After Kelly taking in the places to visit in Colombia on her first ever solo trip, we returned and travelled there together for 52 days. Our Colombia trip was packed full of adventure as we experienced as much of this stunning country as we could. Being constantly blown away by the kindness and energy of the people as well as all of the beautiful places in Colombia. We experienced diverse and mind-blowing landscapes, stunning architecture and tons of
In this post we have included some of our best travel memories and places to visit in Colombia including cities, towns, village and places that were far off the beaten track. We hope this will give you some great ideas for places to visit in Colombia, all highly recommended from our travels and hopefully sparking some inspiration for planning your perfect Colombia travel itinerary.
Our Favourite Places in Colombia To Visit
We will show you our Colombia itinerary trip which took us through the country starting in Bogota and returning there after our amazing 52 days backpacking and adventuring. We have also included the places in Colombia where we would recommend staying, covering each of our stops as well information on the bus terminals and onward transportation times for each place.
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Places To Visit In Colombia
Why visit Bogota?
Bogota is Colombia’s high altitude vibrant capital filled with inspiring street art, museums, parks, gardens, up and coming foodie scene and eclectic mix of colonial, European and South American architecture; you certainly will not be short of things to see or do here. We took two amazing Bogota tours including a street art tour through La
Read more on Bogota here with our 8 Tips for Colombia’s capital city including more info on the tours we took.
Bogota is probably the perfect and most affordable place to start your trip to Colombia as flights into the capital are usually the best value. Once you’ve had your fill of Bogota buses onto Medellin, Salento and pretty much anywhere else in the country your itinerary is taking you, all leave daily from the main bus station – Terminal de Transporte Bogotá. Below
Where to stay in Bogota
We would recommend staying in La Candelaria as this will place you right near all of the sites and attractions Bogota has to offer. Cranky Croc Hostel – A really great hostel located right in the centre of ‘La Candelaria’ which is Bogota’s ‘Old Town’is the perfect location from which to see all of Bogota’s best bits and sights.
Bogota Bus Terminal – Onward Travel
Looking to move on from Bogota to Salento or the catch the Bogota to Medellin bus? This is where you want to get yourself…
Bogota to Medellin bus travel time – 10 hrs avg.
Bogota to Pereira bus – 9 hrs avg. then 1.5 hrs to Salento.
Bogota to Armenia bus – 8 hrs avg. then 45 mins to Salento.
Note – If you are travelling onto Salento then you will have to get the bus from Bogota to Pereira or Armenia then change for Salento. At Pereira or Armenia grab a local bus to Salento which will drop you off at the town square.
We also used Uber in Bogota to get from the airport or longer journeys whilst we were there. Our experience with using Uber in Colombia was really safe and a great way to get around. A little less available in the small towns and villages but still readily available in the bigger cities we visited in Colombia.
Why visit Salento?
Next on our Colombia travel itinerary was Salento. This was one of the most beautiful places in Colombia; we loved its chilled vibe, must-visit Cocora Valley, coffee tours and
You can check some more in-depth information about Salento here and what got up to there including visiting Cocora valley, Coffee tours in Salento and Salento town itself.
Where to stay in Salento
We stayed at a great place called Kasaguadua an eco-lodge built by Nick and Carlos in the middle of the jungle in Salento. If you are up for a break from the norm of a hostel or hotel we would definitely recommend this place. The guys also do tours if you are staying there in which they take you around the surrounding jungle area of the lodge teaching you about all the flora, fauna and makeup of the land. Super interesting!
Salento Bus Terminal – Onward Travel
Salento to Medellin bus time – 7 hrs avg.
Why visit Medellin?
Probably one of the most famous places in Colombia for its history. This city is certainly buzzing. With cool
You can check out our post on Medellin for things do and see around Medellin as well as what we got up to there in 4 days.
Where to stay in Medellin
The Purple Monkey Hostel located in barrio Manilla, one of Medellin’s funky and lively neighbourhoods. We found it was the perfect place to explore Medellin with a short walk to both the metro station at El Poblado and an Exito supermarket close-by.
Medellin Bus Terminal – Onward Travel
The Medellin bus terminal has both north (del Norte) and a south terminal (del Sur) so if you are looking for the Medellin to Cartagena bus the north terminal is the one you want. A
Medellin to Cartagena bus time – 13.5 hrs avg.
Why visit Cartagena?
As places to visit in Colombia go they don’t get much more wow than Cartagena! Bright colourful buildings, amazing street art, a booming party scene and a world heritage site. This walled port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast named after Cartagena in Spain and Colombia’s fifth biggest city offers the perfect place to just wander around and take it all in. Soak up the alluring colonial architecture, walk the old city walls, take in some history and meander through the array of plazas located through-out Cartagena. Top Tip: It’s a HOT city, remember to pack a hat and carry water with you when wandering!
Check out our 11 Awesome Things To Do In Cartagena for some serious inspiration for your trip to Cartagena.
Where to stay in Cartagena
Akel house is a really great place to stay. Very clean and one of the cheapest hotels to stay in Cartagena. With breakfast included and located inside Cartagena’s walled city, close to the Getsemani
Cartagena Bus Terminal – Onward Travel
Looking for the bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta or your next destination? Here is the information for the bus terminal in Cartagena –
Cartagena to Santa Marta bus time – 4.5 hrs avg.
Santa Marta to Minca by taxi / collectivo- 40min avg.
There are many options travelling on from Cartagena. We took a little detour and flew onto San Andres Island (1.5 hr flight) detailed below before returning to Cartagena then taking the bus from Cartagena onto Santa Marta. Then from Santa Marta bus
Cartagena is also another possibility when looking to find a cheaper flight into or out of the country. Normally not as good value as Bogota but depending on your Colombia Itinerary this could also be an option to start or end your journey.
San Andres Island
Why visit San Andres?
Next on our awesome places to visit in Colombia located 800km off the coast (nearer to Nicaragua than Colombia) are the beautiful islands of San Andres and Providencia. Known for its stunning reefs and reggae (and reggaeton) music and Caribbean vibes. The language on the island is a mix of Spanish and English
Flights to San Andres fly from Cartagena airport with an additional tourist tax fee payable on check-in at Cartagena Airport. This goes directly towards the upkeep and all-round functioning of the island. If you are looking for some Caribbean vibes and some picture-perfect beaches blended in with Colombian culture to add to your Colombia trip itinerary this is your place. You cannot fly straight to Providencia but it is accessible by boat from San Andres if you fancy exploring some more!
You can check out more information, pictures and what we got up to on this Colombian Caribbean island in our San Andres Island post.
Where to stay on San Andres Island
We would highly recommend Villa Verde for a place to stay on San Andres Island. With the option to camp or stay in the hostel,being close to the beach and scooters available to rent get around the island. We loved our stay and our host Luis at the relaxed Villa Verde!
Why visit Minca?
The sleepy mountain town of Minca located in the Sierra Nevada 15km from Santa Marta offers a tranquil rest and break from the hustle and bustle of nearby cities of Santa Marta or Cartagena. With a laid back vibe (yes, it seems to be somewhat of a Colombian pattern!), cooler temperatures and loads of hiking or biking opportunities,
For more details on Minca check out our post with 5 Alluring Reasons To Visit this laid back mountain town.
Where to stay in Minca
Casa Loma is a place like no other. Located a short walk from
We also booked the Lost City Trek or Ciudad Perdida through Casa Loma and were picked up and dropped back to
Minca – Onward Travel
For onward travel or the bus from Santa Marta to San Gil go to –
Terminal de Transportes de Santa Marta – Location here.
Minca to Santa Marta by taxi / collectivo time – 40min avg.
Santa Marta to San Gil time – 12hrs avg.
Why visit San Gil?
Named the ‘adventure capital’ of Colombia San Gil boasts a heap of adrenaline filled activities and unique, fun things to do in Colombia. The town of San Gil is actually very relaxed and with very much a local
There is also a lot of hiking near San Gil and the surrounding area. One hike we did was the el Camino Real from nearby town of Barachara to Los Santos through the Colombian countryside over two days. Check out our post for more details on our epic Colombian hiking adventure.
We would highly recommend visiting the beautiful nearby town of Barachara even if you don’t fancy taking on the
Where to stay in San Gil
We stayed at Sam’s VIP hostel which we would highly recommend. The hostel located right in the centre of San Gil has everything you need and is a great place to base yourself and make friends with other backpackers
Some of the epic adventure activities in San Gil include:
San Gil Bus Terminal – Onward Travel
San Gils’s bus terminal is located just on the outskirts of town within walking distance or short taxi ride from most of the hostels in San Gil or 2km from Sam’s VIP hostel.
Terminal de Transporte De San Gil – Location here.
San Gil to Bogota bus time – 7hrs avg.
From San Gil we took a bus back to Bogota to grab our flights out of Colombia.
Transport & Buses in Colombia
We found the best way to get around in Colombia
Some journeys in Colombia are more than often quite long (and often made longer by unknown events, such a stopping for food, road works etc.) – we would suggest always catching the earliest bus (unless you are catching a night bus) so you are able to make it to your destination at a good time and are also able to make any onward connections.
Top Tip – Always
Places To Visit In Colombia – To Sum It Up
We hope you have enjoyed our round-up of these beautiful places to visit in Colombia and found the information helpful in planning your own perfect Colombia backpacking itinerary. The bus transportation in Colombia is really well set up, making it easy to travel between places. So if you are travelling to Colombia for 2 weeks, a month or longer we hope our recommendations have made it onto your list!
Please let us know if you have any questions, by posting them just below in the comments. Each of our articles linked has more in-depth information on all of these locations so if you are looking for some more information on things to do in Colombia be sure to check them out!
Adam & Kelly x