Updated on 01/25/2024
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Colombia Trip Summary
Day 1 – Bogota
Day 2 – Bogota
Day 3 – Bogota – Guatavita – Zipaquira – Bogota – Cartagena
Day 4 – Cartagena – Rosario Islands – Cartagena
Day 5 – Cartagena – Departure
Bogotá is Colombia’s capital and has over 10 million inhabitants. It is Colombia’s political, economic, cultural, and tourist center, accounting for most of the national GDP. It is the third-highest capital city in South America as it sits on over 2.600 meters (8.600 feet) above sea level. With average temperatures of 7°C – 20°C (45°F – 60°F), the climate varies between cold to temperate. Bogotá has an area of 1.775 km2 (685 Square miles), which is more than twice the size of Singapore. It was founded in 1.538 by the Spaniards but was already inhabited by the Pre-Muiscas. Most of the tourist attractions are in the historic center “La Candelaria”. The city’s wide cultural offer represented in museums, theaters and libraries has granted it the name of “the South American Athens”. Some important places to visit in Bogotá are Monserrate Monastery, Gold and Botero Museums, “Paloquemao” and “La Perseverancia” food markets.
The municipality of Guatavita – Cundinamarca 53 km northeast of Bogota is recognized for giving rise to the most representative legend of Colombia, one of the most important in the world and Cultural Heritage of the Nation “The story of the Legend of El Dorado”. It is the religious, cultural and ancestral capital of the Muisca people. In Guatavita there is “Guatavita the Origin of the Legend” an area of 13.8 ha, consisting of a historic center with high heritage value and a cultural and tourist development polygon on the banks of the Tominé reservoir.
Zipaquirá is a historic and enchanting town located in the Cundinamarca Department of Colombia, approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Bogotá, the capital city. This charming town is famous for its awe-inspiring underground salt cathedral and well-preserved colonial architecture.
The Salt Cathedral is the primary attraction of Zipaquirá and a marvel of engineering and faith. Carved inside the tunnels of a salt mine, the cathedral is an underground sanctuary with impressive salt sculptures, religious artwork, and an ethereal atmosphere. It is a significant pilgrimage site and a masterpiece of Colombian architecture.
Zipaquirá’s historical center features well-preserved colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming squares. Visitors can stroll through the town’s quaint streets and admire its colonial architecture, including the main square, Plaza de los Comuneros.
In addition to its colonial heritage, Zipaquirá has pre-Columbian archaeological sites, such as the ancient Muisca settlement of El Abra, which offers insights into the region’s indigenous history.
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.
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.
Day 1: Bogota
Arrival to Bogota
You will be picked up at the airport in Bogota and driven to your hotel.
The bilingual guide will be waiting for you at the exit of the airport.
Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Bogota.
Day 2: Bogota
Full day City tour Paloquemao, Monserrate, Museums and La Candelaria
Your first stop will be Paloquemao, an emblematic place for supplying families and businesses in Bogota. It offers with the highest quality a great variety of flowers, fruits, vegetables, meat, groceries, dairy products, herbs and much more. There, our Colombian tradition and culture is preserved and proudly represented by offering a unique sensory experience with all the colors, smells and most delicious flavors that come from all regions of Colombia. Then you will visit ‘La Candelaria’ neighborhood and the historic center of Bogotá, full of colorful colonial buildings and stone streets. During the tour you will visit The Gold Museum and the Botero Museum, both in La Candelaria. The Gold Museum is the place to discover the largest collection of pre-Hispanic goldsmithing in the world, with approximately 34,000 pieces of gold and about 25,000 objects in ceramics, stone, bone and textiles made by several Colombian indigenous cultures, this Museum close on Tuesdays. In the Botero Museum, you will find a large art collection donated by the famous local artist Fernando Botero, including 87 pieces of universal art and 123 works made by Botero himself. Pieces from international artists such as Renoir, Monet, Degas, Dalí, Pissarro, Bonnard, among others, are present in the museum.
Finally, you will visit the Sanctuary of Monserrate, which is the most iconic point of the city and the main tourist attraction. It sits at 3,150 meters (10,334 feet) above the sea level, therefore, it offers spectacular views of the city. To climb the mountain, you can take the cable car or walk along the trail.
Day 3: Bogota – Guatavita – Zipaquira – Bogota – Cartagena
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.
You will travel from Bogota to Cartagena.
Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Cartagena
Day 4: Cartagena – Rosario Islands
Private Boat tour to Rosario Islands
The driver will pick you up at the hotel and take you to the pier. You will have a boat tour through the Rosario Islands, an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea formed by 28 islands. The natural national park was created to protect one of the most important coral reefs of the Caribbean coast of Colombia. From Cartagena, it takes about 45 minutes by boat. During the private boat excursion to the islands, the captain and an assistant will take care of you. Cold drinks such as champagne, beers and water, as well as delicious snacks, will be the perfect accompaniment to the views over the blue ocean. You will be able to discover the beaches and islands at your leisure or do other activities.
Day 5: Cartagena – Departure
You will be picked up at the hotel and driven to the airport Rafael Nuñez in Cartagena.