Pelecanus

Colombia Travel Itinerary 13 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 – Caldas
Day 4 – Caldas
Day 5 – Caldas – Nevado del Ruiz – Caldas
Day 6 – Caldas
Day 7 – Caldas
Day 8 – Caldas – Medellin
Day 9 – Medellin
Day 10 – Medellin – Guatape – Medellin
Day 11 – Medellin
Day 12 – Medellin
Day 13 – Medellin – Departure

Planned Places/Cities

Bogotá D.C.

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

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.

Caldas

Caldas is a department located in the central-western region of Colombia, named after Francisco José de Caldas, a prominent Colombian scientist and philosopher. With its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and historical significance, Caldas offers visitors a blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.

Manizales, the capital city of Caldas, is known for its location amidst the Andes Mountains and its stunning views of the surrounding valleys. The city has a vibrant urban center, featuring a mix of colonial and modern architecture.

Caldas is part of Colombia’s renowned Coffee Triangle, and the department is home to several coffee plantations. Visitors can explore the coffee farms, learn about the coffee-making process, and taste high-quality Colombian coffee.

A portion of Los Nevados National Natural Park lies within Caldas. This protected area is characterized by snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and diverse ecosystems, attracting nature enthusiasts and hikers.

Caldas boasts several natural thermal hot springs, providing opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation. The hot springs are known for their therapeutic properties.

Throughout the year, Caldas hosts various cultural festivals, celebrating traditions, music, and dance. The “Feria de Manizales” is one of the most famous events, featuring bullfighting, concerts, and parades.

The department is home to picturesque towns, such as Salamina and Filadelfia, showcasing colonial architecture and traditional charm.

Aguadas is a colorful town in Caldas, recognized for its well-preserved colonial buildings and artisan crafts.

Nevado del Ruiz

Nevado del Ruiz is a majestic stratovolcano located in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. Standing at an elevation of approximately 5,321 meters (17,457 feet), it is one of the highest and most active volcanoes in the country. The volcano is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park and is surrounded by stunning landscapes and diverse ecosystems.

Nevado del Ruiz has a history of significant volcanic activity, with eruptions dating back to prehistoric times. The most devastating eruption occurred in 1985 when an eruption triggered a massive mudflow (lahar) that resulted in the tragic Armero tragedy, claiming thousands of lives.

The volcano’s summit is capped with glaciers and snow, creating a stunning and dramatic landscape. However, due to climate change and volcanic activity, the glaciers have been receding in recent years.

The slopes of Nevado del Ruiz are characterized by diverse ecosystems, including paramo, Andean forest, and high-altitude grasslands. These ecosystems are home to a variety of plant and animal species, some of which are endemic to the Andes.

The volcano attracts hikers and mountaineers seeking challenging adventures. Ascending Nevado del Ruiz requires proper preparation, and climbers often start from the nearby town of Manizales.

Given its active nature, Nevado del Ruiz is closely monitored by scientific institutions to better understand volcanic processes and mitigate potential risks to nearby communities.

Nevado del Ruiz is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park, a protected area renowned for its diverse landscapes, high-altitude lakes, and unique flora and fauna.

The volcano has cultural importance for indigenous communities living in the surrounding region. It is considered a sacred site by some local indigenous groups.

In light of its volcanic activity and the potential hazards it poses, safety measures and contingency plans are in place to protect nearby populations from potential eruptions.

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.

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.

Cacao Experience

Today you will dive into the world of cacao. In a 90 minutes workshop, located near El Chorro de Quevedo, you will have a sensory experience of 100% Colombian cacao. Cacao has been cultivated for years and thanks to the producers of different regions of Colombia, cacao has managed to re-emerge as an alternative and diversification of agricultural products. Colombian cacao is recognized worldwide as the best smelling cacao in the world.

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 – Caldas

Travel Day

You will travel from Bogota to Caldas.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Colombia.

Day 4: Caldas

Half Day Coffee Tour

This coffee farm near Manizales has vast coffee fields and picturesque native trees and water springs. Here, you will be immersed in the landscape and culture of Colombian coffee, appreciating the process from the seed to the harvest by a walking tour through the plantations. You will learn about the origin, history, the different coffee varieties and qualities, as well as you will identify the aromas and features of coffee. You will have the chance to taste and see the beans with different grades of roasting to experience the different aromas, as the roasting brings out the aroma and flavor that are locked inside the coffee beans.

Day 5: Caldas

Full Day Hiking Nevado Ruiz

You will be picked up by a driver to Los Nevados National Park, approximately two hours from the hotel, upon arrival you will be accompanied during the tour by a local guide, who will take you to 4 stops where he will explain the ecosystems that you will encounter. To help you adapt to the altitude and climate you will be given a hot cup of coca tea to help you avoid altitude sickness, finally after visiting the mystical area around Los Nevados National Park and enjoying a delicious lunch, you will arrive at Tierra Viva hot springs to take a bath in hot water, where you can also find 10 species of hummingbirds that visit the feeders installed in the main garden.

Day 6: Caldas

Transfer to Nido del Condor

You will be picked up at your hotel and drive to the hotel Nido del Condor.

Day 7: Caldas

Condor’s Nest Tour

After breakfast, you will be picked up by your hotel guide and taken to your tour. You will hike for about 40 minutes to reach a local peasant house where you can drink coffee cooked on firewood, be told stories of the place and what it is like to live among the mountains and birds. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to be close to the perches where the condors nest, where if you are lucky you will be able to see the first flights of the day of these great birds. This tour has a duration of 2.5 hours with a moderate level of hiking.

Day 8: Caldas – Medellin

Travel Day

Today you will travel from the Colombian Coffee Triangle to Medellin.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Medellin.

Day 9: Medellin

Full Day City Tour Medellin and Comuna 13

Your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel to discover the charm of a city in constant evolution and development. A tour of the main sites of interest that reflects the daily life of the inhabitants, the stories of hope and change, the contrast of neighborhoods, the style of old and modern buildings, the use of new spaces, the style of churches and the artistic works of world-renowned masters.

  • Museo de Antioquia: The most important museum in Medellín, it houses paintings, drawings and sculptures by Fernando Botero.
  • Museum of Modern Art: Art and contemporary artistic practices.
  • Pueblito Paisa: definition of the Antioquian tradition that is reflected in the handicrafts gastronomy and architecture of the place; the majestic view of Medellín and the mountains that run through the Aburrá Valley.
  • 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 10: Medellin – Guatape – Medellin

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.

Day 11: Medellin – Santa Elena – Medellin

Half Day Santa Elena Silleteros Tour

The Medellín Flower Fair is held every August. It is a popular and traditional festival in Colombia, especially for its “Silletero Parade”. During the fair, the “Silleteros” (the flower growers) walk through the city streets, carrying wooden structures on their backs embellished with beautiful and creative designs of animals, people, and objects made only of flowers. Santa Elena is one of the largest farms where these flowers are grown. It is located 40 minutes from Medellín and thanks to the lack of seasons, you can enjoy the aroma and incredible beauty of flowers all year round.

Day 12: Medellin

Day at leisure

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

Day 13: Medellin – Departure

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

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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