During this eight-day trip to Colombia, plan to visit some of the best-known parts of the country. First, stroll the capital city of Bogotá before heading to the small, colorful town of Villa de Leyva. Then, visit a coffee farm in Armenia and learn all about the crop. The journey ends with a tour of the historic shipping port of Cartagena, where you can enjoy excellent food and vibrant nightlife.

Highlights

  • Discover the history of Bogotá and stroll the lively La Candeleria area
  • Take a day trip to hike the Cocora Valley and visit Salento
  • Tour a coffee farm and enjoy local tastings in Armenia
  • Explore the old shipping port of Cartagena and its preserved sites

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá - Half-Day Guided City Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Travel to Villa de Leyva Villa de Leyva
Day 4 Villa de Leyva - Half-Day Walking Tour Villa de Leyva
Day 5 Travel to Armenia - Coffee Finca Tour Armenia
Day 6 Cocora Valley and Salento - Day Trip Coffee Finca
Day 7 Travel to Cartagena Cartagena
Day 8 Cartagena - Half-Day City Tour Cartagena
Day 9 Depart From Cartagena  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá

The colorful streets of La Candelaria
The colorful streets of La Candelaria

Welcome to Bogotá! Once you arrive at the airport, make your way to your hotel. When you are settled, take the rest of the day to stroll the capital city.

Colombia's largest 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 fruit salads. 

In the evening, take some time to relax after your long day of travel. Tomorrow, you will meet your guide for a proper tour of the city.

Day 2: Bogotá - Half-day guided city tour

Plaza de Bolivar
Plaza de Bolivar

Today, you’ll go on a guided journey of Bogotá. The tour begins at the Grand Plaza de Bolivar and the surrounding government buildings and continues back through La Candelaria, Bogotá’s colonial old town. Next, you’ll venture to Bogotá's oldest church, Iglesia de San Francisco. At the world-famous gold museum, you’ll go even further back in time, admiring more than 3,000 exhibits of pre-Columbian gold artifacts.

The tour finishes with an exhilarating cable car ride to Monserrate Hill, which offers spectacular views of the metropolis and the surrounding high plains. On Sundays, Monserrate is very busy, and there might be long queues. Alternatively, your guide will take you by private transport to the mountain Guadalupe or to the Calera, where you’ll get to enjoy equally fantastic views of Bogotá.

The evening is at your leisure to enjoy local food and drinks. Head back to La Candelaria, which is home to many of the city’s best restaurants.

Day 3: Travel to Villa de Leyva

Plaza central Villa de Leyva
 Villa de Leyva

Today, make the trip to Villa de Leyva. On the way, you’ll stop at Puente de Boyacá, which is a small bridge that symbolizes South American Independence. Then, you’ll reach Villa de Leyva, one of the most beautiful colonial villages in Colombia, featuring cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings.

You can take a stroll around the area to get a feel for the local culture. You can also elect to take a challenging hike in the nearby Iguaque Sanctuary, a scenic pathway through the Andeans. Considered by the sedentary indigenous Muiscas as the birthplace of mankind, the trail winds upward all the way to Laguna Bachue, a beautiful high-altitude lake; the higher you climb, the more unique stages of vegetation you will experience, from moss-covered trees and ferns to pine forests. Keep an eye out for frailejones (plants that look like palm trees). When the conditions are not too foggy, the panoramic views allow you to see the endless layers of mountains, villages, and farms.

If you would like to pamper yourself, instead, you can get a massage at a local spa. Getsemani Spa Hotel and Hotel Spa Duruelo are two of the top options. Once you are nice and relaxed, you can have dinner at a local restaurant. You will find options for every eater here–vegans and vegetarians have plenty of choices, and classic Colombian and French fare is also popular in the area.

Day 4: Villa de Leyva -  Half-day walking tour

Villa de Leyva at night
Villa de Leyva at night

Today, you’ll embark on a half-day walking tour of Villa de Leyva. Stops on your route include:

  • Cathedral and the El Carmen Church
  • Acuña Museum, the Prehistoric Museum, the Paleontological Museum, and the Antonio Nariño Museum
  • House of the First Congress, The House Juan de Castellanos, and the House Ricaurte
  • Mesopotamia Mill
  • Convent of Barefoot Carmelitas
  • Royal Liquor Factory

The evening will be yours to enjoy. You can grab a bite to eat and relax after a long day of exploration.

Day 5: Travel to Armenia - Coffee finca tour

Coffee Triangle
A view of the fields in the Coffee Triangle region

Today, you will head to Bogotá Airport with your travel guide. Take the flight to Armenia, where you will then transfer to the coffee finca (farm).

Armenia is the capital of the Departamento Quindío, located in the famous Coffee Triangle. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, nature and ancient cultures, the region is a key player in Colombia's rich coffee culture. For anyone interested in nature and culture, this stop is likely the highlight of the trip. Tour a coffee farm and get an inside look at the coffee fields, and then learn the process from bean to cup–of course, you will taste the local roasts while on the farm.

Once you have had your fill of caffeine, enjoy the farm a bit longer. You can continue strolling the farm, and get to know the farmers more before you head back to Armenia for the night.  

Day 6: Cocora Valley and Salento - Day trip

Salento
The colorful town of Salento

In the morning, you will prepare to leave the coffee farm and head to the Cocora Valley. Honoring the Quimbayan princess, the valley’s name translates to “Star of Water.” Go for a hike through Cocora Valley, which takes you through farmland, a jungle, and a unique cloud forest. Keep an eye out for the Palma de Cera, the official national tree of Colombia, and one of the tallest species of palms in the world.

Once you’ve explored nature, you will then head to Salento, a picturesque village with artisanal and crafts shops. You can stop and play tejo, which is a popular local sport where you launch weights at gunpowder targets. You can also visit the Reserva Natural Acaime, which is a hummingbird reserve, and venture to the Mirador, which is the main square in town. Enjoy great views here, along with fun shopping–buy souvenirs, crafts, and refreshments, including more coffee. Then, head down to the river, where you can see the local farms and cows grazing in the pastures.

If you’re seeking a thrill, you can also go paragliding, horseback riding, and mountain biking in Salento.

Then, you will head back to Armenia to the coffee farm, where you will stay onsite for the evening.

Day 7: Travel to Cartagena

Downtown Cartagena
Downtown Cartagena

You’ll say goodbye to the Coffee Triangle today and set off for the airport in Armenia. Then, take the flight back to Bogotá to connect to Cartagena.  

Once you are settled in your hotel, embark on a walking tour of Cartagena’s historic center. You will notice the city is designed like a fortress. This is because it once was the principal shipping port of gold from the New World back to Spain! The stone ramparts formerly protected the port from countless pirate attacks, including from the most famous of all: Sir Francis Drake.

While absorbing the history, visit myriad plazas, the church and the monastery of San Pedro Claver, the Minor Basilica cathedral, and stroll along narrow cobblestoned streets lined with colonial houses featuring beautiful bougainvillea-draped balconies. 

In the evening, make sure to take advantage of Cartagena’s best restaurants. You will find Colombian food in unique settings, along with ceviche, Italian, and even tacos.

Day 8: Cartagena - Half-day city tour

Cartagena
Cartagena

Today, take a half-day, guided tour of Cartagena. The trip starts with a visit to the Convent of La Popa–the highest point of the city–and continues to the Castillo de San Felipe, an immense fort filled with history and mysteries hidden in its stonewalled tunnels. Certainly, the most impressive monument is the gigantic defensive wall that surrounds the old city and overlooks the sea and its well-preserved colonial architecture.

During the rest of the visit, you will see the city’s churches, museums, plazas, restaurants, shops and jewelry stores. This combination of treasures makes Cartagena deserving of the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site; you will never forget this wonderful destination. Note that during your tour, the visit to La Popa can be replaced by the visit to San Pedro Claver Convent.

In the evening, schedule a nice dinner, and enjoy your last night in Colombia. For a festive sendoff, make sure to take part in the vibrant nightlife scene. Two of the most popular clubs to consider are Café Havana and Bazurto Social Club.

Day 9: Depart from Cartagena

Farewell, Colombia!
Farewell, Colombia!

Sadly, your time has come to an end in Colombia! After breakfast, enjoy your last moments of Cartagena from a patio café, stroll the lively streets, and take it all in. Once you have bid farewell to Cartagena, a chaperone will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your flight home.