Travel the length of Colombia, from the Caribbean Sea to the Amazon River, on an epic adventure spanning 13 days. You'll arrive in the capital and visit Bogotá's colonial center, then fly south to embark on excursions deep into the Amazon jungle. Finish the trip with a greatest hits tour of the northern coast that includes Tayrona National Park and yacht trips around the bay of Cartagena.


  • Take a walking tour of Bogotá's historic center
  • Travel down the Amazon River in southern Colombia
  • Visit secluded Caribbean beaches in Tayrona National Park
  • See the highlights of Cartagena and take a yacht cruise

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá, Optional Activities Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá Highlights Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Fly to Leticia, City Tour Leticia 
Day 4 Transfer to Puerto Nariño, Micos Island & Jungle Hike Puerto Nariño
Day 5 Day Trip to Cacao Island & Tarapoto Lakes Puerto Nariño
Day 6 Fly to Santa Marta, Transfer to Tayrona National Park Tayrona National Park
Day 7 Day Trip to Tayrona Beaches Tayrona National Park
Day 8 Transfer to Cartagena, Mangrove Canoe Tour Cartagena
Days 9-10 Transfer to Rosario Islands, Snorkeling & Bioluminescence Rosario Islands
Day 11 Transfer to Cartagena, Street Food Tour Cartagena
Day 12 Cartagena City Tour & Dinner Cruise Cartagena
Day 13 Depart Cartagena  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá, Optional Activities

Bogotá's colorful La Candelaria neighborhood

Welcome to Bogotá, the capital of Colombia! This metropolis high in the Andes (8,661 ft/2,640 m) has been inhabited by Indigenous groups for thousands of years and was colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century. Today it's a modern city home to over seven million people, yet many of its colonial-era landmarks remain remarkably well-preserved. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.

After taking some time to relax and unwind, feel free to head out on a self-guided tour. Colombia's largest city abounds with culture and historical landmarks, and its regional gastronomy has made it a global foodie destination. Start with the cobblestone streets of the La Candelaria neighborhood, which is brimming with trendy restaurants and landmarks dating back centuries. You'll also find excellent museums, shopping, and street food ranging from arepas to exotic fruit salads.

Day 2: Bogotá Highlights Tour

Travel up to Cerro Monserrate
This full-day tour of Bogotá's highlights begins after breakfast in La Candelaria, the historic center. Here, you'll visit Plaza de Bolívar, the city's main square and seat of government. Along it sit the Congress, Justice Hall, and the 19th-century Catedral Primada. Nearby is the Gold Museum, which boasts over 34,000 pre-Columbian gold artifacts—the largest such collection in the world. Finish this leg of the tour at the Museo de Botero, home to an impressive art collection donated by the renowned Colombian painter/sculptor Fernando Botero.

Afterward, stop at one of the largest and most popular municipal markets in the city: Paloquemao. It covers an entire city block, and within it are around 750 vendors selling everything from fresh produce and flowers to meats and cheeses. As your guide leads you down the labyrinthine aisles, you'll mingle with local Bogotanos doing their weekly shopping, plus chat with vendors about their products. Take a break for a snack at one of the restaurant stalls, then sample exotic tropical fruits like papaya, mango, guava, carambola, passion fruit, dragon fruit, lulo, and others.
Later, head to Cerro Monserrate, the famous hill overlooking Bogotá. There are various options to ascend it, the quickest being a four-minute cable car ride up 2,690 feet (820 m) to the top. There's also a slower funicular rail car and a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) hiking path. Know that the hiking trail can take up to three hours to complete (it also closes at 1 pm). Once at the top, you'll visit Monserrate Sanctuary, a whitewashed Catholic church that was completed in 1657. But the real star is the panoramic view of the city below. 

Days 3: Fly to Leticia, City Tour

Travel to the Amazon
In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the ride to the airport, where you'll catch a two-hour flight south to Leticia. This small city is located at the southernmost end of the country right on the Amazon River. It also sits on the tri-borders with Peru and Brazil. Upon arrival at the airport, a representative will be waiting to welcome you and transfer you to your nearby hotel. This kicks off four days of adventure in Colombia's Amazonas region.

After check-in, head out for a city tour. During the excursion, you'll visit highlights like the municipal market and a pharmacist specializing in local medicinal plants. You'll also stop by Santander Park. This central plaza is famous for its daily spectacle of thousands of green parrots returning to the park's trees in the early evening. You'll also get to hop the border to the adjacent Brazilian town of Tabatinga, where you'll see the language and culture change in an instant. Afterward, return to your hotel in Leticia. 

Day 4: Transfer to Puerto Nariño, Micos Island & Night Jungle Hike

Puerto Nariño in Amazonas
Depart Leticia at 7:30 am and travel by public riverboat to the small river town of Puerto Nariño. The journey takes a little over 1.5 hours, but you'll stop on the way at Isla de los Micos ("Monkey Island"). It's quite a treat, as this island is filled with large communities of friendly squirrel monkeys happy to make friends with visitors. After spending time with the monkeys and feeding them, you'll continue on to Puerto Nariño.
Plan your trip to Colombia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
The river town of Puerto Nariño has become an ecotourism hotspot in recent years. It's totally green (no motorized vehicles here at all), and the residents—comprised mostly of the Ticuna, Yagua, and Cocama Indigenous people—have adapted to the natural environment over the centuries. This is also one of the planet's most biodiverse ecosystems, home to countless species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. 
Upon arrival, you'll check in at your local guesthouse and then have lunch. Following this is a walk along a jungle path to the Wochine Reserve, which is a mini biosphere unto itself. Here, you can see native flora and fauna like the Victoria amazonica (a flowering water lily) and the pirarucú, one of the largest freshwater fishes in the world (it can grow up to 10 ft/3m). when the sun goes down, you'll embark on a jungle hike in search of nocturnal insects, frogs, tarantulas, snakes, and other animals. Afterward, you'll have dinner at your guesthouse.

Day 5: Day Trip to Cacao Island & Tarapoto Lakes

See pink river dolphins
In the morning, you'll travel from Puerto Nariño by boat to Isla Cacao, a river island in the adjacent Peruvian territory. Here, you'll take a guided will walk (or canoe trip, depending on the season) through the renaco forest. These tall trees are unique in that hanging from their branches are aerial roots that drop down (sometimes over 330 ft/100 m) to the ground, where they eventually create more trees. Here, it's possible to spot several species of exotic birds, including macaws and toucans.
You'll then continue on to Tarapoto Lakes. This 154-sq-mile (400 sq km) network of interconnected waterways is a biodiversity hotspot. You can see a host of exotic animals here, like squirrel monkeys and macaws. The waters here are also filled with caimans as well as pink and gray river dolphins. After lunch, you'll return to your hotel in Puerto Nariño for a break. Later in the afternoon, you'll visit a local Tikuna community for a cultural exchange. 

Day 6: Fly to Santa Marta, Transfer to Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park
After an early breakfast, you'll transfer by boat to Leticia and take a connecting flight to the Caribbean coast and Santa Marta, Colombia's oldest city. Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up for the approximately one-hour drive to Tayrona National Park. This 1,614-square-mile (4,180 sq km) region protects the unspoiled coast, mountains, and archeological sites in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region. The park is overseen by descendants of the Tayrona people, who have lived here since at least the first century CE. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel and will have the rest of the day free.

Day 7: Day Trip to Tayrona Beaches

Visit secluded beaches in Tayrona, like Playa Cristal

In the morning, you'll head out on a day trip to some of the most secluded and scenic parts of Tayrona. First up is Playa Gairaca, an almost hidden beach little visited by tourists, meaning you'll have it mostly to yourself. Then stop at Mirador Siete Olas. This lookout point offers incredible views over an idyllic bay with fierce waves crashing on the beach.

Afterward, take a rest on the wide and inviting sands at Neguanje, the largest bay in Tayrona. The waters here are serene and the environment is so tranquil that Indigenous residents come here to perform rituals. Another highlight of the tour is a boat ride from Neguanje Bay to Playa Cristal, a beach that earned its name due to its crystalline waters. Here you can do some snorkeling along the offshore coral reefs. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel. 

Day 8: Transfer to Cartagena, Mangrove Canoe Tour

See the mangroves in a canoe

Your personal driver will pick you up early at your hotel for the ride west along the coast to Cartagena. The drive there takes around four hours, but you'll break it up with a stop at Boquilla. This humble fishing village is popular with nature lovers due to the mangrove forests along its shores. You'll see them up close on a guided canoe tour around the coast and interior lagoon. It's a great opportunity to spot exotic birds like green parrots, egrets, and the scarlet ibis, among others.

After the canoe tour, you'll enjoy a refreshing drink from a cold coconut as you tour the village. Boquilla has Afro-Caribbean roots, which you'll learn about as you chat with locals about the fishing trade and other aspects of daily life. Afterward, hop back in the car and continue another 30 minutes or so to Cartagena. Founded in 1533 as Spain's main shipping port in the New World, Cartagena is the largest colonial fortress city in the Americas. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel. 

Days 9-10: Transfer to Rosario Islands, Snorkeling & Bioluminescence

Rosario Islands, Colombia
In the morning, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the city port. Here, you'll board a shared boat for the 45-minute ride to Islas Rosario, an island archipelago offshore of Cartagena. Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel and will then have the next two days to enjoy pure relaxation and aquatic activities in this island paradise. Feel free to spend the remainder of the first afternoon sunbathing on the beach.
If you so choose, your hotel will organize all snorkeling equipment so you can swim along with tropical fish in the clear waters. After sunset, you're in for a real treat as you head to the shore and witness the spectacle of bioluminescent algae that light up the waters at night. You can even hop in and immerse yourself in this bright blue plankton. The next day is yours to enjoy more relaxation, beach activities, and fresh seafood at your hotel. 

Day 11: Transfer to Cartagena, Street Food Tour

Cartagena's colorful palenqueras
After a leisurely breakfast, you'll take a boat from Rosario back to Cartagena and transfer to your hotel. When lunchtime rolls around, head out on a two-hour food tour to experience the city's culinary heritage like a true Cartagenero. During this guided excursion, you'll try it all, from savory street food to sweet desserts. Enjoy staple dishes like arepas (fried corncakes), empanadas, papas rellenas (stuffed potato croquettes), caribañolas (yuca fritters), bollos de mazorca (steamed corn rolls), and others.
There will be plenty of fresh fruit as well. Try some agua de coco (coconut water) and exotic fruits scarcely found outside the tropics like lulo, granadilla, nispero, papaya, and guyabano. You'll likely also get to meet some of Cartagena's iconic palenqueras—descendants of the first freed enslaved people on the continent and who for centuries made a living selling fresh fruit (but these days earn money mostly taking pictures). Afterward, you'll return to your hotel and will have the rest of the day free.

Day 12: Cartagena City Tour & Dinner Cruise

Plaza de la Aduana, Cartagena
Plaza del Reloj, Cartagena

Today's tour of Cartagena's highlights begins with a transfer just outside the city center to Convento de la Popa. This convent dates to 1606, and its position atop a hill affords panoramic views of the whole city. From there, you'll proceed to nearby San Felipe de Barajas. This hilltop castle was built by the Spanish in 1536 to defend the coast, and to this day it remains the largest colonial fortress in the Americas. A tour of San Felipe includes walking along its ramparts as well as exploring its tunnels.

Afterward, you'll return to Cartagena's historic center and visit the city's important landmarks on a guided tour. These include the entrance to the Walled City and the Plaza de Reloj, where the iconic clock tower stands. Explore colonial neighborhoods like San Diego and Santo Domingo, then visit the Palace of the Inquisition in Plaza de Bolívar. This was once the seat of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and is now a macabre museum. During the tour, your guide will share fascinating stories about the founding of Cartagena as well as tales of pirate attacks.

When the sun goes down, walk to the pier located right in the historic center. Here, you'll board a yacht for an evening dinner cruise around the bay. Enjoy a three-course meal with wine as you chat with guests amid beautiful views while the lights of downtown Cartagena dance on the waters of the Caribbean.  

Day 13: Depart Cartagena

Sunset over Cartagena

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel. If your schedule allows, take one final walk around Cartagena's colorful neighborhoods, stop at a café, or do a bit of last-minute souvenir shopping. Then, at the appropriate time, your driver will transfer you to the airport where you'll catch your flight home. Until next time!

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