1 Week In Colombia Holiday Travel Guide (Step-By-Step Itinerary)

Colombia is a big nation, with all kinds of landscapes and experiences to discover. Whether or not you might be searching for journey actions, cultural sights, or a possibility to chill out on attractive seashores, Colombia has all of it.

I’ve beforehand shared in depth itineraries for Colombia for backpackers on lengthy journeys wanting to depart no stone unturned. On this Colombia journey information I’ll deal with a straightforward route that’s excellent for a shorter trip.

In case you have 1 week in Colombia, your finest wager is to deal with one space of the nation. A few of the hottest focal factors are Bogota, Medellín, and Cartagena. Every of those cities is exclusive and presents many alternatives for exploring the encircling space.

This information is particularly for 1 week within the North of Colombia, the place you may discover the gorgeous colonial metropolis of Cartagena, benefit from the tropical seashores of the Rosario Islands, and go to espresso farms and expertise the Colombian jungle in Minca.

1 Week Itinerary

This one-week itinerary features a little bit of all the pieces, is simple to do, and is in part of Colombia identified for its excessive security. It’s superb for first-timers in Colombia, {couples}, and households as effectively.

Transportation, lodging, and actions will be simply booked via on-line platforms or via native brokers (e.g. for bus or ferry tickets it may be simpler to purchase instantly on the terminals).


Day 1 + 2: Cartagena

Arriving in Cartagena, you may be instantly struck by the gorgeous colonial structure and heat Caribbean ambiance.

However first let’s talk about some logistics. Flying into Cartagena is the best choice, as it can assist you to actually take advantage of your one week in Colombia. When planning your journey, take into consideration each the fee and journey time required to get from place to put.

The airport is just quarter-hour from the town heart and there shall be loads of taxis ready for you, however don’t allow them to rip you off. It’s usually that when Colombian taxi drivers see gringos the worth magically doubles and even triples typically.

The worth must be round 15,000 COP and may go up a bit extra relying on the place you’re staying, however not more than 20,000 COP.

To get the total expertise and ambiance in Cartagena I like to recommend staying in one of many stunning colonial motels. Casa Morales is my favourite resort in all the previous city, with its attractive colonial-style structure and trendy facilities. You’ll be able to calm down from the tropical local weather within the pool or get pleasure from your espresso on the non-public balconies.

(E book Casa Morales at Expedia, Reserving, or

As soon as settled in, head out to discover the town.

The Metropolis of Cartagena

Cartagena was based in 1533 by Spanish settlers and have become a commerce hub for gold and slaves within the seventeenth century. The town’s afro-Caribbean affect will be traced to its colonial historical past.

The city nonetheless has many colonial treasures to discover, such because the well-known Walled Metropolis. With its brightly coloured buildings, quaint plazas, and charming cobblestone streets, Cartagena is ideal for wandering round and getting misplaced on objective.

So let’s get on the market and begin exploring!

For Day 1, I like to recommend doing a tour targeted on the Walled Metropolis. This offers you some important historic background however can even merely assist you to orient your self within the metropolis.

You’re going to get to discover all the primary sights inside Cartagena’s colonial heart, together with Plaza Bolivar and San Felipe de Barajas Fortress. The previous city is sort of small, so it is possible for you to to see all the pieces in just some hours.

A bit additional exterior the previous city (however nonetheless inside strolling distance) is the San Felipe fort, the biggest colonial Spanish fortification in South America.

Find out how to e book: e book this non-public tour of the Walled Metropolis at GetYourGuide, which incorporates an English-speaking information and visits to the colonial city plus the full of life barrio of Getsemani. Alternatively, e book this non-public tour through Viator. This features a shorter strolling tour within the previous city however you’ll even have a automotive with driver, so you may see different sights additional away just like the hilltop Popa Convent and the San Felipe fort.

Cartagena is a well-liked vacationer city, so be ready to be approached by road distributors promoting fruit, Panama hats, or souvenirs. Often they do get annoying, however don’t let this deter you from having fun with your time in Cartagena. Merely ignoring them normally works finest.

To get away from the hustle and bustle of the road sellers head to the Getsemani neighborhood, which is a colourful space full of bars,  cafes, and artwork outlets.

Head to one of many native spots for a cheeky 15,000 COP menu del dia. These each day set menus are frequent in Colombia and normally embrace a soup, contemporary fruit juice, and a important plate with meat or fish and patacones (fried plantain slices). The menus del dia are a enjoyable and cheap strategy to get acquainted with the native meals. Alternatively, get pleasure from my favourite ceviche place, La Cevecheria for among the freshest seafood within the metropolis.

On Day 2, head to the Totumo mud volcano. That is the proper exercise for youths as they’ll climb within the mud and run round. Simply beware that it will get very messy!

It’s a couple of half hour to the volcano and I like to recommend taking a half-day tour to take advantage of your time on this distinctive location. There are departures at 7.30 AM and 1 PM. For an early begin, think about getting the 7.30 AM tour. You’ll be able to e book this expertise at GetYourGuide or at

After getting again into city and washing up — which you’ll actually need to do after having mud in all your nooks and crannies — you may spend the remainder of your day additional exploring Cartagena by yourself, or hitting up one among its many seashores.

When you wished to take some social media-worthy snaps now’s the time, as a result of Cartagena has simply so many stunning partitions with road artwork, colourful buildings, and vintage doorways that make for nice backdrops for some selfies.

Cartagena is numerous enjoyable to wander round as there are quite a few boutique outlets, cocktail bars, and specialty cafes. Colombia is, in fact, famed for its improbable arabica espresso beans — and as of late they do a tremendous job roasting them as effectively. My favourite place for a batch brew or V60 is Café La Manchuria, which additionally sells its personal beans and different artisanal native merchandise.

Craving some seashore time? The preferred seashore is Playa Blanca, which has stunning white sand and turquoise water. If you would like a extra secluded expertise, head to Boca Chica or San Lázaro as an alternative. These are a lot much less crowded so it is possible for you to to chill out and benefit from the views in peace.

For the night, head to the highest 10 bars within the WORLD which is positioned in Cartagena. Alquimico is a three-story bar with the perfect cocktails and is a can’t-miss night time out in Cartagena. The afrobeats, reggae and salsa music will get you dancing very quickly.

Day 3 + 4: Rosario Islands

After a couple of days in Cartagena, it’s time to get away from the crowds and head to the Rosario islands. It is a small cluster of islands simply off the coast of Cartagena, which provides you a real tropical getaway.

A number of vacationers go to the primary island of Isla Grande just for the day, however I don’t advocate it. With the seashores in Cartagena being fairly crowded, I counsel staying on the island for no less than one night time. This manner you may actually chill out and luxuriate in this stunning tropical oasis.

The white sand and turquoise water seashores are unmatched by Cartagena, making it the prime spot to sit back and chill out or strive your hand at water sports activities like kayaking and scuba diving.

Attending to the Rosario Islands is sort of straightforward. You will want to move to Muelle de la Bodeguita to catch one of many ferries. The experience to Isla Grande solely takes round 45-60 minutes, and all ferries depart no later than 9:30 within the morning.The tickets for the ferry vary from 55,000 COP to 90,000 COP. The final ferry from Cartagena to Isla Grande leaves at 09:00 within the morning, and the final ferry from Isla Grande to Cartagena leaves at 15:00.

Contemplating the ferry schedule, in case you did a day journey you’ll solely have 6 hours of enjoyable within the solar, which is why it’s nicer to spend two days there.

Resort Isla Bella is the proper place to remain on Isla Marina, an unspoiled smaller island subsequent to Isla Grande, with a variety of bungalows positioned proper on the beachfront. You’ll be able to get pleasure from waking up every morning to the sound of the waves, swinging in your non-public hammock in your balcony and taking within the tropical vibes.

Spend your days exploring the island, renting one of many paddle boards or kayaks and hitting the waves, or strive your hand at snorkeling and diving within the crystal blue water. And don’t overlook to take a sundown stroll alongside the seashore!

And in case you’re feeling adventurous, head out for an all-day journey by yourself non-public yacht. It is possible for you to to snorkel, get pleasure from your lunch and chill out on a gorgeous seashore, all whereas floating alongside the massive blue sea.

Alternatively, think about any of these Rosaria Island excursions which can take you to the perfect bays and islands.

Day 5 – 7: Minca

After enjoyable on the islands, it’s time to move inland and discover Colombia’s lush inexperienced mountains.

Minca is a small mountain village positioned 1 hour away from Santa Marta. It’s one among my favourite locations in Colombia, identified for its unbelievable views of the Caribbean and its surrounding jungle.

It’s an ecotourism hotspot, house to some beautiful eco-lodges, nice mountain climbing trails, waterfalls, and bird-watching spots.

Attending to Minca takes a little bit of time and a bit effort however it’s 100% price it.You will want to take the bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta, which prices round 80,000 COP. The bus terminal in Cartagena is positioned on the outskirts of the town, so anticipate a taxi from the middle to take about half-hour. The bus journey to Santa Marta can take over 5 hours relying on visitors. It takes some time, however on the plus aspect, the journey is fairly snug and also you’ll get to see a few of Colombia’s landscapes from the window.

When you arrive in Santa Marta, the simplest and most handy strategy to get to Minca is by taxi, it takes about 45 minutes and can value round 80,000 COP. You may also take the native bus, which is less expensive however will take about double the time.

There are a ton of fantastic locations to remain in Minca — from high-end eco resorts to extra budget-friendly hostels and leases — however the one place I extremely advocate staying is Masaya Casas Viejas.

This stunning jungle lodge is ideal for these seeking to escape the town and luxuriate in nature within the coronary heart of Colombia. And the infinity pool overlooking the jungle is the proper place to chill off and chill out!

(You’ll be able to e book Masaya at Expedia, Reserving, or

Spend Day 1 in Minca enjoyable after your lengthy journey, and take within the stunning views out of your resort. Think about a stroll into Minca city for a meal at the Lazy Cat, some native specialty espresso at Caficosta, or some amazingly yummy artsinal icecream at WAIRA.

On Day 2, it would be best to make sure that to discover the encircling space. There are tons of nice hikes that lead via espresso fields or up waterfalls, together with zip strains and horseback using excursions for these searching for a bit extra journey.

All these actions can both be achieved independently or will be booked at native brokers without having to pre-book on-line. When you’re undecided what to do, go to Jungle Joe in town’s important road the place you may collect all the knowledge.

Within the afternoon, make sure that to go to the Pozo Azul, a gorgeous set of waterfalls and two pure swimming holes to chill off in after a day of mountain climbing.

Minca can be a fantastic place to expertise many various unique birds of their pure habitat, making it the proper vacation spot for birdwatchers. Jungle Joe’s bird-watching tour is unbelievable, providing the possibility to identify the elusive toucan and plenty of different creatures.

And no journey to Minca could be full with out visiting a espresso farm. Colombia is without doubt one of the high coffee-producing nations on the earth, so don’t miss out on taking a tour of one among its many native plantations. You’ll find out how they make their distinctive espresso processing and luxuriate in a cup of their freshly brewed brew.

On Day 3, I counsel both doing extra actions round Minca, or to take your probability to see one of the stunning locations in all of Colombia, Tayrona Nationwide Park. This large 1,200-hectare park stretches alongside the coast of Colombia and is house to beautiful seashores and unbelievable wildlife.

The preferred strategy to discover Tayrona Nationwide Park is by a day journey from Santa Marta. So you will have to make your means again to the larger metropolis and head to one of many many tour corporations. You may also contact your tour supplier and ask if they provide a pick-up from Minca. That is the preferred tour possibility on Viator, whereas you will get the same Tayrona tour via GetYourGuide.

They’ll organize for a roundtrip transport and entrance charge into the park, in addition to providing a number of completely different mountain climbing excursions all through the jungle areas inside Tayrona Nationwide Park.

Begin your day with a fast 1-hour hike via some dense jungle-lined paths till you attain Cabo San Juan seashore. This beautiful tropical white sand seashore is a must-see, and one of the stunning in all of Colombia.

Spend the remainder of your day absorbing the solar, swimming within the glowing blue waters, or mountain climbing to some hidden spots round Cabo San Juan seashore.

I like to recommend attending to the park as early as doable, because the seashores and trails will begin to get extra crowded because the day goes on. So make sure that to get up early, pack a picnic lunch with some contemporary fruit, and luxuriate in your final day surrounded by untouched nature.

Extending your journey

When you can prolong your time in Colombia to 9 days I extremely advocate visiting the town of Medellin. As so many worldwide flights go away from Medellin to simply about in every single place on the earth, it’s a excellent place to cease and take 1 further day earlier than heading house.

Medellin was as soon as probably the most harmful metropolis on the earth however is now a bustling metropolis stuffed with fascinating structure, unbelievable museums, pleasant locals, and a lot extra. As a result of its tumultuous previous (heard of a sure Escobar?) it’s nonetheless the perfect place to find out about Colombia’s latest historical past. The Actual Metropolis Tour Medellin shall be extraordinarily informative and eye-opening.

You may also wander via the street-art-covered neighborhood of Comuna 13 in your go to, as it’s a actually distinctive expertise. This offers you a style of what the town went via and the way they’ve come again higher than ever.

Alternatively, in case your flight is via the capital Bogota, you should utilize your further day in Bogota to go to the spectacular Gold Museum, the Botero Museum, and take a strolling tour across the previous metropolis. Neither Bogota nor Medellin are stunning like Cartagena, however they’ll present you much more about Colombian historical past and tradition.

So whether or not you will have 1 week or 9 days, Colombia is the proper vacation spot for a jam-packed journey, as this Colombia journey information has hopefully demonstrated! It’s an unforgettable nation, so don’t miss out on this wonderful alternative to discover one of the stunning nations in South America.

Journey Suggestions for First-time Colombia

Do you want a visa for Colombia?

No visa is important as most nations are granted 90 days in Colombia with no visa.

Is Colombia secure?

Colombia is mostly a secure nation. Whereas there could also be some dangers in sure areas, with frequent sense and a little bit of analysis it is best to have the ability to get pleasure from your journey with none points. The nation has turn into an enormous vacationer vacation spot lately and has turn into very secure for guests to get pleasure from their time right here.

You’ll be able to learn extra Colombia security data right here, although the previous metropolis of Cartagena, Minca, and the close by seashores and islands lined listed below are identified to be very safe and headache-free.

Do you should know Spanish?

Whereas understanding some Spanish will be useful, it’s not completely essential to get pleasure from your time in Colombia. There are many English-speaking locals and plenty of excursions particularly designed for vacationers within the nation.

Nevertheless, studying a bit bit forward of time or utilizing a translation app will help you navigate the town and talk with locals.

What plug sort is utilized in Colombia?

The plug sort in Colombia is the usual North American type with two flat prongs.

Find out how to pay for issues in Colombia?

The commonest choices for paying for issues in Colombia are by money or bank card. Many companies at the moment are accepting main bank cards, however I like to recommend at all times having money as many native locations and taxi drivers solely settle for money.

There are many ATMs everywhere in the nation and yow will discover ones with low charges making it straightforward to withdraw money.

The native foreign money in Colombia is the Colombian peso. The Colombian Peso is a particularly excessive foreign money that’s within the hundreds, so 25,000 COP is the equal of about $5.

At first, it might probably appear insane when a taxi driver tells you your experience is 10,000 COP, however you’ll shortly get the cling of the foreign money and it gained’t appear as daunting.

When’s the perfect time to go?

The perfect time to go to Colombia is from December to February when the climate is mostly gentle and nice with hardly any rainfall.

Nevertheless, that is additionally the height vacationer season in Colombia, so if you wish to keep away from crowds and better costs, it could be finest to journey throughout the spring or fall as an alternative.

No matter whenever you go, with its pure magnificence and vibrant tradition, Colombia is certain to be an unforgettable expertise.

Some hyperlinks could also be affiliate hyperlinks, which means I’ll earn fee from services or products I like to recommend. For extra, see website insurance policies.

Posted NOV 16, 2022
· Final Up to date Nov 16, 2022

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