How To Plan YOUR Highest Commute Course

Oops… I used to be going to percentage only a few fast guidelines for creating a shuttle path in Colombia. Then issues were given a bit of out of hand!

You’re now studying my final (and way-too-detailed) Colombia itinerary information, in response to my 3 months on this glorious nation. Whilst many blogs best speak about one particular a part of Colombia, I’ll be going extra in-depth.

My objective is to give an explanation for one of the most demanding situations with making plans a Colombia shuttle. I’ll additionally display how you’ll be able to customise one of the most commonplace itineraries to lead them to your individual. I am hoping it’s going to assist you to plan your Colombia shuttle and believe other routes and places.

Bookmark this web page for later reference!

Essential Tip: it’s spelled Colombia, no longer Columbia. That is other from British Columbia or Columbia College! Remember to get it proper when requesting recommendations on teams or boards — or face an indignant mob giving 0 solutions. Folks do get delicate about it so it is helping to spell it appropriately.

The best way to create an itinerary

The issues with Colombia

Ahead of we get into itinerary making plans, there are some things to speak about.

No, I’m no longer speaking about protection! (Colombia is most commonly fantastic.)

The actual downside with Colombia that it’s just too excellent of a shuttle vacation spot. In truth, it’s one thing you actually want to be ready for.

What do I imply?

Neatly, it simply has such a lot of issues to do and puts to seek advice from that it’s really easy to really feel totally beaten. Seeking to ‘do all of it’ in Colombia is like looking to drink from a firehose. Even with 3 months in Colombia I nonetheless felt like I wasn’t performed.

That is rather other from every other international locations. You’ll be able to spend 2 weeks in, say, modestly-sized Guatemala or Ecuador and nonetheless stay your FOMO at bay. In Colombia, you’ll unquestionably incessantly be anxious over what to incorporate to your itinerary or what to go away out.

The opposite factor is solely the distances.

Possibly you get the spontaneous thought to only catch a handy guide a rough bus from Cartagena within the north to the capital within the middle. Oops, it takes 21 hours.

Colombia is not just a large nation, however its geography is outlined by means of 3 mountain levels that run vertically throughout it. And mountains approach “sluggish”!

As an example, journeys within the mountainous espresso area incessantly take longer than anticipated — no less than, for those who’re simply connecting the dots on a map with out checking the true shuttle instances.

For reference, listed here are the distances from Bogota by means of bus:

Cartagena 22 hours (in a single day)
Medellín 9 hours
Santa Marta (for Minca or Tayrona) 18 hours (in a single day)
Armenia (for Salento) 7 hours
San Gil 7 ½ hours
Cali 10 hours
Manizales 8 hours
Popayán 12 hours

What all this implies is that you simply must be sensible about your Colombia shuttle path and plan it effectively.

However don’t concern! I’ll assist you to get probably the most from your shuttle to Colombia. And we’ll take a look at some ready-made itineraries that may paintings for a shorter shuttle or that you’ll be able to piece in combination for an extended shuttle.

Conserving your path practical

So, Colombia is huge and there’s an excessive amount of to peer. How are you able to stay your shuttle path manageable?

Neatly, there are two tactics: taking flights, or specializing in a area.

You probably have best one or two weeks, I counsel opting for a particular area and most commonly staying in it. That approach, you received’t waste an excessive amount of time in transit and also you’ll have a lot more time all over your shuttle for actions and sightseeing.

As an alternative of looking to seek advice from each and every level at the compass, you’ll be able to have an improbable shuttle by means of, say, specializing in the Caribbean coast plus a couple of days in Bogota. That approach you’ll get a extra entire enjoy inside of part of Colombia as an alternative of an excessively moved quickly or fragmented one.

(I do know everybody’s shuttle taste is other regardless that. That is simply my advice for buying probably the most enjoyment inside of a restricted time.)

Espresso cities in central Colombia

You probably have 3 or 4 weeks in Colombia, then I believe it’s great to take on two or 3 areas. You’ll have a excellent minimal time for a ‘entire Colombia shuttle’ of varieties. In fact, that doesn’t imply you’ll see the whole lot it has to provide, however you’ll be able to no doubt see so much and feature an itinerary with a large number of selection.

If you’ll be able to shuttle longer than 4 weeks, then congratulations! You’ll be capable of enjoy Colombia in some way no longer everybody can. With no less than about 6-8 weeks you’ll be able to actually quilt many of the highlights in Colombia. This is a perfect time-frame for those who’re, say, backpacking in Colombia and actually aren’t in a hurry.

Taking inside flights is usually a excellent resolution for some itineraries. My shuttle taste is typically to move overland, however the comfort and occasional value of home flights in Colombia lead them to very tempting. To come up with an concept, on my remaining shuttle I hopped between Santa Marta to Medellin by means of air (that’s crossing about half of the rustic) for approximately $40. This fortunately have shyed away from a 15-hour bus trip.

Some puts within the Amazon or at the Pacific Coast also are unreachable by means of highway, necessitating flights.

Colombia’s Pacific coast

A flight or two can no doubt make a larger shuttle path in Colombia more uncomplicated to devise. In fact, you’ll be able to additionally get over excited with including flights.

I from time to time see itineraries posted on-line the place the individual is best flying round (e.g. Bogota > Medellin > Santa Marta > Armenia for Salento > and many others. all by means of air). This turns out over the top and can imply spending an excessive amount of time at airports as opposed to time immersing within the shuttle enjoy.

Whilst one of the most distances may also be vital, the bus/trainer delivery in Colombia is thankfully superb normally.

Any other pitfall is best visiting towns. The smaller cities in Colombia have such a lot appeal! They’re additionally most often more secure than the towns, so they have got rather a unique vibe. The smaller puts are no doubt to not be lost sight of and I all the time suppose it’s great to have a mixture of each towns and cities.

The map under presentations you the principle shuttle locations in Colombia and the way they may be able to be related.

Flying in- and out of Colombia

Ahead of we will be able to shuttle in Colombia, we need to get there first!

Maximum vacationers will arrive in Bogota just because it has the most important global airport. The capital isn’t a nasty position to start out your shuttle, nevertheless it’s excellent to understand what to anticipate from Bogota. It’s no longer a superficially gorgeous town, however this can be a very attention-grabbing one.

But even so Bogota, many different towns even have global airports, together with Cartagena, Cali, and Medellín. There are even a couple of direct flights all of the approach from Europe to Cartagena. Remember to examine your whole choices the use of Google Flights or Skyscanner as this may occasionally come up with other concepts for the best way to plan your path.

A fascinating choice is to fly by means of Miami. Because it’s tremendous well-connected to the remainder of the USA, Colombia, in addition to Europe, it may be a great stepping stone.

On my most up-to-date Colombia shuttle, I flew from Portugal (the place I reside) to Miami after which directly to Cartagena. At the long ago I flew from Cali to Miami to Portugal. This intended I may get started and finish my shuttle somewhere else in Colombia. It let me shuttle overland in a neat north-to-south course, with none want to backpedal to Bogota.

Hyped up or underrated?

Some puts in Colombia are tremendous in style, others appear to be slightly recognized. Should you like to move a bit of off the overwhelmed trail, you’ll have a variety of alternatives.

I believed it’d be attention-grabbing to take a survey of Colombia itineraries. I regarded on the most sensible 20 itineraries on different websites and tallied how incessantly puts are discussed:

Position Mentions  Position Mentions
Bogota 20 Tatacoa wilderness 4
Cartagena 19 Manizales / Los Nevados 4
Medellin 18 San Andres island 3
Salento 17 Islands Close to Cartagena 4
Tayrona Park 15 Zona Cafetera 2
Guatape 13 Las Lajas Sanctuary 2
Santa Marta 12 Punta Gallinas 1
Minca 8 Barranquilla 1
Palomino 7 San Cipriano 1
San Gil 7 L. a. Guajira 1
Taganga 6 Leticia (Amazon) 1
Villa de Leyva 6 Jardin 1
Misplaced Town Trek 5 Rincon del Mar 1
Cali 5 Bahia Solano (Pacific Coast) 1
Popayan 5 Filandia 1
San Agustin 5

As you’ll be able to see, maximum websites suggest the similar puts. Cartagena will get virtually 20X extra mentions than, say, the fantastic Pacific Coast.

That is almost definitely as a result of many vacationers do the similar 2-week itinerary, which then will get shared once more as though it’s your best option. Whilst puts are incessantly in style for a reason why, it may also be rather self-reinforcing.

Reputation doesn’t all the time imply ‘easiest’. It simply relies on what you’re on the lookout for. Individually, I love in style locations like Cartagena, however actually love one of the most hidden gemstones additional down the checklist.

Maximum touristy puts in Colombia

Cartagena is by means of a ways probably the most touristy position in Colombia, however I do nonetheless suppose it’s touristy in a really nice approach. Should you like gorgeous colonial structure, colourful boulevard artwork, boutique inns, and stylish eating places, then it’s the very best position to move. It’s nice for a Caribbean vacation feeling and also you’ll repeatedly see beautiful snap-worthy constructions or boulevard scenes.

Guatape, an afternoon shuttle from Medellin, additionally will get very busy and will get combined evaluations. Some like it, some don’t. The perspectives are wonderful however simply comprehend it’s rather a commercialized weekend hotel.

Salento is a mountain the town close to Valle del Cocora, house to the sector’s tallest wax palm bushes. It will get rather crowded this present day, regardless that there are a number of possible choices to Salento.


For my part, Colombia doesn’t but be afflicted by true overtourism the best way every other international locations do, however for those who like puts that aren’t but such a lot at the shuttle map, then make sure you glance in opposition to the ground of the desk previous, or a few of my particular ideas to observe.

Alright, time for some itineraries!

Itinerary 1: the Caribbean coast

The Caribbean coast is 100% the place you must opt for a tropical vacation feeling. It’s best for a first-time seek advice from to Colombia.

The pretty colonial town of Cartagena is nearly all the time sunny and (very) sizzling. It’s develop into a mainstream holiday vacation spot with top of the range lodging, excessive protection ranges, and a plethora of tourist-friendly stores and cafes. Should you’re on the lookout for a protected circle of relatives or {couples} vacation spot in Colombia, that is it. (Simply be expecting it to be just a little of a ‘vacationer wonderland’ and no longer like the remainder of Colombia.)

Cartagena is a brilliant place to begin, however I believe the most efficient portions within the north are round Santa Marta. Minca is the spot for eco jungle retreats and birdwatching journeys, whilst Tayrona Nationwide Park has a few of Colombia’s maximum photogenic wild seashores.

Steered minimal time: 2 weeks

Cartagena (2 days)

I’ve been to colonial outdated towns in every single place Latin The united states and Cartagena is unquestionably probably the most gorgeous. You’ll be surprised by means of how properly it’s saved as effectively, with roses striking from brightly coloured balconies and dazzling boulevard artwork enlivening the partitions within the fashionable group of Getsemani.

You’ll be able to keep in Cartagena on any funds, however you’ll get probably the most out of it for those who benefit from the finer issues. Inside of its outdated town partitions, on the subject of the whole lot is ‘artisanal’, ‘gastro’, or ‘craft’. One of the most most pretty boutique inns in Colombia may also be present in Cartagena. Town is a little more dear than in different places, however there are nonetheless a variety of funds choices too.

Within the colonial days, massive fleets would take gold and different items from Cartagena to Spain. Lately, the outdated town is prosperous and somewhat protected, because the peninsula of Bocagrande with its many high-rise residences that seem like a mini-Miami. Outer neighborhoods are so much rougher across the edges (regardless that you’re not likely to seek advice from them).

You’ll be able to wander the outdated town and the fortifications, take a boulevard meals excursion, go on a spree, or swim inside of a dust volcano (a tacky however a laugh excursion).

Cartagena could also be the very best launching pad for journeys to quite a lot of within sight islands and seashores.

Seashores & islands close to Cartagena (2 days)

Truthful caution: the seashores in an instant in- and round Cartagena are terrible (e.g. Playas de Crespo close to the airport is simply… no). However the seashores get superb additional out from the town. Be expecting turquoise waters and tropical fishes swimming by means of.

Should you’re no longer too choosy or in a hurry, hit up Isla de Tierra Bomba, the island simply half-hour from the outdated town. It’s rather industrial however will tick the field. For slightly quieter seashores, move to the Rosario islands (1 hr by means of boat) or the peninsula of Baru. For but extra seclusion, move to the San Bernardo islands (2 hours by means of boat from Cartagena).

The island enjoy is easiest on weekdays as at the weekends many Colombians will arrive on weekend journeys, making it extra crowded.

You’ll be able to seek advice from the islands and seashores with boat excursions and day journeys, nevertheless it’s value staying in a single day in order that you get to hang around previous the afternoon rush and will watch the gorgeous sunsets.

Minca (3 days)

Minca burst onto the shuttle scene round 2015 when a brand new highway made it extra available. The mountain the town become the go-to ecotourism vacation spot in Colombia and hasn’t misplaced its appeal.

It’s a haven for birdwatching, mountaineering, natural espresso farm visits, and extra. You succeed in Minca simply by means of the town Santa Marta (it’s about half-hour).

It’s easiest to stick no less than slightly outdoor the city middle for the most efficient perspectives and probably the most serenity. My information to the most efficient ecolodges and hostels in Minca will inform you extra.

Should you’re even remotely eager about seeing tropical birds, move at the highly-rated Jungle Joe birdwatching excursion. I’m no longer a bird-watching enthusiast but I nonetheless idea it used to be an improbable enjoy. Recognizing my first toucan used to be no doubt very memorable.

There are lots of mountaineering trails and waterfalls within the space. The ambience in Minca and its sweeping jungle cover perspectives also are an enjoy in itself. It kind of feels many travellers finally end up staying an evening or two longer than deliberate.

Tayrona Nationwide Park (1-2 day)

Colombia’s most famed nationwide park encompasses a number of extraordinarily scenic seashores — of which Playa Del Cabo is the most efficient recognized. Tayrona is surprising, regardless that it’s develop into just a little of an iconic position in Colombia, so it may be beautiful busy every now and then. This isn’t actually a topic, simply don’t be expecting it to be a wholly quiet barren region.

A well-liked job amongst backpackers is to stick the evening at Playa Del Cabo in a hammock beneath only a corrugated steel roof. I haven’t performed this however heard combined evaluations (principally to do with the chilly wind), so learn up on it to peer if it’s one thing you’d like. However, you’ll be able to keep at the fringe of the park in an eco-resort or hostel after which do a morning hike to the seashore.

Many seashores in Tayrona aren’t fitted to swimming because of the currents. Playa Concha is on the subject of Santa Marta and is extra of a swimming seashore.

Palomino or an identical (2-3 days)

For some simple seashore time merely glance to all of the stretch of coast east of Tayrona Park. Palomina is just a little of a sizzling spot right here; in the case of vibe call to mind a “backpacker seashore position in Thailand” except for a good bit extra laidback. Put your toes within the sand and a lager to your hand.

For someplace just a little extra low-key, take a look at the realm across the jap fringe of Tayrona. Seek the map for ‘Playa Los Angeles’ or “Trompito’. The entire space round here’s sprinkled with ecolodges, hostels, glamping, and farm remains.

Extra at the Caribbean Coast

There is sufficient to do within the north to replenish an entire month! Listed below are many ways you’ll be able to prolong your itinerary.

Ciudad Perdida (or Misplaced Town) is an historic wreck within the Sierra Nevada Nationwide Park. You probably have 4 or 5 days to spare and love the outside, then believe the Misplaced Town trek. It passes thru indigenous lands and ends on the ruins of a pre-Columbian civilization. You’ll be able to best do that as a part of an respectable crew excursion. It does take many days and prices 1400000 COP in keeping with particular person (kind of 300 Euros or Bucks), so believe if the Misplaced Town is worthwhile for you. My Misplaced Town trek information provides you with all of the main points.

Many use the town of Santa Marta best to transit to Tayrona Park or Minca. It’s a ‘standard’ fashionable town and doesn’t have that a lot for vacationers, however it will probably nonetheless function a pleasing base. It has a marina, a excellent town seashore (at Playa El Rodadero), a small ancient space, and lots of nice lodging choices. I as soon as stayed for five nights in Santa Marta just because I wasin a a laugh hostel and likewise met some locals who confirmed me round.

The valley of Paso Del Mango is a little-known selection to Minca. It’s extra remoted within the jungle, regardless that it has only some lodging choices. Finca Carpe Diem is the principle base in Paso Del Mango.

Taganga, a village by means of a bay simply north of Santa Marta, is the position to discover ways to scuba dive. It has one of the most least expensive dive faculty applications in Colombia — or anyplace, for that subject. A three-day fundamental certification path prices about 700000 COP, whilst a half-day advent to diving prices about 200000 COP. The reefs may no longer galvanize extra skilled divers, however they are ideal for your coaching dives.

Barranquilla is rather an business town with a deficient popularity for protection. I wouldn’t trouble with it in most cases, regardless that the carnival in February makes a large exception. It’s in truth the second-biggest carnival parade after Rio de Janeiro. Do watch your property sparsely because it’s in reality a carnival of pickpocketing as effectively. Be particularly alert when you find yourself quickly blinded by means of cleaning soap bubbles sprayed from aerosol cans all over the celebrations. But when you’re taking some care then it’s an unforgettable tournament.

Rincon Del Mar is a laidback position by means of the seashore about 3 hours south of Cartagena. It’ll almost definitely keep rather laidback because it’s slightly out of the best way and lacks the ones postcard-friendly turquoise waters, however the in-the-know travellers make it there and like it for its pleasant setting. From Rincon, you’ll be able to seek advice from the San Bernardo islands on a ship shuttle and notice bioluminescent plankton sparkle within the waters in a close-by lagoon. If a low-key vibe is your form of factor, you received’t feel sorry about going to Rincon (shhhhh, it’s secretly additionally my favourite seashore in north Colombia!).

In the end, Punta Gallinas is the furthest northern level of Colombia. It presentations an excessively other facet of Colombia. There are sand-dune deserts and (very deficient) indigenous villages. It’s tough to seek advice from by yourself so it’s easiest performed on a 2 or 3-day arranged excursion.

Itinerary 2: from North to Bogota

The areas of Colombia are separated by means of really extensive distances. If you wish to shuttle overland from Cartegena to Bogota, it’s going to take a dispiriting 21 hours. Many will come to a decision to fly throughout, however when you’ve got time, you’ll be able to additionally get a divorce the overland adventure with some wonderful stops alongside the best way.

This itinerary is easiest for those who experience outside actions, as San Gil is likely one of the easiest puts for journey sports activities like paragliding and rafting. Two of the cutest villages, Barichara and Villa de Leyva, also are in this path.

You’ll be able to use this itinerary to attach in combination other sections of a Colombia shuttle or believe it in its personal proper.

Steered minimal time: 10 days with Bogota or 1 week with out

Mompox (2 days)

I ignored out on Santa Cruz de Mompox on my shuttle, however I later discovered it could had been completely at the approach. It’s about 8 hours from Santa Marta or 6 hours from Cartagena. This quiet colonial the town and UNESCO Global Heritage website will get advisable by means of a large number of vacationers. I’ll refer you to this nice weblog about Mompox for more information.

San Gil (2-3 days)

It’s about 10 hours from Mompox to San Gil. As I skipped Mompox I arrived from Santa Marta, which took about 13 hours (I did it as an in a single day shuttle.)

San Gil is the journey sports activities capital of Colombia. The small town earned this popularity principally because of the various river rapids which might be very good for rafting, however you’ll be able to additionally move paragliding, bungee leaping, canyoning, zip-lining, and mountain cycling within the mountains round this small town.

Don’t omit the native delicacy: the giant-ass ants. They fry ‘em up with just a little of salt after which you’ll be able to devour them like popcorn.

El Cocuy (1-2 days)

At the fringe of central Colombia, this nationwide park contains a mountain vary with snow-covered peaks and glaciers, past which lies the beginning of the Amazon rainforest.

It’s a impressive space for day hikes and multi-day treks, supplying you with the risk to identify mighty condors and traverse otherworldly landscapes full of fraijones — palmlike shrubs that vaguely seem like giant succulents.

Actions are simply arranged from the city of El Cocuy (6 hours by means of bus from San Gil).

Barichara (1 day)

Being some of the prettiest little villages in Colombia, Barichara actually has some way of stealing travellers’ hearts. Only a 40-minute force from San Gil, those two puts make for a great pair.

Thoughts you, it doesn’t essentially have an never-ending index of items to do; principally some small hikes, a viewing level, a church, and a few native handicraft stores. However the white-washed colonial structure makes walking round Barichara an actual pleasure. It’s value an in a single day keep to soak within the setting.

Villa de Leyva (2 days)

This fascinating the town is likely one of the few in Colombia that conserved all its colonial structure. It’s a pleasure to walk round its many cobbled streets with whitewashed constructions with tiled roofs. There are extra actions in- and round Villa de Leyva than in Barichara, which is why I counsel staying right here no less than an afternoon further.


It takes about 3 ½ hours from Villa de Leyva to Bogota by means of bus. In all probability your shuttle already began in Bogota, however right here’s your probability to offer it a better moment glance.

I in finding that Bogota from time to time will get detrimental feedback from travellers who will have anticipated to peer a extra superficially gorgeous town. Despite the fact that Bogota has a gritty look, there’s a lot to like about it.

I make the case for Bogota right here whilst sharing some recommendations on the best way to make the most efficient of your time. Don’t omit the superb museums, taking a bicycle excursion, or the daytrips from Bogota.

Itinerary 3: the Espresso area

The Zona Cafetera is a most commonly mountainous area positioned between the towns of Medellin, Cali, and Armenia. Due to having the very best coffee-growing prerequisites, it produces the vast majority of Colombian arabica espresso.

The area has a gentle local weather best for touring year-round. But even so the unique espresso cities with colonial-era structure, there are some wonderful nature spaces as effectively. I really like this area because it comprises one of the most vintage photographs of Colombia.

Steered minimal time: about 9 days (with Medellin), longer if together with extra espresso cities

(Additionally proven at the map is the Pacific Coast, which is usually a nice add-on with flights leaving from Medellin. Believe this wonderful vacation spot all over whale gazing season, which is kind of from July till November.)

Medellin (2 days or extra)

Within the Nineteen Nineties it used to be some of the global’s maximum violent puts; as of late it’s a reinvented town extremely value exploring. To in reality recognize Medellin’s historical past and its exceptional transformation, you should definitely take the Actual Town Excursion Medellin. It’s nonetheless some of the easiest strolling excursions I’ve ever performed. Make it the very first thing you do! You’ll thank me later.

You’ll be able to learn extra about what to anticipate from Medellin right here.

It’s additionally value taking the cable automobile as much as Parque Arvi or visiting Communa 13, which used to be as soon as a nasty group however is now a vacationer vacation spot and gives transparent evidence of Medellin’s transformation.

I counsel spending 2 days in Medellin to get a excellent style of it, however it is advisable keep longer to benefit from the nightlife or for day journeys within the space. Whilst missing slightly in museums or different primary points of interest, Medellin is an excessively habitable town that pulls many expats and virtual nomads. The upscale space of El Poblado (the place many hostels and inns are positioned) is pleasing and hosts many high quality eating places and cafes.

Jardin (2 days)

This beautiful little the town provides you with a great advent to the espresso area. It’s a full of life and tourist-friendly position, but unique all of the identical (and no longer but so came upon by means of overseas vacationers). You’ll unquestionably see some ranchers and low farmers dressed in cowboy hats and ponchos, from time to time on horseback.

There’s a lot to do in Jardin so it is advisable truthfully keep for three days to take it sluggish. There are hikes, waterfalls, espresso farm visits, birdwatching excursions, horseback using, and lots of extra actions to make a choice from. Close to the river also are many trout farms the place you’ll be able to experience freshly grilled fish.

The bus from Medellin to Jardin takes about 4 hours.

Manizales & Los Nevados (2 days)

Upload some selection in your Zona Cafetera shuttle by means of leaving the plush espresso valleys for Manizales, a town at round 2,000m (6500ft) elevation. It’s no longer essentially probably the most gorgeous town nevertheless it’s quite protected, has pretty mountain perspectives, and is is called a colourful college the town.

It takes 6 hours to get there from Jardin; spend the afternoon in Manizales for an opportunity to peer an actual Colombian town with none of the standard gringo trappings. You received’t in finding colourful colonial structure right here, nevertheless it’s a fascinating town in its personal approach.

Manizales is the very best base from which to take a full-day excursion of the Los Nevados nationwide park. You’ll see a number of volcanoes in addition to a singular Andean ecosystem known as the paramo. It may be rather chilly within the mountains, however you’ll be able to warmth up afterwards by means of taking a bathtub in a sizzling thermal spring.

Salento (2 days)

Salento is the position from the place you’ll be able to see the wax palm tree, Colombia’s nationwide image. The valley close to Salento has a lot of of those bizarrely tall palm bushes, making for an outstanding sight. You’ll be able to hike throughout the valley or take a excursion with a jeep.

There’s much more to do in Salento so it’s great to stick for some time. Don’t omit your probability to play tejo at Los Amigos. This can be a Colombian ball-throwing recreation the place the goals are rigged with gunpowder and it’s a ton of a laugh.

The bus from Manizales to Armenia takes about 2 hours. It’s any other 40 mins or so from Armenia’s bus station to Salento.

Extra within the Espresso Zone

The above puts provides you with the highlights, however there’s so a lot more within the Zona Cafetera. I had a good time simply hopping from the town to the town for 2 weeks.

As a result of Salento will get rather busy this present day, you might benefit from the possible choices to Salento. My favourite is Filandia, a the town that’s much more laidback, however which nonetheless has a variety of attention-grabbing issues to do.

On the Barbas Bremen Nature Reserve you’ll be able to take a guided jungle hike and feature a superb opportunity of recognizing teams of red-haired howler monkeys.

Should you experience very quiet however untouristy cities then I extremely suggest Jerico, Salamina, or Pijao. Take into account that you received’t be greeted by means of massive menus of arranged excursions and actions upon check-in at your resort, as it’s possible you’ll in additional touristy puts. But when you’ll be able to in finding your individual mountaineering trails, experience gazing the road existence, or you’ll be able to do your individual analysis to seek out the actions to be had, then those cities are in reality one of the most hidden gemstones within the Zona Cafetera.

Itinerary 4: southern Colombia

The southern portions of Colombia are much less explored, no longer for a loss of points of interest however most commonly as it’s additional got rid of from the place maximum vacationers get started their journeys. It’s a bit of extra off the overwhelmed trail and a rewarding a part of Colombia to discover. Some points of interest are value it particularly for those who’re on an extended shuttle and in your method to Ecuador.

Steered minimal time: 10 days


It must be stated that Cali has a worse popularity for protection than different towns. The ‘Cali cartel’ not exists, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a hub for narcotrafficking. Nonetheless, the unhealthy bits of Cali are within the northern and jap suburbs and are most commonly effectively clear of the middle. Having constructed up a cool animated film of Cali in my thoughts, I used to be stunned to seek out central Cali is in truth very inviting and habitable. (Take a look at El Penon or the realm round Parque del Perro.)

Cali is known for being the salsa dancing capital of Colombia. Should you ever sought after to take categories, do it right here! The salsa bar scene is very social and alluring. Do take taxis again in your lodging at evening for protection.

San Agustin

This colourful village is known for its many enigmatic pre-Colombian statues which might be scattered during the panorama. Seeing those archeological unearths will contain rather just a little of strolling as they’re rather unfold out. The traditional civilization that left a majority of these works stays shrouded in thriller.

The statues are a ways from the one enchantment. There are lots of hikes, viewpoints, and waterfalls to seek advice from and jeep excursions can display you one of the most extra far off points of interest. There are no less than half of a dozen very well-rated hostels in San Agustin, together with the Masaya San Agustin, which is nearer to an ecolodge with a variety of snug bamboo homes constructed within the local taste.


Due to its many well-preserved white colonial constructions, beautiful Popayan is is called the “white town”. With a inhabitants of round 220,000, it’s a perfect mid-size town to discover, having a excellent popularity for protection as effectively. You’ll be able to walk the streets, store for handicrafts, and experience its many church buildings, plazas, and parks. Should you’ve simply had some action-packed shuttle days, then the within sight thermal swimming pools will will let you loosen up and get well.

There isn’t essentially an never-ending checklist of items to do, however Popayan is a pleasing delicate town to spend a while and to make use of as a base for day journeys. One such shuttle is to Silvia (described under), any other Parque Herbal De Puracé the place you’ll be able to witness an energetic volcano.


The small the town of Silvia close to Popayan is notable for its huge inhabitants of indigenous folks, mainly Guambiano Indians. The unique marketplace in Silvia is the place you’ll be able to see many dealers put on conventional black bowler hats and colourful ponchos. It’s a method of get dressed extra often noticed in Peru or Bolivia, so for those who’re on the lookout for an Andean setting in Colombia, that is where to seek out it.

It’s possible you’ll wish to seek advice from the marketplace on a shuttle from Popayan with a excellent information to achieve extra of an working out of the native tradition and traditions.

Tatacoa Desolate tract

In Tatacoa you’ll in finding your self in amid an arid expanse, house of vultures and eagles, with the beginning of the Andes mountain vary visual off within the distance. A labyrinth of rocky canyons shaped by means of years of abrasion is the principle enchantment right here — it’s a surreal little position to wander, regardless that it received’t take greater than an hour or so.

Because of the low gentle air pollution, it’s additionally a great spot for stargazing. On the native observatories, some resident astronomers give nightly excursions of the universe. In spite of a large number of clouds I nonetheless noticed Jupiter thru a telescope which used to be very attention-grabbing. Descriptions of the growth of the universe and such have been just a little a lot for my restricted Spanish on the time, nevertheless it used to be a perfect enjoy nevertheless.

Tatacoa used to be as soon as in Lonely Planet’s most sensible puts to seek advice from indexed in the beginning of its information. In all probability this used to be because of fewer different puts but being protected prior to now. I ponder whether this may occasionally have overhyped Tatacoa just a little, however I nonetheless suppose it’s value staying for an afternoon or an evening.

Las Lajas Sanctuary

In the end, you’ll be able to jump over to Ipiales, close to the border with Ecuador. It’s no doubt value visiting for those who’re heading to Ecuador anyway, however whether or not it’s value a shuttle in its personal proper is arguable because it takes you just a little a ways from the Colombia shuttle path. The massive enchantment here’s the Santuario de las Lajas, a cathedral spectacularly constructed on a bridge over the Guaitara river.

Colombia itinerary extensions

The above routes come with locations which might be properly clustered in combination. However there also are extra far off puts which might be just a little disconnected from in all places else. They are able to be regarded as nice “add-ons”.

Pacific Coast

Faraway and unconnected by means of roads, the Pacific Coast is a in reality wild a part of Colombia. Should you move there between July and November, you’ll be there on the proper time to peer a lot of humpback whales. Should you’re intrigued, learn my information to Colombia’s Pacific coast.

Through the best way, the Pacific Coast is one of the global’s rainiest puts, so do pack your rain coat and baggage rain quilt. If listening to this demotivates you in any respect to move, I must additionally say it’s palms down my favourite position in all of Colombia. The character is amazingly wild and unspoiled and the small Afro-Colombian communities alongside the coast are a pleasure.

Lodging is a little more fundamental at the Pacific Coast. Villages are provided best as soon as every week by means of shipment boat, so costs for meals or different excellent is usually a bit upper than within the internal. It usually takes a propellor aircraft flight from Medellin to get there, however you are going to be rewarded for the trouble. Whilst rather far off, recognized locations in Choco corresponding to Bahia Solano and Nuqui are regarded as protected.

Into the Amazon

35% of Colombia’s territory is roofed by means of the Amazon Rainforest. Going into it was rather a dangerous proposition, however for the reason that 2016 peace accord with the FARC rebels, the Amazon area has been opening up for a wide variety of ecotourism.

The city of Leticia, at the border with Peru and Brazil, was the one recreation on the town for Amazon excursions. It’s nonetheless a excellent guess as you’ve many flights there from Bogota and it’s a well-established vacation spot.

Extra just lately the city of San José del Guaviare has develop into an alternative choice. You’ll be able to fly there or succeed in it overland by means of bus by means of Villavicencio. It was a deadly position however not is, but it’s nonetheless no longer just about as well known as Leticia. (Remember to take journeys from San Jose with respected excursion corporations, alternatively.) The Cano Canoes waterfalls are very onerous to get to however are some of the ‘secret’ puts in Colombia. Historical cave artwork are any other more or less sight discovered deep within the jungle.

Different locations within the Amazon are tough to get to independently. On the Cerros de Mavecure, you’ll be able to climb two hills product of darkish volcanic rock and experience perspectives of the rainforest so far as the attention can see. However you’ll have to test with excursion corporations corresponding to Colombia Oculta for arranged expeditions to such puts.

The Darien Hole

Nope, I’m no longer suggesting you must move hand around in the thickly jungled borderlands between Panama and Colombia, recognized for its drug-smuggling routes and its manifold risks. Then again, there are some beachside villages close to the Darien Hole, corresponding to Capurgana, which might be recognized to be protected whilst nonetheless being off the standard shuttle routes in Colombia.

The seashore cities are too a ways got rid of from different locations to simply justify simply going there on their very own, however they may be able to make for a great prevent in case you are coming from Panama.

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Posted OCT 12, 2022 (Up to date Oct 18, 2022)

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