monthitineraryforbeautifulColombia

1 month itinerary for Colombia for the adventurous traveler

Colombia in one month is not a lot of time to explore this beautiful country, but it is still enough time to visit some of the highlights of the country and give you a taste so you want to come back for more. I love nature and outdoor adventures, so this was my focus when I planned my 1 month in Colombia.

 

So why did I end up in Colombia on my first solo travel? Colombia had for many years been on my bucket list. To be honest, I think it was Shakira that started the idea when she put her country on the world map with her hip-shaking song “whenever-wherever.” Back in 2007 my best friend and I were about to decide in which country to work voluntarily the following year. I wanted to go to Colombia, and she was more into Mexico. The organization only had programs in Colombia from August, and we wanted to go in January, so we ended up choosing Mexico. It took me almost nine years before I pursued my dream and took the flight to Colombia. Hands down, Colombia did not disappoint me!

 

Bogotá: Amazing city bike tour, but a bit boring

Day 1-2: Bike ride and cable car to Monserrate: My travel took off in the capital of Colombia, Bogotá. It was not a city that took my heart away, so I only stayed two nights. I arrived at night but the second day I started out with the 5 hour Bogotá bike tour around the city which was one of the best experiences in Bogotá, and I will definitely recommend this for everybody. They have tours in the morning at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm and you just show up at their shop located in La Candelaria (Carrera 3 no 12-71).

1 month itinerary Colombia

Bogota city bike tour – experience all the fruits and vegetables you didn’t even know existed!

 

At night I took the cable car to Cerro de Monserrate to see the beautiful view of the capital. Monserrate is a hilltop and there is a church up there. The cable car is operating until 11.30 pm, but I would recommend to go there before sunset to see the city in daylight and then see it when all the lights are on.

1 month itinerary for Colombia #colombia #monserrate

One of the views from Monserrat

 

Day 3: Museum Botero, located in La Candelaria. Open all days except Tuesday. Before taking the flight to Santa Marta, I spend half the day at Museo Botero which was a fascinating experience. The museum also has sculpture and paintings from other known artists like Dali and even some Danish artists. I am in general not a city person, so two nights for me was enough, and I didn’t find the city that interesting.

 

Santa Marta and the Lost City Trail (Cuidad Perdida)

Day 4: Tayrona National park. I only stayed one day in Tayrona National park, and I wish I had taken a bus earlier in the morning because I arrived a bit late. It was a warm experience, and suddenly we had to walk very fast to get out of the park again in time. But the park is beautiful, and we even saw monkeys! I go nuts when I see monkeys so this was one big highlight for me. You can sleep there as well, but I was short of time and the day after I was doing the Lost City Trek.

Day 5-8: Lost City Trek. High in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada mountains, you will find the Lost City, a site which by many has been called ‘the new Machu Picchu.’ Doing the Lost City Trek was another tick on my bucket list and is an adventure that I always will remember. I booked the trip at the hostel I was staying. This was here I found my travel partner from Holland as well.

If you are into hiking, history and impressive nature, this is the perfect trek. After the tour, I heard that many people don’t support it because they don’t believe the indigenous that lives there are being respected. I don’t know too much about the circumstances but the guide we had lived five years in the jungle with the indigenous to learn about their culture and I felt there was a lot of respect from the guide towards the native people living there. The company is called Baquianos Tour. The guide did not speak English, so you might want to ask about that when booking the tour.

1 month itinerary Colombia

On the way to the lost city

1 month itinerary Colombia

Finally at Lost City with my new found travel partner, Eva from Holland.

1 month itinerary Colombia

House of the head indigenous. We were allowed to visit the leader and have a talk with him

Day 9: Coffee farm tour at Minca. After a lot of hiking, I decided to use my last day on a half day excursion to a coffee farm which I also booked at the hostel. I had a goal to learn to drink coffee during this Colombia trip so learning a bit about coffee beans, the production process and understand the difference between first and second class made the whole learn-to-like-coffee process a lot more interesting. As part of the trip, we visited some waterfalls as well.

 

The New Medellin after the fall of Pablo Escobar

I skipped Cartagena. From other travelers, I got the impression that it was kind of a party place. I decided to win some more days and take the plane to Medellin instead. Medellin surprised me. I’m not a big city person, and I thought I would stay there for a maximum of three days. I stayed for 5 days, and I could have been there for two weeks more!

Day 11: Walking tour. Start out with the free walking tour – it helped me understand the Colombian people, their culture, their dramatic historical and political background and life after Pablo Escobar. In Medellín Pablo is like Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter; he is the he-who-must-not-be-named. It’s a sensitive subject to the Colombians, and they want to change their country’s reputation of being a country with violence, drugs cartels, and cocaine. So treat the subject with care. Remember to sign up for the walking tour and bring some tips for the very professional guides.

 

Paragliding and graffiti in Medellin

Day 12: Metro & cable cars: Take a trip with the metro and cable car to see the city from above and explore the Arví park at the end of the journey.

Day 13: Paragliding. I got some hangover that day (damn you Aguardiente!) but my travel partner and I managed to find our way to the paragliding place, and it was a great experience to see Medellin from another perspective. We asked for information at our hostel, they told us how to get there and we managed to get there and get back home all by ourselves. I will not recommend it with hangover though… 😀

Day 14: Comuna 13 & Cerro Nutibara. Comuna 13 was earlier one of the most dangerous neighborhood. Today you find an escalator, beautiful graffiti and an amazing view of the city. I didn’t have any expectations of that trip, but it was such a surprise to see this odd neighborhood. I mean – a modern looking escalator in the middle of a ghetto-ish looking neighborhood? And then with all the graffiti. I didn’t do the guided graffiti tour, but I would do it next time to get some more history about the graffiti. In the afternoon we visited the Cerro Nutibara where you will find another great view of the city. Its kind of a weekend-escape place for the paisanos (people from medellín) and you´ll find stalls with food and souvenirs as well.

1 month itinerary Colombia

Street art of Comuna 13

Day 15: El Peñol de Guatapé. The impressive stone is located a 2-hour bus ride from Medellín. Buy your tickets at the main bus terminal. When you arrive at El Peñol, the taxi drivers will try to convince you that you cannot walk there but you can! Just turn to your right when you see some stairs.

The stone is impressive! I was a bit like “how did they place that stone there? “. Well, it wasn´t placed there by anybody, but it just seems like it dropped down from the sky. It has an elevation of 2,135 meters (7,005 ft) over sea level, 22 cubic megametres of the rock mass and it is 385 meters (1,263 ft) long, with an approximate weight of 66 million tonnes. El Peñol has some rock breaks that was used to construct 650 stairs, so its possible to go all the way up – and that view is something from another planet! Good exercise though! 😉

1 month itinerary Colombia

The view from the big rock – pretty impressive!

1 month itinerary Colombia

El Peñol! Pretty impressive and good workout for the legs!

Other things I did there that I can recommend doing is to enjoy Medellín nightlife and dance some reggaeton! I didn’t think I would be out partying in Colombia, but the good vibes in Medellin tempted me. The paisanos are incredibly friendly – but be careful when they offer you to share a bottle of Aguardiente! 😉

 

Salento and all its nature and coffee

Day 16: Salento was a whole other experience. My travel partner and I decided to stay in hostel Kasaguaduana in the middle of nowhere. We walked until we got to a gate. From there we walked yet another 20 minutes in a densely overgrown downhill path. All the way we were like “what the hell is this? Where are we?”. But finally, we found this little paradise on earth. A sustainable lifetime dream project by a Colombian/English couple. The walk from the main center to the hostel and back again was long – and when it was dark it was dark everywhere! We had to walk with our flashlight through the overgrown path, and it was an experience in itself!

Day 17: Valle de Cocora. A nationally protected park with 60-meter high wax palms – the national tree of Colombia. Another must-do in Salento and you´ll find buses going to the park from the center. Again I had this feeling I was on another planet when I saw the stunning view of the tall wax palms.

1 month itinerary Colombia

60-meter high wax palms in Valle de Cocora

Day 18: Mountain biking & coffee farm tour. Last day in Salento and we decided to use it effectively. We rented a bike to explore the area. On the way, we passed a coffee farm “El Ocas Salento” where I took another round coffee trip. During this coffee tour, we got to pick our coffee beans and being involved in the process was something I enjoyed.

1 month itinerary Colombia

Finding the best coffee beans!

 

Wet desert walk at Desierto de la Tatacoa

Day 19-20: Desert of Tatacoa. A long bus ride took us to the only desert in Colombia. Guess what – it was raining when we arrived! I thought that this must be the weirdest desert in the world. But then I learned that there’s an average of 1070mm of rain each year. We were waiting 2 hours for the rain to stop before we could finally explore the odd-looking desert. The walk was not easy – the rain had the sand turned into mud. Heavy mud! With 2 kilo heavy feet, we walked around this spacey looking desert. And apropos. The same day we were there a movie company were filming a science fiction series and we had spacey people walking around in the desert. A bizarre experience! This dessert is also a perfect place to observe stars – but because of the rain, we could not see the sky.

1 month itinerary Colombia

Desert of Tatacoa. Looking for aliens

San Agustín and ruins

Day 20: Archaeological Park of San Agustín. I only had two nights in San Agustin since I was running out of time. As soon as I stepped out of the bus, I got help from the local tourist office to find a place to stay. People were so friendly here, and I felt very safe walking around alone, also at night. I arrived a bit late but had time to visit the Archaeological Park. The park was a nice walk, I enjoyed being a tourist by my own after two weeks with a travel partner (she went back home after Tatacoa), but it’s not the most impressive ruins if you compare to the Mayan ruins in Mexico or Guatemala.

Day 21: Jeep Tour. On this tour, I saw waterfalls, viewpoints and some ruins. It was an excellent tour, but to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed by the ruins again. I loved the waterfalls though. San Agustin is a beautiful place and maybe I should had used more days there, but I wasn’t that impressed with their ruins as I have been in some other places. But I think I will come back another time to explore the area more because I liked the city.

Then I had a long bus ride to Bogotá before heading to my last big adventure in Colombia.

 

The Amazon jungle in Leticia

Day 22- 29: Leticia & the Amazon. I had a lot of doubts whether I should go to Letitia or not. Its a very remote place and you can only go there by plane meaning the tickets are not cheap. Furthermore to stay here is expensive as well. On the other hand, I wanted to experience the Amazon, and I was so close already. In the end, I decided to do it – and it was one of the best experience I had in Colombia!

1 month itinerary Colombia

The lodge I was sleeping in – and the parrot “Laura”. The only word she could say was Laura. And she said it like 100 times a day!

 

I had been in contact with some travel agencies before leaving and ended up with Selvaventura. Claudia from the company picked me up at the airport and took me to their agency that is a hostel as well. At the agency, I got my briefing, and I was very surprised to find out that I was going to Brazil! That was an adventure itself because First I had to take a taxi to the river. Then a boat to Brazil. Then another taxi to another part of the river and then a peke peek boat to Palmari Lodge where I stayed three nights. Among the activities there I did with my guide:

  • Kayak in the Amazon river to observe monkeys and pink and grey river dolphins
  • Visiting the local villages to see and learn about how they live
  • Fishing piranha fish in the river
  • Night boat trip to catch caimans
  • Night walk in the jungle to observe nocturne animals (this was so cool!)
  • Making pieces of jewelry with natural materials
  • Canopy in the jungle
1 month itinerary Colombia

Kayaking in the Amazon river

 

Lodge Palmari was where I met Victor. After my days here we took together to Leticia. From there we took a boat trip to Puerto Nariño, a river village where we stayed one night. At the coastline, you will find offices selling tickets to the small river villages. Next day we made another boat trip to observe more of the Amazon river and the river dolphins.

1 month itinerary Colombia

Me pretending I did cash a piranha fish – I didn’t, my guide did 🙁

Day 30 I took the flight back to Bogota and then back to Denmark.

A travel tip: Flying is often cheaper and faster than taking the bus.

 

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sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Peñón_de_Guatapé

6 Comments

  • Danni lawson December 17, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    I’m massively in favour of the coffee tour, and like your take on the street art and paragliding- I would definitely squeeze those into any itinerary.

    Reply
    • nanaregalah December 17, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      The street art in Colombia in general is pretty awesome! When its art it really adds beauty to a big city! Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Reply
  • La Vida Viva Travel December 24, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Sounds like you had an amaaazing time. We also spent 1 month in Colombia but had a bit of a different itinerary. Salento and Medellin are my fave places ever!!

    Reply
    • nanaregalah December 26, 2016 at 12:23 am

      I would love to go back to these places! Colombia is something special 🙂

      Reply
  • Anne @ CandyCrazedrun.com February 25, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    I am going to Colombia this Summer and Palmari sounds amazing! We went to the Peruvian Amazon 2 years ago and fell in love. It sounds like you had a great time there, would you recommend it?

    Reply
    • nanaregalah February 25, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      I really liked the experience even though it was the most expensive part of my trip! I saw a post about another girl doing a trip in the amazon jungle but another place and she kind of did same activities as me; observing river dolphins, catching piranha fist, kayak in the river and visiting small village. I don’t know what you did in Peru, but that was what u did you might want to try something else. At Palmari you can also stay multiple days in the jungle: walking and making food, sleeping in hammocks. It was raining heavily when I was there so I didn’t have the chance, but I would love to come back and try it! Have a great trip to Colombia 🙂

      Reply

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