Recommended Travel Itineraries for Colombia



Getting around Colombia is quite easy since it is very well connected by a good bus system and a host of intra-national flights that are fairly good value as long as you book well in advance.  I have built these recommended itineraries based on the use of bus as the mai source of transportation, but flights, of course, are also an option.  Obviously, these itineraries are meant as guides to help you with your planning and are not in any way shape or form the only way to travel Colombia. If you have any questions about travel in Colombia please don’t hesitate to contact me as I am always glad to help.

Itinerary 1: Coastal Colombia

Costal Colombia

Costal Colombia

  • Day 1: Arrive in Bogota
  • Day 2: Bogota – Museo de Oro, Monserrate, La Calendaria
  • Day 3: Bogota in the AM – Museo Botero.  PM – Catch the night bus to Cartagena (20hrs)
  • Day 4: Cartagena – Relax after long bus, maybe hit Playa Grande
  • Day 5: Cartagena – Explore the Old City + Castillo de San Felipe
  • Day 6: Cartagena – Tour to nearby islands
  • Day 7: Santa Marta – Catch bus to Santa Marta (4hrs)
  • Day 8: Santa Marta – Explore the City
  • Day 9: Tayrona – Head into Tayrona National Park for the night
  • Day 10: Tayrona – Explore Tayrona, evening return to Santa Marta
  • Day 11: Night bus – Catch the night bus to Medellin (14-16hrs)
  • Day 12: Medellin – Relax, enjoy Parque Lleras
  • Day 13: Medellin – Visit Plaza Botero, Parque Arvi, Jardin Botanico
  • Day 14:  Bus back to Bogota either night or day (10hrs)
  • Day 15: End in Bogota

Itinerary 2: The Loop

Colombian Loop

Colombian Loop

  • Day 1: Arrive in Bogota
  • Day 2: Bogota – Museo de Oro, Monserrate, La Calendaria
  • Day 3: Bogota in the AM – Museo Botero.  PM – Catch the night bus to Bucaramanga (10hrs)
  • Day 4: Bucaramanga: Explore the city
  • Day 5: To Santa Marta: Take the day bus to Santa Marta (9hrs)
  • Day 6: Santa Marta – Explore the City
  • Day 7: Tayrona – Head into Tayrona National Park for the night
  • Day 8: Tayrona – Explore Tayrona, evening return to Santa Marta
  • Day 9: Morning in Santa Marta, afternoon bus to Cartagena (4hrs)
  • Day 10: Cartagena – Explore the Old City + Castillo de San Felipe
  • Day 11: Cartagena – Tour to nearby islands
  • Day 12: AM Cartagena and PM night bus to Medellin (12hrs)
  • Day 13: Medellin – Relax, enjoy Parque Lleras
  • Day 14: Medellin – Visit Plaza Botero, Parque Arvi, Jardin Botanico
  • Day 15: AM Medellin -PM Night bus to Cali
  • Day 16: Cali – Visit the Churches and Museums
  • Day 17: Visit the Zoo, Salsa lessons in the PM
  • Day 18: Bus to Popayan (3hrs)
  • Day 19: Explore Colonial Popayan
  • Day 20: Explore Popayan in the AM, PM night bus to Bogota (11hrs)
  • Day 21: End in Bogota

Intinerary 3: The Half Loop

Half loop of Colombia

Half loop of Colombia

  • Day 1: Arrive in Bogota
  • Day 2: Bogota – Museo de Oro, Monserrate, La Calendaria
  • Day 3: Bogota in the AM – Museo Botero.  PM – Catch the night bus to Bucaramanga (10hrs)
  • Day 4: Bucaramanga: Explore the city
  • Day 5: To Santa Marta: Take the day bus to Santa Marta (9hrs)
  • Day 6: Santa Marta – Explore the City
  • Day 7: Tayrona – Head into Tayrona National Park for the night
  • Day 8: Tayrona – Explore Tayrona, evening return to Santa Marta
  • Day 9: Morning in Santa Marta, afternoon bus to Cartagena (4hrs)
  • Day 10: Cartagena – Explore the Old City + Castillo de San Felipe
  • Day 11: Cartagena – Tour to nearby islands
  • Day 12: AM Cartagena and PM night bus to Medellin (12hrs)
  • Day 13: Medellin – Relax, enjoy Parque Lleras
  • Day 14: Medellin – Visit Plaza Botero, Parque Arvi, Jardin Botanico
  • Day 15: AM Medellin -PM Night bus to Bogota (10hrs)
  • Day 16: End in Bogota

Itinerary 4: Essential Colombia

Essential Colombia

Essential Colombia

  • Day 1: Arrive in Bogota
  • Day 2: Bogota – Museo de Oro, Monserrate, La Calendaria
  • Day 3: Bogota in the AM – Museo Botero.  PM – Catch the night bus to Cartagena (20hrs)
  • Day 4: Cartagena – Relax after long bus, maybe hit Playa Grande
  • Day 5: Cartagena – Explore the Old City + Castillo de San Felipe
  • Day 6: Cartagena – Tour to nearby islands
  • Day 7: Night bus – Catch the night bus to Medellin (12hrs)
  • Day 8: Medellin – Relax, enjoy Parque Lleras
  • Day 9: Medellin – Visit Plaza Botero, Parque Arvi, Jardin Botanico
  • Day 10: AM Medellin -PM Night bus to Cali
  • Day 11: Cali – Visit the Churches and Museums
  • Day 12: Visit the Zoo, Salsa lessons in the PM
  • Day 13:  Bus back to Bogota either night or day (8-10hrs)
  • Day 14: End in Bogota

Itinerary 4: The Interior

Colombian Interior

Colombian Interior

  • Day 1: Arrive in Bogota
  • Day 2: Bogota – Museo de Oro, Monserrate, La Calendaria
  • Day 3: Bogota in the AM – Museo Botero.  PM – Catch the night bus to Medellin (10hrs)
  • Day 4: Medellin – Relax, enjoy Parque Lleras
  • Day 5: Medellin – Visit Plaza Botero, Parque Arvi, Jardin Botanico
  • Day 6: AM Medellin -PM Night bus to Cali
  • Day 7: Cali – Visit the Churches and Museums
  • Day 8: Cali – AM Zoo, PM Salsa classes
  • Day 9: Bus to Popayan (3hrs)
  • Day 10: Explore Colonial Popayan
  • Day 11: Explore Popayan in the AM, PM night bus to Bogota (11hrs)
  • Day 12: End in Bogota

Itinerary 5: Cross Colombia

Cross Colombia

Cross Colombia

**Note: If you’re coming from/going to Venezuela via the Merida, you will need to add Bucaramanga to the start of this journey with a bus journey to Santa Marta

  • Day 1: Santa Marta – Explore the City
  • Day 2: Tayrona – Head into Tayrona National Park for the night
  • Day 3: Tayrona – Explore Tayrona, evening return to Santa Marta
  • Day 4: Morning in Santa Marta, afternoon bus to Cartagena (4hrs)
  • Day 5: Cartagena – Explore the Old City + Castillo de San Felipe
  • Day 6: Cartagena – Tour to nearby islands
  • Day 7: AM Cartagena and PM night bus to Medellin (12hrs)
  • Day 8: Medellin – Relax, enjoy Parque Lleras
  • Day 9: Medellin – Visit Plaza Botero, Parque Arvi, Jardin Botanico
  • Day 10: AM Medellin -PM Night bus to Bogota (10hrs)
  • Day 11: Bogota – Take a day to relax
  • Day 12: Bogota – Museo de Oro, Monserrate, La Calendaria
  • Day 13: Bogota in the AM – Museo Botero.  PM – Catch the night bus to Cali (8-10hrs)
  • Day 14: Cali – Visit the Churches and Museums
  • Day 15: Cali – AM Zoo, PM Salsa classes
  • Day 16 - Bus to Popayan (3hrs)
  • Day 17: Explore Colonial Popayan
  • Day 18: Bus to Pasto (***Note: do not take this bus at night)
  • Day 19: Paso to Ecuador


17 Comments

  1. Great work! would you mind if I linked back to this from my Blog?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Don, I’d be honoured. Go for it!

      Post a Reply
  2. Hey Brendan,

    These are really helpful itineraries. Do you have any suggestions or advice about going to the jungle in Leticia? Would that be worth it on a 10 day trip? Let me know if you have any ideas.

    Thanks,
    Alex

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Alex,
      I’ve never been… however, give my buddy Dave a check at Medellinliving.com and he can give you advice for sure!

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks Brendan! One other question: If you had to extend Itinerary 2: The Loop for a few days, where would you do it? I am going on a trip to Colombia at the end of the month, flying into Bogota, and will be spending 27 days in the country. I like the Loop itinerary but I’m wondering where I could spend the extra days. I’m thinking that around Cartagena would be a good idea, but let me know what you would suggest. Thanks!

        Post a Reply
        • Yeah, around Cartagena. I never get tired of that city!

          Post a Reply
        • Or you could spend 2-3 days in San Gil, hiking, biking and getting fit before heading up to Cartagena, it looks a great spot for outdoor adventure

          Post a Reply
  3. Hi Brendan,
    great webpage, I just found it, so I am first time here, I really like it. Good job, thanks.
    Question – I would like to go to Colombia, but I am different kind of traveler, I stay at country for while, really live there, and when I fell like local it s time to move again.. So I am wondering about jobs, should be easy to find some at tourist country like Colombia. What do you think? In some little town..
    thanks a lot.
    take care.
    Sam

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Sam,
      Not too sure about jobs to be honest. Colombia has tourists, but it’s not as touristy as you think. Especially not outside the centers. Your best bet would be to try in the hostels in places like Medellin and Cartagena, I would assume. It’s an amazing country though, so I highly recommend you spend time there!

      Post a Reply
  4. Hi,
    thanks for answer, I was thinking about bars, restaurants and hotels to look for job, I did hostel for half year and kind of have enough of that.
    St. Marta area is where I would like to try it and hope I ll be lucky, that is many times all you need..
    And what about exploring country, some remotes places, is it safe? Can you just go anywhere?
    thanks again. where are you right now? home?
    sam

    Post a Reply
    • Most places are safe now Sam, although you have to be careful on some stretches of the country. Also, the west side of coastline after the Darien is still quite rough as is the Darien. As for remote places, there are lots of really cool places on the east side of the Darien like Capurgana, and Sapzurro. Also, loads of little pueblitos around Medellin. Get in touch with Dave from MedellinLiving.com he’s a good resource and lives there right now.

      Post a Reply
  5. Hey Brendan, thanks for the itinerary ideas, cant wait to land in mid january!

    quick question for you: why should you not take the bus to pasto at night?

    Post a Reply
    • My pleasure Sean,
      That night bus to Pasto was victim to some hijackings a couple times. It’s possible to take it, but just ask the current situation before you go. If you go during the day, the views are amazing though, so it’s worth it anyways.

      Post a Reply
  6. Just curious why you seem to skip over Barranquilla on all your itineraries…

    Post a Reply
    • Kevin, I’m not really a fan, to be honest. Outside of maybe Carnival time, it doesn’t offer the average tourist on a schedule much, in my opinion.

      Post a Reply
  7. Hi Brendan!

    Great itineraries by the way! I’m planning an one month trip to Colombia in july and I’m thinking of hiking to “la ciudad perdida”, do you have any experience of that trek? I also would like to see the river “caño cristales”, but I’v read that it can be quite unsafe to travel in that area? What would you recommend?

    cheers,

    Mimi

    Post a Reply
    • I have don’t the lost city, it’s awesome. It’s hot, and humid, but amazing.
      As for the river, I haven’t done it but have had friends that have gone. It’s a serious mission to get there. It shouldn’t be dangerous, but do ask for local advice before making the journey, things can change.

      Post a Reply

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