Pelecanus

Colombia Travel Itinerary 10 Days

Colombia Travel Map

Updated on 01/25/2024

Dear readers,

My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!

At the end of this itinerary, you will find more Colombia itineraries with different durations and also different destinations in Colombia.

We are a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia specialized in personalized travel and more than happy to organize your trip, contact us today.

Colombia Trip Summary

Day 1 – Bogota
Day 2 – Bogota
Day 3 – Bogota – Guatavita – Zipaquira – Salento
Day 4 – Salento – Cocora Valley – Filandia – Salento
Day 5 – Salento
Day 6 – Salento – Medellin
Day 7 – Medellin
Day 8 – Medellin – Guatape – Cartagena
Day 9 – Cartagena – Rosario Islands – Cartagena
Day 10 – Cartagena – Departure

Planned Places/Cities

Bogota

Bogotá is Colombia’s capital and has over 10 million inhabitants. It is Colombia’s political, economic, cultural, and tourist center, accounting for most of the national GDP. It is the third-highest capital city in South America as it sits on over 2.600 meters (8.600 feet) above sea level. With average temperatures of 7°C – 20°C (45°F – 60°F), the climate varies between cold to temperate. Bogotá has an area of 1.775 km2 (685 Square miles), which is more than twice the size of Singapore. It was founded in 1.538 by the Spaniards but was already inhabited by the Pre-Muiscas. Most of the tourist attractions are in the historic center “La Candelaria”. The city’s wide cultural offer represented in museums, theaters and libraries has granted it the name of “the South American Athens”. Some important places to visit in Bogotá are Monserrate Monastery, Gold and Botero Museums, “Paloquemao” and “La Perseverancia” food markets.

Guatavita

The municipality of Guatavita – Cundinamarca 53 km northeast of Bogota is recognized for giving rise to the most representative legend of Colombia, one of the most important in the world and Cultural Heritage of the Nation “The story of the Legend of El Dorado”. It is the religious, cultural and ancestral capital of the Muisca people. In Guatavita there is “Guatavita the Origin of the Legend” an area of 13.8 ha, consisting of a historic center with high heritage value and a cultural and tourist development polygon on the banks of the Tominé reservoir

Zipaquira

Zipaquirá is a historic and enchanting town located in the Cundinamarca Department of Colombia, approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Bogotá, the capital city. This charming town is famous for its awe-inspiring underground salt cathedral and well-preserved colonial architecture.

The Salt Cathedral is the primary attraction of Zipaquirá and a marvel of engineering and faith. Carved inside the tunnels of a salt mine, the cathedral is an underground sanctuary with impressive salt sculptures, religious artwork, and an ethereal atmosphere. It is a significant pilgrimage site and a masterpiece of Colombian architecture.

Zipaquirá’s historical center features well-preserved colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming squares. Visitors can stroll through the town’s quaint streets and admire its colonial architecture, including the main square, Plaza de los Comuneros.

In addition to its colonial heritage, Zipaquirá has pre-Columbian archaeological sites, such as the ancient Muisca settlement of El Abra, which offers insights into the region’s indigenous history.

Colombia Coffee Triangle

The Colombia Coffee Triangle, also known as the Coffee Region or Zona Cafetera, is a picturesque and culturally rich area located in the central part of Colombia. It is composed of three departments: Caldas, Quindío, and Risaralda, and encompasses numerous charming towns and lush landscapes.

The Coffee Triangle is renowned for its world-class coffee production and is one of the top coffee-growing regions globally. Coffee cultivation is deeply ingrained in the region’s culture and history, and the area’s fertile volcanic soils and ideal climate create the perfect conditions for growing high-quality coffee beans.

The Coffee Triangle boasts breathtaking landscapes with rolling hills, emerald green valleys, and picturesque mountain ranges. The area is adorned with vibrant coffee plantations, colorful flower farms, and cloud forests, providing stunning views at every turn.

The region is dotted with charming colonial towns and villages, each with its unique character and architectural charm. Towns like Salento, Filandia, and Manizales feature well-preserved colonial-style buildings, cobblestone streets, and colorful facades, adding to the region’s allure.

Salento

Salento is a charming and picturesque town located in the heart of Colombia’s Coffee Region (Zona Cafetera). Situated in the Quindío Department, Salento is renowned for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, colorful architecture, and its close proximity to the breathtaking Cocora Valley.

Salento is situated in one of Colombia’s primary coffee-producing regions, and coffee culture is deeply ingrained in the town’s identity. Visitors can explore coffee plantations, known as “fincas,” and learn about the coffee-making process, from picking the beans to roasting and brewing the aromatic beverage.

One of Salento’s main attractions is its proximity to the Cocora Valley, a spectacular natural wonderland. The valley is famous for its towering wax palm trees, which are the tallest palm trees in the world and the national tree of Colombia. Hiking through the Cocora Valley provides visitors with breathtaking views of the lush cloud forest and the iconic palm trees.

Salento boasts a delightful colonial-style architecture with brightly painted houses and balconies adorned with flowers. The town’s main square, Plaza de Bolívar, is a hub of activity with colorful facades and charming cafes, providing an ideal setting for relaxation and people-watching.

The town is home to several art galleries and handicraft shops where visitors can purchase local artwork, handmade souvenirs, and traditional crafts. The artisans in Salento showcase their talents through various art forms, including pottery, weaving, and painting.

Filandia

Filandia is a charming and picturesque town located in the heart of Colombia’s Coffee Region (Zona Cafetera). Situated in the Quindío Department, Filandia is renowned for its stunning landscapes, colonial architecture, coffee culture, and warm hospitality.

Filandia boasts a well-preserved colonial-style architecture with colorful houses, adorned with balconies and flowers. The town’s main square, Plaza de Bolívar, is the centerpiece of the colonial charm, featuring a historic church and a peaceful ambiance.

As with many towns in the Coffee Region, coffee culture is deeply ingrained in Filandia’s identity. The surrounding region is dotted with coffee plantations, and visitors have the opportunity to learn about the coffee-making process and sample some of the world-famous Colombian coffee.

Filandia is situated in the hills, providing visitors with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The town’s Mirador de Filandia, or viewpoint, offers breathtaking vistas of the lush valleys and coffee plantations below.

The town is known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene. Visitors can explore numerous handicraft shops, where local artisans display their creations, including pottery, weaving, and woodwork. The artisanal products make for unique and authentic souvenirs.

Buenavista

Buenavista is a quaint and picturesque town located in the Quindío Department of Colombia’s Coffee Region (Zona Cafetera). This charming village is nestled amid the lush green landscapes of coffee plantations and offers visitors a peaceful escape into Colombia’s coffee-growing heritage.

Buenavista is situated in one of Colombia’s primary coffee-producing regions, and coffee culture is an integral part of the town’s identity. Visitors can explore coffee plantations, or “fincas,” and learn about the coffee-making process, from harvesting the coffee beans to the traditional roasting and brewing methods.

The town is surrounded by breathtaking scenery, including rolling hills, fertile valleys, and stunning views of the Andes Mountains. The picturesque landscapes make Buenavista a perfect destination for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility.

Buenavista showcases a charming colonial-style architecture, with colorful houses adorned with flower-filled balconies. The town’s central square, Plaza de Bolívar, is a delightful spot to immerse oneself in the colonial ambiance and enjoy the local atmosphere.

Medellin

Medellin is the most populated city after Bogotá. The city has a fortunate geographic location in the widest part of the natural region known as the Valley of Aburrá, located in the central Andes mountain range at 1.495 meters (4.905 feet) above sea level. This gives the city pleasant temperatures ranging between 14°C and 26°C (57°F to 79°F). This spring climate of the Eastern Antioquia grants the region the privilege of being the world’s second producer and exporter of flowers, that is why Medellin is known as the “city of the eternal spring” and “the mountain’s capital”.

The city has a modern infrastructure – it is the only city in Colombia with a metro transport system- and is considered the country’s innovation center. Museums, interactive parks, churches, and urban tours are among the attractions in Medellín. Some must-do activities in Medellin are the Graffiti tour in Comuna 13, visiting the Arvi Park, taking pictures in Botero Square, and exploring the Botanical Garden

Guatape

Guatapé is a picturesque and colorful town located in the Antioquia Department of Colombia, approximately 79 kilometers (49 miles) northeast of Medellín. Nestled among rolling hills and surrounded by stunning landscapes, Guatapé is renowned for its vibrant streets, unique architecture, and a mesmerizing man-made wonder that draws visitors from all over the world.

One of the main attractions of Guatapé is “La Piedra del Peñol” or “El Peñol Rock.” This massive granite monolith stands at an impressive height of about 200 meters (656 feet). Visitors can climb a staircase of 740 steps to reach the top, where they are rewarded with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the labyrinthine waterways of Guatapé’s reservoir.

Guatapé is famous for its vibrant and artistic buildings adorned with colorful bas-reliefs, known as “zócalos.” These intricately designed decorations can be found on the lower part of the houses, depicting a wide range of subjects, from daily life scenes to geometric patterns and symbols. Strolling through the town’s streets becomes an enchanting experience as the zócalos create a lively and captivating atmosphere.

The Guatapé Reservoir is a vast body of water surrounded by green hills and scattered islands. Also known as Lake Guatapé, it offers numerous opportunities for water-based activities, such as boat rides, jet skiing, kayaking, and fishing. The reservoir’s tranquility and natural beauty make it an ideal spot for relaxation and enjoying the great outdoors.

Guatapé’s waterfront promenade, known as the Malecón, runs along the edge of the reservoir. It’s a popular spot for leisurely strolls, where visitors can enjoy views of the water and the colorful houses lining the streets. The Malecón is also home to several restaurants, cafes, and handicraft shops, making it a lively and charming area to explore.

Cartagena

Regarding tourism, Cartagena is probably the most important Colombian city after Bogota. It is the capital of the department Bolivar, on the northern coast of Colombia. It has an average temperature of 32°C (89°F), the climate is hot but breezy since it is located at sea level. There are over 500 years of history to be found here and Cartagena was also cataloged as UNESCO World Heritage in 1984. Its perfect location right on the Caribbean Sea and its beautiful colonial old town (Ciudad Amurallada) enchant national and international tourists, who also choose to arrive on cruise ships. In the historical part, you will find many sights, boutique hotels, and restaurants. The walled city is known to be a common honeymoon destination due to the romanticism of its streets and architecture. Cartagena is a city with a lot of history and fascinating places to visit, such as San Felipe de Barajas Castle and the historic center.

Rosario Islands

The Rosario Islands, known locally as “Islas del Rosario,” are a group of idyllic and paradisiacal islands located in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia. This archipelago is famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, coral reefs, and diverse marine life, making it a sought-after destination for beach lovers and snorkelers.

The Rosario Islands offer a true Caribbean paradise experience with their white sandy beaches, palm-fringed shores, and warm tropical waters. The islands are an escape from the bustling city life of Cartagena, offering a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere.

The archipelago is part of the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park, which was established to protect the valuable marine ecosystems, coral reefs, and diverse aquatic species found in the area.

The Rosario Islands are a haven for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The coral reefs are teeming with colorful marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays.

Isla Grande is the largest and most popular island in the archipelago. It offers various accommodation options, restaurants, and beach clubs, making it a convenient base for exploring the area.

The Rosario Islands are easily accessible from Cartagena, and many tour operators offer day trips and excursions to the islands.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Bogota

Arrival to Bogota

You will be picked up at the airport in Bogota and driven to your hotel.

The bilingual guide will be waiting for you at the exit of the airport.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Bogota.

Day 2: Bogota

Full day City tour Paloquemao, Monserrate, Museums and La Candelaria

Your first stop will be Paloquemao, an emblematic place for supplying families and businesses in Bogota. It offers with the highest quality a great variety of flowers, fruits, vegetables, meat, groceries, dairy products, herbs and much more. There, our Colombian tradition and culture is preserved and proudly represented by offering a unique sensory experience with all the colors, smells and most delicious flavors that come from all regions of Colombia. Then you will visit ‘La Candelaria’ neighborhood and the historic center of Bogotá, full of colorful colonial buildings and stone streets. During the tour you will visit The Gold Museum and the Botero Museum, both in La Candelaria. The Gold Museum is the place to discover the largest collection of pre-Hispanic goldsmithing in the world, with approximately 34,000 pieces of gold and about 25,000 objects in ceramics, stone, bone and textiles made by several Colombian indigenous cultures, this Museum close on Tuesdays. In the Botero Museum, you will find a large art collection donated by the famous local artist Fernando Botero, including 87 pieces of universal art and 123 works made by Botero himself. Pieces from international artists such as Renoir, Monet, Degas, Dalí, Pissarro, Bonnard, among others, are present in the museum.

Finally, you will visit the Sanctuary of Monserrate, which is the most iconic point of the city and the main tourist attraction. It sits at 3,150 meters (10,334 feet) above the sea level, therefore, it offers spectacular views of the city. To climb the mountain, you can take the cable car or walk along the trail.

Day 3: Bogota – Guatavita – Zipaquira – Bogota – Salento

Travel Day and Full day tour Guatavita Lagoon and Salt Cathedral

The Guatavita Lagoon is located approximately 90 minutes from Bogotá. This lagoon is the setting for the authentic “El Dorado Legend”. It was a sacred place for the Muiscas indigenous people and it is still used as such today. Guatavita has an altitude of 3.100 meters above sea level (10.170 feet) and an average temperature of 5 °C to 11 °C (41° F to 52 °F). To get to the lagoon you must walk a path and due to the rainfall, we recommend wearing comfortable clothes and keeping a raincoat on hand. After the visit to Guatavita you will go to the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá – the first wonder of Colombia, which is located in a salt mine 180 meters underground. It is a place regularly visited by Catholics, but its architecture and history leave all visitors astonished.

Day 4: Salento – Cocora Valley – Filandia – Salento

Full Day Filandia and Cocora Valley Tour

This tour includes two amazing destinations. The Cocora Valley is a natural reserve and one of the access points of Los Nevados national park. It is the cradle of Colombia’s emblematic tree: the Quindío wax palm, which reaches up to 80 meters in the native Andean cloud forests. Hiking the mountain foothills, you will appreciate the paradisiacal views of the valley. On your way to Filandia, we will make a stop to have lunch in a typical restaurant in the region. On the other hand, Filandia is a small colonial village that conserves its architecture and coffee traditions.

Day 5: Salento

Day at leisure

If you need any recommendation we will be more than happy to help you.

Day 6: Salento – Medellin

Travel Day

You will travel from Salento to Medellin.

Half Day Tour Comuna 13

Comuna 13, also known as San Javier, is a historically significant neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia. Situated on the western slopes of the Aburra Valley, it was once one of the most dangerous and violence-ridden areas in the city during the 1980s and 1990s, primarily due to the influence of drug cartels and guerrilla groups. However, in recent years, Comuna 13 has undergone a remarkable transformation and is now hailed as a symbol of urban renewal and positive change. The neighborhood’s turnaround can be largely attributed to various social and infrastructural initiatives implemented by the local government, community organizations, and residents themselves.
The installation of the city’s innovative Metrocable system in 2004 played a crucial role in the revitalization of Comuna 13. This cable car system connected the neighborhood to the city’s metro network, vastly improving transportation access and connectivity for its residents. Additionally, the Metrocable opened up economic opportunities by attracting tourists to the area. Comuna 13’s transformation was further supported by various urban development projects, including the construction of public escalators, brightly painted street art, and recreational spaces. These initiatives not only enhanced the neighborhood’s aesthetics but also improved safety and accessibility for residents.
Residents, along with local organizations, worked together to create spaces for cultural expression, education, and skill development. These efforts have helped foster a sense of pride and ownership among the community members. The neighborhood has become an important hub for street art and graffiti, with colorful murals adorning the walls, depicting stories of its tumultuous past and hopeful future.

Day 7: Medellin

Day at leisure

If you need any recommendation we will be more than happy to help you.

Day 8: Medellin – Guatape – Cartagena

Full day tour to Guatapé and El Peñol

Approximately two hours away from Medellin is Guatapé, one of the most colorful villages in the country. The town is located on the shore of an artificial water reservoir built in the 70s. One of the main attractions in the area is the big rock called “El Peñol” because it offers a beautiful view of the reservoir. However, if you want to get to the top you must climb the 740 steps. The best reward after climbing down the rock is a typical “bandeja paisa”, served in the local restaurants. Visitors in Guatapé can practice water sports, such as jet skiing, fishing, among others.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Cartagena

Day 9: Cartagena

Full Day Private Boat tour to Rosario Islands

The driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the pier. Where you will have a tour in a Bravo 290 through the Rosario Islands, an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea formed by 28 islands. The natural national park was created to protect one of the most important coral reefs of the Caribbean coast of Colombia. From Cartagena, it takes about 45 minutes by boat. During the private boat excursion to the islands, the captain and an assistant will take care of you. Cold drinks such as champagne, beers and water, as well as delicious snacks, will be the perfect accompaniment to the views over the blue ocean. You will be able to discover the beaches and islands at your leisure or do other activities.

Day 10: Cartagena – Departure

Departure to Cartagena

You will be picked up at the hotel and driven to the airport Rafael Nuñez in Cartagena.

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About Author

Frank

Frank

Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia.I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia.For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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