9 Day Tour of Colombia

  A couple visited Colombia in January 2017

“We fly into Cartagena on Jan 22 and out of Bogota on Jan 31. Outside of exploring the cities, we want to zip line, trek, kayak, see wildlife, go to the beach, etc. I keep hearing about Tayrona National Park as well as the Rosario Islands, so would be interested in getting information on those places, maybe 2 nights in each place. I've also read about Tobia and San Gil and wonder if those are worth visiting - though I'm unsure if they would be worth the visit since we don't have much time and would like to spend a few nights between Cartagena, Bogota and Medellin as well.”


Nathalie Clavel, a local specialist from Colombia, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.

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Trip planning highlights

69 messages exchanged
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Trip planning conversation

Nathalie

Hello,

Thank you for your email and your interest in traveling in Colombia with us! I would be more than pleased to help you organize your trip in our country.

In order to set for you a tailor-made program that will suit your expectations I would like to ask you the following questions:
1. Do you want us to book the hotels for you? What kind of hotels would you like?
2. Do you speak a little bit of Spanish?

Let me know and I will send you a proposal corresponding to your preferences.

Also if it is convenient for you, I would like to schedule a phone call or Skype meeting during the next couple of days. This will allow us to discuss more in depth all the travel options in Colombia and to know more in details your tastes and preferences. If you want you can add me to your contact list: nathalie.aventurecolombia, or provide me a phone number in which I can reach you.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie!

I'm not sure if we would book hotels through you. We want to keep the trip pretty low budget so would want to consider private rooms in hostels as well. Is that something you do? I do speak some Spanish.

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

We can offer you private rooms in low-budget hostels indeed, I will send you an offer with the hotels in option so you can evaluate if you want to book the hostels with us or not!

I will send you a program later today,
Have a nice day!

Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Thank you for sending this! [ ] and I will be looking through it this weekend. I failed to mention that while I speak some Spanish, [] does not. Are the tours available in English? And another question - do you know if we might be able to catch a futbol game while we are there?

Nathalie

Hello, Happy New Year!

We also have English translators for La Boquilla and for Palomino, (that would cost a little bit more), as well as an English guide for Medellín. Let me know if you want to make other changes in the program and I will make a whole new program with the modifications and English tours.

For the football game, you will have to check, but there generally are a lot of them, so you should have a chance to see one.

I remain at your disposal if you have any question,
I am looking forward to heargin from you,

Have a nice day,
Kind regards,
Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

Happy New Year!

We just looked over the document and are interested in what you have laid out for Tayrona and potentially for las Islas del Rosario. We have decided to book lodging and activities in Cartagena, Medellin and Bogota ourselves. We also are open to interchanging Tayrona and Rosario so that either could be the first destination of these two locations. Additionally, when we are heading to Rosario we think it might be easier to stay the night before at Playa Blanca so we could just get up early and head to Rosario via boat as you suggested.

Some questions we have for Tayrona and Rosario:
1. Could we look into staying a night or two somewhere in Rosario? It would be the nights of Jan 22 and 23. Is 2 nights too much?
2. How much would the English-speaking guide cost in Tayrona?
3. Does Tayrona or Rosario offer ziplining?

Do you have any recommendations on how we can find national football match information? We haven't had much luck. We were targeting either in Cartagena on Jan 20-21, Medellin or Bogota on Jan 25-27 or Bogota on Jan 28.

Thanks again,

Nathalie

Hello,

Thank you for your message. I will send you another quotation for only Tayrona Park and Rosario Islands.
If your flight arrive in Cartagena, it is better to start with Rosario Islands and then go to the Tayrona Park, near Santa Marta (it is a 4-5 hours drive). Indeed, then you can take a flight directly from Santa Marta to Medellín or Bogotá. This way, you will have less transfer than if you go from Cartagena to the Tayrona Park and then go back to Cartagena to reach the Rosario Islands.

You can reach Rosario Island from Cartagena, Playa Blanca is far away and it would be difficult to reach the other islands from there. 1 night in the island is good, 2 might be too long, all the more that you don't have much time in Colombia.

I will send you the other quotation during the day.

I have been looking for the football games and indeed, they didn't communicate the calendar yet. They are supposed to schedule games in the end of January but we do not know the dates yet. I will keep looking these day to see if something comes out and let you know.

Talk to you later today, with the new quote!

Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

Thanks so much. This looks great. [ ] and I want to see if we can fly down to Medellin on the 21st to make it to the game. Do you know where we could buy tickets? Then we are thinking about flying back up to Cartagena on the 22nd and starting the trip to Rosario, as per your itinerary, on the 23rd if that's possible. Once we nail down the football game, we can move forward booking Rosario and Tayrona through you.

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

Thank you for your message. If you do it this way, I recommend you go from Medellin to Santa Marta first (The Tayrona Park will be closing on January 28th for the whole month), and then end in Cartagena (from where you can take a flight to join Bogotá and your international flight).

As soon as the tickets for the football game are available, you can buy them in physical points in any city of the country. I also just talked to a saler and he told me we could see how we can organize ourselves and book one for you in advance even though they are supposed to only be saled on ticket offices.

Let me know your thoughts and if you want me to send you a program reorganized, based on what I talked about.

Have a nice day!
Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

Yes if you could send a revised program that would be great. We would like to arrive in Bogota at some point on the 27th if possible, and I think we can make that work given everything you've laid out. And if you could help with booking the football tickets that would be fantastic.

Many thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

Ok, I will send you a reorganized program as soon as possible and see how we can book the tickets for the football game in advance.

Thank you,

Have a nice day,
Best regards,

Nathalie

Nathalie

Hello,

I am sending you enclosed the trip reorganized, what I suggest for now is the following:
J1 Cartagena
J2 Cartagena -> Medellín
J3 Medellín
J4 Medellín -> Santa Marta -> Tayrona Park
J5 Tayrona Park
J6 Tayrona Park -> Cartagena
J7 Cartagena -> Rosario Islands
J8 Rosario Islands -> Cartagena
J9 Cartagena -> Bogotá
J10 Flight from Bogotá.

I suggested the program from Day 4 to day 8 then, with the Tayrona Park and Cartagena. The only thing I am afraid of is that you will be rushing everywhere. Have you already bought your international flights? If not you can see how to start from Medellín and go back from Cartagena. That would be better organized.

In this program I am afraid you will miss some of Cartagena and some of Bogotá as well. Otherwise, I can also suggest a day tour on the islands instead of spending a night overthere, so you have more time to visit Cartagena and Bogotá.

As in the program before, I didn't include any flight nor hotel in Cartagena. Let me know if you need to include them.

I am looking forward to your comments,

Best regards,

Nathalie

PS: I am also waiting for an answer to book the football game, I will let you know as soon as I know more.

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

Thanks. We like this new itinerary and will actually try to catch a flight after Rosario to Bogota on day 8. I agree it will be rushed and we may feel in over our heads, but we are determined to do it all. Do any of these places offer ziplining/canopying? And do you have any idea what time the football match would be?

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

Great! do you need anything else in the program? Transportation, hotels...?
It is really, really risky to take a flight right after going back from the islands (the boat arrive at Cartagena at about 4pm but they can be late). If you do so, I highly recommend you take it late at night so you make sure you don't lose the flight.
Also, take into account that when you come back from the islands you will have a lot of salt and sand on yourself and you might want to take a shower before your flight. In our opinion, it is better to stay one night in Cartagena, even if you want to leave really early the next morning.

There are not ziplining in those places. The hour of the football game is not scheduled yet, but it is often at night time. Although I recommend you arrive early in Medellín so you have time to get your tickets and arrive early to the football game.

Let me know if anything, and if you are ok with the program like this, we will start checking the availibility in the hotels and proceed with the booking.

Thank you!

Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

Thanks for providing the additional feedback. I don't believe we will need any additional transportation or hotels booked and we'll make sure to take the latest possible flight that night. Bummer about the ziplines, but appreciate you looking into it for us. We are very excited to go to the football game so whenever there are any further updates (game time, opponents, ticket cost, etc.) please loop us in.

While we are very close to finalizing our booking with you we did have a few concerns. When researching the prices of some of the different experiences and hotels it appears as though there is a big difference in price compared to what we are seeing. Could you provide us with an itemized breakdown of what each itinerary item costs?

Additionally, could you provide a timeline (with precise times) for each activity detailed in your overview?

Thanks,

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

As we leave for Colombia next week, we are looking to book our arrangements in the next day or two. We hope to hear back from you soon!

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

Sorry for the delay, yesterday was a holliday in Colombia, this is why I couldn't answer to you sooner.

Our software do not allow us to separate the prices of the different activities. The price of your program includes nice activities though, nice hotels near the Tayrona Park and on the Island, as well as a regular follow-up and a 24h service if any need from your part.

The Tayrona Park and the islands excursions start in the morning (around 8 - 8:30) and end at the end of the afternoon (4-5pm).

Let me know if you are still ok to book everything, and I will check the availibility of the hotels during the day. I will get back to you as soon as we know more about the football game.

Thank you,
Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

No problem, thanks for you quick response today!

Does the $570 per person include taxes? I read somewhere that foreigners don't pay VAT on hotels.

Thanks,

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

Thanks for checking availability. We are really bummed about Hotel de Majagua not being available. We aren't as thrilled about the Sport Baru Hotel (not being on Rosario, a boat ride away from their main beach, not offering snorkeling or other activities other than kayaking). Unless you know of another hotel that checks all the boxes, I did notice that Hotel de Majagua appears to have a room available online so we are considering booking there directly.

That said, would you be able to give us a quote for Tayrona only?

Many thanks again,

Nathalie

Hello,

My bad, I mixed up the dates, there is availibility on January 26th! Sorry for the confusion, we are going ahead with the pre-booking and I'll send you the right quotation to pay,

Thank you!
Let me know if anything,

Best regards,
Nathalie

Traveler

Great news, thanks! The flight into Santa Marta from Medellin on the 23rd doesn't arrive until 1 pm. Could our transportation pick us up around 1:30-2 to get us to Tayrona?

Nathalie

Hello, you mean from Medellin to Santa Marta? Let me know the exact hour and the number of your flight and we will get you at the airport when you arrive to get you to the Tayrona Park!

Traveler

Yes. We haven't booked it yet, but it's the only nonstop one so we are going to try and book it tonight. It's Avianca flight 9362 from 11:40 AM – 12:52 PM.

Nathalie

ok perfect! I'll keep this information and confirm to me as soon as you book it!

Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Great! Thanks again for everything! Does "pre-booking" mean we have everything reserved for a certain amount of time, or do we need to book right now in order to reserve it? [ ] wanted to "book now" tonight so we can also book all of our flights and make sure it all syncs, but we don't want to miss out on availability at these hotels. What would you suggest?

Nathalie

The sooner you pay, better, so we can ensure the reservations but it is not a question of hours. Tonight is ok to book everything.

Let me know if anything,
Nathalie

Traveler

Thanks, Nathalie. I just put through my payment. Let me know what the next steps are and what else you may need from us.

Thanks!

Nathalie

Hello,

Great, thank you! I am sending you enclosed a registration form to fill in and sign. If you can return it to me so we can book everything. I will also need the copy of your passports (to prove the hotels you don't pay taxes).

Then I will send to you your travel documents before your trip! I am still waiting for an answer for the football game, I am calling everyday and hope to reach him soon.

Let me know if anything,
Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Thanks, Nathalie. I will scan in the application and passports tomorrow morning.

[ ] and I checked today to see if any news was posted about the game and it looks like we can finally purchase tickets! We found them at the following link: http://www.ticketbis.com/en/medellin-vs-santa-fe-superliga-aguila-tickets/ev118838. Is this the game you were referring to? And should we purchase through this link or is there another way we should be purchasing them?

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello!

This is the one! Perfect! It is better indeed if you can by them yourself. If you manage to buy on this link, it will be better so you have your ticket directly and do not need to go on a shop in Colombia.

Please, if you can also send to me the registration from, the copy of your passports and the name of you hotel in Cartagena that would be great, in order to organize your trip and finish booking everything!

Let me know if you have any question,

Best regards,

Nathalie

Nathalie

Hi again,

Did you book your flight to Santa Marta yet as well?
Let me know if it is the same or if you booked another one, we keep in touch!

Have a nice day,
Nathalie

Nathalie

Hello again,

I also forgot to tell you, the Tayrona Park is kind of busy these days and it is better to buy the entrances in advance (at least 3 days before the excursions, which means before January 21st), the link to buy them is this one: http://www.parquetayrona.com.co
In "seleccione la zona", you have to select "Taquilla Zaino" .

This way we will make sure you can enter the Tayrona Park on January 24th!

Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

Great, okay we will book the football game ourselves. The flight to Santa Marta is the same one as I gave you previously: Avianca AV9362. We haven't yet booked a hotel in Cartagena for Wednesday, January 25th. We were going to do that once we were in Colombia. Would that cause a problem? And yes, thanks for the advice to book Tayrona. I'll purchase the entrance fees ahead of time.

Looking forward to seeing the final travel documents!

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

Perfect, thank you for the documents!
No problem for the hotel in Cartagena, the sooner we know better, but you can send it to us at the beggining of your trip, it is just to know where to drop you and pick you up with the different transports.

I will be out of the office on Monday and Tuesday so I will send to you the documents on Wednesday 18th! I am working on it so you get them before your departure!

Do not hesitate if you have any question,

Best regards,
Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

I have a couple of questions:

1. According to online research and speaking with a friend from Bogota, the tickets at that website for the football game sound really expensive. We are hearing they should only cost about $5-$25. Any suggestions on what we could do to avoid paying so much?
2. I just want to confirm that the hotels you showed us were successfully reserved. We really hope so!

Thanks again,

Traveler

Another question actually - I purchased the tickets for Tayrona and then received the attached message. However I did receive an email confirmation for my purchase, so I'm not sure if it went through. Is the confirmation email/voucher enough? Thanks.

Traveler

Hi Nathalie - sorry we have another question. Do we need any vaccinations or anything else medically related before we head to Colombia? We are reading about a yellow fever vaccination needed for Tayrona and other areas of the country.

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

Did you book Majagua via booking? we cannot book it for you if you do no cancel this booking. Otherwise we only have suite available for you at this date in this hotel. Let me know.

For the Tayrona Park it should be ok, I cannot read the voucher but if there is all the information it will be ok (your name, and date of entrance).

For the vaccinations, Yellow Fever is not mandatory in the Tayrona park so it should be ok. There might have other vaccinations depending on what is asking your country, you should look at the website of the US embassy in Colombia, to see what vaccination they recommend.

For the football game, if you want to buy it in Colombia, you might get it cheaper in a shop in Cartagena. Although it might be better to book it via the website so you make sure you have your tickets. The option I had wouldn't be cheaper either.

Let me know about the hotel Majagua, I remain at your disposal,

Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Thanks, Nathalie. Yes, I booked it and was going to cancel today once it was confirmed with you. I'll cancel it now.

On the rest, thanks, I appreciate it your help.

Traveler

I've just canceled Majagua.

Nathalie

Hello,

Perfect, we should get the confirmation from the hotel soon then, thank you!

We keep in touch,

Nathalie

Hello,

I am sending you enclosed your travel documents for your trip in Colombia: your vouchers for the hotels, the list of services for the activities and transport and your roadbook.

At the end of the roadbook you will find my phone number, on which you can call at any moment during your trip if anything [phone number removed].

I remain at your entire disposal if you have any questions.
Have a nice evening!

Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Thank you! This all looks great. A few questions:

1. Do you typically recommend bringing cash and exchanging from USD to COP that way? Or not taking much cash and rather using ATMs to withdraw once we are there?
2. You mention that breakfast is provided on Thursday, 1/26, but I'm wondering if that is a typo since we still need to determine which hotel we will be staying at the night prior.
3. Does Maloka Barlovento provide breakfast?

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

Here are the answers to your questions:
1. You can do it either way, depending on how much your bank charge you for withdrawing abroad. Colombian banks usually don't charge that much (I think Bancolombia do not charge anything or very little). You will be in big cities so you will find easily ATM and exchange offices.
2. My mistake, there will not have any breakfast that day as you didn't book the hotel with us.
3. breakfast is included in the Maloka Barvolento and the Majagua hotels.

Thank you, have a nice day,
Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Thanks, Nathalie! We don't see the tickets listed on that website anymore for the football game. Do you know if it got rescheduled?

Thanks,

Nathalie

Hello,

I am seeing that it is still on January 21st, at 7pm, maybe there isn't ticket available on the website anymore, try to ask where you can buy tickets when you arrive in Cartagena.

Let me know if anything,
Best regards,
Nathalie

Nathalie

Hello,

I hope you are doing well and you enjoyed the Tayrona Park today.
We are missing the information of the name of your hotel in Cartagena to organize the transfer of tomorrow and the days after.

I will be trying to reach you by phone tonight and tomorrow morning, please let us know as soon as you can.

Thank you in advance,
Best regards,

Nathalie

Traveler

Sorry again, Nathalie. Hopefully you were able to find it - Hotel Boutique Artilleria.

Gracias,

Nathalie

No worries! We have it now :)

Thank you! Have a nice trip to Cartagena! I hope you will enjoy the islands!

We keep in touch,
Nathalie

Nathalie

Hello, how are you?

How was the end of your trip? I hope you enjoyed Colombia and that you had a safe flight back home!

Have a nice week,
Best regards and all the best!

Nathalie

Traveler

Hi Nathalie,

We had an incredible time and fell in love with Colombia! Thank you so much again for your help. The services and hotels you provided were more than we could have hoped for. I'll fill out the survey that was just sent and let me know if there's anywhere else you'd like me to provide feedback.

Thanks again sincerely from us both!

Nathalie

Hello !

Thank you a lot for your message! I will read your feedback with pleasure soon. I am glad you loved Colombia!
Feel free to contact me again if you want to visit more of it in the future.

I hope you came back home with wonderful images of Colombia in your mind!
Have a lovely evening,

Nathalie

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Traveler Review

Nathalie was the best. We had her redo our itinerary maybe a dozen times and consistently received prompt responses and a ton of help. Nathalie even helped us with arrangements not booked through her, like finding tickets for a football game in Medellin. Within the first ten minutes of arriving to our first destination, Nathalie called us to make sure we were okay. Everything about her service exceeded our expectations.