Colombia blew me away. This really is one of the best countries to visit. Rather sooner than later, because things are changing fast. My boyfriend and I had three weeks to explore this amazing country and we really wanted to take our time to get to know a place. Quality above quantity, the ‘slow travel’ approach. In this blog post, I am showing our 3-week Colombia itinerary and I’ll give you some practical travel tips.
3 week in Colombia: our travel itinerary
Intriguing Bogotá – 4 days
Honestly, my expectations for Bogotá were not too high. It seemed like every traveler left the capital quite quickly after arriving there. Still, I decided to give Colombia’s capital a chance, 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 was the crowds in the red Transmilenio city buses. It is a great public transport system, but please avoid it during rush hour.
Read more: Street art in Bogotá: the best murals of La Candelaria
Where to stay: Hotel Vilar América, an 8,8 rating on Booking.com + close to restaurants in Zona G
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. Mineworkers 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 cup of coffee or walk around on the square Plaza de Los Comuneros.
Coffee towns Salento & Filandia – 4 days
A trip to Colombia is not complete without 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!
Read more: Filandia things to do: one of the best coffee towns of Colombia
Where to stay: El Jardin Hotel in Salento
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 drug history, but it also shows the modernization that the city has undergone. I joined a street art in Comuna 13, visited Museo de Antioquia (hello Botero!), and discovered the cafe culture of El Poblado. This city should 100% be part of your Colombia itinerary.
Read more: Comuna 13: how street art transformed this neighborhood in Medellin
Where to stay: Los Patios Boutique Hostel: 9,2 rating on Booking.com + simply a great hostel
Colorful Guatapé and El Piedra – 1 day
Just like Bogotá, Medellin is also a perfect base for organizing day trips. The most popular day trip from Medellin is Guatapé. Very easy to get 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. 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.
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. During the last few days in Cartagena, we took a couple of day trips to the Rosario Islands. Stunning islands, but the boat ride was quite the rollercoaster experience.
Read more: Cartagena: 10 wonderful things to do in the Caribbean gem of Colombia.
Where to stay: Hotel Boutique Casa Isabel: 9,3 rating on Booking.com + free lulu juice every day
Practical tips for traveling in Colombia
- Learn a few words of Spanish: people hardly speak English in Colombia. Learn a few words of Spanish and download the Google Translate app.
- 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 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.
- Vegetarians & vegans: ‘meat country’ Colombia is not too bad for vegetarians and vegans. There are quite a number of vegetarian restaurants around. If you want to be fully 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.
And that was our 3-week Colombia itinerary. Would you like to travel to this country?
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