Colombia's wild and undiscovered region of Chocó on the Pacific coast takes center stage in this 13-day itinerary. The adventure starts in the country's capital city and nearby national parks. From there, visit Medellín, take in the dazzling views from a hike around lakeside Guatapé, and taste Colombia's coffee at the source. End in Nuquí, a dense rainforest where you'll spend three days exploring tiny villages and partaking in outdoor activities.

Highlights

  • Check out street art and snack on empanadas in Bogota's trendy historic district
  • Explore Medellín's dangerous past and innovative future with local guides
  • Get a tour of a working coffee plantation with a local farmer
  • Visit Colombia's wild Pacific coast- still untouched by mass tourism

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá - Explore the City Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá City Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Guatavita, Zipaquira & Salt Mines Day-Trip Bogotá
Day 4 Bogotá - Flight to Medellín Medellín
Day 5 Medellín City Tour Medellín
Day 6 Guatapé Day-Trip Medellín
Day 7 Coffee Finca Day-Trip Medellín
Day 8 Flight to Nuquí Nuqui
Day 9 Whale Watching, Hiking & Hot Springs Nuqui
Day 10 Joví River: Canoe & Village Day-Trip Nuqui
Day 11 Free day on the Pacific Coast Nuqui
Day 12 Fly from Nuquí to Medellín Medellín
Day 13 Depart Medellín  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá - Explore the City

Plaza Bolívar in La Candelaria, Bogotá
Plaza Bolívar in La Candelaria, Bogotá

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

Sunset in La Candelaria
Sunset in La Candelaria

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). 

To spend a full day with your guide, take the aforementioned walk through La Candelaria and then explore 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.

If you are an early riser, start the morning sunrise tour of Bogotá by visiting its best and biggest food market—Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao—which supplies produce for many of the city’s best restaurants. Return to La Candelaria and downtown, strolling the streets and stopping to photograph walled graffiti art.

Day 3: Guatavita, Zipaquira & Salt Mines Day-Trip

Hiking at Laguna de Guatavita
Hiking at Laguna de Guatavita

After breakfast in Bogotá, a private car will pick you up for your journey north of the capital, with your first destination being Laguna de Guatavita. You will have a short guided hike to the lagoon to enjoy this unique, crater-shaped body of water. You will hear stories about its rich history, including the ancient rituals involving indigenous leaders throwing gold objects into its waters to appease their god. 

After visiting the lake, have lunch in the small village of Sesquile. After lunch, you'll transfer to Zipaquirá. This town, declared a Colombian heritage site, is known for its famous underground Salt Cathedral—a Roman church built within the tunnels of an underground salt mine. Entry to this popular site includes a guided tour along with some free time to explore on your own. 

While in the area, you'll also head to the Nemocón Salt Mine, thirty minutes outside of Zipaquirá. There, 80 meters underground, are a collection of immaculately preserved tunnels where eight million tons of salt were extracted between 1816 and 1968.  The various chambers off the main routes show the history of salt mining amidst spectacular atmospheric light effects, with no less than 28 mirrors.

In the afternoon, you'll return to Bogota with free time to explore the city during evening hours.

Day 4: Bogotá - Flight to Medellín

Medellín

After breakfast, depart for Medellín! Upon landing, you will be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy the afternoon/evening on your own, or explore the neighborhoods with an English-speaking guide.

If you opt for the guided tour, hop in a car and get an insider's perspective of Medellín from your private transfer. You'll make several key stops including the Pueblito Paisa, San Antonio Park, La Plazuela de San Ignacio, La Playa Avenue, Metropolitan Church, and the iconic bronze sculptures at Botero Square. You will visit the Music House, Antioquia University, and the city's expansive botanical garden with more than 4,500 blooms.

The last leg of the tour includes a stop at the Convention Center in Plaza Mayor, the Metropolitan Theater, and Los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Park). On your way back to the hotel, check out Poblado Parque, a popular city park surrounded by bars and restaurants.

Day 5: Medellín City Tour

Medellín barefoot park
Barefoot Park in Medellín

After breakfast at your hotel, spend a full day exploring Medellín on a walking tour with a local guide. This excursion includes a mix of sightseeing by foot and taking the Metro system through a neighborhood that represents one of the city's most successful urban projects.

The guide will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to Medellín's downtown. You'll visit Plaza Botero, which features works by Colombia's foremost sculptor, Fernando Botero. Then it's time to take a ride on the city's iconic Metrocable gondola system, during which you'll enjoy panoramic views of Medellín below. Next, stop in at the Botanical Garden, which features more than 4,500 types of flowers. After visiting some parks and landmarks in the downtown area, you'll eventually return to your hotel by public transport. (There's also a tour option that includes graffiti street art and riding the Metrocable to more remote neighborhoods higher in the hills.)

The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

Day 6: Guatapé Day-Trip

View from atop the rock
View of Guatapé Lake from La Piedra Rock

After breakfast, you'll transfer from your hotel for a full-day excursion to one of the crown jewels of Colombia's Antioquia region: the lakeside town of Guatapé. This private tour includes a guided walk through the village and a mini-history lesson. You'll learn about the town's conflict surrounding the building of the dam that created the reservoir here, which is known as Guatapé Lake. You'll gain an insider’s perspective on local efforts to pressure the government to address this reservoir’s encroaching blue-green algae.

Your guide will then transfer you to El Peñol (La Piedra Rock). Relax at the base of this natural granite landmark in one of the many market stalls. Or work up an appetite by climbing the 740 steps to admire the view from the top (entrance fee not included). Halfway up the rock, you'll see a shrine to the Virgin Mary.

Return to the town of Guatapé and explore the streets. This is one of the most colorful villages in Colombia, with beautiful artwork along the lower half of its buildings. Head to a local restaurant and enjoy lunch on your own (try the freshwater fish and/or other delicacies). In the late afternoon, you'll transfer back to your hotel in Medellín with free time to enjoy the rest of the day.

Day 7: Coffee Finca Day Trip

A worker packs coffee on the farm
Packing coffee beans on the farm

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll transfer by car 1.5 hours to a working coffee finca (farm) located in the mountains outside of Medellín. From here, you'll embark on a walking tour with a coffee farmer who will explain the growing process and the steps it takes for the coffee bean to reach the cup. You'll also learn about the daily life of these farmers and how this important trade is linked to many Colombian families, making it a source of pride for locals.

Return to Medellín in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day on your own.

Day 8: Flight to Nuquí

Nuquí on the Pacific Coast

This morning you'll fly to the village of Nuquí on Colombia's undeveloped Pacific coast. You will be picked up at the airport and transferred by boat to the pristine beaches of Guachalio (the main draw of Nuquí). From here, you will have a chance to get settled in your room.

After lunch, there will be free time to enjoy the surroundings. You can relax on the sand, take a dip in the area's thermal hot springs, or head out on one of the ecological trails through the lush rainforest.

Day 9: Whale Watching, Hiking & Hot Springs

Breaching humpback whale in the waters off Chocó

Start the morning with a boat trip in search of humpback whales accompanied by a local guide. This is a great way to see these gentle giants up close. The impressive mammal is a regular in the Chocó region, found in the warm water and low currents, as they make their way to their breeding ground in the Tribugá Gulf (depending on the season). 

After that, enjoy lunch on El Cantil beach. In the afternoon, your guide will take you on a nature walk that's known for thermal hot springs. 

Day 10: Joví River: Canoe & Village Day-Trip

Joví River

After breakfast, head to the friendly village of Joví and sail along the river via dugout canoes reaching the destination of La Chontadura Waterfall, where you can take a dip in the clear water.

Afterwards, continue canoeing to reach another village called Coqui and take a cooking lesson with the local women, many whom are most wonderful chefs and true experts on the region’s traditional flavors. Following lunch, you will have free time explore the village surroundings by foot. At the end of the afternoon, a boat will pick you up and take you to our hotel.

Day 11: Free day on the Pacific Coast

Colombia's Pacific coast
Colombia's Pacific coast

Start your morning with breakfast at your beachfront eco-lodge. From there, you'll have a free day to take advantage of your incredible surroundings any way you'd like. Explore the area with a walk along some of the pristine beaches, or simply relax in a hammock under the shade of one of the many palm trees.

If you want to have an active free day here are some of our favorite activities (check with your hotel for availability):

  • Kayaking, rent a kayak and explore the picturesque coastline
  • Hiking, explore the surrounding jungle and visit the 'cascada del amor' waterfall and take a dip it's natural waters
  • Scuba diving/snorkeling, see up close Colombia's incredible biodiversity 
  • Surfing, ride the waves of the Pacific ocean

Day 12: Fly from Nuquí to Medellín

Colombia's Pacific Coast
Colombia's Pacific Coast

After breakfast, take one last walk along the beautiful beaches by your hotel. From there, a boat will take you back to the village of Nuquí, where you will board your flight back to Medellín. A representative will meet you there and accompany you to your hotel.

Day 13: Depart Medellín

The Metrocable, Medellín
The Metrocable, Medellín

It's time to say farewell to Colombia! Enjoy your last moments in the beautiful city of Medellín with a leisurely breakfast, city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping.  A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home.