2 Weeks in Colombia: 3 Colombia Itineraries to the Best Destinations

It's no surprise that Colombia has become a top travel destination in the world. Its a country in transformation which makes it an exciting time to discover it. We've made Colombia our home base the last three years and traveled extensively throughout it and developed 3 Colombia itineraries to enjoy your 2 weeks in Colombia and to help you choose where you want to go, what you want to do including suggestions on where to stay and eat and some tips on how to plan your trip.

Views above the big rock in Guatape one of the best places to enjoy for 2 weeks in Colombia

Even though most vacations in North America are two weeks, you will still have enough time to explore sections of the country for a glorious 2 weeks in Colombia. It will be enough time for you to wet your appetite to explore and experience it again, but first some important tips to know before you arrive. 

views above Medellin - one of the best places to visit during 2 weeks in Colombia

Colombia Travel Tips Before You Arrive

There are many misconceptions and surprises about Colombia, here are 15 things you need to know before traveling to Colombia.

 How to get around Colombia

Thanks to easy-to-plan, comfortable,  and well-priced bus services, and flights, it's easier than ever to travel independently around Colombia.  Flights are reasonable, and by road, be prepared for some long windy Colombian roads that navigate around the mountains where you will see some of the most spectacular views in the country. 

Domestic Flights in Colombia

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Viva Colombia (now renamed Viva Air) is Colombia's low-cost airline and a good choice for inexpensive travel between cities. It will save you time if your Colombia vacation is limited. Keep in mind to check the fine print for baggage allowances and requirements (such as printing your boarding pass in advance) these extra charges can add up. Book at least 2 weeks in advance to get the best pricing. Avianca is Colombia's national carrier and often has super promo fairs if you book ahead. If you are in Colombia, book in Colombian pesos to get even better fares. Latam is another option for domestic flights around the country.  Depending on where you are traveling there is also smaller domestic flights out of Medellin's inner city airport with airlines such as ADAEasyfly and Satena

Buses in Colombia 

bus service in Medellin - the best way to spend 2 weeks in Colombia

Where to find bus Colombia information

Numerous bus lines operate nationally or regionally across Colombia.  All cities and towns have a bus terminal where several different companies have service desks that offer varying bus service options and schedules. In the main cities, you can Google the terminal to find the bus companies, schedules, and pricing as it varies in each terminal varies. Usually it is not required to book seats in advance, however weekends and  major Colombian holidays (like Easter, Christmas until January 15th) are busy. Its wonderful to see Colombian's discovering their own country after years of war and limited ability to travel around their country.  

Buses in Colombia- Features and Pricing 

Bus services are reasonably priced and quite comfortable for travel all over Colombia. Options vary from larger coach-lines with A/C, reclining chairs and bathrooms, minivans that carry 12-14 passengers to cars. The bus type varies depending on the schedule and the destination, just inquire at any bus terminal.  Note that buses tend to be heavily airconditioned, so bring a jacket, and be prepared for music playing or movies at above average volumes! Long trips include a stop for dinner (like Medellin to Bogota) and there are always food vendors who jump on the journey and sell empanadas, sweets, icecream and anything you can imagine.

Colombia Itineraries: What Experience Are You Looking For?

Every traveler is different. Some travelers want more of the outdoors and hike to the Lost City; some travelers want to experience more of the city life and others would be happy to get a cross section of regions.  We've put together three comprehensive itineraries, customized according to your preferences.

 Choose Your Colombia Itinerary 2 Weeks

Itinerary 1: A Taste of Multi-Regions

Major city attractions including Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, and Cali. Visit the Tayrona National Park and wander through some of the best historical towns.

Itinerary 2: Colombia Highlights and Outdoor Adventures

Highlights of Bogotá and Medellín. Outdoor adventures on the Caribbean Coast and hike the Lost City.

Itinerary 3: A Taste of Central Colombia and the South

Highlights of Bogotá, Medellín and the southern region. Includes nature, colonial towns, and historical sites.

Itinerary 1: A Taste of the Multi-Regions

Includes major city attractions of Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, and Cali. Visit Tayrona National Park and wander through some of the best historical towns.

Day 1: Bogotá

  • Visiting the capital city of Bogotá is a must. It's historical, gritty, eclectic and interesting. It is also enormous with its 10 million residents making it difficult to get around. This city is best experienced with local recommendations so we recommend local tours to get a full appreciation for it. We recommend Impulse travel ,they offer several city tours as well as outdoors and local culture trips to suit any travel style.

What to do in Bogota:

visit Bogota for 2 weeks in Colombia

Wander around the Historic La Candelaria district – Bogota's old town is fantastic and home to the city's most impressive Spanish colonial architecture, political history and stunning grafitti. 

Visit the Gold Museum – Even if you aren't a museum person, The Gold Museum should be the one to visit. View over 55,000 pieces of gold jewelery, handicrafts and tools made by Colombia's hispanic cultures including the Teyrona people that buried gold within underground in the Lost City in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Visit the Botero Museum – Colombia's loved and renowned contemporary artist features his painting and major works here.  (Note that in Medellín, you can view his sculptures at Plaza Botero in the central district).

visit the gold museum for the 2 weeks in Colombia itinerary

Other recommended tours of Bogota such as beer tours, street art tours, and pub crawls with Impulse Travel

If you are in Bogotá on Sunday, you must take in Cicloviá. From 7am-2pm the road is closed for cars – and open for runners, bikers, walkers and dogs. It gives you a new perspective of the city and 2 Million residents get outdoors to enjoy the roads every Sunday!

Cyclovia in Bogota on sundays one of the best things to do during 2 weeks in Colombia

What to eat in Bogota: 

A popular dish and delicious dish from Bogota is called Ajiaco. It is a creamy chicken chowder with corn, potatoes, capers, served with rice, and avocado. It's incredibly hearty, rich and perfect for cool Bogotá nights. You can find Ajiaco at any traditional restaurant in Bogota guaranteed. 

Ajiaco - one of the best Colombia dishes to try during your 2 weeks in Colombia

Where to Stay In Bogota

There are many great places to stay in Bogotá. Some of the popular neighborhoods include Candelaria, Chapinero and Zona Rosa. 

Some of our recommended places to stay:

AK  Hostel 82 - Chapinero Check availability and latest pricing

The Click Clack Hotel  - Chapinero Check availability and latest pricing

Selina - La Candelaria  Check availability and latest pricing

Hotel Bogota Virrey - Zona Rosa Check availability and latest pricing

one of the places to stay in Bogota

Great place to stay in Bogota the AK Hostel 82 

Day 2: Bogotá - afternoon in Zipaquirá

Things to do in Bogota 

Enjoy awe-inspiring views of Bogotá by visiting the Guadalupe Hill (3300 meters) or Montserrat (3100 meters) to get the best focal point of the city.

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Looking down at Montserrat from Guadalupe Hill

Bogotá has the best foodie scenes in all of Colombia. Take in a local food tour, from great tour operators like Bogota5.

Leave the city for a half-day to visit the delightful colonial town of Zipaquirá. Visit the Salt Cathedral in this city, a cathedral 200m underground made of interlocking tunnels with 14 chapels and three shrines. Depending on traffic it's a 1hour drive from Bogotá.

Check out this video to see why Zipaquira is worth a visit.

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Day 3: Cartagena

How to get there:

Take a night bus from the main terminal (plenty of different options) or to save time, fly to Cartagena.

What to do:  

- Take a historical walking tour around the Old walled City and the historical neighborhood of Getsemani.

2 weeks in Colombia visit the walled city of Cartagena

The Gates of the walled city of Cartagena

- Wander inside the many cathedrals and museums inside the wall.

2 weeks in Colombia - one of the many amazing buildings in the walled city of Cartagena

Some of the beautiful architecture inside the walled city

- Walk on the beach and people watch in the Boca Grande district.

- Saunter the streets of Getsemani and admire the architecture and street graffiti.

2 weeks in Colombia - the neighborhood of Getsemani

Some of the interesting grafitti in Getsemani 

- Take a break at the Plaza Bolívar or Plaza in front of Iglesia de la Trinidad in Getsemani.

-Enjoy an arepa and a beer and watch a soccer match on the plaza, kids play or in the evening an outdoor movie – all in front of the church.

2 weeks in Colombia local life in Getsemani

Kids playing in the square in  the Getsemani neighborhood in Cartagena

- Watch the sunset looking over the Caribbean sea from the wall of the old city, take a beer and sit on the edge. Many local kids and families will join you.

  • Watch nighttime entertainment including dancing, music and stop for a drink at the Plaza Santa Domingo.

What to Eat in Cartagena 

  • Cool off with a limonada de coco drink – refreshing, tart and sweet!
  • Visit the  Café del Mural in Getsemani: sample their coffee flights and unique infused coffees. Passionfruit is incredible!
  • Eat on the rooftop of Malagana rooftop restaurant in Getsemani.
  • For some variety, eat at Saint Roque Restaurant and Cafe for Indonesian with a vintage European feel.

Where to Stay in Cartagena :

  • One option is trying to find a reasonable priced Airbnb in the old town (there are just a few options.)
  • We prefer staying in Getsemani – more of a local experience without breaking your wallet.
  • Recommended places to stay: 

We stayed at Hotel Marlin in Getsemani – excellent location, clean, reasonably priced, with a New Orleans feel (small rooms, traffic on weekends on this main street make it noisy, but we were right in the middle of the action).  Check availability and latest prices

Hotel Casa Carmen -Getsemani - Check availability and latest pricing

The Beach Hotel - For a special treat, this place is located on a strip of land across from Cartagena only reached by boat. Check out this incredible location, availability and latest pricing.

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Day 4: Cartagena and Day Trips to Playa Blanca or Isla Rosario

You need a beach day in Cartagena, why visit this Caribbean if you don't spend a day at the beach! The best beaches aren't in the city, but an hour boat ride out of town. 

How to get to the beaches:

Walk to the pier at El Muelle de la Bodeguita, across the street from the old town. Go to any of the office windows and book a day trip. We went to the Rosario Islands.This is a one-hour boat ride – to enjoy your option swimming, snorkeling, diving, hiking, lunch, then return. Unlike in Cartagena, the waters here are pristine, clear and blue, and  it's the best place to swim in the area.

2 weeks in Colombia the Rosario islands outside Cartagena

The beaches at the Rosario Islands

Day 5: Travel to Tayrona National Park

How to get there:  

Hotels can arrange a tour for you or you can head to the bus terminal to choose a carrier. The bus trip is around 4-5 hours (depending on stops).

What to do:

Wander in the park, run, swim, hike and relax. Stay overnight in one of many Ecohabs or camping spots.

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Day 6: Tayrona National Park and departure

Spend the day visiting many of the beach areas within the park.

Walk the trails and witness some of the most amazing diverse views! Check out our video on our day trip to Tayrona.

 Reach the main gates in the afternoon to catch a cab or bus to Santa Marta (approx. 2 hours) then take a cab to Minca (45 minutes up above the Sierra Nevada Mountains.) 

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Day 7:  Minca: Spend the day relaxing here

We loved Minca! It's an eclectic, energetic town with lots to do. Find out how to get there, what do to, where to stay, and where to eat, in this post about Minca. 

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Day 8: Travel day down to Santa Marta then onto Medellín

Travel Colombia requires a stop in Medellín. It's not only a beautiful city, going through massive transformation, the Paisa culture (people of Antioquia are different than the rest of the country.

How to get there:

After you arrive in Santa Marta, Take a bus to Medellín (16hrs) or take a flight to Medellín (less than 2 hrs) Take a cab into the city (roughly 45-50 minutes into town).  To determine how much you should pay for cab fare, try this app. for any city you travel. Medellín is very easy to travel around with its efficient metro system, Metro de Medellin.

Where to stay:  

Most visitors typically remain in El Poblado during their first visit to Medellín. It is a tourist-friendly area with plenty of locations. We recommend for cost, convenience, and service: The Grand Hostel in El Poblado. This is a place with friendly and attentive staff (operated by a lovely Lady Lucy and her dog Lucas), with both private and dorm rooms, and proximity to the El Poblado Metro station.

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Some of our most recommended stays are the Hotel Asturias in the cool neighborhood of Laureles. or for  more pampering, the gorgeous Art Hotel or our friends have enjoyed staying at the Las Rosas boutique hotel which has western service. These places are right in the heart of Poblado with restaurants and bars right at your doorstep.

We preferred to stay outside of the main areas, such as in Envigado. It offers a more local neighborhood living experience. We usually stay there in Airbnb's or at 20 Mission, Co-living apartments.  This is close to the Colombia Immersion Spanish school, a school that has a more community and local approach to learning.  and set in a local neighborhood, which is a perfect place to appreciate a local community and practice your Spanish. 

Day 9: Medellín

What to do:

Get your bearings with a Walking Tour around the city. This will give you the perspective of what to see and do for your visit, and learn some history and travel tips.

A must see is the Comuna 13 district. Get inspired by witnessing how the city is transforming into a very livable and innovative place. Learn about  the struggles of the past and the growing optimism for the future.

Comuna 13 Escalator

Escalator #6 in Comuna 13

Hike up to the mountains and find waterfalls and chill in one of the most beautiful natural spots so close to the city.

Arriving at the first waterfall into our hike.

Visit the Plaza Botero in order to see the sculptures of Medellín's living legend and shop along the plaza.

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Take the cable car up to Parque Arvi and walk through the parks and forests.

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Visit the Minorista market downtown to savor the best variety of exotic fruits you have ever seen!

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Watch a Colombian football (soccer) game and witness some of the most passionate fans ever! Check out the video from our first Colombian Football game.

Take in one of many museums like the Museum of Antioquia or our favorite the Casa de Memoria.

On Sundays get some exercise at Cicloviá – from 7 am to 1 pm. Avenue Poblado is closed to vehicles and open for cycling, running, and dog walking or just plain walking. This event is perfect for a great day of exercise, followed with a refreshing drink at one of many juice stands along the way.

Coffee! Enjoy the many café options around the city especially in El Poblado.

What and Where to eat:

Learn all about typical Paisa food, and discover what kind of foods you enjoy.  The Street food tour Medellín is an excellent way to start your stay. Check out the video of our food tour of Medellín.

Our favorite places to eat and drink

 Our choices are based on two factors: good value or fair priced; and decent food.

Restaurants in Medellín:

  • 3 Tipicos – Probably the best of local food. 
  • For more restaurant reviews by neighborhood you can find it here.

Restaurants in Envigado:  

Just a short cab from Medellin, Envigado tends to offer more economically-priced restaurants. Since we lived in this area, we frequented more locations such as:
La Burger Bar – handcrafted, city themed burgers and fries. Lots of interesting topping options.
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La Burger Bar

Actipan 3 – small corner bakery that makes the best Arepas con huevos (corn arepa with egg inside).
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Arepas con huevos

Hugo's Wings and Pizza – behind the church San Rafael del Dorada on Carrera 39a
Tepitos – Tacos y Tequila – High-energy spot with ample choices of Tequila and delicious and spicy Mexican
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Having diner at Tepitos – Tacos y Tequila

Mahalo Action & Sports Bar – Amazing view is the highlight. It is set high above the city up the mountains. Good if you are looking for familiar Western food and sunset ambiance.
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Mahalo Action & Sports Bar

El Café de Otraparte – Unique and delicious coffees and desserts in a casual garden setting.

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Day 10: Day trip to Guatapé

This is one of our favorite day trips (or  overnight if you can spare the time). For details how to get there, and what to do you can find out all about the coolest colorful town of Guatapé here.

Guatapé street

Day 11: Day trip to Cocoa farm – Stay in Medellín overnight

What to do:

Stay in Medellín and book a day tour to see and participate in a chocolate workshop at a cocoa farm.

The Palenque tours offer an incredible tour of a Cocao farm where you find out how farmers have gotten past the dark days of the war and now have a thriving chocolate business.

We captured the story of this Cocao farm and how it's changed from the dark past of the Colombian war. 

Palenque also offers excellent coffee tours in this area (you don't need to be in the coffee zone to see and taste good coffee).

Day 12: Travel to Cali

With this trip to Cali, you will cover off all major cities in Colombia.  There is a lot to see in Medellín and you may opt to stay and explore more.

Cali, however, will give you a different perspective on Colombia. It is also a city in massive transformation after the dark days of the Cali cartel were over.  The city is renewing and renovating with parks, restaurants and social projects.  Not to mention it's the home and birthplace of SALSA!

How to get there

Your best option is flying. Otherwise, it's an 8-10 hour drive. If you are on a limited vacation period, taking the plane is your best bet.

Travel within Cali: Taxis are everywhere and economical as there are metered taxis. However, we didn't take a bus, which is called the Mio – similar to the Transmilenio in Bogotá. It's reasonably priced and efficient (although it can get very crowded during rush hour). Uber runs a low cost and efficient service in Cali as well as in Bogotá and Medellín.  

Where to stay

We recommend Casa Miraflores, which is one of the coolest/most comfortable hostels we have ever stayed in. It's a massive Spanish-style home that offers breakfast, with two full kitchens to use, funky lounging areas and comfortable private and dorm rooms.

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Day 13: Enjoy Cali

What to do:  

We recommend a city tour to allow you to get a first comprehensive impression of Cali. It's a great overview of popular neighborhoods, as well as the downtown area.

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Cristo Rey is a Christ statue located high above the city, with numerous parks and urban projects underway. Valley Adventours offers a driving city tour with an English guide, regularly offered at 4 pm.  Duration: 3 hours Cost: 45,000COP or $15USD. This tour company offers several other more outdoors and adventurous tours like waterfall hikes, tubing, paragliding, and kite surfing. We just had a grand time for the city tour, and we plan to come back to see more of the area.

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Of course, Salsa Dancing is a good reason to come to Cali and included here is a good directory of where to find the best clubs, schools and events. 

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Day 14: Travel back to Bogotá

Fly back home via Medellín or Bogotá depending on your airline.

Sadly, your trip may be over at this point, but if you still have time, we have two other itineraries below that offer a few different options for destinations if you can spare the time.

Itinerary 1: A Taste of Multi-Regions

Major city attractions in Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, and Cali. Visit the Tayrona National Park and wander through some colonial towns.

Itinerary 2: Colombia Highlights and Outdoor Adventures

Highlights of Bogotá and Medellín. Outdoor adventures on the north coast and hiking the Lost City: The Ciudad Perdida.

Itinerary 3: A Taste of Central Colombia and more of the South

Highlights of Bogotá, Medellín and more time in the south. This itinerary includes nature, colonial towns, and historical sites.

Day 1 - Bogotá

Day 2- Bogotá and Zipaquirá

Day 3 - Cartagena

Day 4 - Cartagena and Day Trips

Day 5 – Travel to Tayrona National Park

Day 6 - Explore more of Tayrona

Day 7, 8 and 9 - Lost City Trek – The Ciudad Perdida

Day 10 - Final day of the Trek and Departure

Day 11 - Rest day in Minca

Day 12 - Travel day to Medellín

Day 13 - Day trip to Guatapé

Day 14 - Medellín

Day 15 - Travel back to Bogotá

Day 1 - Bogotá

Day 2- Bogotá and Zipaquirá

Day 3 - Travel day to Medellín

Day 4 - Medellín

Day 5 - Day trip to Guatapé

Day 6 - Travel to Jardín

Day 7 - Jardín

Day 8 - Travel to Salento (Coffee Zone)

Day 9 - Salento

Day 10 - Travel and stay in Cali

Day 11 – Travel & stay in Popayán

Day 12 – Travel & stay in San Agustín

Day 13 - Day trip to San Agustín Archeological sites

Day 14 - Travel back to Popayán, then bus to Cali

Day 15 – Fly out of Cali – fly back to Bogotá

Looking for more information to travel Colombia? We would love to help you discover more details about this incredible country we have grown to love! ​For more top destinations in Colombia to discover you can find them here! 

Have you found a place you want to share with our community? Please comment below. 

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About the Author Dorene

Dorene is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She quit her 20-year career in marketing to redesign her career and lifestyle on her own terms by living location independent. Now with her husband Troy, she helps people who want to redefine their midlife and make conscious changes at TravelLifeX. She also trains & coaches travel and hospitality clients to improve their marketing at TravelLifeMedia.com