For first-timers to Colombia, this fun itinerary gets you hopping all over the country starting with the cosmopolitan city of Bogotá and the lush Amazon region. Then you'll fly to the heart of Colombia's coffee triangle for an overnight at a working farm. While here, hike the lush green mountains of the Valle de Cocora before flying north to the Caribbean coast where you'll have time to explore the narrow streets of Cartagena's inner-walled city. End the adventure with a relaxing boat trip to the Rosario Islands.


  • See Bogotá's architectural highlights and sample its impressive cuisine
  • Spend three nights immersed in the wild Amazon rainforest
  • Stroll among towering wax palms and visit a coffee farm near Salento
  • Boat through the Caribbean Sea during a day trip to the Rosario Islands 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá, Self-Guided Exploration Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá City Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Fly to Leticia, Transfer to the Amazon Region Amazon Rainforest
Day 4 Calanoa Reserve: Hike, Canoe & Visit an Indigenous Community Amazon Rainforest
Day 5 Calanoa Reserve: Optional Activities Amazon Rainforest
Day 6 Fly to the Coffee Triangle, Transfer to a Coffee Finca Pereira
Day 7 Hiking in Valle de Cocora, Explore Salento Pereira
Day 8 Fly to Cartagena, Self-Guided Exploration Cartagena
Day 9 Rosario Islands Day Trip Cartagena
Day 10 Depart Cartagena  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá, Self-Guided Exploration

Walk through Plaza Bolívar, in Bogotá's La Candelaria neighborhood

Welcome to Bogotá! A driver will meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel.

Colombia's biggest city has culture to spare, and its regional gastronomy has made it a global foodie destination. You'll have ample free time to explore this Andean capital on foot. Start with the cobblestone streets of the La Candelaria neighborhood, where trendy restaurants and colonial-era landmarks are located. You'll also find excellent museums, shopping, and street food ranging from empanadas to exotic fruit salads. 

Depending on what time you arrive, you can experience Bogotá's local history and culture by taking a tour with an English-speaking guide.

Day 2: Bogotá City Tour

Check out the colorful streets of La Candelaria with a local guide

After breakfast, it's time to hit the streets and explore! A local guide will pick you up and accompany you on a half-day walking tour of the city. You'll begin in colorful La Candelaria—the heart of Bogota's historic center. Amble along its narrow streets, visiting cultural landmarks and local shops selling artisanal goods. Eventually, you'll reach Plaza Bolívar, the city's main square dating back to 1539. There's a grand cathedral here as well as many important government buildings, such as the Capitolio Nacional (Colombia's congress building). 

You can also choose to spend a full day with a guide and visit two of Bogotá's best museums in the afternoon: the Gold Museum (closed on Mondays), which features the largest collection of Pre-Columbian gold artifacts in the world, and the Botero Museum (closed on Tuesdays), which houses a collection of masterpieces from renowned Colombian sculptor and painter Fernando Botero.

Day 3: Fly to Leticia, Transfer to the Amazon Region

Transfer to the Amazon rainforest in time for sunset

Today, partake in the ultimate adventure and fly south towards Colombia's slice of the Amazon rainforest. When you arrive at Leticia's airport, you'll transfer to a private boat and head down the Amazon River to reach Calanoa Lodge—an eco-friendly guesthouse dedicated to conservation and working closely with local communities. That means there will be some restrictions for guests including the use of rainwater, limited hours for electricity, and meals prepared according to standard practice and availability.

After dinner, join a local guide for a nighttime jungle walk to soak in the noises of insects and animals that only come out after dark.

Day 4: Calanoa Reserve: Hike, Canoe & Visit an Indigenous Community

Keep an eye out for friendly wildlife on today's adventure

Have breakfast at the lodge and then depart with your local guide to the indigenous community of Mocagua. After a warm welcome, you'll experience the traditions of daily life and the close relationship maintained with the surrounding jungle. Far from westernized comforts, this community has a zest for life and a remarkable spirit of solidarity.

Return back to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a quiet hike through Calanoa Reserve where your expert guide will show you specific plants used for healing and food. You will also come across remarkable trees and unique characteristics of the jungle while observing monkeys, parrots, armadillo caves, mammals’ footprints, and many birds.

At the end of the hike, canoe through the Matamata waterfall at the edge of the Calanoa Reserve (depending on water levels, the return may be on foot). Have dinner and stay overnight at the lodge.

Plan your trip to Colombia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Calanoa Reserve: Optional Activities

Choose between adventures in the Amazon including a birdwatching excursion

Today you can choose between two adventures. The first one starts by waking up at dawn for a birdwatching excursion with a local guide. Have breakfast back at the lodge and then head out to visit the artisan community of Macedonia where you can meet the woodcarvers who create fantastic redwood objects called “blood sticks”, as well as artisan producers of baskets and jewelry.

Return to the lodge for lunch. Next, you’ll visit the island of Mocagua, opposite the reserve, with an inland lake and unique flora and fauna. Visit the natural canals of the Amazon River on the Peruvian coast to watch the pink dolphins—this is where females bring their newborn to the world. Return to the lodge and rest before dinner. You’ll have the opportunity to prepare a delicious recipe of fish wrapped in leaves and seasoned with a variety of peppers that are only found in this region. 

Or, you can take a day trip to visit the tiny Amazonian village of Puerto Nariño, as well as Lago Tarapoto—a 90-minute boat trip along the river where visitors can swim in the lake before returning to Puerto Nariño to have lunch. This peaceful, spotless village is known as the most eco-friendly place in Colombia and is home to the Indigenous Tikuna, Cocoma, and Yagua peoples. Cars and motorcycles are banned, so everything is done by foot, with the exception of a recycling truck and ambulance.

Day 6: Fly to the Coffee Triangle, Transfer to a Coffee Finca

Keep your camera close while exploring Colombia's Coffee Triangle

Today you'll take a flight to either Armenia or Pereira, cities in Colombia's coffee region. 

Upon arrival, you'll transfer to an organic coffee finca (farm) in the beautiful countryside of this region, surrounded by sloping Andean mountains coated in green coffee fields. Be sure to keep your camera within easy reach. Upon arrival to the finca, you'll learn every step of the coffee production process. Furthering this authentic experience, you'll stay overnight and learn even more about Colombia's famous export (the country is the world's third-largest producer of coffee). Of course, there will be frequent tastings. 

Day 7: Hiking in Valle de Cocora, Explore Salento

Walk through the colorful streets of Salento

Wake up with a hearty breakfast. From here, a car will pick you up and drive you to a trail in the Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley), outside the historic town of Salento. As you make your way to the trail, you’ll find yourself in view of the distinctive Quindío wax palms, which can reach an impressive height of up to 230 feet (70 m). This protected cloud forest in the Andes is peppered with soaring palms, which just happen to be Colombia's national tree.

The Valle de Cocora offers hiking opportunities second to none, which you'll be able to experience during a three-hour guided experience. The route takes you along dirt tracks through tropical forests and streams and up to lookouts providing some sweeping views. After the hike, head back to the colorful streets of Salento and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Despite Salento's rise in tourism (mostly backpackers) over the past decade, it retains an old-world charm with colorful Paisa (Antioquian) architecture, street musicians, and an impressive range of handicrafts. 

In the afternoon, transfer back to your accommodations. 

Day 8: Fly to Cartagena, Explore

Hit the charming streets of seaside Cartagena

After breakfast, you'll be transferred to either Armenia or Pereira airport for your flight to Cartagena. This picturesque colonial city on the Caribbean Sea is rich in culture, architecture, romance—and, yes, even pirate history. Upon arrival, you'll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Depending on the time of your arrival, consider a few options. You can relax and enjoy the hotel amenities or jump into action with a neighborhood walk, either by yourself or with an English-speaking guide. Enjoy Cartagena's cobbled maze of vividly colorful houses and ancient squares dating from the 16th century. Meander through the colonial neighborhoods of San Diego and Santo Domingo while learning about important historical sites like Saint Philip's Castle

Finish the day on your own with mojitos and fresh ceviche in one of the city’s hip restaurants or rooftop bars.

Day 9: Rosario Islands Day Trip

Boat through the Caribbean Sea to get to the Rosario Islands

After an early breakfast, you'll transfer from your hotel to the pier where you will board a speedboat for an hour's trip to the Barú Peninsula. Along the way, you will see Tierra Bomba Island and Boca Chica, ancient forts that once protected Cartagena from hostile invaders.

After arriving at the Rosario Islands, change into your swimwear and head to Playa Azul, a crescent beach with soft white sands hugging the turquoise Caribbean Sea. After enjoying a buffet lunch, you will have time to relax and sunbathe. An optional add-on is to rent a kayak and embark on a two or three-hour paddling excursion before returning to Cartagena in the late afternoon. A car will pick you up at the pier to take you back to your hotel.

Day 10: Depart Cartagena

Until next time, Cartagena!

It's time to say goodbye to Colombia! After breakfast, enjoy your last moments of Cartagena in a patio café. Or, if you haven't already, explore the bulk of the city on a guided tour. Otherwise, take one last stroll along those cobbled streets.

At the appointed time, you'll transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Safe travels!

Written by Emily Strauss, updated Nov 24, 2023