Spend eleven glorious days traveling through the fascinating cities of Colombia. Start in Bogotá by exploring the major historic sites in the city. Visit lagoons, waterfalls, and salt mines before making your way to Medellín, where you'll discover cobblestone lanes and a distinctive coffee culture. Then head north to the coast, where you'll go salsa dancing, rum tasting, and island-hopping in Cartagena.


  • Explore Bogotá as you taste the local fruit, see key sites and climb to Monserrate
  • Visit Laguna de Guatavita and the Catedral de Sal of Zipaquirá
  • Learn about Medellín's incredible transformation and its thriving coffee culture
  • Get swept up in Cartegena with island-hopping, salsa dancing, and rum tasting

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá, Explore the Capital Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá Fruit Tour, Bogotá Walking Tour & Monserrate Hill Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Guatavita, Zipaquirá & Salt Mines Day Trip Bogotá
Day 4 Fly to Medellín, Afternoon Self-Guided Tour  Medellín
Day 5 Medellín Transformation Tour, Coffee-Culture Tour Medellín
Day 6 Day Trip to Santa Elena & La Piedra de Guatapé Medellín
Day 7 Hike to La Miel Waterfall Medellín
Day 8 Fly to Cartagena, Afternoon Self-Guided Tour Cartagena
Day 9 Cartagena Bike Tour, Evening Dance Class Cartagena
Day 10 Day Trip to Isla Bela, Rum-Tasting in Cartagena Cartagena
Day 11 Depart Cartagena  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá, Explore the Capital

Streets of Bogotá
Aerial view of Bogotá

Welcome to Bogotá! Your private driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to rest before you start exploring. 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 the vibrant center of this Andean capital on foot. Start with the La Candelaria neighborhood's cobblestone streets, which are brimming with trendy restaurants and colonial-era landmarks. You'll also find excellent museums, shopping, and street food, from empanadas to exotic fruit salads.

Day 2: Bogotá Fruit Tour, Bogotá Walking Tour & Monserrate Hill Tour

Fresh Colombian fruit at the Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao
Start the day with fresh fruit at the Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao

Get a taste of Colombia's flavorful food scene today as you learn about the country's fruits and vegetables in various colors, sizes, and flavors. Your private guide will walk you through the Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao while sharing the market's history and introducing you to local vendors for tastings. Try 15 different fruits, three fresh juice shots, and two Colombian snacks on a three-hour tour that's ideal for breakfast. 

In the afternoon, tour the city, starting at the main square, Plaza de Bolívar. See the Catedral Primada, Bogotá's largest cathedral. Visit the Gold Museum and its impressive collection of pre-Columbian goldsmiths from Colombia's native communities. Finish your tour at Museo de Botero, with over 200 works donated to the city by Colombian painter Fernando Botero. Finish your exploration at Monserrate Hill, which rises above Bogotá at 10,341 feet (3,152 m). Climb by cable car or hike to reach Monserrate Sanctuary, where you can explore different vantage points of the sanctuary along with its gardens, fountains, and cloud forests.

Day 3: Guatavita, Zipaquirá & Salt Mines Day Trip

Descend to the Catedral de Sal of Zipaquirá

This morning, a private car will pick you up for a journey north of the capital. Stop at Laguna de Guatavita, where you'll have a short guided hike to the sacred lagoon to see this crater-shaped body of water. Learn about its rich history, including the ancient rituals of the Muisca people, who threw gold and precious stones into the lagoon as an offering to the gods. Have lunch in the village of Sesquile before heading to Zipaquirá. This Colombian heritage site is known for its famous underground Catedral de Sal, a Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of an underground salt mine.

While in the area, head to the Nemocón Salt Mine, thirty minutes outside Zipaquirá. 262 feet (80 m) underground is 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 amid spectacular atmospheric light effects, with no less than 28 mirrors. In the afternoon, you'll return to Bogotá and enjoy some free time to explore the city at night.

Day 4: Fly to Medellín, Afternoon Self-Guided Tour 

Consider a trip to Pueblito Paisa, reproduction of a traditional town in Medellín
Take a cable car for the best views of Medellín

Today leave Bogotá and catch an hour's flight to Medellín, where you'll be met at the airport and taken to your hotel. Spend time exploring Medellín on your own, a modern, mountainous city with friendly locals and vibrant culture. Most tourism is centered around Parque Lleras in the heart of the trendy El Poblado district, where the best dining, nightlife, and hotel options are within easy reach.

Plan your trip to Colombia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
You can take a ride on the city's gondola (metro cable) to see the views or walk around the various parks, plazas, and museums. Another option is to venture to Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a traditional Antioquian town. Due to a high elevation near the equator, the city has year-round spring-like temperatures. 

Day 5: Medellín Transformation Tour, Coffee-Culture Tour

Graffiti art in Medellín's Comuna 13
Graffiti art in Medellín's Comuna 13

Just over 25 years ago, Medellín was one of the most dangerous cities in the world due to the presence of Pablo Escobar, the founder of the Medellín Cartel. Since he died in 1993, Medellín has experienced a resurgence. Today, the "City of Eternal Spring" is one of the most innovative cities in the world. Join a guided tour of Medellín's history and learn more about the transformation of this fascinating metropolis. This morning's tour highlights an area of the city called Comuna 13, which was plagued with violence from drug trafficking organizations and paramilitary groups in the 80s and 90s.

After a revitalization, this colorful area now offers graffiti art and street murals that climb the mountainside. Not to be missed is the giant escalator that scales the mountainside in six sections helping link residents to the rest of the city below. Later on, learn about Colombian coffee culture at a coffee farm in the mountains of Medellín. Understand the daily life of a coffee grower in Colombia as you walk through the plantations and learn everything about coffee, from the plant to the cup. Witness how closely rural life begins where the city ends.

Day 6: Day Trip to Santa Elena & La Piedra de Guatapé

The bright colors of Guatapé, Colombia
The bright colors of Guatapé, Colombia

This excursion takes you into the mountains east of Medellín, winding past dozens of silliteras (flower farms) growing roses and other flowers. Start the day in the small village of Santa Elena, 40 minutes from Medellín, where you can see where the flower arrangements that have become a symbol of the city are created. These flowers are used in Medellín's largest festival, the Feria de las Flores. In Santa Elena, visit an organic flower farm, enjoy local food, and get to know the traditional culture of the villages in the mountains of Medellín and Antioquia.

Then travel through the green hills to the Piedra del Peñol in Guatapé, one of the most spectacular destinations around Medellín. Climb the mountain, which is approximately 656 feet (200 m) high (around 740 steps). In Guatapé, enjoy breathtaking landscapes from islands to mountains within a giant blue lake. Guatapé is a quiet and small place, with a pleasant climate and colorful paintings decorating the village's houses.

Day 7: Hike to La Miel Waterfall

Coffee farm near Medellín
The foothills of the Andean mountains
Medellín is surrounded by green hills, which are perfect for getting to know the Andean countryside just a few minutes outside the city. Meet your guide in the hotel lobby this morning for a half-day trip that takes you on an eco-trail leading to La Miel Waterfall. Along this 90-minute hike, follow a small river through lush Andean forests to reach the impressive 65-foot (20 m) waterfall. As you walk with your guide, learn about the Andean flora and fauna in the ecological reserve La Miel. Don't forget your bathing suit as there will be time to swim in the lagoons near the falls found in the nature reserve. 

Day 8: Fly to Cartagena, Afternoon Self-Guided Tour 

Plaza de la Aduana, Cartagena.
Plaza de la Aduana, Cartagena.

Head north to the coast today on an hour flight to Cartagena. Upon arrival, a driver will take you to your hotel to get settled in. When you're ready, head out to explore the narrow streets of the historic Old Town, snapping photos of the lively plazas and colorful houses with bougainvillea-draped balconies. 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 original fortress walls constructed to protect the city from sea attacks.

These ramparts also afford panoramic views of the city and make great sunset-viewing spots. Visit Santo Domingo, erected in 1552, and the oldest church in the city. Explore Getsemaní, the bohemian neighborhood just outside the walls of Cartagena's Old Town. Once a seedy area, Getsemaní is now a cultural enclave filled with Spanish colonial architecture, graffiti art, boutique hotels, and street food vendors. Finish the day with mojitos and fresh ceviche in one of the city's hip restaurants or rooftop bars.

Day 9: Cartagena Bike Tour, Evening Dance Class

Streets of Old Town Cartagena
Streets of Old Town, Cartagena

Meet your guide this morning for a bike tour starting in the historical center to see Cartagena's main attractions and landmarks. In Getsemaní, visit the home of Florentino Ariza. Ariza is the main character in the novel "Love in the time of Cholera" by Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. Cross the Roman Bridge toward Manga and Villa Roman. Visit Manga's cemetery, the oldest in Cartagena, and continue to the seafront to finish your tour of the city center.

Music and dance are essential elements of Colombian culture, with salsa, merengue, vallenato, and vallenato music. This evening, you'll lace up your dancing shoes for an exclusive private dance lesson taught by some of the country's best instructors. Practice your moves and learn the different local rhythms, such as salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and bachata. After you've learned the basic steps, head out for the night and hit the dance floor in the nearby local clubs.

Day 10: Day Trip to Isla Bela, Rum-Tasting in Cartagena

Rosario Islands
Aerial view of the Rosario Islands

Escape to the beach today as you spend the day exploring Isla Bela, located in the Caribbean Sea. Part of the Rosario Islands, this beautiful archipelago off Colombia's west coast is one of the most important nature reserves in the country. Board a speedboat leaving from Bodeguita Pier and have a welcome cocktail. As you soak up the sun and laid-back atmosphere, you'll enjoy lunch as you cruise along. Revel in the spectacular beaches, delicious cocktails, and beautiful views as spend the day unwinding after a busy week of sightseeing. 

When you've returned to the city in the evening, get ready for rum tasting. Led by one of the most important mixologists in Colombia, discover the mysterious world of this liquor. The tasting is based on different rums from Colombian culture accompanied by the best chocolates. Distinguish the different notes of coffee, caramel, vanilla, and more as you sip, and learn about the unique origins and the processes of each rum that is presented.

Day 11: Depart Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia
Adios Colombia!

Enjoy your last day in Colombia. After breakfast, relax at a sidewalk café, or explore a new neighborhood. Walk through a maze of colorful houses and ancient squares, some of them from the 16th century, or explore the colonial district of Saint Philip's Castle. Visit the Palace of the Inquisition in Plaza de Bolívar, which was once the seat of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and is now a macabre museum. In the afternoon, a driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the airport. Safe Travels!

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Map of Colombia's Vibrant Cities: Bogotá, Medellín & Cartagena - 11 Days
Map of Colombia's Vibrant Cities: Bogotá, Medellín & Cartagena - 11 Days