Routes through Colombia

Many people I meet while travelling and many people ask digital the best route through Colombia. Colombia is so big, and beautiful you don’t want to miss out on anything! For a 3/4/5 week vacation or passing through Colombia I made some routes with recommendations of what you can do. But there is still a lot more to see and do! Below the routes you see some extra recommendations, maybe you have some more time to spare in this beautiful country.

First of all, if you want to have most out of your travels, speak to the people that live there. And Colombians are so proud and they love to talk. So you want advice, talk to locals. Want to know the best beaches, ask a local. On the other side most locals only want to show the beautiful part of their country, and prefer to hide the bad, but realistic side for many Colombians how local life really is.

When I travelled 3 years ago this was my route:

  • Bogota, bicycle tour, climbing monseratte, walking on 7th street and enjoying the nightlife.
  • Villa de Leyva, walking around in this colonial town, renting a bicycle seeing many waterfalls going trough the mountains.
  • Santa Marta, a big city nice to go out don’t miss out on Cuidad Perdida (4/5 day jungle hiking trip to an indigenous village trough indigenous heritage) and one of my highlights La Guajira, Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallina (see lost in the desert) the most northern point of South America.
  • Cartagena, beautiful colonial city with a history of slavery, do the Free Walking City Tour.
  • Medellin (see 1000 things to do in Medellin)Colombia coffee
  • Salento, a small village with only 30 min away there is Valle de Cocora with the highest palm trees in the world.
  • Pereira/Manizales, the coffee region where you can do beautiful coffee tours, hikes and bicycle tours.
  • Back in Bogota to go back home? Or better fly to other beautiful countries!

route Colombia 1

When I was in Colombia one a few months ago my route was:

  • Bogota, bicycle tour, climbing monseratte, walking on 7th street and enjoying the Colombia valle de cocoranightlife.
  • Tatacoa desert, this three colors desert is worth to see.
  • San Augustin, a small village with an archaeological park and a lot of ancient history.
  • Popayan, after Cartagena this is the biggest colonial city it’s all white and has nice history to it, you can hike a volcano and do some nature walks. (my experience of Tatacoa, San Augustin and Popayan you can read it here)
  • Salento, a small village with only 30 min away there is Valle de Cocora with the highest palm trees in the world.
  • Medellin (see 1000 things to do in Medellin)
  • Santa Marta, a big city nice to go out don’t miss out on Cuidad Perdida (4/5 day jungle hiking trip to an indigenous village trough indigenous heritage) and one of my highlights La Guajira, Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallina (see Lost in the desert) the most northern point of South America.
  • Cartagena, beautiful colonial city with a history of slavery, do the Free Walking City Tour.

route Colombia 2

If you are travelling up from Ecuador then don’t miss out on one of the most famous churches in Ipiales. You’re there anyway it doesn’t take much longer than 2 hours to visit the church and around.

If you like Salsa dancing then don’t skip out of Cali, Cali is the capital city of salsa and besides it is a nice (and very warm) city. The cat park and dog square, the bar called Amsterdam with an owner who has never been outside of Cali (at least 3 years ago) and within a small distance you’re in the nature around Cali.

If you enter Colombia from panama by sailing boat (See From Colombia to Panama) then it fits right into my second route but then the other way around.

With some extra time you can go to Mompox, I’ve not been there but it’s the town where Marques Gabriel Garcia wrote about in his book 100 years of solitude. (I’ve read the book, it’s a very good read!)

Also the pacific coast is beautiful to see, but a bit harder to get there. I’ve been a few days in Bahia Solano, I flew in from Medellin (on the smallest 6 seat airplane going to the smallest airport with antique benches). Bahia Solano is like small Africa, the atmosphere, the people, almost the same red earth color. You’re in the jungle with the ocean in front of you and it’s so beautiful! You can do jungle walks and lay down on the most beautiful beaches ever! There is a season for whale watching, between July and November, Turtles season is around September if you are around than don’t miss out on this chance!

And to go to the Amazones is supposed to be amazing, I still haven’t made it there but in the far south is Leticia a city/town where you can start your Amazone jungle tours.

If you want to do some voluntary work, then take a look at my list of projects that I visited or worked for.

If you want to read more about Colombia history and how that has changed the effect on today’s society, not just the drugs or just the FARC but about the people and how all history affected the people. My recommendation is ‘Short walks from Bogota, by Tom Feiling’

If you can add any recommendations on my list then please do! Colombia is one of my favorite countries and there are many touristic destinations that are worth going to, and many small undiscovered places that are also worth going to. Most of all enjoy Colombia!!

 

Hasta la Proxima! Saludos desde Costa Rica

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