This summer we went on a 4-week holiday to Colombia and we completely fell in love with the country. Why? You can read all about that here. When we were planning our trip, we knew that we had four weeks. At first we were doubting whether we should combine Colombia with another country like Panama, but in the end we decided that we wanted to discover everything the country had to offer in those four weeks, rather than only seeing the highlights in two or three weeks.
Four weeks seems like a lot, but Colombia is big, really big. After doing some research we had an itinerary in mind covering the things we wanted to see and leaving some space for if we wanted to stay a little bit longer at certain places. Looking back we think that our itinerary was perfect, though of course this depends on what you want to get out of your holiday. We like to be active and love to go on hikes, but we love the beach and some relaxation just as much.
Below you can find our four-week itinerary, which could also be a great start if you have three weeks in Colombia. We will try to make some suggestions so you can alter the itinerary to your likings.
Day 1 – 4 Bogota
Since we arrived in the late afternoon on the first day but left on the fourth day in the evening we had three full days in Bogota, which was fine. Since our flight back home would leave from Bogota we would come back and spend at least a day here, so if we still had some activities on our to do list we would be able to do them at the end of our trip. Three days were fine for Bogota, we did the highlights (read about them here) and really got a feel of the city.
Day 5 – 7 Cali
Since we took a night bus (read all about this here) to Cali we arrived in the morning and had two full days in Cali. This was enough for us to discover the highlights, but two full days were more than enough.
Day 7 – 9 Salento
We arrived in the afternoon on day 7 in Salento and left two days later. We did a coffee tour and the hike through the Cocora valley and that was enough for us. Some people like to stay here a week, but we didn’t see ourselves staying for so long. This is however the place to do more active stuff like hikes, biking, etc. (next to San Gil) so if you want to spend more time in beautiful nature and be active this is the place to spend some more days.
Day 9 – 13 Medellin
There are tons of things to do in and around this city, which was one of our favorites if not the favorite city in Colombia. You can visit Guatapé, go paragliding, and endulge in the Colombian nightlife. We spent 5 days here, but you can easily spend less time here if you are short on time, or more.
Day 13-18 Cartagena
Colombians will tell you this is THE most beautiful city in Colombia, and maybe because that raised our expectations a lot it was actually quite a disappointment. There is not much to do here and the beach is not worth it so you can easily spend less days in Cartagena than we did. However, we had one of the best experiences of Colombia close to here (Curious? Read about it here), so you might want to plan a few days here. 😉
Day 18 – 27 Santa Marta
It seems crazy long to stay in one place for this many days. But if you do some more research on traveling in Colombia, or you may already know, you’ll find that Santa Marta is your base from which you’ll make several trips. We actually only had one full day in Santa Marta, the rest was spend in places like Punta Gallinas, Park Tayrona and Minca.
Day 27 – 28 Bogota
And then all of a sudden you are at the end of your trip and you go back home. Sad story. We felt like we did everything in Bogota when we started our trip so we spent the last hours on souvenir shopping and emotionally preparing ourselves for going back home.
So what if you don’t have four weeks but do want to see most of Colombia?
No worries, there is definitely some places you can skip or shorten your stay. Though we liked Cali, there is not much to see here. So what we would do is skip Cali and go straight from Bogota to Salento. Another option would be to cut down on your days in Cartagena, and/or shorten your stay in Santa Marta.
Of course there is much more to see in Colombia then just these cities. You can go to the Pacific coast for whale watching and exploring the non-touristy part of Colombia. Though we heard that it was REALLY non-touristy, as in, even less English is spoken here and you have to go in little planes making it quite expensive. Also, you can go all the way south to the Amazon. Same here, flights are quite expensive, it takes quite some time to get there and you can also see beautiful rainforest in Tayrona Park. Though we are pretty sure that the Amazon must be amazing.
So what does your itinerary look like? Do you have any tips? Share them in the comment section below!