Travel News Partnerships 10 days to feel the rhythm in Colombia – an itinerary from Bogota to Cartagena

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10 days to feel the rhythm in Colombia – an itinerary from Bogota to Cartagena

Ready to dance your way through Colombia with our 10 day itinerary? First up is a quick intro in Bogota, followed by a buzzing session in the coffee region. Then we drop the beat (and our jaws) among the hills of Medellín. After that, it’s off to the slower tempo and chill of Cartagena and the Caribbean. We’ve even got a bonus track for those who want to lose themselves in the lush sights and sounds of the Amazon.

In partnership with:

The best way to connect from one destination to another is Avianca Airlines, which has the best connected network throughout Colombia, from Caribbean to Pacific. It’s also a Star Alliance member – good to know in case you’ve got some miles saved up.

The 10 day Colombia all-star itinerary – coffee, mountains, rainforests and the best beaches

Can’t take too much time off? Not a problem. With this itinerary, you’ll cover everything Colombia is famous for. Although once you’re done going through this list of magical experiences, you might find yourself trying to turn that 10 day Colombia trip into something bigger.

Bogota – golden sightseeing opportunities (1-2 days)

Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold) in Bogota - 10 day Colombia itinerary
Museo del Oro, Bogota. Image Copyright: Sebastian Sanint / ProColombia

If you believe that the best things in life are free, you’re in for a treat with Bogota. Most of the capital’s must-do’s won’t cost you a thing. You can take a free walking tour through the rainbow-color La Candelaria district, huff and puff your way 1312 feet up Monserrate to see a 17th century church and a breathtaking view of Bogota, or relax at Parque Simón Bolívar. Even the city’s most famous attraction, Museo del Oro (a.k.a. “Gold Museum”) is free on Sundays.

How to get there: It’s easy to find non-stop (and great value) flights from many US airports – including Miami, Orlando, Los Angeles, New York and Washington – thanks to Avianca Airlines.

Salento & Cocora Valley – Colombia’s famous coffee region, Paisaje Cultural Cafetero (2-3 days)

A tour through Colombia’s coffee region. Image Copyright: ProColombia

Whether you’re a coffee geek who knows their V60 from their Chemex or a good ol’ cuppa joe kind of person, a visit to Colombia’s coffee region is a lifechanger. Stay overnight at a finca to see how the magic happens, from roast to brew, and have Colombian coffee the way it was meant to be. Then stroll through the cute town of Salento before visiting the incredibly Instagrammable Cocora Valley and its 200 foot tall wax palms. An insider tip: visit during harvest season (between April-May or October-December) to see where your cup of coffee begins its journey.

How to get there: You can fly there from Bogota via Armenia or Pereira airport. With Avianca flights that are often under $100, it won’t stretch your budget either.

Medellín and its surroundings – stunning hilltop views and supreme street art (2-3 days)

That photo above? It’s from Guatapé, only 2 hours from Medellín. And that massive rock that looks like a block of Toblerone? That’s Piedra del Peñol. The view from above is a highlight of visiting Medellín – as are the colorful houses of Guatapé. Even closer to town is San Felix, a prime paragliding spot. Too much adrenaline? You can get a similar view by taking one of the cable cars connecting Medellín’s hilly neighborhoods to Parque Arvi.

Now, back to the city itself. A guided tour of the powerful street art of Comuna 13 doesn’t just showcase creativity – it also tells you the story of Medellín’s past. A night in El Poblado will show you how good Colombians are at partying, and getting you to join in. And if you arrive in August, you can catch the Medellín Flower Festival in full bloom.

How to get there: As Colombia’s second biggest city, Medellín is easy to reach, either from the US – via Orlando, Miami, Ft Lauderdale and New York – or from other Colombian airports.

Cartagena – historical charm and Caribbean color (2-3 days)

Cartagena harbor and old town - 10 day Colombia itinerary
Walled City and harbor, Cartagena. Image Copyright: ProColombia

This Caribbean port city – with its gold and pink facades, blue waters and red brick roofs – is so pretty it hurts. And its palenqueras – women with vibrant dresses and big smiles balancing fruit baskets on their head with such ease it feels like they’re dancing – are the embodiment of the Colombian spirit. You can see them in the picturesque streets of the UNESCO World Heritage site Walled City. Once you’ve soaked up all that beauty and toured the grand Castillo de San Felipe De Barajas, it’s time to take a boat to Playa Blanca for that white sand beach experience you were waiting for. A visit to Cartagena also means diving into first class seafood and healing mud… but we’ll get to that later.

How to get there: You can connect to Cartagena from Bogota or Medellín. Or, if you want to flip your 10 day Colombia itinerary and start here instead, you can also fly direct from Florida.

Santa Marta & Tayrona National Park – white sands and a tropical oasis (1-2 days)

Santa Marta - sights sounds and tastes to make you visit Colombia right now
Santa Marta. Image Copyright: ProColombia

Playa Blanca left you wanting even more? You’re in luck. Up next in our Colombia itinerary is Santa Marta, which is your gateway to the paradise beachs and sheltering rainforests of Tayrona National Park. You can either chose to go on a day trip, or stay there overnight to sleep by the sea. There’s also the nearby town of Taganga, which is great for scuba diving. And if you have more time – and you’re up for a solid 4-day hike through jungles and rivers – Santa Marta is the starting spot for a journey to the legendary Lost City of Ciudad Perdida.

How to get there: The 5 hour drive between Cartagena and Santa Marta makes for an amazing road trip. Especially if you have time to stop off at colorful Barranquilla, home of the world’s second biggest carnival.

Feel the jungle beats – a 10 day Colombia itinerary through the Amazon

You might think of Bolivia and Brazil as Amazon destinations. But actually, Colombia offers some of the most pristine rainforest environments, as well as over 1889 bird species. That’s the highest in the world. And since it’s less known among travellers, you’ll get to see nature in its wildest form.

Bogota – the cultural side of the capital (1-2 days)

A view of Bogota from above. Image Copyright: ProColombia

You already know some of Bogota’s must-do’s. Now it’s time for more. Go to the Botero Museum for larger than life art, and take a tour of the macro murals and street art of Bogota’s barrios. Venture out of town to see The Salt Cathedral, a church deep inside an old mine. Admire Nuestra Señora de Lourdes and the grand government buildings surrounding Plaza de Bolivar. Get your tastebuds partying with vibrant dishes like ajiaco – a chicken and corn soup with avocado – and cheese dipped in chocolate (trust us, you’re going to love it.)

Leticia – on the doorstep of the Colombian Amazon (4-5 days)

A cute monkey in the rainforest near Leticia - an Amazon Colombia trip
A scene from the Colombian Amazon. Image Copyright: ProColombia

Leticia – which you can fly to from Bogota – will be your adventure headquarter if your Colombia trip is all about getting to know the colorful creatures, diverse greenery and indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Unless you decide to go on a longer, deeper tour into the jungle, you’ll most likely be doing day trips and boat rides down the river. Monkey Island is where you can see cute fellas like the one in the picture above. Meanwhile, bird watchers can go for Puerto Nariño. And if at some point you spot a pink dolphin or a giant lily pad, know that you’re not dreaming. What you’re seeing is real.

How to get there: As the main hub for Amazon adventures in Colombia, Leticia’s airport is well connected with daily flights from Bogota.

Cartagena – juicy cuisine and relaxing islands (2-3 days)

Couple enjoying a meal near Cartagena harbor
Delightful dining by the Caribbean in Cartagena. Image Copyright: ProColombia

Remember us mentioning something about a mud volcano? That’s El Totumo, an hour’s drive out of Cartagena. It’s said to have healing powers, but even if not, it’s fun rolling around in volcanic goo. You can also go a bit farther out and visit Isla Grande, one of the Rosario Islands, for an idyllic beach getaway. We’ll also use this space to give Cartagena’s cuisine a shout-out. With fried green plaintains, crispy red snapper, coconut rice, mango and maracuya popsicles, plus Anthony Bourdain-approved ceviche, this is the foodie destination of Colombia.

How to get there: To get from Leticia to Cartagena, you’ll have to make a quick stop at Bogota. As for heading back home – it’s good to know that you it’s possible to find non-stop flights from Cartagena to Miami with Avianca Airlines.

Is it safe to travel in Colombia?

Considering we recommend Colombia as one of the best places to travel solo, the answer is yes. Our detailed guide can tell you what to expect.

When’s the best time to go?

Right now?

Joking aside, the weather’s amazing year-round in Colombia, thanks to being near to the Equator. However, you can also find nice and cool temperatures in the hills. Medellín, in particular, is known as “the land of eternal spring”.

Want to focus on just one part of Colombia? Find your perfect match with the help of Colombian music.