If you are traveling to Colombia and have only 2 weeks, you need a precise itinerary that will guide you through this beautiful country.
When we were traveling in Colombia, we felt a very friendly vibe and we included several places on our list of the 15 most beautiful places in South America. Once you scroll through the article, you will notice a lot of colors. That’s because Colombia is full of colorful towns decorated with artistic murals, streets filled with exotic fruits and people with a distinctive culture.
In this 2 weeks Colombia itinerary, you explore a lot of extraordinary places, so get ready. Colombia has it all. From the most colorful towns of Colombia, the beautiful scenery of Zona Cafetero, visiting the tallest palm trees in the world to chilling on the best beaches on the Caribbean coast. Ready?
2 WEEKS COLOMBIA ITINERARY
Our itinerary will include a little bit of everything, from learning about the culture, visiting interesting towns, coffee, to an awesome beach time at the Caribbeans. So buckle up, we need to squeeze as much as possible. Also, make sure to read 22 essential tips to know before you travel to Colombia. This is will help you to understand the culture better and get used to certain things in Colombia.
BOGOTA: 2 – 3 DAYS
If you are flying from abroad, you are very likely to arrive at El Dorado Airport in Bogota.
Bogota has a very charming city center, and you can walk to most of the important sights. Bogota was found in the year 1538 by the Spanish conquistadors.
Let’s kick off this 2 weeks Colombia itinerary in the heart of the capital Bogota. Here you will find some of the most interesting buildings dating back to the colonial era.
La Candelaria is a mix of old and modern. This is where you can wander around cobblestones streets and admire colorful streets and murals. You will probably start your sightseeing at Plaza Bolívar. Just be aware, some pigeons might attack you. Plaza Bolívar is a huge place with the church Mount Monserrate and also two statues of Simon Bolivar. Bolivar is a figure you will hear a lot about during your two weeks in Colombia.
There are many other important buildings around this area, such as the Palace of Justice. If you would like to learn about Bogota and its history, make sure to go for a free walking tour. For example here, in 1985, a guerilla group M-19 attacked the building to destroy evidence against Pablo Escobar. We won’t say how it ends as we don’t want to spoil your interest in learning about Colombia’s history.
INTERESTING FACT: Make sure to watch the TV series called Narcos on Netflix. It’s a great Netflix show where you can learn all about this particularly terrible period of time in Colombia under the Pablo Escobar regime.
Like many other cities in Colombia, Bogota is also famous for its colorful and artistic murals. Most of them are located in the city center of Bogota but of course, they can be found all around town. There is an awesome graffiti tour that you can do in La Candelaria, and get to see one of the most famous murals of Bogota.
CHECK ALL HOTELS IN BOGOTA
MUSEO DE ORO
One of the most popular museums in Bogota is Museo de Oro or the Museum of Gold. Museo de Oro has an impressive collection of over 55.0000 artifacts made of cold, silver, textiles and other materials.
If you know a bit about South America’s past, you probably heard about the impact Colonialism had. In the 16th century, the Spanish arrived in South America hungry for gold. At that time many items were stolen and destroyed. Luckily, there are many items that were preserved. Thus, in the Museum of Gold, you can admire what is left of some of South America’s ancient civilizations.
Museo Botero is definitely a must-see in Bogota. It is also located in La Candelaria and showcases some of the best pieces of Fernando Botero, from paintings to sculptures. Botero’s art is very well known for showing all kinds of people and things in obese forms. And if you are traveling in Colombia, you will see many of his pieces in almost every major city. Some of his paintings have political topics, some are from daily life, and some of them will make you laugh. Additionally, there is another floor with other famous painters like Monet, Dali, and Matise. Did I mention that this museum is free of charge? No question there is no reason to miss out.
EXTRA TIP: Botero Museum is closed on Tuesday.
Your visit to Bogota wouldn’t be complete without checking some of the typical Colombian markets. If you are looking for a great place for shopping, head to Usaquén Market. This market is a perfect place to get original gifts and souvenirs. Mercado de las Pulgas en Usaquén is located in the Parque de Usaquén and you can find some of the nicest Colombian handicrafts here. Colombia is famous for its handmade Wayuu bags, which are made by indigenous women from the Wayuu people. Since we loved these authentic Wayuu bags so much, we decided to buy more or them and sell them in our store.
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT PICKS: Almuerzo Corriente (set lunch) is a very popular meal in Colombia and there are many restaurants which offer almuerzos. Check out Zona G or Macarena for awesome restaurants. We loved La Taperia with delicious tapas. Quinua y Amaranto has lots of vegetarian options (Quinua soup is the best). Don’t forget to check La Areparia Venezolana which has tasty arepas (corn cakes).
MEDELLIN 1 – 2 DAYS
From Bogota, you can either fly or take a bus to Medellin. Medellin is a fascinating city, and if you are interested in the history of Colombia, you can learn a lot here. You can reach many interesting places from Medellin, such as Guatape, Manizales, or the tallest palm trees in the world nearby Salento.
TIP: Please restrain yourself from doing any random Pablo Escobar Tour in Medellin, locals are not proud of his life and do not wish that foreigners “glorify” him or other Colombians making a quick buck. With that being said, this tour points out the negative impacts Escobar had on the people of Medellin and Colombia.
In any case, make sure to check the Memory House Museum in Medellin, which is dedicated to the victims of Pablo Escobar. Some presentations are only in Spanish. However, it is still a very informative and interesting place.
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT PICKS: Verdeo offers a lot of vegetarian options like salads, burgers, etc. El Taxista has cheap paisa, and its located close to Parque Poblado.
PLAZOLETA DE LAS ESCULTURAS
Almost in every town in Colombia, you will see some kind of art from Botero. Botero Plaza is located in the Old Quarter of Medellin, and there you can see 23 huge Botero sculptures.
If you are missing green, head to the Botanical Garden. Jardin Botanico has over 600 species of trees and plants. There is also a lake, herbarium and butterfly exhibition.
GUATAPE – 1 DAY
We know that you only have 2 weeks in Colombia, but hear us out, you need to include Guatape in your itinerary. Guatape is known for its colorful streets and houses and one of the most colorful towns in Colombia. It is just 80 km from Medellin which makes it a 90 minutes bus ride. We didn’t want to rush here, so we decided to stay in Guatape for one night, which was very worthy. Of course, that depends on you, and one full day in Guatape is enough.
PIEDRA DEL PENOL
The Piedra del Peñol is one of the most famous landmarks in Guatape. I know it looks a bit scary, but make sure you climb all the way to the top of Piedra del Penol. There are around 742 steps to get up, but the view on the Laguna de Guatape is worth it. We were pretty shocked to see the stairs and how massive the rock looks.
MARVEL AT THE COLORFUL STREETS
And of course, don’t forget to walk around Guatape. Make sure to walk to the Calle de Los Recuerdos. You can see many paintings (frescos) and the houses decorated in zocalos (scenes).
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK: A FULL GUIDE TO COLORFUL GUATAPE WITH BEST THINGS TO DO
CHECK ALL HOTELS IN GUATAPE
COFFEE REGION EJE CAFETERO – 2 DAYS
Another part of your journey in discovering Colombia is to learn more about coffee. Colombia is very famous for its production of coffee. In fact, Colombia is the 3rd biggest producer of coffee. Eje Cafetero is a large region and there are several places you can explore.
Most of the people decide to go from Medellin to the small town Manizales. Manizales is a lovely town in Eje Cafetero, and if you have time, you can head there as well. However, we decided to visit Salento as there are more things to do. Salento is a small village located in the Eje Cafetero region, around 7 hours by bus from Medellin. That is why we recommend staying in Salento for at least 2 nights.
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT PICKS: Rincon del Lucy has affordable meals with fish, chicken, or beef served with beans, rice and vegetables. Vegetarians can also find something tasty here. For the best coffee head to Cafe Jesus Martin.
In Salento, you can make a day trip to Cocora Valley. Valle de Cocora is home to the tallest palm trees in the world, called Quindio wax palms which can grow up to 70 meters (200 feet).
Cocora Valley is a lovely place and if you are into hiking, there are many tracks you can choose from. Of course, you do not need to hike for hours to get to the Valle de Cocora. We wrote a full guide on how to see Cocora Valley and its giant palm trees without an exhausting hike, so have a look.
LEARN ABOUT COFFEE
Your 2 weeks in Colombia wouldn’t be complete without tasting some of the finest coffee, and our itinerary will take you there. We did an amazing coffee tour in a family-owned business, called Ocaso. This is where you can learn all about coffee, from planting, harvesting, making coffee, types of productions and more.
You will be able to pick coffee beans yourself. And see the whole process of how Colombians make their famous and delicious coffee. At the end of the tour, you will taste various types of coffee and learn a difference between a bad and fine coffee. There are many coffee tours choose from, so have a look at few examples here. Our guide spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable.
CHECK ALL HOTELS IN SALENTO
WELCOME TO THE CARRIBEAN
Now you are in the middle of your awesome 2 weeks in Colombia. After getting to know the cities, Colombian culture, and the tasty coffee region, we will move somewhere warmer.
You guessed it right. We are going to the Carribean coast! Not many people realize it, but Colombia has a pretty amazing Carribean coast with blissful beaches. Just a little teaser below.
CARTAGENA 2 – 3 DAYS
Your next stop in this itinerary will lead you to one of the most beautiful and historic towns of Colombia and all of South America: Cartagena. Also known as Cartagena de Indias. Cartagena was for us (especially for Gigi) one of the most beautiful places in South America. And if you would like to visit only one city during your 2 weeks in Colombia, Cartagena must be in your itinerary.
This is where you want to be, in the heart of Cartagena. Here you can find churches, colonial buildings, and plazas. Probably you already sensed it, there is, of course, a Plaza Bolivar with a statue of Simon Bolivar. There is also a Museo de Oro y Arqueología if you missed seeing some bling-bling.
WONDER AROUND COLORFUL STREETS
Cartagena is very famous for its colorful streets and magical Caribbean vibes. The prettiest streets (according to me) are located on and around calle 38. Have a look at the map.
There are many colorful houses with colonial architecture, flower walls. And if you are into photography, and love to take countless photos with a different colorful wall (like me), then you will be in heaven. I took millions of photos there and I absolutely loved it.
CULTURAL TIP: Make sure to take iconic photos with Cartagena ladies. It will not come cheap though.
SUNSET AT THE FORTRESS
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is a huge fortress that was built in 1536 by Spaniards to protect the city against pirates and other enemies. It is very interesting to walk around that area and finish up your day with sunset colors overlooking the ocean.
In the evening, make sure to check out some bars in Bocagrande, El Centro or Getsemani. There are plenty of bars and restaurants with live Colombina music and where you can dance traditional salsa or flamenco. And even if you are not a great dancer, give it a try. You can also just observe locals and admire their dance moves. Check out Cafe Havana rated as the best bar in town.
EXTRA TIP: You might wonder about safety in Colombia. We put together a comprehensive post on our safety tips in South America, so make sure to read it before you travel to Colombia.
CHECK ALL HOTELS IN CARTAGENA. We reommend to look for hotels in the area of El Centro.
Las Bovedas was a place where prison cells and storerooms for the fortresses were located. Nowadays its a cute shopping street and every room has all kinds of souvenirs.
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT PICKS: We loved Restaurante Coroncoro as they have almuerzos deals with lots of veggie options. The meals are very affordable and we went there very often. If you like something different, try Crepe Xpress where you can design your own crepe.
DAY TRIP TO ROSARIO ISLANDS & PLAYA BLANCA.
Only 20 km away from Cartagena and 45 minutes by boat ride are Rosario Islands. However, most of the tours go to Playa Blanca which is a very famous beach among tourists and locals. Playa Blanca is located on a tiny island called Baru.
SAN BERNARDO ISLANDS
The San Bernardo islands are located 80 km from Cartagena and it takes around 2 hours by boat to get there. In total there are 10 islands and the most famous ones are: Santa Cruz, Mucura and Tintipan. The best thing about the San Bernardo islands is that not many tourists go there. If you would like to go to San Bernardo islands check the full guide here.
EXTRA TIP: There are no ATMS on the San Bernardo islands.
SANTA MARTA – 2 DAYS
You can catch a bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta. It is a 2 hours bus ride. Santa Marta is a small town and gateway to one of the biggest highlights in Colombia: Tyrona National Park. You can choose to stay 2 nights in Santa Marta. The other option is to stay one night in Santa Marta and the second one inside of Tyrona National Park.
To keep this itinerary manageable as you have only 2 weeks in Colombia we wouldn’t spend so much time in Santa Marta. But make sure to head to an old town which has several historical and colonial buildings. Walk around the area around Cathedral Basilica de Santa Marta and check out Callejon San Francisco.
There is also a Malecón de Bastidas, where you can have a nice stroll, but its nothing spectacular. Some areas of the Santa Marta might seem sketchy so we would be careful especially at night.
For tasty food, head to Calle 19. We absolutely loved Ikaro Cafe, which has lovely vegetarian and vegan options. Not to mention, a great vibe and working Wifi.
If you are visiting Santa Marta, check out family-owned Hotel Santa Sophia del Mar. We can’t recommend this place enough, the sweetest and caring people we have met in Colombia.
TYRONA NATIONAL PARK 1 – 2 DAYS
34 km from the city of Santa Marta. It is a huge national park with over 12.000 acres. The entrance to Tyrona costs COP54.000 for a foreigner. We do recommend to start early in the morning. If you would like to get to the most famous beach Cabo San Juan, then you must start early in the morning. Tyrona is a very beautiful park surrounded by lush jungle and hiking trails that connect many beaches, like Arrecifes and La Piscina.
In our guide to the best beaches in Colombia, you can find more information on Tyrona National Park. There is also an option to sleep in Tyrona which we highly recommend. Like this, you won’t have to rush to exit the park. If you would like to stay as close as possible to the Tyrona entrance, we can recommend Hostal Monte Verde.
FLY BACK HOME
Your two weeks in Colombia are over and we can feel that you are a bit sad. Colombia is a beautiful country and there are, of course, more places which you can visit. We spent 4 weeks traveling around Colombia and we totally loved it.
3 – 4 WEEKS COLOMBIA ITINERARY
If you have more time and want to go off the beaten track while traveling in Colombia, there are a couple of more places that you can go to. If you have 3 to 4 weeks in Colombia, then the following places are a perfect addition to your itinerary.
SAN ANDRES ARCHIPELAGO
If you are dreaming about the perfect postcard beaches with turquoise waters and white sand, then San Andres is your answer. You can easily reach San Andres from Cartagena and the only way how to get to San Andres is to fly. Despite that San Andres is a tiny island, there are many things to do to fill your schedule for at least one week. In this article, we mention all the things you can do in San Andres.
San Andres archipelago consists of lesser know Providencia and Santa Catalina. You can easily spend 2 weeks in Colombia just to island-hop around San Andres archipelago.
If you want to have a break from people, then head to Guajira Peninsula. Guajira is located in the northwest of Colombia. We are pretty sure you won’t see many tourists here. Guajira is a perfect addition to a 3 week itinerary in Colombia and if you would like to get to know more raw side of Colombia. Don’t expect any luxury, but that’s why you will have a very authentic experience. This region you can only visit with a tour. We organized a tour from Santa Marta and it is a 2 full days trip. You will stop at the salt mines, the capital of Guajira and check out deserted beaches like Punta Gallinas.
Guajira is also a well-known region for making authentic Wayuu bags. Most of the Wayuu bags which you see in big cities like Bogota, Cartagena or Medellin come from Guajira.
If your dream is to see the Amazonas, head to Leticia which is located right on the border with Peru and Brazil. This is where you can organize an unforgettable trip around the Amazonas river, wander around the rainforest and learn about exotic plants and animals. We haven’t been to the Amazonas, but next time we will definitely check it out.
EXTRA QUESTIONS ON TRAVELLING IN COLOMBIA
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT COLOMBIA?
The best time to visit Colombia is from December till March. We traveled in March till mid of April and we had nice sunny days with very little rain. Try to avoid Christmas and Easter holidays.
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL IN COLOMBIA?
Absolutely yes, we felt very safe when traveling in Colombia. As everywhere in this world, use common sense. Be careful in big cities as petty theft can occur.
WHAT IS THE CURRENCY IN COLOMBIA?
The main currency in Colombia is the Colombian Peso (COP).
COP100 = US$0,030
IS COLOMBIA EXPENSIVE?
Overall, Colombia is not very expensive to travel to. We found Colombia to be the most budget-friendly country in all of South America. Just to give you an example, we spend 1.200€ per person in 1 month, which includes transport, food, tours, and accommodation
DO YOU NEED A VISA TO TRAVEL IN COLOMBIA?
In general, you do not need a specific visa to enter Colombia. As a foreigner, you will be granted a 60 days tourist visa. However, airlines will need proof or a return ticket or onward ticket leaving Colombia. If you don’t have it, you won’t be allowed to board. It happened to us and we were forced to buy shitty bus tickets to Ecuador (which was the worst journey of all times).
IS UBER AVAILABLE IN COLOMBIA?
Yes, it is and it’s awesome. Uber is available in Colombia since 2013 and you can take rides in major cities including Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Cartagena. We actually wrote an article on our experience using UBER in South America including Colombia, so have a look to find out what advice to follow.
USE OUR UBER PROMO CODE: 2hjlk
DO PEOPLE SPEAK ENGLISH IN COLOMBIA?
Unfortunately not and you need to hablar un poco de español. We didn’t expect that everyone will be speaking English fluently. But coming to Bogota and finding out that people who work in hotels and restaurants do not speak a bit of English was a big shock. That’s why it would be very helpful to have a bit of an understanding of Spanish just to get by. Knowing simple words, numbers will help you a lot. Trust us.
That is all for now, we hope that you will have a great 2 weeks in Colombia and that our itinerary will help you to see the best in the country. Let us know if you have any questions.
If you would like to travel to Colombia, make sure to save our 2 weeks Colombia itinerary for later.
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