Updated on 01/25/2024
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Colombia Trip Summary
Day 1 – Bogota
Day 2 – Bogota
Day 3 – Bogota – Guatavita – Zipaquira – Bogota
Day 4 – Bogota
Day 5 – Bogota – Salento
Day 6 – Salento – Cocora Valley – Filandia
Day 7 – Salento – Quindio – Salento
Day 8 – Salento
Day 9 – Salento – Quindio – Salento
Day 10 – Salento – Medellin
Day 11 – Medellin
Day 12 – Medellin – Guatape – Medellin
Day 13 – Medellin – Bahia Solano
Day 14 – Bahia Solano
Day 15 – Bahia Solano
Day 16 – Bahia Solano – Departure
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.
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.
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 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
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.
Bahia Solano is located in the Department of Chocó in Colombia’s Pacific Coastal Region, where most of its population are African descendent and indigenous communities. The climate in Chocó is warm with an average temperature of 27 °C (80°F). It is a great place for “unplug” due to the limited internet access or even electricity. This is a unique region for multiple reasons: The first is the African heritage and traditions, represented in its gastronomy, culture, and music styles. The second is the diversity of the region, here you can find a green jungle, a blue ocean, and beautiful sunsets. It is home to the tropical rain-forest, is the most humid and raining zone in the country, and is the perfect place for the conservation of important ecosystems and the preservation of the flora and fauna. Finally, there are many activities you can do during the year, such as water sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing, other activities are birdwatching or sport fishing. However, the high season extends from July to late November, during the Humpback whale’s migration.
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
Half Day Architecture Tour
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.
Half Day Shopping Tour
You will visit different Boutiques in Bogota for shopping and depending on availability also meet the according designers. The shopping tour will last approximate 4 hours.
The Colombian fashion industry represents 9.4% of the total industrial GDP and employs around 600 thousand people. In 2019, sales of clothing and footwear in the country reached a value of USD 8 billion and more than 1,200 Colombian companies in this industry exported their garments to more than 100 countries.
Day 5: Bogota – Salento
You will travel to Salento in the Coffee Triangle.
Half Day Barbas-Bremen Nature Reserve
After breakfast, you will be picked up and driven to Bremen Nature Reserve. This nature reserve is located in the department of Quindio, 20 minutes from Filandia. It covers an area of 9,651 hectares, of which 790 hectares belong to rainforest and the rest to pine and cypress plantations. Due to the scarcity of light and the great humidity of the natural reserve, you will be able to see different species of moss on the ground.
In the reserves you will have the possibility of observing more than 150 species of birds, as well as several species of maníferos, amphibians, reptiles, and insects among which butterflies stand out.
Among the most representative animals, you will have the chance to see howler monkeys, the soche deer, the spectacled bear, the river otter and the ocelot. Regarding the birds, you will find the Caucasian guan, the collarejo jumper, the Andean terlaque, the cock of the rock, the mountain carriquí, and amphibians also at risk of disappearing as the venesosa frog, the quimbaya harlequin, the big-headed frog among other species.
Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Salento.
Day 6: 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 7: Salento – Quindio
Full Day Towns of Quindio
The driver and a local guide will pick you up at the hotel. The tour will show you the department of Quindio and some of its most precious towns. You will visit 4 towns full of architecture and recognized culture. The first stop will be Salento, followed by Pitalito and Buenavista. Filandia as the highlight will be the last stop of the tour.
Visiting Cafe San Alberto Farm
This is a top-quality coffee tour. It includes a two-hour walking tour around the Hacienda San Alberto, a farm and coffee shop nestled in the town of Buenavista. There you will learn about the process “From seed to cup”, you will visit the quality lab, and end with a coffee tasting using alternative methods. The café has panoramic views of the plantations and nearby villages.
Day 8: Salento
Half Day Horse Riding Activity
During the ride you will pass by the hacienda’s crops, the natural viewpoint where you will observe the mountain valley. Finally, you will arrive at the point where the La Vieja River meets the Espejo River. You will be able to ride along the river bank.
Day 9: Salento
Full Day Machin Volcano
Cerro Machín is a stratovolcano located in Tolima Department. It is approximately the same age (1,000,000+ years) as the Ruiz-Tolima Massif and has the appearance of being part of that volcanic system. Its sisters are Nevado del Tolima, 17,060 feet (5,200 m); Santa Isabel, 16,240 feet (4,950 m), Nevado del Ruiz, 17,457 feet (5,321 m), plus nine other lesser volcanoes and a 10,000 feet (3,000 m) volcanic South Wall containing in excess of thirty volcanic domes.
Around the volcano there are beautiful wax palm forests, Ceroxylon quindiuense (Karsten) Wendl, the national tree of Colombia, and some hot-springs. Bring your bathing suit just in case.
Day 10: Salento – Medellin
Today you will travel from the Colombian Coffee Triangle to Medellin.
Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Medellin.
Day 11: 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 12: 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 13: Medellin – Bahia Solano
Today you will travel from Medellin to Bahia Solano on the Pacific coast.
Day 14: Bahia Solano
Full Day Whale Watching
Every year, from July to October, the humpback whale migration season begins. After traveling more than 8000 kilometers (5100 miles) from the South Pole, the whales arrive in Colombia to breed and give birth. This excursion begins early in the morning, where you will sail for 3 to 4 hours in search of the whales. During the whale watching, you will be guided by a specialized marine biologist. You will also listen to the beautiful sound of the whales live thanks to the hydrophone on board. You will visit Mecana beach, located about 20 minutes by boat from the town of Bahia Solano. This beautiful beach has an emerald green river and a diversity of fauna and flora, including several species of birds, river otters, crabs, fish and mangroves. In addition, you will have the opportunity to share a typical lunch with the locals, a gastronomic experience based on fresh regional products of the highest quality. Finally, depending on the tides, you will visit the mangrove forest in a boat and swim in a natural river pool.
Day 15: Bahia Solano
Half Day Turtle Watching
Every year sea turtles arrive to the coasts to leave their eggs. In search of safe places in the sand, they arrive stealthily at night to the beaches of the town of El Valle, Bahía Solano. Through monitoring and night patrols they identify new nests and to collect the eggs. Those are then transferred to hatcheries, where they are cared for and protected from looting and predation by animals and humans. The Caguama Association involves the community in general through talks on sea turtle management and conservation.
Day 16: Bahia Solano – 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.