If your goal is rest and relaxation in Colombia, you can't do better than two of its most scenic regions: the Zona Cafetera (Coffee Triangle) and the Caribbean coast. Each offers boundless natural beauty, evident in the colorful villages and verdant valleys in coffee country, where you'll start the trip. Then, head north to marvel at colonial history in Cartagena and Santa Marta, visit the unspoiled beaches in Tayrona National Park, and enjoy gourmet dining and water activities on Isla Barú.


  • Visit lush green coffee farms and go horseback riding in the Coffee Triangle
  • Tour Spanish-colonial landmarks in cities like Santa Marta and Cartagena
  • Enjoy chocolate and rum tours, dance classes, and music workshops
  • Spend a few days swimming and sunbathing on the beaches of Isla Barú

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Pereira, Wellness & Rejuvenation Pereira
Day 2 Day Trip to Valle de Cocora, Salento & Filandia Pereira
Day 3 Coffee Farm Tour & Massage Pereira
Day 4 Zona Cafetera Horseback Ride, Private Cooking Class Pereira
Day 5 Fly to Santa Marta, City Tour Santa Marta
Day 6 Day Trip to Tayrona Park & Playa del Medio Santa Marta
Day 7 Transfer to Cartagena, Sunset Cocktails & Dinner at Alma Cartagena
Day 8 City Tour, Rum & Chocolate Tasting, Dinner at Candé Cartagena
Day 9 Mangrove Fishing Tour, Percussion Workshop, Dinner at Carmen Cartagena
Day 10 Dance Class, Coffee Tasting, Dinner at Celele  Cartagena
Day 11 Transfer to Isla Barú, Optional Activities Isla Barú
Day 12 Isla Barú Watersports & Beach Time, Dinner at Humo Restaurant Isla Barú
Day 13 Isla Barú Optional Boat Tour, Dinner at Calablanca Restaurant Isla Barú
Day 14 Transfer to Cartagena, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Pereira, Wellness & Rejuvenation

Colombia's Coffee Triangle is known for its green valleys and towering wax palms

Welcome to Colombia! This South American nation is filled with enough natural beauty to keep travelers occupied for 10 lifetimes. However, two weeks is also good enough to enjoy some memorable highlights. This great escape focuses on two regions of distinct culture and history, beginning in the famous Zona Cafetera (Coffee Triangle). One of Colombia's prime exports is coffee, and this region in the central Andes Mountains accounts for most of the top-quality Arabica beans produced in the nation.

You'll arrive in Pereira, one of the three main cities in the Coffee Triangle. Nestled at an ideal altitude in the Andes, this region enjoys a mild climate that creates the perfect ecosystem for growing coffee. You'll learn all about it when you transfer from the airport to Hotel Boutique Sazagua. This cozy, family-run hacienda is surrounded by tropical forest—perfect for disconnecting and lounging in hammocks. 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. 

However, the first order of business is to decompress after your long flight with a wellness treatment. The hotel organizes these sessions, each based on time-tested rituals dating back to the ancient Quimbaya Indigenous civilization. You can choose between two experiences that promote mind/body health. The first is Ankora, a ritual that combines mental detoxification with a bamboo massage and a nice long soak in the Jacuzzi. The other is Guazalak, which includes a volcanic-stone massage, fire therapy, and a detachment ritual to release stress and focus on the path forward.

Day 2: Day Trip to Valle de Cocora, Salento & Filandia

Salento is one of two colorful colonial towns you'll visit today

Discover Colombia's renowned coffee culture this morning on a tour of the Coffee Triangle. Meet your driver/guide for the hour's drive south of Pereira to the famous Valle de Cocora. Here, you'll hike under towering wax palms—an icon of the region—as you ascend into misty cloud forests. There will be plenty of time for breaks and to snap photos before hiking back down to the trailhead.

Later, transfer to 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.

Finally, you'll visit Filandia. Even more colorful than Salento, no corner of this well-preserved Spanish-colonial marvel lacks splashes of bright paint. While here, you can visit Plaza de Bolívar (the main square) and stroll the cobbled streets up to viewpoints affording wide panoramas of Filandia and the surrounding countryside. You can also stop at a basket-weaving workshop and grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant.

Day 3: Coffee Farm Tour & Massage

Coffee Farm Visit
Spend some quality time learning the ropes at a coffee farm

Rise and shine! This morning, you'll meet your bilingual driver/guide and visit a real working coffee finca (farm). During this half-day tour, you'll see the birthplace of coffee production in Colombia, stroll the fields, and sample some of the country's best coffees.

It's a memorable experience that takes place at a family-owned farm, which opens its doors for an authentic glimpse of the lives of traditional coffee farmers. Moreover, you'll learn about each stage of the coffee-making process, from handpicking the coffee, roasting the beans, and brewing the final cup. 

After the tour, return to the hotel, where you can spend the rest of the day relaxing. One more item on the itinerary today is a massage treatment arranged by the hotel. You'll have the choice between Swedish massage to relieve tension, a therapeutic option utilizing medicinal herbs, or a massage designed for total relaxation and improving well-being.

Day 4: Zona Cafetera Horseback Ride, Private Cooking Class

Rest in your plush room after horseback riding (photo courtesy of Hotel Boutique Sazagua)

After breakfast at the hotel, you'll head out to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Coffee Triangle on horseback. Just south of Pereira is the El Palomar nature reserve, where you'll meet your guide and hop in the saddle. Then, embark on a half-day ride around the mountains, with sweeping views of the Maravelez Valley below. During the experience, you'll trot along coffee fields, cross rivers, and enjoy a picnic lunch in the countryside. In the early afternoon, return to your hotel in Pereira. 

The next activity on the itinerary is a culinary workshop led by an expert chef. It takes place right in your hotel, and during the experience, you'll learn how to prepare a traditional dish of Colombia. This might include regional, hearty stews like sudado, sancocho, or ajiaco. Prepare the dish using only the freshest local ingredients, and when you're finished, sit down and feast on your creation.

Day 5: Fly to Santa Marta, City Tour

Travel to Santa Marta and visit nearby fishing villages like Taganga

It's time to say goodbye to the coffee fields of the central Andes and hello to the Caribbean coast. This morning, you'll transfer to the airport and catch a flight (likely connecting in Bogotá) to Santa Marta in northern Colombia. This laid-back resort town was actually the site of Spain's first-ever settlement in South America in 1525.

You'll witness this history during a half-day city tour with a private driver. As the oldest city in Colombia, there are many historical landmarks to discover, like Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino. This hacienda is significant in that it's where Simón Bolívar, the great Libertador and 19th-century Venezuelan president, spent his last days. Other stops include Santa Marta's historic center and a prime coastal viewpoint in adjacent Taganga, a charming little fishing village. 

From here, transfer just south of Santa Marta, where the best beaches are located as well as your 4-star resort. Part of the Marriott collection of hotels, Playa Dormida offers ample rooms and suites, each featuring modern decor and balconies with ocean views. After checking in, you can sit down for an al fresco dinner at the signature restaurant, which serves gourmet cuisine in a romantic setting overlooking the Caribbean. Then, retire to your room, where you can lie down in your king bed and let the sounds of crashing waves lull you to sleep.

Day 6: Day Trip to Tayrona Park & Playa del Medio

Day at Playa del Medio - Tayrona Park
Explore Tayrona and relax on Playa del Medio, one of the park's most exclusive beaches

Besides its historic landmarks and fine beaches, Santa Marta is most famous as a hub for trips to nearby Tayrona National Park. One of the natural highlights of the country, this 1,614 square mile (150 sq m) protected area includes unspoiled coast, mountains, and archaeological sites in the Sierra Nevada range. That's exactly where you're headed when you meet your English-speaking driver early this morning for the transfer to the park.

Upon arrival, you'll leave the vehicle and hop in a motor boat for the transfer to Playa del Medio. There are many fine beaches in Tayrona, and this is one of the best. It's a crescent beach fronting Caribbean waters, offering peace and tranquility due to its remote location off the tourist trail. So stake out your own corner of this exclusive paradise and spend the day sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing however you see fit. At the end of the afternoon, transfer back to your hotel in Santa Marta. 

Day 7: Transfer to Cartagena, Sunset Cocktails & Dinner at Alma

Cartagena's colorful architecture dates to the Spanish colonial era
Plan your trip to Colombia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

It's another early start today, as you transfer down the coast to Cartagena. The journey takes around 4-5 hours, but it's a scenic route, passing along the Caribbean and past mangrove forests and charming fishing villages. Eventually, you'll arrive in historic Cartagena, famous for its colorful colonial buildings, cobbled streets, ancient ramparts, and bougainvillea-draped balconies. Founded in 1533, it's the most well-preserved Spanish-colonial fortress city in the Americas.

Your accommodation perfectly encapsulates the city's colonial legacy and colorful culture. The 5-star Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is located in the Walled City (historic center) and occupies a beautifully renovated 17th-century convent situated around a large swimming pool. Superbly run by France's luxury Accord hotel group, it melds Gallic sophistication with a historic ambience. The ample suites feature balconies with sea views, Nespresso machines, and butler service. After settling in, relax with a drink at one of Santa Clara's five bars and restaurants—including the inviting pool bar.

In the late afternoon, you might want to head over to the Hotel Movich. Also located in the historic center, its rooftop bar offers some of the finest views in the city and is a great place for a sundowner. Later in the evening, discover Cartagena's thriving culinary scene at Alma. Translating to "soul," that's exactly what this restaurant puts into every dish, which includes regional classics like seafood casserole and ceviche. After the meal, perhaps enjoy a self-guided stroll down the cobbled streets of Cartagena's historic center before retiring to your hotel.

Day 8: City Tour, Rum & Chocolate Tasting, Dinner at Candé

Explore the most dominating Spanish fortress in the Americas

Hit the cobbled streets after breakfast on a walking tour of Cartagena. Your local guide will lead you to Convento de la Popa, a convent founded in 1607. Then proceed to nearby San Felipe de Barajas, a massive hilltop castle built by the Spanish in 1536. Upon returning to Cartagena's UNESCO-listed Walled City, you'll stop at key sites like Plaza de la Aduana, Parque Bolívar, and Plaza de Santa Teresa. Don't miss the canary-yellow Convento Santo Domingo, which dates to 1552.

Afterward, say goodbye to your guide and walk over to the colorful neighborhood of Getsemani. There, another local expert will lead you on a tasting tour of some of the best Caribbean rums—all paired with decadent chocolate to enhance the sensory experience. In the evening, the culinary adventure comes full circle with dinner at Candé, which features a menu of Caribbean classics and fresh seafood accompanied by live music and dancing.

Day 9: Mangrove Fishing Tour, Percussion Workshop, Dinner at Carmen

Meet up with some local kids to learn the rhythms that define Colombia

The coast around Cartagena is dotted with colorful fishing villages home to locals who earn their living in the nearby mangrove ecosystems. After breakfast, you'll transfer by private car to one such village, La Boquilla, to meet friendly locals and hop in a boat to join them in their daily work. Learn some traditional fishing techniques as you marvel at the diversity of flora and fauna on display, which includes waterbirds like herons, frigatebirds, and ospreys.

Later, take an immersive journey into the lifeblood of Colombia: music. The nation is home to dozens of distinct genres, but what they all have in common is the uniquely Latin-American thrum of percussion instruments. Discover these rhythms firsthand when you participate in a music workshop led by a group of young people from La Boquilla at a local drum school. This one-hour experience is a great way to connect with the rhythms of Afro-Colombian folk music, and there's no need to be shy—as locals say: "Play even if you don't know how; dance even if you don't move at all."

Afterward, transfer back to Cartagena in time to enjoy dinner at Carmen. This renowned eatery is consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in Colombia, serving contemporary cuisine with an emphasis on Colombian flavors (think coconut rice risotto and pasta with plantains and coffee). These creative plates are a celebration of the country's rich biodiversity.

Day 10: Dance Class, Coffee Tasting, Dinner at Celele 

Snag a cushioned seat at your hotel pool between activities (photo courtesy of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara)

Fuel up on breakfast this morning before joining a dance class at a local studio. It's a brisk one-hour immersion during which you'll learn the fundamentals of Colombia's most popular dance styles, including salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and bachata. 

If you're feeling a little wiped out after all that hip-shaking, not to worry, because afterward, you'll receive a jolt or two of caffeine. You can walk right from your hotel to a purveyor of fine coffees located in the Walled City. There, the proprietor will lead you on a one-hour tasting, during which you'll learn to appreciate the distinct flavors and aromas of some of Colombia's best coffees.

Following this sensory exploration, you'll return to the Getsemani neighborhood and snag a table at Celele. This intimate restaurant specializes in modern Caribbean cuisine with a menu of traditional dishes as well as reinvented classics. Feast on the freshest ingredients, which include seasonal fish, local crab, prawns, mussels, lobster, and more. 

Day 11: Transfer to Isla Barú, Optional Activities

Leave the city streets for the white sands of Isla Barú (photo courtesy of Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort)

This morning, you'll transfer to the pier and enjoy a scenic water taxi ride to nearby Isla Barú. One of 27 islands in Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park (Islas del Rosario), Barú is famous for its unspoiled mangrove ecosystems, white-sand beaches, and coral reefs.

Upon arrival, you'll head to your waterfront hotel: Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort. Though it offers modern amenities and style, this 5-star resort still manages to capture the soul of Colombia's Caribbean coast. You'll see it in the local artwork hanging on the walls of the prestige suits, and you'll taste it in the fresh seafood and ceviche dishes, which you can enjoy right on the beach.

Day 12: Isla Barú Watersports & Beach Time, Dinner at Humo Restaurant

Wander around Barú or relax at your hotel (photo courtesy Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort)

The day is yours to spend however you like. Take advantage of the surroundings on a snorkeling/diving tour or a kayaking trip, and go swimming in the surf. Or, relax with your feet in the sand, accompanied by a good book and a tropical drink. If you like, take advantage of the hotel spa with a relaxing hammam or sauna session, a rejuvenating hydrotherapy treatment, or a deep-tissue massage.

At dusk, enjoy a sundowner cocktail while watching the last rays of light dip below the horizon as you're lulled into perfect tranquility by the symphony of the waves. For dinner, stay in the hotel and dine at Humo Restaurant, which features a robata grill. This Japanese-style barbecue concept draws influences from around Asia, as well as French and Peruvian cuisine. The result is a series of fusion dishes cooked over hot coals and using only the freshest local ingredients. 

Day 13: Isla Barú Optional Boat Tour, Dinner at Calablanca Restaurant

If you like, zip around the Islas del Rosario on a speedboat tour

It's another free day on Isla Barú. If you'd like to see more of the area, you can arrange a full-day boat tour to some of the other islands and islets in the archipelago. In the evening, you'll dine once again at the hotel, at Calablanca Restaurant, which serves traditional Colombian dishes, Mediterranean cuisine, and International market fare.​

Here, a special focus is placed on ancestral cooking techniques and farm-to-table ingredients. The menu features classic Colombian items such as whole-fried fish with plantains, arepas (fried corn cakes), and the formidable bandeja paisa (a mountain of meats and country beans).

Day 14: Transfer to Cartagena, Depart 

 Until next time, Cartagena!
Unfortunately, this morning, you must say goodbye to paradise. If you like, rise early to witness one more sunrise over the Caribbean before enjoying breakfast at the hotel. Then, transfer back to Cartagena and the airport, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Luxury Relaxation in Colombia's Coffee Triangle & Caribbean Coast - 14 Days
Map of Luxury Relaxation in Colombia's Coffee Triangle & Caribbean Coast - 14 Days