary

It’s easy. Every person who travels a lot will tell you the same thing.

Slow down!

Take the time to enjoy every Colombia highlight you decide to visit. This is why you have to decide cautiously the ones that deserve to be in your itinerary.

If you travel fast, the experience will be superficial and you will come back exhausted.

If you slow down and reduce the number of places you want to explore, you will save time and hundreds of dollars! There is nothing to win by traveling faster, except wasting energy and money.

We recommend spending at least 5 – 7 days for each region you pick. It’s the best way to travel in Colombia.

Top destinations in Colombia for your itinerary: Ranked by region

Because it takes time to move from one place to another in Colombia, it’s super important to pick a region instead of a single destination.

You have to take into consideration your favorite places, but you should minimize the number of regions you want to visit.

As a rule of thumb, number of regions = number of weeks in Colombia

#1 Eastern Caribbean Coast

Colombia itinerary

Cartagena

It’s the most visited region in Colombia. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit on the Eastern Caribbean Coast of Colombia: (+)

  • The Rosario islands: Paradise islands, a bit overcrowded, especially during the high season. 1-2 hours away from Cartagena.
  • Cartagena: Sumptuous walled city, famous for its city center and luxury restaurants.
  • Mompox: Pretty colonial town, surrounded by the Magdalena River. Time-consuming to get there.
  • Santa Marta: Major touristic hub to explore the surroundings, not very interesting itself.
  • Tayrona: Famous national park with many beaches and trails. Easy to explore, no guide needed.
  • Minca: Town located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Perfect for hiking and birdwatching.
  • Paso del Mango: Secret Minca’s sibling with only a few accommodation options. Peaceful.
  • Palomino: Touristy beach town, with many hostels and not much to do. Tubing is the main activity.
  • Dibulla: A quiet beach town with lovely beaches, 1 hour away from Riohacha.
  • Riohacha: Not very interesting but it’s the main point of departure for the expeditions to La Guajira
  • Cabo de la Vela: A fishing town, in the middle of the desert. Famous for kitesurfing.
  • La Guajira: The largest desert in Colombia. Breathtaking sceneries. Tours are mandatory.

#2 Western Caribbean Coast

Colombia itinerary

Isla Mucura – San Bernardo islands

The western side is less visited than the Eastern Coast and the different places are more challenging to access. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit on the Western Caribbean Coast of Colombia: (+)

  • San Bernardo islands: Private paradise islands with hotels and crystal-blue water. You can plan a day trip from Rincon del Mar.
  • Rincon del Mar: Quiet fishing town with welcomings locals and lovely beaches.
  • Isla Fuerte: Unknown island with cool beaches. There are surfing and diving spots.
  • San Francisco: A hidden tiny town with not much to do.
  • Capurgana: Atypical town, in the middle of the Darian Gap. Beaches & hammocks. Cool diving spots.
  • Sapzurro: Quiet town, only accessible from Capurgana. The last place before the Panama border.

#3 Medellin and Antioquia

Colombia itinerary

View from Horizontes

One of my favorite regions in Colombia, with green hills, colorful Chivas, and typical colonial towns. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit in Antioquia, Colombia: (+)

  • Medellin: Favorite city for many travelers. Welcoming people and easy to move around. Cool nightlife.
  • Santa Fe de Antioquia: Peaceful colonial town, located near a famous suspension bridge – Puente del Occidente.
  • Horizontes: Secret cute town with mind-blowing views at 360 deg.
  • Guatape: Colorful colonial town, overcrowded during the high season. Famous for the view from the massive granite rock “El Peñol”.
  • San Rafael: Town located 1h away from Guatape. Lots of rivers and canyons.
  • San Carlos: The paradise for swimming in rivers and chasing waterfalls. Lots of hikes too.
  • Jerico: Famous religious town, with lots of hikes and coffee farms. Not too much visited yet.
  • Jardin: Colorful and peaceful colonial town with lots of activities and coffee farms.
  • Tamesis: Astonishing view above the canyon, lots of extreme sports. Non-touristy yet.

#4 The Coffee Region

Colombia itinerary

Summit Santa Isabel Los Nevados
Los Nevados – Santa Isabel

Called also the coffee triangle, this region as a lot to offer. Don’t just stop in Salento. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit in the coffee region, Colombia: (+)

  • Pereira: The best city to explore the coffee region, the high mountains Los Nevados and the natural thermal bath.
  • Salento: The most famous coffee town in Colombia. Departures from the main square to Valle de Cocora.
  • Filandia: The Salento’s sibling. A colorful colonial town with good restaurants.
  • Buenavista: Cute tiny coffee town with astonishing views and delicious coffee.
  • Salamina: Lovely little town. It’s a good option to explore another secret version of Valle de Cocora.

#5 Cali and the South of Colombia

Colombia itinerary

View from El Purace

Travelers neglect this region, but there are many hidden treasures. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit in Cali and the South of Colombia: (+)

  • Cali: The Capital of Salsa. It’s also a great city for canyoning, birdwatching, and hiking.
  • Popayan: A white colonial city with lots of impressive churches. Don’t miss the Purace national park.
  • San Agustin: Famous for its UNESCO Archeological site with more than 500 statues. The departure point for the 4-days trek to Las Papas.
  • Tierradentro: Another UNESCO Archeological site with underground tombs. Complicated access.
  • Tatacoa desert: Famous for its super Instagram pictures. It’s a cool place to observe the stars.
  • Paicol: Unknown and peaceful colonial town with cool activities.
  • Mocoa: A town at the limit of the Amazon. Lots of rivers and famous place for Ayahuasca ceremonies.
  • Pasto: Famous for the festival Blanco y Negro at the beginning of January.
  • Ipiales: The closest town to the border with Ecuador. There is an impressive church called Las Lajas.

#6 The Pacific Coast

Colombia itinerary

Add a beach spot in your Colombia itinerary - Pacific coast Guachalito
Guachalito

A hidden region, difficult of access, with raw nature and large black sand beaches. We loved it. Very humid. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit on the Pacific Coast of Colombia: (+)

  • Ladrilleros and La Barra: The cheapest way to uncover the Pacific Coast. Departure by boat from Buenaventura.
  • Guachalito: The most beautiful part of the Pacific coast. Long beaches with nobody around.
  • Jovi: Tiny town with only 1 accommodation option. 0 tourist.
  • Termales: Little beach town with a cool vibe. Cool spot for surfers.
  • Jurubira: Another tiny beach town, with a few hotels.
  • El Valle: Small town with a cool vibe and beautiful beaches.
  • Bahia Solano: The “big city” on the Pacific coast. Not pleasant.

#7 The Amazon

Colombia itinerary

Add the amazon in your Colombia itinerary - Parrots going to bed at sunset - Leticia
Parrots going to bed at sunset – Leticia

A place to observe the wildlife through the jungle. We really like to kayak among the trees on the Amazon river. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit in the Amazon, Colombia: (+)

  • Leticia: The main city where are located most of the local travel agencies. It’s messy and big.
  • Puerto Nariño: Little town where no car or scooter are allowed. Only accessible by boat.

#8 Bogota and around

Colombia itinerary

Add the street arts in la Candelaria in your Colombia itinerary

Bogota is a vast capital city, surrounded by Paramos and waterfalls. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit around Bogota, Colombia: (+)

  • Bogota: An excellent city to understand the history of Colombia. Fantastic tours, delicious restaurants, and fun nightlife.
  • Suesca: The place to be if you want to rock climbing.
  • Tobia: A little town that offers many extreme sports activities.

#9 Meta and around

Colombia itinerary

Add Caño Cristales La Macarena in your Colombia Itinerary
Caño Cristales

A fantastic region that recently opens its doors to tourism. Mind-blowing rivers and outdoor activities. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit in the Meta, Colombia: (+)

  • San Jose del Guaviare: A place with a bloody past, nowadays safe. Many great day trips. Tours are mandatory.
  • Caño Cristales: One of the most beautiful rivers in the world. It’s mind-blowing.

#10 The Colombian islands

Colombia itinerary

Providencia Captain Morgan View
Providencia

Colombia has 3 islands far away from the coast. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the paradise islands in Colombia: (+)

  • Isla Gorgona: Island in the pacific ocean, world-famous for its fantastic diving spots.
  • Providencia: The most beautiful island in Colombia. Peaceful and no touristy. It’s a hidden paradise.
  • San Andres: Located near Providencia, the island is crowded by tourists. Lots of hotels. Good diving spots.

#11 Boyaca and around

Colombia itinerary

Villa de Leyva, view from el Santo
Villa de Leyva

A lovely region with cute colonial towns and hikes. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit in Boyaca, Colombia: (+)

  • Villa de Leyva: A romantic colonial town with delicious restaurants, SPA, and daily activities.
  • Mongui: A cute colonial town. It’s the departure point to the Paramo de Oceta.

#12 Santander and Around

Colombia itinerary

Chicamocha Canyon, San Gil
Chicamocha Canyon

A region that offers many extreme sports activities like rafting, cave exploring and bungee jumping. Get an overall idea and plenty of tips here.

List of the best places to visit in Santander, Colombia: (+)

  • San Gil: The main city to book your extreme sports activities.
  • Barichara: Well-know colonial town with a great view of the Chicamocha Canyon.
  • Cocuy: Famous national park with 3 sumptuous day treks. You can’t stay overnight anymore. The guide is mandatory.

Take into consideration the seasons when creating your Colombia Itinerary

Depending on the activities you plan to do, there are better months than others.

Must read: We give all the tip to find the best time for visiting Colombia

#1 The high season

Colombians and Americans love the Eastern Caribbean Coast. Be ready to be surrounded by tourists during national public holidays and from Mid-December to Mid-January. Also, don’t plan your 7 days in Colombia during the Holy Week.

#2 The Weather

There are rainy and dry months in Colombia. Although you shouldn’t worry too much about the rain – only intermittent strong but short rainfalls -, it should be something you should think of if you want to multi-day hike or practice many extreme sports.

  • Rainiest months: May and November
  • Driest months: January – March, July – August

Because of the high level of humidity, it’s extremely hard to predict the weather in Colombia. Don’t trust the meteorological websites.

#3 The festivals

Colombians love dancing and there is always a reason to celebrate. There is a full list written in our Ebook.

#4 The “special seasons”

There are Colombian places you want to visit for a specific reason. It would be silly to travel there during the wrong month.

  • Whale-watching on the Pacific Coast: From July to mid-September.
  • Opening season in Caño Cristales: Mid-June to End of November.

Example of Colombia Itineraries

Let me give you a few examples that you can use for your backpacking Colombia adventure or for creating your honeymoon itinerary.

Colombia Itinerary 1 week

Sunset coconuts Rincon del Mar | 1 week colombia itinerary
Rincon del mar

With 1 week only, you don’t want to spend too much time on transportation.

Let’s say you absolutely want to include Cartagena in your itinerary. An excellent Colombia tour would be:

Detailed of our 1 week in Colombia (+)

  • Day 1: Arrival in Cartagena. Stroll in the old city center.
  • Day 2: Book a tour to the Bazurto market then learn about the history of Cartagena in the afternoon.
  • Day 3: Departure to Rincon del Mar – 4 hours – and chill at the beach.
  • Day 4: Day trip to the San Bernardo Islands.
  • Day 5: Go fishing and snorkeling with locals then bioluminescent plankton at night.
  • Day 6: Beach, then drive back to Cartagena. Plan a romantic restaurant at night.
  • Day 7: Cooking Class for lunch or a private tour to La Boquilla.

Read more: Ideas for your 1 week in Colombia

Colombia Itinerary 2 Weeks

Jerico La nohelia coffee picking | 2 weeks colombia itinerary
La Nohelia, Jerico

Now, you’ve got more flexibility for getting around Colombia. Let’s try to organize an expedition to an off the beaten path destination. We will include Medellin in our Colombia itinerary for 2 weeks.

Detailed of our 2 weeks in Colombia (+)

  • Day 1: Arrival in Medellin. Explore the city.
  • Day 2&3: Plan some tours to understand Colombia’s history and how Medellin has changed over the years. And don’t forget to organize a paragliding session around 9 am to observe the city from the sky.
  • Day 4: Fly to Bahia Solano and take a tuk-tuk in the direction of El Valle.
  • Day 5 – 7: Explore the Pacific coast and chill at the beach. There is the waterfall El Tigre, whale-watching (from July to Mid-December), Playa Blanca, a tour through the mangroves, free some baby turtles on the beach.
  • Day 8: Fly back to Medellin then take a bus to Jerico
  • Day 9 – 10: Visit Jerico. There is a fantastic tour that goes to La Cascada Arco Iris and an easy hike to Parque de Los Nubes.
  • Day 11: Take the Chiva bus to Andes, then a bus to Jardin.
  • Day 12 – 13: Plan a day trip to Salto del Angel and Cueva de las Guacharos, a canyoning activity for beginners and a coffee tour in a traditional Finca.
  • Day 14: Drive back to Medellin | 4 hours

Colombia Itinerary 3 weeks

View from El Pico Loro in Pance, Cali | 3 weeks colombia itinerary
Pico Loro, Pance

3 weeks in Colombia is an excellent amount of time for exploring the country. This time, we will include Bogota and Cali in our Colombia itinerary for 3 weeks.

Detailed of our 3 weeks in Colombia (+)

  • Day 1: Arrival in Bogota
  • Day 2-3: Plan some tours to understand Colombia’s history and culture. There are many interesting museums in the capital. Night bus in the direction of San Jose del Guaviare.
  • Day 4-7: Explore the surroundings of San Jose del Guaviare then fly back to Bogota.
  • Day 8: Tour to explore another Bogota’s district then a night bus to Pereira.
  • Day 9: Visit of colonial town Marsella in the afternoon.
  • Day 10 – 13: 4-day trek in the Paramo Los Nevados + Thermal bath.
  • Day 14: Departure to Filandia | 1 hour.
  • Day 15: Explore Valle de Cocora.
  • Day 16: Bus to Buenavista & Paragliding session | 2 hours.
  • Day 17: Coffee tour.
  • Day 18: Bus to Cali | 6 hours.
  • Day 19-20: Canyoning and Pico Loro.
  • Day 21: Fly to Bogota.

Do you like our Colombia Itineraries? It’s our job to organize fantastic adventures in Colombia for our clients. Check out our services!

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Take a look at our interactive map to find out your next stop. Each destination is linked to a practical travel guide article.

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Colombia Itinerary Avoid making mistakes
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Best Places In Colombia: Travel Without Moving Your Butt

It’s time to discover the best places in Colombia! Thanks to Tristan Quevilly, admire astonishing pictures of Colombia without moving from your seat. 

Photos can be more powerful than thousands of words. There is no need to describe “The man jumping the puddle,” “The iconic V-J day in Times Square” or  “Tankman.”

It’s time to travel with your eyes, without breathing or thinking. Allow me 5 min of your precious time to convince you to plan your next vacation to Colombia.

Ready?

Vamos compañero.

1.  Bahia Solano, an underrated place to visit in Colombia

Places to visit in Colombia : Bahia Solano
Sunset from Bahia Solano on the Pacific Coast | Credit: @tristan29photography

Except for a few travelers, the Pacific Coast is an unexplored territory. After hundreds of years of slavery, many Afro-Colombians have run away from cities to live a peaceful life on the Pacific Coast. Nowadays, the inhabitants of this secret part of the world enjoy every day with dance, percussion music, coconut rice, and fresh fish.

Learn more about Bahia Solano (+)

As Buddha says, simple life = happy life.

The boat and the tuk-tuk are the only mode of transports to travel between the little towns nestled on the coast. Once there, grab one and explore El Valle and its surroundings.

But no worries, you don’t have to cross the rainforest on foot to arrive in this paradise. There are flights between the small airport in Bahia Solano and Medellin (Olaya Herrera Airport).

And for the most adventurous who want to visit this place in Colombia, boats are leaving from Buenaventura (Near Cali).

Tip: The Pelican House Hostel is a perfect place to spend your days.

2. Cabo de la Vela, perfect for Kitesurfers and desert lovers

Places to visit in Colombia: Cabo de la Vela
Pilón de Azúcar beach near Cabo de la Vela | @tristan29photography

Cabo de la Vela stands on the Western Caribbean Coast of Colombia, between a flat crystal-blue ocean and a mysterious yellowish desert. Along the main road, houses made of wood welcome the travelers keen to discover the biggest desert of Colombia.

Learn more about Cabo de la Vela (+)

I’m sure Cabo de la Vela will be one of the favorite places to visit in Colombia for wind lovers. Every day, a steady breeze helps kitesurfers to do great tricks above the water. And there are kitesurfing schools if you wanna give it a try 😉

Then, take a quick dip in Playa Pilòn de Azucar and observe a mesmerizing sunset from the lighthouse before getting to bed your hammock, under a shiny Milky Way. Still lulled by the wind.

Tip: Cabo de la Vela is the departure to explore Punta Gallinas, the northernmost point of South America.


Our Colombia Guide Book: Get it for Free!


3. Caño Cristales, one of the best places in Colombia to witness magical rivers

caño-cristales-meta-sierra-macarena-llanos-colombia
The river Caño Cristales near La Macarena | Credit: @tristan29photography

Like San Jose del Guaviare, La Macarena wasn’t a place where tourists could hang out 10 years ago. Both sites were surrounded by FARC, an important and dangerous guerrilla movement based in Colombia.

Learn more about Caño Cristales (+)

But the political situation has improved a lot in the country and peace agreement have been signed between the FARC and The government in 2017.

Nowadays, both places are ready to welcome tourists and show them the latest secret gems discovered in Colombia.

Caño Cristales offers amazing sceneries from June to the end of November. During this period of the year, the rains give life to colorful aquatic plants everywhere in the river. Blue, red, yellow, green … The result is astonishing!

It’s definitively one of the best places in Colombia.

4. Cartagena de Indias, one of the best places in Colombia for a romantic stay

Everything is chaotic; everything is nosy. 

But when you pass the clock tower gate, the magic happens like in a book by Gabriel García Márquez From there, a maze of colorful alleys and flourished balconies lead the travelers to the different colonial monuments. 

Learn more about Cartagena (+)

Explore, wander and lose yourself in the old city of Cartagena. However, there are so many exciting places to visit in Colombia that 2 nights are enough to appreciate the charm of it – Or maybe a little more if you’re a food addict who loves looking for delicious restaurants. 

Take the time to explore the Rosario islands before going back to the city for a last outstanding sunset from the walled city.

Tip: Become a pirate and travel to the San Bernardo Islands from Cartagena. 

Don’t forget to check out our Map of Colombia to find your next destination!

5. La Ciudad Perdida, one of the easiest places in Colombia to experience a 4-day trek through the jungle

The lost city in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta | @tristan29photography

You don’t decide to hike 4 days in the jungle to observe the ruins of the lost city. 

No, it’s not worth it.

You do it for the experiences and the challenges. You want to know how it feels to cross rivers and monkey bridges while it’s raining on your face. Would you be the next Indiana Jones? 

Learn more about the lost city (+)

5 certified companies are authorized to bring visitors to the lost city. During the adventure, the staff cooks tasty meals that give you enough energy to survive in this green maze. Plus, you will get the occasion to learn from the local guides the history and the culture of the indigenous living there.

For these inhabitants, the Sierra Nevada is a sacred place that deserves to be protected and respected. Praise Pachamama before sleeping in your hammock like a baby. You will need some good rest for this great adventure. 

Tip: Explore Minca if you don’t have the time to do the Lost City trek.

6. The Tatacoa Desert, one of the best places in Colombia to observe a starry night

The Tatacoa Desert near Neiva | Credit: @tristan29photography

Like Paulo Coelho, you want to look for your soulmate in the desert. But, unfortunately, you can’t add the La Guajira desert in your Colombia itinerary

No worries, there is another solution to wander between cactuses and mesmerizing shapes of rock. 

Learn more about Tatacoa (+)

Take a bus from Bogota till Neiva then jump in a shared jeep in the direction of Tatacoa. The small town of Villavieja is a perfect starting point to visit the two deserts in Tatacoa – Grey and Red – before cooling off in a pool. 

But stay awake! Because the Tatacoa desert is also the best place in Colombia to observe the stars and the Milky Way. Book a tour with the Astronomical Observatory and look for Martians or shooting stars. 


Create easily a stunning Colombia itinerary

#1 Get top quality content to plan your Colombia adventure

#2 Every week, we review a Colombia itinerary. Send yours!

#3 Get our top-notch guidebook to organize your trip for Colombia

Save time. Save money. Get the most of your trip.


7. Leticia, one of the best places in Colombia to explore the Amazon Forest

leticia-rio-amazonas-colombia
Sunset above the Amazon river near Leticia | Credit: @Tristan29photography

Each day flights lands in Leticia with a handful of travelers keen to live an original experience in the Amazon

The city, nestled on the banks of the Amazon river, is the starting point of many travel agencies offering 3-day tours, 4-day tours, night experiences, fishing and so on.

Learn more about Leticia (+)

Select your company carefully and remember that the Amazon is like Nikita – beautiful but dangerous. Avoid the cheapest agencies and don’t forget to check the conditions of your travel insurance.

However, depending on your plans, you don’t have to book a full tour.

There are fantastic reserves you can get access on your own and gorgeous eco-lodges offering daily activities. 

Tip: Visit Puerto Nariño, a small peaceful town located near Leticia.

8. Tayrona Park, one of the easiest places in Colombia to venture into a national park for a few days

The Beach Cabo San Juan in the National Park of Tayrona
The Beach Cabo San Juan in the National Park of Tayrona | Credit: @tristan29photography

I consider myself like an experienced traveler. However, I have to be honest with you guys. My sense of direction is bad. So bad that I think my mum forgot to add the function “compass” in my brain when I’ve been conceived.

Learn more about Tayrona (+)

Fortunately, I’m visiting places in Colombia with Adrien. He knows. 

I don’t mind being lost in a city or a small town. I truly believe it’s the best way to discover a place. Or maybe I’m looking for excuses :).

But this lack of direction is problematic when you hike within national parks. And Colombians are not big fans of signs. In short, I have to deal with it. 

Fortunately, it’s not the case with Tayrona. Take the secret entrance – Calabazo – and plan a 3-day trek in this national park located on the Western Caribbean coast of Colombia

By doing it differently from the other travelers, you will be able to sleep on secluded beaches and observe a lot more animals!

Tip: Discover where you can sleep around the national park of Tayrona to start early the next day! 

9. El Peñol, one of the best places in Colombia for the view

El Peñol, The Rock of Guatape | Credit: @tristan29photography

In Medellin, take the bus at the North Terminal to reach the colonial town of Guatape and El Peñol.

This giant granitic rock of 285 m high is one of the favorite touristic destinations in the department of Antioquia.

Learn more about El Peñol (+)

After climbing the 740 steps – gosh I hate stairs -, visitors can enjoy a beautiful view from the top. Try to get there at sunset if you decide to spend the night in Guatape. This colorful colonial town is located only 2 km away from El Peñol.

All around, green hills, artificial lakes and cozy hostels with hammocks provide a peaceful environment to rest from the city’s noises. 

Tip: Read how to reach Guatape and El Peñol on your own

10. The Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, a relaxing place to visit in Colombia

Sunrise from Cerro Kennedy, a 2-day hike starting from Minca | @Tristan29photography

The Caribbean coast of Colombia is not only about beaches. Take a shared jeep from Santa Marta to Minca and explore the Sierra Nevada of Santa MartaThese mountains are isolated from the Andes chain. The peak Cristobal Colon is the highest summit of Colombia with 5700 m.

Learn more about the Sierra Nevada (+)

Most of the Sierra Nevada is not open to the public because the national park is considered as sacred for the indigenous community living there. 

The most famous way to visit it is to book a 4-day tour to the lost city. 

But it’s not the only way.

You can travel to Minca to get a pleasant foretaste of the area. There, excellent accommodations like Casa Loma welcome travelers from all around the world. The place is a wonderful playground for bird lovers, waterfall addicts, and fans of organic coffees. 

It’s one of the best places in Colombia to observe birds!

Tip: Read our Minca travel guide to find the perfect accommodation.

All the pictures in this article have been taken by Tristan Quevilly. The quality of the photos has been reduced to improve the loading of this article. However, you can find them in better quality on his photography website. He took a lot of gorgeous pictures of Colombia.


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#2 Every week, we review a Colombia itinerary. Send yours!

#3 Get our top-notch guidebook to organize your trip for Colombia

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Colombia Itinerary: Forge Your Own Path

Every week, travel bloggers publish a new “perfect” Colombia Itinerary on the internet. They critic, the cold city of Bogota, accuse Cartagena of being a touristy golden prison and sing the praises of the nightlife in Medellin.

And, because they only have been backpacking for 1 month in the country, their Colombia itinerary looks the same.

I’m not saying they should stop writing about it. Thanks to travel bloggers, readers discover a brighter side of Colombia. They describe a land full of natural beauties and proud friendly locals instead of sticky, stinky clichés about FARC and Pablo Escobar.

However, my dear fellow travelers, I think that every “perfect Colombia itinerary” article should be taken with a grain of salt.

Yes, they are excellent to provide a first insight on your future trip. Yes, they save you hours of research.

But, don’t be lazy, you can do better. Work a bit more on your Colombia itinerary.

Be creative.

Go beyond the classic Gringo Trail.

Colombia itinerary Gringo Trail

A Classic Colombia Itinerary

The Gringo Trail, a classic Colombia Itinerary. We raise the questions

What’s the classic Gringo trail Colombia Itinerary?

In a word, it’s the roadmap that 80% of the travelers use when they organize a trip to Colombia.

Why do they follow each other like baby goats? (+)

  • Governments advise holding to touristy areas for safety reasons
  • There is still not much information about Colombia on the internet
  • People don’t have the time to spend hours on their itinerary – Or they don’t know how to do it
  • It’s easy to organize
  • It stops at the most well-known places. And people LOVE selfies with popular sites.

And I have to admit it. The gringo trail is a correct 2 -3 weeks Colombia itinerary. I will talk about the advantages and inconveniences later on. 

But for now, I bet you want to know more about it. Curious fella. Let’s unravel the holy trail.

Read more: Ideas for your 1 week in Colombia

1. Bogota, Should I stay or Should I go | 2 nights | Classic Colombia Itinerary

Mistakes people do in Bogota (+)

Travelers land in Bogota because there is an important international airport. Moreover, we all have an attraction to capitals in general. Otherwise, we can’t uncheck the country from our bucket list.

Usually, people don’t want to stay in Bogota. They decide to wast 2 days to explore la Candelaria, the Gold Museum and the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira. And, because they came with a bad a priori, they leave the capital with a bad memory.

Moreover, they never pick the right district. Fortunately, I tell you how to do it

It’s unfortunate because they miss many excellent tours! And the nightlife is even better than in Medellin. 

Where to stay in Bogota: Find out my favorite hostel

La Septima in Bogota

Credit: @t4tipal

2. A quick stop in Villa de Leyva | 1 night | Classic Colombia Itinerary  

Mistakes people do in Villa de Leyva (+)

After the cold weather of Bogota, travelers dream about one thing: The Caribbean Coast. While a few people book a national flight to Cartagena, others decide to travel through the countryside of Colombia to reach the coast. 

On the way, they stop at Villa de Leyva, a peaceful colonial town surrounded by hills. At the top, a white Jesus watches out for the inhabitants. Don’t mess up.  In town, uneven cobblestone streets lead the visitors to cloisters, churches, flourish squares and cozy cafes.

There are many buses between Bogota and Villa de Leyva.

Unfortunately, travelers don’t have the time to enjoy it as they leave the next day to Barichara, another colonial town.

Where to stay in Villa de Leyva: Find out my favorite hostel

Explore Villa de Leyva like an Insider

Click here to read our travel guides based on our experiences in Villa de Leyva

3. Barichara, the Legendary Colonial Town | 2 nights | Classic Colombia Itinerary

Why travelers go to Barichara (+)

The marketing department did a fantastic job with Barichara. Everyone knows it in Colombia. The place is gorgeous, ultra-romantic, and it faces a deep canyon – Chicamocha. Moreover, some agencies offer extreme sports activities like Paragliding or Rafting.

Then, travelers have the option to take a flight from Bucaramanga or experience a long night bus adventure to Santa Marta.

Where to stay in San Gil and Barichara: Find out my favorite hostel (In San Gil) | Find out my favorite hostel (In Barichara)

Cobblestone Street in Barichara
Cobblestone Street in Barichara

Credit: @kombirutera

4. Santa Marta, first steps on the “beach” | 2 nights | Classic Colombia Itinerary

Santa Marta is a medium-size city nestled on the Caribbean Coast. Some people consider it like a small Cartagena. I have no idea why. Maybe are they blind? The common point is an unpleasant beach only.

Why I don't like Santa Marta (+)

Tourists meet in the same area, near the square Los Novios. There, restaurants serve every kind of meals and waiters don’t even know how to speak Spanish anymore. Moreover, the outskirts of Santa Marta aren’t safe at night as thugs wait for wealthy on coke tourist to jump into their arms.

It doesn’t sound like a great city. So you’re probably wondering why people stop there?

Well, for many reasons:

Where to stay near Santa Marta:

Read our selection of the best hostels around Tayrona and Santa Marta

Visit Santa Marta like an Insider

Click here to read our travel guides based on our experiences in Santa Marta

4. The conquest of Tayrona national park | 1 night | Classic Colombia Itinerary

Tayrona National Park is the main reason why Santa Marta is so well-known. The size of the park makes day trips not worth it – Except if you take a speedboat from Taganga. But if you do the boat thing, you will miss the most exciting part: the expedition within the park.

Mistakes people do in Tayrona (+)

Experiences are making memories. Not tasteless selfies on a beach.

Tayrona is fantastic because you can stay as long as you want. There are two entrances – depends on if you like “hiking” or not. Once inside, visitors dip into a green universe made of creepers and monkeys.  The paths are clean and well enough indicated – So you don’t have to buy a machete or hire a guide.

And, after all the sweat and tears, gorgeous beaches protected by boulders welcome the muscle sours with sands, coconuts and cold water.

Conquer Tayrona like an Insider

Click here to read our complet travel guide based on our experiences in Tayrona
Tayrona National Park
The coast in the Tayrona National Park

Credit: @virenpawar.traveldiary

5. Cartagena, the Jewel of the Caribbean Coast | 3 nights | Classic Colombia Itinerary

Like Santa Marta, Cartagena attracts hundreds of North Americans who look for a place to rest for the week. The city can be divided into 4 parts.

Districts and things to do in Cartagena (+)

  • The old city center made of colonial buildings, flourish balconies and colorful doors. It’s gorgeous, but I don’t think many Colombians live there. There are mainly luxury hotels, restaurants, and gift shops.
  • Boca Grande is a little Miami with skyscrapers, resorts, and fast foods.
  • Getsemani is a backpacker empire. There are many hostels and affordable bars.
  • The rest of Cartagena is where locals live.

The few attractions are clustered in the same area. Hence, visitors go in circles and are bored quickly. Fortunately, they can organize a trip to the Rosario islands and finally enjoy beautiful beaches – the ones in Cartagena aren’t pleasant. 

Where to stay in Cartagena: Find out my favorite hostel

Entrance to the old town of Cartagena
The Old Town in Cartagena

Credit: @xandrasandiego

6. Nightlife in Medellin | 2 nights | Classic Colombia Itinerary

Mistakes people do in Medellin (+)

Travelers love to party in Medellin. It’s the drunk fun moment of their 2 – 3 weeks in Colombia. The majority of the tourists book their accommodations in El Poblado, a trendy district located in the South of the City.

There, trendy cafes offer social co-working spaces for the digital nomad community. At night, bars and nightclubs open their door to wealthy Colombians and foreigners.

They miss the opportunity to stay in Laureles and experience a more authentic Colombia daily life.

Why do travelers like the nightlife in Medellin?

  • The weather is great
  • It’s practical. Hostels, restaurants, and clubs are located in the same district
  • The inhabitants are welcoming. It’s easy to interact with them
  • The women are gorgeous

Then, between two hangovers, they organize a day trip to Guatape and try to attend a football game at the stadium.

What a pity!

Antioquia is one of the most beautiful departments in Colombia. There are many lovely colonial towns – like Jerico, Jardin, Salamina – and outdoor activities near San Rafael, San Carlos, San Francisco, and Tamesis.

Pick your district like an Insider

Where to stay in Medellin (1)
Click here to read our travel guide based on our 4-month experience in Medellin

7. The giant wax palm trees near Salento | 2 nights | Classic Colombia Itinerary

Mistakes people do in Salento (+)

Salento is the final stop of our Gringo Colombia Itinerary. This colonial town is a pleasant place with many cozy hotels. In town, there is a viewpoint where travelers can admire the many coffee plantations and the massive Los Nevados National Park.

From the main square, jeeps leave every morning to bring the visitors to Valle de Cocora, an impressive valley where giant wax palm trees stand like thin magic mushrooms.

Finally, after one last coffee tour on a local farm, travelers get back to Bogota to catch their flight.

They miss the occasion to push their boundaries with a multi-day hike in the National Park Los Nevados.

Salento is so touristy now that locals run away from the village – and also because they can’t pay the expensive rents anymore.

From Salamina, it’s possible to explore another valley with even more wax palm trees.

Where to stay in Salento: Find out my favorite hostel

Salento from the viewpoint
Salento

Credit: @Laserranasalento

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Learn more

The benefits of a classic Colombia Itinerary

The Gringo Colombia Itinerary is not all dark and bloody.

I did it when I came to Colombia for the first time. And I had lots of pleasure in doing so. 

Besides, it’s a practical itinerary.

I know that some of you don’t have the time, the knowledge or the energy to plan a customized trip. Hence, there is no harm in taking a shortcut.

With the gringo trail, the itinerary is optimized to get an overview of different parts of Colombia. It leads you to the most well-known spots of Colombia, and you won’t travel in circles. And, if you smartly use the night buses and cheap national flights, you shouldn’t waste too much time in the transportation.

Moreover, there are many buses connections between the different stops. It increases your flexibility, and it will be easier to deal with your logistical travel issues.

So, is the Gringo trail a wrong Colombia itinerary? I don’t think so.

But, there are such many Colombia Itinerary possibilities nowadays, that it would silly not to think about them. I want you to opt for the Gringo trail if you want it and not because it’s your default choice.

A donkey with lush green hills in the background in rural Colombia

The inconveniences of a Classic Colombia Itinerary

1. It's outdated (+)

It wasn’t recommended to travel to Colombia 20 years ago. But, as you know, the political situation has improved a lot, and more and more new destinations become accessible every year.

Before, the Gringo trail was almost the only safe option for the travelers. But those days are now behind us. There are such many different sceneries to explore that you should think about it twice before taking your decision.

2. The Gringo Trail is a passe-partout (+)

The Gringo Trail is for every traveler. You won’t make a mistake by choosing it. But maybe you’re not like everyone else. Perhaps you’re attracted by something specific. 

Colombia is a vast playground for many different kinds of travelers. Vacations are supposed to be a joyful moment that you wait with excitation every year.

Why don’t you pick one or two specific themes for your journey?

Instead of saying “Ok, this summer I visit Colombia,” try to tell “Ok, this summer I dive in Colombia” or ” I hike within the best National Parks,” etc…

Let’s snorkeling!

3. If you want to visit everything, you will end by doing nothing (+)

Colombia is a new touristic destination. It takes time to organize an unusual activity or to get somewhere off the beaten path.

If you take one bite at every place, you will never taste the best part of that cookie.

Yeah, I love cookies 🙂

Let’s use our 2 weeks Colombia itinerary as an example.

  • Near Bogota, there are many great day tours like hiking in the Paramos. But you won’t be able to do it if you only stay 2 nights in the capital.
  • Near Santa Marta, Minca is a fantastic place to rest and observe birds
  • From Cartagena, travelers can explore the gorgeous San Bernardo islands or Isla Grande. But it’s a long boat drive to get there. It’s not worth it to sleep 1 night only
  • There are at least 6 awesome destinations between Medellin and Salento
  • There are other options than Salento to discover Colombia’s coffee region

I think you will enjoy a lot more if you decide to stay a bit longer in each place. Thus, you should be able to organize unforgettable trips that tourists in a hurry can’t experience.

4. You will spend more money, time and energy (+)

I love numbers.

Let me convince you with exponential functions and logarithms.

Don’t stop reading. I’m joking.

By traveling fast, all your expenses increase quite a lot:

  • You multiply the numbers of long bus drives and national flights
  • You take more taxis to move everywhere in one day
  • You eat in restaurants only

And all these “expensive” travel moments are dedicated to transportation time. Although a flight is only 1 hour long, it will take at least 6 hours in total from door to door.

Moreover, traveling fast is exhausting. I heard many times travelers saying they are much more tired after than before their backpacking trip in Colombia. It doesn’t have to be that way. Travel at your own pace.

The concept is to minimize the number of buses and flights and spend all the extra time on new experiences.

Dunas de Macuira, La Guajira
Dunas de Macuira, La Guajira

Credit: @soycfrancisco

How to create a Colombia itinerary that suits you?

I wrote a free Colombia course to explain how I think travelers should proceed.

Nowadays, thanks to the internet, travelers have fewer difficulties in planning a trip to a country they’ve never been before. But it often seems like a mammoth task if you don’t know where to start. It’s why many tourists end to travel on the gringo trail only.

Step 1: First, you should focus on your travel personality and expectations.

What do you want? What do you expect?

Step 2: Do you have a crush on some places?

Don’t pick too many destinations. You should try to stay at least 1 week within the same region.

Step 3: Add secondary destinations

Once you’ve chosen your highlights in Step 2, you should “fill the blank” with places located in the same regions.

Examples:

Step 4: Create the roadmap

Whatever you’re planning a 1, 2 or 3-week Colombia itinerary, you should try to apply these 4 steps. 

Ready for an unforgettable adventure?

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Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena (2020): Make your choice

When planning a trip to Colombia, you will probably compare Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena. It’s a smart reaction and I invite you not to hurry up in your decision. It makes no sense to land in a city that you don’t want to visit.

Thanks to this post, you will be able to decide which city you will like the most, and you’ll get some kick-ass travel tips for each of them.

Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena: What you must know

Bogota: Bogota is a whirlwind hard to appreciate at the beginning. But the capital has a lot to offer throughout its events, world-famous restaurants, tours, and techno parties.

Medellin: Medellin is the city of the eternal spring. The trendy Cafes host a growing community of digital nomads and students keen to improve their Spanish before their next adventure into the fantastic department of Antioquia.

Cali: In Cali, everything relates to Salsa. Schools and professional teachers transform shy foreigners into amazing performers. They dance all night long, using their new Salsa moves with friendly locals.

Cartagena: The old city center of Cartagena de Indias is made of cobblestone streets, brightly colored houses and flourish balconies. At night, carriages drive lovers to expensive restaurants while youth backpackers enjoy the nightlife in Getsemani.

Culture: If you like to learn about history and culture, then you must head to Bogota.

Nightlife: Don’t hesitate to stay in Cali if you’re attracted by the world of Salsa. Otherwise, you will fall in love with Bogota – if you know where to go. Choose Poblado in Medellin if you don’t speak a word of Spanish.

Day trips: Antioquia is one of my favorite departments in Colombia. There are many colonial towns, waterfalls, treks within 2-4h from Medellin.

Safety: Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, and Cali are safe if you pick the right neighborhood. More Safety tips here.

Romantic trip: Cartagena will be the best fit, with its delicious restaurants, top-notch hotels, and pleasant alleyways.

Weather: Medellin’s weather is the most pleasant as it’s not too hot like in Cali or Cartagena. More weather tips here.

Off the beaten track: Avoid going to Cartagena, La Candelaria (Bogota), Poblado (Medellin).

Take a look at our table of contents to compare Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena.

How to decide which places you should add to your itinerary?

Places around Bogota, Cali, Cartagena, and Medellin

Take a look at our interactive map to find out your next stop. Each destination is linked to a practical travel guide article.

Click here to get access to 45 travel guides

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

Table of Contents: Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena

  1. Mini Bogota Travel Guide
  2. Mini Cartagena Travel Guide
  3. Mini Medellin Travel Guide
  4. Mini Cali Travel Guide
  5. Safety and Events in Big cities
  6. Start creating your itinerary
  7. Lay back while we do the hard job
Big best Cities to Visit in Colombia

Is Bogota worth visiting?

Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena

Bogota is the biggest city in Colombia. As any capital in the world, it’s messy, and inhabitants are usually unhappy – people who have been in Paris know what I’m talking about.

Moreover, the evenings are cold and La Candelaria is a dodgy district at night. For many of you, it won’t be the best city to visit in Colombia, especially if you only stay for 2 days.

Did I break the atmosphere? Yeah probably.  But ask the other travelers around you. They will tell you the same.

However, you can be the Chosen One who gonna learn how to enjoy the citySorry Neo. Because YES, it’s one of the best main cities to travel to Colombia and there are plenty of great experiences to live in Bogota.

Ready?

A view of the center of Bogota with the Andes

#1 Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena

You will prefer Bogota over Medellin, Cartagena and Cali if you:

You will be disappointed by Bogota if you:

#2 My favorite Bogota’s tips

Bogota is like coffee. You don’t like it first, but then you take another sip. And in the end, you love it.

Find out the clichés/truths/secrets about Bogota (+)

  • It’s cold at night. Don’t forget to take a pant and a jacket
  • The party district is around Parque de la 93 (Zona Rosa)
  • Check out the District G to find a good restaurant
  • It’s a bicycle-friendly city
  • The traffic jams are horrible
  • La Candelaria district is dodgy at night
  • Chapinero is a better district for booking accommodations
  • Bogota loves techno party events
  • It’s because of Justin Bieber that Graffitis are allowed in La Candelaria – True story.
  • There are many day trips outside of Bogota
  • Weekend in Villa de Leyva
  • Don’t hesitate to book a tour to discover the city. Many of them are excellent.

#3 Best things to do and see in Bogota

When I first came to Bogota, I was lost. It’s a huge city with 9 million inhabitants, and I had only heard about three things: La Candelaria, the Salt Cathedral, and the Gold Museum.

But there are many better options.

The capital of Bogota is an ideal place to plan cool tours and experiences.

Cool things you can do and see in Bogota (+)

Hiking day trips from Bogota (+)

Bogota is surrounded by the Andean mountains. There are also many different day-trips to do if you like hiking (with local guides):

Chingaza Lake

#4 Colombia’s nightlife: Bogota wins over Medellin

More and more Colombians fall in love with craft beers. Hence, famous breweries  – cerveceria – start appearing in Bogota. The majority of them are located in Teusaquillo  (South of Chapinero district).

You can spend a fun time with these guys and learn basic Salsa steps at night.

Excellent Breweries in Bogota (+)

  • Asilo Bar
  • Radio Transistor Bar
  • Animal Noise
  • Statua Rota

While it’s fun to wander among the graffiti streets, La Candelaria is not the best option for going out at night.

There are new clubs every week in La Zona Rosa (Around Parque 93). It’s one of the safest districts in Bogota where wealthy Colombians like to party, especially on Pay Day. But don’t expect to find great parties on Sundays and Mondays.

Where to party in Bogota (+)

Most of the clubs have a dress code (No flip-Flop and shorts), and you will have to pay a cover to get in (Around 20 000 COP).

Nomadic hustle has given up his liver to explore the best clubs of the Zona Rosa.

Nightlife in Bogota, major city in Colombia

Another and cheaper option is to discover the nightlife in Chapinero. Nightclubs are more scattered in the district so I would advise you to get an Uber or a taxi.

Nightclubs in Chapinero:

  • Theatron
  • Video Club
  • Cachao
  • Latino Power

More information:

GreyWorldNomads had a great time in Bogota

5# Map of Bogota, Colombia

Check out the Map of Bogota, Colombia to get a better visualization of the districts.

The Districts in Bogota Best cities to visit in Colombia
The Districts in Bogota

Read more: Our top-notch Bogota travel guide

Is Cartagena worth visiting?

Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena

Cartagena de Indias was the first to shine on the international stage, and it became THE place to be on the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

Giants buildings popped up in Boca Grande to welcome wealthy tourists and Colombians who rush every summer holidays into the city to wander among the cobblestone streets. The old city center and its colonial houses are astonishing, and lovers will spend some great romantic days there.

Because of mass tourism, there are less and less authentic experiences in Cartagena de Indias. For me, it’s my least favorite major city to visit in Colombia and visitors shouldn’t spend much of their time there. Except if they want to chill and do nothing.

City wall cartagena
Old city center

#1 Cartagena VS Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali

You will prefer Cartagena over Bogota, Medellin, and Cali if you:

You will be disappointed by Cartagena if you:

  • Can’t deal with hot weather and street sellers.
  • Don’t like hanging out with tourists.
  • Travel on a shoestring budget.
  • Hope to be soaked by Colombia’s culture.

#2 My favorite Cartagena’s tips

Things you should know about Cartagena (+)

  • Boca Grande district doesn’t look like Colombia. I am surprised they still speak Spanish.
  • The beaches in town are disappointing. 
  • The prices increase by 2 or 3 during the high season (December to February)
  • Don’t take the 1-day tour to the Rosario Islands or the Mud Volcano trip. It’s not worth it.
  • Yes, it can rain on the Caribbean Coast. Rainy months are April, May, September, October, and November.
  • Getsemani district is cheaper and 5 min away from the city center
  • You can use public transportation to travel to the various islands around. Avoid weekends.
  • You can take a shuttle to get to Isla Baru.
  • Cartagena is a friendly city to visit with kids

#3 Best things to do and see in Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias is a city where you are bored after a few days. There is no museum or fun things to do during the day – Except wandering in Old city and Getsemani. However, there are some fantastic islands to discover.

Fun things to do in Cartagena (+)

Map of Cartagena and Around
Activities Around Cartagena

#4 Where to go out in Cartagena de Indias

Usually, wealthy tourists go out in the old city center. There are many bars and a few nightclubs with a strict dress code. Grab this opportunity to learn Salsa.

Bars in the old city center (+)

  • Salsa Donde Fidel | Tiny Salsa Bar
  • La Jugada Clubhouse | Trendy/hype 3-floors nightclub
  • Beer lovers | Large choice of Craft beers
  • Alquimico Bar| Excellent cocktails

I prefer the nightlife in Getsemani. Travelers meet on Trinidad square to watch bands performing music and other shows. Plus, there is a little shop around the corner where people buy cheap cold beer in a bottle. I love frozen Aguila.

Then the party goes on in the different clubs around.

Bars and clubs in Getsemani (+)

  • Bazurto Social Club | Champeta music
  • Demente | Cocktail bar
  • Havana Cafe | Salsa music
  • Mister Babilla | Crossover Music
  • Ethical Bar| Cheap & Fun, perfect for backpackers
  • Black Parrot | Rock

#5 Map of Cartagena

Check out the Map of Cartagena, Colombia to get a better visualization of the districts.

Map of Cartagena, one of the largest cities in Colombia
Map of Cartagena, Colombia

Must read: Our kick-ass Cartagena Travel guide.

Is Medellin worth visiting?

Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena

Because of the drug wars in ’80s-’90s, Medellin wasn’t one of the best major cities to visit in Colombia. Murders, bombs, and kidnapping are not ideal ingredients for a successful party.

But today, everything is different. Indeed, Medellin attracts the majority of the ex-pats and the digital nomads coming to Colombia.

Why?

The answer is simple.

There is perfect weather, a fantastic department (Antioquia), a fun nightlife, friendly inhabitants and the subway serves all the different districts, even the poor communities, to fight against the partitioning.

For many travelers, Medellin is the best main city to visit in Colombia.

Cable Car Medellin
Cable Car in Medellin

#1 Medellin VS Cali VS Bogota VS Cartagena

You will prefer Medellin over Cali, Bogota, and Cartagena if you:

  • Want to easily find parties on the weekend.
  • Appreciate nice weather – albeit raining some months.
  • Plan various weekend trips to colonial towns.
  • Want to meet friendly locals.
  • Think to add the Pacific coast on your itinerary.
  • are a digital nomad.

#2 Our favorite Medellin’s tips

Medellin attracts more and more tourists so you’ll have to get off the beaten path to find the best authentic experiences. Let’s find out the different tips I learned from my various stays in the city.

Things you shold know about Medellin (+)

  • Nightlife in Medellin is almost dead from Sunday to Wednesday
  • Poblado district is great to hang out an afternoon, but it’s not the best district to stay in Medellin
  • Laureles district is a lot more authentic
  • The Metro is perfect, cheap and easy to use. Find a hostel near a metro station
  • Don’t joke about drugs and Pablo Escobar
  • You have to book the Free Walking tour a few days in advance
  • If you have time, don’t book a tour to travel to Guatape. It’s super easy to get there.
  • Bandeja Paisa is their regional meal
  • The inhabitants are called Paisa
  • Don’t visit Pueblito Paisa. It’s boring.
Explor park in Medellin -E- Fotos593
Explorer park in Medellin
| Shutterstock: Fotos593

#3 Best things to do and see in Medellin

With the aerial metro, it’s easy to reach the different parts of the city. Here is a list of cool things to do:

Cool things to do in Medellin (+)

Must read: Find even more things to do in Medellin here.

Excellent day trips and weekend trips (+)

I’m fond of the Antioquia Region. There are tons of trips you can organize on your own. Or we can help you.

  • Day trip to El peñol and Guatape | 2 hours by bus.
  • Day trip to El Puente de Occidente & Santa Fe de Antioquia | 1h30 by bus.
  • Weekend trip to swim in the beautiful rivers of San Rafael and San Carlos.
  • Hike to the Paramo de Belmira and stay overnight in Horizontes. More information.
  • 3-day hiking trip to the Paramo del Sol.
  • Get your shot of adrenaline in Tamesis
  • Be soaked by the friendly atmosphere of Jardin and Jerico.

Where to learn Spanish in Medellin (+)

Medellin is also one of the best cities to visit in Colombia to learn Spanish. The Paisas don’t have a strong accent, and they love speaking with everyone. Check out: 

Map Metro Of Medellin
Map Metro Of Medellin

#4 Where to go out in Medellin

Must read: Learn everything about Medellin´s nightlife

As in Bogota, there are cool breweries in Medellin. You should check them out if you’re a fan of craft beers:

Where to drink craft beers in Medellin (+)

  • Apostol | Sabaneta Station
  • 3 Cordiellaras | Industriales Station
  • Bogota Beer Company | Poblado Station
  • 20 missions Cerveza | Ciudad del Rio

Read the Craft beer guide written by Medellin Guru to learn more about it.

At night, travelers love partying in Poblado, the wealthiest district of Medellin. They meet at Lleras park, drinking cheap aguardiente directly from the tetra pack on the stairs before heading to the different clubs/bars around.

Where to party in Medellin (+)

  • El Social
  • Calle 9+1
  • Gusto
  • Salon Amador
  • Bendito Seas Fonda

And visitors who don’t travel on a shoestring budget can enjoy the sunset from one of the trendy rooftops around:

  • Alambique
  • Envy (Charlee hotel)
  • Woka Lounge
  • Vaggart

But Poblado is the party district for Gringos. Only a few of them are aware of the other nightlife spots.

To get a more authentic Colombian nightlife, surrounded by sweaty bodies moving on Salsa & Bachata beats, you have to party in Laureles. And your wallet should be grateful too.

The Carrera 70 is perfect to start the evening. There are bars and restaurants on both sides of the street. Then head to the Calle 33 to find a club where practicing your Spanish and dance skills.

  • Son Havana (Salsa Bar) | Carrera 70
  • Garganta | Calle 33

And, if you want to dance in roomy clubs with wealthy Colombians and pay expensive cocktails, take an Uber to Barrio Colombia or Las Palmas.

  • Jesus Dulce Mio | Las Palmas
  • Prizma | Barrio Colombia

Medellin is also becoming a great LGBT friendly city

Nightlife in Medellin
Nightlife in Medellin

#5 Map of Medellin, one of the largest cities in Colombia

Check out the Map of Medellin, Colombia to get a better visualization of the districts.

Map Where to stay in Medellin

Must read: Our top-notch Medellin travel guide

Is Cali worth visiting?

Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena

I lived in Cali for more than 1 month, and let me tell you this: Don’t expect to be elected King and Queen of the Prom if you don’t want to dance Salsa in Cali.

Kids learn the basic steps with their Mum, and it becomes as natural as breathing.

Cali will be a great stop if you want to enjoy a nightlife different from home. Every night, Salsa lovers meet in a different club to express their feelings through hypnotic movements. The Subdued lights give a romantic atmosphere while other people sit and drink around the dance floor. When the music stops, a few stand up, and without a word, they stretch out a hand to ask for the next dance.

You don’t dance Salsa because you want to seduce your partner. You do it because you like it. There is no underlying message.

Travelers think there is nothing to do in Cali, except dancing Salsa. They are wrong. Mitch proves it in his excellent article about the best things to do in Cali.

San Antonio in Cali

#1 Cali VS Bogota VS Medellin VS Cartagena

You will prefer Cali over Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena if you:

  • Look for authentic Salsa vibe
  • Want to dance with locals
  • Plan to visit the South of Colombia.

You will be disappointed by Cali if you:

  • Hope to visit a beautiful city
  • Don’t like dancing
  • Like museums

#2 Our favorite Cali’s tips

Things you should know about Cali (+)

  • Granada, above the park San Antonio, and El Peñon are the safest districts
  • Miraflores is becoming super trendy
  • Don’t go in Cali East
  • San Antonio district can be a little dodgy at night
  • Try the mangos with salt + Limes and Cholado (Sweet fruit salad)
  • Take a hostel with Pool. Cali can be super warm
  • There is a party every night
  • From Cali, you can travel to the Pacific Coast
  • Cali is one of the best cities to visit in Colombia to dance Salsa

#3 Best things to do and see in Cali

Salsa is the main thing to do in Cali. However, there are a few other activities for having fun during the day.

Cool things to do in Cali (+)

  • Go to the River El Pance on Sundays to quell your hangover
  • Learn Salsa (Obvious)
  • Hike to Las 3 Cruces – Do it with a group
  • Take a dip at Charco Escondido
  • Chill out in Antonio Park
  • Tubing in San Cipriano (3 hours away)
  • Swim in the crystal blue water of El Danubio
  • Hike to Pico de Loro
  • Organize a Canyoning expedition
  • Plan a comprehensive tour of Cali
Main Square Cali – Credit: Danaan/ Shutterstock

#4 Where to go out in Cali

There are 2 districts to hang out in Cali.

Where to go out in San Antonio (+)

San Antonio district is near the center. It’s usually the home base for many backpackers with many hostels and Salsa Schools. Unfortunately, the neighborhood can be unsafe after 10 pm. Then, it’s better to take a cab or go out with a group.

Check out :

  • San Antonio park to drink a pack of beer and try the street foods. There are tons of different sauces. It’s insane. I love it.
  • La Colina. It’s the oldest bar in Cali. I love the vibe there.
  • BBC Bodega

Where to party in Granada (+)

Granada is a trendy district with bars and restaurants. It’s a great option to start the night.

  • Bourbon St | Rock bar
  • Zaperoco | Salsa bar, live music on Thursdays
  • Cali Musical Hall | Live DJ
  • La Fuente de Soda | Live music, rock
  • Casa Jaguar | Trendy night club with an open sky room, electro

Where to dance Salsa in Cali (+)

As I told you earlier, there are parties every night of the week – except on Sunday. Even God takes a day off.

There is an informal week schedule in Cali. Thus, salsa lovers (foreigners+ locals) can meet in the same club.

  • Monday: Las Brisas & La Topa Tolandra
  • Tuesday: Mazao in Parque del Perro or Siboney near Parque Alameda
  • Wednesday: Topa Tolandra
  • Thursday: Rincon de Heberth
  • Friday: Don Fabio
  • Saturday: Everywhere

Where to party hard in Cali (+)

In the center, bars close at 1.am. Fortunately, there are 2 areas outside the city where the parties continue until the first rays of the sun! There are many club options.

  1. Menga
  2. Juanchito

#5 Map of Cali

Check out the Map of Cali, Colombia to get a better visualization of the districts.

Maps of Cali Best cities to visit in Collombia
Map of Cali

Must read: Our top-notch Cali travel guide

Safety and Events In The Largest Cities In Colombia

Bogota VS Medellin VS Cali VS Cartagena

Safety in Colombia improves every day. But don’t forget you will travel to South America. Your iPhone 8 represents 2 or 3 times a monthly average wage. Petty thefts are not unusual in the largest cities of Colombia. Follow the basic rules of safety and common sense to keep your valuables safe 😉

Read our article about Safety in Colombia

Colombians love partying. Hence, they organize many events all year long. It’s the best way to experience the fantastic Colombia vibe.

Read our article to know the best events in the big cities of Colombia

How to decide which places you should add to your itinerary?

Best information = Best decisions

Why bother if do it better?

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Mini travel guides best cities to visit in Colombia
Mini travel guides best cities to visit in Colombia

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Best Places To Visit In Colombia: 14 travel explanations to help you out

To help you to plan your future trip to Colombia, I wrote down 14 best places to visit in Colombia

Before traveling to a country, I like to know the must-see places. Who knows, I could fall in love with a picture and decide to organize my journey around it.

And NO,

It’s not a tourist trap article. Don’t assume it’s (only) a list of easy Gringo Trail’s Highlights you could read everywhere else. After 2 years backpacking through the country, I give you 14 best places to visit in Colombia

It’s a vast country with many things to do. Hence, I find it hard to decide on everyone which ones you must see, especially if you travel for 2 or 3 weeks only. After all, each traveler expects something different from his adventure.

So I selected 14 themes with one “winner” for each.

Grab your notebook and a pen. There is a damn hard mission waiting for you:

  • Which best places to visit in Colombia should you include on your itinerary?
  • What are the unusual places to visit in Colombia?
Map Tourist Colombia attractions

Map – What to do in Colombia


Create easily a stunning Colombia itinerary

#1 Get top quality content to plan your Colombia adventure

#2 Every week, we review a Colombia itinerary. Send yours!

#3 Get our top-notch guidebook to organize your trip for Colombia

Save time. Save money. Get the most of your trip.


1. San Gil, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for Extrem Sensation lovers

There are two options if you plan to travel to the Caribbean coast of Colombia from Bogota. You can buy a cheap flight ticket with Viva Colombia, or you can take the bus.

Most of the time, buses are cheaper, but it’s a long way to arrive at Cartagena de IndiasTake this opportunity to stop in the department of Santander! Thus, you could visit Barichara, a lovely colonial town, and you will get your adrenaline fix.

Indeed, San Gil is a perfect Colombia place to visit for people looking for fun activities. Try the rafting level 5 on the Magdalena river, fly above the fantastic Chicamocha Canyon or jump off a bridge – But, don’t forget the elastic rope.

After that, you deserve to chill on the beaches around Cartagena

How to travel to San Gil (+)

  • Buses from Bogota: Around 7 hours / 45 000 COP
  • Buses from Santa Marta: Around 13 hours / 80 000 COP
  • Buses from Cartagena – 2 Buses. You have to first stop in Barranquilla
  • Fly to Bucaramanga then 2 hours bus to San Gil

Accommodation in San Gil

Lanscape around chicamocha Canyon near San Gil
Chicamocha Canyon

2. Isla Tintipan and Isla Mucura, 2 of the best places to visit in Colombia for chilling

Beaches on the Caribbean coast of Colombia are lovely, but it’s not white sand and blue crystal water.

If you want the perfect selfie with your coconut and a paradisical background -to make your friends jealous and sad -, you should travel to the islands around.

The cutest island is Providencia, but it’s quite an adventure to get there – It’s near Nicaragua. However, there are two islands, not so far from the coast, which will be perfect for your I want my butt tanned‘s stop.

From Cartagena, Tolu or Rincon del Mar, you can take a boat to discover the Archipelago of San Bernardo and sleep on Isla Mucura or Isla Tintipan. White sands, few tourists, palm trees, coconuts, and rum. What do you need more?

How to travel to San Bernardo (+)

Woman´s hand holding a Pina Colada drink San Andres Colombia tourist attraction


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3. Medellin, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for city lovers

Don’t want to find sand inside your ears for days? Skip the beaches and enjoy the ideal weather of Medellin.

Its nickname is “Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera.” It means the “City of Eternal Spring.” Many of my long-term travel friends have been stuck in Medellin for more than a few days.

It’s such a welcoming place! The inhabitants are extremely polite and kind. They almost must help you. Also, there are two awesome districts (Laureles and Poblado), great restaurants, lovely cafe to take the sun on the terrasse and fun parties. It’s hard to resist guys. I guess this is why many digital nomads decide to live in Medellin. Or Spanish students ;)

Medellin is the capital of the department of Antioquia.

And there are many fantastic trips to do around like Guatape, Jerico, Jardin, and the Pacific coast!

How to travel to Medellin (+)

  • Bus from Bogota: Around 65 000 COP / 9 hours
  • Bus from Cali: Around 65 000 COP / 9 hours
  • Bus from Manizales: Around 35 000 COP / 5 hours
  • Bus from Cartagena: Around 100 000 COP / 13 hours

Accommodation in Medellin

Learn the best tips to decide where to stay in Medellin

Sunrise in Medellin
Sunrise in Medellin

4. El Peñol de Guatape, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for the view

El Peñol is the most famous Colombia sightseeing near Medellin. You can easily get there by yourself with a bus – a couple of hours.

Then, you will have to climb the 750 stairs to arrive at the top of this giant monolith. You will see, It’s a perfect ratio Pain/ reward. A viewpoint from a tower is cool, but you don’t deserve it so much. You’re just taking the lift. Here, your legs will hurt, and you will probably make one break or two – if your only sport is beer pong.

From the “peak,” grab a delicious fruit juice and enjoy an incredible 360-degree view of the department of Antioquia. 

And don’t forget to visit the cute village of Guatape before going back to Medellin. It’s a perfect colonial town surrounded by lakes and mountains. Don’t hesitate to sleep there 1 or 2 nights if you’re not in a rush.

How to travel to Guatape (+)

Accommodation in Guatape

View from the top of El Peñol
View from the top of El Peñol

Don’t forget to check out our Map of Colombia to find your next destination!

5. Jardin, one of the best places to visit in Colombia to travel out of the Gringo Trail

There are plenty of beautiful colonial towns in the department of Antioquia and the coffee region. At first sight, they seem pretty similar: cobblestone streets, white wall and colorful windows, a HUGE church and a lovely main square with trees and benches.

However, some of them have more character.

Personally, I love Jardin. It’s one of the best Colombia travel destinations. 

The town is surrounded by coffee plantations, waterfalls, old cable cars and Colombians wearing cowboy’s hat while drinking their coffees.

It’s a perfect stop if you plan to travel from Medellin to Salento.

Read more: Get our favorite highlights in Jardin

How to travel to Jardin (+)

Accommodations in Jardin

Colorful chairs on the main square - Jardin
Colorful chairs on the main square – Jardin

6. Valle de Cocora, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for contemplating giant wax palm trees

Do you think this title is weird?

I agree. But there is a reason behind it. Do you know the joke:

How do the dwarfs wash their testicles?  By running naked in the grass during the morning dew… Haha.

I love stupid jokes. Anyway, it matches perfectly with Cocora Valley. Tall wax palm trees – up to 60 m- stand up like giants, and there is no other tree around. Only green grass.

It’s a perfect option if you like to hike 4-5 hours without a guide. You cross monkey bridges, take slow-motion videos of hummingbirds, and at the end, you wander in this unreal valley – But you maybe should keep your clothes on.

With its astonishing landscape, Valle de Cocora is one of the best things to do in Colombia.

Read more: Find out our best highlights for Salento

How to travel to Valle de Cocora

How to Valle de Cocora (+)

Take a jeep on the main square in Salento: 20 min / 3 000 COP

More explanation in our itinerary about Guatape, Jardin, and Salento

Accommodation in Salento

On the way to Valle de Cocora
On the way to Valle de Cocora

7. Filandia, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for experiencing the coffee culture

Every morning, it’s the first thing you do. You walk with the eyes half-closed to the kitchen, and you press the button.

*Bip 

The sound of the dark brown liquid dropping in the cup and the aromas flying around your nostrils start waking you up.

Yes, I’m speaking about coffee.

I’m sure you know that Colombia is world wild famous for its coffee. And there is one region called La Zona Cafetera where many local farmers grow the beans. Salento is the most known colonial town in the area. 

But Filandia is another lovely town under the radar of the gringo community. If you look at a place somewhat away from the main Colombia tourist attractions, it’s a place you should definitively think to add to your Colombia itinerary.

Read more: Get our favorite highlights for Filandia

How to travel to Filandia (+)

Bus from Armenia: 1 hour / Around 7 000 COP

Or bus from Pereira: 1 hour / Around 7 000 COP

Accommodation in Filandia

Houses in Filandia - Matyas Rehak
Houses in Filandia – Credit: Matyas Rehak / Shutterstock

8. Tierradentro, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for learning about underground tombs

Colombia doesn’t have important archaeologic sites like Peru or Mexico. However, you can still learn a lot about the indigenous living here before the invasion by the Spaniards.

The most famous Colombian ruins are in San Agustin – An important site where more than 500 statues have been discovered.

But did you hear about Tierradentro?

If you are a history lover and you plan to travel to the south of Colombia, it would be a great stop to add to your itinerary.

These underground tombs – some measuring up to 12 m wide and 7 m deep – are located in 4 areas in the park of Tierradentro and describe the daily life and the rituals of the indigenous in the years 700 AD.

More information: Unesco Website

Read more: Get our favorite travel tips for Tierradentro

How to travel to Tierradentro (+)

Bus from Popayan: Around 35 000 COP / Around 6 hours

Or

Bus from San Agustin:

  • San Agustin to Pilato: Around 5000 COP / 45 min
  • Bus Pilato to La Plata at 6 or 10 am: Around 22 000 COP / 3 hours
  • La Plata San Andres at 4 pm: Around 12 000 COP / 1.5 hours
Inside of a tomb - Tierradentro
Inside of a tomb – Tierradentro

9. Caño Cristales, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for falling in love with nature

If a rainbow could be liquid, it will be like Caño Cristales.

Don’t you believe me? Check out the pictures below 😉

Crazy, right?

It was under FARC control for a while. Thus it was impossible to get access to it. But not anymore! During the raining season, weird colorful algae grow up in the river’s bed. And when the sun goes out, the result is astonishing.

It’s a protected area with several rules to follow (No sunscreen, guides, etc.)

How to travel to Caño Cristales (+)

  • Flights from Bogota: From 220 000 COP

Or

  • 2 buses: Bogota- San Vincente & San Vincente – La Macarena: Around 120 000 COP / 24 hours

Our insider travel guide to visit Caño Cristales

Based on our travel experiences
River Cano cristal in Tourist Colombia Attractions

10. Puerto Nariño, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for living in the jungle

Amazon is a paradise for bird and monkey lovers. Most of the travelers choose to stay in Leticia, but there is another little town – only 3000 people – just 3 hours away by boat.

Puerto Nariño is considered as the green lungs of Colombia. The inhabitants are not allowed to use scooters or cars, and they care a lot about their environment.

If you decide to sleep at Casa de Aguila, you will have the opportunity to nap in your hammock while a monkey is stealing your bananas.

There are many local guides and Colombia travel agencies in town that organize day trips in the jungle. Would you be able to sleep among the dancing shadows of nature at night?

How to travel to Puerto Nariño (+)

Accommodation in Puerto Nariño

Sunset on the amazon River
Sunset on the Amazon River

11. Punta Gallinas, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for being lost in a desert

Don’t you like spiders and ugly pink dolphins?

It’s alright. Instead of traveling to the south of Colombia, go to the northernmost point of South America. Enjoy the silence of the desert and the shining stars in the sky. And maybe, like Santiago – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho – you will meet the love of your life in the desert.

I found my behalf in Punta Gallinas. She is large, and I can sleep inside it. Yes, it’s a hammock. In La Guajira, the indigenous Wayúus use to sleep in these large hammocks called Chinchorro.

From Cabo de la Vela, you can easily book a 2 days tour to Punta Gallinas. The landscape is outstanding, and the contrast between the colors makes that place magical.

Moreover, you will enjoy the best Colombia sunsets.

How to travel to Punta Gallinas (+)

Kids in Punta Gallinas - Ekaterina McClaud
Kids in Punta Gallinas with a lagoon in the background – Credit: Ekaterina McClaud / Shutterstock

12. Capurgana, one of the best places to visit on the Caribbean Coast

Amazon in Colombia is fun, but there is no beach. La Guajira is magical, but there is no river or forest. If you like to get jungle, rivers, and sand at the same time, I have the ideal place for you guys.

Capurgana is only accessible by boat or flight (once a week), and the inhabitants are living in their own tiny universe. I stayed there when I was working as a guide on San Blas.

In my opinion, it’s a perfect balance between activities and chill. In 2 days, you quickly know where the best juices, restaurants and snorkeling spots are. Then you walk barefoot down the streets and order every evening for sunset, a Coco Loco at the bar on the beach.

I stayed more than one year in Capurgana and it’s a perfect vacation spot in Colombia.

How to travel to Capurgana (+)

Read our detailed guide about Capurgana and Sapzurro

Accommodation in Capurgana

The dock of Capurgana - Credit :Juanillo1970 / Shutterstock
The dock of Capurgana – Credit: Juanillo1970 / Shutterstock

13. How to explore the Tayrona National Park of Colombia

I think you’ve already heard about this one. It’s the most visited Colombia tourist attractions on the Caribbean Coast.

And there is a reason why. It’s an awesome National Park! Depending on your time, you can easily spend 2 to 4 days in Tayrona. Follow the different paths, spot the monkeys in the lush vegetation and chose your favorite beach to stay for the night. There are few campings and restaurants inside.

It’s better to sleep near the entrance of the Tayrona National Park to enjoy the most of your visit. Thus, you will be able to let your big backpack at the reception of your hotel and start hiking early in the morning.

Hiking within the national parks in one of the best activities in Colombia. Don’t miss it!

How to visit Tayrona like an insider (+)

Accommodations near Tayrona

My favorite hostels around Tayrona National Park

The beach of Cabo San Juan in Tayrona
The beach of Cabo San Juan in Tayrona

14. Cocuy, one of the best places to visit in Colombia for hiking mountains

In love with mountains and fresh air?

Let the beaches for lazy tourists and explore something BIG! La Sierra Nevada del Cocuy belongs to the Cordillera Orientals mountains of the Andes. Within the set of highlands, you will wander between Fraijones -plants -, glacier and unforgettable landscapes. But you have to deserve it, the hikes are not short!

Once in Guican or Cocuy, you have to find a guide and register at the Park Office. Nowadays, only three 1-day trips are authorized: Laguna Grande, El Pulpito, and Ritabuca.

You will hike above 4000m high, so don’t forget about acclimatization 😉

How to travel to the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy

How to travel to the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy (+)

Bus from Bogota to Cocuy: Around 9 hours / 45 000 COP

Landscape in the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy
Landscape in the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy

So, which Colombia tourist attraction would you pick up for your itinerary?

Would you like to discover more places and activities in Colombia? Read the Colombia post written by Travelgal Nicole! 


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Colombia Caribbean Coast: Tips, Budget, and Itinerary

Would you like to explore the Colombia Carribean Coast?

Every time I’m thinking about the Colombia Caribbean coast, I’m under a palm tree, watching my imaginary girlfriend – she is a mermaid – swimming in the crystalline blue water, my feet half-buried in the white sand and a half-finished cocktail in my right hand. A few meters away, there is my other love waiting for me below the roof made of bamboo, my hammock.

Caribbean Beach

Most of us are making a mistake to associate the word “Caribbean” with “Luxury; Expensive; Resort, SPA, private yacht.”

But fellow travelers, I’ve got great news. We can have a significant slice of this paradise! You can also spend cheap Caribbean holidays with a mix of adventures, jungle, islands, white-sand Colombia beaches, desert.

How is it possible?

The answer is in one word.

COLOMBIA!

As you probably know, Colombia is becoming safer and safer every day, and it’s THE rising star in tourism.

Which are the different places?
How much do you need?
How long should you stay
?

How to get there?

I’m going to explain to you how you could travel for more than 3 weeks on the Colombia Caribbean coast with your lover for less than 3 000$.

Plus, I drew many maps of the Colombian coast!

Table of contents: Caribbean Coast of Colombia

  1. Reason 1: To Receive A Life Lesson
  2. Reason 2: Beaches are Boring
  3. Reason 3: Colombian Caribbean Coast is not famous yet
  4. The stops on the Colombia Caribbean Coast 
    1. Capurgana and Sapzurro
    2. Isla Fuerte
    3. San Bernardo Archipelago: Isla Mucura and Casa En El Agua
    4. Cartagena de Indias
    5. Minca
    6. The National Park Tayrona
    7. Palomino
    8. Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas
    9. San Andres and Providencia
  5. Attempted graph 
  6. Colombia Itinerary: 26 days on the Colombia Caribbean Coast (with map)
    1. From Capurgna to Isla Fuerte
    2. From Isla Fuerte to San Bernardo
    3. San Bernardo to Cartagena de Indias
    4. Cartagena de Indias to Minca
    5. Minca to Tayrona Park
    6. Tayrona Park to Palomino
    7. Palomino to Cabo De La Vela
    8. End of the trip
  7. Numbers and charts 
  8. Conclusion

Why Should You Travel On The Colombia Caribbean Coast

To receive a life lesson (+)

Colombian Woman
Colombian Woman With smiley eyes – Credit: @j_serranor

Have you been to Brazil? Could you visualize smiley eyes and dark shapes of people dancing sensually together? Do you feel the pulsation of the music on your skin?

Now imagine the Neverland described by J.M. Barrie – Peter and Windy. People are laughing and happy to spend the day together. They will think about tomorrow later, probably the next day.

Add some lush vegetation, coconuts, and hammocks in front of the sea. Perfect, now you have an accurate representation of the Colombia Caribbean coast  – at least to me.

I’m not saying that Colombians are little kids chasing Pokemon naked in the forest. But they have this ability to keep intact in a part of their brain the little child of their childhood. The child who is excited to get fun times with his friends, curious, playful and who loves his mum and dad. The one who has helped us to become the adult we are now. Most of us – Western people – are killing this little dude and our dreams because everyone tells us to grow up.

Colombians are proud of their country, and after many years of conflicts, they believe it’s time that the world finds out the real Colombia – Not the one from Netflix and newspapers. Their way to deal with life is fantastic. Come and observe.

Beaches are boring (+)

Sunburn beach

The best way to get cheap Caribbean holidays is to lay down on the beach and be cooked by the sun. But here are the hitches:

  • You can cook in your garden for cheaper
  • Sunscreen can be expensive if you’re as white as Casper
  • Your boyfriend gonna be bored and will start throwing sand on you – Am I the only one doing that?
  • Nothing will be exciting to tell your friends about your Caribbean holidays

Fortunately, in Colombia, you can alternate your cooking sessions with other activities. Near the border with Panama, there is the Darien Gap. There are waterfalls and lovely towns to explore. Then you can play the pirates on unknown Colombian islands.

Need to get back to civilization and enjoy a romantic evening in an old city center? Easy, have a break in Cartagena. Then you can decide to become an adventurer for a few days in the Sierra Nevada and look for monkeys and birds. Or you could kitesurf in the desert. And because you’re doing different activities, you have the feeling that your Colombian Caribbean holidays last forever!

Be ready to show hundreds of pictures to your family!

Colombia Caribbean Coast is not too famous yet (+)

Because of its bloody past, most of the people are scared to travel to Colombia. They think they will be kidnaped by the FARC or killed by narcotraficantes. However, public opinion is evolving thanks to the social network, blogs, and other travelers. And, in the end, the only danger is that you might stay in Colombia.

Colombians Carnaval
yes, they are terrifying

For now, you won’t find many tourists during your holidays on the Colombia Caribbean Coast, especially if you’re going to a place off the beaten track – We will talk about it later

Another advantage is that Colombians are not annoyed about tourism – yet?-. They are proud to show the best sides of their country!

I agree it can be a little complicated to travel to Colombia, as you need time to find the information you wish. But once you know how to do it, it’s a lot easier! Plus, the experience will be more authentic, and there is always a Colombian around ready to help you.

Read: My guide about traveling to Colombia & Why I fell in love with Colombia

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Where are the places to visit on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

Where should you travel on the Colombia Caribbean Coast?

Every year, new places are popping up, and the public transport between them are improving – sometimes.

I’ve made a list of the places I’m sure you will enjoy discovering. They are all different from each other. I’ve written a short description and a provisional budget. So, it will be easier for you to decide where you want to go.

Ideas of prices for a couple who stays in private rooms in hostels, drink a few beers or cocktails every day and wants to do many activities.


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A] Capurgana And Sapuzurro, 2 secret towns on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

It’s a little green paradise near the border with Panama. There is no road to get access to Capurgana and Sapzurro. It’s only by flight or boat. Thereby, they are living in their little bubble world. Every morning, inhabitants are waiting on the dock, to discharge the tiny boats which bring all the foods and furniture from the more important towns around. And mountains of beers too -Like an ephemeral Great Wall made of beers boxes.

Nothing is perfect there. Streets are flooded when it’s raining, and electricity stops working because of storms. Then, generators are taking the relay, because the music has to stay on. It brings the heartbeats that make life simple and festive in Capurgana.

The town is tiny. In 10 mins, you know all the streets. Where can you buy a delicious doughnut, where is the best juice or cocktail in front of the ocean?

I love it when the jungle is meeting the sea. You walk under the shades of the palm trees to the next waterfall or beaches. The blue of the water is playing with the reflection of the sun, and your steps scare the little yellow frogs on the path.

The beach in Aguacate near Capurgana
The beach in Aguacate near Capurgana

Budget for Capurgana and Sapzurro - For one Couple (+)

There are different places where you can sleep for 1 or 2 nights (Capurgana, Sapzurro, Aguacate). I would suggest you stay for 5 nights.

  • Accommodation: 5 Nights in private rooms: 5* 70 000= 350 000 COP
  • Food [5 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner] * 2 pers: [10 000*5 + 15 000*5 + 20 000*5]*2= 450 000 COP
  • Beverage: 
    • Beers: 3 000 COP | Water 1 L: 2 500 COP | Juice: 4 000 COP | Coco Loco: 10 000 COP
    • 25 000 * 5 * 2 pers: 250 000 COP
  • Transportation: There is no taxi, but you can take boats to move from one place to another. Or you can walk. 2 one way* 2 pers: 10 000*2*2= 40 000 COP
  • Activities: Most of the activities are for free. Or, you will only have to pay a small entrance fee (2-3000 COP).10 000* 2 pers= 20 000 COP

TOTAL= 1 110 000 COP for 2 people (Around 380 $)

Read: Travel guide about Capurgana & Sapzurro

Where to stay in Capurgana (+)

  • Finca El Regalo would be your best option if you’re looking for a luxury and quiet place
  • Kachikine is a perfect pick to get an economical and peaceful stay near some great diving spot
Cheap Caribbean Holidays Budget Capurgana and Sapzurro
My youngest sister made it. Ok, I’m lying, I’m the artist.

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B] Isla Fuerte, a secret island near the Colombia Caribbean Coast

Isla Fuerte is a Colombia island closed to Monteria. The place is not famous – even for most of the Colombians – and I love it. Once there, nothing matters. Every morning, you wake up in an excellent hostel named La Playita. You eat your breakfast in front of the ocean, surrounded by palm trees and lulled by the noise of the waves crashing on the private beach.

Then, It’s time to find out the different exciting places offered by Isla Fuerte. Look for the sloths, organize a boat trip around the island – Don’t forget your snorkel -, chill at the beach or take selfies with fantastic/weird trees. Or maybe would you like to surf?

There is also a famous reef – Bushnell – where you can dive.

At dusk, book the party boat. Music, cocktail, and sunset are ideal for creating a fantastic memory. Isla Fuerte would be an excellent option for your future Colombian Caribbean Holidays.

Isla Fuerte Colombia
Isla Fuerte Colombia – Credit: @oliverehmig

Budget for Isla Fuerte - For one Couple (+)

In 2 days, you can do most of the activities. However, the main pleasure on a Colombia island is to chill. So I advise you to stay 3 nights.

  • Accommodation: 3 nights in a private room: 3 * 100 000 = 300 000 COP
  • Food: 3 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner: [ 10 000+ 18 000 + 20 000]* 3  * 2 pers = 288 000 COP
  • Beverage: It’s always tempting to get a drink when you’re on an island
    • Beers: 4 000 COP | Water 1 L: 2 500 COP | Juice: 4 000 COP | Cocktail: 10 000 COP
    • 40 000*3 *2 pers = 240 000 COP
  • Transportation: None, it’s not a vast Colombia island
  • Activities: If you want to surf/paddle/rent the party boat or snorkel around the islands. 100 000 * 2 pers= 200 000 COP

TOTAL= 1 028 000 COP for 2 people (350$)

Read: Our travel guide about Isla Fuerte

Where to stay in Isla Fuerte (+)

  • Isla Fuerte Ecolodge is the only luxury hotel on the Island. They offer many activities like diving and kayaking
  • La Playita is a paradise for backpackers and other travelers looking for fun
Cheap Caribbean Holidays Budget Isla Fuerte
This one is still s**t but maybe better than the previous one. No?

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C] San Bernardo Archipelago, my favorite islands on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

The Archipelago of San Bernardo is a set of 9 coastal coral islands between Isla Fuerte and Cartagena de Indias. Some of them don’t allow visitors – Private hotels – but they’re boring anyway ^^.

It’s quieter than Isla Fuerte as most of the inhabitants are living all together on a tiny island – It’s the most densely populated island on earth with 0.12  km square and more than 1200 inhabitants. I guess it’s like restaurants; the crowd attracts people.

I’m sure you will be subjugated by the beauty of this place. Each island is different, but they have one main characteristic point, there is crystalline blue water all around.

Find a calm accommodation on Isla Mucura, snorkel around Isla Palma, relax on the beautiful Colombia beach on Isla Tintipan, have fun in Casa en El Agua and visit the village of Santa Cruz Del Islote.

Take the speedboats to realize your Colombian islands hopping experience.

Isla Mucura Colombia
Isla Mucura Colombia – Credit: @hamacaymoka

Budget for San Bernardo - For one Couple (+)

All the islands are close to each other. It’s a fantastic place, but there are not many things to do. You can be bored after a few days – Except if you love to do beach/beach/Cocktail and beach. In my opinion, 3 nights are enough.

  • Accommodations: 3 nights in a private room: 3 * 200 000 = 600 000 COP
  • Food: 3 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner: 40 000* 3  * 2 pers = 240 000 COP
  • Beverage: 
    • Beers: 5 000 COP | Water 1 L: 3 000 COP | Juice: 5 000 COP | Cocktail: 12 000 COP
    • 50 000*3 *2 pers = 300 000 COP
  • Transportation: The boat drive to the different Colombia islands costs 15 000 COP per person. 15 000* 5 * 2 pers= 150 000 COP
  • Activities: A snorkeling tour or a bioluminescent plankton tour around the Mangroves by night. 35 000* 2 pers= 70 000 COP

TOTAL= 1 360 000 COP for 2 people ( Around 460 $)

Read: Our travel guide about San Bernardo

Where to stay on San Bernardo Islands (+)

  • Dreaming of the perfect place for your honeymoon? Punta Faro will be perfect
  • However, travelers on a medium budget can also be lucky enough to sleep on Isla Mucura. They just have to book with Hotel Isla Mucura
Cheap Caribbean Holidays San Bernardo Archipelago Budget
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D] Cartagena de Indias, the jewel of the Colombia Caribbean Coast

The Heroic city is one of the most famous places in Colombia.  Even when the country was unstable with the FARC, Paramilitaries, and Narcotranficantes, many tourists came to visit and party in the old city center. And, the government put many resources to keep the place “clean” – Rich Americans = Lots of money.

By visiting Cartagena de Indias, you realize there are 3 wealthy districts – Boca Grande, Walled city, and Getsemani – surrounded by chaos and poverty.

It was one of the first colony established by the Spanish in South America. And they had to defend themselves from many other countries – the rest of Europe – and pirates. Hence, they built many fortifications.

In the old city center, there are flowery balconies, fancy restaurants, and fantastic architecture. It’s delightful to walk and be lost among the colorful streets.

Then, during the evening, Getsemani rises with the laugh of the backpackers, the different shows on Trinidad square and the nightclubs.

Cartagena de Indias Colombia
Cartagena de Indias Colombia – Credit: @sasilverman82

Budget for Cartagena - For one Couple (+)

Cartagena de Indias is a very touristic place. There are not enough lovely Colombians to compensate for the number of annoying and noisy tourists. And the beaches around are unpleasant. Fortunately, The gorgeous Rosario islands are only 1 h away from the city.

In my opinion, the old city center is worth it, but there are other places to spend your holidays on the Colombian Caribbean Coast.1 full day is enough.

  • Accommodations: 2 nights in a private room: 2 * 220 000 = 440 000 COP
  • Food: 2 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner: 60 000* 2  * 2 pers = 240 000 COP
  • Beverage:
    •  Beers: 3 000 COP | Water 1 L: 2 000 COP | Juice: 4 000 COP | Cocktail: 12 000 COP
    • 30 000*2 *2 pers = 120 000 COP
  • Transportation: Your legs
  • Activities: There are different castles that you can visit if you wish to learn more about the history of the city. 40 000* 2 pers= 80 000 COP

TOTAL= 880 000 COP for 2 people ( Around 300 $)

Read: Our travel guide about Cartagena

Where to stay in Cartagena (+)

Cheap Caribbean Holidays Cartagena de Indias Budget
I was happy. I found another feature on my tablet

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E] Minca, a “jungle town” on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

On the Colombia Caribbean Coast, there is an isolated mountain range separated from the Andes. The highest summits are above 5700 m high! And all around, lush vegetation is home to indigenous people and many animals, especially birds.

Minca is 30 min away from the coast. The town itself has nothing extraordinary, but accommodations are marvelous. Many hostels are outside Minca, sometimes far in the jungle. They are well established, respect the environment, cook tasty vegetarian meals and have astonishing views of the sunset.

Wander through coffee plantations and trees, look for unusual birds and swim in cold waterfalls. And stop at the bakery to eat their bread!

For me, Minca is a smart mix of hippie-yoga vibes and nature.

Hostel Casa Loma Minca Colombia
Hostel Casa Loma Minca Colombia – Credit: @paigethetallmage

Budget for Minca - For one Couple (+)

It’s a pleasant place to stay, and you will cry when you will have to leave to continue your cheap Caribbean holidays. To minimize the pain, I recommend you to stay 2 full days minimum.

  • Accommodations: 3 nights in a private room: 3 * 90 000 = 270 000 COP
  • Food: 3 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner: 50 000* 3  * 2 pers = 300 000 COP
  • Beverage: 
    • Beers: 3 000 COP | Water 1 L: 2 000 COP | Juice: 4 000 COP | Cocktail: 10 000 COP
    • 30 000*3 *2 pers = 180 000 COP
  • Transportation: I hope you’re not afraid of Moto-taxi 😉 – Around 8 000 COP one way – 8 000*3  * 2 pers = 48 000 COP
  • Activities: There is a great organic coffee farm you can visit. – 20 000* 2 pers= 40 000 COP

TOTAL= 838 000 COP for 2 people ( Around 285 $)

Read: Our travel guide about Minca

Where to stay in Minca (+)

  • I went 3 times in Minca and I fell in love with Casa Loma
  • For the ones who want to live secluded, Casa Vieja is the perfect pick
Cheap Caribbean Holidays Minca Budget
The weird yellow bottle is an Aguila, the best Colombian Beer.

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F] Tayrona, a natural park on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

The Sierra Nevada is a sacred green ocean for the Tairona – Indigenous people. For this reason, the National Tayrona park has been one of the first to be protected by the government.

There are many endemics species and a few ruins in the vicinity – Tairona people were living in basic huts, surrounded by many stone paths and terraces for their ceremonies. To discover the surroundings, you can book a tour of the lost city or hang out in Tayrona.

The national park is a mix of trails in the jungle and idyllic Colombia beaches. There are many basic accommodations – mostly hammocks – and a few restaurants. Moreover, you can hike with a day bag as you don’t have to carry bottles of water and food – only your wallet.

Cabo San Juan is one of the most famous beaches in Colombia. But as a victim of its success, it can be crowded.

Fortunately, there are different paths to enjoy a solitary adventure. But you will have to walk more. As you know, no pain no gain.

Cabo San Juan Tayrona Park Caribbean Coast
Cabo San Juan Tayrona Park Caribbean Coast – Credit: @javivisits

Budget for Tayrona Park - For one Couple (+)

One day is not enough, and you will miss 2/3 of the experience. If you don’t have enough time or if you want to chill, you should go somewhere else. 1 night is great but 2 nights are perfect ;).

  • Accommodations: 2 nights in hammocks: (15 000 + 30 000)* 2pers = 90 000 COP
  • Food: 2 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner: 50 000* 2  * 2 pers = 200 000 COP
  • Beverage: 
    • Beers: 5 000 COP | Water 1 L: 3 000 COP | Juice: 4 000 COP |
    • 25 000*2 *2 pers = 100 000 COP
  • Transportation: Your legs
  • Activities: The entrance of the park: 43 000*2 = 86 000 COP

TOTAL= 476 000 COP for 2 people ( Around 160 $)

Read: Our travel guide about Tayrona

Where to stay in Tayrona (+)

  • If you follow my recommendations, you will enter by Calabazo and hike to Playa Brava. Teyumakke is your only option there.
  • There are many hotels near the main entrance. Yuluka Eco Hostel and Quetzal Dorado are the best for value.
Cheap Caribbean Holidays Tayrona Park Budget

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G] Palomino, a trendy beach town on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

The backpacker community has decided that Palomino would be the new chill place on the Colombian Caribbean coast. Don’t expect to get an exciting nightlife. There is a more significant chance for you to finish your dinner by candlelight – Such a romantic moment!

Let your flip-flop at your hostel and walk in the direction of the beach with a cold beer in your hand. Alternate with sunbaths and quick dips – Or longer if you like to have fun with the waves – then take a nap under the shade of a palm tree. But don’t forget to check if you’re not sleeping below a heavy coconut => #RiskOfDying

If you decide to walk a little, you will discover on both sides, a river that ends its route in the Caribbean sea. Freshwater is pleasant to clean the salt and sand on your skin.

In Palomino, the traditional activity is the tubing. Get an inner tube and ask a moto-taxi to drive you to the starting point. Be ready for 2 hours of pure happiness as you will go down the river, surrounded by majestic trees, without much effort.

I had loads of fun there but take waterproof things only. Let your phone at your hostel and be generous with the sunscreen.

Flamencos Sanctuary Caribbean Coast
Flamencos Sanctuary between Palomino and Riohacha. Credit: @gaboeisenband

Budget for Palomino - For one Couple (+)

If you want to avoid spending tons of money during your holidays on the Colombia Caribbean Coast, Palomino is a good option. It’s perfect to end a trip and do nothing in particular – Except hammock, book, beach, and beers. 2 nights is a good option.

  • Accommodations: 2 nights in a private room: 120 000* 2pers = 240 000 COP
  • Food: 2 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner: 50 000* 2  * 2 pers = 200 000 COP
  • Beverage: 
    • Beers: 3 000 COP | Water 1 L: 2 000 COP | Juice: 4 000 COP | Cocktail: 10 000 COP
    • 35 000*2 *2 pers = 140 000 COP
  • Transportation: Your legs
  • Activities: Tubing: 20 000*2 = 40 000 COP

TOTAL= 620 000 COP for 2 people ( Around 210 $)

Read: Our travel guide about Palomino

Where to stay in Palomino (+)

  • Casa Coraje is a gorgeous hotel on the beach
  • PrimaLuna is a perfect spot for travelers on a shoestring budget
Cheap Caribbean Holidays Palomino Budget

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H] Cabo De La Vela and Punta Gallinas, a mysterious desert on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

The northernmost point of South America is also on the Caribbean Coast. However, the scenery is different from other places. Cabo De La Vela and Punta Gallinas are in La Guajira desert.

The contrast between the blue of the ocean and the yellow/orange of the desert is astonishing, and it’s one of the best spots to admire fantastic sunsets.  In this unfriendly environment – it’s not easy to live in the desert -, the indigenous named Wayuu subsist with their sheep, the sells of their handicrafts -mostly bags – and tourism.

In Cabo De La Vela, a flat sea and a permanent wind provide the best conditions for Kitesurfing. Ready to fly above the water? Once there, it’s easy to find a tour to travel to Punta Gallinas and sleep one night in a rancheria. Take the chance to try the best hammock on earth, the chinchorros. It’s better than a bed.

And they serve delicious lobsters for lunch and dinner.

It’s a unique experience that allows you to realize that water and electricity are a luxury we should not waste.

Kitesurfing Cabo de la Vela
Kitesurfing Cabo de la Vela – Credit: @vricciv

Budget for Cabo de la Vela & Punta Gallinas - For one Couple (+)

There are many tours you can book from Santa Marta or Rioacha. But it’s easy and cheaper to do it by yourself. If you start from Palomino, 3 nights is the right amount of time.

  • Accommodations: 3 nights in hammocks : 45 000* 2pers = 90 000 COP
  • Food: 3 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner: 50 000* 3  * 2 pers = 300 000 COP
  • Beverage:
    • Beers: 4 000 COP | Water 1 L: 3 000 COP | Juice: 5 000 COP | Cocktail: 10 000 COP
    • 30 000*3 *2 pers = 240 000 COP
  • Transportation: In Cabo de la Vela, you can take moto-taxis to get to the different highlights. 5000*4 *2 pers= 40 000 COP
  • Activities: Punta Gallinas tour: 120 000*2 pers = 240 000 COP

TOTAL= 910 000 COP for 2 people ( Around 310 $)

Read: Our travel guide about La Guajira

Cheap Caribbean Holidays Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas Budget

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I] San Andres and Providencia, the most beautiful islands in Colombia 

San Andres and Providencia are two Colombia islands near Nicaragua. Back in time, both had a bad reputation. The legend says it was the home base for the famous Captain Morgan, so it could efficiently attack the Spanish colonies.

Funny fact, these Colombian islands were England’s proprieties, so English is the official language. As you may know, the inhabitants considered themselves more as Caribbean than Colombian.

San Andres became a Luxury touristy place for Colombians. Resorts, buildings swimming pools are popping everywhere. You can still find some lovely isolated spots, but it’s getting harder and harder. Read the travel guide of San Andres written by Natalia to learn more about it.

Fortunately, Providencia has been spared – For now – as it’s more complicated to get there. Once you put your feet on the dock, you can feel the Rastafari vibe with the Reggae music resonating through your flesh and bones.

Swim in the ocean, made of 5 different blue colors, and look for the many turtles, sharks, and other sea life around. Also, I like to get up high to admire the view. It helps me to realize where I am. Go at the top of Crab Bay to get the best picture of the island.

Both islands can be a little over budget for your Cheap Caribbean holidays. And you also pay another round flight ticket to travel to San Andres: Around 120 $ per pers.

Sunrise over the coral reefs of Providencia
Sunrise over the coral reefs of Providencia – Credit: @gaboeisenband

Budget for Providencia - For one Couple (+)

You can’t compare San Andres and Providencia. If you have plenty of time to do both, great! Otherwise, you should focus your time on Providencia. You have to land in San Andres first. So I would recommend you 1 night in San Andres then 5 nights in Providencia.

For the following budget, I’ve used the fantastic article written by Chloé about Providencia

  • Accommodations: 6 nights in a private room : 120 000*  6  = 720 000 COP
  • Food: 6 Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner: 50 000* 6  * 2 pers = 600 000 COP
  • Beverage:
    • Beers: 5 000 COP | Water 1 L: 3 000 COP | Juice: 5 000 COP | Cocktail: 10 000 COP
    • 40 000*6 *2 pers = 480 000 COP
  • Transportation: You have to take a boat or a plane from San Andres to get to Providencia. And it’s around 5000 COP for a moto-taxi – 280 000*2 + 5000*6*2 = 620 000 COP
  • Activities: There are many boat tours, snorkeling activities, caves and you also have to pay an entrance fee (130 000 COP). From what I’ve heard, you should expect to spend around 350 000 CPOP each if you want to do the cool activities of the islands – And more if you’re planning to dive there.
    • 130 000* 2 + 350 000*2 = 960 000 COP

TOTAL= 3 380 COP for 2 people ( Around 1 100 $)

Where to stay in Providencia (+)

  • Miss Mary is an upscale hotel located on the most beautiful side of the Providencia
  • Posada Sunshine paradise is a perfect economical option on the Santa Catalina Island – just cross the bridge from Providencia
Cheap Caribbean Holidays San Andres and Providencia Budget

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Summary Colombia Itinerary on The Caribbean Coast

Yes, I know. It’s loads of information.

But hey, the Caribbean Coast in Colombia is vast! I love to make graphics to summarize cool articles. It helps me to have a better understanding of the situation.

Would you like one?

Cheap Caribbean Holidays Budget
Expenses for 2 People

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More information on Tomplanmytrip

Learn more

A perfect itinerary on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

After my job in Capurgana- as a guide for San Blas Adventure -, I’ve decided to travel along the Colombian Caribbean Coast with a friend.

It was a great journey!

From the Darien Gap, we traveled by boats and buses to arrive in Isla Fuerte. Then, we became pirates, and we went from island to islands until Cartagena with our Rum and a fake dead parrot. During 2 nights, we wandered between the colorful streets of the walled city – Cartagena.

Then, it was time to find out the secrets of the Sierra Nevada. We Swam in waterfalls near Minca and explored Tayrona Park.

After these activities, We chilled in Palomino a few days before attempting to our last adventure in the desert to the northernmost point of Colombia.

Different sceneries, loads of memories and experiences, it was one of the best time in my life. Would you like to do the same?

It’s easy.

Here are the different steps of our 3 weeks Colombia itinerary on the Caribbean Coast!

Let’s start in Capurgana. To know how to get there, you can read this article

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A] Capurgana/Sapzurro | Day 1 to 6 on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

Trying every hammock in your hostel was great. You even saw a monkey, and you named it “Ingrid” like your stepmother – Yep, you love her.

Sapzurro was a lot quieter in comparison with Capurgana. You ate loads of homemade ice cream, but you don’t remember how many – Or you prefer to forget. But thanks to you, Chila (The icecream lady) bought a new speedboat.  And the snorkeling near Playa Tiburon was fantastic. Lionfishes are dangerous but so cool!

For your last night, you said goodbye to Capurgana like a real Colombian. You drank beers and aguardiente near giant speakers – now you’re deaf – and you moved your butt in the Salsa Reggae club.

Now you’ve got a hangover, and it’s time to get your boat.

Dock Sapzurro - Juanillo1970
Dock in Sapzurro – Credit: Juanillo1970/ Shutterstock

How to get from Capurgana to Isla Fuerte (+)

Day 6: Departure to Monteria

Boat Capurgana to Necocli. Departure 10 Am: 60 000 COP – 1h30

Bus Necocli to Monteria: 15 000 COP – 2 hours

Once in Monteria, you have to find a hostel to spend the night. Feel free to explore the city and the park. You can find a private room for 50 000 COP in the center.

A budget for Lunch, dinner, and Breakfast: 40 000 * 2 pers= 80 000 COP

A budget for Beverage: 20 000* 2 pers= 40 000 COP

A budget for the taxi: 10 000 COP

Day 7: Departure to Isla Fuerte

In the morning, take the bus to Paso Nuevo: 17 000 COP – 2 hours

Then A Moto taxi to get to the dock: 2 000 COP

The last effort, take a boat to Isla Fuerte: Departure 1 pm: 15 000 COP – 30 min

Total Travel Cost Capurgana – Isla Fuerte: 388 000 COP for TWO people (132 $)

Capurgana to Isla Fuerte transport and budget

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B] Isla Fuerte | Day 7 to 10

You didn’t find Morgan’s treasure, but it’s okay. Sloths, weird trees, and party boat are better than gold coins anyway – Ok maybe I’m lying, but it’s not bad either.

You met many friends. La playita has a bar, a volleyball court, a ping-pong table, and a private beach – Such a great time.

Oh, you’ve almost been killed by a coconut. It fell 10 cm from your head. Always check the palm tree.

I hope you had withdrawn loads of cash before going to Isla Fuerte. I know the plan is to have cheap Caribbean Holidays, but you can’t pay people with coconuts, and there is no ATM on the next Colombia islands.

And don’t expect to get soon to a big city. Now you’re a pirate, and you’re taking another speedboat to discover San Bernardo’s Archipelago.

View on the sea Isla Fuerte Colombia
Isla Fuerte, ready to have a quick dip?- Credit: @hamacaymoka

How to get from Isla Fuerta to San Bernardo (+)

Day 10: Take the speedboat La Playita – Casa En El Agua. You should book it a few days in advance so they can group people. 70 000 COP – 2 hours

Speedboat Casa En El Agua – Isla Mucura: 15 000 COP – 10 min

Pretty simple, no?

Total Travel Cost Isla Fuerte – San Bernardo Islands: 170 000 COP for TWO people (56 $)

Isla Fuerte to Isla Mucura transport and budget

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C] San Bernardo’s Archipelago | Day 10 to 13

Casa En El Agua is always fully booked, and it could be a paradise if you were in a party mode. But for the next days, you had decided to live healthy – What a weird idea.

Isla Mucura was an excellent choice. You walked around the island, pick up a new Colombia beach and a new Colombia island every day but your best activity was to contemplate the sunset from the beach – with a cocktail, healthy life is boring anyway.

The inhabitants are so packed in Santa Cruz Del Islote! You swear to stop complaining when your best mate is taking up too much space in your bed. Why is it so hard to respect the imaginary line? Sleep straight!

Casa En el Agua trip to Colombia
Picture from @ticcoish

How to get from San Bernardo to Cartagena (+)

Day 13: Departure to Cartagena de Indias

Speedboat Isla Mucura to Casa En El Agua: 15 000 COP – 10 min

Speedboat from Casa En El Agua to Cartagena de Indias: 100 000 COP – 3 hours

Then you can easily walk to your hostel.

Total Travel Cost San Bernardo – Cartagena: 230 000 COP for TWO People (78 $)

Isla Mucura to Cartagena de Indias transport and budget

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D] Cartagena de Indias | Day 13 to 15

Your three days in the walled city was a huge contrast in comparison with the two last weeks. Streets are flat and clean, luxury shops are everywhere, and there are horse-drawn carriages! – With an ingenious system at the back of the horses to collect their poop. Crazy!

Nevertheless, you had the pleasure to wander between the flourish balconies, colorful streets, and the many sculptures. The sunset from the wall was a great memory to share with your lover.

And you had loads of fun in Getsemani. The nightlife was more vibrating, authentic, and cheaper than in the old town.

Now you’re missing the calmness of nature, let’s continue your Colombian itinerary to Minca.

Cartagena de Indias Colombia
Cartagena de Indias Colombia – Credit: @sasilverman82

How to get from Cartagena to Minca (+)

Day 15: Departure to Minca after a late breakfast

Shuttle from Cartagena de Indias to Santa Marta: 48 000 COP – 4 hours

Ask the driver to stop you at the market Calle 11 con Carrera 13

Take the shared taxi to Minca: 8 000 COP – 45 min

Total Travel Cost Cartagena – Minca: 112 000 COP for TWO People (38 $)

Cartagena de Indias to Minca transport and budget

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E] Minca | Day 15 to 18 on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

Surrounded by nature, you had a great time in Casa Loma. And you’ve learned that vegetarian meals can be delightful.

You ate loads of Humus, chocolate bread, cafe… Food had an important place in your daily life, especially when you’re traveling.

And a mixt of waterfalls, birdwatching, and coffee tours are perfect to feel less guilty. You need the energy to hike in the Sierra Nevada, don’t you?

For the sunset, everyone from the hostel was going uphill to get a better view of the sun dipping in the green ocean of the vegetation. And it was happy hour with the bar! – Ok, I have to admit I’m a big fan of sunsets and cocktails. But who isn’t?

After these special moments, let’s organize a 3-days trek in Tayrona Park.

Sunset in Minca Colombia
Sunset in Minca Colombia – Credit: @davidporelmundo

How to get from Minca to Tayrona (+)

Day 18: Departure in the morning

Shared taxi Minca to Santa Marta: 8 000 COP – 45 min

In Santa Marta buy some snacks and water (2 L per person) for the trek. Read my guide to know what you have to think about.

Go to Calle 11 con Carrera 11 to get the bus in the direction of Tayrona. The plan is to stop at a hostel near the entrance of the park to have a good night sleep before the adventure! I recommend you Eco Hostal Yuluka or the Journey Hostel – See our guide about Tayrona.

Bus to the hostel: 7 000 COP – 1 hour

Private room for 2 people: 120 000 COP

Lunch and dinner for 2 people: 40 000*2 = 80 000 COP

Day 19: Calabazo entrance Early in the morning

Total Travel Cost Minca – Tayrona: 230 000 COP for TWO People (78 $)

Minca to Tayrona Park transport and budget

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F] Tayrona Park | Day 19 to 21

You didn’t find a caiman near the Colombia beach, but I don’t think you want to see one when you’re taking a sunbath. It’s better to focus on monkeys; they’re harmless. Howling monkeys were hanging out near Pueblito. It’s insane how these small creatures can make such noises.

Tayrona park is a touristic place, but you have been agreeably surprised to meet almost no one on the first day. It was a good choice to start by the Calabazo and hike to Playa Brava.

It was such a pleasure to jump in the ocean after the 4 hours walk. Tayrona is humid, and you sweated a lot. It was as if someone throws on you a bucket full of water, and then another one just in case.

But the effort was worth it. What a great experience to sleep in a hammock near the sea. You were lulled by the waves, murdered by mosquitos and awakened by the morning pinky sky.

But now you want some rest. Let’s go back to beach + sunset + cocktails.

Tayrona Cabo San Juan Colombia
Cabo San Juan beach, Tayrona Park – Credit: @uherreroraffin

How to get from Tayrona to Palomino (+)

Day 21: Once you get back your backpack, take a bus on the main road in the direction of Palomino.

Bus Tayrona to Palomino: 7 000 COP – 1 hour

Moto taxi to Palomino beach: 2000 COP – 4 min

Total Travel Cost Tayrona – Palomino: 18 000 COP for TWO People (6 $)

Tayrona to Palomino Budget and transport

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G] Palomino | Day 21 to 23 on the Colombia Caribbean Coast

Doing absolutely Nothing was fantastic. Even the main activity in Palomino is effortless. Do you know the tubing? You just have to seat on an inner tube and let the river carry you for 2 hours.

Colombia Beaches, pool, sunset, cocktails and one night you had a candlelight dinner because there was no electricity. It was a hilarious moment because it was written “Simple life, happy life” on the wall in front of you.

Now, you’re ready for the last adventure of your Colombian Caribbean Coast adventure. Do you wonder how the northernmost point of Colombia looks like? Let’s find it out!

Palomino Beach Colombia
Palomino Beach Colombia – Credit: @themegamooners

How to get from Palomino to Punta Gallinas (+)

Day 23: Departure to Cabo de la Vela after breakfast.

On the main road, take the bus to 4 VIAS: 15 000 COP – 2 hours

Shared taxi 4 VIAS to Uribia: 5000 COP – 1 hour

Shared truck Uribia to Cabo de la Vela: 15 000 COP – 3 hours

Total Travel Cost: 80 000 COP for TWO People (27 $)

Palomino to Cabo de la Vela Transport and budget

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H] Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas | Day 23 to 26 on

Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas belong to a different world. It’s not easy to take a shower there. But you have mastered the bucket shower.

The desert scenery is moving. The uniformity of the landscapes and the colors bring to light details like the indigenous’s houses or the kitesurfers flying on the ocean.

You realize that we are lucky to be born with a silver spoon in our mouth. We don’t have to worry about basic needs like water or food. And the most important is that we can choose to live the life we want. It’s a rare privilege. Don’t let it go without you.

Ready for the next adventure?

Dunes Punta Gallinas La guajira Colombia

Don’t forget to check out our Map of Colombia to find your next destination!

Tom, You Speak too much. Give Us Numbers And Charts

Overview Transportation and Budget Cheap Caribbean Holidays Colombia
Overview Transportation on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia for 2 people
Overview Budget Cheap Caribbean Holidays Colombia
Overview Budget for Caribbean Coast of Colombia for 2 people
Analysis expenses cheap Caribbean holidays Colombia
Analysis expenses cheap Caribbean holidays in Colombia

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Conclusion

Did you ever imagine to spend more than 3 weeks on the Caribbean coast of Colombia with your lover for only 2875 $? Me neither, before I travel to Colombia.

Caribbean holidays don’t mean 5-stars resort and dull SPA. And you don’t have to be rich to sleep in private rooms, eat delightful dinners and have fun for 1 month. From the jungle in the Darien Gap to the desert of La Guajira, you can live a one life experience in Colombia.

Everyone knows Aruba, San Martin or Cayman. And I love to drink cocktails on the Colombia beaches too. Then I’m bored like when I’m playing Bingo with my Grand Ma, so I’m drinking more.

But if you switch between adventures and chill moments, you will always be excited, even when you’re burning like a snail on the grill – So Frenchy. Your camera and your brain will be full of memories.

And you can adapt your Colombia itinerary. The one I gave you is just one of many options. You could choose to get to Providencia, hike 5 days to the lost city or visit Mompox during the Jazz festival.

Don’t be scared to get out of your comfort zone. Colombians are fantastic and it’s why Colombia is the perfect playground to be a little more adventurous.

So, ready to grab your backpack and travel to Colombia?

Keep smiling and have fun!


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Itinerary on The Caribbean Coast of Colombia

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