Thanks to the internet, any traveler 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.
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 country – Did you know it’s twice the size of France?
Since 2015, I have been creating new articles and updating old ones to help travelers create unique itineraries in Colombia. And this is what we’re doing to do right now.
👉 You want to know more about Colombia ? Answer your questions about safety, budget, accommodations and transportation? Find where to travel and book the best experiences? Read our Colombia Travel tips.
🤙 Need a hand? 🤙
Want to avoid the hassle of organizing your trip to Colombia? Learn about our favorite tailor-made travel expert (free quote + special discount).
8 tips to avoid Major mistakes when creating a Colombia itinerary
Creating an excellent Colombia travel itinerary is not simple and takes a lot of practice.
We have identified a number of recurring mistakes made by people preparing Colombia trip.
Learn about them, and I guarantee you it will be a lot easier to build a roadmap for your two weeks in Colombia.
#1 Pick only a few places for your itinerary
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.
More than 3000 travelers have already used our Colombia travel guide
I’ve been exploring Colombia since 2015 and put all my knowledge into one Ebook. It’s free and accessible now. 👇
#2 Your itinerary deserves more than a cool pic
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
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.”
In many cases, it will be 5 hours.
#4 Don’t miss the best activities when traveling
Tourism is growing and many activities aren’t on the internet.
We compiled our 61 best recommendations of the best things to do in Colombia.
#5 Create your own Colombia itinerary
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.
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
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. There are deserts, colonial villages, huge jungles, deserted beaches, incredible treks, and so on. Don’t hesitate to spend most of your time in the countryside.
#7 Don’t be scared of 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 trip to Colombia. However, you won’t have a better night than in bed.
#8 Give yourself some extra time in your Colombia itinerary
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 airline companies like Viva Air and Satena.
Arrive the day before your flight return. Trust me.
The secret for creating a good Colombia itinerary
It’s easy. Every person who travels a lot will tell you the same thing.
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 this country of South America.
Places to add to your trip to colombia
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
👉 You Want an exhaustive overview of places to discover? We have compiled +130 best places to visit in Colombia.
#1 Eastern Caribbean Coast
The eastern part of the Colombia Caribbean Coast is the most visited part of the country.
- 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 but the best gateway to the Sierra Nevada mountains and the lost city trek.
- 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 and the northernmost in South America. Breathtaking sceneries. Tours are mandatory.
#2 Western Caribbean Coast
The western side is less visited than the Eastern Coast and the different places are more challenging to access.
- 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.
👉 Here is a list of our favorite beaches in Colombia.
#3 Medellin and Antioquia
Antioquia is one of my favorite regions in Colombia, with green hills, colorful Chivas, and typical colonial towns.
- 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
Called also the Zona Cafetera, this region has a lot to offer. Don’t just stop in Salento.
- 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: 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
Travelers often neglect the South of Colombia, but there are many hidden treasures.
- 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
- 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.
- Isla Gorgona: Island in the pacific ocean, world-famous for its fantastic diving spots.
#7 The Amazon
The Colombian Amazon is ideal to observe the wildlife through the jungle. We really like to kayak among the trees on the Amazon river.
- 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 is allowed. Only accessible by boat.
#8 Bogota and around
Bogota is a vast capital city, surrounded by Paramos and waterfalls. From the city, there are various trips you can plan to explore the department of Cundinamarca.
- 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
Guaviare and Meta are both departments that recently opens their doors to tourism. Mind-blowing rivers and outdoor activities.
- 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 has 3 islands near the coasts of Nicaragua.
- Providencia: The most beautiful island in Colombia. Peaceful and no touristy. It’s a hidden paradise.
- Santa Catalina: A tiny island next to Providencia.
- San Andres: Located near Providencia, the island is crowded by tourists. Lots of hotels. Good diving spots.
👉 Learn about all the best Colombian islands.
#11 Boyaca and around
Boyaca is a lovely department with cute colonial towns and hikes.
- 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.
- Cocuy: Famous national park with 3 sumptuous day treks. You can’t stay overnight anymore. The guide is mandatory.
#12 Santander and Around
A region that offers many extreme sports activities like rafting, cave exploring and bungee jumping.
- San Gil: The main city to book your extreme sports activities.
- Barichara: Well-known colonial town with a great view of the Chicamocha Canyon.
When planning your Colombia Itinerary
Depending on the activities you plan to do, there are better months than others.
We wrote a complete article to tell you about the seasons and the best months to visit the country.
#1 The high season in Colombia
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 in Colombia
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 in Colombia
Colombians love dancing and there is always a reason to celebrate.
👉 Learn about the most famous festivals in Colombia.
#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.
Examples of Colombia Itineraries
Let me give you a few examples that you can use for your Colombia adventure.
Colombia Itinerary 1 week
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 Colombia itinerary. An excellent Colombia tour would be:
- 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.
We wrote an epic guide with 4 one-week Colombia itineraries. We recommend it if you consider visiting Bogota, Cali, Cartagena or Bogota.
Colombia Itinerary 2 Weeks
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 trip to Colombia for 2 weeks.
- 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
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.
- 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.
The 8 best experiences you shouldn’t miss
Visit Caño Cristales (the most beautiful river worldwide)
Explore San José del Guaviare (an off-the-beaten-path destination)