THE ULTIMATE COLOMBIA ITINERARY

Colombia is a country rich in culture, history, and has some of the most breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, Colombia has something to offer for everyone. In this ultimate Colombia itinerary, I’ll share a 7-day, 10-day, and 14-day option to help you make the most of your time in this diverse and vibrant South American destination. 

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Want to plan the perfect Colombia getaway? Use the tools below:

Book hotels: booking.com
Book Flights: skyscanner.com | cheapoair.com
Car rental: rentalcars.com
Colombia Tours: viator.com | getyourguide.com
Digital & Printable Travel Planners: Pack and Jet shop on Etsy

Check out my ultimate guide to packing and my essential list of items for any trip. 

Need more help planning? I am here to help. Book a call with me!

How many days should I spend in Colombia?

Colombia’s diverse attractions require thoughtful planning to truly experience the essence of the country. From bustling cities to serene beaches and lush rainforests, I recommend the following durations for your Colombian adventure:

  • 7 Days: Ideal for a exploring Colombia’s highlights.
  • 10 Days: A more comprehensive trip, including deeper immersion in different regions.
  • 14 Days: Perfect for those seeking a well-rounded experience

 

When is the best time to visit?

Colombia’s climate varies by region, so the best time to visit depends on your preferred activities. Generally, the dry season from December to March is considered optimal. However, Colombia’s diverse geography means you can visit at any time! 

 

What not to miss?

Colombia offers some of the most enriching experiences. Here are some must-visit places and activities:

  1. Cartagena’s Old Town: Immerse yourself in the colonial charm, vibrant streets, and historic architecture.

  2. Coffee Triangle: Explore the picturesque coffee region and learn about Colombia’s rich coffee culture

  3. Tayrona National Park: Relax on pristine beaches surrounded by lush jungle – a perfect blend of nature and tranquility.

  4. Guatapé: Climb the iconic rock of El Peñol for panoramic views of the stunning Guatapé reservoir.

 

The Perfect 7-Day Colombia Itinerary

Day 1-2: Medellín

Highlights:

  • Tour Comuna 13 for vibrant street art and community spirit.
  • Parque Lleras in the heart of Poblado for a lively evening atmosphere 

Start with exploring Medellin and getting familiar with Colombia, its culture and its people and traditions. 

You can start your trip right away with a visit to Comuna 13, a neighborhood that has undergone a remarkable transformation. 

I highly recommend taking a guided tour to learn about the vibrant street art, intricate murals, and get an appreciation of the community’s inspiring resilience. From the top you will have an amazing view of Medellin as well. 

 
 
Medellin - comun 13
comun 13 medellin colombia itinerary

Head to Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a traditional Antioquian village perched atop Nutibara Hill. Enjoy panoramic views of Medellín, stroll through the charming square, and visit the small museum to understand the region’s cultural heritage.

Savor local flavors at Mercado del Río, a trendy food market featuring a variety of culinary delights. Try traditional Colombian dishes or explore international options in a vibrant and bustling setting.

Discover the historical center of Medellín, known as Candelaria. Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral and explore the surrounding streets filled with colonial architecture. Explore the Botero Plaza, home to a collection of Fernando Botero’s sculptures. The voluptuous figures are iconic, and the plaza is a great spot for people-watching. 

Visit the El Castillo Museum and Gardens – a gothic medieval castle surrounded by French gardens dating back to the 1930s.

 In the evening, head to Parque Lleras in the heart of Poblado, where there are an array of restaurants and bars. The area comes alive at night with a lively atmosphere, making it perfect for a night out on the town.
 

I highly recommend Medellin as part of your Colombia itinerary. The city has much to offer and a great gateway to other regions within the country.

 

Day Trip from Medellín to Guatapé

If you have time within your Colombia itinerary, and want to escape from the city, embark on an unforgettable day trip to Guatapé.

The tour will bring you to the iconic Piedra del Peñol, a massive monolith with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Here, you will be able to climb the 740 steps to the top for an awe-inspiring view of the Guatapé Dam and its picturesque islands.

You can also take a boat tour on the tranquil waters of the Guatapé Dam, also known as Embalse El Peñol. The boat ride provides an opportunity to appreciate the unique landscapes and learn about the history of the region. Visit Pablo Escobar’s former lakeside mansion, offering insight into the area’s complex history.

If you have time, stroll through the town center and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. Visit the Plaza de los Zocalos, a lively square surrounded by shops and cafes.

 

Day 3-4: Coffee Triangle

Highlights:

  • Hiking trails of Cocora Valley renowned for its stunning landscapes
  • Charming, colourful cobble stone streets of Salento 

To get to this region, you can take a short and quick flight to Pereira or Armenia and from there take a taxi to Salento. Salento is a charming town nestled in the heart of the Coffee Triangle and it’s where you would want to stay while visiting this region.

When in Salento, head to the main square, Plaza de Bolívar, surrounded by colorful colonial architecture. Relax in a local café and soak in the laid-back atmosphere. Explore the craft shops and galleries around the square. You can also visit the viewpoint at Mirador Alto de la Cruz for panoramic views of the surroundings.

It’s really fun to visit all the shops in Salento and discover the vibrant street art and capturing the essence of Colombian culture. 

Salento Colombia - pack and jet
Salento - Colombia itinerary

Visit the Willys Jeep station, where you can catch a traditional jeep ride to the Cocora ValleyCocora Valley is definitely one of the best highlights of Colombia. Known for it’s towering wax palm trees, this is where you can embark on a scenic hike through the valley and enjoy the breathtaking views. The best time to visit in early in the morning so make sure you set your alarm. 

When in Corora Valley, you can also visit the hummingbird sanctuary, where you can witness a variety of these colorful birds in their natural habitat.

While back in Salento, you can also discover the coffee-making process on a plantation tour. Choose one or more of the local coffee farmsto learn about the coffee-making process from bean to cup. 

You can do this on your own by jumping into a jeep or take a guided tour, where you’ll learn about the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of coffee beans.

Cocora Valley - pack & jet travel blog
Cocora Valley - pack and jet travel blog - colombia itinerary

 

Day 5-7: Cartagena

Highlights:

  • Wander through the charming streets of the walled city
  • Relax on the beaches of Playa Blanca and explore the Rosario Islands
From the coffee region, you can end your 7 day Colombia trip exploring Cartagena, the city on the Caribbean coast with an authentic experience.

You can opt to stay within the historic city walls or in the artistic area of Getsemani. Each of these will give you a different experience but are both walking distance from one another. 

If you want to wandering through the historic Old Town, where many of the touristy shops, restaurants and bars are, then staying within the city walls is best. Here you can stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful colonial buildings.

Visit the iconic Plaza de Bolívar, home to the stunning Cartagena Cathedral and the Palace of the Inquisition. Delve into the local history by touring the Palace of the Inquisition, learning about the city’s colonial past.

Getsemaní is a vibrant neighbourhood, known for its street art, lively atmosphere, and local markets. The neighbourhood comes to life in the evening as everyone pours out into the streets and enjoys the bars and pubs in the area. Visit the Plaza de la Trinidad, a popular gathering spot surrounded by bars and restaurants.

Take a guided tour to discover the street art in Getsemaní, learning about the stories behind the murals.

If you feel like wandering a bit outside of these two areas, take a quick Uber ride to the nearby San Felipe Castle, a historic fortress that played a crucial role in protecting Cartagena from pirate attacks.

Cartagena is a must on any Colombia itinerary! This city will make you fall in love with the country.

Cartagena - Pack and jet travel blog - colombia itineary
Cartagena - Pack and jet travel blog - colombia itineary

 

Day Trip from Cartagena to Rosario Islands

 

To get in some beach time in Colombia, you can embark on a day trip to the Rosario Islands, a pristine archipelago known for its white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. 

The Rosario Islands comprise of 27 coral islands with most famous being Isla Barú. Playa Blanca here is one of the most famous (but also busiest) beaches in the Rosario Islands. It can be a great spot to relax on the beach, swim in the turquoise waters, and soak up the sun. This is also the place where you can enjoy a fresh seafood lunch at one of the local beachside restaurants.

An option that many choose (and I did as well) is to book a day trip to visit a resort. There are many to choose from depending on what you are looking for. There are also various exclusive beach clubs that you can spend a day at. 

I spent the day at Bora Bora Beach Club. But here are some other trips you can consider: 5-Island speedboat tour, Cholon Beach, PAUE Beach Club, Amare Beach Club, or Pao Pao Beach Club.

Some people may want to extend their stay at one of the island resorts. If this is you, there are several resorts and eco-hotels offering accommodations in serene surroundings and it’s definitely a great escape from the bustling city of Cartagena. 

Rosario Islands - pack & jet travel blog - colombia itinerary
Rosario Islands - pack & jet blog - bora bora colombia itinerary

 

The Perfect 10-Day Colombia Itinerary

Day 8-10: Bogota

Highlights:

  • Explore La Candelaria’s historic streets and visit the Gold Museum
  • Take a cable car to Monserrate for breathtaking views of the city

Begin your adventure in Bogota by immersing yourself in the enchanting La Candelaria neighborhood, known for its cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. Start your morning at Plaza Bolívar, the city’s main square surrounded by significant landmarks like the Cathedral and the Capitolio Nacional.

If you’re a fan of going to museums, delve into Colombia’s rich history by exploring the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro), housing an impressive collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts. Afterward, appreciate the unique artistry of Fernando Botero at the Botero Museum (Museo Botero).

In the evening, ascend to Montserrate for breathtaking views of the city. A walking tour like this ensure you visit all the main attractions with a knowledgeable guide.

Make a visit to the artsy Usaquén neighborhood, famous for its Sunday flea market. Wander through boutiques, art galleries, and enjoy breakfast at a local cafe. 

Take in Bogota’s vibrant street art scene with a guided tour, uncovering the stories behind the city’s colorful murals. Take a cable car and visit Bogota’s El Paraiso favela

Make sure you enjoy the Colombian culinary scene, craft beers at various breweries. Conclude your Bogota adventure with an evening stroll through Zona T, indulging in the vibrant nightlife with its diverse array of restaurants, bars, and clubs.

The Perfect 14-Day Colombia Itinerary

Day 11-12: Santa Marta

Highlights:

  • Explore the historic center
  • Relax on the nearby beaches.

Santa Marta has a captivating blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural vibrancy. The city has pristine beaches like El Rodadero and Playa Blanca, Santa Marta’s colonial center has architectural charm, and during your visit you can visit landmarks such as the Santa Marta Cathedral and Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino. 

This city mostly serves as the gateway to Tayrona National Park! From here you can start your own journey to Tayrona Park or take a guided tour.

 

Day 13-14: Tayrona National Park

Highlights:

    • Spend the day exploring Tayrona’s beautiful beaches and hiking trails.
    • Overnight stays within the park offer a unique experience.

Although it is possible to visit Tayrona National Park in only one day, it is best if you spend two full days and one night within the famous national park.

A visit to Tayrona National Park will offer a different experience than the rest of the country. You should plan to arrive at the park no later than 8 am – the earlier the better. You will have to hike through the jungle to get to the beach.

Start your day early and embark on a journey to Tayrona National Park from Santa Marta. Upon arrival, head to Canaveral, the park’s main entrance. After registering, begin the trek towards Arrecifes, a stunning beach surrounded by lush vegetation. 

Continue your trek to La Piscina, a natural pool where you can relax and snorkel in calm waters. Proceed to Cabo San Juan del Guía, one of Tayrona’s most iconic spots. This picturesque bay features a pristine beach and a hammock area with stunning coastal views. Spend the afternoon swimming, exploring nearby trails, or simply unwinding in the natural beauty.

If you want to spend the night, you will you have to sleep either in the tent, hammock, or more expensive resorts, which are located on the borders of the park rather than within the actual park.

If you do have more time in your Colombia itinerary and are looking for an adventure of a lifetime, then I recommend this tour which will be an unforgettable experience. 

 

Colombia is such a wonderful destination with something for everyone. Whether you want an adventurous, relaxing or cultural trip, this is the place to visit.

From these suggestions for a Colombia itinerary, you can choose the cities that fit your needs the best. Add Colombia to your bucket list and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.

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