Pelecanus

Colombia Travel Itinerary 14 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 – La Chorrera – Bogota
Day 4 – Bogota
Day 5 – Bogota – Laguna de Guatavita – Villa de Leyva
Day 6 – Villa de Leyva
Day 7 – Villa de Leyva
Day 8 – Villa de Leyva – Zipaquira – Medellin
Day 9 – Medellin
Day 10 – Medellin – Santa Fe de Antioquia – Medellin
Day 11 – Medellin – Guatape – Cartagena
Day 12 – Cartagena
Day 13 – Cartagena – Rosario Islands – Cartagena
Day 14 – 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.

Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is a charming and historic town located in the Boyacá Department of Colombia. This well-preserved colonial town is celebrated for its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and rich cultural heritage. Villa de Leyva offers visitors a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and a laid-back atmosphere.

Villa de Leyva is renowned for its colonial architecture, featuring beautifully preserved buildings with white facades and traditional Spanish tile roofs. The town’s historical center is a National Monument of Colombia, preserving its colonial heritage.

At the heart of Villa de Leyva lies the Plaza Mayor, one of the largest town squares in South America. The expansive cobblestone square is surrounded by colonial buildings and serves as a central gathering place for locals and tourists.

One of the unique attractions in Villa de Leyva is Casa Terracota, a remarkable house entirely constructed from clay. It is considered one of the largest pieces of pottery in the world and showcases the creativity of local artist Octavio Mendoza.

The region around Villa de Leyva is rich in paleontological discoveries. The nearby El Fósil Museum houses a 120-million-year-old Kronosaurus fossil, making it a fascinating site for those interested in prehistoric life.

Villa de Leyva is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including the Iguaque Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, a stunning national park with diverse plant and animal species. The desert-like landscape of the nearby Pozos Azules (Blue Ponds) is also a popular attraction.

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.

Santa Fe de Antioquia

Santa Fe de Antioquia is a historic and picturesque town located in the Antioquia Department of Colombia. As one of Colombia’s oldest towns, Santa Fe de Antioquia is renowned for its well-preserved colonial architecture, cobbled streets, and rich cultural heritage.

The town is celebrated for its stunning colonial architecture, characterized by whitewashed buildings, red-tiled roofs, and traditional Spanish colonial design. The historic center has been designated as a National Monument of Colombia, preserving its colonial heritage.

One of the town’s most notable landmarks is the Puente de Occidente (Bridge of the West), an iconic suspension bridge that spans the Cauca River. This impressive engineering feat is a symbol of Santa Fe de Antioquia’s history and connects the town to the western region of Antioquia.

The Plaza Mayor is the main square of Santa Fe de Antioquia and serves as a focal point for social gatherings and events. The square is surrounded by colonial buildings and offers a tranquil setting to admire the town’s architecture.

The Santa Barbara Church, with its beautiful bell tower, is one of the most significant religious landmarks in the town. Its architecture reflects the Spanish colonial influence on the region.

Santa Fe de Antioquia is proud of its cultural heritage, which is evident in its customs, traditions, and festivals. The town celebrates various cultural events throughout the year, providing visitors with a glimpse into its vibrant local culture.

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

Full Day Eastern Hills and La Chorrera

In the morning you will be picked up by a local guide and a private driver. The destination is the hills of Bogota, for which you will travel for about an hour and a half. You will enjoy a hike in the mountains to reach La Chorrera waterfall, the highest in Colombia. It will be a day of connecting with nature, admiring the beauty of the place. After the activity in the morning you will have lunch in the nearby town of Choachí.

Day 4: Bogota

Half Day Architecture tour in Bogotá

Your bilingual guide will take you at your hotel to start your tour of approximately 5 hours. An alternative to discover Bogota and its architecture is to go through the most diverse neighborhoods of the city so in this tour we will talk about the details and characteristics of each style and era that define our city as a cosmopolitan and charming capital: We begin with Teusaquillo with its urbanism inspired by the ”Garden Cities” of the late nineteenth century in Europe, then passing through La Merced as a corner that evokes the elegance of the Tudor style of the 1930s and 1940s, followed by the modernist buildings of the International Center and ending the tour with a mixture of past and present in the Bavaria Park Complex, a place where you can enjoy a unique experience of the city.

Day 5: Bogota – Guatavita – Villa de Leyva

Travel Day Guatavita and Villa de Leyva

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 continue to Villa de Leyva.

Day 6: Villa de Leyva

Half Day City Tour Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva has an important place in Colombian history. In this tour, you will visit some important Museums the first one was named after the leader Antonio Nariño, who translated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from French to Spanish and was one of the Colombian independence heroes next to Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula Santander. Another important Museum is “Museo del Carmen” founded in 1971, it has 6 rooms of religious art -like the paintings of The Apotheosis of the Virgin, the paintings of Santa Teresa de Avila, and the Hall of the Crucifixes. Carmen Museum is open only on weekends.

Day 7: Villa de Leyva

Full Day Tour Villa de Leyva

The tour starts in “El Infiernito” or “Little Hell” Archaeological Park. It was once a Muisca observatory. The Muiscas are the indigenous people that lived in the area long before the Spaniards arrived. They created a field of monoliths where they held important religious festivals related to fertility and served as an agricultural calendar. The tour continues with the visit of the Vineyard “Aim Karim”. It opened in 1994 and its Marqués de Villa de Leyva branded wines have been internationally recognized. The next stop is the Saint Ecce Homo Monastery, built by Dominican friars in 1620. It is a large stone-and-adobe construction in which floors are paved with stones quarried in the region, so they contain ammonites and fossils, including petrified corn and flowers. Finally, you will visit the Terracotta house entirely made of clay.

Day 8: Villa de Leyva – Bogota – Medellin

Travel Day

You will travel from Villa de Leyva to Medellin. On the way to Bogota you will visit the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira. 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.

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 – Santa Fe de Antioquia – Medellin

Full Day Tour Santa Fe de Antioquia

The Santa Fe de Antioquia Tour contrasts the thriving present of Antioquia and the memorable past of its ancestors. It is a colonial town of cobblestone streets and large houses with large doors. There you can visit its churches, parks and the imposing Puente de Occidente, declared a national monument of Colombia. Constructions that attest to a prosperous and successful past.

Day 11: 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.

Travel Day

You will travel from Medellin to Cartagena.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Cartagena

Day 12: Cartagena

Full Day City Tour and Mercado Bazurto

Your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel to take you to the Bazurto market, a very busy place in Cartagena, a maze of colorful stalls, exotic foods and local handicrafts. This guided tour will take you to the heart of the market, where you will have the opportunity to meet the vendors, watch the artisans at work, taste local delicacies and if you prefer, enjoy a delicious typical Colombian lunch.

On the way back you will have a 3 hour tour of the city of Cartagena, visiting the residential neighborhoods that border the Bay of Cartagena. You will visit the Monastery of San Pedro Claver and its church, built in honor of the patron saint of slaves – Pedro Claver. The church is considered a national monument and, because of its history and charm, is one of the favorite churches for weddings in Cartagena. You can also visit the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, the most important work of military engineering in the New World. This fortress was built by the Spanish during the colonial era (from 1536) to protect the city from pirates and invaders. Today it is one of the 7 wonders of Colombia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 13: Cartagena – Rosario Islands – Cartagena

Private Boat tour to Rosario Islands

The driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the pier. You will have a tour 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 14: Cartagena – Departure

Departure Cartagena

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

Travel Map

Very Important Info to Know Visiting Colombia

Colombia Travel Guide

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Medical advice and recommendations for travelers visiting Colombia

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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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