If you're interested in the kind of vacation that revitalizes body and mind while pushing the limits of your endurance, consider this active six-day Colombian itinerary. It's centered in and around the capital of Bogotá and packs enough high-intensity exercise to really get those endorphins pumping. Even better, all these activities occur outdoors, on city streets, and in all that surrounding nature for which Colombia is deservedly famous.

Highlights

  • Bike through downtown Bogota
  • Embark on a high-altitude trek through an exotic páramo eco-system
  • Test your rock-climbing prowess at Las Rocas de Suesca

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá - Explore the City Bogotá
Day 2 Bike Tour of Bogotá Bogotá
Day 3 Chingaza National Park Day Hike Bogotá
Day 4 Suesca Rock Climbing Day Trip Bogotá
Day 5 Siecha Lakes Day Hike Bogotá
Day 6 Depart Bogotá  

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: Bike Tour of Bogotá

Explore Bogotá on two wheels
Explore Bogotá on two wheels

There are few better ways to get to know the city of Bogotá than on two wheels. That's right, today you'll be embarking on a cycling tour of the city. Don't push yourself too hard, though—Bogotá sits at 2,640 meters (8,660 feet), so give yourself time to acclimate to the altitude. 

Your excursion starts in the well-preserved colonial district of La Candelaria. You'll zip along these hilly roads and pass by iconic sites as you go, like Chorro de Quevedo (site of the founding of the city) and Plaza de Bolívar (the heart of the government quarter). Continue your journey into downtown, past the tallest building in Bogota, the Tequendama Building, and finally to the National University and Simón Bolívar Park.

Day 3: Chingaza National Park Day Hike

Frailejones plants in Chingaza National Park
Frailejones plants in Chingaza National Park

Just east of Bogotá and over a thousand meters higher in the Andes is Chingaza National Park. This páramo (alpine tundra) eco-system is notable for its unique flora and fauna like frailejones plants and spectacled bears. The mountains here cause moist air to rise, which produces continuous clouds, fog, and mist. In fact, despite representing less than 2% of Colombia's surface area, the páramo produces 85% of the country's water. 

This is your destination for today. Your guide will pick you up at 8 am and drive 1.5 hours to the park's Suasie trailhead. The trail is a 2.4 kilometer (1.5 mile) loop with several steep sections, taking you from 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) to a high point of 3,700 meters (12,139 feet).

The first part is on a boardwalk through Andean forest up to a lookout point with views of the river and surrounding mountains. The boardwalk ends here and you continue on a dirt trail to a second viewpoint and then along a sharp mountain ridge known as Cuchilla de la Montaña ("knife of the mountain"). There are sheer drops on either side and the views are spectacular. This is a favorite area of the aforementioned spectacled bear, and you might even spot a footprint or two. From the highest point of the trail, you'll then descend to El Pantanal, a marshland full of streams and waterfalls. At around 5 pm you'll drive back to Bogotá.

Day 4: Suesca Rock Climbing Day Trip

Las Rocas de Suesca
Las Rocas de Suesca

Las Rocas de Suesca is a towering gray cliff that stretches for over a mile through Colombia's central Andean Cundinamarca Department. It's the birthplace of rock climbing in Colombia and a local mecca due to the variety and quality of its routes. Colombian mountaineers who want to summit heavyweight rocks like Everest and K2 often practice on Suesca. This hard sandstone wall has over 300 routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.14 YDS (intermediate and elite skill levels).

Your guide will pick you up at 7 am in and transport you 1.5 hours north to Suesca. The guide will assess your skill level on the ride over and select the best routes for you. You'll then spend the day climbing and enjoying the view of fields and forests from hundreds of feet up. At around 5 pm you'll transfer back to Bogotá.

Day 5: Siecha Lakes Day Hike

Siecha Lake
Siecha Lake

Las Lagunas de Siecha are a group of three lakes in the mountains of the Chingaza National Park east of Bogotá. The lakes, named Siecha, Guasca, and De Los Patos, are situated next to one another in a terraced formation. These emerald glacial lakes contrast with the jagged mountains surrounding them to create one of the most striking views in the Colombian Andes.

Your guide will pick you up at 8 am and you'll drive for 1.5 hours to Chingaza National Park and the Siecha Lakes trailhead. The trail is 5.2 kilometers (3.2 miles) long, over mostly rolling hills, and passes through a páramo with streams, marshes, and panoramic mountain views. Before noon you'll arrive at the lakes and explore the surroundings while learning about the indigenous Muisca culture (native inhabitants of the Cundinamarca region). After enjoying a packed lunch you'll start your hike back at around 1 pm, returning the way you came. You'll arrive back in Bogotá around 5 pm.

Day 6: Depart Bogotá

La Candelaria district, Bogotá
La Candelaria district, Bogotá

It's now time to say farewell to Colombia! Enjoy your last hours in the capital with a leisurely lunch, a 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.