This outdoorsy, action-packed itinerary hits the crown jewels near two of Colombia's most exciting cities. Start off in up-and-coming Medellín before driving to the "coffee triangle" where you'll stay in a traditional ranch in the Andes. From here, embark on a three-day hike through some of the last surviving snowcapped peaks in the tropics before rafting in two of Colombia's major rivers. Next, you'll head north to the Caribbean coast for white sand beaches, sailing, and a chance to scuba dive in one of the few coral reefs in Colombia. Finish off the two-week adventure with time to explore the romantic cobbled alleys of Cartagena's Old Town.
Colombia Travel Insights
Wondering where to go in Colombia?
Colombia's great diversity offers an endless list of travel possibilities. In addition to the beautiful (yet popular) coastal city of Cartagena, there is a wide range of amazing and unique places to visit:
- Beautiful beaches: San Andrés and Providencia, the Rosario Islands (near Cartagena), The Tayrona Park
- Colonial towns: Villa de Leyva, Barichara, Salento
- Coffee region: Cocora and the beautiful 'coffee triangle' region of Colombia
- Ethnic villages: The Lost City, Guajira
- Arid deserts: Guajira and the Tatacoa Desert
- Tropical rainforests: The Amazons and the Pacific
- Modern cities: Bogotá, Medellín and Cali
- Snowy mountains: El Cocuy and Los Nevados National Park
Bogotá has two faces. It is both a bewildering urban sprawl across a South American massif, and a hodgepodge of quaint, colonial-era villages merged together over the centuries. The Colombian capital has an enormous variety of activities and historic sites but requires good insight to navigate the intertwining fabric – use these expert tips to get the most out of your visit.
Bogotá is home to dozens of locally-owned hotels, many with a boutique quality and personal service that makes them great choices compared to some of the larger chain hotels. The following list includes stylish places that emphasize high-end design, theme-hotels and backpackers favorites that have hosted travelers for decades.
Superb natural and historic destinations surround Bogotá, enough to keep visitors busy for several days. For travelers keen on the outdoors, high altitude air, hikes of varying difficulty and some culture beyond Bogotá, here are a few ideas for day trips around the Colombian capital.
Get ready for the wild and remote region of Chocó on Colombia's lesser-visited Pacific coast, which is the crux of this 7-day itinerary. The trip starts with a flight to Nuqui in a dense rainforest where you'll spend three days exploring tiny villages and partaking in a variety of activities like canoe rides, hiking, cooking with locals, whale watching, and soaking in hot springs. End the trip in one of Latin America's most exciting cities (Medellín) and then visit a nearby coffee farm to round out this awesome Colombian adventure.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Colombia on this 7-day itinerary which takes you through the mountains and valleys of Colombia's famous coffee region. You'll undertake a multi-day trek in the Andes, relax in the peaceful city of Manizales, and then finish with some urban culture and great museums in the city of Medellin.
Take advantage of the ample time off work in late December and travel to a place that knows how to do the holidays. This fun and festive 7-day Latin American adventure starts in the up-and-coming city of Medellín. With hip restaurants, art galleries, and eternal spring-like temperatures, this city goes bonkers with Christmas lights. From here, you'll head to lakeside Guatapé for hiking, visit a coffee farm, and then fly to Cartagena -- a fairy-tale city that draws a vibrant international crowd. Reserve early and get a seat at one of the city's best rooftop bars overlooking stunning colonial architecture and the Caribbean Sea -- what a way to start the new year!
This 7-day land and sea adventure covers all the highlights along Colombia's northern coast. You'll experience the culture and fairy-tale romance of Cartagena's Old Town, explore the beautiful Tayrona National Park, hike through mountainous jungles, go birdwatching, visit a coffee farm, and finish your trip with a relaxing trip to the Rosario Islands by private speedboat.
On this fun and fast-paced 7-day tour, you'll experience two of Latin America’s most exciting cities, stay overnight on a working coffee farm, and hike the Andean foothills. The trip starts in Medellín, the scenic metropolis fast on the rise after a turbulent past. You’ll then head into the heart of Colombia's coffee triangle, where you’ll explore the charming town of Salento and tour a working finca (coffee farm) — an industry that has embraced tourism with open arms. You’ll also hike the jaw-dropping green mountains in Valle de Cocora before finishing the trip in Colombia’s sophisticated urban capital.
On this culturally rich 7-day tour, you'll explore the historic and cosmopolitan side of Bogotá before heading north through the scenic Colombian highlands towards two of the country's most photogenic cobblestoned towns. Here, you’ll visit the underground salt mines, bike the Suarez Canyon, and finally explore the Spanish Colonial wonder that is Barichara — oozing with charm — before heading back to the capital's exciting restaurants and nightlife.
Steamy Cali is where salsa clubs boom long after midnight and welcoming locals can be found dancing in parks — this is the salsa capital of the world. Beyond salsa, the city has historic neighborhoods, excellent hiking, delectable street food and more. This guide shows off 9 of the best things to do in Cali.
Bogotá is a pulsating South American metropolis where well-preserved colonial-era neighborhoods mix with 21st-century glass and steel. While its impressive museums and architecture rank high on the list of things to see, the best experiences will be your own exploration of historic neighborhoods on bike or foot. Let this guide direct you toward the best Bogotá has to offer.
Coffee tasting tours and visits to coffee farms rank high in any visit to this region. But Colombia's Coffee Region also offers a number of exciting activities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hiking, horse riding, and mountain biking. When it's time to slow down you can relax in thermal baths. This list highlights the best things to do in the caffeine capital of Colombia.
Colombia's coffee region set amidst the rugged hills between Medellin, Cali and Ibague produces some of the finest coffee in the world. Besides learning how the coffee is made, you can experience stunning national parks, vibrant cities, and quiet pueblos. We're spilling the beans with some expert tips on getting around the region and the best places to visit.
Colombia's Coffee Region is dotted with small pueblos where life has changed little over the past century. Towns like Salento, Pijao, and Filandia still retain the same colonial air of yesteryear, when coffee farmers brought their product to market along old country roads. This list includes the best towns to visit, plus vibrant cities and also backcountry areas where you can experience Colombia's stunning landscapes.
Exploring an area as vast as the Colombian Amazonas might seem daunting, but almost everything that this wild region offers can be experienced in one week from the main town of Leticia. Here’s a 7-day itinerary that stitches together the best wildlife viewing and interactions with indigenous culture, the region’s two principal draws.
Most travelers to Colombia visit two or three of its big cities and the popular Caribbean Coast, but Colombia is much more than its popular sights and cities. If you’re looking to truly experience the country's unique blend of culture and landscape, here’s a list of places to help you get off-the-beaten-path and discover its more hidden gems.
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.
A great trip to Colombia requires at least five days to get a taste of one big city and its surrounding areas. The more days you can add the more opportunities to explore different pockets of the country - eight or nine days is enough for two or three regions. With two weeks you could tour the walled city of Cartagena, visit the capital Bogotá, explore the Amazon and do some activities along the way, including scuba diving or mountain biking. This article breaks down the possible itineraries, ranging from three to 14 days.
A visit to El Chocó on the Pacific coast opens up adventurous opportunities to explore the jungle, go whale watching or scuba diving. You can also just enjoy the sea view from your hammock, gazing across a Pacific Ocean that looks very different from the one many know on the West Coast of North America. The following areas of El Chocó covered here are located in the area around Nuquí and Bahía Solano.
This 10-day excursion is perfect for an adventurous visitor seeking full immersion into Colombia's landscape and culture. Travel between colorful cities and tropical island retreats, mountain biking some parts in between. Along the way you'll discover colorful art, high peaks, soaring palm trees and delectable coffee. Cap your journey with salsa lessons in romantic Cartagena.
This 10-day trip provides an intimate glimpse into the wild heart of Colombia. On this trip, you'll explore the bustling metropolis of Medellín, experience traditional farm life of Manizales, relax in the tropical beauty of the Pacific Coast, and go whale watching off the shores of the Tribugá Gulf. While this is an active trip, the schedule allows for plenty of down time to relax or explore on your own.
Enjoy the beautiful coffee region of Colombia with a 3-day hike through a forest of local palms. With 3 snowy peaks that rise higher than 4,800 meters above sea level, Los Nevados National Park extends over 58,300 hectares (more than 143,000 acres, or about as big as the city of Chicago) in the central Cordillera of the Colombian Andes. This region has an extraordinary ecosystem of flora and fauna because of the high elevation. Perpetual snow provides water here, which is essential to the preservation of life. This trek is great for adventurers looking to enjoy the great outdoors.
Cerro Kennedy is an important mountain located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, with the highest point being at an altitude of 3,100 meters above sea level. Covered by a cloud forest, it is home to hundreds of endemic and migratory birds. From the top of this important mountain, you can get an excellent view of the snowy peaks of Bolivar, Colon, Santa Marta and all the mountains that form the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Ciudad Perdida (or the "Lost City") is located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range close to the Caribbean sea. Here, you’ll discover the past life of local indigenous people with their wooden houses and stone structures, including terraces and stairways.
In the morning, you'll follow the footsteps of famous pirates and discover the "Pearl of the Caribbean", a city rich in culture, diversity, exotic and heritage. Come evening, you'll journey to a local fishing village for a short canoe ride at sunset with great birdwatching as you're surrounded by nature.
Experience the highlights along Colombia's northern coast in this active 8-day Caribbean adventure. You'll soak in the culture and fairy-tale romance of Cartagena's Old Town, join a fishing trip, explore the beautiful Tayrona National Park, hike through mountainous jungles, go birdwatching, visit a coffee farm, and finish your trip with a relaxing trip to the Rosario Islands by speedboat.
This tour takes you off the beaten path and truly epitomizes the diversity that runs through Colombia and its people. Colombia's mountains, jungles, Caribbean beaches, Spanish colonial architecture, rural and indigenous cultures combine to offer a quite unforgettable tour in one of the world's great (and yet uncharted) destinations.
Explore Cartagena’s colonial architecture by foot, partake in its rich culinary scene, and meet the local characters for an authentic glimpse into Colombia’s Caribbean culture. Cartagena’s old town is like an outdoor museum, whose stories will be told by an experienced local guide.
Kids love Cartagena. And why wouldn’t they? As a former playground for pirates, the city has plenty to offer for active families that love to explore around. Here’s an idea for the perfect family break in Cartagena for you and your little ones.
Colombia is one of the world’s best bird-watching destinations, containing more bird species — roughly 1,950 — than any other country on the planet. On top of that, 79 species are endemic to Colombia. Here is a list of the top 5 places to go birdwatching in Colombia.
This tour takes you through three of Colombia's most diverse and interesting cities — Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena. You'll begin in Bogota, with its high-Andean look but altogether bohemian feel. You'll visit world-class museums, learn about a rich and eventful history, and experience a complex urban scene with stunning graffiti murals, topped off with a varied culinary offering and some great nightlife.
Colombia is a land of diversity. From the Andes to the Amazon, from its Afro-Caribbean roots to remote cultures that make their home in the deep Amazon, you’ll discover Colombia has a place for everyone. Best of all, Colombia has emerged onto the travel scene after decades of violence and instability with its authenticity intact and pristine nature yet untouched by mass tourism.
Experience the best of Colombian culture and enjoy a multi-day trek to a hidden site tucked away in an immense mountain chain. The cosmopolitan atmosphere of Bogotá — coupled with Cartagena’s regal and historical Caribbean charm — will serve as a fitting prelude and conclusion to your adventure. In between, our multi-day trek across the rugged, volcanic landscapes of the Colombian Andes will take your breath away in more ways than one, with unrivalled natural diversity and little-visited local cultures marking your way.
Medellin is not only the city of eternal spring, but also the city of eternal adventure. Despite a short but refreshing rainy season, great weather can be found year-round. The following top 5 adventures are readily accessible from Medellin, and take in some of the most beautiful rivers, mighty cordilleras, and best day adventures in Colombia.
Colombia’s diverse culture and geography attract visitors from across the globe. You’ll discover an incredible range of places and people. Everywhere you go, you’ll enjoy the unmatched hospitality and warmth of Colombia’s people.
Colombia has tropical weather and a stable equatorial climate throughout the year. High seasons for tourism are December-February and June-August, coinciding the driest weather—expect big crowds and a festive atmosphere. Head to the Amazon rainforest during the second half of the year, when easily-navigable waterways bring more opportunities for wildlife spotting and hiking. And whale-watching season on the Pacific Coast starts in July.
After exploring the markets and culture of Bogota, head to the colonial town of Villa de Leyva, famous for its Salt Cathedral located 200 meters underground. Afterwards, enjoy the majestic views of Chicamocha Canyon before heading to Rosario Islands for a taste of the coast.
On this 9-day tour, you'll get to explore the historical and cultural side of Bogotá before heading to the wax palm forests of the Cocora Valley. After spending some time on a local coffee plantation, head over to the beautiful city of Medellín, the home town of the famous Colombian artist, Fernando Botero. Finally, head north to the Pearl of the Caribbean, the colorful town of Cartagena.
From the ice-capped summits of the Sierra Nevada glaciers to the lush tropical rainforest, discover Colombia's astounding biodiversity and contemporary cultures. This tour takes you from city culture to scenic mountain landscapes to the famous coffee region. Finally, experience Colombia as few do, on a river rafting expedition through lush forest.
In nine days, explore the ice-capped summits of the Sierra Nevada to the white sand beaches of the tropical Caribbean coast to discover a range of indigenous and contemporary cultures, as well as astounding biodiversity. Drive across city centres and take scenic mountain roads through the famous coffee region. Experience Colombia’s warm climate and culture by river and sea on rafting and sailing expeditions.
Explore the beauty of Colombia's northern coast, from stunning Tayrona Parque to the colonial town of Cartagena. This 9-day itinerary starts and ends in Cartagena, with a variety of local activities including hiking, a visit to a coffee farm, touring through authentic local fishing villages and, of course, great salsa dancing.