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Colombia Travel Itinerary 22 Days

Colombia Travel Map

Updated on 04/04/2024

Hello,
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
Day 4 – Bogota
Day 5 – Bogota – Villa de Leyva
Day 6 – Villa de Leyva
Day 7 – Villa de Leyva – Mongui
Day 8 – Mongui
Day 9 – Mongui – Barichara
Day 10 – Barichara
Day 11 – Barichara
Day 12 – Barichara
Day 13 – Barichara – Mompox
Day 14 – Mompox
Day 15 – Mompox – Valledupar
Day 16 – Valledupar
Day 17 – Valledupar
Day 18 – Valledupar
Day 19 – Valledupar – Santa Marta
Day 20 – Santa Marta
Day 21 – Santa Marta
Day 22 – Santa Marta – 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.

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.

Mongui

Monguí is a picturesque and charming colonial town located in the Boyacá Department of Colombia. Nestled in the Andean highlands, Monguí is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, stunning natural landscapes, and rich cultural heritage.

Monguí is renowned for its colonial-era architecture, featuring well-preserved whitewashed buildings with red-tiled roofs and traditional balconies. The town’s historic center is a designated National Monument of Colombia, preserving its architectural heritage.

The central square, Plaza de los Libertadores, is the heart of Monguí and serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors. Surrounded by colonial buildings, the plaza is a beautiful spot to enjoy the town’s ambiance.

Monguí is home to several historical churches and religious landmarks. The most famous is the Basilica of Our Lord of Miracles, an impressive neoclassical church that dominates the town’s skyline.

The town is known for its traditional craftsmanship, particularly the production of high-quality soccer balls. Monguí is one of the main suppliers of soccer balls used in official matches worldwide.

Surrounded by lush green valleys and mountains, Monguí offers stunning natural beauty. The town’s location in the Andean highlands provides excellent opportunities for hiking and exploring the picturesque landscapes.

Barichara

Barichara is a captivating and picturesque town located in the Santander Department of Colombia. Known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and stunning landscapes, Barichara is often hailed as one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia.

Barichara is celebrated for its colonial-era architecture, featuring whitewashed buildings, red-tiled roofs, and traditional balconies. The town’s historic center has been declared a National Monument of Colombia, preserving its architectural heritage.

Barichara is a starting point for the famous Camino Real, an ancient cobblestone trail that leads to the nearby town of Guane. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and is a popular hiking route for visitors.

The central square, Plaza Principal, is the heart of Barichara and serves as a gathering place for locals and tourists. It is a perfect spot to relax, people-watch, and soak in the ambiance of the town.

The Santísimo Ecce Homo Church is one of the town’s most significant religious landmarks. Its neoclassical façade and interior make it a beautiful example of colonial religious architecture.

Chicamocha Canyon

Chicamocha Canyon, also known as “Cañón del Chicamocha” in Spanish, is a spectacular natural wonder located in the Santander Department of Colombia. This awe-inspiring canyon is one of the largest in South America and offers breathtaking views, thrilling outdoor activities, and a rich natural and cultural heritage.

Chicamocha Canyon is characterized by its immense size and stunning beauty. With its deep gorges, towering cliffs, and meandering Chicamocha River, the canyon’s geological formations create a dramatic landscape that mesmerizes visitors.

The canyon provides spectacular panoramic views from various viewpoints and lookout spots. The viewpoints offer vantage points from where visitors can appreciate the vastness and splendor of the canyon and the surrounding landscapes.

Mompox

Mompox, officially known as Santa Cruz de Mompox, is a picturesque colonial town located in the Bolívar Department of Colombia. Situated on an island in the Magdalena River, Mompox is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is celebrated for its well-preserved colonial architecture, historical significance, and cultural charm.

Mompox is renowned for its exceptionally well-preserved colonial architecture. The town’s cobbled streets, colorful houses, and ornate colonial buildings provide visitors with a sense of stepping back in time.

Mompox played a significant role during the Spanish colonial period and was an essential river port along the Magdalena River. It served as a major trading hub and contributed to the cultural exchange and development of the region.

One of the town’s most notable landmarks is the Santa Bárbara Church, an architectural gem that showcases Mompox’s colonial heritage. The church’s distinctive bell tower is an iconic symbol of the town.

Mompox is famous for its elaborate Holy Week celebrations, which have been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. During Semana Santa, the town comes alive with religious processions, traditional rituals, and fervent celebrations.

Mompox is associated with the Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who was inspired by the town’s enchanting beauty and included it in his novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

Mompox has a long-standing tradition of goldsmithing and filigree work. Local artisans create intricate jewelry pieces using traditional techniques, making it an excellent place to acquire unique handmade pieces.

The town’s location on an island in the Magdalena River provides a serene and picturesque environment. Visitors can take boat rides along the river to appreciate the natural beauty of the region.

Valledupar

Valledupar is a vibrant and culturally rich city located in the Cesar Department of Colombia. Known as the “Capital of Vallenato,” Valledupar holds a special place in Colombian culture due to its association with the traditional folk music genre known as Vallenato.

Valledupar is famous for being the birthplace and heartland of Vallenato music, a traditional genre that originated in the Colombian Caribbean region. Vallenato is characterized by its accordion-based melodies, caja vallenata (a drum), and guacharaca (a percussion instrument).

Each year in April, Valledupar hosts the renowned “Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata,” a significant cultural event that celebrates Vallenato music and its talented musicians. The festival attracts locals and tourists alike, featuring musical competitions and performances.

Valledupar boasts several historical landmarks that reflect its colonial past and cultural heritage. The Plaza Alfonso Lopez, the city’s central square, is a focal point for social gatherings and events.

The surrounding landscapes of Valledupar are characterized by lush greenery and scenic beauty. The nearby Guatapuri River offers opportunities for relaxation and recreation.

The region around Valledupar is also home to indigenous communities, including the Kankuamo people. Visitors can learn about their traditions, customs, and ancestral heritage.

Santa Marta

Santa Marta is the capital of the department of Magdalena and is located on the Caribbean coast at just 5 meters (16 feet) above sea level. Therefore, temperatures here range between 21°C and 33 °C (70 – 91°F). The city spreads over a large area and is flanked by mountains from different sides. The immediate Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is mostly inhabited by indigenous communities and not only reaches the highest point in Colombia with the Pico Cristóbal Colón – at a height of 5,700 meters (18,700 feet)- but is also the highest coastal mountain in the world. Santa Marta is the perfect starting point for many leisure and holiday activities. Along the coast to the east, you will find Tayrona National Park, the most famous national park in Colombia. There are also wonderful beaches. Another highlight is the Lost City hidden in the Sierra, which can be visited in a 4-day trek.

Tayrona National Natural Park

Tayrona National Natural Park, often referred to as just “Tayrona Park,” is a protected area located along the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Situated in the northern part of the country, the park is renowned for its stunning coastal landscapes, biodiverse ecosystems, and cultural significance as the ancestral land of the indigenous Tayrona people.

Tayrona Park is celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty. It encompasses a diverse range of landscapes, including pristine beaches, lush rainforests, rugged mountains, and crystal-clear rivers. The park’s rich biodiversity is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

The park is famous for its stunning beaches with white sand and turquoise waters. Some of the most popular beaches include Cabo San Juan, La Piscina, Arrecifes, and Playa Cristal. Visitors can relax on the shores, swim in the Caribbean Sea, or snorkel to explore the vibrant underwater world.

The park holds significant cultural importance as the ancestral land of the indigenous Tayrona people, who have inhabited the region for centuries. Several indigenous communities still reside within the park, maintaining their traditions, language, and connection to the land.

Within the park’s boundaries, there are various archaeological sites that bear witness to the ancient Tayrona civilization. Some of these sites include ancient terraces, ceremonial areas, and burial grounds, offering insights into the history and culture of the indigenous people who once thrived in the area.

Taironaka

Taironaka is an eco-hotel but also an open-air museum with different activities offered. The architecture of this eco-hotel are circular houses with stone base, raised in wood and covered by palm leaves, similar to those found, the same that, according to their size, location and constructive peculiarities, showed that they were a site perhaps intended for religious ceremonies and confirmed that it was a settlement of Tairona Indians.

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 – 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

Day at leisure

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

Day 5: Bogota – Villa de Leyva

Travel Day

You will travel from Bogota to 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 6: 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 7: Villa de Leyva

Day at leisure

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

Day 8: Villa de Leyva – Mongui

Travel Day

You will travel from Villa de Leyva to Mongui.

Half Day City Tour

After lunch you will enjoy a tour through Mongui.

Day 9: Mongui

Full Day Paramo Hiking

The Paramo de Oceta is said to be the most beautiful Paramo in the world. You will hike up to 3,400 meters (11,155 feet) above sea level.

Day 10: Mongui – Barichara

Travel Day

You will travel from Mongui to Barichara.

Day 11: Barichara

Day at leisure

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

Day 12: Barichara

Day at leisure

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

Day 13: Barichara

Day at leisure

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

Day 14: Barichara – Mompox

Travel Day

You will travel from Barichara to Mompox.

Day 15: Mompox

Full Day City Tour

You will immerse yourself today in the history of Mompox and visit the most important sites of Mompox.

Day 16: Mompox – Valledupar

Travel Day

You will travel from Mompox to Valledupar.

Day 17: Valledupar

Day at leisure

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

Day 18: Valledupar

Day at leisure

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

Day 19: Valledupar – Santa Marta

Travel Day

After breakfast you will drive to Santa Marta.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Colombia.

Half Day Santa Marta City tour

In the Santa Marta City Tour you will enjoy an exciting tour of approximately 3 hours through the most beautiful bay of America, in which you will visit the following places: La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, the Historic Center of Santa Marta, declared a National Monument in 1963; the Monument that honors the native soccer star of the Pearl of America, Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama, and Taganga, a typical fishing village. In the Gold Museum you can appreciate the exhibition of the Anthropological and Ethnological Museum of the Tayrona Culture, their beliefs, mythologies, crafts and goldsmith pieces are exposed in this place, to know and explore the legacy of the milenary culture of the Tayrona.

Day 20: Santa Marta – Tayrona Park – Santa Marta

Full Day Tayrona Park

You will be picked up at the hotel and drive to Taganga, where you will start an incredible adventure to the Tayrona Park, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, just 30 minutes from Santa Marta. Upon arrival you will take a boat to one of the busiest places in the park, Cabo San Juan. Here you will have free time to enjoy the park’s best option for swimming, hiking and, of course, relaxing in a hammock. In the afternoon you will walk to the entrance of the park, approximately 3 hours. There you will be picked up by a driver to get to your hotel.

Day 21: Santa Marta – Taironaka – Santa Marta

Full Day Tour Taironaka and Don Diego River

Your guide will pick you up to take your full day tour. In the natural reserve of Taironaka, located at km 58 of the road leading to Riohacha, it is possible to see the cultural and historical importance of the Tayrona culture. There are restored terraces where the indigenous people used to build their homes and an archeological museum with original artifacts. The area is of great importance for the Koguis, direct descendants of the Tayrona. One of the most fun activities in Taironaka is tubing down the Don Diego River.

Day 22: Santa Marta – 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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