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After a month of backpacking Colombia, we fell head over heels in love …with Colombia. (Duh, you guys, we’re already married.)
Colombia is our favourite nation in South America and Central America – and we’ve visited 7 of them to this point. To be truthful, it’s a detailed name in some areas, however Colombia appears to return out on high each time. It’s bae.
And we weren’t the one ones, both: many of the different vacationers we met backpacking in South America mentioned the identical factor. Colombia journey is on the rise.
So it comes as no shock that we’ve gotten quite a lot of questions on our Colombia itinerary. In the event you’re a type of people who’s been patiently ready for us to submit it, sorry it took a yr.
After quite a lot of cautious thought and analysis of our month backpacking in Colombia, this submit is a end result of our greatest suggestions: a full Colombia itinerary for a month of backpacking on a finances!
An essential observe: this Colombia itinerary is written with “If we needed to do it once more” in thoughts.
Not the whole lot in our really helpful Colombia backpacking route is what we truly did, and never all we did do is in right here both. (Lookin’ at you, horrible mud bath in Cartagena.)
We’ve additionally obtained a LOT of different, extra specialised posts about Colombia, so we’ve carried out our greatest to level you their method as relevant.
Right here’s what you’ll discover in our ridiculously detailed 1 month backpacking Colombia itinerary. Estimated studying time: 35 minutes. You’re gonna wish to bookmark this submit for later, belief us.
Psst: We’ve obtained a ton of different sources for Colombia that you just’ll wish to have a look at earlier than you propose your journey!
We’ve additionally obtained a FREE 21-page journey information that can assist you plan your journey to Colombia, together with printable packing lists, all the main points from submit, and tons extra. Enter your e-mail under and we’ll ship it to your inbox together with useful ideas that can assist you plan your journey to Colombia!
Colombia Itinerary: 4 Weeks Backpacking Colombia
Our itinerary focuses on one of the best locations we visited throughout our one month backpacking Colombia: San Gil, Salento, Medellin, Minca, Parque Tayrona, and Cartagena. Plus Bogota and Santa Marta, which weren’t our faves to go to however are needed jumping-off factors.
As soon as flights and lengthy bus rides are factored in, this Colombia itinerary is precisely 31 days.
We don’t love to do stuff the identical day as we journey from place to position, so we’ve separated out journey days and “doing stuff” days.
In the event you’re the kind who can hop off a protracted bus experience and instantly go on a hike (how?!) you’ll have somewhat additional time to discover every spot. Likewise, if you happen to can deal with double transit days in a row (we are able to’t) you’ll be able to whittle somewhat bit off of this itinerary.
Searching for a shorter Colombia journey itinerary? You’ll be able to divide our month itinerary into two 2-week chunks.
2 weeks in Colombia is sufficient time to see both Cartagena + Minca + Parque Tayrona, OR Salento + SanGil + Bogota, with Medellin doable for both itinerary so long as you’re keen to fly (we flew Avianca for many of our flights inside South America, they usually’re truly actually nice).
Right here’s the entire 1 Month in Colombia Itinerary:
- Day 1: Fly to Bogota
- Day 2 & 3: Bogota
- Day 4: Journey to San Gil
- Day 5-9: San Gil
- Day 10: Journey again to Bogota
- Day 11: Journey to Salento
- Day 12-14: Salento
- Day 15: Journey to Medellin
- Day 16-18: Medellin
- Day 19: Journey to Minca
- Day 20-22: Minca
- Day 23: Journey to Parque Tayrona
- Day 24 & 25: Parque Tayrona
- Day 26: Journey to Santa Marta
- Day 27: Santa Marta
- Day 28: Journey to Cartagena
- Day 29-30: Cartagena
- Day 31: Go away Colombia
Now let’s get into the meat of our Colombia itinerary.
We’ll break down every vacation spot in Colombia within the order that we suggest visiting, clarify how one can get to every spot, and share our favourite ideas for what to do & the place to eat whilst you’re there.
- Psst: Searching for assist planning your journey to Colombia? Take a look at ViaHero, a improbable web site that connects vacationers with locals who assist them plan the right customized itinerary. It’s a wonderful – and moral – solution to assist native communities and expertise Colombia by way of the eyes of an area! Check it out here.
Look, Bogota is a metropolis. It’s a freaking large metropolis at that. However we didn’t really feel that we would have liked to spend a lot time exploring Bogota to get a really feel for what we preferred about it.
It’s our first really helpful Colombian vacation spot as a result of it’s a great spot to get your toes moist in South America (not actually…there are solely fountains round and that will be gross).
Whereas it’s not our favourite place in Colombia, it’s a cushty begin for anybody not used to the distinctive challenges of backpacking in Colombia or travelling in South America generally.
For the needs of this itinerary, Bogota is extra of a jumping-off level. For a way more complete information from somebody who truly lived in Bogota, try Woman Astray’s Guide to Bogota.
The best way to Get to Bogota
You’ll must fly into Bogota.
El Dorado Worldwide Airport in Bogota is a serious worldwide airport, so you must count on to pay round $300 to fly in, with just one connection at most if you happen to depart from a serious airport. (On the time of penning this, tickets from SFO had been as little as $286.) We use Google Flights to search out low cost flights.
The airport is situated within the northwest nook of Bogota, conveniently situated close to…. nothing. Bogota has an intensive bus system, however it’s decidedly complicated for vacationers.
We propose taking a cab from El Dorado Airport, at the least to drop your stuff off at your hostel, resort or condo. You’ll be able to courageous the bus system later.
Taking a taxi in Bogota, even on the airport, shouldn’t be as intuitive as you’d assume.
While you exit the airport, to the precise is an official taxi kiosk. Give them your resort tackle (have this written down or pulled up in your cellphone beforehand so that you don’t need to look it up) they usually will provide you with the quantity you’ll need to pay.
This retains drivers from operating up the meter or overcharging you, which is tremendous widespread.
Talking of taxis, Bogota is without doubt one of the solely locations in Colombia that makes use of metered taxis. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless a good suggestion to request an approximate worth earlier than getting in, as a result of the meters in Bogota taxis do not present you precise prices.
As you drive, the meter ticks up by one unit. The unit is code for the fee. Right here’s an instance of the taxi price sheet so you understand what I imply. That type of threw us, so be ready so that you don’t get overcharged!
The place to Keep in Bogota
We stayed in Masaya Hostel Bogota. It’s a wonderfully ample hostel to begin your Colombia journey. It has an on-site restaurant, self-catering kitchen, and primary hostel facilities.
The neighborhood it’s in is La Candelaria, the place you’ll discover a entire bunch of hostel choices. It’s the touristy space for certain, however for a motive.
There are tons of avenue artwork, nightlife, eating places, and vacationer points of interest close by. There’s additionally a excessive chance of assembly different people who find themselves backpacking Colombia. Check prices for Masaya Hostel.
VRBOs in Bogota are fairly affordable too. We love this apartment with views of each mountains, skyscrapers and Chorro de Quevedo sq., precisely the place the town was based in 1538. The condo is near a bunch of cultural points of interest, lovely colonial church buildings, cafés, and eating places.
What to Eat in Bogota
The totally different areas in Colombia are outlined by their fashion of scrumptious soup (at the least for us). On this area, Ajiaco is king.
It’s basically a hen soup with three varieties of potatoes and the herb guasca. It’s not to be missed while you’re backpacking Colombia!
For an entire information on Colombian meals to strive – and the place to get one of the best Ajiaco in Bogota – try our Colombian Food Guide.
What to Do in Bogota
Sadly, each can’t be completed in a single day, however they’re informative and offer you a terrific sense of the town.
The largest unfavourable for the bike tour, nevertheless, is that they experience by way of the Crimson Gentle District. It’s not sketchy or something, but it surely feels type of like intrusive gawking, which made us uncomfortable.
For a day journey, take the teleferico to Monserrate for sweeping views of the town and mountains. One other widespread day journey is the Catedral de Sal, a salt mine turned church – you’ll must ebook a tour for that one.
Bogota is dwelling to a big and complete Museo del Oro, the place guests can stroll by way of Colombian historical past by way of the historical past of their gold.
Hear the story of El Dorado and why these loopy Europeans thought there was a metropolis of gold. This was one in all our favourite stops in Bogota, in no small half as a result of Lia learn 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus in preparation for our journey (as a result of she’s a historical past nerd fanatic like that) and was amazed to see in-person examples straight out of her ebook.
One other must-do exercise in Bogota is to play Tejo, Colombia’s nationwide recreation!
What mixes higher than alcohol and flying steel pucks? Alcohol, flying steel pucks, and EXPLOSIONS! It’s like cornhole, besides as a substitute of a bean bag you utilize a palm-sized steel disc, and as a substitute of a plain previous gap there’s a bunch of gunpowder that you just’re making an attempt to hit.
This recreation is an earsplitting, fear-inducing, snigger riot.
Greatest Espresso in Bogota
There have been truly TOO MANY Third Wave Espresso choices for us in Bogota. We didn’t get to all of them.
Even Juan Valdez, Colombia’s model of Starbucks was serving up craft espresso! There’s even a Bogota coffee bike tour.
San Gil, Colombia
Our 2nd really helpful place to incorporate in your Colombia journey route after Bogota is San Gil, Colombia.
Truthfully, we want we’d have visited San Gil alone for one month. It’s THAT rad. Sure, even regardless of our horrible waterfall rappelling incident.
San Gil is Colombia’s journey city and a must-visit vacation spot, however there’s loads of issues to do for folks searching for one thing aside from journey, too.
The best way to Get From Bogota to San Gil
From Terminal Norte in Bogota, seize a Barichara bus and allow them to know it’s essential to get to San Gil.
They’ll drop you off on the “bus terminal,” AKA city entrance. From there, seize a taxi. The bus experience is about 6 hours, relying on site visitors.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Bogota has two bus terminals, Norte and Sur. San Gil buses are solely from Norte.
Sure, we screwed this up and discovered the exhausting method. Our taxi throughout city took roughly a zillion years in site visitors and we don’t suggest it.
- Replace: One in all our fantastic readers supplied this useful replace to our Colombia journey information: “We had been in a position to get a bus to San Gil from the primary terminal in Bogota. All the buses to San Gil left from “Corredor 3 (Norte)” – Terminal 3 the place all of the buses going North depart from. Berlinas, Copetran, and Brasilia all had buses departing from right here to San Gil. We used Copetran and it did additionally cease on the North Bus station in Bogota on the way in which.”
The place to Keep in San Gil
Sam’s VIP Hostel. Finish of story. This was fingers down our favorite hostel in Colombia.
They’re situated proper on the primary sq., and the hostel has the whole lot you might need – pleasant employees, good clear showers, A/C, rooftop pool, two absolutely outfitted kitchens, balcony, and rumor has it some non-public rooms also have a Jacuzzi tub.
The employees will manage your whole adventures and gained’t cost a further charge. They even have nightly social actions outdoors the hostel, so you may make new pals or keep away from folks with out coping with noise.
We joined their Tejo and Karaoke night time and it was one of the crucial enjoyable nights we spent Colombia. So, so enjoyable. Reserve a room here!
For VRBOs in San Gil we suggest this apartment in San Gil which is only one block from the primary park – an ideal location. Get pleasure from each mountain and metropolis views from this fully-equipped dwelling. The views over San Gil are superb and properly price waking up early to see the dawn out of your home windows, there may be even a hammock if you happen to fancy a nap!
What to Do in San Gil
What are you able to NOT do in San Gil is a greater query. That is the journey capital, so there are many actions for all kinds of adrenaline ranges.
No must ebook something upfront, you’ll discover loads of tour firms with open time slots on the town when you arrive.
Listed here are some highlights:
- Paragliding Chicamocha Canyon (stress-free) – Hovering 6000 ft within the air would possibly sound somewhat extra intense than stress-free, but it surely doesn’t get far more serene than this. If you’re on the lookout for some adrenaline, you’ll be able to ask your paragliding information to do some spins and tips.
- Canyoning (medium depth) – South People love canyoning. Principally, you begin on the high of canyon and work your solution to the underside. You obtain this by cliff leaping, mountaineering, and rappelling down waterfalls and cliffs. The journey I went on (signed up by way of Sam’s VIP) included 4 rappels, two small jumps, and ended with a 25 foot cliff dive! However don’t fear, the final soar is non-compulsory.
- White Water Rafting (stress-free to intense) – San Gil has two main rafting journeys. The primary, a Class 1-2 stress-free journey, takes place on Rio Fonce. It’s tremendous mellow and you may even soar off the raft and float within the extra tranquil sections. The second possibility is Rio Suarez, which is an intense Class 5+ white knuckled journey not for the faint of coronary heart. In fact, ask an area if it’s scary they usually’ll snigger and say “No! Es muy tranquilo!”
- Torrentismo at Juan Curi Waterfall (intense) – The fantastic thing about rappelling through the canyoning day is the traces are fairly quick and straightforward. Then there’s Juan Curi: a panic attack-inducing 200 foot rappel down a screaming waterfall. Sure, panic assault inducing. I converse from expertise. Our waterfall rappel down Juan Curi didn’t finish properly.
- El Camino Actual Hike: This journey begins with a brief bus experience to the neighboring small colonial city of Barichara. Discover Carrera 10 and switch left to hit the trailhead. The two-hour hike takes you thru beautiful countryside and ends within the much more distant city of Guane. That is an simple hike, however the sizzling solar makes it tougher. You’ll be able to take a bus from Guane’s important sq. to San Gil while you end.
The place to Eat in San Gil
We frequented the native Mercado in San Gil for all of our produce and meat wants (Sam’s VIP has a BALLER kitchen, and we cooked nearly each night time). However we did get an opportunity to strive some eating places in San Gil.
These had been our favorites:
- Gringo Mike’s– In case your first intuition is to show your nostril up on the title of this place, I don’t blame you. However Gringo Mike’s has been a San Gil staple for years. They serve up meals of a number of nationalities. Our favorites had been the Protein Burger (it has peanut butter…look, simply belief us) and the Forged Iron Brownie a la Mode. Even the burrito made this discerning Californian pleased.
- Balcon Sangileno– Positioned subsequent to Sam’s VIP, this second-floor restaurant serves up scrumptious regional plates. You is likely to be somewhat uncertain at first, however we are able to’t suggest the Cabrito Santandereano Sure, it means child goat. Don’t let that cease you. Goats are dicks anyway. One other dish of theirs price making an attempt is the carne oreada, or sun-dried beef.
Again to Bogota Once more (Briefly)
Seize a cab to the San Gil bus terminal and seize a experience again to Bogota. That is your connection level to get to Salento.
You’ll keep in Bogota for just one night time. It would sound complicated, however the Santander division of Colombia is tough to succeed in, so it’s a must to double again to Bogota to get there.
You are able to do the following bus experience again to again – that’s truly what we did. It makes the entire journey from San Gil to Salento take about 17 hours, so we don’t suggest it except tremendous lengthy bus journeys are one thing you don’t thoughts. In the event you go for the lengthy bus experience, take a lot Dramamine. Belief us.
Salento is a quiet city set close to the center of Colombia’s Espresso Triangle. In the event you’re spending 4 weeks in Colombia, you’ll have loads of time to discover Salento!
The surroundings by no means ceases to amaze me. Each time you have a look at a hill, it appears to be one of the best view you’ve ever had.
It’s a really stress-free spot, however don’t fear…we’ll hold you busy.
The best way to Get from Bogota to Salento
Head to Terminal Sur in Bogota and seize an 8-hour bus to Periera. You’ll be able to truly book this bus online utilizing Bookaway, which is superior as a result of in any other case there’s just about no solution to know what time a bus is departing with out going to the bus station and hoping for one of the best.
From Periera, you’ll take one other bus to Salento. It’s not the quickest route on this planet, however hey, at the least the views are beautiful!
When you arrive in Salento, in case your hostel is on the town, you’ll be able to stroll from the drop off level, which was some random curb on a random avenue someplace in little Salento – simply ask an area or use a map to find your hostel.
In case your hostel is a methods out of city (just like the one we stayed at), head to the city sq. (anybody can level you there) and seize a taxi.
Oh, did I say taxi? I meant a Willy.
No, Salento doesn’t have cabs within the traditional sense. As an alternative they’ve 15 particular person Jeeps that individuals load into and onto (fairly actually…some folks stand on the again of them).
They’re SO MUCH FUN. Maintain onto your butts!
The place to Keep in Salento
One in all our favourite locations to remain in all of Colombia was right here in Salento, however sadly, the fantastic La Serrana Hostel has closed its doorways. Though we haven’t stayed there ourselves, we’re informed are informed the close by Las Camelias EcoHostel is fantastic, so test it out and tell us the way it measures up!
Alternatively, try VRBOs in Salento for some nice choices. We particularly like this colorful house simply 400m from the primary sq. surrounded by lush gardens full of banana bushes and low vegetation. The home is actually spacious and has a wonderful porch to sit down out on and watch the bushes develop, regardless of being so near the primary sq. it’s a little oasis and really quiet.
What to Do in Salento
Salento is definitely dwelling to 2 of Colombia’s most essential vegetation: espresso and wax palms.
When it comes all the way down to it, these are the explanations to go to Salento.
Wax palms are the nationwide tree of Colombia. They appear to be they belong on the quilt of a Dr. Seuss ebook they usually can solely be discovered right here in Salento.
One of the best ways to see them is to do the Valle de Cocora hike, a six-hour hike by way of a valley, right into a cloud forest, out to a shocking panorama, then down alongside a winding street.
There are a bunch of espresso farms within the space that will provide you with a tour and a tasting, however we have now to suggest the espresso tour at El Ocaso Finca. Conveniently, they’re a straightforward and exquisite 15-minute stroll from La Serrana.
I might go on and on concerning the high quality of their espresso, the sustainable practices, the picturesque panorama, or the pleasant employees. However we already did: learn our write-up of the best coffee tour in Salento!
Cue the Narcos theme tune. You’re heading to what was one of the crucial violent cities in South America.
However don’t fear: I say used to as a result of during the last couple of a long time, Medellin has blossomed into an extremely pleasant and secure (and exquisite) metropolis.
It doesn’t shrink back from its bloody historical past, but it surely has emerged as an superior must-visit metropolis to incorporate in your Colombia itinerary and it was one in all our favourite locations.
The best way to Get from Salento to Medellin
Buses depart from Salento’s restaurant-sized bus station for Medellin each morning.
As with the whole lot in Colombia, the precise timing that the buses depart is tranquilo. We suggest getting there round 8 AM.
The bus from Salento to Medellin takes about 5.5 hours, though some firms make direct runs for somewhat more cash.
The place to Keep in Medellin
If you wish to keep away from the touristy space of Medellin when on the lookout for lodging, you’re type of up the creek. Just about each hostel is in or across the El Poblado district, lovingly nicknamed “Gringo-landia.”
With regards to staying on the primary streets of El Poblado, there are two ensures: loud music and uncontrolled gringos.
Los Patios Boutique Hostal is a extremely cool hostel that’s situated simply outdoors of the craziness, however nonetheless conveniently situated close by to bars, eating places, espresso, you title it. Check prices for Los Patios here.
If you wish to keep completely away from the touristy locations there are some nice VRBOs in Medellin, we actually love this downtown apartment which is on the fifteenth flooring, providing you with superb views of the town and Medellin valley. There are eating places close by so if you wish to keep native there are many choices, in any other case, it is only one block to the metro so you continue to have nice entry to the remainder of the town.
What to Do in Medellin
Medellin’s metro system is expansive and actually intuitive. We’ve seen some fairly sophisticated transit methods (lookin’ at you, Bogota), however Medellin made it identical to Colombia itself: TRANQUILO!
Spend a day using the metro and be sure you go all the way in which to Parque Arvi. It’s low cost and a improbable solution to see Medellin! For detailed directions, try our information to exploring Medellin on a budget.
We regularly flip our noses up at strolling excursions, as a result of they have a tendency to glide over historical past in broad strokes: we favor our historical past to be uncooked, actual, and fact-based, to assist in giving us context for our go to and inform our respect and information of the locations we go to.
With that mentioned, the Medellin Walking Tour is superb. The information lays out the whole lot objectively. In a city with such a infamous historical past, it’s nearly inconceivable to keep away from speaking about it. So as a substitute of skirting round it, they personal it.
An attention-grabbing truth concerning the strolling tour: for security causes, they refuse to talk the title Pablo Escobar: he’s nonetheless revered by among the locals in poor neighborhoods, who’re benefitting to today from the properties, faculties, and different group sources he funded along with his large portions of drug cash.
There’s even a neighborhood named for him: Barrio Pablo Escobar. It’s fascinating and complicated … but it surely means that you could’t simply stroll down the streets of Medellin speaking about Pablo Escobar with out stirring up quite a lot of sophisticated emotions.
As an alternative, the tour quietly refers to “probably the most well-known legal of all time” or “Colombia’s infamous legal” as a substitute of utilizing his title.
Talking of Escobar, it’s no secret the person owned a loopy quantity of mansions. One in all them was situated within the close by city of Guatape, the most colorful town in Colombia.
The mansion is in shambles right this moment, however you’ll be able to nonetheless take a tour of the previous hacienda. Oh wait, I’m lacking a tiny element. The tour features a freaking paintball struggle in one in all Pablo Escobar’s mansions!!!!! This specific tour might be booked simply at most hostels in Medellin.
The place to Eat in Medellin
El Poblado usually has horrible meals, nearly as a rule. The large exception is Mondongo’s, one in all Medellin’s favourite eating places.
There are a number of places, however the El Poblado one is conveniently situated.
Whereas there, it’s a must to get the traditional Colombian dish wich originated right here in Medellin, bandeja paisa: a platter the scale of a small village piled with rice, beans, floor beef, chicharron, fried egg, avocado, candy plantain, and an arepa. It’s a finances traveler’s dream plate and it simply would possibly final you many meals.
For extra adventurous palates, strive the soup the restaurant named itself after: sopa de mondongo. It’s a tripe soup. However don’t let that scare you: it’s scrumptious and stuffed with taste! Followers of Mexican menudo will like it.
The place to Drink Espresso in Medellin
Colombia has at all times been a supply of nice espresso … if you happen to’re within the US. That’s as a result of many of the high-quality espresso grown in Colombia is exported.
However just lately Colombians have thought “Wait, why the eff are we delivery out our good espresso, and ingesting dangerous espresso?”
As we speak, third-wave espresso is alive and properly in most cities, together with Medellin.
The perfect locations are fingers down Cafe Velvet and Pergamino Cafe. We favor the latter, however we’ll allow you to determine. To make it simple on you, they’re situated throughout the road from one another.
We have now a lot love for the teeny tiny city of Minca, Colombia and extremely suggest that you just embrace a cease off right here in your backpacking journey to Colombia.
We initially deliberate to remain right here for simply two days on our solution to hike the Lost City Trek, however we fell in love with it so we stayed for a complete week!
The best way to Get to Minca from Medellin
You’ll wish to fly from Medellin to Minca – the bus is lengthy and depressing, and the flights are fast and low cost.
Each Avianca and LATAM provide flights from Medellin to Santa Marta (Minca’s nearest airport) for about $40 if you happen to ebook upfront. It’s a fast one hour hop.
From Santa Marta airport, you may have two choices.
The cheaper model is you are taking a bus from the airport to the town heart (“El Mercado“) for 50 cents. From there, stroll to La Estacion de Minca, situated at
Calle 11 con Carrera 12 Calle 9 & Carerra 12 (the station has moved right here as of our most up-to-date go to in Feburary 2018).
The station will hook you up with a reasonable collectivo that can drop you on the entrance to Minca. We have now extra detailed details about getting from Santa Marta to Minca in our Minca Guide.
The dearer possibility is to have your hostel arrange a non-public taxi from the airport. This may run you roughly $20 every.
The place to Keep in Minca
We extremely, extremely suggest staying at Casa Loma Minca. This beautiful, fantastic eco-hostel is perched on high of a hill and supplies a completely breathtaking view of Santa Marta far under, and the Caribbean past it. The sunsets from the “treehouse” are like work each night time.
Casa Loma Minca gives all kinds of lodging: jungle huts, lined hammocks, dorms, and privates all for loopy low cost.
There’s a kitchen on-site serving up superb meals for affordable costs (all meals are vegetarian). Like La Serrana, you eat at lengthy tables concurrently everybody else, which helps to foster a social surroundings.
Casa Loma (and most of Minca, tbh) has no WiFi, so when you recover from the preliminary “However what’s the world with out WiFi” shock, a way of unity comes across the hostel. We made extra journey pals right here than wherever else and I actually assume the disconnectedness was an enormous motive.
Casa Loma Minca is one of our favorite hostels in Colombia, fingers down. We’ve visited Minca and stayed at this identical hostel on 4 separate journeys to Colombia now – we’re obsessed! We’ve obtained a whole submit all concerning the hostel & why we like it a lot – read it here, or simply check prices for Casa Loma Minca.
If VRBOs are extra your vibe then there are some great options however we’re loving the Minco Ecohabs within the hills surrounded by lovely tropical gardens. The property’s cabanas are perched among the many bushes and have unbelievable views of the encircling jungle. You’ll really feel such as you’re floating within the clouds! It has an actual luxurious really feel, particularly for a treetop cabin, there may be sizzling water and a great deal of facilities so that you get one of the best of each worlds. Can we simply dwell right here?!
What to Do in Minca
There are tons of issues to do in Minca! Take a look at the total listing of the best things to do in Minca.
Listed here are the highlights:
- For a half(ish) day of out of doors enjoyable, take a scenic hike – or thrilling moto-taxi – to Pozo Azul, an superior native swimming gap.
- Minca has tons of espresso and chocolate farms to tour – this space can also be a espresso area in Colombia! Your hostel might help you ebook a tour to pattern some espresso and chocolate!
- You’ll be able to hike or taxi to Casa Elemento to take pleasure in their large hammock.
Honest warning, if you happen to’re touring from Could to November, count on rain each day. Nevertheless it’s a predictable rain.
We had been there in late July and it rained each day at 3 PM, like clockwork. It was a downpour, however then cleared up after an hour or so.
The place to Eat in Minca
Being massive snobs, we love something artisanal…particularly bread! Surprisingly, there’s a scrumptious artisanal bakery in Minca!
One of many busiest spots on the town is unquestionably The Lazy Cat Cafe. Possibly it’s the first rate WiFi, however I believe it’s the juicy burgers. You be the choose.
Followers of Bob Marley (or at the least his favourite plant) ought to ask the locals about “The Meat Man,” a restaurateur who contains greens with each meal … and I don’t imply veggies.
Parque Tayrona, Colombia
Well-known Parque Tayrona is without doubt one of the hottest locations in Colombia, for good motive! With its lush jungle and heat, vivid blue Caribbean water, this nationwide park is totally beautiful.
That mentioned, playing cards on the desk: we didn’t personally have one of the best time in Tayrona. We all know, nevertheless, that we’re within the minority.
Learn up on why we didn’t completely love Parque Tayrona (and what we did incorrect) in our Parque Tayrona guide.
Listed here are crucial issues it’s essential to know if you happen to plan to go to Parque Tayrona throughout your Colombia journey:
- The faucet water within the space is supposedly secure to drink, however we nonetheless suggest utilizing a air purifier, just like the Steri-Pen Water Purifier or a Lifestraw Water Bottle. As with most distant locations, bottled water costs are so ludicrous, they’ll be starring within the subsequent Quick and the Livid film.
- There aren’t any ATMs within the space. Deliver all of the money you’ll want from Santa Marta or Minca.
- The meals in Parque Tayrona is loopy costly. Deliver a few of your individual, particularly if you happen to plan to remain in a single day.
- If you’re planning your journey for the beginning of the yr please observe that Parque Tayrona is closed from January 28 to February 28 on the request of the Indigenous communities who dwell there.
Getting from Minca to Parque Tayrona
On the important (or actually…solely) intersection on the town, you’ll see a transport depot the place you will get a ticket to Santa Marta. The experience can be acquainted, and can drop you off on the identical place the place you picked up the experience to Minca.
One block away at Calle 11 and Carrera 13 you’ll discover the terminal for Parque Tayrona/Palomino. Seize a colectivo from right here (or a bus, no matter exhibits up), pay the assistant who is probably going hanging out of a bus door, and benefit from the hour-long sweaty bus experience. It prices about 14000 COP.
The wonderful thing about this entire haphazard assortment of terminals is that every of the terminals have one route. In a spot like Peru the place tourism is ubiquitous, it’s widespread to listen to “The place are you going?” adopted by “I can get you there for [a crazy amount of money because you look lost].”
In Santa Marta it’s like “The Tayrona guys are two blocks over. Have enjoyable!” It’s all a part of the Colombia expertise. We’ve obtained a guide to transportation in Colombia that we cobbled collectively after a month of confusion, as soon as we’d lastly type of figured issues out.
The place to Keep in Parque Tayrona
There are 2 methods to go to Parque Tayrona: as a day journey or as an in a single day.
You’ll be able to both camp inside Parque Tayrona itself, or keep simply outdoors of the park. We selected to remain down the road from the doorway to the park in a beautiful little boutique hostel known as Eco Hostel Yuluka.
Eco Hostel Yuluka is superb. Greatest hostel breakfast we’ve ever had, waterfall pool, waterslide, thatched-roof huts, fairly priced, they usually present free shuttles to the park.
It has all of the allure and remoted jungle getaway really feel you’ll discover in Parque Tayrona, but it surely’s proper off of the freeway. In the event you choose to remain at Eco Hostel Yuluka, inform the bus driver you wish to get off at km 28 on the way in which to Tayrona. The hostel is throughout the road. Check prices for Eco Hostel Yuluka here.
In the event you’d wish to sleep within the park, you’ll be able to. There are a bunch of campsites, however one of the best one is at Cabo San Juan. You’ve the choice between hammocks underneath a canopy and tents out within the open.
Lodging will run you 18K-23K COP an evening, however that features lockers. No mosquito nets supplied, however you don’t actually need them. Right here’s a useful information to camping in Parque Tayrona.
What to Do in Parque Tayrona
Primarily, Tayrona is all concerning the swimming, mountaineering, tenting, and stress-free on the seaside.
There are a bunch of various beaches in Parque Tayrona, so you’ll be able to spend a few days simply wandering from seaside to seaside and taking all of it in.
In the event you’re visiting as a part of a day journey we suggest splurging on the horseback experience to the seaside. In any other case, it’s a two-hour hike by way of the jungle adopted by swimming within the heat water of the Caribbean, after which a 2-hour hike again once more. So don’t overlook to pack a light-weight travel towel (this is ours)!
Santa Marta, Colombia
I hate to say this, however Santa Marta wasn’t our scene. It’s extremely sizzling, actually touristy, needlessly costly, and a complete social gathering city for visiting Gringos who’re backpacking Colombia.
All issues we aren’t massive followers of. However due to its location, Santa Marta is a needed cease. And hey, perhaps you’ll have a greater time there than we did!
We simply occur to be extremely previous and completely unhip to the social gathering scene in our previous married-ness; when Lia visited on the ripe younger age of 23, she LOVED Santa Marta.
In the event you don’t wish to keep in Santa Marta, be happy to hop proper on a bus to Cartagena as a substitute of staying the night time.
Getting from Parque Tayrona to Santa Marta
It’s inconceivable to get misplaced on this route. From the doorway of the park, each westbound bus will cease in Santa Marta. Simply flag one down and hop on.
It would take you again to the neighborhood you understand so properly at this level, and from there you’ll be able to stroll or cab to your hostel.
Alternatively, you’ll be able to take a collectivo for about 30K COP every if you need somewhat extra consolation. The one we took swung by Eco Hostel Yuluka so we might seize our luggage, then took us on to our Santa Marta hostel.
The place to Keep in Santa Marta
In the event you’re opting to spend the night time in Santa Marta, one of the crucial widespread hostels on the town is unquestionably Dreamer Hostel.
It’s a poppin’ social hostel with a rad social gathering vibe (that is the place Lia stayed as a younger whippersnapper). You’re assured to fulfill different people who find themselves backpacking Colombia.
They crafted the last word social gathering hostel, with out that grungy, icky social gathering vibe. E book early although, as a result of they’re at all times full. Consider, Dreamer is situated outdoors of the primary hub of city. Check prices for Dreamer Hostel here.
In the event you’d like somewhat extra quiet, try Masaya Hostel. It’s somewhat dearer however the peace is definitely worth the worth. It is a newer hostel situated in a colonial-style dwelling proper within the heart of city.
For VRBOs in Santa Marta, there may be fairly a spread to select from and if you wish to soak in some luxurious there may be this nice apartment in a hotel complicated with a terrific balcony providing you with superb views to observe the dawn with a espresso within the morning. There’s additionally breakfast service out there if you happen to don’t wish to enterprise out early.
What to Do in Santa Marta
Santa Marta is a jump-off level for visiting the encircling areas, so there aren’t quite a lot of actions inside the metropolis.
That mentioned, you’ll find day excursions to the neighboring city of Taganga for snorkeling (simply be secure – we’ve heard a number of vacationers give phrases of warning about Taganga, which has fairly the fame as a celebration vacation spot).
You too can wander round Historico Centro and replenish on souvenirs, since sadly, your journey backpacking Colombia will quickly be ending.
As we talked about, Santa Marta is a celebration city, in order that’s one other exercise to do on the town…assuming after all, you may have the vitality after Parque Tayrona.
In the event you’re wanting an out of doors journey, try the Misplaced Metropolis Trek to Ciudad Perdida. It’s a 4-6 day hike that’s simply reachable from Santa Marta.
Take a look at this Ciudad Perdida Trek Guide for a complete information to mountaineering to the Misplaced Metropolis – it explains the whole lot from coaching for the trek to the historical past behind it!
The place to Eat in Santa Marta
Our favourite pizza in Colombia was in Santa Marta. I do know, I do know. Getting pizza in Colombia appears like a tremendous gringo transfer. However surprisingly, pizza is in every single place in Colombia they usually’re truly fairly ingenious.
In Santa Marta, cease by La Casona Restaurante Pizzeria and get their Caribe Pizza. It’s mainly a Hawaiian pizza with prune and jalapeno added. Sure, we’re firmly on group Pineapple On Pizza, so take that Gordon Ramsay, you lovely man.
The pizzeria is situated on Calle 3, an alley with a ton of good eating places, avenue performers, and backpackers. The alley is tremendous advantageous and energetic and a must-visit at night time!
That is the one factor we truly did in Santa Marta, and hey, it was nice and we had some scrumptious pizza.
Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia
Possibly it’s as a result of it was the primary South American metropolis I’ve ever been in (sure, we began in Cartagena! This Colombia itinerary is what we want we did, keep in mind?) however Cartagena will at all times maintain a particular place in my coronary heart.
5 minutes inside the walled metropolis, and also you’ll possible really feel the identical method. There’s a motive literary legend Gabriel Garcia Marquez selected to dwell right here most of his life.
The best way to Get from Santa Marta to Cartagena
We even have a weblog submit all about this step – you’ll be able to read it here, or simply go book the Marsol bus online on Bookaway. The bus experience is about 4-5 hours and can drop you off at or close to your resort.
You too can simply present up on the bus station and hop on any bus headed to Cartagena, however taking your probabilities comes with some threat. One time we took an affordable bus from Santa Marta to Cartagena and the rattling factor broke down. Within the rain. The driving force needed to flag down each bus that handed and ask if there have been additional seats. That is South America, so most didn’t.
It took about an hour to get on the following bus (as a result of they sat the gringos final) and we needed to stand on the brand new bus for a two-hour drive. Moist. From the rain. Not good.
Anyway, if you happen to’re not getting dropped at your resort and arrive on the bus terminal, take a cab to your hostel. There’s a posted signal for the right worth, so that you gained’t get duped into paying extra.
The place to Keep in Cartagena
There are two areas in Cartagena the place vacationers and backpackers go: Getsemani and the walled previous metropolis (which is actually two neighborhoods, Santo Domingo and San Diego).
Whether or not you wish to keep inside the partitions is all as much as you.
Getsemani is true outdoors the wall and extra quiet, however there are extra locations to go inside the previous city. We did a mixture of each, so we have now some suggestions for both desire.
Santo Domingo Vidal Hostel is in Getsemani and is about 10 minutes from the partitions. It’s a small hostel that has a really home-y really feel with a small, pleasant, useful employees. The place will get sizzling as a result of electrical energy is loopy costly in Cartagena, however there’s AC at night time.
Subsequent door is Cafe de Mural, a well-liked espresso store, and throughout the road are some superior murals full with a comfy little out of doors patio to drink your morning espresso. Check prices for Santo Domingo Vidal here.
In the event you choose to remain inside the walled metropolis, Volunteer Hostel is the place to go. It’s on the border of the 2 walled neighborhoods, so it’s central with out having quite a lot of foot site visitors. The hostel itself is partnered with FEM, a non-profit working to empower indigenous and Afro-Caribbean ladies in Colombia. Plus, there’s A/C all day lengthy. Belief us, that’s main. Examine costs for Volunteer Hostel right here.
If you’re on the lookout for VRBOs in Cartagena we love this duplex apartment within the coronary heart of the previous metropolis tucked away contained in the partitions. The inside is fashionable and cozy, the residing house begins from the primary flooring and there’s a cute balcony so you’ll be able to watch the world out on the town streets whereas ingesting espresso, or wine!
Right here’s a information to raised allow you to determine where to stay in Cartagena: Old Town, Getsemani, or Bocagrande.
What to Do in Cartagena
There’s a ton of historical past inside the walled metropolis – and though a lot of it’s fairly f***king darkish, it’s fascinating and essential to know when visiting Cartagena and the remainder of Colombia.
Our first ever submit about Colombia was concerning the darkish historical past of Cartagena. It was additionally written in the primary week of our year-long journey, so it’s somewhat bit moony and homesick – don’t choose us!
Listed here are our favourite issues to do in Cartagena:
It’s simple to spend a complete day simply strolling across the Walled Metropolis and looking out on the colourful colonial buildings. In every single place you flip, there’s one more lovely flower-covered awning or beautiful previous cathedral or Spanish Inquisition torture machine. Shock!
Be sure you cease to take a look at Museo de Oro, the free gold museum. It exhibits how the indigenous Zenu tradition labored with steel and the land in completely ingenious methods (earlier than they had been killed en masse by Spanish invaders, after all). The museum is all in Spanish, but it surely’s free, and there’s A/C.
Most guests to Cartagena are eager to go to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s home. Consider, you’ll be able to’t truly go inside, which we discovered upon arrival. So it isn’t truly all that cool – you’ll be able to’t see something aside from the wall – except you’re an enormous fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which Lia is.
For some superior views and footage, climb the partitions that encompass the town and stroll the across the Caribbean border. That is additionally an unbelievable place to soak up the sundown and ponder the superior month you’ve had in Colombia.
In the event you’re up for some nightlife, try Holy Trinity Sq. in Getsemani the place you’ll at all times discover avenue performers, dancing, and locations to drink!
Elsewhere within the metropolis, you’ll be able to have a day on the seaside! An extended stretch of seaside that’s simple to get to is in Bocagrande, the fashionable portion of the town the place all of the skyscrapers and dearer accommodations are. Right here you’ll discover a ton of seaside house, distributors promoting toys, massages, beer, coconuts, mango verde, and shrimp cocktails. For a worth, you’ll be able to hire lockers and cabanas. As soon as within the tremendous heat Caribbean water, you’ll be approached by quite a lot of Jetski drivers asking if you wish to pay for a experience. The water and seaside are nice, however the fixed gross sales pitches and jetski exhaust are a bummer. In the event you can ignore it, it’s price a cease. Put on a bucket of sunscreen although.
We suggest an in a single day or a day journey to Isla Baru, simply off the coast of Cartagena – learn our information to Isla Baru and Playa Blanca.
Talking of issues we don’t essentially suggest that you just embrace in your Colombia backpacking itinerary, there’s at all times the ridiculous mud bath in Volcan Totumo, a tiny energetic volcano simply outdoors of Cartagena. Lia hated it, however to be truthful, we additionally obtained a terrific story out of it. In the event you’re on the lookout for a novel story and don’t thoughts getting somewhat soiled, Volcan Totumo makes an attention-grabbing day journey!
In the event you don’t thoughts a little bit of a journey, seize a colectivo to La Boquilla, a brilliant small fishing city on the seaside situated simply east of Cartagena. This was one of the best seaside we skilled within the space, as a result of it’s principally empty with clear and heat water. You too can seize some recent fried fish proper on the seaside for method cheaper than within the metropolis. La Boquilla is a wonderful day journey from Cartagena!
What to Eat in Cartagena
The meals in Cartagena is SO good! We spent a few weeks in Cartagena simply consuming the whole lot in sight. We’ve obtained a complete submit on where to eat in Cartagena on a budget.
Right here’s what you completely need to strive:
It doesn’t get a lot better than the fish in Cartagena. When doubtful, order the fish, particularly pescado frito.
There’s extremely good recent fruit in Cartagena. You’ll see distributors on the road providing fruit in plastic luggage, and it’s all tremendous good. Our favourite snack is Mango Biche: inexperienced mango with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Yum!
Whereas chilling on the seaside in Bocagrande, don’t cross on a coctel de camaron. It’s actually only a Styrofoam cup stuffed with shrimp from a cart on the seaside, however belief me, it’s not as sketch because it sounds! They prep it proper in entrance of you utilizing recent substances.
We went to Restaurante La Casa de Socorro in Getsemani and had one of the best fish soup on this planet! OMG, I’ve been dreaming about that soup since we left Colombia. Please deliver us some again.
The top of your one month in Colombia
Holy s**t, your one-month backpacking in Colombia flew by. Earlier than you understand it, you’ll be taking a taxi to Rafael Nunez Worldwide Airport to catch your flight dwelling, stuffed with reminiscences of fantastic Colombia.
I assure you that you just’ll be smitten with Colombia identical to we had been, and eagerly planning your subsequent journey again identical to we’re …
However you’re not there simply but! So whilst you’re nonetheless in planning mode, we’ve obtained a ton of different sources for Colombia that you just’ll wish to have a look at earlier than you propose your journey:
We’ve additionally obtained a FREE 21-page journey information that can assist you plan your journey to Colombia, together with printable packing lists, all the main points from submit, and tons extra. Enter your e-mail under and we’ll ship it to your inbox together with useful ideas that can assist you plan your journey to Colombia!
Searching for assist planning your journey to Colombia? Take a look at ViaHero, a improbable web site that connects vacationers with locals who assist them plan the right customized itinerary. It’s a wonderful – and moral – solution to assist native communities and expertise Colombia by way of the eyes of an area! Check it out here.
Planning a visit to Colombia? What’s your greatest concern? Drop us a remark under!
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