Pelecanus

Colombia Travel Itinerary 29 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 – Guatavita – Zipaquira – Bogota
Day 4 – Bogota – Pasto
Day 5 – Pasto – Ipiales – Pasto
Day 6 – Pasto – Popayan
Day 7 – Popayan
Day 8 – Popayan – Purace – Popayan
Day 9 – Popayan – Cali
Day 10 – Cali
Day 11 – Cali
Day 12 – Cali – Salento
Day 13 – Salento – Cocora Valley – Filandia – Salento
Day 14 – Salento – Salamina
Day 15 – Salamina – Samaria – Salamina
Day 16 – Salamina – Aguadas
Day 17 – Aguadas – Jerico
Day 18 – Jerico
Day 19 – Jerico – Jardin
Day 20 – Jardin
Day 21 – Jardin – Medellin
Day 22 – Medellin – Guatape – Medellin
Day 23 – Medellin – Bucaramanga – San Vicente de Chucuri
Day 24 – San Vicente de Chucuri – Zapatoca
Day 25 – Zapatoca – Guane – Barichara
Day 26 – Barichara
Day 27 – Barichara – Jordan
Day 28 – Jordan – Mesa de los Santos
Day 29 – Mesa de los Santos – 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

Pasto

Pasto is a vibrant and culturally rich city located in the southwestern region of Colombia. As the capital of the Nariño Department, it holds historical, architectural, and natural significance.

Pasto is known for its rich cultural heritage, which is influenced by a blend of indigenous, Spanish colonial, and Afro-Colombian traditions. The city’s festivals and celebrations are particularly noteworthy, with the most famous being the “Carnaval de Negros y Blancos” (Blacks and Whites Carnival), recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The city boasts impressive colonial architecture, with well-preserved churches, plazas, and historic buildings. Notable landmarks include the Basilica Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, the Juan Agustín Mora Bullring, and the Teatro Imperial.

Pasto is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including the nearby Galeras Volcano, which is an active stratovolcano. The city is also situated near the Laguna de la Cocha, a picturesque lake that attracts tourists for its beauty and recreational activities.

The local gastronomy of Pasto is diverse and delicious, with dishes that reflect the region’s cultural influences. Visitors can savor traditional Colombian cuisine, as well as unique regional specialties such as “cuy” (guinea pig) and “mote de queso” (cheese soup).

Ipiales

Ipiales is a picturesque border town located in the Nariño Department of Colombia, near the country’s border with Ecuador. Known for its stunning architecture, religious significance, and natural beauty, Ipiales has become a popular destination for both pilgrims and tourists.

The main attraction in Ipiales is the Sanctuary of Las Lajas, a remarkable basilica built on a bridge over the Guáitara River gorge. The sanctuary’s Gothic Revival architecture and scenic location make it one of Colombia’s most awe-inspiring religious sites.

The Sanctuary of Las Lajas is a significant pilgrimage destination, attracting thousands of religious devotees each year. The site is known for its miraculous stories and is a symbol of faith and devotion for many Colombians.

Ipiales is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including rolling hills, lush green valleys, and the dramatic Guáitara River gorge. The natural beauty of the region makes it a delightful place for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Ipiales has a rich cultural heritage, with traditions influenced by indigenous and Spanish colonial roots. The town hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year.

Due to its location near the Ecuadorian border, Ipiales serves as a gateway for travelers entering or leaving Colombia from Ecuador. Many tourists use Ipiales as a stopover on their cross-country journeys.

The Carchi River, which flows through the town, adds to Ipiales’ natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy the serene atmosphere and scenic views along the riverbanks.

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.

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.

Salamina

Salamina is a charming and picturesque town located in the Caldas Department of Colombia. Nestled in the Andean mountains, Salamina is renowned for its well-preserved colonial architecture, stunning landscapes, and cultural heritage.

Salamina boasts a remarkable collection of colonial architecture, with well-preserved buildings, colorful facades, and intricate balconies. The town’s historic center has been designated as a National Monument of Colombia, reflecting its architectural and cultural significance.

The town’s cobblestone streets and tranquil plazas exude an old-world charm, offering visitors a chance to step back in time and immerse themselves in the colonial ambiance.

Salamina is situated in Colombia’s Coffee Region, and coffee cultivation is an essential part of the local economy and culture. Visitors can learn about coffee production, sample locally grown coffee, and explore coffee plantations in the surrounding hills.

The town is surrounded by stunning Andean landscapes, with rolling hills, verdant valleys, and picturesque countryside. The natural beauty of Salamina makes it an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Aguadas

Aguadas is a picturesque and historic town located in the Caldas Department of Colombia. This charming colonial town is known for its well-preserved architecture, coffee culture, and beautiful natural surroundings.

Aguadas is renowned for its colonial-era architecture, with colorful houses adorned with intricate balconies and facades. The town’s historic center has been declared a National Monument of Colombia, preserving its architectural heritage for future generations.

As part of Colombia’s Coffee Region, Aguadas has a strong coffee tradition. Coffee cultivation is a significant aspect of the local economy, and visitors can learn about the coffee production process and sample freshly brewed local coffee.

The town’s central square, Plaza de Bolívar, is a focal point of social and cultural activities. It is a perfect place to relax and soak in the ambiance of the town while surrounded by historic buildings and a tranquil atmosphere.

Aguadas is home to several historic churches and religious sites, which showcase the town’s religious heritage. The Church of San Bautista, with its striking architecture, is one of the notable religious landmarks worth visiting.

The town is located amid beautiful landscapes, with rolling hills and lush green valleys. The surrounding countryside offers opportunities for nature walks, hikes, and exploration of the region’s natural beauty.

Aguadas is known for its skilled artisans who create unique handicrafts, including pottery, woven textiles, and woodwork. Visitors can find authentic and locally-made souvenirs to take home.

Jerico

Jericó is a charming and tranquil town located in the Antioquia Department of Colombia. Nestled in the Andes Mountains, Jericó is known for its rich cultural heritage, colonial architecture, and breathtaking landscapes.

Jericó is celebrated for its well-preserved colonial architecture, with colorful houses, ornate balconies, and narrow cobblestone streets. The town’s historic center has been declared a National Monument of Colombia, reflecting its architectural and cultural significance.

The town is home to several beautiful churches and religious sites, which are an integral part of Jericó’s heritage. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, with its striking neo-gothic style, is one of the prominent religious landmarks in the town.

Jardin

Jardín is a picturesque and enchanting town located in the Antioquia Department of Colombia. Tucked away in the lush Andes Mountains, Jardín is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, colorful colonial architecture, and warm hospitality.

Jardín is characterized by its well-preserved colonial architecture, featuring vibrant facades, intricately designed balconies, and cobblestone streets. The town’s historic center has been designated a National Monument of Colombia, preserving its architectural heritage.

The central square, Plaza Principal, is the heart of Jardín and a hub of social and cultural activities. Visitors can relax in the shade of ancient trees, enjoy the charming surroundings, and interact with friendly locals.

As part of Colombia’s Coffee Region, Jardín has a strong coffee culture. Coffee cultivation is an integral part of the local economy, and visitors can learn about the coffee production process and sample locally grown coffee.

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

San Vicente de Chucuri

San Vicente de Chucurí is a quaint and scenic town located in the Santander Department of Colombia. Situated in the foothills of the Eastern Andes, this charming town is known for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities.

San Vicente de Chucurí is surrounded by lush green landscapes, with picturesque mountains, cascading waterfalls, and pristine rivers. The town’s setting provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The region offers a range of eco-tourism and adventure activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the nearby natural reserves and ecological parks. The scenic beauty of the area provides ample opportunities for outdoor exploration and relaxation.

The region’s agricultural activities, including coffee and cacao production, provide opportunities for agro-tourism. Visitors can experience the agricultural traditions and practices firsthand, gaining insights into the rural way of life.

Zapatoca

Zapatoca is a charming and historic town located in the Santander Department of Colombia. Nestled in the foothills of the Eastern Andes, Zapatoca is known for its colonial architecture, picturesque landscapes, and cultural heritage. Here is an overview of Zapatoca:

Zapatoca boasts well-preserved colonial architecture, with colorful houses, traditional balconies, and cobblestone streets. The town’s historic center has been designated as a National Monument of Colombia, preserving its architectural heritage.

The central square, Plaza Principal, serves as the heart of Zapatoca and is a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. The plaza features a charming gazebo and is surrounded by historic buildings, creating a pleasant and welcoming ambiance.

Zapatoca is home to several beautiful churches and religious sites, reflecting its strong religious heritage. The Church of San Laureano, with its distinctive façade, is a prominent landmark in the town.

Zapatoca’s gastronomy reflects the traditional flavors of Santander. Visitors can indulge in regional dishes like “pepitoria,” “cabro,” and “hormigas culonas” (big-bottomed ants), a local delicacy.

Guane

Guane is a picturesque and historically significant town located in the Santander Department of Colombia. Situated in the Colombian Andes, Guane is renowned for its colonial architecture, pre-Columbian history, and serene natural surroundings.

Guane is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, featuring charming cobblestone streets, white-washed buildings, and red-tiled roofs. The town’s historical center exudes a tranquil ambiance and reflects its colonial past.

The town’s main landmark is the Santa Lucia Church, an exquisite example of Spanish colonial architecture. The church’s facade and interior are adorned with beautiful religious artwork and carvings.

Guane is an important site for archaeological discoveries, and the town is home to the Guane Archaeological Museum. The museum exhibits artifacts and insights into the pre-Columbian Guane culture that once inhabited the region.

Guane is a stop along El Camino Real, an ancient cobblestone road that once connected Bogotá with the Caribbean coast. The road is a reminder of Colombia’s colonial-era transportation network.

Guane is surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes, offering stunning views of the nearby canyons and mountains. The picturesque scenery attracts nature enthusiasts and hikers.

The town’s cemetery is known for its unique burial tradition. Graves are adorned with colorful painted crosses, creating a distinct and interesting sight.

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.

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 – Pasto

Travel Day

You will travel from Bogota to San Juan de Pasto.

Half Day City Tour

San Juan de Pasto also called the “Surprise City”, also known as the theological capital of Colombia. Capital of the department of Nariño, located in the foothills of the Galeras Volcano. Sample of the culture of the city is the Carnival of Blacks and Whites, declared by Unesco in 2009, as intangible cultural heritage of humanity, in which locals and strangers enjoy a true exchange of culture, always accompanied by joy and respect, where the tourist is considered as one more Pastuso.

Day 5: Pasto – Ipiales – Pasto

Full Day Las Lajas Sanctuary and Tulcan Memorial Park

“El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de las Lajas”, or the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Las Lajas, is located a three-hour drive from Pasto. It is a Gothic church commonly referred to as “a miracle of God in the abyss”, and a jewel of engineering built in the Guáitara river canyon near Ipiales. You will take a break in “El Charco”, a special place for a typical lunch. Then, you will be transferred to the international bridge of Rumichaca and the Tulcán Memorial Park in Ecuador. This place is known for its big topiaries – 4 meters (12 feet) tall. In 1936, the Director of Tulcán municipal parks began to plant cypress and, as they grew, figures were carved out of their branches. The figures range from animals to religious figures and Inca statues.

Day 6: Pasto – Popayan

Travel Day

You will travel from Pasto to Popayan.

Day 7: 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 8: 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 9: Popayan – Cali

Travel Day

You will travel from Popayan to Cali.

Day 10: 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 11: Cali

Half Day 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 12: Cali – Salento

Travel Day

You will travel from Cali to Salento.

Accommodation

Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in 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 – Salamina

Travel Day

You will travel from Salento to Salamina.

Half Day Tour Salamina

After arrival and lunch, you will tour around one of the most beautiful coffee towns. Salamina has not only a stunning landscape to offer, but is also great for a walking tour.

Day 15: Salamina – Samaria – Salamina

Half Day Tour Bosque de la Samaria

This region offers a magnificent landscape with the national tree of Colombia, which is located in what is known as the “Bosque de la Samaria”. This day you will make a tour of approximately one hour to reach the site and enjoy the view of hundreds of Wax Palms, the national tree of Colombia. You will take a walk through the forest and get to know the flora and fauna of the place. Then you will have lunch at the site with a “fiambre”: food transported in banana leaves, very traditional in the coffee region. You will enjoy the landscape full of the tallest palm tree in the world.

Day 16: Salamina – Aguadas

Travel Day

You will travel from Salamina to Aguadas.

Half Day Tour Aguadas

After arrival and lunch, you will tour around Aguadas.

Day 17: Aguadas – Jerico

Travel Day

You will travel from Aguadas to Jerico.

Half Day Tour Jerico

After arrival and lunch, you will tour around Jerico.

Day 18: Jerico

Free day

Jerico is a great and beautiful town and you can discover it by yourself.

Day 19: Jerico – Jardin

Travel Day

You will travel from Jerico to Jardin.

Half Day Tour Jardin

After arrival and lunch, you will tour around Jerico.

Day 20: Jardin

Free day

Jardin is a great and beautiful town and you can discover it by yourself.

Day 21: Jardin – Medellin

Travel Day

You will travel from Jardin 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 22: 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 23: Medellin – Bucaramanga – San Vicente de Chucuri

Travel Day

Today you will travel from Medellin to San Vicente de Chucuri.

You will be picked up at the airport Palonegro in Bucaramanga upon arrival. You will then drive to San Vicente de Chucuri, also known as the Cacao capital of Colombia. After approximate 3 hours you will arrive at this small village and check in to your hotel.

Depending on the transfer time you will enjoy a cacao experience including dinner.

Day 24: San Vicente de Chucuri – Zapatoca

Lengerke Trail

From San Vicente del Chucuri you will drive up the mountain until you reach the Blue Warbler Bird Reserve. Then you will begin the ascent on a royal road. Much of the route is made inside dry and humid tropical forests along paths that preserve the cobblestones built in 1850 by Geo Von Lenguerke and the main route of his commercial activities. The protected area is clearly distributed, on the Eastern slope influenced by typical elements of the Northeast Andes and the Western slope by elements of the Middle Valley of the Magdalena River. Snacks will be included.

Later you will cross to the other side of the Andes mountain range, where a transport will pick you up to get closer to the town of Zapatoca. We will arrive at one of the hotels previously reserved in the town.

Distance: 18.17 KM
Maximum elevation: 2,430 m
Minimum elevation: 1,334 m
Elevation gain: 1,310 m
Elevation loss: 1,001 m

Day 25: Zapatoca – Guane – Barichara

Lengerke trail

Transfer from the hotel in Zapatoca to the start of the walk located 5.7 km from the urban area. The second stage of the Lengerke trail starts at the Zapatoca airfield. First you pass the airfield and then turn left to start descending. In the first kilometer there is a part that is a bit steep and slippery. This part can be avoided by walking a short distance along the road. You will descend until you reach the Suárez River Canyon to the first Lengerke suspension bridge in Colombia. Time to have a snack.

Continuation of the Camino Real until reaching Guane, formerly the last town of the Guane Indians. There we will rest and then transfer by vehicle to Barichara.

Distance: 17.86 KM
Maximum elevation: 1,983 m
Minimum elevation: 766 m
Elevation gain: 420 m
Elevation loss: 1,353 m

Day 26: Barichara

Free day

Barichara is a great and beautiful town and you can discover it by yourself.

Day 27: Barichara – Jordan

Lengerke trail

After breakfast there will be a transfer from the hotel in Barichara to the starting point of the walk (called Alto de Marta) approximately 45 minutes away. There you will begin the descent through the second biggest canyon in the world. After descending 6.9 kms, we will arrive at Tamarindo, where a natural space awaits us to have lunch and rest in the cabins to rest under the shade. The site is situated next to the Chicamocha river. There you also will have lunch.

Distance: 15,51 KM
Maximum elevation: 1,683 m
Minimum elevation: 460 m
Elevation gain: 454 m
Elevation loss: 1,200 m

Day 28: Jordan – Mesa de los Santos

Lengerke trail

Early start to avoid the heat of the canyon. This walk will take us for 8 kms (3 km from the accommodation to the center of the town of Jordán) and then 5 km uphill to the town of Los Santos. In Jordán, the city with the smallest population in Colombia and the first tollbooth built on a suspension bridge.

In the afternoon visit to the Guane pictograms, after lunch, and head to the lodge at Mesa de los Santos.

Distance: 8.5 KM
Maximum elevation: 1,680 m
Minimum elevation: 460 m
Elevation gain: 1,452 m
Elevation loss: –

Day 29: Mesa de los Santos – 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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