One Week in Colombia: 5 Great Itineraries

Planning to spend a week in Colombia? Seven days is enough time for a solid exploration of one region, or you can divide your time between two cities. Where you go depends on your interests. Historic Cartagena and the beautiful Caribbean coast remain the most popular short trip. Bogotá and Medellín both offer excellent urban adventures, with side trips to quaint villages and coffee farms.

Best tips and advice

  • Arrive and depart from 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
  • Take advantage of affordable domestic flights with Colombia's national airlines

#1 Cartagena & the Caribbean Coast

Cartagena
The colorful buildings of Old Town Cartagena.
Day Activity Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cartagena and explore the city on foot Cartagena
Day 2 Travel to Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona Parque Nacional Tayrona
Day 3 Parque Nacional Tayrona Parque Nacional Tayrona
Day 4 Explore Minca Minca
Day 5 Birdwatching and travel to Cartagena Cartagena
Day 6 Rosario Islands Cartagena
Day 7 Depart Cartagena   

See the best of the Caribbean coast on this 7-Day Tour, including secluded islands, white-sand beaches, cloud forests and Cartagena, a city straight out of a fairy-tale. Start with a 1-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. Next, go bird watching or mountain biking in the Sierra Nevada mountains at Minca. Travel back to Cartagena, and make an outing to the Rosario Islands, where you can enjoy a day of diving or snorkeling.

#2 Bogotá and the Colombian Highlands

Plaza Bolivar, Bogota
The wonderful architecture and street life of Bogota's Plaza de Bolívar in La Candelaria area.
Day Activity Overnight
Day 1 Arrive and explore around Bogotá Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá city tour Bogotá
Day 3 Zipaquira and the Salt Cathedral Villa de Leyva
Day 4 Exploration of Villa de Leyva Barichara
Day 5 Cycling tour in Suarez Canyon Barichara 
Day 6 Explore Barichara Bogotá
Day 7 Departure  

This itinerary is ideal if you want to experience the capital and nearby attractions in 7 days. The one-week tour begins with a two-day visit to Bogotá, where you can visit excellent museums, dine in fine restaurants, attend cultural activities and go shopping. Colombia's famous underground Salt Cathedral, located 50km north of the capital in Zipaquira, is a great option for Day 3. While in town you can try a traditional game of Tejo. 

Next, 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. Horse riding and walks to sacred indigenous sites are other possibilities with assistance from tour operators in Villa de Leyva. Your trip then continues to Suarez Canyon for bike riding, before you move onto the historic town of Barichara. Finish your trip back in Bogotá, soaking up some live music and nightlife. 

#3 Medellín, the Coffee Country and Bogotá 

Wax palms
Hiking amid the wax palms of the Valle de Cocora is a highlight in Colombia.
Day Activity Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Medellín, self-guided or group tour Medellín
Day 2 MetroCable ride to different neighborhoods  Medellín
Day 3 Travel south to the Coffee Country  Salento
Day 4 Coffee farm visits and hiking in Valle de Cocora Salento
Day 5 Walking tour in Salento Salento
Day 6 Fly from Armenia to Bogotá for a city tour Bogotá
Day 7 Departure  

This 7-Day Tour of big cities and the Coffee Country starts with a flight 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. You can also visit the isolated hillside barrios of the city by Metrocable.   

With a private car and driver (which will save time compared to public buses), head south of Medellín to the Coffee Country. The trip can be even faster with a flight to Armenia. Over three days make day trips to coffee farms, small towns and nature reserves.

You're base will be the pleasant town of Salento, from where you can visit farms the Valle de Cocora, one of Colombia's most beautiful nature reserves and a great area for hiking. Your last leg of this trip is a flight to Bogotá for a tour of the capital. 

#4 Bogotá and Medellín

Cityscape of Medellin city at dusk
Medellín from above at dusk
Day Activity Overnight
Day 1 Arrival and tour of La Candelaria neighborhood  Bogotá
Day 2 Explore Bogotá on a self or guided tour Bogotá
Day 3 Visit Zipaquira Salt Cathedral Bogotá
Day 4 Fly to Medellín, join a local tour Medellín
Day 5 Explore Medellín  Medellín
Day 6 Make a day 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.

This 7-Day tour to Bogotá and Medellín starts with three days in and around the capital, exploring its historic center and diving into the heady nightlife. Make sure get out of town for a day trip to the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral. Fly to Medellín (440km) on Day 4 and see the main sights of this rejuvenated city. 

Medellín offers some unique urban renewal projects, including a Metrocable, which is a ski-style gondola that can take you to different neighborhoods. In addition to the main sites, consider a short 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, Coffee Country and Cartagena

A quiet street scene in the La Candelaria neighborhood of Bogotá.
Day Activity Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bogotá Bogotá
Day 2 Bogotá city tour Bogotá
Day 3 Flight to Salento, overnight at a Coffee Farm Salento
Day 4 Walking tour of Salento Armenia
Day 5 Flight to Cartagena, exploration of the Old Town Cartagena
Day 6 Rosario Islands day trip Cartagena 
Day 7 Departure from Cartagena  

A visit to Bogotá, the Coffee Country and Cartagena in 7-days is possible if you want a taste of three very diverse places, but be prepared for a couple of domestic flights.

Start with a flight to Bogotá, enjoying the sights of the capital for two days. You can get a great perspective on the city by taking a bike tour. Then fly to Armenia for a two-day exploration of the Coffee Country. You'll overnight at a hacienda and explore the cobbled streets of Salento. Finally, fly to Cartagena for a day of exploration, with a side trip to the Rosario Islands.