Colombia is filled with countless, incredible, places to visit so we created a complete 7-day Colombia itinerary to help with trip planning. While our Colombia itinerary can’t include every place and city to visit, this is what we recommend. Feel free to swap out a city for another one, we will include all these suggestions for you to curate the perfect week long trip for you!
Table of Contents
When to Visit Colombia?
One of the benefits of visiting Colombia is the steady temperature of each city, despite the changes in seasons. Medellin is known as the city of eternal spring whereas Bogota is known as the city of eternal fall. Cartagena’s average daily temperature throughout the year is between 31-32 C (87.7 F to 89.6 F). It’s quick to see that the weather temperature won’t vary too much based on the time year you visit, so the main indicator to determine when to visit Colombia will be the rain. Colombia has a rainy season and a dry season, while the dry season will help ensure you stay drier throughout the day you will experience more crowds. The dry seasons are from December to March and June to September. We recommend visiting on the shoulders of these seasons to help optimize smaller crowds with drier weather.
7-Day Colombia Itinerary Overview:
- Day 1-2 | Cartagena
- Day 3-4 | Medellin
- Day 5 | Guatape
- Day 6-7 | Coffee region
Now, let’s get into the details of all the adventures that are to be had in this jam-packed 7-day Colombia Itinerary.
Day 1: Fly into Cartagena
Your first day in Colombia has you arriving in Cartagena. Cartagena is a popular city for both local and international tourism. From the pastel colored buildings, to the white sand beaches and the eternal summer weather – this is the relaxing way to settle into a jam-packed trip to Colombia.
Day 2: Enjoy Cartagena’s beaches
On day two, you will spend the day enjoying the beaches of Cartagena. Rosario Islands are easily accessed via boat and this is where you will head out for your first full day in Colombia. There are several companies that provide half day and full day trips to this area. We recommend determining which is the best option for you and reading reviews to ensure the company is the best for you.
Highlights for your time in Cartagena:
- Explore Getsemani neighborhood: this area of the city offer stunning streets, street art and the perfect aesthetic coffee shops. Make sure to check out Callejon Angosta and Plaza de La Trinidad.
- Explore the walled city: this is the historic area of Cartagena. Once you cross into the walled area of the city you will be greeted with pastel buildings, fruit stands and cobblestoned streets. There are several free tours you can enjoy if you’re looking to learn about this areas history as well.
- Watch the sunset on the wall: head to the wall that surrounds the city to enjoy sunset. Cafe Del Mar is in this area and a popular spot to grab a cocktail at while you unwind from your day.
Day 3: Travel to Medellin
On day 3, pack up and fly down to Medellin. Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia and the capital of the northwestern region Antioquia Department. While it was once coined the most dangerous city in the world, this has since changed and is a great place to visit.
Day 4: Medellin exploring
On your full day in Medellin, spend time doing a few of the following activities.
Highlights for your time in Medellin:
- Go paragliding: Medellin’s geography is similar to that of a cup, meaning the downtown core is in the bottom of a valley and surrounded by mountainous hills. With this stunning geography this is truly one of the best places to paraglide.
- Tour Comuna 13: Comuna 13 started as an illegal settlement, but turned into a perfect area for drug and cartel activity in the 80s/90s. Today this area is better known for its beautiful street art and talented street performers. Most people complete a walking tour here, which we believe is important as the history is key to appreciating the area.
- Explore El Poblado: El Poblado is know for being one of the most exclusive and affluent areas in Medellin. Filled with delicious restaurants and some shopping, this is the main area to go for an evening dinner or some nightlife.
- See Plaza Botero: Plaza Botero is located in the Old Quarter of Medellin. This plaza is surrounded by the Museum of Antioquia and the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture, along with many Botero sculptures.
- Take a metro cable ride: the towns found in the hillside of Medellin are now accessible due to metro cables. While these are used as public transportation, they also offer sweeping views of the stunning Medellin landscape. This is a great, and affordable, way to see the scenery and gain an appreciation for the cities geographical challenges.
For further details on exploring Medellin, check out our full city guide.
Day 5: Day trip to Guatape
Wake up bright and early on day 5 to for a day trip to Guatape. Guatape is a small town outside of Medellin that cannot be missed. Filled with colorful buildings, history and some of the best landscapes Colombia has to offer – you won’t be disappointed! Traveling from Medellin to Guatape takes about 2 hours, making it the perfect day trip destination. Guatape is easily be accessed by bus or via a tour company.
When visiting Guatape we recommend wandering around their colorful streets and enjoying all the street food options. Additionally, you can climb La Piedra Del Penol, which is a granite rock that sits 675m above ground. Our Guatape day trip guide can better help you plan this day.
Day 6: Travel to the coffee region (Pereira)
Start day 6 with a flight from Medellin to Pereira. The flight is relatively short, so you will be able to land with your entire afternoon available. Take advantage of this time to complete a half day tour to a coffee farm. A half day allows you to explore all the aspects of a coffee farm and is truly a must-do when in this region.
The town Pereira is the closest to the rural regions of this area and, while this is a nice city, the true magic happens in the rural towns and mountainous hills of the coffee farms.
Day 7: Explore Salento & Valle de Cocora
Your last day will be spent enjoying the town of Salento and Valle de Cocora. Salento is found in the Quindio region in Colombia, nestled among the Andean mountains. This small town is one of the most colorful towns we have visited and allows for quick access to the famous Valle de Cocora.
Highlights for your time in Salento:
- Hike Valle de Cocora: Valle de Cocora is located about 30 minutes outside of Salento, making it the perfect day trip. The main reason to visit Valle de Cocora is to explore the mountainous area and see the wax palm trees. We highly recommend hiking around to explore this stunning area. With a short and long hike options, there is something for all activity levels. Check out our guide for all the necessary information to plan a day trip.
- Sip some coffee: whether you visit a coffee farm or not, you have to try some of the local coffee. There are plenty of coffee shops around town, however the absolute best (in our opinions) is Cafe Jesus Martin. This is a local coffee shop and they source their beans locally.
- Climb up the Mirador: climbing the steps up the Mirador needs to be on everyones list to see. Mirador de Salento is an observation deck that provides sweeping views over the town of Salento and the surrounding valley. The hike up is relatively easy with 242 steps to the top, just don’t forget that you are at a higher altitude so take breaks as needed. From the top, relax and enjoy the views before climbing back down.
- Wander the streets: taking the time to walk around and enjoy this town is a must-do. Calle Real is the Main Street in town, filled with colorful houses and cobblestoned roads.
Looking to Extend Your Colombia Itinerary?
This itinerary leads you towards a jam-packed week in Colombia, but it doesn’t include visiting the capital city Bogota, hiking the famous Lost City trek or relaxing at the national park Tayrona. If you have some more time, we highly recommend extending the trip by a few days to include one or two of these additions.
The Lost City trek was a trip we had planned and booked for April 2020 and had to, unfortunately, cancel. The trek has to be guided, so we booked ours through the tour company G Adventures and highly recommend them. Further trek information can be found in their tour overview.