Friday, September 30, 2022
Travel

The Complete Two Week Itinerary


Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in all of South America. You could easily spend an entire year exploring all of Colombia’s cities, beaches and landscapes. Since most of us do not have that much time to vacation, we have created the ultimate itinerary of what to do in Colombia in 14 days. In just two weeks you can visit the most iconic, touristic and important places in this beautiful country.

Keep in mind that although Colombia was a more dangerous destination due to internal conflicts, that is no longer the case. Like any South American country, you have to be careful and be aware of your surroundings, but it is not a highly dangerous country.

The million dollar question: What are the best places to visit in Colombia? In this Colombia travel guide with the best things to see in 2 weeks including Medellín, the Coffee Region, Cartagena, Tayrona National Park, Tatacoa Desert, Boyacá and of course, Bogotá.

I hope you enjoy this two-week Colombia travel guide to plan your next adventure.

Map with essential plans to visit in Colombia:

Day 1: Bogota (Historic Center)

Arriving internationally there is a good chance you will be flying into El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá. The first day when you arrive at the hotel, leave your bags and head straight to explore the historic center of Bogotá. Start out in La Candelaria neighborhood. Here in the vibrant heart of Bogotá you will find the best museums in the city; the Botero Museum, the Casa de la Moneda and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

I also recommend visiting the Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo, Plaza Bolívar and the Presidential House. Other museums that you can visit in the historic center of Bogotá are the Gold Museum and the International Emerald Museum. Foe panoramic views over the city go to Torre Colpatria or Cerro de Monserrate.

Read more: 2 Day Guide to explore Bogotá

Day 2: Bogotá- Neiva (Botanical Garden and La Tatacoa Desert)

Start off your second at The Bogotá José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden. Here you can see a large number of flowers and gardens, a sundial, a palmetum, a collection of orchids and a tropicarium. As we love nature, this is one of our favorite tourist attractions in Bogotá. The José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden of Bogotá opens Tuesday to Friday from 8AM to 5PM and on the weekend from 9AM to 5PM. Admission is $5,000 COP with entrance to the tropicarium for an additional $10,000 COP. Another interesting place to visit is the Monserrate hill, which rises up to 3,500 meters above sea level and you can see the beautiful Montserrate basilica.

When you finish visiting the Bogotá Botanical Garden, it is back to the airport for a flight to Neiva, from where you can take a bus or taxi to the Tatacoa desert. Depending on how tired you are, I would recommend that you travel to the desert that same day and sleep there to take advantage of the dark night sky to see so many stars! The desert sky is also called “place with black sky”.

Stargazing in the Tatacoa desert is something you have to do during your visit, since the desert is one of the best places to observe celestial bodies in Colombia. At the Astronomical observatory, an astronomer will teach you more about the galaxy, shooting stars and constellations. With luck you will be able to see several planets, and other celestial bodies that you can observe through telescopes. The cost to enter the Observatory is $10,000 pesos per person, the talk starts at 6:30 pm and ends at approximately 9:00 pm.

Read more: What to do in the Tatacoa Desert

Day 3: Neiva – Coffee Region (Tatacoa Desert)

On the third day you can do the tour of the Tatacoa Desert. Visit the Labyrinth of Cuzco, Los Hoyos, the viewpoints, the Valley of the Xilópalos, the Villavieja Paleontological Museum, the Totumo Artisan Museum and if you have time even take a walk along the Magdalena River.

At night take a bus or a flight to Armenia, Pereira or Manizales. If you take the bus, the closest city to Neiva is Armenia and sleep there.

Read more: What to do in the Tatacoa Desert

Day 4: Coffee Region (Filandia and Barbas Reserve and Bremen)

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011, the Coffee Region is located in the departments of Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío and Tolima. Colombia is know for its rich quality coffee exports so do not miss out. On the first day I recommend you visit the quaint town of Filandia to walk through its beautiful streets. From there proceed to the Bremen reserve, where with luck you can see sloths and howler monkeys. When you finish your visit you can go to the city of Salento in a Willy (jeep-style taxi) or sleep in Filandia.

Read more: Guide to visit the Coffee Region in 3 days 

Day 5: Coffee Region (Salento, Cocora Valley and Coffee Farm)

Start your day visiting Valle del Cocora, from there you can visit one of the many coffee farms in the region. Here you will also find the famous national symbol of Colombia and the tallest palm tree in the world, the wax palm. The Cocora Valley is within the Los Nevados National Natural Park. End the day touring the beautiful town of Salento.

I recommend you do a coffee tour, which can last between two to three hours. Here you can learn all about the coffee culture and visit the coffee plantations. There are several types of farms, from the most elaborate high end coffee experience to the most rustic tour.

Read more: Guide to visit the Coffee Region in 3 days 

Day 6: Jardín 

Leaving the Coffee Region on the way to Medellín, you will pass through the colorful town of Jardín. Jardín of Antioquia is one of the most beautiful and colorful cities in Colombia. Walking through the streets is an experience in itself. As it is located in the Andes, Jardín de Antioquia is famous for both its traditional colonial architecture and for its impressive landscapes.

It is best to explore the the town on foot, visiting the central church, visiting a trout farm, bathing in its waterfalls, and of course riding the garrucha (cable car). You can spend the night in Jardín and the next day leave for Medellín.

Read more: The best things to do in Jardín, Colombia 

Day 7: Medellin

Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia. It has so many things to do that I recommend you stay at least two full days to enjoy it to the fullest. Start your day at the Medellín Metrocable, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the city from the air.

Then it is on to the Botanical Garden, Plaza Botero, the Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture, the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria, Medellin Metropolitan Cathedral, Plaza Cisnero and Plaza Mayor, Nutibara Hill and Pueblito Paisa.

Medellin long held a reputation from dangerous drug cartels, but now it is one of the safest cities in Latin America.

There is never a bad time of year to visit Medellín with its warm weather and sunny sky. If you have the chance to visit Medellín in August, you will be greeted with the Festival of the Flowers, where the city is flooded with flowers and over 100 cultural events including parades, a horse fair and an orchestra festival. This beautiful city offers an excellent cultural experience and has many interesting museums.

Read more: 2 day itinerary of what to do in Medellín

Day 8: Medellin

This second day in Medellin you can visit the “El Castillo” Museum, the cemetery with Pablo Escobar’s tomb, and the famous neighborhood of El Poblado. You can also take advantage of visiting some of the following sites:

  • Comuna 13 (book a guided tour): This was where the father of drugs, Pablo Escobar, lived. At the time it was one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world, but today it is a commune full of beautiful murals on the walls and friendly people.
  • Metrocable San Javier
  • Museum of Antioquia
  • Berrío Park
  • San Antonio Park
  • Park of Lights

If you didn’t have the chance before, do not miss out on riding the Metrocable cable car in Medellin. You will enjoy incredible views of the different sections of the city city.

Read more: 2 day itinerary of what to do in Medellín

Day 9: Guatape

Guatapé is internationally known for its colorful houses, cobblestone streets and the famous Piedra del Peñol, a 220-meter-high monolith with 663 stairs to the top, where you can glimpse one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Colombia.

In Guatapé you have to visit the Peñol de Guatapé, the replica of the historic town of Peñol de Guatapé, take a boat tour passing through the old estate of Pablo Escobar, climb the Rock of Guatapé and end the day touring the historic city of Guatapé. Return to Medellin and sleep there. I recommend taking a tour of Guatapé from Medillin as it allows you to see everything in one day, with no additional stress of scheduling.

Read more: Day trip to Guatape from Medellín

Day 10: Cartagena  

The port city of Cartagena was once the center of Spanish colonial rule, a main port and the birthplace of numerous pirate stories. The historic walled city is still full of picturesque squares, cobblestone streets and preserved colorful colonial buildings, adding great value to the country’s culture. In 1984 the historic center of Cartagena de Indias was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. In Cartagena I recommend you spend at least two full days to enjoy its walled historic center at a relaxed pace and its paradisiacal islands: San André Island, the Rosario Islands, Barú, Tierra Bomba Island and Isla Mucura.

The first day you can dedicate yourself to visiting the walled city. You can take advantage of visiting Las Bóvedas, the Plaza de San Diego, the Heredia Theater, Santo Domingo Square, the Zenú Gold Museum, the Palace of the Inquisition, the Clock Tower monument, walk along the Pier of the Pegasus, visit the Plaza de San Pedro Claver, climb the castle of San Felipe de Barajas.

One of the most recommended areas to sleep in Cartagena de Indias is the Getsemaní neighborhood, since it is a central point to reach the most iconic sites of the city.

Read more: What to do in Cartagena in two days

Day 11: Cartagena – Santa Marta

You can continue exploring Cartagena and take a tour to one of its closest islands, where the beaches are prettier. Return to Cartagena and take a bus or plane to Santa Marta. Sleep in Santa Marta. 

Read more: What to do in Cartagena in two days

Day 12: Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park is one of the most important natural parks in Colombia, not only because of its paradisiacal Caribbean beaches with crystal clear waters, but also because it is home to a tropical forest with diverse fauna and flora. The main entrance is located 32 km from Santa Marta and is known as El Zaino. From there you can get to the beaches of Cañaveral, Arrecifes, La Piscina and Cabo San Juan or take buses that go to the beginning of the hiking trails.

Within Tayrona there are several hiking trails or you can just enjoy the beaches. The hike to Cabo de San Juan takes about two and a half hours and is one of the best experiences the Park has to offer. You can also visit Playa Cristal, which is rated one of the 25 best beaches in South America.

Located in the department of La Magdalena, this park is a required stop on your visit to Colombia, even more so if you are looking for the famous tropical beaches. You can go by bus, private car, tour or by boat. 

Read more: Guide to visit Tayrona in one day 

Day 13: Bogotá – Boyacá

The next day take a flight back to Bogotá. Before your two weeks in Colombia is over and its time return home, I recommend you visit the department of Boyacá, which is three hours from Bogotá. You can visit Villa de Leyva and Ráquira in one day. There you can visit the Salt Cathedral and spend your last night at Andrés Carne de Res.

The Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral is considered the first wonder of Colombia. There are several packages to visit that range from $37,500 to $71,000 pesos for Colombians and $60,000 to $93,000 pesos for foreigners. It is open daily from 9AM to 6PM. The tour will take you about two hours and with the entrance fee you are given an audio guide to learn about the place.

Read more: Complete guide to visit Boyacá 

Day 14: Bogotá – Salt Cathedral – Departure   

On your last day in Colombia you can spend the morning exploring more of Bogota before heading to the airport to go home.

Other destinations in Colombia to consider in your itinerary:

Villa de Leyva: is one of the 17 Colombian towns declared nationally of cultural interest by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Since the town is relatively small all the interesting places to visit are conveniently close to each other. We recommend you spend the night in this magical place to be able to enjoy it more peacefully, as it is one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia.

Santa Fé de Antioquía: You can get to Santa Fe from Medellín by bus. Take the bus from the Terminal Norte and the ride is just over an hour each way. You can stroll through town to see the main points of interest. The first place of interest near the bus stop is the Museum Juan del Corral where you can learn the history of the city, focusing on the declaration of independence of the region at the beginning 19th century.

Minca: It is a disctrict of the city of Santa Marta, in the department of Magdalena, about 15 kilometers from the historic center of La Perla de América and located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the highest coastal mountain in the world. This little town is a perfect natural destination to enjoy waterfalls, rivers, wells, hikes, breathtaking natural viewpoints and bird watching.

When is the best time to visit Colombia?

December to February is winter in Colombia, also the period with the least amount of rainfall. Summer is much more humid and heavy rains are common mainly in the months of April to October.

Taking into account the weather and the times of greatest influx of tourists (December, July and Easter), a good time to visit Colombia is from January to March. During these months, the prices of accommodations are usually lower and there are not as many tourists tourists. October, November and August are also a good option.

Immigration requirements

Most nationalities are only required to have a valid passport (which from your date of departure has an extra validity of 6 months) to enter Colombia. However, I recommend that you verify your own entry requirements with the local Colombian embassy.

If you are are from one of the member countries of the Andean Community of Nations (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) or MERCOSUR, you can enter Colombia only by presenting your identity card or DNI. Keep in mind that access only with an ID is valid by land or by a direct flight .

Health requirements

The entrance to any country is also regulated by health requirements, in the case of Colombia there are not any special requirements. However, consider that to visit certain places and regions (such as the Tayrona National Park or Loreto), you must have the yellow fever vaccine.

As of the date this article was written and due to the COVID pandemic, you can enter Colombia without any extra steps by presenting your vaccination card with the complete dosage and completing a health affidavit. If you are not vaccinated, you must present a PCR test with a negative result completed within 48 hours before your arrival in Colombia.

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