Itinerary #1: Colombian Coast Adventure
This classic itinerary around the northern coast of Colombia has a little bit of everything–enjoy the charm of Cartagena’s Old Town, the beach and jungle scenery of Tayrona National Natural Park, a coffee farm tour in Minca, and a day trip to the Rosario Islands.
|Day 1||Arrival in Cartagena||Cartagena|
|Day 2||La Boquilla Fishing Trip||Cartagena|
|Day 3||Cartagena - Transfer to Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona||Tayrona|
|Day 4||Tour of Tayrona National Park||Tayrona|
|Day 5||Drive to Minca: Coffee Farm and Village Tour||Minca|
|Day 6||Sunrise Birdwatching - Transfer to Cartagena||Cartagena|
|Day 7||Rosario Islands||Cartagena|
|Day 8||Depart Cartagena|
Upon arrival in Cartagena, a charming port city rich with history, take some time to do some solo exportation. Wander the narrow streets of the Old Town fortress walls, visit the locals in San Diego and Santo Domingo, and stroll the bohemian neighborhood of Getsemaní. In the morning, you’ll take a day trip to La Boquilla for a fishing excursion among the locals, who will teach you how to prepare your fresh catch.
Day three takes you to Tayrona National Natural Park. When you arrive, take the afternoon to relax at your hotel, and find a peaceful spot along the water to watch the sunset. The next day invites you on a half-day tour of the park. Note the protected lands and the preserved, virgin landscapes. Take a hike to the tropical foothills near Playa Cañaveral–at the base of the Sierra Nevada range–and visit the exotic beaches of Arrecifes and La Piscina for a swimming or snorkeling session. Make a stop in Cabo San Juan with its white sand and volcanic rock beaches before enjoying the evening at your leisure.
Next is a trip to Minca, where you’ll embark on a half-day tour of a coffee finca (farm). Learn about the production process, along with plenty of tastings. You’ll have time to explore Minca’s center for lunch and make a stop at the hummingbird balcony at Hotel Minca, where hundreds of hummingbirds feed. You’ll also have the option of visiting the Marinka waterfall as a supplemental, full-day excursion. Spend the next day in Minca on a birdwatching adventure beginning at dawn. Spot up to 2,000 species in the area’s dry tropical forest. After lunch, you’ll head back to Cartagena for the evening.
Day seven takes you on a day trip to the Rosario Islands, which you’ll reach by speedboat. Spend the day at Playa Azul, where you can take part in watersports or simply relax and enjoy the beach. Then, you’ll head back to Cartagena, where you can indulge in a nice dinner on your final night. Depending on when your flight leaves, you may have some extra time to stroll Cartagena a bit more after breakfast the next morning. Learn more
Itinerary #2: Bogotá, Caño Cristales, & Highlands Tour
Enjoy this eight-day roundtrip to Bogotá with two special stops in between–Caño Cristales with its seasonal rainbow river, and Villa de Leyva with its charming colonial village. Four days in Bogotá offers ample time to explore the Colombian capital city.
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogotá||Bogotá|
|Day 2||Bogotá City Tour||Bogotá|
|Day 3||Flight to La Macarena - Guayabero River||La Macarena|
|Day 4||Hike to Caño Cristales||La Macarena|
|Day 5||Return to Bogotá||Bogotá|
|Day 6||Laguna Guatavita & Zipaquirá - Transfer to Villa de Leyva||Villa de Leyva|
|Day 7||Tour Villa de Leyva - Transfer to Bogotá||Bogotá|
|Day 8||Depart Bogotá|
This tour begins in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital and the largest city in the country. Once your flight lands, a driver will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Then, head to La Candelaria for an introduction to the city’s trendier side, where you can browse street art and have a bite.
On day two, you’ll meet your local guide, who will chaperone you around town on a half-day walking tour. Explore the artifacts on display in the Gold Museum, along with works from famed Colombian artist Fernando Botero at the Botero Museum. A trip to the Mercado de Paloquemao offers food lovers a chance to visit the city’s biggest–and best–food market.
Next, hop a quick flight to La Macarena. Upon landing, you’ll attend a presentation outlining the Caño Cristales, along with learning the requirements you must follow when visiting. Check in to your hotel and then take a boat along the Guayabero River, where there are several waterfalls and swimming holes, along with native flora and fauna to note. Day four leads you to the main attraction–Caño Cristales–which is located in Serranía de la Macarena National Park. During the months of June-November, the water hosts a mix of rainbow hues due to different aquatic factors. With the right timing of your trip, you’ll get to witness the colorful river.
Then, return to Bogotá for more exploration. Take another guided tour, which includes a scenic cable car ride to Cerro Monserrate, where you’ll have access to the best panoramic views of the city below. In the afternoon, stop at La Concordia, another food market, where you can taste local produce and spices.
The next leg of the trip transports you to Laguna de Guatavita via private car. Here, you’ll hike to the lagoon and learn about the native history. Then, enjoy lunch in the small village of Sesquile before heading to Zipaquirá, where you can visit the Salt Cathedral. Continue on to Villa de Leyva, where you’ll spend the night in the colorful colonial village. Day seven includes a walking tour of the cobblestoned village that stops at Plaza Mayor, Mesopotamia Mill and the convent of the Carmelitas Descalzas. In the afternoon, make the trip back to Bogotá for a farewell dinner before departure in the morning. Learn more
Itinerary #3: West & Central Colombia: Bogotá, San Agustín, Popayán & Cali
Enjoy this eight-day vacation filled with Colombian culture and history. From the capital city of Bogotá to the archaeological sites of San Agustín, you’ll explore some of the country’s best-preserved destinations. Take a trip to the colorful Tatacoa Desert, followed by salsa dancing lessons in Cali.
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogotá||Bogotá|
|Day 2||Paloquemao Market & the historic center||Bogotá|
|Day 3||Fly to Neiva; Explore the Tatacoa Desert||Neiva|
|Day 4||Visit San Agustín Archaeological Park||San Agustín|
|Day 5||Discover the surroundings of San Agustín||San Agustín|
|Day 6||Transfer to Popayán||Popayán|
|Day 7||Visit Silvia; Drive to Cali||Cali|
|Day 8||Depart Cali|
Once you arrive in Bogotá, a driver will take you to your hotel to check-in. Take some time to get settled, and then head out to the historic center for some self-exploration and a nice welcome meal. After you are relaxed and recharged the next morning, take a trip to Paloquemao’s maze of food stalls, followed by a stop in La Candelaria, where you can visit the collection of churches, monuments, museums, and cafés.
In the morning, board a short flight to Neiva, and then travel to the Tatacoa Desert, which is the second-largest desert in Colombia. Enjoy beautiful views on your hiking tour, along with the various colors–red hues in Cuzco and gray shades in Los Hoyos. Day four transports you 4 hours to San Agustín, which is home to San Agustín Archaeological Park, and its gigantic pre-Colombian statues and sacred tombs. A guide will take you around other areas of the region, including Alto Las Piedras, La Pelota, and La Chaquira, additional archaeological sites with ancient tombs and statues.
Next, travel to Popayán, which is nicknamed the “White City.” The white-washed colonial town is home to several Baroque churches, including San Francisco, Ermita, and the Basilica Cathedral. There are also plenty of museums to stroll through, like the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Religious Art.
In the morning, you’re off to Cali, the salsa dancing capital–with a short stint in the village of Silvia along the way. Once in Cali, take a half-day tour that concludes with salsa lessons. You’ll visit the Boulevard del Río to take in the core of Cali, along with Cristo Rey, which provides the best views of the city. Salsa the night away and practice your dance moves as your grand finale in Colombia. Learn more
Itinerary #4: Zona Cafetera and the Caribbean Coast
This adventure into Colombia’s prized outdoors offers eight days of diverse exploration. Your journey begins in the coffee region of Zona Cafetera, where you’ll visit a farm and learn about the process, from bean to cup. Then, you’ll travel to Tayrona National Natural Park to discover nature from the jungle to the beach, before landing in Cartagena for a port city tour and some island relaxation.
|Day 1||Bogotá - Flight to Zona Cafetera - Coffee Finca||Pereira|
|Day 2||Hiking in Valle de Cocora - Explore Salento||Salento|
|Day 3||Horseback Riding in Zona Cafetera||Salento|
|Day 4||Flight to Santa Marta - Transfer to Tayrona Park||Tayrona|
|Day 5||Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona - Pueblito Ruins||Tayrona|
|Day 6||Transfer from Santa Marta to Cartagena ( optional PM city tour)||Cartagena|
|Day 7||Sea kayaking||Cartagena|
|Day 8||Depart Cartagena|
After a night of rest in Bogotá, you’ll fly to the coffee region of Zona Cafetera, to either Armenia or Pereira. Your first stop is a working coffee finca (farm), where you’ll tour the grounds, learn about the industry, taste plenty of roasts, and stay overnight. In the morning, a car will pick you up and drive you to Cocora Valley, where you’ll hike among the famed wax palms and the Andean cloud forest.
The afternoon unfolds in nearby Salento, where you can shop the local crafts and enjoy the street musicians. On day three, embark on a 4-hour horseback riding excursion in Zona Cafetera, before visiting another coffee finca for a tour. Then, you’ll have more time in Salento, where you can enjoy a nice dinner at sunset over the Quindío River Valley.
Next, you’ll board a flight to Santa Marta, which is located on the Caribbean Coast. You’ll make your way to your hotel near Tayrona National Natural Park, where you can relax and stroll the beach. On day five, you will rise early for a full day of hiking through the jungles of the park. Your first destination is Pueblito Chairama, an archaeological site of pre-Columbian ruins. The adventure continues to Cabo San Juan, where you can take a well-deserved dip in the sea and have some lunch before returning to your hotel outside the park.
The last leg of your trip takes you to the port city of Cartagena, where you’ll take a walking tour of the colonial fortress city. Visit neighborhoods like San Diego and Santo Domingo, along with landmarks like Plaza de lose Coches, Parque Bolívar, and Plaza de Santa Teresa. In the morning, join a kayaking trip around Isla Barú. Navigate through the mangroves to spot manatees, turtles, herons, and more. Take some time to relax on Playa Blanca, with its crystalline waters and white sands, and soak up the Colombian sun before departure tomorrow. Learn more
Itinerary #5: Discover Colombia’s Cities & Beaches
Explore the cities and beaches of Colombia on this fast-paced tour. The eight-day trip launches in the capital city of Bogotá before touching down in progressive Medellín. A stop in Cartagena’s Old Town provides colonial charm in a port city atmosphere, before landing in Tayrona for outdoor excursions along the beautiful beaches of Colombia’s Caribbean Coast.
|Day 1||Arrive in Bogotá||Bogotá|
|Day 2||Bogotá City Tour||Bogotá|
|Day 3||Flight to Medellín||Medellín|
|Day 4||Coffee Finca Day-Trip||Medellín|
|Day 5||Flight to Santa Marta - Transfer to Tayrona National Park||Tayrona Park|
|Day 6||Tour of Tayrona National Park||Tayrona Park|
|Day 7||Tayrona National Park - Transfer to Cartagena||Cartagena|
|Day 8||Depart Cartagena|
Once you land in Bogotá and check in to your hotel, go on a self-guided tour of the capital city. Stop off in the street art-clad La Candeleria, with its mix of trendy restaurants and colonial-era landmarks. In the morning, embark on a half-day, guided walking tour of the city, which includes visiting Plaza Bolívar, which dates back to 1539, and the Capitolio Nacional, the Colombian congress building. Continue strolling through the museums and markets, and enjoy the local fare for dinner.
Next, take your flight to Medellín, a city known for its turbulent past, which has since made strides to progress into a charming mountain town. Begin your exploration in El Poblado, the city’s tourism center. Take a ride up the Metrocable gondola system, and enjoy the 360° views of the city. As an optional add-on, you can request a private tour by car, which includes stops like Pueblito Paisa, Botero Square, the Botanical Garden, and more.
Day four leads you on a field trip to a coffee finca located in the mountains outside of Medellín. Get to know the local coffee farmers, who will educate you on the growing process, along with the importance of the crop, before you indulge in some tastings. When you return to Medellín, enjoy your final night in the city at your leisure.
In the morning, you’ll fly to the Caribbean coastal city of Santa Marta. Check in to your hotel outside of Tayrona National Natural Park, and take advantage of the amenities. Go for a walk on the beach at sunset and enjoy a relaxing evening. On day six, you’ll enter the park for a half-day tour. Hike through the topical foothills near Playa Cañaveral, then visit the beaches of Arreclifes and La Piscina where you can get some swimming and snorkeling in. Your next stop is Cabo San Juan, where you can have lunch and relax on the shore atop the white sands.
From Tayrona, you’ll transfer to Cartagena, where you can explore the Old Town, and its colonial architecture and pirate history. Take in the locals at neighborhoods like San Diego and Santo Domingo–the latter is home to the oldest church in the city. Then, discover the bohemian area of Getsemaní, where you can enjoy your last evening among street art and street food vendors, alike. Learn more
Itinerary #6: Medellín & Los Nevados Trek
This active tour of Colombia invites you on an eight-day adventure from nature hikes to city life. Begin in revitalized Medellín, where you can explore the infamous history. Then, take a trip to the coffee hub of Manizales, which is home to the Río Blanco Nature Reserve. A three-day trek through Los Nevados National Park will provide an epic outdoor journey, followed by a stop in the colonial town of Salento, before traveling back to Medellín.
|Day 1||Arrival in Medellín||Medellín|
|Day 2||Manizales - Río Blanco Nature Reserve||Manizales|
|Day 3||Los Nevados Trek||On Trek|
|Day 4||Los Nevados Trek||On Trek|
|Day 5||Los Nevados Trek and Travel to Salento||Salento|
|Day 6||Horseback Riding, Armenia and Travel to Medellín||Medellín|
|Day 7||Medellín - Guided City Tour||Medellín|
|Day 8||Depart From Medellín|
When you touch down in Medellín, your driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel. Then, the day is yours to explore the town and its historical sites. A few stops to bookmark include Pueblito Paisa, San Antonio Park, the Metropolitan Theater, and Barefoot Park.
In the evening, head to El Poblado for some of the best dining and nightlife options. Day two takes you to Manizales, located in Colombia’s “Coffee Triangle.” Explore the Catedral de Manizales and the Monumento a Los Colonizadores, before embarking on a trip to the Río Blanco Nature Reserve, a 30,000-acre protected area home to native flora and fauna.
In the morning, your trek to Los Nevados National Park begins. Embark on a guided hike through a sub-tropical tundra surrounding Lake Otún. Establish your basecamp at an alpine lake, where you can enjoy a nice meal and a chat with the local park ranger. The second day of your trek includes a hike to the snowy summit of El Nevado de Santa Isabel. Expect terrain changes on the way to the Magdelena Valley, where you’ll take in the sight of one of the last remaining glaciers in Colombia.
In the morning, your hike will conclude as you trek back out toward the park entrance. Enjoy lunch and tea with the native “guardians” of Los Nevados before you leave. Next, you’ll take the 4.5-hour car ride to Salento, where you can watch the sunset on a hill above the town.
On day six, spend the morning horseback riding in the Cocora Valley, located just outside Salento. Panoramic vistas are an inviting backdrop, dotted with the iconic wax palms. Look out for waterfalls on the way to visit a coffee farm for a quick tour. Then, you’ll travel to Armenia, where you’ll catch a flight back to Medellín. In the morning, take another tour of the town, visiting sites you missed upon arrival. Go on a Metrocable gondola ride for one last view of the city at sunset, and snap a few final photos before your departure tomorrow. Learn more
More Great 8-Day Colombia Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your Colombia trip? Check out these other 8-day Colombia itineraries, ranging from active, to cultural, to luxury, or family-friendly trips.
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