Check off three unforgettable cities on this whirlwind 10-day tour starting with Bogotá's Spanish colonial sites and buzzing nightlife. You'll then fly to the heart of Colombia's Zona Cafetera for an overnight at a coffee farm where you'll hike the green mountains of Cocora Valley, dotted with towering palm trees. From here, head to Medellín—a city with outdoor art and spring-like weather—before ending on the Caribbean coast where you'll explore the romantic streets of Cartagena's Old Town.

Highlights

  • Get a taste of the capital's colonial history and trendy restaurants
  • Have an authentic overnight experience at a working coffee farm 
  • Jump on the Medellín's gondola and learn about innovative neighborhood projects
  • Hike the beautiful Cocora Valley through Colombia's iconic wax palm trees
  • Watch sunsets from Cartagena's rooftop bars with ceviche and mojitos

Overview

Colombia has a blessed geographic setting against the Caribbean Sea, but the interior offers another world of natural and cultural highlights. You'll get a taste of both on this 10-day tour. Start with two nights in the big city of Bogotá, home to excellent museums, historic neighborhoods, great nightlife and progressive urban renewal projects. Then fly to the mountainous coffee region, which is today safe and peaceful after decades of civil unrest. You'll stay overnight in a working coffee farm and visit Salento's charming cobblestoned village. There's also a guided hike and driving tour through the lush green Cocora Valley.

From here, transfer to Medellín, a city rising on the world stage with progressive art, a scenic gondola, and year-round spring weather. Then take a day-trip to lakeside Guatapé before heading north to the Caribbean coast where you'll spend two days exploring the narrow streets of Cartagena's beautiful inner-walled city. Enjoy a free day where you can take a fishing excursion or a speedboat ride to a nearby island with white-sand beaches. 

Colombia is an ideal year-round destination with warm, tropical weather. If you want to skip the high season and crowds (December and January), then February to April is a great choice with dry weather and lower prices. Keep in mind that October and November tend to be the wettest months of the year.   

Brief Itinerary

Day  Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá City Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Bogotá - Flight to Zona Cafetera - Coffee Finca Coffee region
Day 4 Coffee Finca - Hiking - Explore Salento Coffee region
Day 5 Coffee Finca - Driving Tour of Zona Cafetera Coffee region
Day 6 Zona Cafetera - Flight to Medellín Medellín
Day 7 Guatapé Day-Trip Medellín
Day 8 Medellín - Flight to Cartagena Cartagena
Day 9 La Boquilla Fishing Day-Trip Cartagena
Day 10 Depart Cartagena Cartagena

Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá

Explore Bogota's mountainous capital with a local guide.

Welcome to Bogotá! A driver will meet you at the airport for transportation to the hotel.

Colombia's biggest city is on the rise in terms of gastronomy and culture, so spend your free time discovering this vibrant Andean capital by foot. Explore the cobblestone streets through the La Candelaria neighborhood, where trendy restaurants and colonial-era landmarks are located, as well as excellent museums, shopping, and street food options 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. (Optional add-on).

Day 2: Bogotá City Tour

Visit beautiful Spanish colonial monuments in La Candelaria.

After breakfast, it's time to hit the streets and explore Bogotá! You'll be picked up at your hotel by a local guide who will share his/her city knowledge on this half-day tour. 

Half-Day Walking Tour: Take a thorough walking tour through colorful La Candelaria — the heart of Bogota's historic center with narrow streets, cultural landmarks, and shops selling local goods. 

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) for the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world, and the Botero Museum (closed on Tuesdays) for a collection of masterpieces from this renowned Colombian painter and sculptor. (Optional add-on.)

If you are an early riser, start the morning sunrise tour of Bogotá's best and biggest food market — Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao — which provides ingredients for the vast majority of the city’s best restaurants. Wander through the stalls and continue strolling through neighborhood streets stopping to photograph walled graffiti art. (Optional add-on.) 

Half-Day Tour Duration: 4 Hours (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 3: Bogotá - Flight to Zona Cafetera - Coffee Finca

Take a short flight to the lush green countryside of Cocora Valley.

Today, you'll be picked up from your hotel after breakfast and transferred to Bogotá's airport for your flight to either Armenia or Pereira airport in Colombia's Zona Cafetera (coffee region).

Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to an organic coffee finca (farm) in the beautiful countryside of this region, where you will see every step of the coffee production process. Furthering this authentic experience, you'll stay overnight and learn even more about this important trade in Colombia (third highest in the world for coffee bean production), not to mention frequent tastings!

Day 4: Coffee Finca - Hiking - Explore Salento

A local guide will lead you on this hike.

Wake up with a hearty breakfast at your coffee finca. From here, you'll be picked up and transferred to the trailhead in the Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley), near Salento's charming center. As you make your way to the trail, you’ll find yourself in view of the distinctive Quindío wax palms, which are among the highest trees in the world reaching a height of up to 70 meters. 

This remarkably lush (and thankfully, protected) cloud forest set against the Andean mountainside gives the phrase "verdant green" new meaning. Add in these soaring, skinny wax palms — Colombia's national tree — that cheerfully dot the mountainous landscape, and the Valle de Cocora makes for an outstanding hiking opportunity that you won't want to miss. This loop takes you along dirt tracks through tropical forests and streams for some incredible views and amazing photos, so bring your camera!

After the hike, head back to the colorful streets of Salento and enjoy lunch and the afternoon on your own. Despite Salento's rise in tourism (mostly backpackers) over the past decade, this magical place retains an old-world charm with colorful Paisa architecture, musicians on street corners, and an incredible range of handicrafts. 

In the late afternoon, you'll be transferred back to the coffee finca for dinner. Stay overnight. 

Hike Duration: 3 Hours (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 5: Coffee Finca - Driving Tour of Zona Cafetera

Drive through mountain villages rarely visited by tourists.

After breakfast at your coffee finca, you'll be picked up for a full-day excursion.

This guided tour by private car explores the Zona Cafetera (coffee region), where you'll get to know lovely little villages like Montenegro, Circasia, and Cordoba. Experience the authentic charm, beautiful landscapes, and friendly, tight-knit communities. Your guide will stop by fruit stands for tastings and splendid viewpoints looking over coffee, pineapple, and banana plantations.

When you return to your coffee finca, enjoy the rest of the afternoon on your own. Have dinner on-site and stay overnight.

Tour Duration: 6-8 Hours (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 6: Zona Cafetera - Flight to Medellín

Hit Medellín's streets for outdoor sculptures and mouments.

After breakfast, you'll be transferred to either Armenia or Pereira airport for your flight to 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 who will cover some of the following sites:

Panoramic City Tour (4 Hours): 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. (Optional add-on.)

Day 7: Guatapé Day-Trip

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After breakfast, you'll be picked up from your hotel for a full-day excursion to the picturesque lakeside town of Guatapé. This private tour includes a guided walk through the village where you'll learn about the town's conflict surrounding the building of the dam that was renamed Guatapé Lake. You'll gain an insider’s perspective on local efforts to pressure the government to address the reservoir’s encroaching blue-green algae.

Your guide will then transfer you to La Piedra Rock. Relax at the base of this natural granite landmark where there are market stalls, or work up an appetite by climbing the 740 steps to admire the view from the top (not included). You can also climb about halfway for a shrine to the Virgin Mary.

Return to Guatapé and enjoy free time to explore the streets. This is truly the most colorful town in Colombia with beautiful artwork along the lower half of its buildings. Head to a restaurant and enjoy lunch on your own — keep an eye out for freshwater fish and other local delicacies.

In the afternoon, you'll be transferred back to your hotel in Medellín with free time to enjoy the rest of the day.

Day-Trip Duration: 8 Hours (with an English-Speaking Guide)

Day 8: Medellín - Flight to Cartagena

Welcome to this beautiful city on the Caribbean Sea!

After breakfast, you'll be transferred to Medellín 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 (optional add-on). Here are some things that you should see:

  • Wander the narrow, winding streets of the inner-walled city with a camera to photograph colorful houses and lively squares overflowing with bougainvillea.
  • Check out the colonial neighborhoods of San Diego and Santo Domingo stopping at key sites like Plaza de los Coches, Plaza de la Aduana, Parque Bolívar, and Plaza de Santa Teresa.  
  • Walk along the Old Town's original fortress walls, built (starting in 1586) with the purpose of protecting Cartagena from any attacks. You'll get some amazing panoramic views of the city (and the sunset!) from here.
  • Pay respects at Santo Domingo, reputedly the oldest church in the city.
  • Peek in La Vitrola for future reference — this is the city's most famous restaurant in a 400-year-old colonial home.
  • Explore Getsemani, the up-and-coming neighborhood just outside the walls of Cartagena's historic Old City. Once a seedy area, Getsemani is now a haven for hip culture with charming Spanish colonial architecture, graffiti art, boutique hotels, and street food vendors.

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

Day 9: La Boquilla Fishing Day-Trip

Join local fisherman for an excursion in the Caribbean Sea.

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up and transferred to the mangroves and rivers outside of Cartagena where you can experience a small example of Colombia's unmatched natural landscape. This region, populated by afro-descendants whose ancestors came from the west of Africa, lives on the abundant fish that swim among the roots of this delicate ecosystem of fresh and salt water. A local fisherman will take you by boat to catch some fish where you'll assist in the process of checking cages and nets to see what delights will be served later on.

After reaching the local community of La Boquilla, you'll interact and chat with the locals as they teach you how to prepare the fish you've just caught. Enjoy a feast for lunch before you head back to Cartagena for some rest.

Spend a free afternoon in Cartagena.

Day-Trip Duration: 4 Hours (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 10: Depart Cartagena

Narrow streets of Cartagena have flowering balconies.

It's time to say farewell to Colombia! After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy your last moments of Cartagena in a relaxing café, or — if you have not done so yet — take a walk around the city with an English-speaking guide (optional add-on) to gain a new perspective of the city from a local. 

This tour covers Cartagena's enchanting maze of colorful houses and lively squares 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 and el Museo del Oro. 

A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home.

Map

Map of Colombia's Best Cities & Coffee Region  - 10 Days
Map of Colombia's Best Cities & Coffee Region - 10 Days