With nine days, it's possible to visit four of Colombia's regions and major cities, especially if you fly into one hub and out of another. You can start in Bogotá, make your way to the lush Zona Cafetera, and head north to Medellín, departing from Cartagena. Of course, you can always opt for a slower-paced trip that takes you off the beaten path: visit colonial villages like Villa de Leyva, spot wildlife in remote national parks, or lounge on the Rosario Islands off the Caribbean coast.

Itinerary #1: Colombia's Central Andes and Coastal Tour

This classic itinerary includes nine days of Colombian travel, from the Andes to the Caribbean Coast. Explore historical sites and local markets in Bogotá, discover the underground salt mine in Zipaquirá, and visit the preserved village of Barichara, before landing in the port city of Cartagena and the nearby Rosario Islands.

Plaza Bolivar in downtown Bogotá
Downtown Bogotá
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Bogotá Bogotá
Day 2 Explore Bogotá Bogotá
Day 3 Bogotá to Villa de Leyva Villa de Leyva
Day 4 Villa de Leyva Villa de Leyva
Day 5 Villa de Leyva to Barichara Barichara
Day 6 Guane to Hacienda El Roble Bucaramanga
Day 7 Bucaramanga to Cartagena Cartagena
Day 8 Rosario Islands Cartagena
Day 9 Depart from Cartagena  

Once you land in Bogotá, a driver will meet you at the airport to take you to your hotel. Then, it’s time to explore the Colombian capital on your own. Stroll the La Candeleria neighborhood with its trendy restaurants and graffiti art and enjoy an authentic welcome meal. The following day includes a walking tour of Bogotá’s largest food market, Mercado de Paloquemao.

On day three, make the drive to Villa de Leyva, with a stop at the Salt Cathedral anchored in Zipaquirá. Take a guided tour, and then continue exploring the underground salt mines on your own. The trip continues north to Villa de Leyva, a colonial village with cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings. In the morning, go on a horseback riding excursion, followed by a dip in Pozo Azul. Enjoy the afternoon exploring more of the town at your leisure.

Next, you’ll travel north 4 hours to Barichara. This quaint and romantic village is home to the Church of the Immaculate Conception and the nearby Santa Barbara Chapel. You can visit the local cemetery, as well as the local cigar factories. End the day at a lookout with views of the Suarez Canyon. The next morning involves a 2-hour hike up to the edge of town where you’ll find the start of the Camino Real and eventually reach Guane. Enjoy the views, and then visit the archaeological and paleontological museum with indigenous jewels and ancient fossils, followed by the Chapel of Santa Lucia in the main square. Take a moto-taxi back to Barichara, and then depart to Mesa de Los Santos to visit a coffee hacienda, where you’ll tour the plantation and learn all about the coffee-making process.

Next, you’ll fly to Cartagena, “The Pearl of the Caribbean.” Once you arrive, attend a chocolate-making class and workshop at the ChocoMuseum in Parque Bolívar. You’ll take your newly crafted confections with you to enjoy, along with the rest of the day, at your own pace. On day eight, you’ll rise early and take a speedboat to the Rosario Islands to Playa Azul. Have some lunch by the beach, relax, and go kayaking on the turquoise waters before heading back to Cartagena for your last night in Colombia. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Bogotá, Cocora Valley, Medellín, and Cartagena

Experience Colombian culture on this city-meets-nature tour that unfolds over nine days. Learn about Colombian history in Bogotá, hike along the iconic wax palms in the Cocora Valley, explore a coffee plantation in Zona Cafetera, and visit the cities of revitalized Medellín and historic Cartagena.

Medellin at dusk
Medellín at dusk
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Bogotá Bogotá
Day 2 Explore Bogotá Bogotá
Day 3 Bogotá to Zona Cafetera Armenia
Day 4 Salento and Cocora Valley Armenia
Day 5 Armenia to Medellín Medellín
Day 6 Guatape and El Peñol Medellín
Day 7 Medellín to Cartagena Cartagena
Day 8 Rosario Islands Cartagena
Day 9 Depart from Cartagena  

When your flight lands in Bogotá, a private driver will transport you to your hotel, so you can get settled. Take a tour on your own–La Candeleria is composed of cobblestone streets, hip restaurants, and unique street art, along with plenty of landmarks to discover. In the morning, embark on a half-day, guided walking tour of the city, including stops like Plaza Bolívar and the Colombian congress building, the Capitolio Nacional. Then, stroll the Gold Museum, with its collection of artifacts, and the Botero Museum, which is decorated with works from Colombian artist Fernando Botero.

Next, it’s off to Zona Cafetera, the Colombian coffee region. You’ll stop in either Armenia or Pereira and head to a coffee finca (farm) for a tour and a lesson on coffee production. Get comfortable and enjoy your overnight on the farm. When you wake up, you’ll make the trip to the Cocoro Valley to hike through the cloud forest with the famous wax palms as your backdrop. Then, enjoy the afternoon in Salento, with its old-world charm, colorful architecture, street musicians, and handicrafts.

Day five transfers you to Medellín, which is known as “The City of the Eternal Spring,” thanks to its pleasant year-round weather. Check-in and have lunch, then do some exploration of the sites, including Pueblito Paisa, San Antonio Park, and Plaza Botero, with its iconic statues from the namesake artist. Indulge in dinner and drinks in the Poblado district. In the morning, embark on a full-day excursion to Guatapé, where you can take a guided tour and receive a history lesson on the conflict surrounding Guatapé Lake. Then, travel to El Peñol, where you can relax at the base of the natural granite landmark or climb the 740 steps, with a midway view of a Virgin Mary shrine. After a bit more exploration, head back to Medellín, and enjoy the evening on your own.

The final leg of your trip flies you to Cartagena, a port city with plenty of local flavor. Stroll the streets of Old Town, and walk through Getsemaní to get a feel for the Colombian bohemian culture. On day eight, you’ll take a speedboat ride to the Barú Peninsula in the Rosario Islands. Take in the white-sand beaches and enjoy the sunshine. Have a scenic lunch, go for a swim, or rent a kayak and paddle around. Get some final relaxation time in before your departure from Cartagena tomorrow. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Bogotá, Caño Cristales & Cartagena

This nine-day journey takes you to two of Colombia’s major cities–the capital city of Bogotá and the port city of Cartagena–and includes a two-day river excursion to La Macarena to view the fascinating waters of Caño Cristales. To close out the vacation, relax along the pristine beaches of the Rosario Islands.

Caño Cristales
Caño Cristales
Day  Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá (optional city tour) Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá City Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Boat trip along the Guayabero River, wildlife spotting La Macarena
Day 4 Hike to Caño Cristales La Macarena
Day 5 Return to Bogotá (optional city tour) Bogotá
Day 6 Zipaquira & Salt Mines Day Trip Bogotá
Day 7 Arrive in Cartagena (optional city tour) Cartegena
Day 8 Rosario Islands Day Trip Cartagena
Day 9 Depart Cartagena  

You’ll arrive in Bogotá where your driver will pick you up at the airport and drive you to your hotel. Then, you can explore the city on foot. Stroll along the cobblestone streets over to the La Candeleria area, where you’ll find various museums and shops, along with trendy food options, and urban art. In the morning, you can continue discovering the town on your own, or opt for a guided tour. Take a cable car ride to Monserrate for beautiful city views, visit La Concordia market to learn about fresh, local ingredients, and browse the various artifacts at the Gold Museum.

Day three transports you to La Macarena, which is south of Bogotá. When you arrive, you’ll attend a mandatory assembly about the waters of Caño Cristales. Then, take a boat trip along the Guayabero River, where you can spot the local fauna, including turtles, birds, and monkeys of the region. If you are visiting between the months of June-November, you’ll be treated to a spectrum of hues that color the waters this time of year. The next morning invites you to Caño Cristales Park, where you will take a motorboat along the river. In the evening, enjoy a traditional dinner, along with a live show with folkloric music and dance.

On day five, return to Bogotá. Continue exploring the different nooks and landmarks of the capital. Stroll the markets, visit the museums, and enjoy shopping for Colombian goods. If you haven’t taken the cable car yet, make sure to secure a ride, so you can enjoy the city views below. Next, you’ll take a day trip north to the famous Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá. Tour the preserved, subterranean salt mine tunnels on a guided tour, and do more exploration on your own. Then, return to Bogotá, and have a nice meal before departing in the morning.

Your next destination is Cartagena, the colonial port town that sits along the Caribbean Sea. Along with embracing the romantic vibe and architectural gems of the city, take the time to learn about its pirate history. Once you are checked in to your hotel, join a walking tour with an English-speaking guide. Note the winding streets and colorful houses lined with bougainvillea, visit the Palace of Inquisition and the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas fortress. For dinner, dine at La Vitrola, the city’s most famous restaurant that is set in a 400-year-old colonial home. In the morning, take a boat over the Rosario Islands, where you can enjoy a beachside lunch and some outdoor relaxation. Swim, sunbathe, and kayak around the clear water until its time to head back to Cartagena for your last night in Colombia. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Explore Colombia - Medellín & Los Nevados

This city and outdoor tour of Colombia takes you on a nine-day journey–from revitalized and burgeoning Medellín to the Los Nevados trek. There are trips to Manizales, in the Coffee Triangle, and the bright and popular town of Salento, before the vacation concludes back in Medellín.

Day Highlights Overnight
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 Travel to Medellín Medellín
Day 7 Medellín - Guided City Tour Medellín
Day 8 Coffee Farm Day Trip Medellín
Day 9 Depart From Medellín  

Take your first day to explore Medellín at your leisure. Start at Parque Lleras, nearby the Poblado district, which is a popular tourist center. You can also book an optional 4-hour, guided tour to learn about the city’s past and present. Stops include the Pueblito Paisa, San Antonio Park, and the Metropolitan Theater.

Next, travel to Manizales, part of the “Coffee Triangle.” Stops here include the Catedral de Manizales and the Monumento a Los Colonizadores, which will provide vast mountain and city views. The afternoon takes you to Río Blanco Nature Reserve to explore 30,000 acres of protected area, where you can spot native animals that live in the cloud forest. Enjoy the evening on a ranch with a hearty, home-cooked meal.

In the morning, you’ll begin your Los Nevados trek, which spans three days. Some of the best viewpoints along your trek include those over Lake Otún and El Nevado de Santa Isabel. You’ll go birding in nature–be on the lookout for the Andean condor and the bearded helmet crest hummingbird. Look for the coffee fields in the distance by the Magdalena Valley and relish your final night camping among Colombian nature.

Day five transports you to Salento, where you can stroll the colorful town and admire the mix of Antioquia and Spanish architecture styles. You’ll have more time to enjoy Manizales–visit the hot springs, go birding in Rio Blanco, and walk the cloud forest of El Recinto del Pensamiento Park–before returning to Medellín. In the morning, join a walking tour of the town. Explore Plaza Botero and its iconic sculptures, ride the Metrocable for incredible views, and visit the Botanical Garden, which features more than 4,500 plant species.

The final portion of your itinerary takes you on a day trip to a working coffee finca, in the mountains just outside Medellín. Take part in a walking tour of the farm to learn about daily life and operations. In the afternoon, you’ll head back to Medellín and can stroll Arví Park and Explora Park, followed by touring at the Antioquia Museum and the Castle Museum. Then, the evening is yours to enjoy, before departing tomorrow. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Páramo, Plains, & Colonial Villages 

This active outdoor adventure travels to unique outdoor destinations–Chingaza National Natural Park in La Calera, the ranches of Hato Berlín and Hato Los Desos, the safari of the Encanto de Guanapalo Nature Reserve, and more. Enjoy a taste of the city life in Bogotá to round out the trip.

Ocetá Páramo
Ocetá Páramo
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá Bogotá
Day 2 Hike in Chingaza National Natural Park Bogotá
Day 3 Fly to Yopal; Explore Los Llanos Orientales San Luis de Palenque
Day 4 Day trip to Hato Los Deseos San Luis de Palenque
Day 5 Day trip to the Encanto de Guanapalo Nature Reserve San Luis de Palenque
Day 6 Fly to Monguí Monguí
Day 7 Hike the Páramo de Ocetá Monguí
Day 8 Drive to Villa de Leyva; Half-day walking tour Villa de Leyva

When your plane lands in Bogotá, look out for your driver pick-up for direct transportation to your hotel. Then, take some time to stroll the capital. Visit La Candeleria, where you can browse street art, dine at trendy restaurants, and go shopping and museum hopping.

In the morning, you’ll head out to La Calera for your first outdoor excursion. Your destination is Chingaza National Natural Park. Embark on a moderate hike to explore the alpine tundra landscape, and keep an eye out for bears, deer, and condors along the way. Enjoy a traditional park lunch before returning to Bogotá, where you’ll have some free time into the evening.

Next, take the 50-minute flight to Yopal, where you’ll meet your driver and continue on the 2-hour drive to Hato Berlín. Get to know the ranching region by enjoying a walk among wildlife–you may spot howler monkeys, caimans, capybaras, and endemic bird species. Have lunch on the ranch before your second nature walk that concludes with a sunset canoe trip to the Garcero Nature Reserve. Then, you’ll wind down at a nearby farm and enjoy a good meal and some rest.

In the morning, indulge in a farm-fresh breakfast before heading to Hato Los Deseos, where you can observe traditions like cattle herding, and take part in cowboy-related activities. Go for a tractor ride, then a horseback ride, before taking in the sunset and heading back to your farm accommodations for the evening.

Day five brings you to the Encanto De Guanapalo Nature Reserve, which is approximately 1 hour away. Transfer to a 4x4 for some off-roading on the reserve. On your safari trip, look out for small deer, turtles, and native birds–with some luck, you may spot anacondas, puma, and anteaters. The day ends with birdwatching at sunset before returning to your accommodations for the evening.

The next morning, feel free to do some more birding and have lunch on the ranch. Do some shopping before it is time to hop a flight to Monguí. Day seven includes an 8-hour hike to Ocetá Páramo in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes, where you’ll scout several unique rock formations and visit a possible human sacrificial site–La Mesa de Los Sacrificios–followed by the Penagos Waterfall and the Laguna Negra.

The last leg of your itinerary takes you to the charming colonial town of Villa de Leyva, about 3 hours west. Embark on a half-day walking tour with your guide to stroll the cobblestone streets that lead to Plaza Mayor. Explore the local coffee, crafts, and wool weaving, and make a stop at the Mesopotamia Mill, followed by a visit to the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites, which has housed resident nuns since 1645. In the morning, you’ll travel back to Bogotá for your departure. Learn more

More Great 9-Day Colombia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your Colombia trip? Check out these other 9-day Colombia itineraries, ranging from active, to cultural, to luxury, or family-friendly trips.

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Map of 9 Days in Colombia - 5 Unique Itineraries
Map of 9 Days in Colombia - 5 Unique Itineraries