You might have heard of it, but in the Netherlands we have this popular tv show called ‘Who is the mol’. In 2019, this game show took place in Colombia. I absolutely love this country. In 2018, I traveled to this beautiful country together with my boyfriend. We had three weeks and we really wanted to take our time to get to know a place. Quality above quantity, a ‘slow travel’ approach I ended up liking very much. This post gives you an overview of my trip to Colombia. Want to read more? Then take a look in my Colombia archive.
Intriguing Bogotá – 4 days
Honestly, my expectations for Bogotá were not too high. Before my trip I did some research and I did not read a whole lot about Bogotá. It seemed like everyone left the capital quite quickly after arriving there. Still, I decided to give the Colombia capital a shot, which was a good thing, because I loved it. Colorful Candelaria, an amazing city panorama from the Cerro Monserrate, the beautiful Museo del Oro and great food in Zona G. Moreover, there was so much street art to see. Bogotá is great! The only thing I did not like were the crowds. During the mornings and evenings the red Transmilenio buses were constantly congested. When I finally succeeded in pushing myself into a red bus, I had issues trying to get out of the bus when it reached my stop. The Transmilenio is a great public transport system, but please avoid it during rush hour.
- The pleasant surprise that is called Bogotá
- Bogotá: on the hunt for street art in the Colombian capital
Salt mine city Zipaquirá – 1 day
Also a great thing about Bogotá: it is an ideal base to organize day trips. Around the city you have a lot of great towns that are worth a visit. We chose Zipaquirá, the city of the underground cathedral in a former salt mine. Mine workers used to pray here for protection before descending further down into the mine. Fascinating to see! Also the city itself is great to wander around. Grab a bit to eat, drink a good cup of coffee or walk around on the square Plaza de los Comuneros.
Coffee towns Salento & Filandia – 4 days
If you plan a trip to Colombia, you should obviously plan a visit to Eje Cafetero, the coffee region. Even if you are not a coffee enthusiast, this area is still worth a visit. You can find here many colorful pueblos. These are made for hours of endless wandering and searching for the most colorful windows and doors. The charming village of Salento was our base for these few days and we made a hike through the Valle de Cocora and visited the picturesque town of Filandia. The coffee region was definitely one of my favorite regions in Colombia!
Fascinating Medellin – 4 days
Medellin is the city of the stories. It is not exactly a beautiful city, but it is an intriguing one. Medellin tells the story of the infamous drugs history, but it also shows the modernization that the city has undergone. I joined a street art in the once so dangerous area of Comuna 13, I visited Museo de Antioquia (hello Botero), I enjoyed the food in the are of El Poblado and I took a cable car ride over the city hills of Medellin. This city should 100% be part of your Colombia itinerary.
- Comuna 13: how street art transformed this neighborhood in Medellin
- Medellin: 8 things to do in the most fascinating city in Colombia
Colorful Guatapé and El Piedra – 1 day
Just like Bogotá, Medellin is a perfect base for organizing day trips. The most popular day trip from Medellin is Guatapé. Very easy to travel to by bus. Guatapé is extremely colorful, every house is decorated with zocalos. This is a wooden decoration of the lower part of the house that tells a visitor more about the background of the family that lives there. During my walk through town I specifically watched the zocalos to discover all the symbolic and background stories. Not only Guatapé itself is great, just a few kilometers outside of town you can climb the great La Piedra del Penol. A gigantic rock that offers a beautiful view over a water landscape. A nice combination with the town side!
Caribbean Cartagena – 7 days
Our final stop during our trip was meant for relaxing: Cartagena. Our plan was to process everything we saw in Colombia, relax, swim and sleep before returning back home. The first few days we wandered through the city center (El Centro, San Diego and Getsemani) and ate delicious vegan sushi. I have never been a fan of sushi. I don’t eat fish, so there are usually not much options left. But this vegan sushi was amazing! The last few days in Cartagena, we spent sunbathing and snorkeling on the Rosario Islands. The boat ride to these islands was a rough one, but the final destination was worth the rollercoaster ride.
More tips for a successful trip to Colombia:
- Learn a few words of Spanish: people hardly speak English in Colombia. Make it easy for yourself and learn a bit of Spanish before traveling to Colombia. Or download the Google Translate app beforehand for support.
- Take a raincoat with you: Colombia is a country with four seasons in one country. The weather can change very quickly. During our trip it usually started raining in the afternoon. So it quite handy to bring lightweight raincoat with you just in case.
- Uber is available but illegal: you can arrange an Uber, but please do know that Uber is illegal in Colombia. This means that there are certain rules to take in mind: when getting in, please take a seat on the co-driver’s seat and never pay publicly.
- Try to travel more overland: this is something we did not do and I want to change in my future travels. To save time, we took a couple of domestic flights in Colombia. Eventually this was not faster at all, because we usually had a delay of a couple of hours. Moreover, when you fly directly to a new city, you miss the gradual change in landscape and people. Next time I would prefer seeing the landscape gradually change and take the bus instead.
- Vegetarians & vegans: don’t be scared off by what to hear about ‘meat country’ Colombia. It is quite alright, there are still options available. For instance, you can always ask to tweak the dish a little bit and prepare it vegetarian or vegan. I asked this for the national dish El Bandeja Paisa and it was possible. If you want to be full-on prepared, download the Happy Cow app and make a list of your favorite restaurants.
- Check which travel vaccinations you need: something we also did not do and so we found out too late that we needed the yellow fever vaccination. We did not get this and that was stupid. So be sure to check this before traveling.
Would you like to travel to Colombia?