This high-end itinerary covers a great deal of the country's territory, from its main cities to some off-the-beaten-path natural wonders. The adventure begins in Bogotá and its surroundings, then takes you deep into the heart of the mighty Amazon River, where you'll have a series of unforgettable days exploring the jungle via foot, canoe and small boats. Afterwards, you'll fly to Medellín to enjoy the city's history and vibrant modern culture before leaving for the Pacific Coast— a dense rainforest where you'll visit tiny villages and partake in a variety of activities including hiking and soaking in hot springs.

Highlights

  • Check out street art and snack on empanadas in Bogotá's trendy historic district
  • Venture into the jungles and rivers of the Colombian Amazon
  • Explore Medellín's turbulent past and innovative future with local guides
  • Trek through the pristine beaches of the wild Pacific Coast

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive to Bogotá - Explore the City Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá City Tour Bogotá
Day 3 Guatavita, Zipaquirá & Salt Mines Day Trip Bogotá
Day 4 Flight to Leticia - Transfer to the Amazon River Amazon Rainforest
Day 5 Calanoa Reserve: Hike, Canoe & Visit an Indigenous Community Amazon Rainforest
Day 6 Calanoa Reserve: Two Options Amazon Rainforest
Day 7 Calanoa Reserve: Birdwatching & Shaman Encounter - Fly to Medellín Medellín
Day 8 Medellín City Tour Medellín
Day 9 Coffee Finca Day-Trip Medellín
Day 10 Flight to Nuquí Nuqui
Day 11 Whale Watching, Hiking & Hot Springs Nuqui
Day 12 Joví River: Canoe & Village Day-Trip Nuqui
Day 13 Free day on the Pacific Coast Nuqui
Day 14 Fly from Nuquí to Medellín Medellín
Day 15 Depart Medellín  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive to Bogotá - Explore the City

Plaza de Bolívar in La Candelaria, Bogotá
Plaza de 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 the center of this Andean capital on foot. Start with the cobblestone streets of the La Candelaria neighborhood, which is brimming with trendy restaurants and colonial-era landmarks. You'll also find excellent museums, shopping, and street food ranging from empanadas to exotic fruit salads. 

(Optional add-on.) Depending on what time you arrive, you can head to the city's main landmark, Monserrate. This sanctuary perched on top of a mountain provides the best views of the city. You can also opt to get out of the city center and head to Usaquén for shopping, La Zona G for fine dining, or La Zona T for chic bars.

Day 2: Bogotá City Tour

Sunset in La Candelaria, Bogotá
Sunset in La Candelaria, Bogotá

After breakfast, it's time to hit the streets and explore! A local guide will pick you up and accompany you on a half-day walking tour of the city. You'll begin in colorful La Candelaria—the heart of Bogota's historic center. Amble along its narrow streets, visiting cultural landmarks and local shops selling artisanal goods. Eventually, you'll reach Plaza de Bolívar, the city's main square dating back to 1539. There's a grand cathedral here as well as many important government buildings, such as the Capitolio Nacional (Colombia's national congress building). 

(Optional add-on.)
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), which features the largest collection of Pre-Columbian gold artifacts in the world, and the Botero Museum (closed on Tuesdays), which houses a collection of masterpieces from renowned Colombian sculptor and painter Fernando Botero.

(Optional add-on.)
If you are an early riser, start the morning sunrise tour of Bogotá by visiting its best and biggest food market—Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao—which supplies produce for many of the city’s best restaurants. Return to La Candelaria and downtown, strolling the streets and stopping to photograph walled graffiti art.

Half-day tour duration: Four hours (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 3: Guatavita, Zipaquirá & Salt Mines Day Trip

Hiking at Laguna de Guatavita
Hiking at Laguna de Guatavita

After breakfast in Bogotá, a private car will pick you up for a journey north of the capital, with your first destination being Laguna de Guatavita. You will have a short guided hike to the sacred lagoon to enjoy this unique, crater-shaped body of water. You will 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 during a leader's initiation. 

After visiting the lake, you will have lunch in the small village of Sesquile, then transfer to Zipaquirá. This town, declared a Colombian heritage site, is known for its famous underground Salt Cathedral—a Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of an underground salt mine. Entry to this popular site includes a guided tour along with some free time to explore on your own. 

While in the area, you'll also head to the Nemocón Salt Mine, thirty minutes outside of Zipaquirá. Here, 80 meters 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 amidst 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: Flight to Leticia - Transfer to the Amazon River

The Amazon River
The Amazon River

Today, you'll partake in the ultimate adventure and fly south towards Colombia's slice of the Amazon rainforest. When you arrive to Leticia's airport, you'll transfer to a private boat and head down the Amazon River to reach Calanoa Lodge—an eco-friendly guesthouse dedicated to conservation and working closely with local communities. This means there will be some restrictions for guests, including the use of rain water, limited hours for electricity, and meals prepared according to standard practice and availability.

After dinner, join a local guide for a nighttime jungle walk to soak in the noises of insects and animals that only come out after dark.

Day 5: Calanoa Reserve: Hike, Canoe & Visit an Indigenous Community

A squirrel monkey in the Amazon
A squirrel monkey in the Amazon

Have breakfast at the lodge and then depart with your local guide to the indigenous community of Mocagua. After a warm welcome, you'll experience the traditions of daily life and the close relationship maintained with the surrounding jungle. Far from westernized comforts, this community has a zest for life and a remarkable spirit of solidarity.

Return back to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a quiet hike through Calanoa Reserve where your expert guide will show you specific plants used for healing and food. You will also come across remarkable trees and unique characteristics of the jungle while observing monkeys, armadillo caves, mammals’ footprints, and a wide variety of birds.

At the end of the hike, canoe through the Matamata Waterfall at the edge of the Calanoa Reserve (depending on water levels, the return may be on foot). Have dinner and stay overnight at the lodge.

Day 6: Calanoa Reserve: Two Options

Morning in the Amazon
Morning in the Amazon

Option #1:

Wake up at dawn for a birdwatching excursion with a local guide. Have breakfast back at the lodge and then head out to visit the artisan community of Macedonia, where you can meet the woodcarvers who create fantastic redwood objects called “blood sticks,” as well as artisan producers of baskets and jewelry.

Return to the lodge for lunch. Next, you’ll visit the island of Mocagua, opposite the reserve, with an inland lake and unique flora and fauna. Visit the natural canals of the Amazon River on the Peruvian coast to watch pink dolphins—this is where females bring their newborns to the world. Return to the lodge and rest before dinner. You’ll have the opportunity to prepare a delicious recipe of fish wrapped in leaves and seasoned with a variety of peppers that are only found in this region. Stay overnight at the lodge.

Option #2:

With this day-trip, you'll visit the tiny Amazonian village of Puerto Nariño. You'll also enjoy a 90-minute boat trip along the river to Lago Tarapoto, where visitors can swim before returning for lunch to Puerto Nariño. This peaceful village is known as the most eco-friendly place in Colombia and is home to indigenous Tikuna, Cocoma, and Yagua peoples. Cars and motorcycles are banned (with the exception of a recycling truck and ambulance), so everything is done by foot.

Day 7: Calanoa Reserve: Birdwatching & Shaman Encounter - Fly to Medellín

Blue and yellow macaw, one of the many bird species found in the Amazon
Blue and yellow macaw, one of the many bird species found in the Amazon

After breakfast at the lodge, you'll set out on an excursion with a local guide who will take you birdwatching. Then, you'll have an unforgettable encounter with a shaman, a traditional healer who will introduce you to the science of medicinal plants.

In the afternoon, you'll return to Leticia and fly to Medellín. Despite its turbulent past, Medellín today is quite charming with its beautiful mountain setting, friendly locals, and vibrant culture. A car will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to a nearby hotel. You'll then be free to spend the remainder of the evening exploring the city's dining scene.

Day 8: Medellín City Tour

Medellín Barefoot Park
Medellín Barefoot Park

After breakfast at your hotel, spend a full day exploring Medellín on a walking tour with a local guide. This excursion includes a mix of sightseeing by foot and taking the Metro system through a neighborhood that represents one of the city's most successful urban projects.

The guide will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to Medellín's downtown. You'll visit Plaza Botero, which features works by Colombia's foremost sculptor, Fernando Botero. Then it's time to take a ride on the city's iconic Metrocable gondola system, during which you'll enjoy panoramic views of Medellín. Next, stop in at the Botanical Garden, which features more than 4,500 types of flowers.

After exploring some parks and landmarks in the downtown area, you'll return to your hotel by public transport. (There's also a tour option that includes graffiti street art and riding the Metrocable to more remote neighborhoods higher in the hills.)

The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

Tour duration: Six hours (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 9: Coffee Finca Day-Trip

A worker packs coffee on the farm
A worker packs coffee on the farm

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll transfer by car 1.5 hours to a working coffee finca (farm) located in the mountains outside of Medellín. From here, you'll embark on a walking tour with a coffee farmer who will explain the growing process and the steps it takes for the coffee bean to reach the cup. You'll also learn about the daily life of these farmers and how this important trade is linked to many Colombian families, making it a source of pride for locals.

Return to Medellín in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day on your own.

Finca tour: Four hours

Day 10: Flight to Nuquí

Nuquí's Guachalito Beach
Nuquí's Guachalito Beach

This morning, you'll fly to the village of Nuquí on Colombia's remote Pacific Coast. You will be picked up at the airport and transferred by boat to the pristine beaches of Guachalito (Nuquí's main draw). From here, you will have a chance to get settled in your room.

After lunch, there will be free time to enjoy the surroundings. You can relax on the sand, take a dip in the area's thermal hot springs, or head out on one of the ecological trails through the lush rainforest.

Day 11: Whale Watching, Hiking & Hot Springs

Whale watching is a popular activity in the Pacific Coast
Whale watching is a popular activity in the Pacific Coast

Start the morning with a boat trip in search of humpback whales accompanied by a local guide. This is a great way to see these gentle giants up close. The impressive mammal is a regular in the Chocó region, found in warm water and low currents as they make their way to their breeding ground in the Tribugá Gulf (depending on the season). 

After that, enjoy lunch on El Cantil beach. In the afternoon, your guide will take you on a nature walk that's known for thermal hot springs. Don't forget to bring your bathing suit!

Day 12: Joví River, Canoe & Village Day-Trip

Dugout Canoe, commonly used as transportation in the Colombian Pacific Coast
Dugout Canoe, commonly used as transportation in the Colombian Pacific Coast

After breakfast, head to the friendly village of Joví and sail along the river via dugout canoes reaching the destination of La Chontadura Waterfall, where you can take a dip in the clear water.

Afterwards, continue canoeing to reach another village called Coquí and take a cooking lesson with the local women, many whom are wonderful chefs and true experts on the region’s traditional flavors. Following lunch, you will have free time explore the village surroundings by foot. At the end of the afternoon, a boat will pick you up and take you to your hotel.

Day 13: Free day on the Pacific Coast

Beach in National Natural Park Utría
Beach in National Natural Park Utría

Start your morning with breakfast at your beachfront eco-lodge. From there, you'll have a free day to take advantage of your incredible surroundings any way you'd like. Explore the area with a walk along some of the pristine beaches, or simply relax in a hammock under the shade of one of the many palm trees.

If you want to have an active free day here are some of our favorite activities (check with your hotel for availability):

  • Kayaking, rent a kayak and explore the picturesque coastline.
  • Hiking, explore the surrounding jungle and visit the Cascada del amor ("Love Waterfall") and take a dip in its natural waters.
  • Scuba diving/snorkeling, see Colombia's incredible biodiversity up close. 
  • Surfing, ride the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Day 14: Fly from Nuquí to Medellín

Colombia's Pacific Coast
Colombia's Pacific Coast

After breakfast, take one last walk along the beautiful beaches by your hotel. From there, a boat will take you back to the village of Nuquí, where you will board your flight back to Medellín. A representative will meet you there and accompany you to your hotel.

Day 15: Depart from Medellín

The Metrocable, Medellín
The Metrocable, Medellín

It's time to say farewell to Colombia! Enjoy your last moments in the beautiful city of Medellín with a leisurely breakfast, 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.

Map

Map of Colombian Cities and Nature: Bogotá, Amazon, Medellín, and Pacific Coast - 15 Days
Map of Colombian Cities and Nature: Bogotá, Amazon, Medellín, and Pacific Coast - 15 Days