For the traveller, life is much harder than those back at home seem to think. Sure, it looks like we’re relaxing in Tayrona National Park without a care in the world but actually we’re planning our trip, budgeting, doing administration work and implementing time management skills. If anything, we should be getting paid while we eat that freshly picked coconut.
Still, just as there are ways to look online and find answers to problems at work, we at Colombia Travel Blog have decided to help the struggling traveller by creating a 2 week itinerary for Colombia that combines a little bit of everything the country has to offer. So if this is your first time travelling to Colombia, fear not. We’re here.
If you’re wondering what Smart Travel is, it’s our concept of travel that mixes affordability with comfort. If you’re a Smart Traveller, you don’t mind taking a bus, you’re not afraid of a hostel, but equally you’ll take a hotel with a pool and enjoy dinner in a good restaurant. You’re smart, basically.
In this particular instance I’ve tried to cram as much in as possible. If you don’t like night busses or you want to slow it down, I’d advise missing out San Gil and Taganga/Santa Marta.
Days 1 – 2
Start in Bogota. Spend 2 days here to acclimatize. I’d be sure to see the Gold Museum, the Botero Collection, Monserrate, La Candelaria and to go out in Zona T and generally try and explore. It’s a big city, it’s traffic-filled and a little chaotic but I love it. If the idea of a big city doesn’t attract you so much, limit your stay to two days. There is, however, a load of stuff to do. It’s a city that doesn’t stop. Be sure to take a Bogota City Tour to see the best of it.
Next take a night bus to San Gil. This is the adventure sport capital of the country so you can climb, abseil, raft, paraglide and much more. Give it at least 2 days. You can also visit Bucaramanga, and hike to the nearby colonial villages.
Days 4 – 5
From San Gil take the (long) night bus journey to Santa Marta. In Santa Marta try the restaurants – but your best bet is to head to Taganga for 2 days to enjoy some diving and the nightlife. It’s a bit of a backpacker’s paradise but if you don’t mind backpackers you’ll enjoy it. If you want to avoid that, stay in Santa Marta and just take the bus over to Taganga.
Days 6 – 10
After 2 days take the boat (from Tagange) or bus (from Santa Marta) in the morning to Tayrona (only about 1 1/2 hours away). This is your chance to relax and do nothing. You can camp for around $7 each, or take a hammock for the same price. In Tayrona you’ll pretty much relax and explore the pristine beaches, the beautiful mountainscapes and the relics of the Tayrona settlements.
Give Tayrona 2 or 3 days before heading back to Santa Marta to get the bus to Cartagena. This takes around 5 hours in total. Spend 2 or 3 nights in Cartagena (depending how long you were in Tayrona) and just explore it’s magical streets, take a Cartagena City Tour and enjoy some of the great cuisine on offer. Just like in Tayrona, here you’re just relaxing and enjoying life. Particular highlights include the Castle of San Felipe and the church of San Pedro Claver.
Days 11 – 12
Fly to Medellin. Give Medellin 1 night. See the Botero museum, enjoy the nightlife and Parque Lleras and try out the botanical gardens. Be sure to check out the Botero Collection houses at the infamous Plaza de Las Esculturas, and get a great view of the city from the Metro Cable. For a bit of peace in the city, head up to Pueblito Paisa, too. From Medellin take the night bus (around 7-8 hours) to the Coffee Zone.
Days 13 – 14
In the Coffee Zone you’ll want to stay in Salento unless you fancy a nice blow-out for your final stop. In these case, talk to See Colombia Travel about renting a finca (a country house). Give this area at least 1 full day as you definitely want to go to Cocora Valley – it’s the most iconic area of Colombia.
You’ve pretty much wrapped things up now, so time to head home. You can either get a connection flight from Armenia – Bogota – home, or take an overnight bus to Bogota and fly from there.
Phew! That was exhausting BUT AMAZING. Time to plan your next trip to Colombia, eh?