Best tips and advice
- Fly in and out of different cities (many airlines have non-stop flights from North America)
- Stick with one region if you prefer a relaxed and slower pace (such as Cartagena & the Caribbean Coast)
- Split your week in half by visiting two of Colombia’s main regions
#1 Cartagena & the Caribbean Coast
|Days 1-2||Arrive in Cartagena and explore the city on foot||Cartagena|
|Days 3-4||Parque Nacional Tayrona||Tayrona|
|Day 5||Explore Minca||Minca|
|Day 6||Return to Cartagena||Cartagena|
|Day 7||Depart Cartagena (optional day-trip to Rosario islands)|
See the best of the Caribbean coast, including secluded islands, white-sand beaches, cloud forests and Cartagena, a city straight out of a fairy-tale. Start with a 2-day exploration of Cartagena, including its historic buildings and museums. You can partake in a number of activities, including a salsa dance class or chocolate tasting.
Next, travel up the coast to Parque Nacional Tayrona, an area rich in wildlife and pristine white-sand beaches. Trek into the jungle and along the boulder-strewn shore. Before returning to Cartagena, go bird watching or mountain biking in the Sierra Nevada mountains at Minca. Before leaving Cartagena, make an outing to the Rosario Islands, where you can enjoy a day of diving or snorkeling.
#2 Bogotá and the Colombian Highlands
|Days 1-2||Arrive and explore around Bogotá||Bogotá|
|Day 3||Zipaquira and the Salt Cathedral||Bogotá|
|Days 4-5||Visit Boyacá and overnight in Villa de Leyva||Villa de Leyva|
|Day 6||Return to Bogotá||Bogotá|
Experience Colombia's dynamic capital and the laid back villages and historical sites of in the department of Boyacá. The one-week tour begins with a two-day visit to Bogotá, where you can experience the excellent museums, restaurants, cultural activities and terrific shopping opportunities. Colombia's famous underground Salt Cathedral, located 50km north of the capital, is a great option for Day 3.
Then leave the city and travel to Villa de Leyva. After exploring the historic village of cobblestone streets and white-washed homes, visit some nearby sites, such as the historic churches and mansions of nearby Tunja. Hiking, horse riding and walks to sacred indigenous sites are other possibilities with assistance from tour operators in Villa de Leyva. Finish your trip back in Bogotá, soaking up some live music and nightlife.
#3 Medellín and the Zona Cafetera
|Days 1-2||Arrival in Medellín, spend two days exploring the city||Medellín|
|Day 3||Travel south to the Coffee Country||Salento|
|Days 4||Visit coffee plantations and the Valle De Cocora||Pereira|
|Day 5||Coffee plantations and Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados||Manizales|
|Day 6||Return to Medellín via Jardín||Medellín|
Fly to Medellín for some urban exploration before a trip into the paisa region, known for its coffee plantations, flower farms and forests. This one-week tour can include a number of active adventures, including rafting, horse riding, mountain biking or paragliding. Spend your first 48 hours in vibrant Medellín, Colombia's second largest city. Enjoy the plazas, outdoor art and museums on foot, then take to the skies and view the city from your seat on a paraglider. With a private car and driver (which will save time compared to public buses), head south of Medellín to the Coffee Country. Over three days make day trips to coffee farms, small towns and nature reserves. Make time for a visit to the Valle de Cocora, one of Colombia's most beautiful nature reserves and a great area for hiking. The spectacular Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados also makes for a fine half or full day trip. Return to Medellín by road via the pretty town of Jardín.
#4: Bogotá and Medellín
|Days 1-3||Arrive in Bogotá and tour the Colombian capital||Bogotá|
|Day 4||Early morning bus to Medellín, arriving before dinner||Medellín|
|Days 5-6||Explore Medellín with a side trip to Guatapé||Medellín|
|Day 7||Departure from Medellín|
Colombia's two biggest cities are a sharp contrast. Medellín is the more relaxed of the two, with better weather and easy access to the main sites thanks to a great public transportation network. Bogotá is the political heart of the country, more hustle and bustle, more cultural events and museums. Both are worth well-worth a visit.
Start your trip with three days in and around Bogotá, exploring its historic center and diving into the heady nightlife. Get an early start on Day 4 for your nine-hour bus journey to Medellín (440km). Night buses are available, but you'll miss seeing the excellent landscapes along the way. Flying is another option if you don't want to travel by bus.
Once in Medellín, see the main sites of the city and consider a paraglide flight for adventure and great views. A side trip to Guatapé, a pretty resort town with great views and stunning rock formations, is a perfect way to wrap up your week in Colombia.
#5 Bogotá and Cartagena
|Day 7||Departure from Cartagena|
Travelling between the Caribbean Coast and the Bogotá region can be done over a week if you want a taste of these two very diverse places, but be prepared for a domestic flight. Start with a flight to Bogotá, enjoying the sights of the capital for three days. You can get a great perspective on the city by taking a bike tour. Then fly up to Cartagena for three days of exploration, with a side trip to the Rosario Islands. If you prefer to travel overland, with a stop in Villa de Leyva or San Gil, consider adding a day or two to your itinerary.