Pelecanus

Colombia Travel Itinerary 25 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
Day 4 – Bogota
Day 5 – Bogota – Popayan
Day 6 – Popayan – Silvia – Popayan
Day 7 – Popayan – Purace – Popayan
Day 8 – Popayan – Cali
Day 9 – Cali
Day 10 – Cali
Day 11 – Cali
Day 12 – Cali – Salento
Day 13 – Salento – Cocora Valley – Filandia – Salento
Day 14 – Salento
Day 15 – Salento – Medellin
Day 16 – Medellin – Guatape – Medellin
Day 17 – Medellin
Day 18 – Medellin
Day 19 – Medellin – Santa Marta
Day 20 – Santa Marta – Tayrona Park – Santa Marta
Day 21 – Santa Marta – Taironaka – Santa Marta
Day 22 – Santa Marta – Cartagena
Day 23 – Cartagena – San Basilio de Palenque – Cartagena
Day 24 – Cartagena – Rosario Islands – Cartagena
Day 25 – 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

Zipaquira

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.

Popayan

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

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

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

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

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

Silvia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puracé National Natural Park

Puracé National Natural Park is a breathtaking and diverse protected area located in the departments of Cauca and Huila in Colombia. Covering an extensive area of more than 83,000 hectares, the park is characterized by its stunning landscapes, unique geological features, and rich biodiversity.

At the heart of Puracé Park lies the Puracé Volcano, an active stratovolcano and one of the main attractions. The volcano’s snow-capped summit and surrounding volcanic landscapes create a dramatic and awe-inspiring sight.

The park is home to natural thermal springs, where visitors can enjoy relaxing baths amidst the lush Andean surroundings. These hot springs are known for their soothing and healing properties.

Puracé National Park encompasses diverse ecosystems, including the unique paramo, a high-altitude tropical ecosystem characterized by frailejones, a plant species endemic to the Andes.

The park boasts a rich biodiversity with a wide variety of plant and animal species. It is a haven for birdwatchers, with numerous bird species, including the Andean condor, soaring through the skies.

In addition to its birdlife, Puracé is home to various wildlife, including spectacled bears, Andean foxes, deer, and the elusive puma.

Puracé Park offers excellent opportunities for hiking and trekking, with well-marked trails leading to scenic viewpoints and the volcano’s summit.

The park’s surroundings hold significance for local indigenous communities, and it is an area of cultural importance for the Páez people, who have inhabited the region for centuries.

Puracé National Natural Park is essential for conservation efforts in Colombia, protecting unique ecosystems and providing a habitat for endangered species.

Cali

Cali, often referred to as the “Salsa Capital of the World,” is a lively and dynamic city located in the southwestern part of Colombia. As the capital of the Valle del Cauca Department, Cali is known for its rich cultural scene, vibrant nightlife, and warm hospitality.

Cali is famous for its deep-rooted salsa music and dance culture. The city’s vibrant nightlife comes alive with salsa clubs, where locals and visitors dance the night away to the infectious rhythms of this lively genre. The annual “Feria de Cali” (Cali Fair) is a major salsa festival that attracts dancers and musicians from all over the world.

Cali boasts a rich cultural heritage, with a blend of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences. This fusion is evident in the city’s architecture, cuisine, and traditions.

Cali’s gastronomy reflects its diverse cultural influences. Visitors can enjoy traditional Colombian dishes, as well as local specialties like “sancocho” (hearty stew), “chontaduro” (peach palm fruit), and “empanadas vallunas” (regional empanadas).

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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.

San Basilio de Palenque

San Basilio de Palenque is a historic and culturally significant town located in the Bolívar Department of Colombia. It holds the distinction of being the first free town in the Americas, founded by escaped African slaves in the 17th century. This unique heritage has resulted in San Basilio de Palenque being designated as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity site.

San Basilio de Palenque is deeply rooted in its African heritage, with its inhabitants being direct descendants of escaped slaves known as “palenqueros.” The town’s African influence is evident in its language, music, dance, and cultural traditions.

One of the most remarkable aspects of San Basilio de Palenque is the preservation of the Palenquero language, which is a Spanish-based Creole with strong African linguistic influences. This language has survived for centuries, reinforcing the community’s identity and heritage.

The town is known for its vibrant music and dance traditions, including traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms like “bullerengue” and “son palenquero.” These musical expressions play an essential role in preserving the community’s cultural heritage.

San Basilio de Palenque is a symbol of cultural resistance and emancipation. Its history as a place of refuge for escaped slaves highlights the resilience and bravery of the community’s ancestors.

The people of San Basilio de Palenque take great pride in their unique cultural heritage and actively work to preserve and promote their traditions for future generations.

The town has become a popular destination for cultural tourism, attracting visitors interested in learning about its rich history and experiencing its vibrant cultural expressions.

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.

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 – Popayan

Travel Day

You will travel from Bogota to Popayan.

Day 6: Popayan

Half Day City Tour Popayan

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

Day 7: Popayan – Purace – Popayan

Full Day Puracé National Natural Park

The Puracé National Natural Park is a reserve of great biological value, to the point that it was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979. Puracé means “fire mountain” in the Quechua indigenous language. Four of the main rivers in Colombia have their origin in this park -Magdalena, Cauca, Patía, and Caquetá. The park is home to a volcanic complex called the Coconuco mountain range with 11 volcanoes, including Puracé (4.780 m/15.682 ft) which is the only active one. This park is a recommended ecotourism destination, as it is the habitat of the Andean Condor, a natural reserve of water, and a misty moorland. During the hike through this natural heritage site, you will visit the San Juan hot springs, the waterfalls and the San Rafael wetland.

Day 8: Popayan – Cali

Travel Day

You will travel from Popayan to Cali.

Day 9: Cali

Full Day Cali City Tour

Discover the amazing Cristo Rey which is located at 1440 meters above sea level where you will have an excellent view of the city. Descending down the mountain you will learn the famous story of the city’s founder, as well as visit the cat park on the banks of the Cali River: “El Gato del Rio” and its cats, to walk and marvel at an open-air art exhibit, completely covered by a roof of tree branches and surrounded by birds.

Next, you will learn why Cali is the salsa capital of the world, with a style all its own: the salsa caleña, your feet will dance to the salsa beat through the old part of the city, to enjoy the afternoon breeze while you connect with the roots of the city.

Day 10: Cali

Cali Salsa Tour

You will begin your experience in the Salsa Capital of the World, at Plaza Jairo Varela (the salsa square). Now, find yourself dancing under the biggest trumpets on the planet and even playing an instrument yourself.

Next, you will continue your way playing a giant piano with your feet, where you will learn how the “caleños/as” meet for the first time in their youth on a dance floor at home. You will learn how these salsa dancers become a couple as you toast with a traditional juice that will refresh your palate. Now, stroll along the riverbank, where you can admire the street art of the “Cantante de los Cantantes”.

To finish, connect with the roots of a salsa family: the first salsa orchestra of the city. There, you will listen to their family history while admiring their unique collection of instruments that you can play, as well as have fun dancing.

Day 11: Cali

Day at leisure

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

Day 12: Cali – Salento

Travel Day

You will travel from Cali to Salento.

Day 13: Salento – Cocora Valley – Filandia – Salento

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 14: Salento

Day at leisure

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

Day 15: Salento – Medellin

Travel Day

You will travel from Salento to Medellin.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Medellin.

Half Day Tour 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 16: 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 17: Medellin

Day at leisure

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

Day 18: Medellin

Day at leisure

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

Day 19: Medellin – Santa Marta

Travel Day to Santa Marta

After breakfast you will travel 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: Cartagena

Travel Day to Cartagena

After breakfast you will travel to Cartagena.

Half Day City Tour

You will have a 4 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 23: Cartagena

Full Day Route Of Liberty – San Basilio de Palenque

San Basilio de Palenque is a place where music, language, medicine and other daily traditions permanently remind us of the continent that five centuries ago became the main source of slaves in the world. It is known for its mark in the history of the eighteenth century, as it was the first black slave town in America to free itself from the Spanish crown.

55 km from Cartagena, in Palenque, one of the first free towns of the continent and cradle of important boxers like Antonio Cervantes ‘Kid Pambelé’. Learn about the Afro-Caribbean history, the past, present and future of Palenque and enjoy its typical food, guided by young people from the community.

Day 24: Cartagena – Rosario Islands

Private Boat tour to Rosario Islands

The driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the pier. Where you will have a tour in a Bravo 290 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 25: Cartagena – Departure

Departure Cartagena

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

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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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