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Colombia Travel Itinerary 12 Days

Colombia Travel Map

Updated on 04/04/2024

I’m Frank, the proud owner of a leading tour operator located in Bogota, committed to curating bespoke and opulent travel experiences across Colombia.

As you peruse this guide, look forward to uncovering a collection of supplementary and invaluable travel itineraries to enhance your exploration of Colombia.

Colombia Trip Summary

Day 1 – Bogota
Day 2 – Bogota
Day 3 – Bogota – Guatavita – Zipaquira – Bogota
Day 4 – Bogota – San Agustin
Day 5 – San Agustin
Day 6 – San Agustin
Day 7 – San Agustin – Tierradentro – Popayan
Day 8 – Popayan
Day 9 – Popayan – Silvia – Popayan
Day 10 – Popayan – Salento
Day 11 – Salento – Cocora Valley – Filandia
Day 12 – Salento – Departure

Planned Places/Cities


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.


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.


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.

San Agustin

San Agustín is a town on the south of the department of Huila, in southwestern Colombia. It sits on 1.730 meters (5.675 feet) above sea level, in the foothills of the Colombian Massif – a group of mountains where the main rivers in Colombia, including the Magdalena river, are born. With an average pleasant temperature of 18°C (64°F), San Agustín is ideal for nature tourism and the exploration of the region’s rich history, culture and archaeology. Its fertile lands and geographical conditions allow the production of world-class coffee and other agricultural products. But probably the best-known attraction of the town is the San Agustín Archaeological Park, a complex of archaeological sites belonging to the Pre-Columbian San Agustín culture declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. This place is considered the world’s largest necropolis and the largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America.


Tierradentro is an archaeological and cultural gem located in the Cauca Department of Colombia. It is renowned for its impressive underground tombs and ancient burial sites, which offer insights into the pre-Columbian past of the region.

Tierradentro is famous for its extensive underground burial chambers and tombs, known as hypogea, which were built by the indigenous people of the region between the 6th and 9th centuries AD. These tombs are decorated with intricate and unique geometric designs, and they serve as important archaeological evidence of the area’s ancient civilizations.

In recognition of its cultural significance, Tierradentro was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The designation highlights the importance of preserving and protecting these archaeological treasures for future generations.

The indigenous inhabitants of Tierradentro practiced complex burial rituals and ceremonies, which involved burying their dead in the hypogea. Each tomb is believed to have been a sacred site, holding religious and ceremonial significance for the ancient cultures.

The hypogea in Tierradentro showcase remarkable architectural skill and engineering. The burial chambers are carved into the volcanic rock, and the intricate decorations on the walls and ceilings indicate the sophisticated artistic abilities of the pre-Columbian inhabitants.


Popayán, often referred to as the “White City,” is a historic and picturesque colonial town located in the southwestern part of Colombia. It is the capital of the Cauca Department and holds great cultural and architectural significance.

Popayán is renowned for its well-preserved colonial architecture, characterized by whitewashed buildings, beautiful churches, and cobblestone streets. The city’s historic center has been declared a National Monument of Colombia, reflecting its architectural and cultural value.

The city has a rich cultural heritage, with a blend of indigenous, Spanish colonial, and Afro-Colombian influences. Popayán is known for its religious festivals, Semana Santa (Holy Week) being the most famous, during which the streets come alive with colorful processions and traditional celebrations.

Popayán is celebrated for its traditional cuisine, which includes dishes such as empanadas de pipián (corn turnovers with peanut sauce), tamales, and arepas de maíz (corn pancakes). The city’s culinary offerings reflect the diverse cultural influences of the region.

Popayán is situated in a region with several active volcanoes, including Puracé and Huila. The surrounding landscape features breathtaking scenery, with mountains, valleys, and fertile farmlands.


Silvia is a charming and culturally rich town located in the Cauca Department of Colombia. Situated in the southwestern part of the country, Silvia is known for its indigenous heritage, traditional festivals, and picturesque landscapes.

Silvia is predominantly inhabited by the Guambiano indigenous community, one of the largest indigenous groups in Colombia. The town provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about their customs, traditions, and way of life.

One of the most significant cultural attractions in Silvia is the Guambianos’ traditional festivals, which celebrate their ancient rituals and customs. The colorful festivals showcase traditional music, dances, and colorful attire.

The town’s market is a vibrant and bustling place where locals and visitors come together to buy and sell goods, including fresh produce, handicrafts, and textiles. It’s an excellent spot to experience the local culture and interact with the Guambiano people.

The town is known for its vibrant handicrafts and artisanal products made by the Guambiano people. Visitors have the opportunity to purchase authentic handwoven textiles and other traditional crafts.

Silvia offers a unique opportunity for cultural immersion and learning about the indigenous communities’ way of life, values, and worldview.

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 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 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.

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.


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

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: Bogota – San Agustin

Travel Day

After a long day of traveling, you will arrive in San Agustin. San Agustin is not only a small Colombian town but also the Colombia hub for archeological sites.

Day 5: San Agustin

Full Day San Agustin Archaeological Park

The “San Agustin Archaeological Zone” is the largest complex of megalithic monuments in pre-Columbian America, consisting of a group of archaeological sites scattered over a large region in the upper Magdalena River valley in southwestern Colombia. It was recognized by UNESCO in 1995 as a World Heritage Site. The region has been intensively studied by archaeologists interested in better understanding the monumentality of these tombs and the importance of this kind of commemorative elements for the development of politically complex societies. In 1931, the archaeological park was created to investigate and protect it. Since then, San Agustín is one of the best investigated archaeological regions in northern South America and probably the most representative archaeological site of the Colombian archaeological heritage.

Day 6: San Agustin

Full Day Tour San Agustin Area

Your guide and driver will pick you up at the hotel to start with an incredible tour around the town of San Agustin. The tour will last 8 hours and begin at the Strait of Magdalena, the narrowest point that crosses the main river of Colombia on its way to the ocean. It is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape of Andean forest. Just a few kilometers from there is the small town of Obando, where we will see some tombs similar to those in the Tierradentro Archaeological Park in Cauca. The local small museum also exhibits items even older than those found in San Agustin. The most famous item is perhaps the goldsmith piece “Winged Fish”. The trip continues to the parks Alto de los Idolos, the second site with the highest density of tombs, and then to Alto de las Piedras where the enigmatic “Double I” can be appreciated. Before returning to San Agustin, we will pass by the Salto del Mortiño, an impressive waterfall.

Day 7: San Agustin – Tierradentro – Popayan

Travel Day

With breakfast on the way, you will arrive at Tierradentro in approximately 5.5 hours. The Tierradentro Archaeological Park is one of the most incredible places to learn about pre-Hispanic cultures. Because of its importance, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995. This place is an archaeological reserve where it is possible to find remains of the funeral rites of some pre-Hispanic cultures. There are subway tombs or hypogea, which are a kind of funerary temples, built between the 4th and 9th centuries A.D.

After the tour, you will be transferred to Popayán.

Day 8: Popayan

Half Day City Tour Popayan

During this tour you will learn about the Architectural Heritage of Popayán, visiting the Caldas Park, the Pantheon of the “Próceres”, and the “Humilladero” bridge, which was built in the XIX century as the former entrance of Popayán. Before the bridge was built, the terrain to the city center was extremely difficult to go up, so people used to climb tilted, almost in their knees. This is the reason behind the name “El humilladero” (meaning something like the humiliation place). Popayán is also famous for its religious traditions, especially during Holy Week when hundreds of parishioners come to the city. One of the most representative religious monuments in Popayán is La Ermita church. This little and antique chapel was constructed in 1546 and offers lovely views over the red-tiled roofs of the city. Among other monuments and churches, you can also visit the Museum of Religious Art.

Day 9: Popayan – Silvia – Popayan

Full Day Tour Silvia

Silvia town is located an hour from Popayán and is the center of the Guambianos indigenous communities who conserve their language, traditions, and manners. The Tuesday markets are the best setting to witness the colorful outfits and the traditions of the Guambianos. Locals and indigenous communities arrive in Silvia from surrounding villages to exchange goods. In this guided tour you will learn about the Guambianos (called “Misak” indigenous people) culture and you can interact with them. You will visit the Botanical Garden “Las Delicias”, a foundation that works for environmental conservation and teach others about the indigenous ancestral connection to the earth.

Day 10: Popayan – Salento

Travel Day

You will be picked  up at your hotel and drive to Salento in the Coffee Triangle.


Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Salento.

Day 11: Salento – Filandia – Cocora Valley

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 12: Salento – Departure


Today is the last day of your trip. Depending on the hour of your flight, a car will pick you up at your hotel and bring you to the airport.

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About Author



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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