The ULTIMATE 3-Week Colombia Itinerary: Cartagena, Medellin, Bogota, and More!

The ULTIMATE 3-Week Colombia Itinerary: Cartagena, Medellin, Bogota, and More!

A welcoming country with a horrendous past, Colombia has transformed and is becoming a top travel destination in South America. As the 25th biggest country in the world, it might be difficult to improvise your Colombia trip on the spot. 

As a result, I highly recommend that you have a Colombia itinerary before you arrive. I have spent close to 2 months backpacking Colombia and exploring the hidden and best places to visit in Colombia: Lost City Trek, Cocora Valley, Cartagena, Bogota, Medellin, Salento. I have done it all. 

Below is my personal 3 week Colombia itineraryThough 3 weeks in Colombia might seem too long for most people, I can guarantee you will wish you had more time! 

This Colombia travel itinerary assumes you will start in Medellin, but you can come from any of the big cities such as Cartagena or Bogota. 

Colombia Itinerary Step-By-Step Map

This is the basic outline for the Colombia 3 weeks itinerary. I suggest that you fly to Colombia through one of the major cities and out through another. That way, you can maximize your time in your three weeks in Colombia. 

3 Weeks In Colombia: The PERFECT 3-Week Colombia Itinerary

Day 1-3 (3 Days): Medellin, Once the Most Dangerous City in the World

Colombia-Itinerary-Comuna-13

Welcome to Colombia! Are you ready to see the best places in Colombia?? Luckily for you, you are in Medellin, the city of eternal spring.

In 1993, Medellin was announced as the most dangerous city in the entire world. It used to be a place where the name of the city would strike terror into anyone’s heart, a place where tragedy such as bombing, assassination, kidnapping, and many more terrible things happened on the daily.

Nowadays, Medellin has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colombia. Safety is no longer an issue in most parts of the city; trendy restaurants and places are popping up here and there, and the nightlife is one of the best in the world.

I recommend spending 3 days in Medellin so you will have enough time to cover all the essentials of the city.

Things to Do in Medellin

If there are things you must do in Medellin, they would be getting to know the history of Medellin by visiting Communa 13, and taking a day trip to Guatape and Piedra del Penol.

1. FREE Walking Tour to Learn About the History of Medellin

There is no better way to know the city of Medellin than a FREE tour with a local. Don’t worry, the walking tour is very professional and the tour guides make their money off of tips.

You can find more information on their website here.

2. Communa 13

Communa 13 was the most dangerous part of the most dangerous city in the world. However, nowadays, Communa 13 has become a completely different place. Long gone are the days of violence and crime.

The city itself is trying to forget the terrible past it had and trying to build something better for the future generation. When visiting Communa 13, you will see a lot of graffiti revolving around the theme of hope, transformation, and a brighter future.

Visit Communa 13 in the daytime, preferably with a tour guide. FREE Communa 13 Graffiti tours can be found here. You do not have to pay a dime for the tour but a tip at the end is appreciated.

If you prefer a private tour for more individualized attention, check out our recommendation here. 

3. Guatape and Piedra del Penol

Guatape and Piedra del Penol is the most popular day-trip from Medellin. Often at times, you will see Guatape and Piedra del Penol put together, making you think it is actually the same place. Piedra del Penol is a huge rock formation soaring into the sky about 15 minutes away by car from the colorful town of Guatape.

It can be done easily without a guide but you will have to take Colombia’s public transportation. It will also help tons if you speak Spanish.

Here are some tours we recommend for Guatape and Piedra Del Penol if you don’t feel comfortable:

4. Memory House Museum

Prepare to shed tears if you decide to come to the Memory Museum. It is full of heartfelt tales of the Colombia conflicts and all the wars and tragedies it has experienced. It will definitely give you a better understanding of how the Colombian conflict affected the lives of local people.

5. Spend a night out in El Poblado

El Poblado is the party district of Medellin. I don’t know exactly what it is with the Colombians, but they know how to party. Come to El Poblado for an unforgettable night.

6. Arvi Park

If you are allergic to the concrete in Medellin or aching to go into nature, then I would recommend Arvi Park. Accessible with the intricate cable car system of Medellin, Arvi Park can be done as a half-day trip.

It is definitely nothing impressive and you actually have to pay a tour guide to go into some of their designated trails. Without paying, there isn’t much to explore. For that reason, I would not recommend spending your time at Arvi Park considering your next destination on this Colombia itinerary is full of nature. 

Where to Stay in Medellin

Low-Budget Accommodation

Los Patios Boutique Hostel – One of the best value for money hotels/hostels in Medellin! Offering amazing amenities such as an outdoor gym, co-working spaces, rooftop bars, and many other beautiful luxuries. Spanish classes? Tours? Anything you will need, Los Patios has you covered.

High-Budget Accommodation

574 Hotel – One of my favorite hotels in El Poblado. When staying in El Poblado, you have the risk of staying up all night due to the crazy partying. 574 Hotel is located just far enough from all the craziness, but still close enough to the action. The included breakfast was beyond delicious.

Day 4-6 (3 Days): Jardin, The Hidden Gem in Colombia

On my Colombia travel itinerary, you will head to the town of Jardin after Medellin. Jardin is a hidden gem of Colombia and many other Colombia itineraries tend to skip it.

Don’t skip Jardin.

Jardin is a beautiful little town surrounded by lush scenery on all sides. Waterfalls, caves, hikes, everywhere you go, you are in the stunning nature that Colombia is known for.

My favorite part of Jardin was definitely just going on a hike and picking up whatever fruit we found on the way, plantains, coffee beans (there are so many in that region), oranges, guavas, and more!

I would not be surprised if Jardin becomes your favorite town after spending 3 weeks in Colombia!

Things to Do in Jardin, Colombia 

The most popular thing to do in Jardin is definitely Cueva del Splendor, which is a waterfall in the cave. It is impressive but we didn’t like it as much as some of the other activities. It was very unique though.

1. Chorro Blanco Waterfall

The Chorro Blanco waterfall is the hidden gem of Jardin. It is a waterfall that is not even located on Google Maps. But that means you will have this natural beauty in complete privacy. When was the last time you had a waterfall to yourself?

Going to Chorro Blanco is definitely a full-day activity. Before going, read this guide to make sure you don’t get lost going to Chorro Blanco.

2. Cueva Del Splendor 

Cueva del Splendor is the most popular tourist activity in Jardin and it is easy to see why.

A lengthy hike into the spectacular nature and you are rewarded with a huge waterfall inside a cave. It is like nothing I have ever seen before.

There are tours in the city that take you close to the cave, but you will still need to hike for maybe another hour or so. If you DIY and take public transportation, the hike will be much longer.

3. Cafe Jardin

Cafe Jardin is located up in the hills of Jardin. Travelers can decide to take a mototaxi from the town or hike for 40 minutes.

Come to Cafe Jardin for a panoramic view of Jardin while enjoying some of the local Colombian coffee from the region.

Better yet, come at sunset and watch the lush scenery of Jardin imprint an image you will never forget. But make sure you bring some mosquito repellant!

At Cafe Jardin, you will also find the famous “I love Jardin” sign!

4. Garrucha

Garrucha is another viewpoint where you can see the entirety of Jardin. To arrive at Garrucha, you can either take a short hike or take their homemade wooden cable car!

Don’t worry, the cable car is quite secure and no accidents have happened as far as I know.

Garrucha is also a good place to watch the sunset and have a drink or two while doing it, though I prefer Cafe Jardin.

5. Cascada la Escalera

A double waterfall located very close to the town center of Jardin (45 minutes). Though not as impressive as the other waterfalls such as Chorro Blanco, it is still worth the short hike.

6. Cristo Rey

A good short hike (30 min) up to the Cristo Rey statue from the town center. Good if you are short on time and want to see Jardin from above.

Where to Stay in Jardin, Colombia

Low Budget Recommendation

Lulo’s Hostel – Amazing clean and modern place with a standard breakfast included. Tea and coffee available for free throughout the day. The terrace also has beautiful views of Jardin. Don’t forget to try their newly-opened restaurant!

High Budget Recommendation

Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique – Though I did not stay there, I heard many great things about it! It even has a hot tub!

Day 7-9 (3 Days): Salento and Filandia, Colombia’s Coffee Region

No Colombia trip would be complete without a visit to the famous coffee region of Colombia. In our Colombia 3 week itinerary, you will head to Salento after Jardin.

Salento is a town you must visit in Colombia due to its location in the coffee region of Quindio.

I came to Colombia (especially Salento) expecting some of the best and cheapest coffee in the world. Well, everywhere you go in the world, people are crying over Colombia coffee and saying it is one of the best.

Well here’s the honest truth. I went on a coffee tour in Salento and I was disappointed. The coffee farm informed me that the coffee in Colombia is some of the worst, because all the good quality coffee is exported. So if you came to Colombia to look for good coffee, you lucked out.

Back to Salento.

Salento itself is quite a small town with not much to do. There are some cute coffee shops especially around the main square and Calle Real. Salento is also known for their trouts (trucha in Spanish) so definitely give that a try.

Here is a full guide on things to do in Salento. 

Things to Do in Salento, Colombia 

1. Hike Valle de Cocora

Valle de Cocora is the top thing to do in Salento and why many people decide to come to Salento in the first place. Wax palm trees, some towering over 60 meters, are found in only a few places in the world, and Valle de Cocora is one of them.

There are two loops you can do in Valle de Cocora to see the palm trees. One is the long loop that takes about 5 hours to complete and you have to pay twice to pass “private property”. The other is a 30-minute direct route that takes you directly to the best viewpoint for the wax palm trees.

The long route is a nice hike but nothing too special. The views aren’t too spectacular but you do cross several cool suspension bridges along the way. My recommendation would be to take the direct route and see the wax palm trees and get out. You don’t have to pay anything if you take the short route.

2. Coffee Tour

Salento is located in the coffee region of Colombia. It would be a shame to not do a coffee tour before you leave. Coffee tours can be easily found throughout the abundant travel agencies in Salento. Come and learn about every step of the process of producing a good cup of coffee.

You can also buy some good quality organic coffee at these coffee farm tours.

3. Day Trip to Filandia

Filandia is a cute colonial town 30 minutes away from Salento. The nature there is much more spectacular and is not as touristy as Salento. Make sure you eat at the famous restaurant Helena Adentro, visit the double waterfall, and check out some of the viewpoints (miradors) for sunset.

4. Santa Rita Waterfall  

If you are not tired of waterfalls after visiting Jardin, guess what? There is one in Salento too! Santa Rita waterfall is located about 90 minutes away from the city center. It is a beautiful waterfall located in the lush greenery of Colombia.

Where to Stay in Salento, Colombia

Low-Budget Recommendation

Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel– Beautiful place to stay with a porch overlooking some of the lushest scenery of Colombia. The breakfast included is one of the best in Colombia.

High-Budget Recommendation

Posada Casa Salento– One of the most beautiful hotels in the center of Salento. The space was clean and spacious, with balconies that overlook the city. Highly recommended if you want luxury in a place that is not common for luxury.

Day 10-12 (3 Days): Bogota, Colombia’s Capital

Welcome to Bogota! As the capital city of Colombia, Bogota is a place you must visit on your Colombia vacation. You will spend a total of 3 days in Bogota! Filled with history, art, and great food, Bogota has attracted travelers from all over the world.

Bogota has been through hell and back and now it has finally become a touristy-friendly destination.

However, when I visited, it didn’t feel that way.

Many of the places are dirty and some of the tourist attractions are dangerous. For example, the area La Candelaria, the “historical district” of Colombia, is quite dangerous to walk in at night. Monserrate, one of the best viewpoints of Bogota, is only safe to arrive by an Uber.

Update: Uber is now banned in Colombia (January 2020). However, you can still use Uber-like apps such as Beat, Cabify, or Didi for your travel needs!

Bogota is filled with Colombian history that you cannot get anywhere else. My recommendation is definitely to see all the things you need to see and get out.

Things to Do in Bogota

1. Free Walking Tour/Biking Tour

The free walking tour/biking tour is one of the best ways to know the city of Bogota. The “free” tours are led by locals and they tell you about the history of Bogota as well as some of the best things to do, places to eat, things to see.

Don’t miss the free walking/biking tours.

You can find more information here.

2. Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is one of the best day trips from Bogota. The cathedral is located an hour away from Bogota in the town of Zipaquira and can be easily reached by bus. 

The biggest underground cross in the world exists in the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral. As the First Wonder of Colombia, it is definitely something that should be on your Colombia itinerary.

3. Botero Museum and Gold Museum

Bogota is known for its extensive amount of high-quality museums. For example, the Gold Museum in Bogota, or Museo de Oro, contains the largest collection of gold in the world. 

Another museum such as the Botero museum contains the sculptures and artwork of the famous Colombia artist Fernando Botero. His artwork is controversial and definitely worth checking out.

4. Monserrate Viewpoint (Sunset/Night)

Monserrate is the best viewpoint in all of Bogota. The only trick is that the surrounding area is extremely dangerous at night so you would have to take an Uber. Come at sunset and wait till the sun completely disappear to watch the city of Bogota glow!

5. Eat at Andres Carne De Res 

Andres Carne De Res is one of the most famous restaurants in Bogota.  Featuring some of the best meat dishes, live music, and entertainment, Andres Carne De Res is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The food is above average but it is very pricey. However, the experience of eating at a high-class restaurant is well worth it. 

6. Visit the Waterfalls Surrounding Bogota

Bogota is surrounded by waterfalls on all sides. The easiest one to get to is definitely Waterfall Rio Archbishop, followed by Cascada la Chorrera, and then Salto Del Taquendama. All the waterfalls are impressive and I would recommend going to Salto Del Taquendama if you have the time.

7. Visit the Sunday Flea Market at Usaquen

If you are visiting Bogota on a Sunday, head over to Usaquen for one of the best flea markets in Colombia. Featuring handicrafts, souvenirs, and all types of weird and amazing things, the Usaquen market is a fun activity for everyone in the family.

If you are looking for company for some of these activities, check out some of the tours we recommend:

Where to Stay in Bogota

Due to the safety concerns of La Candelaria area, none of my recommendations will be in that area.

For a full guide on where to stay in Bogota, click here.

Low-Budget Recommendation

Aurora Hostel– Cozy hotel with a beautiful interior. Comfortable beds and a great common area to meet other travelers. Bar on-site that provides affordable drinks. Good value for money.

High-Budget Recommendation

bs Rosales Hotel– Beautiful big rooms away from the craziness and noise of Bogota. Comfortable beds, amazing breakfast, sleek interior, I highly recommend this place. 

Day 13-15 (3 Days): San Gil, Colombia’s Adventure Capital

Known for some of the most adrenaline-pumping activities, San Gil is the adventure capital of Colombia.

To arrive in San Gil, you will have to take an overnight bus from Bogota. It is the most economical way. You also have the option to fly from Bogota if you are short on time or don’t like night buses.

Besides heart-racing activities, there are activities for travelers who want to take it easy. The beautiful colonial town of Barichara is only a short bus ride away. Las Gachas is a beautiful river filled with naturally-made holes where you can sit in and relax. 

San Gil has more than just adventurous activities.

Things to Do in San Gil, Colombia 

For a complete guide on things to do in San Gil, click here.

1. Level 5 White-Water Rafting on Rio Suarez

The most popular activity in San Gil is definitely the level 5 white-water rafting on Rio Suarez. Level 5 rafting is extremely rare to find in the world and is the highest level where you can go rafting. There are inherent risks involved in activities like this so make sure you listen to the guide and take extra precautions.

If you are with kids, there is also a level 2 rafting that everyone can participate in.

2. Las Gachas

Las Gachas was one of the most unique things I have seen in Colombia. To put it simply, they are little holes in a running riverbed where you can sit in and relax. It is like having your own bathtub there. Las Gachas was definitely one of my favorite activities in San Gil to relax after all the crazy activities I have been doing.

How did those holes develop? I am not entirely sure. It has something to do with the minerals in the water.

Make sure you come on weekdays unless you want to socialize with the locals. Las Gachas is a popular weekend hangout spot for Colombians.

3. Cueva Del Indio/Cueva De La Vaca

The region of San Gil has many caves you can explore. The 2 most popular ones are Cueva Del Indio and Cueva De La Vaca. The two caves are completely different from each other.

Cueva Del Indio is the more adventurous and fun cave. It features parts where you have to jump into water, swim, and tight spaces. At the end of the cave, you have the option to do a 5.4m jump into the water in the darkness.

Cueva De La Vaca is the junior league of Cueva Del Indio. You don’t need to swim, the spaces are less tight, and its just a fun experience for everyone involved. If you are traveling with kids, I would recommend doing the Cueva De La Vaca over Cueva Del Indio.

4. Cascada Juan Curi

One of the most beautiful waterfalls tucked into the lush environment of Colombia. It is easy to pair a visit to Juan Curi waterfall with a visit to the Cueva Del Indio.

You can also do canyoning at this waterfall but tours will have to be obtained in San Gil.

5. Barichara

Barichara is a beautiful sleepy town less than an hour away from San Gil. Beautiful architecture, amazing scenery, and good food are some of the things you will find in Barichara. Come and spend half a day wandering around, but make sure to visit Salto del Mico when you are in Barichara.

Where to Stay in San Gil, Colombia

Low-Budget Recommendation

Hostel Trip Monkey– Family-owned hostel and you can really tell. The owners are very friendly and helpful and make sure every guest has a pleasant stay. The breakfast is phenomenal. The owner also drives you to Las Gachas for a low price.

High-Budget Recommendation

Hotel Castillo Resort– Though not super high-budget, I had to include this hotel in my recommendations. An amazing place with a great outdoor swimming pool, a tanning area, a delicious buffet breakfast, and spacious rooms. It has everything you need for a cheap price. Good value for the money you spend. 

Day 16 (1 Day): Santa Marta

Welcome to Santa Marta, one of the biggest port cities in Colombia. Can you believe you have already been in Colombia for 2 weeks?

Santa Marta has its specific charm and not a lot of people fall in love with it.

I didn’t for sure.

However, that doesn’t mean it is not a place worth seeing just for a day.

Besides, most hostels allow you to store your bags if you stay there, making your journey into Tayrona National Park much easier. The accommodations here usually come with a pool and a bar. Nothing beats a cold drink, especially a coconut, to fight the Colombian heat.

Some places in Santa Marta are also dangerous at night. To be on the safe side, ask your accommodation which areas you should avoid!

Some Colombia travel guides might recommend going to Minca after Santa Marta. Having been to Minca myself, it is a run-down Jardin. Most people go to Minca for hikes and nature, but at this point, I think you’ve had enough. It is time to relax on some of the best Colombia beaches on the Caribbean Sea.

Things to Do in Santa Marta, Colombia

1. Parque de Los Novios

Parque de Los Novio is a nice park surrounded by restaurants and bars. Sometimes there will be live entertainment as well. Great place to get something to eat or drink, but expect to pay gringo prices.

2. Camellón Rodrigo de Bastidas Park

A nice park right by the beach where you can swim. Come relax, enjoy the sun, people watch, or even take a dip in the water with the locals.

3. Tairona Gold Museum – Casa de la Aduana

A FREE museum that tells the stories of the indigenous people that lived in this area. Though the museum is not too big, it is filled with interesting facts and history.

Definitely don’t miss this one since it is FREE!

4. Lost City Trek **

** The Lost City Trek is a 5-day trek into the rainforest of Colombia. You will discover a “lost city” of the indigenous people that used to live there.

If you have time to spare or you are spending more than 3 weeks in Colombia, consider the Lost City Trek an exciting option to add to your itinerary.

Where to Stay in Santa Marta, Colombia

Low-Budget Recommendation

Hostel Masaya Santa Marta– Cheap hostel prices with the quality of a hotel. Two swimming pools. Beautiful terrace with a bar and amazing views of Santa Marta. Delicious breakfast can be purchased. Spacious rooms. Everything about this place speaks luxury. 

Masaya also offers private rooms at affordable prices.

High-Budget Recommendation

Hotel Boutique Maree– An amazing 5-star hotel for an affordable price. The rooftop with a jacuzzi, swimming pool, and cocktail bar is one of the best places in Santa Marta to be. The rooms are spacious and clean and the hotel is located in a good neighborhood. 

Day 17-18 (2 Days): Tayrona National Park, Where Jungle Meets the Caribbean Sea

As you approach the end of the 3 week Colombia itinerary, it is time to properly relax on the best Colombia beaches.

Some say Tayrona National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Colombia and I for sure had my doubts before going there. Places with a big name like that seem to be overrun with tourists and only looks good in photos, such as Machu Picchu in Peru.

After spending 2.5 days in Tayrona National Park doing nothing but relaxing on the best beaches in Colombia, I can say Tayrona is one of my favorite places in Colombia.

The best beach in Tayrona National park has to be Cabo San Juan. With a beautiful watchtower that juts into the turquoise Caribbean Sea, it offers unparalleled views. The waves are calm and are just the perfect place to suntan on the sand or go for a nice swim!

If the idea of sleeping in hammocks or tents right next to some of the most amazing Caribbean beaches sounds good to you, you definitely don’t want to miss Tayrona National Park.

You can do hikes in the jungle of Tayrona and watch the native animal species that live there and then next minute arrive at a secluded beach of the park.

The jungle reminds me of the time when I was camping in Tikal Ruins in Guatemala, especially when I started hearing the howler monkeys.

Tayrona National Park is a well-protected area of Colombia and therefore comes with many restrictions. For example, every February the Tayrona park is closed.

Read this Tayrona National Park camping guide before going.

Day 19-21 (3 Days): Cartagena, Colombia’s Most Beautiful City

To arrive at Cartagena, you will need to take a 5-hour bus from the Santa Marta bus terminal to Cartagena, and to get to Santa Marta from Tayrona, you will need to take a bus as well.

So that means you will arrive in Cartagena quite late a night.

But you have finally made it, the last stop of our Colombia itinerary for 3 weeks, Cartagena.

In the Caribbean Gem of Cartagena, you will immediately notice that the city is nothing like any of the cities you have been to in Colombia. Cartagena was one of the most important cities in protecting Colombia against invasions, hence you will see many fortresses and even the historical center is inside a wall.

Demographically, Cartagena is very diverse due to its history. You will see many different ethnic groups living here such as the Palenqueras (the women with bowls of fruits on their head)!

Things to Do in Cartagena Colombia

1. FREE Walled-City Walking Tour

No better way to know the city and understand the history of it through a guided tour by one of the locals. The FREE walled-city walking tour is funded by voluntary donations at the end of the tour. You can give as little as nothing to as much as your entire bank account.

Find more information here.

2. Explore the Walled City

If the free walking tour wasn’t enough, take some time to walk around the colorful alleys within the walled city. Every street is filled with colorful colonial buildings, Palenqueras (black women in colorful dresses with bowls of fruits on their heads), and historical landmarks.

3. Watch the Sunset at Cafe Del Mar 

Cafe Del Mar is the only restaurant that sits on top of the walls of Cartagena. Its elevated location above the ground and right next to the Caribbean sea makes it the best place to watch the sunset

Beware though, Cafe Del Mar gets crowded during sunset and the prices are geared towards tourists.

4. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is a historical fortress that was built on top of a hill for its strategic advantages. Its superb location gave the defending team many advantages over the approaching enemies. 

Nowadays, you can walk the fortress and explore the intricate tunnels the Spaniards set up for communication inside the fortress.

5. Mud Volcano (Volcan de Lodo el Totumo)

The mud volcano, or Volcan de Lodo el Totumo in Spanish, is a popular day trip from Cartagena. The mud inside the volcano is filled with minerals and it’s said to have “healing and therapeutic powers”. Come and enjoy the feeling of weightlessness and get a massage from one of the locals. Warning: they are not shy. 😉

6. Bioluminescent Plankton at Playa Blanca 

Located a little over away from Cartagena is a stunning beach called the Playa Blanca. Many people come here for a day trip or stay for a day or two and relax on the beaches. 

At night, there are tours that take you out to see the bioluminescent plankton in the area. These planktons make the ocean look like it has lights. Pretty cool thing to check out if you haven’t seen one before.

7. Casa En El Agua

Casa en el Agua is an island hostel located about 2 hours from Cartagena! It is quite a unique experience so check it out if you have extra time!

If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these activities alone, check out some of these recommended tours: 

Where to Stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Low-Budget Recommendation

Bourbon St Hostal Boutique– One of the cleanest and most spacious hostels in Cartagena, perfect for anyone traveling solo in Cartagena. Each bed is equipped with an outlet, lights, and a curtain for privacy. Every room has air-conditioning which is equivalent to hitting the lottery. 

The hostel also comes with an amazing swimming pool.

High-Budget Recommendation

Hotel Capellán– An elegant 5-star hotel located close to the historical center. The decor is beautiful, modern, and romantic. Rooms are spacious, clean, and well-furnished. By far one of the best hotels in Cartagena.

Safety Tips For Traveling in Colombia

As beautiful as Colombia is, there are proper precautions that should be taken when you travel there.

The safety of Colombia has improved drastically over the years. Nowadays, most travelers would consider Colombia safe to travel.

The touristy area in most of the cities are safe during all times, but exercise extra precaution at night.

Bogota is the only city where safety was my concern. It is easy to accidentally walk into a neighborhood that is not safe. In addition, the main touristy area “La Candelaria” is not so safe at night. Try to use Uber in these areas.

UPDATE: Uber has now been officially banned in January 2020. However, visitors can use Uber-similar apps such as Beat, Cabify, or Didi for their travel needs. Those apps are looked down upon by the locals so make sure you get in the front passenger seat when you get in the car. If your driver gets pulled over, remember to stick up for them and say you are related to the driver!

Pickpockets are probably more of a concern than armed robbery, especially at bars, clubs, and public transportation. Keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas.

I recommend getting travel insurance when visiting Colombia.

Packing List for Your 3 Weeks in Colombia Trip

For your 3-week Colombia itinerary, you will be going from the hottest beaches in Colombia to the Andes mountains in Bogota. 

The weather will go from suffocatingly hot to freezing cold, especially at night. Hence, you will need to have a comprehensive packing list. 

Outside of the regular packing items you need for every trip, you should pack:

1.  Sunscreen Saves you from skin cancer and looking like a tomato. Better pack some for your Colombia trip.

2. Insect Repellent with Picaridin – Colombia is very tropical and humid. There are tons of insects and mosquitos. Pack some so you don’t come back looking like you broke out in hives!

3. Filtration Water Bottle – One of my favorite traveler items. It will save you money from buying water, and will also save you in dire circumstances.

4. Rain poncho or rain jacket – The weather can be unpredictable in Colombia. Even when you are traveling in the dry season, there is always a possibility of rain. Pack a lightweight rain poncho or jacket at all times to stay dry!

5. Travel Medicine Kit – A travel medicine kit will contain the first-aid items needed when you fall ill. With a variety of medicine, you will be prepared for many different scenarios!

6. Warm Clothing – The Andes region of Colombia is high in elevation. If you plan on visiting any of the cities there (such as Bogota), you will inevitably need some warm clothing.

Best Time To Visit Colombia

Colombia’s relative location to the equator results in two seasons: the dry season and the wet season. However, the weather could differ drastically in the country because of the different topographical regions. What I mean is that the weather in the Andes will differ from the weather on the Caribbean coast. 

As a result, it is difficult to pinpoint the best month to visit Colombia. Generally speaking, Colombia is a great country to travel year-round. Rainy season does not mean that it will rain the whole day. Usually showers only last a few hours. 

In the Andes, the rainy season is in the months of May to July and October to December. On the Caribbean coast, however, the months with the heaviest rainfalls are September and October.

Another factor to consider when visiting Colombia is when is its peak season? When is Colombia the most expensive to travel? 

Colombians love to travel and they have lots of holidays during the months of December and January. These are the peak seasons in Colombia and prices soar during these months. Hotels are full, beaches are crowded, and tour availabilities decline.

If you are backpacking Colombia or traveling on a budget, I recommend not visiting Colombia in December and January. 

Overall, Colombia’s weather is the best from December to March, but aim to avoid the high season to save money!

Getting Around Colombia

I am happy to say that getting around in Colombia is quite easy. Their bus system between the cities is very reliable. However, you must consider the distance between the cities you are traveling to. Colombia is a big country – 2 times the size of the US State Texas.

Inevitably, there are going to be some bus journeys such as the ones in our 3 week Colombia trip that will take several hours. It is recommended to take these long bus journeys at night so you don’t waste your entire day on a bus.

The best bus company (from my experience) is Bolivariano. You can purchase their bus tickets at the bus station in the respective city or visit them online here. Apparently you can also bargain for your bus ticket in person to get a lower price, though I did not try that when I was in Colombia.

Keep in mind that you might be traversing through the Andes on your bus journey. The roads are windy and the driver will be aggressive. Carry motion-sickness pills with you on your Colombia vacation. 

The other obvious option to get around Colombia is by flying. There are budget airlines such as LATAM that will offer affordable domestic flights. Sometimes the flights are even cheaper than the bus tickets!

More Than 3 Weeks In Colombia?

Do you have more than 3 weeks in Colombia? Worry not! Colombia has enough attractions to keep you excited for months! If you are planning on staying for more than three weeks, here are some places I recommend:

1. Minca

We talked briefly about Minca in our Colombia itinerary because it is a popular day trip for anyone visiting Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park. Minca is located in the rainforest region of Colombia. There are various hikes to do and gorgeous waterfalls to visit in the area. The giant hammock that hovers over the canopy in Casa Elemento is something worth seeing on your Colombia trip.

2. Cali

As the capital of Salsa dancing in the world, Cali is a place you must visit if you are into Salsa dance. If you are not a big dancer yourself, you are still more than welcome to just admire from the sideline. It is mesmerizing what the Colombians can do with their hips! Shakira was right about their hips not lying!

3. Tatacoa Desert

Tatacoa Desert is one of the most stunning landscapes in Colombia. Unlike the typical deserts that are covered by sand dunes, Tatacoa’s most iconic features are the dry and rocky canyons that span across. The Tatacoa Desert is also one of the darkest places in the entire world, the ideal place for stargazing. 

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This concludes our 3 week itinerary in Colombia. I hope it has at least given you a rough idea of how to spend your 3 weeks in Colombia.

Any questions? Leave them in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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9 TOP Things to Do in Jardin Colombia

9 TOP Things to Do in Jardin Colombia

Jardin, a beautiful small town located 4 hours South of the city of Medellin, is a tourist destination that many people skip when traveling in Colombia.

However, the word is out and many tourists are now flocking to Jardin for some of the best waterfalls, hikes, and exotic caves. What to do in Jardin Colombia when there are so many great attractions? 

Below we have selected the 9 top things to do in Jardin and you will see why Jardin is a place you must visit in Colombia!

What To Do in Jardin: 9 BEST Things to do in Jardin, Colombia

1. Hike to the Hidden Waterfall Chorro Blanco

To be honest, I had never heard of Chorro Blanco until I arrived in Jardin. I can bet almost no travelers have heard of Chorro Blanco before they arrive.

Chorro Blanco is a gigantic waterfall located in a secluded part of the lush environment in Jardin. It is so hidden that you will not be able to find Chorro Blanco on Google Maps.

But that only piqued our interest. Typically waterfalls are overrun by tourists. If you have visited the waterfalls in Bali Indonesia, you will understand. Chorro Blanco is a waterfall that rarely sees any tourists.

We were pleasantly surprised by Chorro Blanco when we arrived, despite the difficult way to get there. It is how a waterfall should be enjoyed, in isolation and at one with nature. Don’t miss out on Chorro Blanco, it is our favorite thing to do in Jardin.

How to Get to Chorro Blanco from Jardin?

Getting to Chorro Blanco form Jardin is quite complicated but worth the effort. I have written a completely separate guide for Chorro Blanco here.

Long story short, it will be a full-day activity that can take about 4+ hours of hiking, depending on which route you take.

2. Discover a Waterfall in a Cave at Cueva Del Splendor

Now Cueva Del Splendor is the opposite of Chorro Blanco. Before I even arrived in Jardin, I heard from many travelers that you have to see Cueva Del Splendor when you visit Jardin.

Cueva Del Splendor did not disappoint.

A huge waterfall entering through the opening of the cave, powerful enough to wash away anything in its way. It is no doubt one of the best places to visit in Jardin.

You can swim in the waterfall if you want but when I visited the water was freezing.

How to Get to Cueva Del Splendor from Jardin?

There are three ways to get to Cueva del Splendor from Jardin. The easiest way is through a tour agency. I highly don’t recommend this way unless you don’t feel comfortable with hiking for 4-5 hours because you will be grouped with a bunch of people. The cave is not that big and it will be crowded.

The other option is to take public transport at the bus terminal. The shared jeep takes you quite far up the road but you will have to hike the last 1.5 hours on your own. The only problem with that is on the way back it will be difficult to find transportation and you might have to hike for 3-4 hours to get back.

The last option is taking a private taxi (mototaxi). They drop you off at the same place as the Jeeps but you will have flexibility as to when you want to leave.

3. Get a Panoramic View of Jardin at CAFE JARDIN

When you are not hiking or chasing waterfalls, take a break at one of the beautiful cafes called Cafe Jardin.

Cafe Jardin is located up in the mountains of Jardin and in my opinion, is the BEST viewpoint there is in Jardin. Not only will you get a panoramic view of Jardin from above, but you can do that while enjoying some Colombian coffee and sweets at an incredibly cute cafe.

After you are done being amazed by the beauty of Jardin, the “I love Jardin” sign is conveniently located adjacent to Cafe Jardin. Time to tell your Instagram followers you are in Colombia!

How to Get to Cafe Jardin from Jardin?

That are two options to get there.

The first one is to hike via Cristo Rey which takes about 30-45 minutes. The way is entirely uphill. I recommend you to do a loop starting with Cascada La Escalera, then to Cafe Jardin, then Cristo Rey, and finally returning back to Jardin.

The second way to get to Cafe Jardin is through one of the mototaxis in town. You can flag them down and pay a small price for them to take you there.

4. Take a Short Hike to the Double Waterfall Cascada La Escalera

Want to go see some of Jardin’s most beautiful natural wonders but don’t want to hike for hours? Then the waterfall Cascada La Escalera is perfect for you.

Though not as impressive as the waterfalls in Cueva del Splendor or Chorro Blanco, you get what you paid for (or hiked for).

If you come after rainfall, the Cascada La Escalera will be much more impressive.

How to Get to Cascada La Escalera?

Cascada La Escalera is conveniently located 45 minutes away on foot from the city center of Jardin. Travelers usually stop by Cafe Jardin after visiting Cascada La Escalera to enjoy some delicious snacks and coffee before making the full loop and returning to Jardin.

5. Ride a Wooden Cable Car at Garrucha

Only the bravest shall attempt this dangerous activity. The WOODEN cable car Garrucha is one of the most extreme things you can do in Jardin.

JUST KIDDING.

This wooden cable car is safe and is used by the locals to transport both passengers and goods up to the viewpoint. The cable car ride lasts about 5 minutes but you are flying (slowly) through the banana and plantains trees. It was quite an experience.

At the top of the cable car, you have a viewpoint where you can see the entirety of Jardin as well as a restaurant where you can get food and drinks.

However, I still much prefer Cafe Jardin over Garrucha.

How to Get to the Garrucha?

To arrive at Garrucha, you can take the scenic route through Charco Corazon (a cute little river), which will take you about an hour.

Or option 2 is the less scenic route which takes about 30 minutes from the center of Jardin.

Option 3 is to take the wooden cable car from the town of Jardin. 

6. Check Out the Viewpoint at Cristo Rey

Jardin is full of beautiful viewpoints and Cristo Rey is one of those.

It is a statue of Christ Rey that can be seen anywhere from town. Come here and check out the beautiful white statue. Take a picture of it with the beautiful town of Jardin as your background!

How to Get to Cristo Rey?

A short 30-minute hike from the city center of Jardin will take you to Cristo Rey. There are options to arrive on horseback and vehicles as well. 

7. Take a Dip at the River Charco Corazon

Charco Corazon is the river the borders the southern border of Jardin. You have the option to swim in several places but just be careful as the river gets quite strong especially during the rainy season.

But obviously you are more than welcome to just walk by and admire its beauty!

How to Get to Charco Corazon from Jardin?

It’s super easy and quick (30 minutes) to get to Charco Coraon from the town center of Jardin. Google maps will take you to the right place if you put Charco Corazon!

8. See the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Town Center

In every town, there is a magnificent church that stands in the center of the town square.

Jardin is no exception.

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is Jardin’s iconic church. Built by the “sins” of the local people, the church is a beautiful piece of art. The high ceiling inside and the detailed paintings are definitely some things worth checking out.

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is one of the best attractions in Jardin

Luckily for you, it is conveniently located in the town center so you can’t miss it!

9. Explore a Man-Made Bat Tunnel

The bat tunnel is a unique thing to do in Jardin. It is pretty secretive so not many people know about it. But if you ever walked the scenic route to Garrucha, you will notice this greenish door that doesn’t look like it belongs there.

That is because it doesn’t. The owner of the Bat Tunnel carved the entire thing by himself. (You can call him Batman.) The whole experience is very surreal as he takes you through the cave and shows you all the bats that live inside! Don’t be afraid though, they don’t bite.

The end of the cave leads you to a hidden waterfall!

How to Get to The Bat Tunnel from Jardin?

You can find the owner of the bat tunnel here on Google Maps. 

Where to Stay in Jardin Colombia

Best Hostel In Jardin – Lulo’s Hostel

Lulo’s Hostel is my favorite hostel in Jardin. A simple but elegantly designed hostel, guests can enjoy their stay in their comfortable rooms or beautiful roof terrace. Their staff is friendly and willing to go out of their way to assist you. Make sure you check out their newly-opened restaurant as well!

Click here for more details!

Best Hotel In Jardin – Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique

With the quality of a luxury hotel, it is surprised that Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique offers such high quality at a low price. Everything from the interior decor of the hotel to its friendly staff is just perfect. Did I mention the hot tub in the rooms?

Click here for more details!

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Those are the top 9 things to do in Jardin Colombia. I really hope you get to do at least a few of the popular ones.

As we said, Jardin was our favorite town in Colombia so we hope you enjoyed or will enjoy it!

If you have any questions, leave a comment or contact us via email!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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Guide to Camping in Tayrona National Park

Guide to Camping in Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park, one of the best places to visit in Colombia, is a place where the beautiful Caribbean Sea meets the magical forest. Filled with exotic wildlife, indigenous tribe, and coconuts trees everywhere, Tayrona National Park is a place that should be in every Colombia Itinerary.

However, arranging accommodations in Tayrona National Park can be confusing, especially if you want to camp. Since camping is one of the best ways to connect with nature and enjoy the surroundings, there are numerous campgrounds in Tayrona National Park.

With so many campsites to choose from and so many pros and cons, which one will you choose to be your base for your Tayrona adventure?

This guide to camping in Tayrona National park will answer all the questions you have about the different campgrounds in Tayrona National Park! 

Tayrona National Park Map

Camping in Tayrona National Park can be quick tricky because you cannot book most of the campsites online beforehand. This guide will give you an overview of the different camping grounds available in Tarona National park through the El Zaino entrance (the most popular one). The majority of the campsites can be booked the day of at the entrance of the park, except for Ecohabs and the two hotels in the park. 

Where To Stay In Tayrona National Park

Don Pedro Camping

Don Pedro camping is one of the most popular campsites in Tayrona National Park. Located about an hour from the shuttle drop off point, Don Pedro is a convenient campsite for travelers that want to explore a little deeper inside Tayrona National Park but still want to be close to the exit.

Don Pedro campsite features an on-site restaurant (with hour restrictions), showers (with hours restrictions), bathrooms, a basic kitchen, tents, and hammocks.

In general, Don Pedro is a solid choice for any travelers looking to camp in Tayrona National Park. Though it is not right on the beach, the closest beach can be easily reached within 10 mins of walking. However, you are not allowed to swim on that beach because it is dangerous.

Watch out for falling coconuts when you are in camping Don Pedro. Coconuts kill more people than sharks per year!

Cabo San Juan, Best Place For Hammocks In Tayrona National Park

Cabo San Juan is the most popular camping spot in Tayrona National Park, and for good reason. Located about 1.5 hours away from the shuttle drop off point, Cabo San Juan is the furthest camping site there is through the Zaino entrance.

There are two places where you can stay in Cabo San Juan, the watchtower that is jutting into the Caribbean Sea, or on the beach. If you do stay on the watchtower, they only have hammocks and it gets very windy and chilly at night.

Bring a blanket if you want to stay at the watchtower. Also, you might want to bring some insect repellant because those hammocks do not come with a mosquito net.

If you stay on the beach, you can decide between staying in a tent or staying in a hammock. The hammocks on the beach also do not have mosquito nets. The hammocks at the watchtower tend to get sold out quickly, especially during peak season. Make sure you reserve them in advance.

You can reserve your Cabo San Juan accommodation at the entrance of the park or at the reception on site.

Cabo San Juan campsite also features an on-site restaurant, showers and toilets, snorkeling equipment rental, and boat trips to Taganga (a small beach town).

Though a bit touristy and crowded, I would highly recommend staying at least one night in Cabo San Juan for the experience.  

Castilletes Campsite

Castilletes is the closest campsite from the Zaino entrance of the park that is on the beach. It is also the only campsite where you can book directly online here.

Located a 45-minute walking from the entrance of the park, Castilletes camping ground is the only campsite that the shuttle can take you to because the shuttle passes by it. If this is your first or last day in the park, you might want to consider staying at Castilletes for an easier time leaving and entering the park. 

Castilletes is a very beautiful campground with many amazing amenities including a restaurant, showers and toilets, hammocks, tents, and even Wi-Fi. Though you might be sleeping right next to the sea, you cannot swim in the water adjacent to the campground because the waves are rough.

It is a whole completely different atmosphere than Don Pedro or Cabo San Juan. Castilletes camping ground is a whole paradise on its own.

Arrecifes

Though we were told it wasn’t an option to stay in any of the Arrecifes camping grounds at the entrance of the park, we did see a lot of people at those camping grounds.

When I say Arrecifes camping ground, I am referring to the campgrounds that are closest to the Arrecifes beach. However, none of these camping sites are actually on the beach itself, they are the best option if you don’t want to walk far to reach the beach.

It is unsure how you can book these tents and hammocks at the various campsites in Arrecifes since we were not given the option when we rented our tents at the entrance of the park. Honestly, from what I saw, you are better off staying in Don Pedro, which is a few minutes away from the campsites in Arrecifes. Don Pedro has better amenities and is only a few minutes more away from the beach.

Ecohabs, The “Luxury” Tayrona National Park Hotels

Ecohabs, or most commonly miscalled as Ecohuts, are the most luxurious type of accommodations you can get in Tayrona National Park. Though Ecohabs are not for camping, I would like to include it in this guide to outline all the options there are.

Located at Cañaveral beach, the Ecohabs are situated on top of a hill surrounded by dense vegetation. Each Ecohab offers spectacular views unmatched by any other viewpoints in the park, miles of turquoise Caribbean Sea and white sand beach.

If you can afford to splurge on the Ecohabs, I would highly recommend doing so. It is an experience you will not forget.

Ecohotel Yachay Tayrona or Hotel Jasayma Tayrona

The last type of accommodations in Tayrona National Park is the Ecohotel Yachay Tayrona and the Hotel Jasayma Tayrona. These two hotels are situated right next to each other and are the closest hotels to the entrance of Tayrona Park. That means you won’t have to go that far into the park to reach your accommodation but that also means you will it will take you longer to reach other parts of the park, especially the beautiful Cabo San Juan.

Both of these hotels are located in the heart of the forest, meaning that at night there will be a lot of insects. The hotels do offer mosquito nets but light attracts them so you will find them everywhere within the vicinity of the hotel. It is a totally surreal experience to fall asleep to the sound of the jungle and to be woken up by the native birds of the area.

Breakfast is included in the stay but their on-site restaurant also serves some amazing dishes. Additionally, the hotels have WiFi if you need it. 

Tayrona National Park Hostel

I am going to address one of the most common questions I get about Tayrona National Park.

Are there hostels in Tayrona National Park?

The answer is… NO!

There are no hostels in Tayrona National Park. However, there are many great hostels near the entrance of Tayrona National Park.

I personally stayed at one of the top-rated hostel, The Journey Hostel, and had an amazing time. I would recommend staying there or in Santa Marta before going into Tayrona Park. 

Bringing Your Own Tent Into Tayrona National Park

You are allowed to bring your own tents into the park. However, you are only allowed to camp in the designated campsites like the ones I mentioned above.  You are NOT allowed to camp in the wilderness.

In addition, you will need to pay a fee to erect your tent in the designated areas. In July 2019, it was 10,000 COP to do so. It is still much cheaper than renting one of their tents (and much cleaner as well).

Things to Know Before Going to Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park is one of the most protected areas in Colombia. As a result, there are many regulations and rules.

1. Yellow Fever Vaccine

Though the Yellow Fever vaccine is listed as a must to enter Tayrona National Park, I was never asked if I had proof of it. The same thing also happened to many travelers I have met. However, better safe than sorry.

2. Water and Food Are Available in the Park but are Overpriced

If you were thinking of just buying water and food in the Tayrona National Park, think again. Though there are many places that sell water and a proper meal, they are quite overpriced.

3. No Alcohol is Allowed

4. No Loud Music is Allowed

Headphones are allowed but if you were planning on blasting some reggaeton in the park, you will be stopped by the patrols and obviously tossed into the sea. Music is detrimental to wildlife in the area, sometimes disrupting their way of life.

5. No Plastic Bag is Allowed to Enter the Park

In the effort to stop the littering of plastic, Tayrona National Park has banned all plastic packs, though we did sneak one in (we are badasses). Just make sure you dispose of it properly!

6. Store Your Big Luggage in Santa Marta

If you are camping, you should not take more than a small backpack with you. Store your luggage in your accommodation in Santa Marta.  

7. Tayrona National Park is Closed in February!

Due to the agreements with the indigenous tribes that still live inside Tayrona National Park. The park is closed every February. For the exact dates it is closed, refer to the Tayrona Park official site.

Packing List for Tayrona National Park

Located in the heart of the rainforest as well as on the Caribbean coast, there are many things you should pack for your visit to Tayrona National Park. Here are things we recommend:

1. Passport – Not because you want to, but you have to in order to enter the park! You cannot enter Tayrona National park without your passport.

2. Cash – There are no ATMs in the park and the restaurants and other vendors only accept cash.

3. Insect Repellent and Sunscreen – Insect Repellent for the army of insects you will encounter in Tayrona National Park. Sunscreen to avoid looking like a burnt lobster.

4. Bathing Suit and Microfiber Towel – Self-Explanatory.

5. Combination Locks – Every campsite has lockers but they do not give you a padlock. Bring your own to use the lockers or even for locking up your tent!

6. Warm clothes – Especially if you are sleeping in the hammocks!

7. Reliable Flashlight – For going to the bathroom at night or traveling inside the park after sunset. A must-have for Tayrona National Park 

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This marks the end of the guide to camping in Tayrona National Park. Camping really enhances your whole entire experience in the park and I suggest not to do it any other way.

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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Where to Stay in Bogota, Colombia: Best Areas and Hotels

Where to Stay in Bogota, Colombia: Best Areas and Hotels

Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is a giant sprawling city with many different neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own flair and choosing the right neighborhood is imperative for having a good trip to Bogota.

For first time visitors, it might be difficult choosing the best place to stay in Bogota. This guide will provide you the information you need to decide on where to stay in Bogota, as well as giving you the pros and cons of staying in those neighborhoods. We will also talk about safety in Bogota and how choosing the right area to stay in will keep you safe. 

Whether you are a traveler that wants to learn about the history of Colombia, party till the sunrise, or enjoy some top-tier Colombian cuisine, there is a neighborhood in Bogota that is right for you.

Best Places To Stay In Bogota, Colombia

Want a Quick Tip on Where to Stay in Bogota?

In a hurry to decide on where to stay in Bogota?

Our favorite neighborhood in Bogota is Chapinero!

A centrally located neighborhood known for its cool and relaxed hippie vibes, unique cafes and bars, best fine-dining establishments (Zona G), and its authentic Colombia culture, staying in Chapinero is guaranteed to enhance your experience in Bogota. It is easily accessible, not too far from the airport and not too far from the historical center, perfect for travelers on a short trip to Bogota. The area is not dangerous but increased precautions should be exercised, especially at night.

If this is your first time in Bogota, you cannot go wrong with the Chapinero neighborhood. 

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bogota

As you can see from the map above, Bogota is a huge city. Traveling inside the city can sometimes take up to an hour and using the TransMilenio (Bogota’s public transportation system) is confusing. That is why it is so important to select the right area to stay in Bogota.

If you want to see the historical parts of Bogota, you wouldn’t want to stay in Usaquen, the farthest neighborhood from the historical center. Likewise, if you want to have great nightlife in Bogota, you wouldn’t stay in Teusaquillo, a high-class residential neighborhood with no nightlife.

Teusaquillo (Safe, Easily Accessible, Recommended for Families)

As one of the biggest residential areas for the middle and upper class, Teusaquillo is one of the safest neighborhoods in Bogota. And like many wealthy neighborhoods, Teusaquillo is filled with amazing green spaces such as the Simon Boliver Park, the biggest park in Bogota. It also home to the campus of the National University of Colombia, the convention center Corferias, and the Botanical Garden of Bogota. 

Teusaquillo is also considered a great place to stay in Bogota due to its location. Centrally located in Bogota, it is easy to visit the historical district of La Candelaria or go to the airport. The Transmilenio, the most convenient public transportation system in Bogota, is within walking distance. 

Cons of Staying in Teusaquillo:

-It is not the most exciting area to stay in Bogota. With mostly residential buildings, there is barely any nightlife in the area. 

-If you are traveling solo and want to meet other travelers, Teusaquillo is not the best neighborhood in Bogota to stay in. There are few hostels in that area and the people that stay there aren’t too social. 

Best Hostel in Teusaquillo: Maite Hostel

Maite Hostel is one of the few good hostels in Teusaquillo. The rooms are spacious, which is rare for a hostel. Beds are comfy and warm which are important for the cold Bogota nights. The interior decor is cozy and the staff is very friendly, making the hostel feel like a second home. The free wifi is one of the best for a hostel!

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Teusaquillo: BOG Urban

A spotlessly clean hotel in Teusaquillo, BOG Urban is all about meeting the customer’s needs. This boutique hotel is small enough that every customer gets the attention and help he or she needs. Whether they are questions about where to eat in the neighborhood, the best things to do in Bogota, the staff will help you. One of the best value-for-money hotels in Bogota. 

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in Teusaquillo: Grand Hyatt Bogota

Grand Hyatt Bogota is not just a luxury hotel, it is probably one of the best 5-star hotels in Bogota. This hotel features a 28-meters swimming pool, a well-equipped fitness center, and a spa for those who want to stay in shape, de-stress, or relax. The amenities of this hotel is luxurious and is an amazing place to stay in Bogota if you can afford it!

Click here for more details!

La Candelaria (Cultural, Lively, Street Arts, Historical Center)

La Candelaria, the historic center of Bogota, is undoubtedly one of the most popular neighborhoods to stay in Bogota. As the oldest neighborhood in Bogota, La Candelaria is filled with museums, historic architecture, and street art. Consequently, this area attracts many travelers from around the world who want to learn about Colombia’s culture and history.

Walk along the cobble-stoned streets and you will find yourself surrounded by old Spanish architecture. Check out Bogota’s main square, the Plaza de Bolivar. Located in the center of La Candelaria, Plaza de Bolivar houses many important buildings, including the Palace of Justice, National Capitol, Primary Cathedral of Bogota, and more. 

Staying in La Candelaria is guaranteed to give you easy access to the best attractions of Bogota. Bogota’s most famous museums such as the Gold Museum and Botero Museum are all within walking distance. In the area, you will also find some traditional Colombia cuisine, but usually at a higher price. Check out La Puerta Falsa when you are in La Candelaria for some good authentic Colombian food! 

La Candelaria is also a good place to stay in Bogota for travelers wanting to hike up to Monserrate, the best viewpoint of Bogota.

Cons of Staying in La Candelaria:

-Safety! It is surprising how unsafe La Candelaria can be at night, especially for such a touristy neighborhood. Don’t walk alone at night on empty streets and beware of pickpockets! Take an Uber if you can, do not take a taxi! Taxis are nicknamed Millionaire’s Ride because you can get robbed on them! I recommend having travel insurance when visiting Bogota!

(Update: Uber is now banned in Colombia starting January 2020. You can still use Uber-like apps such as Beat, Cabify, or Didi for your travel needs!)

-Noise! La Candelaria is a small area. As a result, the party that is happening all night can happen just around the corner from you. Better bring some earplugs! 

Best Hostel in La Candelaria: Masaya Hostel Bogota

One of the top backpacker hostels in Bogota, Masaya hostel offers hotel-level amenities at the price of a hostel. The hostel is social but also provides plenty of areas to chill out and relax. The interior decor of this hostel is very beautiful and they also offer daily activities where you can meet friends and learn more about Colombia culture! 

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in La Candelaria: Casa Candilejas

Centrally located in the historic district of La Candelaria, Casa Candilejas is one of the best cheap hotels in Bogota. A huge communal area with Netflix and a pool table offer the perfect place to relax after a long day. The rooftop terrace offers amazing views of Bogota and is also the place where their included breakfast is served. 

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in La Candelaria: The Orchids

If you want to splurge on a luxury boutique hotel in Candelaria, this is the one. The Orchids is situated inside a well-preserved old colonial house and the decoration is nothing but perfect. It is as if you traveled back in time. Guests can enjoy the timeless decor as well as the great breakfast offered by the hotel!

Click here for more details!

Chapinero (Best Food, Hippie Vibes, Affordable Accommodations)

If you are not sure where to stay in Bogota, my personal recommendation would be Chapinero. An area with unique cafes, hippie bars, bohemian vibes, and the biggest LGBT community, Chapinero is the “cool” neighborhood in Bogota.

Matter of fact, the LGBT community is so big that there are over 100 gay bars and clubs combined. One of them is Theatron, one of the biggest gay clubs in the world!

Home of the famous Zona G (G for Gourmet), Chapinero has some of the best food in Colombia. Whether it is fine-dining establishments or some cheap local street food, Zona G will be a heaven for you. If you are a foodie, Chapinero is the best place to stay in Bogota for you. 

There are many shopping malls in the area such as the Andino mall, Unilago mall, and Avenida Chile mall, great for travelers that want to do a little bit of shopping! The financial district is also within the Chapinero neighborhood, perfect for any travelers on a business trip in Bogota.

Cons of Staying in Chapinero:

-Though most of the areas in Chapinero is safe, some of the places can be unsafe at night. Generally speaking, the more south in Chapinero you go, the more dangerous it becomes. Chapinero is still much safer than La Candelaria.

Best Hostel in Chapinero: Republica Hostel Chapinero

The capsule-style beds at Republica Hostel are some of the most comfortable and privacy-giving beds ever. You will feel like you are in your own little space once you pull that curtain over at the end of the bed. The ambiance is relaxed and friendly, making it a very easy place to meet new friends. This is one of the best hostels in Bogota for anyone backpacking Colombia!

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Chapinero: Hotel Vilar America

With an amazing location in Chapinero, your visit to Bogota will be much simpler by staying at Hotel Vilar America. Their spacious and clean rooms combined with their sleek design will make any guest fall in love. Did I mention this is a cheap hotel? Luxury and affordable are two words that don’t go together but this hotel makes it possible!

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in Chapinero: bs Rosales Hotel

Centrally located in Chapinero, staying at bs Rosales Hotel guarantees you an easy commute to the historic center. After a day of exploring Bogota’s best attractions, you can come back to the hotel and enjoy a sauna, a nice drink at the bar, or an invigorating workout at their gym. The hotel also offers guided tours of the attractions in Bogota, such as the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

Click here for more details!

Zona Rosa/Zona T (Best Nightlife in Bogota!)

Zona Rosa, also called Zona T because of the T-shaped pedestrian streets, is the best neighborhood in Bogota for nightlife. This is the place to stay if you want to have a crazy night. Filled with some of the best bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, Zona Rosa attracts foreigners and local Colombians that want to have a good time.

When it comes to exploring the famous nightlife of Bogota, Zona Rosa is the best place to stay in Bogota! Weekdays are a little more tamed than usual but when it comes to the weekend, it is like everyone is on steroids.

Meet local Colombians, dance till your feet hurt, and drink a little more than you should. Don’t worry and go wild, Zona Rosa is also one of the safest neighborhoods in Bogota!

Cons of Staying in Zona Rosa:

-Noise! As one of the biggest areas to party in Bogota, it is inevitable that it will be noisy! On the weekends, you will hear reggaeton until 5 AM in the morning!

-Distance from the historical center! Zona Rosa is far from the best attractions in Bogota. Most of them located in La Candelaria, it could take 25 minutes by car or an hour by public transportation to get there.

-Price! This area is more expensive than most areas in Bogota due to the restaurants, bars, and night clubs nearby! 

Best Hostel in Zona Rosa: Mad Nomad Hostel

Mad Nomad Hostel is one of the few hostels located in the pricey Zona Rosa. Equipped with a bar and nice communal areas to socialize, it is an amazing place if you are backpacking Bogota and want to meet other travelers. And after you make some friends, you can all go out to the nearby Zona Rosa and have some fun! 

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Zona Rosa: GHL Hotel Hamilton

GHL Hotel Hamilton is an affordable hotel in Zona Rosa with luxurious amenities and design. The decoration in the rooms and the hallways speak 5-star hotel but you are paying the price of an average 3-star hotel. Surrounded by some of the best bars, clubs, and restaurants, GHL Hotel Hamilton is an excellent choice for travelers wanting to experience Zona Rosa. 

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in Zona Rosa: Cite Hotel

Cite Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Zona Rosa of Bogota. The rooms are some of the most spacious I have ever had in a hotel and their designs are sleek and modern. My favorite part is the huge heated swimming pool on their terrace. A beautiful place to relax, watch the sunset, and suntan with an iced cold drink in your hand. If you are looking for the best hotels in Zona Rosa Bogota, consider Cite Hotel.

Click here for more details!

Parque 93 / Chico (Relaxing, Safe, But Far From Historic Center)

Chico and Parque 93, or Park 93 in English, are the areas immediately above Zona Rosa. If you thought the accommodations in Bogota cannot get pricier than the ones in Zona Rosa, I introduce you to Parque 93 and Chico area. 

A wealthy neighborhood filled amazing restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls, and night clubs, it is not surprising that Parque 93 is one of the best places to stay in Bogota. 

Visitors can enjoy a nice stroll in the beautiful green spaces such as Parque 93 and Parque del Chico. In the afternoon, enjoy a delicious Colombian meal at one of the fine-dining establishments in the area. Then at night, visitors can visit the nearby Zona Rosa to enjoy a Colombian nightlife.

Parque 93/Chico neighborhood is one of the safest neighborhoods in Bogota, day or night.

Parque de la 93 en Bogotá

Cons of Staying in Parque 93/Chico:

-Price! This is considered one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Bogota. As a result, the prices for accommodations will be higher than usual.

-Inconvenience! Even though Parque 93/Chico is close to Zona Rosa, it is very far from the historical center of Bogota. Expect a commute time of an hour via public transportation or 30 minutes by car.

Best Hostel in Parque 93/Chico: Selina Parque 93 Bogota

Selina Parque 93 is one of the best hostels in Bogota. The design, facilities, and the friendly staff will make your visit to Bogota memorable. This hostel offers luxurious private rooms so the communal areas are very well-decorated. There are daily activities for solo travelers to meet other travelers as well as a bar and restaurant to relax!

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Parque 93/Chico: Soy Local Parque 93

Cheap and Parque 93 are two words (or 4) that usually don’t go together but somehow Soy Local Parque 93 pulls it off! Its location in Parque 93 is one of the best and you will no doubt find yourself at ease in this hotel. The rooms are spacious with big windows that get a lot of sunlight in! Some rooms even have an outdoor terrace to relax on! 

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in Parque 93/Chico: Casa Dann Carlton Hotel & Spa

Casa Dann Carlton is one of Bogota’s best 5-star hotels. Featuring a spa that includes a sauna, a hot tub, and a massage room, you can properly relax after visiting the best attractions in Bogota. The buffet breakfast includes international dishes that will prepare your stomach for a day of sightseeing. Travelers who want to stay in shape can also use the swimming pool and the well-equipped fitness center!

Click here for more details!

Honorable Mention Luxury Hotel in Parque 93/Chico – Click Clack Hotel

The Latin American regional winner of Luxury Modern Hotel, Luxury Design Hotel, and Luxury Boutique Hotel at the 2017 World Luxury Hotel Awards, Click Clack Hotel is more than just a hotel to sleep in, it is a hotel that will inspire. The quirky design of this boutique hotel in Bogota will intrigue you creatively, making you fall in love with it from the beginning to the end of your stay. 

Click here for more details!

Usaquen (Safe, Expensive, Unique Colombia Culture)

Usaquen is quite a different neighborhood than the ones we have talked about. That is because Usaquen used to be its own small town until it was incorporated in the 1950s to become part of Bogota. Signs of its uniqueness can be seen in the cobble-stoned streets, antique shops, and family-owned restaurants.

The dining establishments have some of the best international cuisines in Bogota as well as authentic Colombian dishes. When you are in Usaquen, make sure you try out Ajiaco, the most famous food in Bogota. If you are there on a Sunday, visit the Mercado de Las Pulgas, or Flea Market in English. Located near the Usaquen Plaza, the Usaquen flea market offers anything from street food to artisan crafts. 

Cons of Staying in Usaquen:

-Poor Accessibility. As one of the neighborhoods farthest from the Bogota Airport and historic center, it will be difficult traveling outside of the area. It will take 45 minutes to get to Usaquen by car from the Bogota Airport or historic center (La Candelaria). 

-Price. Usaquen is one of the poshest neighborhoods in Bogota. Everything from food to accommodation will be a tad pricier.

Best Hostel in Usaquen: Rua Hostels Usaquen

Hostels are not easy to find in Usaquen due to how expensive the area is. Rua Hostel is one of the cheapest hostels in Usaquen that is fairly decent. The beds are comfortable and the rooms are spacious enough, perfect for relaxing after a long day. The best thing about this hostel is the social atmosphere. Travelers from all around the world gather around and share their cultures!

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Usaquen: Hotel City Bog 106

Clean, spacious, standard no-frills hotel in Usaquen. The modern and simplistic design is refreshing after a long day of visiting the best attractions in Bogota. This hotel is your comfortable yet affordable home to be your base in Bogota. If you are looking for extra features like a swimming pool, jacuzzis, and other similar amenities, this hotel is not for you. 

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in Usaquen: Biohotel Organic Suites

Biohotel Organic Suites is one of the best boutique hotels in Bogota. Not only does this hotel have the best amenities such as a jacuzzi, pool, buffet breakfast, and a state of the art fitness center, the hotel is incredibly eco-friendly. The organic mission of the hotel along with its sustainability efforts makes it one of the best hotels in Bogota for sustainable travelers. 

Click here for more details!

Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota Airport)

On a short layover and not sure where to stay in Bogota? I recommend staying near the El Dorado Airport, or Bogota’s international airport. Staying in that area will guarantee that you have the easiest time on the day of your flight. No more worrying about catching a taxi or Uber and getting stuck in traffic.

The areas surrounding El Dorado Airport are designed for visitors on a short stopover. Though there are not many tourist attractions in those areas, they are safe and equipped with restaurants and stores. 

Most of the accommodations near El Dorado Airport are well-equipped for people on a business trip. They also tend to be cheaper than the accommodations near the historic center of Bogota.

Cons of Staying Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota’s Airport):

-You will be far from the best things to do in Bogota. All the main attractions are near the historic district, which will be 30 minutes away by car or more than an hour by public transportation. 

-Most travelers staying in El Dorado Airport area are here for a short time. It will be difficult to meet other people and socialize. 

Best Hostel Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota’s Airport): Bababuy Hostel

Bababuy Hostel is a well-decorated hostel with a surprisingly amount of social atmosphere. The staff is extremely friendly and the reception is opened 24 hours, just in case something happens with your flight. The hostel is so close you can walk to the airport in 35 minutes! A great cheap hostel if you are in between flights. 

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota’s Airport): Hilton Garden Inn Bogota Airport

Thought the 4-star Hilton Garden Inn Hotel might be a little pricier than your average budget hotel, let me tell you why it is worth it. The hotel provides a buffet breakfast as well as free shuttle service to the airport, both of which are costly at other hotels. Additionally, the hotel has a spa, hot tub, sauna, and a fitness center. There is no better place to stay for a stopover than here. 

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota’s Airport): Hotel Habitel Prime

The Hotel Habitel Prime is one of the best hotels in Bogota, too bad it is close to the airport and far away from Bogota’s attractions. Guests can enjoy their international breakfast buffet as well as the spa and wellness center. There are free shuttles that run daily to transport guests to El Dorado Airport!

Click here for more details!

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As you can see, there is no best place to stay in Bogota. If you have to decide on where to stay in Bogota, make sure you consider what type of traveler you are and what you want to get out of your visit to Bogota.

Any questions? Leave a comment below!

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3 Days in Bogota: Itinerary to Colombia’s Capital

3 Days in Bogota: Itinerary to Colombia’s Capital

Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is a place filled with culture and some of the best Colombian cuisine. With so many top attractions to do in Bogota, it might be difficult to cover all the amazing activities. 

In our itinerary for 3 days in Bogota, you will visit the best places in Bogota, learn about the complicated history of Colombia, immerse yourself in the culture, and of course try the local Colombian food

Not only will this guide give you every step to plan your 3 days in Bogota, but it will give you information on the best places to stay in Bogota and what to pack for your trip.

Without further ado, let’s get down to the details!

3-Day Bogota Itinerary

Where To Stay in Bogota

We are going to start our 3 day Bogota itinerary by deciding where to stay because not every area in Bogota is safe. Most accommodations are located in 2 areas in Bogota: La Candelaria or Chapinero.

La Candelaria is the old Bogota, full of historical buildings, culture, and museums. If you backpacking Colombia on a budget, La Candelaria is full of affordable backpacker hostels. However, the area can be unsafe at night.

Chapinero is the modern Bogota, full of hippie cafes, the best bars and clubs, and good food. The area is much safer than La Candelaria and I highly recommend you to stay in Chapinero.

Make sure you have travel insurance when you visit Bogota!

Low-Budget Recommendation

Aurora Hostel– Cozy hotel with a beautiful interior. Comfortable beds and a great common area to meet other travelers. Bar on-site that provides affordable drinks. Good value for money.

Selina Chapinero – Beautiful hostel with amazing amenities including co-working spaces, a restaurant, and a kitchen. The communal areas are well-decorated and the place feels like home.

High-Budget Recommendation

bs Rosales Hotel– Beautiful big rooms away from the craziness and noise of Bogota. Comfortable beds, amazing breakfast, sleek interior, I highly recommend this place. 

Hotel Lugano Suites – 5-star hotel for an affordable price. The decor is modern. Gym, spa, and sauna are included. One of the best hotels in Bogota.

Day 1 (Paloquemao, Museo del Oro, Tejo)

Morning

Welcome to Bogota! Your 1st day in Bogota is going to be a lot of exploration. If you are staying in the Chapinero neighborhood as I recommended, go outside and look for some breakfast. That area is filled with amazing cafes and restaurants. There are some foods you must try in Colombia for breakfast: Pan de bono (soft cheesy bread), tinto (like an espresso shot), and arepas

Once you are done enjoying your Colombian breakfast, head over to Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao. Paloquemao is the biggest local farmer’s market in Bogota. Come and try the exotic fruits and vegetables of the region, like guanabanas and lulos. 

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon wandering around La Candelaria, the historical parts of Bogota. Walk through the little alleys, check out some of the cool souvenir shops, and don’t hesitate to try something new. Colombians are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. For lunch, you must try Ajiaco, the most famous Colombian dish in Bogota. Popular in the mountainous Andes region of Colombia, Ajiaco is the perfect warm meal for a cold day. 

The best restaurant in Bogota to try Ajiaco is La Puerta Falsa. A cheap and traditional Colombian restaurant that Anthony Bourdain has visited himself, you will not be disappointed by the food. You must try the Ajiaco and Tamales at La Puerta Falsa.

After having lunch, you will visit the Gold Museum, or Museo del Oro in Spanish. As Bogota’s most famous and prestigious museum, you can easily spend 2-3 hours here. Explore the 55,000 pieces of gold and learn about their historical significance, it is quite fascinating. On Sundays, admission to the Gold Museum is free. 

You might see people selling “Big Ass Ants”, or hormigas culonas outside of Museo del Oro. Make sure you give it a try because they are a special Colombian snack! 

Night

Night-time is a little tricky in Bogota, as some areas such as La Candelaria become quite dangerous. It is still one of the best places to visit in Bogota, but I would recommend you to walk in groups or take an Uber. (Update: Uber is now banned in Colombia starting January 2020. You can still use Uber-like apps such as Beat, Cabify, or Didi for your travel needs!)

Tonight you will be playing Tejo, the national sport of Colombia. Tejo is a game filled with alcohol and explosives usually played at a bar. Recipe for disaster? Maybe. Recipe for fun? Definitely.

Head over to Club De Tejo La 76, an amazing local bar with cheap drinks and good food. The staff will explain the rules of Tejo and make sure everyone is having fun!

Day 2 (Walking Tour, Botero Musem, Monserrate)

Hope you are not too tired from your crazy Tejo night yesterday because you will be seeing some of Bogota’s best attractions today. 

Morning

Today you will go on a FREE walking tour and learn about the history and the best places in Bogota. The tour starts at 10 AM at the Museo del Oro, a place you should be familiar with already. The tour is based on tips so if you didn’t enjoy the tour, you don’t have to pay a dime. The tour will also take you to see some of the best street art and graffiti of Bogota. However, if you would like a more in-depth graffiti tour, check out this free graffiti tour.

Afternoon

You must be hungry after all that walking. For lunch, stay near the La Candelaria area. Look for a restaurant that serves chicharron, papas criollas (traditional Colombia potatoes), empanadas, and more.

Chicharron is delicious deep-fried pork but it is the most unhealthy food on this planet. You are not on vacation to be healthy though, are you? 

After lunch, head over to the Botero Museum, or Museo Botero del Banco de la Republica. Fernando Botero is one of the most famous painters and sculptors of Colombia. His work is unique because of his depiction of fat things.

Women, Animals, the Mona Lisa, anything and everything. Spend a few hours here admiring at the quirkiness and audacity of his work. However, keep the clock in mind, because you are going to go watch the sunset at best viewpoint in Bogota, Monserrate

To arrive at the viewpoint of Monserrate, you must take a cable car from the cable car station. You could also hike up from the station BUT only in the day time. In the evening, the path is known to be dangerous. Also, you MUST take an Uber (Update: Uber is now banned. Use Beat, Cabify, or Didi) from wherever you are to the cable car station. Don’t take a taxi and don’t walk. Taxis could be dangerous and the area surrounding Monserrate is dangerous as well. 

Night

After the sun sets at Monserrate, stay behind to watch the city of Bogota glorified by its light. Bogota is a beautiful place with all its bright lights. 

When you get back down to the cable car station, take an Uber (Update: Uber is now banned. Use Beat, Cabify, or Didi) to Andres Carne de Res, the most famous restaurant in Colombia. Andres Carne de Res is not just a restaurant, it is also an entertainment joint, a nightclub, an art gallery, and a hell of a good time in one. It is a place where you cannot summarize with just words and must experience it for yourself. 

The original Andres Carne de Res is located in Chia, about 30 minutes away from Bogota. I highly recommend going to that one if you can afford the trek. If not there is one in Andino Shopping Mall.

Day 3 (Zipaquira Salt Cathedral)

On day 3 of the Bogota itinerary, you will take a day trip to Zipaquira to visit the underground salt cathedral. As the First Wonder of Colombia, the visiting Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is the top thing to do in Bogota and be on any Colombia itinerary.

So get yourself a nice breakfast and a lot of tintos and head towards Portal Norte or Terminal del Norte and catch a bus to Zipaquira. The buses depart frequently and the journey lasts an hour.

Once the bus drops you off in Zipaquira, walk to the entrance of the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral and buy your ticket. A tour guide is included with the purchase of the ticket. Then spend the next few hours learning about the magnificence of the construction of the salt mine and cathedral. The salt cathedral is located 200m underground and it is a functioning church with many visitors on Sundays. 

 Grab a local meal in the town of Zipaquira and watch how the locals live outside of the big cities. It is an eye-widening experience.

When you are done, head back to Bogota. You should arrive just in time for dinner. Feel free to walk around to search for your final meal in Bogota, Chapinero has a lot of great options. I personally recommend you check out Dona Elvira, a restaurant with 80 years of history. The food there is as authentic as it can get.

Packing List for Your 3 Days in Bogota

Bogota, located at 2640m, is surprisingly cold for Colombia. Not only is the weather cold, but it also rains daily at the most random times. 

1.  Sunscreen. The sun at such a high altitude is very strong. Pack sunscreen.

2. Warm clothing. Bogota is cold due to its altitude. Pack warm clothes, especially gloves and a hat.

3. Reliable daypack. This Osprey daypack is extremely comfortable. Osprey also offers a lifetime warranty on all its products.

4. Rain poncho or rain jacket. Always have one in your backpack. You will never know when you will need it.  

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This concludes the 3 day Bogota itinerary. I hope this helped you to find some of the best things to do and places to see in Bogota! Don’t worry too much about following it to the T, enjoy Colombia. It is full of surprises and greatness!

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9 BEST Things to Do in Salento Colombia TODAY!

9 BEST Things to Do in Salento Colombia TODAY!

Salento, the land of some of the best Colombian coffee and giant wax palm trees, is one of the top tourist destinations in Colombia. In fact, no Colombia itinerary would be complete without a visit to this famous coffee town.

But what to do in Salento Colombia besides sampling the coffee and visiting the Cocora Valley? Worry not, the Quindio region where Salento is located is full of marvelous wonders. In this guide, you will find a variety of activities in Salento, from food to try, places to visit, and even traditional games to play!

Without further ado, here are the 9 best things to do in Salento, Colombia.

What To Do In Salento: 9 Top Things To Do In Salento, Colombia

1. Hike Cocora Valley And See The World’s Tallest Wax Palm Trees

Hiking Cocora Valley, or Valle de Cocora in Spanish, is the No.1 thing to do in Salento. Travelers come from all over the world to Salento just to see Cocora Valley with their own eyes. Why? Because Cocora Valley is the home of the tallest wax palm trees in the entire world! They can grow up to 60m (200 feet), the height of a 14-story building!

When you arrive in Cocora Valley, you have two options to see the wax palms trees. Most people you meet will refer to them as the long and short loop. The short loop means you go straight to the viewpoint of the wax palm trees, and return the same way. The long loop means you do an entire 5-6 hour hiking trail in the Cocora Valley. Counterclockwise on this trail means you will see the wax palm trees last, and clockwise means you will see them first thing on your trail.

I did the long loop counterclockwise and I am glad I did. It was totally a breathtaking moment seeing the beautiful giants after hours of hiking.

If you are short on time or money (since you have to pay a few times on the long loop), then consider doing the short loop and going straight to the palm trees.

How to Get to Cocora Valley From Salento?

To get to Cocora Valley from Salento, you can either walk or take one of the Jeeps that leave frequently at Plaza de Bolivar. The Jeeps leave once they fill up so there is no schedule to it. Just show up, buy a ticket, and wait till it is your turn!

2. Stroll Along the Beautiful Calle Real, One Of The Most Popular Things To Do in Salento

Calle Real is the “main” street that every town has. It is the street where you will find cute cafes, local Colombian food, and souvenirs, along with some of the most colorful buildings in town.

The handicrafts you will encounter in Calle Real are some of the best you will find in the region.

Calle Real is something you must see in Salento. But luckily for you, it is located conveniently in town. Combine a visit to Calle Real with a stroll at the nearby Plaza de Bolivar, the hotspot for locals to hang out!

3. Go On a Coffee Tour in Salento and Try Some Local Coffee

If you are visiting Colombia, you cannot leave without tasting a cup of coffee from the local region. Colombia’s coffee is considered one of the best in the world due to ideal growing conditions and the minerals in the soil.

Luckily for you, Salento is located in the Quindio region, arguably the best coffee region in Colombia.

Therefore, it should go without saying that you have to visit one of the coffee farms while you are in Salento.

Every coffee farm in Colombia exports its coffee overseas because of how much more money they can earn. By visiting the coffee farms themselves, you get to try and buy high-quality coffee directly. That way, you are guaranteed to have the best quality Colombian coffee! 

How/Where to Get the Coffee Tours in Salento?

Coffee tours can be found easily throughout the tour agencies in the town.

However, some of these coffee farms are not located too far from town and they offer pop-in coffee tours.

My personal recommendation is to go to Las Acacias Coffee Farm and Finca El Ocaso Salento on your own. They are both short hikes from the town Salento itself.

4. Go Up to Mirador De Salento

Interested in seeing the beautiful town of Salento from above? Then you have to check out the Mirador De Salento or the Viewpoint of Salento! Though not very creative or impressive with the name, I can guarantee you the view will leave you breathless. However, the way to the top of this viewpoint will also leave you breathless, literally.

The Mirador De Salento is located conveniently in town. Head down towards the end of Calle Real and you will find yourself at the bottom of a 238-step climb to the Mirador De Salento. 238 steps later, you will not only see the entirety of Salento and the little traditional “paisa” houses but the lush nature that the Quindio coffee region is known for.

5. Visit Filandia, A Beautiful Colonial Town Nearby

Filandia is a hidden gem that many travelers have not even heard of. Located only an hour away from Salento, you can visit Filandia as a day trip or for a few days.

Filandia is probably my second favorite town in all of Colombia, just behind the color colonial town Jardin. Part of the reason is that they are very similar. Filandia has some of the most amazing nature, grass fields stretching beyond horizons that your eyes can reach, double waterfalls, and some of the best sunsets in Colombia.

If you stop by Filandia, make sure you try the famous restaurant, Helena Adentro, their eggplant appetizer is one of the best food I have tasted in Colombia. For the best coffee and sunset spot, check out Cultivar Cafe Restaurante, the view from that is incredible.  

How to Get to Filandia from Salento?

To get to Filandia from Salento, head over to the main park of Salento, Plaza De Bolivar, the same place where you got your transportation to Cocora Valley. Tell the person at the booth that you want to go to Filandia and he or she will be able to assist you further. 

6. Take a Short Hike to Waterfall Santa Rita

Salento is located in the rich coffee region surrounded by some of the lushest nature in the world. It shouldn’t surprise you that it also has an amazing waterfall nearby, Santa Rita waterfall.

If the Colombia heat is proving to be a little too much to handle, why not take a short hike and bath in the freshwater of Santa Rita? Surrounded by nature on all sides, Santa Rita waterfall feels like a paradise in the jungle. Come with your friends, splash some water around, and have a good time.

How to Get to Santa Rita Waterfall from Salento?

The way to Santa Rita is about 1.5 hours from Salento. If you look on Google Maps, or maps.me, you will see two routes with roughly the same amount of time to get there. DO NOT take the route behind the Mirador De Salento! If you do, you have to pay in order to pass certain parts of the path and you have to cross a river, with no bridge. Take the path that’s going out of Salento toward the main highway.

7. Visit the Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary

The Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary is located in the Cocora Valley (Valle de Cocora) and can be reached on a 45-minute detour from the Valle de Cocora hiking loop. 

If you are into hummingbirds, this is a place you cannot miss. Admire the hummingbirds as they fly freely over your head. Sip on some of the best local coffee and sample some of the cheese from the region. The Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary is a place worth checking out in when you are in Salento. 

How to Get to Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary from Salento?

As I said, The Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary is located in Cocora Valley. The only way to reach it is through hiking the Cocora Valley long loop. Start the loop counterclockwise and about 2 hours in you will arrive at a fork.

Take the path to the right and you will arrive at Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary in about 45 minutes or so. Do note that by adding this detour, you will add an additional 1.5 hour to 2 hours to the already demanding 5-6 hour loop at Cocora Valley itself.

8. Eat Trout (Trucha), the Famous Local Fish

Trout, or trucha in Spanish, might seem like a common plain dish. However, trout is a delicacy and one of the many traditional Colombian dishes, especially in the Quindio region where Salento is located.

That is because of the many trout farms that are located in the region. Using the pure water from the fresh streams in the mountains, the result is some of the most delicious trout you will ever taste.  

Where Can You Find Trucha in Salento?

You can find trucha at almost every restaurant in Salento. Calle Real has plenty of restaurants that serve some of the best truchas in the area. Plaza de Bolivar will sometimes have food trucks that sell trucha cooked in many different ways. My favorite is definitely fried or with garlic!

9. Play Tejo, Colombia’s National Sport

Tejo is a traditional Colombian game played using gunpowder and explosives. Yes, I said it right. EXPLOSIVES!! The game is usually played in a bar while chugging tons of beer and alcohol. At this point, you might think Tejo is a recipe for disaster, and you are probably right. However, the game is full of fun and is totally safe.

Tejo is the national Colombia sport and dates back to the pre-Colombian era. It is the one thing you must do in Salento, or in Colombia in general. 

Where Can You Play Tejo in Salento?

Cancha de Tejos Los Amigos is the #1 spot in Salento to play Tejo. It is a bar where you will meet local Colombians as well as travelers from around the world. The beers are affordable here and the staff will teach you how to play Tejo!

Where to Stay in Salento Colombia

Best Hostel in Salento – Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel

Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel is arguably the best hostel in Salento. Don’t let the price fool you. Coffee Tree Boutique hostel is an amazing hostel with some of the best views of Salento on the balcony. Did I mention the fabulous breakfast that is included? It also has family-styled private rooms. 

Click here for more details!

Best Hotel in Salento – Casa De Las Dos Palmas

Casa De Las Dos Palmas is a small and lovely boutique hotel with some of the cutest decors in Salento. Everything is perfect from the free breakfast to the staff. Did I mention the jacuzzi that will rejuvenate your body after the long hikes?

Click here for more details!

How Long Should You Stay in Salento Colombia?

I recommend staying in Salento for at 1-2. One day is technically enough to see the best attractions in Salento but you will be rushed. It would involve a very early start to hike Cocora Valley and then come back in the afternoon and go on a coffee tour. 

As a result, you should spend 2 days in Salento. One day for Cocora Valley and the other day for a coffee farm tour and exploring the town itself. 

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There you have it, the 9 TOP things to do in Salento Colombia today.

If you have any questions or concerns about Salento, Colombia, don’t be afraid to reach out or leave a comment! 

Enjoy Colombia and safe travels!

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