Four Weeks in Colombia
After deciding to travel to Colombia, the hardest thing was to decide what to exclude from the appealing list of sights and activates. Colonial cities, coffee plantations archaeological ruins, high-mountain trekking, scuba diving, rafting, whale watching- the list is almost never-ending.
There were about three different variations of itinerary – here is the final loop.
Almost four weeks definitely weren’t enough to see just about every interesting place in Colombia. This itinerary includes capital of Colombia, a taste of southern part near the Border with Ecuador, coffee country (Zona Cafetera), Caribbean coast and San Andres Island. Gringo Trail. There was also Tolu on the list and La Guajira Peninsula (northernmost part of Colombia) which we skipped due to rainy weather. In this post I am not going into details about every destination, just presenting a sample itinerary that turned out well.
If your flight lands at Bogota Airport than Bogota is logical point of start and a base for side trips around Bogota . Spend few days in the city, wander around, visit Museum of gold, Police museum, the abundance of everything hang around Candelaria, go to Zona Rosa in the evening…. As we planned to stay in Bogota for first three days on the initial leg of the trip to Colombia, we have chosen to take a trip to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral which will take you one day. Besides Zipaquira many backpackers opt for Villa de Leyva or San Gill. The choice is yours, a matter of personal priorities and available time.
Pasto – Ipiales – Pasto
Next stop was Pasto (actually Las Lajas Cathedral near Ipiales) that is located on the southwestern part of Colombia. After thorough online research we decided to take a plane, otherwise we would loose too much time travelling back and forth. Firstly we were thinking taking a bus and make a stop in Popayan and possible elsewhere and then head further south. According to other resources online it’s a long trip by bus.
Pasto – Cali – Armenia – Salento
A weekend in Pasto is enough if you get there mainly to visit Las Lajas Cathedral in Ipiales. Flight back to Cali. From Cali we took a minibus that took us to Armenia and then another one to village of Salento – a base for day trip to Valle de Cocora.
Salento via Pereira – Medellin
After hiking in the most magnificent place in Colombia we continued towards Medellin. We spent only five days in Medellin and it is definitely not enough to see everything. A side trip to Guatape (El Penol).
Medellin – Cartagena
Spent one weekend in Cartagena.
Cartagena – Santa Marta
From Cartagena we took a bus to Santa Marta, it takes about five hours. Santa Marta is no thrill port city, but your ticket to Tayrona National park. We spent there one week including Tayrona and Taganga. If you are lucky with weather – we really weren’t – take a Ciudad Perdida trek.
Santa Marta – San Andres
At the time of the visit there were no direct flights from Santa Marta. First we flew to Bogota, then to Cartagena and then finally to San Andres to finalize the trip with real sandy beaches.
San Andres- Bogota – Home.
Of all the visited countries travel to Colombia left me withe the deepest impression. Its greatest treasure and diversity of natural and cultural gems that are simply breathtaking. Despite of lot of poverty in rural areas, the endless but still great pride, joy and laughter on everybody’s face, you get a different perspective on life. How sad and unfair that many people are still familiar with this country only for drugs, crime and kidnappings. This is certainly a country that deserves a second chance. Once you are there, even for a moment will not feel unsafe. The only thought that you carry within you, is that the journey would never end, and as the slogan says (Colombian Tourism Organization), the only danger that is out there you might want to stay in Colombia for ever.