Visit Colombia is in your plans? Here I give you my itinerary and my essentials of my trip to this country. Get inspired! They can help you answer the famous question: Where to go and what to do in Colombia?
Visit Colombia: A country to discover
Before going to Colombia last summer, I had a brief idea of what this country could look like. I knew few people who went there and what I read on the internet was very mixed. Some spoke of this country as a place to avoid, to fear, while others proclaimed their favorite for this country and its very warm people.
In short, I did not know what to expect before setting foot. And that was fine.
I spent about a month there and I can tell you that I really liked this country.
If you plan to visit Colombia, here is the route that I wrote my favorites. Hoping that this can help you prepare for your trip to this wonderful country that is too often neglected by travelers traveling South America.
Where To Go And What To Do ın Colombia?
Here is my itinerary and my essentials during my trip to Colombia in the summer of 2014. I registered my favorites by adding an icon next to the name of each place that I really enjoyed.
Bogota: a capital
Bogota, the capital of the country where my trip started. I remember a little mixed. See why in my article on my arrival in Bogota strong in emotions.
A dynamic city, young and colorful. I enjoyed his street art that is found everywhere on the walls of the city.
Villa de Leyva: a living heritage
Villa de Leyva is one of the most charming heritage cities of Colombia. Located near Bogota and in the mountains, it is an excellent stop on the road to the North. The small town whose architecture is very pretty is alive and animated. The inhabitants regularly organize festive events. We were there during their anniversary. It is a good place to discover the culture of this region.
To find out more: Villa de Leyva and Barichara: the villages not to be missed.
I slept in Satamarchan, a very small village located near Villa, which has the advantage of being very quiet and not very touristy. It is also the paradise of sausage longazina and the perfect place to eat a Colombian parilla.
San Gil: an outdoor destination
Where to go and what to do in Colombia? We go to San Gil mainly for outdoor activities. The nature around is generous. Go rafting down the river or visit the falls are among the many activities to do. San Gil is the destination for extreme sports in Colombia.
Barichara: a crazy charm
Like Villa de Leyva, Barichara is a small heritage village. Located near San Gil, it is a must if you are in the area. I found it even more beautiful than Villa de Leyva, but a little less alive by cons. Houses with orange stones are often used as a backdrop for Colombian films and TV series. If you are going to visit Colombia, I really recommend going there.
It is even possible to hike around. A place not to miss to see one of the most beautiful villages in the country.
Santa Marta: a seaside destination
Where to go and what to do in Colombia? Santa Marta is one of the seaside destinations of the country, as much for the foreign tourists as the locals. I thought there were too many people and an all-inclusive destination tune with its big hotels. However, it offers all the amenities to come enjoy the sea and the heat, because it is really hot and it hardly ever rains. It is also an excellent starting point for visiting Tayrona Park.
Tayrona Park: an air of paradise
Tayrona Park is an earthly paradise. A small jewel protected by the sea, it is a place to add to your itinerary when you come to visit Colombia. After seeing the video of Alex de Vizéo on this park, it was clear that I was not going to miss.
You must have a minimum of physical fitness, as walking in the park is required. To get to Cabo San Juan del Guia, you have to walk about 6km to go only, so 12km with the return. At least, some places allow you to swim along the way and it is even possible to sleep on site in a hammock or tent.
The turquoise water, the rocks smoothed by the sea and the forest adjoining the beach make it a heavenly place. It is best not to go during the school holidays of Colombians, otherwise there is a crowd and the charm is not the same.
Cartagena: colors and history
Where to go and what to do in Colombia? We come to Cartagena for its port history and the beauty of its colonial buildings. The historic center with its colorful buildings and ramparts plunge us to another era. Climbing the castle, the wall or frolicking in the maze of narrow streets make this city an interesting cultural destination.
Salento: when coffee is king
Where to go and what to do in Colombia? Salento, a cute little town in the middle of the coffee area. I could have spent weeks there so the village is nice, pretty and inviting. The mountains, the coffee plantations, the flowers, the river that runs downwards make the sights amazing and so sweet visually.
This is absolutely to your list if you want to take a rest in a place where nature is master. It is also the perfect place to learn about the different stages of coffee making, a Colombian product highly renowned around the world.
Cocora Valley: a wild beauty
The Cocora Valley is one of the most representative images of Colombia. We go there to see the big wax palms that seem to sweep the sky. We discover an omnipresent nature, a beauty worthy of the most beautiful postcards. Breathlessness is common in Cocora.
You have to be in shape anyway to appreciate it, because to make the loop requires several hours of hiking with a good unevenness. An effort that is well worth it.
Medellin (La Ceja): the avant-garde
I stayed for a week at the in-laws’ house at Ceja, a small village in the mountains around Medellin. I went for a few strolls in this large modern city, built on the mountainside and known for its very avant-garde management. A bubbling city that I preferred to his sister Bogota.
Guatape: the domination of water
Where to go and what to do in Colombia? Guatape, what a charming little colorful village. I would have liked to spend more time, but I was only one day to climb the interminable staircase that leads up the footra del Penol and see the labyrinth of turquoise lakes in below. The climb is demanding, but the landscape is unique. I let you judge for yourself.
So where to go and what to do in Colombia?
If visiting Colombia is in your plans, this itinerary and these few must-sees can serve as a basis for building your own itinerary. But there is so much more to see and visit in Colombia that I have a hard time giving you all the information on where to go and what to do in Colombia. I did not have the chance to do the South of the country, nor the jungle nor the island of San Andres. They say it would be very beautiful. For my part, it will be for a next time. But if time permits, they can be other beautiful must-haves to do.