If you ever played with the thought of exploring Colombia, let this two weeks itinerary guide be your sign to say yes and book that ticket! Colombia has been without a doubt one of my top 5 countries to visit and live in – you won’t regret it!
Colorful authentic villages, buzzing cities like Medellin, incredibly varied landscapes and the most welcoming people make Colombia a top destination for many!
In this two-week Colombia itinerary, I share with you everything I know about the places, and especially how to have an incredible time in Medellin – from someone who lived here for 10 months!
General Tips for your Unusual Two-Week Colombia Itinerary
Quick Overview of Colombia
The capital of Colombia is Bogota, nestled in the Andean mountains and a great starting point to explore the country. Colombia has a population of around 50.000.0000 people and it’s the 5th largest country in South America.
What makes Colombia so special really is its combination of Caribbean dreamy beaches in the North, snow-covered volcanos and mountain range through its center, lush Amazon jungle in the South as well as deserts in the North and vast grasslands in the East.
With its diverse landscapes, Colombia is one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries – with 10% of the animal species living there.
Do I need a Visa for Colombia?
Colombia is visa-free for up to 90 days for people from Europe, The United States and Canada. The best thing, you can extend your tourist visa for another 90 days – free of costs for Europeans!
Best Time To Visit Colombia
The best time to visit Colombia is roughly from December to March when its dry in the Andres. If you visit Medellin, you might want to avoid October to November as rainfall is pretty common and changed in the last years. Places like Cartagena and San Andres are hot all year round, and often also humid. Cities in the highlands are always fresh year-round, and especially wet in May, June and July.
Is it Safe to Travel to Colombia?
A question I got a lot of the time, and I can say yes. As in any country, general safety rules apply and pickpocketing is something to always be careful of. Otherwise, Colombia went through a big change, so places in Medellin that used to be a no-go area 20 years ago are now incredibly safe to visit.
With that being said, there are certain areas in Cauca, North Santander, and the border to Venezuela where one might rather stay away.
The bigger cities like Bogota, Medellin or Cartagena do still have certain areas you should stay away from, and when in doubt just take a taxi to wherever you want to go. Especially at night, I’d still recommend taking a taxi late at night, also for short distances.
It’s best to consult with your hotels on where not to go, as the locals know best.
Are Two Weeks Enough for Colombia?
A two-week itinerary wouldn’t be able to show you all the amazing sites that Colombia has to offer, unfortunately. The country is incredibly rich in sites and with distances being big – you’d need more than a month or two to really see all regions.
How To Get Around Colombia
The best way to get around Colombia is a mix of bus and flights. The bus system in Colombia is fantastic, with lots of convenient routes, easy to book last minute. The buses are comfortable, and often have VIP classes that allow for extra space and huge seats! Trust me, South American buses are some of the best out there!
Best airlines to take in Colombia: Wingo or Ultra Air for low-cost carriers and Avianca, LATAM and Copa as standard airlines.
Some routes I’ve done by bus saved me some bucks for multiple trips and some I’d recommend you fly to:
Medellin – Bogota: 8-12 Hours Nightbus (doable although I’d recommend flying)
Medellin-Cali: 9-10 Hours Nightbus (totally fine to do!)
Medellin/Bogota – Cartagena: Flying
Cartagena – Santa Marta – La Guajira: Bus is totally fine
Medellin/Bogota – Nuqui: Combination of flight and bus/boat
Bogota – Barichara: Bus is fine
Offbeat Two-Week Colombia Itinerary
Medellin: 3-4 Days
Fly into Maria Cordova Airport and take the shuttle or a taxi into the city. The drive takes around 30-60 minutes.
The City of Eternal Spring truly became a favorite amongst visitors to Colombia and rightfully so, it’s buzzing, the weather is incredible, and the cafe scene is hard to beat. All in all, there’s just this special energy about it, one you need to experience yourself!
Comuna 13 Walking Tour
What used to be one of the city’s most dangerous areas and literally a no-go zone 40 years ago is now one of Medellin’s most iconic and buzzing places. Comuna 13, nestled in the Western fringes underwent huge changes when a set of escalators were installed to help the communities.
It’s now literally a sprawling area where you can view street performances, try street food, buy some neon artwork from local artists and learn about street art and graffitis.
I’d recommend choosing one of the free walking tours to learn from a guide from that area!
Historic Center of Medellin
El Centro still makes the heart of the economic activity in Medellin and should definitely be part of your two-week Colombia itinerary. It’s always lively, a bit chaotic but a true experience that you shouldn’t miss.
I’d probably recommend you join a free walking tour through the center as you’ll be able to learn more about the history and see some hidden gems!
A short walk away from the Metro Station Parque Berrio you can find the famous Plaza Botero. Surrounded by the Museo de Antioquia and Rafael Uribe Plaza Cultura, the Plaza Botero is a buzzing outside park that displays 23 bronze statues from the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Although Botero was more famous for his paintings, the bronze statues are just adorable and so unique – totally worth a photo!
Free to visit!
Museo de Antioquia
The Museum of Antioquia was the first established museum in the department and the second one in Colombia. It’s also hosting the biggest collection of artworks from Fernando Botero and Pedro Nel Gomez and is totally worth a visit.
Enrty: 14.500 COP
Parque San Antonio
San Antonio park is another history-filled place in the Center of Medellin. Populated with more statues from Fernando Botero, it features the destroyed remnants of his Pajaro de Paz (Bird of Peace) next to an identical replacement. It serves as a reminder to the violent history that the park had been through in 1995 when an alleged FARC bomb was detonated under it and killed 23 people.
I’d recommend visiting the centre on a walking tour to learn more about the history!
Parques del Rio
Parques del Rio is a newly renovated footpath and cycling route along the riverbed that’s ideal for a stroll. Its lush structure and cute cafe just invite to unwind, journal, or sit down for a picnic.
Also known as the Park of Lights, the Plaza Cisneros is an artificial forest made of 300 light poles which reach up tp 24 meters. It’s right by the library which offers the chance to visit the top and have an incredible view of the place.
Where to Stay in Medellin
I’d recommend staying in the buzzing Poblado area or in the laidback local neighborhood of Laureles. Some of the nicest hotels can be found in Poblado, and depending on your budget I’d recommend Los Patios Hostel or El Masaya Hotel. To end your first part of the Colombia itinerary in style, I’d recommend El Celestino Hotel or The Click Clack Hotel.
Where To Eat in Medellin
The food and cafe scene in Medellin is endless, but here are some of my favourites: Cafe Zorba (secret tip!), Pergamino Cafe, Al Alma, El Tabun and El Famoso Arepa in Laureles.
Jardin: 2-3 Days
Your first trip out of the city can be to the charming town of Jardin. Known as a coffee town, Jardin is one of the prettiest places to visit in Antioquia. Roughly a 3-hour bus drive leads you to this offbeat gem that not many people visit.
It’s known for its beautiful colored houses, men in cowboy hats showing up to the pub on their horses, coffee farms and it’s local trucherias trout farms.
My personal highlight was actually the birdwatching experience within the natural reserve
Plaza del Libertador
As one of Antioquia’s heritage villages, Jardin boasts an impressive plaza you just have to see. The Plaza del Libertador is surrounded by the most colorful houses and cafes, ideal to laze around and enjoy a cup of coffee.
Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Probably the most imposing building in Jardin is its Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, nestled at the top of the Plaza del Libertador. It’s renowned for its half-Gothic style and hand-carved stones that parishioners brought. It’s a real gem to see as part of every Colombia itinerary.
If you ever get a chance to visit Jardin on the 7th of December you will witness the incredible Dia de la Vela celebration where people light candles all over the city, go to the mess at midnight and gather with their families.
Reserva Natural to spot the Gallita de la Roca
One of the absolute highlights is a visit to the Reserva Natural to do some birdwatching. Each morning and afternoon, you can enter the park and will be able to see the stunning Gallita de la Roca birds. They are all free, gathering in the trees and making incredible noise while doing so. It’s usually the males who hang out there and are just stunning.
You can see a few other birds like Colibri and smaller species. So worth it!
Entry: 14.000 COP
Coffee Farm & Degustation
No Colombia itinerary is complete without having visited a coffee plantation and tried some freshly brewed coffee. Having been to various coffee tours, I’d say the Colombian ones are the most interactive and hands-on. You will plant a seedling, will pick your own beans, grind them and eventually make a fresh coffee – so good!
I’d totally recommend Tour Cafetero los Correa!
Where to Stay in Jardin
I’d totally recommend Hotel La Plantacion, a wonderful eco-boutique hotel that serves as an eco-school for its guests. They place incredible focus on sustainable practices ie saving water while showering or providing a reusable bottle for your stay. Their vegan and organic food is to die for, definitely worth a visit!
Where to Eat in Jardin
My top places to eat and drink in Jardin would be: Cafe Macanas and Del Alto Cafe for coffee, La Plantacion for vegan breakfast and Restaurante Zodiaco for a cheap and tasty Menu del Dia.
Did you like the Colombia itinerary so far? Head over to my Instagram @christintheilig for more Colombia inspo and tips!
Jerico: 2 Days
To continue your trip from Jardin, I’d recommend visiting the nearby town of Jerico. Only a couple of hours of a scenic Chiva drive away.
Jerico is part of the Colombia Heritage Villages and it makes one of Antioquia’s most beautiful towns to visit. It’s famous for its many cobbled streets, colonial houses and number of churches per habitants.
Viewpoint El Morro El Salvador
One of my favorite places in Jerico had to be this viewpoint of Viewpoint El Morro El Salvador. It’s a leisurely walk up starting from the Botanical Garden and you’ll get a 360-degree view of the city and its surrounding landscapes.
Los Balsos Botanical Garden
The botanical garden really is one of Jerico’s nicest features and is free to visit! It’s ideal for a little stroll, seeing some pretty flowers and eventually making your way up to the best viewpoint in town!
Carriel Bag Workshop
My top tip to see the authentic side of Jerico would be to visit a Carriel Workshop. Some of these are family workshops, where the skill was past down from the grandfather to his son. The Carriel is a famous leather handbag that was primarily used by farmers to carry valuables and other things.
To this day you can still see people in the villages wearing them, mostly men! Truly a unique souvenir!
Also, Jerico is just a great place to buy any genuine leather bag for THE best price!
From a monastery to a female college and boarding school is now a fantastic cultural space. A mix of art galleries, guesthouse and three different restaurants makes this a unique place to stay or just visit!
Tip: the city’s most typical dessert is the Luisa sponge cake, definitely give it a try!
In Jerico, you have the choice to wander and visit between 17 churches – for 8000 residents! The most striking one is the Catedral Virgen de la Mercedes in the main town square which you can hardly miss. Besides, you have Saint Laura’s home, a museum and a convent in one with the prettiest facade.
Where To Stay in Jerico
I’d totally recommend staying at Bormarzo as a night or two in a former monastery is just super unique!
Where To Eat in Jerico
My top places would be Cafe Don Rafa for coffee and breakfast, Cafe El Satuaria, Karlina for fancy coffee drinks & snacks and Restaurante La Gruta for dinner!
For more South America travel inspo, check out my Adventure Guide Cruising the Galapagos Islands on a Luxury Catamaran!
Guatape: 1 Day
Guatape has to be one of the most popular day trips from Medellin. The town of Guatape lies around 2-3 hours east of the city and can easily be reached via bus.
The Andean resort town is primarily known for its colorful houses decorated with bas-reliefs and for the famous Piedra del Penol.
Climb the Piedra del Penol
The giant granite rock is hands-down the top highlight of Guatape. The 220-metre high monolith has 702 steps to the top and spectacular views of the surrounding reservoir. I’d recommend visiting during the week as it can get very busy!
Explore the Zocalo Square
In the center of Guatape, you can find the Zocalo Square, built to commemorate the two hundred years of the founding of the municipality. All around, you find buildings with the most intricate and cute bas-reliefs from the 20th century that make you stop on your way.
Have a seat in one of the cafes around it, enjoy a drink and take in the authentic scenery.
Plazoleta de Los Zócalos
Another must-stop when in Guatape is the Plazoleta de Los Zócalos, a colorful square that’s frequented by musicians and visitors alike. You can find a bunch of souvenir shops, handicraft stalls, and local dishes nearby.
The colorful umbrella selection and facades just make this area one of the most special!
San Andres: 3-4 Days
Colombia boasts some of the most amazing beaches, and also islands. The archipelago of San Andres and Providence lay just off of the coast of Nicaragua but belongs to Colombia. The islands are known for their reggae music, palm-lined white sandy beaches, and stunning coral reefs.
The idyllic-looking island lies just off the coast of Spratt Bight beach and looks amazing. There are daily boat trips that bring you there and back or continue to the nearby Rocky Caye.
After talking to a few locals, I’ve been told that the waters often are too rough to actually enjoy a swim. Hence, they recommended Rocky Caye & el Aquario.
One big tip – if there’s wind, the boat companies will cancel all trips due to safety reasons. So if you plan on doing a trip to the island, do it right away in case the weather changes later on!
Spratt Bight Beach
One of the most stunning ‘city’ beaches I’ve seen, and also often referred to as the Sea of the Seven Colours – this one is a gem! Lined with palm trees, Spratt Bight is just the perfect beach to unwind and soak in those Caribbean vibes. A real highlight for any Colombia itinerary.
Listening to the sound of reggae blasting from locals, there are various small beach stalls that sell tropical cocktails, coconuts and all sorts of snacks.
First Baptist Church in Latin America
A highlight of San Andres, the First Baptist Church is a source of pride for the Raizals, the English-speaking inhabitants of the island. Founded by a tamarind tree 175 years ago, the Baptist church was the place where English-speaking slaves were taught how to read.
Playa de San Luis
One of the prettiest beaches on the island and recommended by various locals, San Luis beach is totally worth the hype. Situated on the East side of San Andres, it’s got a more relaxed and less crowded vibe going on.
A bunch of boutique hotels and small beach bars really make you feel you’re in a remote and special place there. Most nights you can join locals around the bonfire and have a local beer or two.
If there’s one thing I’d recommend you do is go scuba diving or snorkeling. The visibility, temperature, and richness of fish are hard to beat! I decided to go with Centro de Buceo Blue Life and loved it. Very professional, cheerful crew, great equipment, and lots of snacks for in-between dives.
On two dives we saw a bunch of pufferfish, giant puffer, lionfish, turtle, a banded snake eel and a fantastic shipwreck! Another great option for snorkeling is El Aquario.
Where to Stay in San Andres
I’d recommend checking out the gorgeous Casa Hendaus boutique hotel in North San Andres. The lovely rooftop restaurant, beautiful unique interior, and proximity to the beach made this place a real gem! Another nice place is the newly built Dreamer Beach Club literally 2 min off Spratt Bight if you are on a budget.
Where to Eat in San Andres
I really enjoyed the Fisherman Place right by the beach for its great views and huge dishes. For drinks, I’d recommend The Islander and El Peruano right by the beach. If you’re after some local food, I’d recommend you check out the local women who have buffet-like dishes served by the beach, it’s cheap, tasty and you’ll support the local community!
I hope this Colombia two weeks itinerary was insightful for you. It’s really an incredible country that you should visit on more than one occasion.
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