Top 10 Places to Visit in Colombia (Well the Top 10 Places plus a few extra)
Chase’s Idea for a 10 to 20 day itinerary!
I would book my flight through FlightNetwork.com as it pulls from all of the other travel websites onto one page of search results! Not to mention they always have rebates and discount codes online. Book your flight to land in Bogota and find a flight that lands in the morning 5am or between 5am to 7pm for safety reasons and ensuring your hotel and/or hostel is open and it’s always easier to navigate your way around a new city in the light.
1. Bogota – This will be your hub if you want to venture off the beaten path. Bogota is surrounded by Andean peaks which frame this invigorating, sophisticated, and historic city. Rosales and La Candelaria were my favourite spots to stay
HOSTEL: Explora Hostels
a. Get up nice and early and go on a hike! This hike is called Quebrada la Vieja in the Cerros Orientales located in Rosales, which is a very wealthy neighborhood and the trail head is above the Circumvalar at Calle 72. You can arrange a taxi to take you there. 45 minutes up you’ll see a fork where you can take 3 different trails. The one on the right leads to Monserrate in 2-3 hours walking and this is the top of the hill over looking all of Bogota! From here you can take a cable car down. But definitely ensure you have a local with you or ask if there are police protecting the area. Or you can take Monserrate cable cars up to the top which is incredible!
b. Biking Tours either Bogota Travel Tours, Ciclovia de Bogota or Bogota Bike Tours – this is the perfect way to see the different neighborhoods with knowledgeable guides!
c. I stayed in a hostel called Explora Hostel which was great! There are a ton of hostels in the area but this one is definitely more a chill place
d. While you’re here book a trip to Cano Cristales. You will fly into La Macerana, Meta and then go to Cano Cristales from there.
2. Cano Cristales known as the River of 5 Colors. This is a biological wonder that is best witnessed with a clear day and the sun shining on the river. This is one of those sites that is best photographed during high, bright sun. It is a truly unique site that is definitely not easy to get to but worth the journey and exploration I recommend the trip for 3 days and 2 nights. Tip to remember it’s off the beaten path so keep your expectations for room and board low.
3. Cerros de Mavecure 50km south of Inirida on the Inirida River. These mountain scapes are apart of the Guiana Shield and are located on the East side of Colombia near Venezuela. Photograph these gems in the golden hours either sunrise or sunset and you should have something turn out like this! It is an hour and 30 minute flight to Inirida from Bogota then a 2 hour boat ride – but well worth it!
Here’s a link to check out to book a tour: http://aventurecolombia.com/en/package/los-cerros-de-mavecure (non-affiliate link)
4. Salento and the Corcora Valley – This is my favourite place without a doubt. The wax palms reach 200ft, and are some of the highest in the world. The trees are so skinny you can almost hug them. Start your hike early in the morning and take your time!
5. Medellin – This city has gone through such extreme changes from the mid 1980’s until today. It was rated the most innovative city in the world in recent years. It’s a must do.
6. El Penol de Guatape
7. Santa Marta – After spending time in southern and central Colombia this place will feel like a furnace! Welcome to South America’s second oldest city. I stayed at the Masaya Hostel and will you ever be blown away! This place is 3 stories and equipped with a pool, rooftop hot tub, rooftop bar/restaurant, pool table, and kitchen area. The staff are extremely helpful and kind. Santa Marta is a great place to walk around and check out the numerous street vendors and markets, but also used as a spot to take off from to the Lost City, Ciudad Perdida, Costeno Beach, Minca and Parque Tayrona. Book or check out Masaya hostel here!
8. Parque Tayrona – visit the national park’s site to see everything you can do here http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/portal/es/ecoturismo/region-caribe/parque-nacional-natural-tayrona/#
8a. Ciudad Perdida and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range – Trip with Exopturs – 5 days. Make sure you bring a sleeping bag liner, Hiking Boots, smaller day pack leave your main bag at a hostel in Santa Marta, 2-3 shirts, toilet paper one roll, 10L waterproof bag, and fully charged gear ie. phone, camera, portable chargers.
9. Costeno Beach Surf Camp – I spent 3 nights and 3.5 days here. It is definitely off the beaten path, I took 2 separate local buses to get here but speaking with the locals helped me get here! It’s definitely a bit of a trek getting dropped off of the side of the road then a walk down
9b. After Costeno Beach I would recommend definitely going to Minca. Stay at the Casa Elemento hostel and go on adventure up the mountains in the cloud rain forest. The photo at the top is at the hostel, and it is beyond breathtaking as you watch the clouds move through the forest canopies
10. Cartegena – The Old City is definitely the main attraction and a walk around the Old City’s wall. I was only here for a short time, but google the place and you’ll know what I mean