Any highlights tour of Colombia must include its top cities, most scenic regions, and best cuisine. Luckily, this luxury trip contains all three, starting with museum tours and fine dining in Bogotá and continuing to the famed "Coffee Triangle" for hikes amid towering palms in the Valle de Cocora. Then, experience tango culture in Medellín before hitting the coast for island trips and strolls around colorful Cartagena.


  • See the highlights of major cities like Bogotá and Medellín
  • Tour the coffee fields of Salento and hike the Valle de Cocora
  • Learn to tango in Medellín and go diving off Caribbean islands
  • Experience the culture and history of colonial Cartagena

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá, Dinner at Elcielo Bogotá
Day 2 Morning Market Visit, Museums Tour & Cerro Monserrate Bogotá
Day 3 Fly to Pereira, Santa Rosa Hot Springs Pereira
Day 4 Day Trip to Valle de Cocora, Coffee Farm & Salento Pereira
Day 5 Fly to Medellín, City Tour & Tango Show Medellín
Day 6 Day Trip to El Peñol & Guatapé, Dinner at OCI Medellín
Day 7 Fly to Cartagena, Transfer to Isla Barú, Bioluminescence Tour Isla Barú
Day 8 Mini Diving Course, Guided Isla Barú Tour Isla Barú
Day 9 Transfer to Cartagena, City & Photography Tour, Rum Tasting Cartagena
Day 10 Visit Bazurto Market, Depart Cartagena  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bogotá, Dinner at Elcielo

Tonight's reservation introduces you to a restaurant famous for engaging all five senses (photo courtesy of Elcielo)

Welcome to Colombia! There's a lot of fun to be had in this jewel of South America, and you've got 10 whole days to experience it. This is a luxury experience during which you'll visit the highlights and do so in style—starting right on arrival in Bogotá. Colombia's largest city and capital is nestled high in the Andes at 8,660 feet (2,640 m) and boasts its own culture and rich colonial history.

Your personal driver will be waiting at the terminal to whisk you to the posh Hotel Casa Medina. Occupying a historic (and culturally protected) building dating to 1946, this is another 5-star addition to the Four Seasons suite of luxury hotels. You'll feel the elegance in the air as you settle into a suite with high-beamed ceilings and hand-carved wooden furniture. If you like, you can visit the spa for a luxury body treatment or pampering manicure/pedicure to unwind after the long flight.

When the sun goes down, you'll head to dinner at the famous Elcielo, the famed eatery created in Medellín by a wunderkind chef. The Bogotá branch upholds the standards of the flagship restaurant, which made its mark with a molecular gastronomy approach to transforming local ingredients into creative and stunning dishes (the Washington DC location earned a Michelin star in 2001). The tasting menu you'll enjoy here is a gastronomic odyssey guaranteed to tantalize all five of your senses. 

Day 2: Morning Market Visit, Museums Tour & Cerro Monserrate 

One of the best viewpoints in all of Colombia is from Cerro Monserrate

Like many nations in Latin America, Colombia is blessed with abundant fresh produce. This includes plenty of exotic fruits that come in a wide array of colors, sizes, and flavors. This morning, you'll try over a dozen of them on a private tour of a nearby municipal market. As you browse the vendor stalls, your expert guide will introduce you to local food purveyors while you drink fresh juices and sample fruits like guayaba (guava), lulo (little orange), carambola (star fruit), maracuyá (passion fruit), and others. 

Later, you'll dive into Colombia's rich culture and history on a private museum tour. Meet your private guide, who will take you to the city's historic La Candelaria neighborhood and the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum). One of the finest museums in South America, it contains a staggering collection of over 34,000 pre-Columbian gold artifacts. The tour finishes at the Museo de Botero, which features a collection of over 200 works donated by renowned Colombian sculptor/painter Fernando Botero.

Capping the day is a real treat: a trip up Cerro Monserrate, the most famous lookout point in Bogotá. There are various options to ascend this 2,690-foot (820 m) Andean hill, the quickest being a four-minute cable car ride to the top. (There's also a slower funicular rail car). 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. 

Day 3: Fly to Pereira, Santa Rosa Hot Springs

Settle into a boutique hacienda hotel outside of Pereira (photo courtesy of Hotel Boutique Sazagua)

Transfer back to the airport this morning and catch a one-hour flight west to Pereira. One of the three main cities of the famous Zona Cafetera (Coffee Triangle), Pereira is nestled in the green Andes and enjoys a milder climate than Bogotá due to its lower altitude. In fact, it's just that elevation that makes this ecosystem ideal for growing Colombia's famous Arabica beans.

Though Pereira is a large, often congested metropolis, a driver will transfer you just outside the city to a secluded oasis in the hills. Hotel Boutique Sazagua is a cozy family-run hacienda surrounded by tropical forest—perfect for disconnecting and lounging in hammocks amid the calls of birdsong. Here, you can admire the tropical gardens, stroll amid local trees and palms, swim in the glimmering blue-tiled pool, and relax in well-appointed rooms with comfy beds and handcrafted furniture. 

The relaxation begins immediately—not at the hotel but at one of Pereira's top natural attractions: the Santa Rosa Hot Springs. Located about an hour outside the city, these human-made pools occupy an incredible setting amid lush Andean cloud forest with waterfalls and a river. Grab a beverage and snack and take a nice long soak in these mineral springs, which contain healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Later, you'll transfer back to Pereira.

Day 4: Day Trip to Valle de Cocora, Coffee Farm & Salento

Visit a local coffee finca (farm) to learn about the Zona Cafetera's most famous export

Discover Colombia's renowned coffee culture this morning on a private tour of the Zona Cafetera. Your guide will pick you up for the tour, which starts with an hour's drive south of Pereira to the famous Valle de Cocora. Here, you'll pass under towering wax palms—an icon of the region—as you ascend into misty cloud forests. Then, after lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit a working coffee finca (farm), stroll the fields, and learn about the cultivation process from bean to cup.

Before returning to Periera, stop in nearby Salento. Founded in 1850, this colorful town is a shining example of traditional colonial architecture denoted by whitewashed, one-story buildings with red-tiled roofs and wooden balconies. Nowadays, locals find any reason to add bright splashes of paint wherever possible. You can admire its architecture, visit its busy plaza, and stop at a café or restaurant before returning to your hotel.

Day 5: Fly to Medellín, City Tour & Tango Show

Your 5-star retreat is the perfect base to explore Medellín (photo courtesy of Elcielo Hotel)

Your driver will transfer you to the airport this morning for the zippy 30-minute flight to Medellín. Despite its turbulent past, today, this city is pure charm. Nestled in the Andes, it's known for its friendly locals (called "Paisas") and has music and art to spare. A car will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to the 5-star Elcielo Hotel. Situated in the fashionable Astorga neighborhood, Elcielo occupies an uber-chic location. The well-appointed suites include comfy king beds and marble floors. 

After dropping off your bags, you'll hop in the car with an expert guide for a private insider's tour of Medellín. During this half-day excursion, you'll visit major city highlights, including Pueblito Paisa (a replica of a traditional Antioquian town) and Parque San Antonio. Nearby is Plaza Botero, which features the unmistakable bronze sculptures of celebrated artist and hometown hero Fernando Botero. You'll also stop at the famous Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden), a natural wonderland featuring thousands of exotic plants and flowers, an orchid garden, and a butterfly enclosure.

Later, you'll enjoy some of Medellín's famous nightlife—though not at the sultry salsa clubs you might otherwise expect. This evening experience focuses on Paisas' love of tango music. The famous Argentine tango crooner Carlos Gardel is an icon in this city, and it was actually in Medellín that he tragically lost his life in a plane crash in 1935. Tonight's "dinner and a show" will take you to a fine Medellín eatery where you'll dine amid live tango that would make the master proud.

Plan your trip to Colombia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 6: Day Trip to El Peñol & Guatapé, Dinner at OCI

Enjoy spectacular views from the top of Peñol Boulder
Enjoy spectacular views from the top of El Peñol, near Guatapé

Meet your driver bright and early for a private day trip outside of Medellín. First, transfer a couple of hours east of the city to Guatapé. This colorful hill town is famous for its street art and murals, as well as the surrounding Laguna de Guatapé (actually a human-made reservoir) that snakes its way around town. 

From Guatapé, you'll visit the neighboring town of El Peñol, home to the region's most famous landmark: El Peñón de Guatapé (the Rock of Guatapé), which tops out at 646 feet (2,152 m). Climb the 740 steps to the summit, where you can admire 360-degree wraparound views of the towns, lake, and sprawling green countryside below. Then reward yourself with a cold beverage from one of the cafés and food stalls at the summit (try the mango michelada). Afterward, you'll return to Guatape and enjoy a fun boat trip on the lake before returning to Medellín.

Later, enjoy more gourmet dining at OCI. This cozy restaurant in an industrial space in the heart of the trendy El Poblado district is famous for serving Colombian comfort food slow-cooked to perfection. Ranked one of the best restaurants in the city, this farm-to-table jewel serves mouthwatering plates like tomato and ricotta jam–glazed shrimp and short ribs braised in lemon and chili caramel sauce.

Day 7: Fly to Cartagena, Transfer to Isla Barú, Bioluminescence Tour

You'll spend two nights at a luxury eco-retreat on Isla Barú (photo courtesy of Hotel Las Islas)

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for the one-hour flight north to the Caribbean coast and Cartagena. The first major Spanish fortress city in the Americas, in recent years this city has become a global tourism destination, famous for its colorful colonial architecture. Table the city tours for now, because upon arrival you'll transfer to the pier and board a water taxi for the 45-minute ride out to Isla Barú. One of 27 islands in Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park, Barú is famous for its unspoiled mangrove ecosystems and coral reefs.

You'll be staying in luxury at Hotel Las Islas. This sophisticated, environmentally-conscious retreat (which occupies its own islet) boasts luxurious bungalows with ocean views, seaside restaurants (try the ceviche), and exceptional amenities like private plunge pools. If ever there was a place to relax and rejuvenate in paradise, this is it. The "wow" factor begins with your arrival and continues on an evening boat trip across the water to the beaches at nearby Cholón. Here, you'll witness bioluminescent plankton shine electric blue in the shallow waters running up to the powdery white sands.

Day 8: Mini Diving Course, Guided Isla Barú Tour

Learn to scuba dive in the best place for it—the Caribbean

First-time divers rejoice—this morning, you're off on a scuba adventure! Here, amid the coral gardens and crystalline waters around Isla Barú, you'll discover an underwater world that draws divers from around the world. First, though, you'll learn the basics with a pool practice, followed by a transfer to a prime dive site around the island. There, you'll strap on your tank and mask and explore an area no deeper than 26 feet (8 m). Within this area, however, you'll swim among exotic marine life like tropical fish, eels, sea turtles, rays, and plenty more. 

Later, back on dry land, you'll meet a guide for a brisk two-hour walking tour around the island. Stroll along sandy beaches fronting the bright blue Caribbean, or take a fun ride along the dirt roads on a bicycle. There will be ample time to relax at a beach bar or restaurant in town to sample fresh seafood and enjoy a tropical drink or two. Afterward, you can laze on the white sands of Playa Blanca, perhaps the Cartagena region's most famous beach.

Day 9: Transfer to Cartagena, City & Photography Tour, Rum Tasting

Your luxury Cartagena retreat sits in the heart of the Walled City (photo courtesy of Casa San Agustín)

Time to leave island life behind as you return to Cartagena this morning. At the pier, a driver will take you to your 5-star hotel in the Walled City (historic center). Casa San Agustín is a colorful boutique in a colonial-era mansion that doesn't skimp on luxury. Its many amenities include a shimmering courtyard pool, a swank bar and restaurant, and personalized concierge services. After checking in, you can visit the hotel's Arum Spa for a body scrub, Moroccan hammam treatment, or "luxury love" experience with a Jacuzzi, Champagne, and chocolate strawberries.

Shortly after checking in, you'll meet a private guide and transfer just outside the city center to Convento de la Popa. This convent dates to 1606 and offers panoramic views of the city. From there, you'll proceed to nearby San Felipe de Barajas, a hilltop castle built by the Spanish in 1536 to defend the coast. To this day, it remains the largest colonial fortress in the Americas. A tour of San Felipe includes walking along its ramparts and exploring its tunnels.

Afterward, return to Cartagena's historic center and continue exploring on a private photo tour. Along with your photographer guide, you'll snap photos of famous landmarks like the Plaza de Reloj—where the iconic clock tower stands—and explore colonial neighborhoods like San Diego and Santo Domingo. Later, you'll head to a local bar to cap the day with rum tasting. This hour-long experience, led by an expert mixologist, will introduce you to various artisanal rums, many of which feature notes of coffee, caramel, vanilla, and other unexpected flavors. A real treat is pairing your rum with chocolate. 

Day 10: Visit Bazurto Market, Depart Cartagena

Visit a local market, then bid farewell to colorful Cartagena
Though it's your last day in Colombia, there's no need to rush out the door. Immerse yourself in local culture this morning at the best place for it: a municipal market. Specifically, you'll travel outside the ancient walls to the Cartagena where locals live —the real Cartagena—to Bazurto Market. This hub of activity features dozens of vendors selling everything from fresh seafood and meat to clothing and local produce. Chat with the locals, sample some exotic fruits, pick up a souvenir or two, then head to the airport in the nick of time to catch your flight home. Adiós!

More Great Colombia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Colombia? Check out these other Colombia itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Colombia in luxury, or discover the best time to visit Colombia.


Map of Luxury Highlights of Colombia - 10 Days
Map of Luxury Highlights of Colombia - 10 Days