You don't need to choose between cultural activities and beach time on this week-long family vacation in Colombia. You'll start on the Caribbean coast in Cartagena, which oozes history and culture. Kids will love the colors and warmth of the city as they explore by bicycle and enjoy a chocolate-making workshop. Then head to the nearby Isla Barú, a white-sand paradise where parents can relax and kids can play in the sand and sea. Everyone will feel refreshed and rejuvenated after this chilled-out vacation.


  • Participate in a delicious chocolate workshop in Cartagena
  • Spend quality family time on the beaches of Isla Barú
  • See magnificent birds in the National Aviary of Colombia
  • Enjoy a rhythmic drum workshop in La Boquilla

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cartagena, City Sightseeing Cartagena
Day 2 Cartagena Bike Tour, Chocolate Workshop Cartagena
Day 3 Transfer to Isla Barú, Beach Time, Night Bioluminescence Isla Barú
Day 4 Guided Isla Barú Tour Isla Barú
Day 5 Transfer to Cartagena, Visit the National Aviary Cartagena
Day 6 La Boquilla Drum & Coconut Craft Workshops Cartagena
Day 7 Depart Cartagena  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cartagena, City Sightseeing

Receive a warm welcome in Cartagena

Welcome to Cartagena, a lively city on Colombia's sun-drenched Caribbean coast. Upon arrival, the driver will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. You can relax and enjoy the hotel's amenities or get right into the mix with a neighborhood walk, either by yourself or with a guide. Wander the narrow streets of the historic Old Town, snapping photos of the lively plazas, colorful houses with bougainvillea-draped balconies, and the brightly decked-out palenquera women who sell fruit.

If you're interested in culture and architecture, check out the colonial neighborhoods of San Diego and Santo Domingo, stopping at key sites like the Plaza de los Coches, Plaza de la Aduana, Parque Bolívar, and Plaza de Santa Teresa. Other sightseeing options include taking a walk along the Old Town's original fortress walls (dating from 1586), constructed to protect Cartagena from pirate attacks. These ramparts also afford panoramic views of the city and make great sunset-viewing spots. Imaginative kids will enjoy the chance to run around and play amid the swashbuckling setting.

In the evening, as long as everyone still has enough energy, explore Getsemaní, a bohemian neighborhood just outside the Old Town walls. Once a seedy area, Getsemaní is now a cultural enclave filled with Spanish colonial-era architecture, graffiti art, boutique hotels, and street food vendors. It's a great place to grab dinner.

Day 2: Cartagena Bike Tour, Chocolate Workshop

Explore Cartagena by bicycle

Explore Cartagena further today on a bike tour. Start in Getsemaní at Holy Trinity Square, with its lively restaurants, street musicians, and colorful murals. Visit the home of Florentino Ariza, the main character in the novel "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel García Márquez. Then, cycle across the Roman Bridge toward the Manga neighborhood and visit Villa Roman, a Moorish-inspired house that was built in 1929. Walk through Manga's cemetery, the oldest in Cartagena, and continue to the waterfront for a relaxing end to the tour. Older kids can cycle independently, while younger ones can ride with a parent.

Later on, enjoy a hands-on chocolate workshop that's sure to delight both kids and adults. Discover the world of local chocolate through its colors, flavors, and textures. Design molds with cocoa butter-based paints to make handmade chocolate, and decorate it with your favorite toppings. Finish with a delicious chocolate drink, take fun photos, and receive a mini amateur chocolatier certificate. 

Day 3: Transfer to Isla Barú, Beach Time, Night Bioluminescence

Relax on the beach in Isla Barú

This morning, leave the city behind and transfer to Isla Barú, a Caribbean tropical paradise with white-sand beaches and calm turquoise seas. It used to be a peninsula cut off from the mainland, but now it's connected by a bridge. Check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day relaxing on the beach. Playa Blanca is a highlight; while away, your time here swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. Sip delicious drinks made with fresh fruit juices and sample the local seafood.

After dark, the kids might want to stay up past their bedtime and join you on a self-guided walking tour of the beaches near Cholón. Watch otherworldly bioluminescent plankton shimmer in the shallow waters, forming gentle glow-in-the-dark waves that lap at the white sands.

Day 4: Guided Isla Barú Tour 

Explore the island by bike today

Explore beyond the beaches of Isla Barú today on a guided tour either on foot or by bicycle, depending on your family's needs and abilities. You could choose to go snorkeling from a beach or on a boat tour, beach hop around the island, explore the mangroves, and even go fishing. Choose your activities and destinations to cater to your children's ages and interests.

Plan your trip to Colombia
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Day 5: Transfer to Cartagena, Visit the National Aviary

Keel-billed toucan, one of many bird species you can spot around Minca
Keel-billed toucan, one of many bird species you can spot around Minca

It's time to leave Isla Barú today, but you don't have to head back to the city immediately. Bird-loving youngsters (and parents!) are in luck today, as you'll spend time at the National Aviary of Colombia on the peninsula between Isla Barú and Cartagena.

The National Aviary is a research and conservation organization with 22 exhibits that represent three different ecosystems: tropical rainforest, coastal zone, and desert. The large outdoor park is well laid out, and kids can burn off some energy going between the exhibits. See flamingoes, emus, owls, scarlet ibis, toucans, and many more species of colorful, beautiful birds in habitats that mimic their natural ones. 

Day 6: La Boquilla Drum & Coconut Craft Workshops

Learn to play the drums the traditional way

Everyone in the family can express their creative side today with a couple of fun workshops that revolve around local cultural practices. Head to the fishing village of La Boquilla, where many residents trace their ancestry back to Africa. Drumming plays an important role in La Boquilla's culture. You'll participate in an hour-long workshop led by energetic young villagers, during which you'll be given a drum and can join right in—no experience necessary. All that's required is you open yourself up to the rhythms of traditional music like cumbia, mapalé, and champeta

Next, enjoy a quieter activity. Most residents in the Afro-Caribbean community of La Boquilla live in impoverished conditions, but many are generating income for themselves by teaching visitors how to make crafts out of common coconuts. During this workshop, you'll hear local women's stories as you make your own coconut souvenir, which could be a bracelet, key chain, earrings, necklace, or something else. Kids will enjoy having a souvenir to take home that they've made with their own hands.

Day 7: Depart Cartagena

Farewell Cartagena!

It's time to say goodbye to Cartagena today. Depending on the time of your flight, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel and maybe go for a morning walk around the neighborhood to pick up some souvenirs. Then, meet your driver to transfer to the airport to catch a flight home or on to your next destination. Adios!

More Great Colombia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your family trip to Colombia? Check out these other Colombia itineraries, explore other ways to spend a week in Colombia with your family, or discover the best time to visit Colombia.


Map of Family Beach & Culture Vacation in Caribbean Colombia - 7 Days
Map of Family Beach & Culture Vacation in Caribbean Colombia - 7 Days