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Colombia is a country for all tastes, its perfect harmony between urban and rural has made it one of the most visited destinations in South America. Frenetic cities, the Pacific, the Amazon, the Caribbean, the Eje Cafetero and more, much more. There is so much to visit in Colombia, that you might have a hard time deciding where to start visiting Colombia in 12 days, we’ll help you!
Days 1, 2, 3 and 4: Santa Marta
We bring you the most adventurous tours in Colombia and start in Santa Marta, the most ancient Colombian city. It is surrounded by exuberant nature and offers mind-blowing sunsets. Its narrow streets are charming and full of lown colonial-style houses.
Santa Marta is usually a dormitory town from which to visit Tayrona Park, Ciudad Perdida and Punta Gallinas. As the goal is to visit Colombia in 12 days, we suggest that your first option is to spend 4 days in Lost City. If you had more time you could visit all the destinations, but it is better to try to see other areas of Colombia.
Lost City competes with Machu Picchu, so you can imagine the spectacular nature of the place. Not only its beauty, but the history of Lost City is another of its attractions. It was called Teyuna, was founded in the 7th century AD and became vacant in the 16th century. The jungle began to take over all the territory and of course, hence it was thought to be lost.
Days 5 and 6: Cartagena de Indias
Known as the Heroic City, it is the most beautiful city in Colombia and we can’t deny it. Our recommendation is that you should spend two days in Cartagena de Indias so that in the first you can walk its streets and in the second you can relax in the Isla del Pirata tour.
To prevent you from wandering aimlessly, here are some places you can’t miss:
- Plaza de los Coches, the gateway to the city.
- The Walls that envelop the city for 11 kilometers.
- Getsemani neighborhood, just outside the walls.
- Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, considered one of the 7 wonders of Cartagena.
- Bolivar Park, surrounded by impressive colonial houses.
- San Diego neighborhood, full of colors.
- Plaza de la Aduana, the oldest in the city.
Days 7 and 8: Bogotá, Cali or Medellin
You can’t leave Colombia without visiting one of its major cities, so we suggest you spend two days traveling around Medellin, Cali or Bogotá. It takes a day to get to one of the cities, get settled in and start discovering it, so it’s best to set aside two days and not get overwhelmed.
For a safe trip in Colombia we advise you to avoid walking around at night and use mobile apps to look for cabs. Bogota, Cali and Medellin are large cities and their tourist areas are the safest, so avoid the outlying areas!
Bogotá is the capital and largest city of Colombia. Its pleasant climate, its many tourist attractions and its variety of gastronomy and culture make it the most visited city in the country. You may have heard that Bogota is not so much, but the truth is that it hides very interesting places that we are going to unveil what to see in Bogotá:
- Statue of Simon Bolivar in Journalists’ Park.
- La Candelaria neighborhood in the old part of the city.
- Urban art in Calle del Embudo.
- The G-point. Ah no, the G-zone, we’re going off topic! The G zone offers countless gastronomic options.
- Enrique Olaya Herrera National Park.
- Museum Church of Santa Clara, one of the great colonial jewels of Bogotá.
In our opinion, the best thing about Cali is the atmosphere. The most touristic neighborhoods are San Antonio and Granada, where the music never stops playing. Numerous festivals are held, such as the The Petronio Alvarez pacific music festival or the International Art Festival. You can also ask about the Cali Fair, get ready to dance salsa!
You have to try to forget about Pablo Escobar, the city is so much more! It’s hard, we know, and on top of that you can’t get the Narcos theme song out of your head. We’ll try to distract you with lots of other plans, so don’t miss out on what to do in Medellin!
- Start your visit at Plaza de Botero, in the heart of the historic center. There you will find the Sculpture park, the impressive Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture and the Museum of Antioquia.
- Recorre la avenida Carabobo.
- Be amazed at Park of Lights with its 300 towers of up to 24 meters high that are illuminated every night.
- Discover Comuna 13, a neighborhood with a tragic past where guns have been replaced by spray cans.
- Learn more about the drug war years at the House of Memory.
- Come to San Antonio Park and learn about the history of the Wounded Bird.
Days 9 and 10: Coffee Triangle
This is not to be missed, we won’t leave you. If you go to Colombia you have to visit the the Coffee Triangle and taste the best Colombian coffee, otherwise the trip doesn’t count. Its natural mountainous landscapes declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, its coffee crops and the smell itself make this place one of the most beautiful in Colombia.
It is a beautiful village surrounded by an impressive Andean mountain environment. In addition to walking the Calle Real, we recommend you climb to the two viewpoints from which you can enjoy unique views of the natural environment of the village. The 1-day trek through the Cocora Valley starts from Salento and is not to be missed because it is a unique opportunity to enter the jungle. What a first day in the Triangle Coffee!
Known as the ‘unhurried’ town of Latin America. It is a quiet town (except if you visit on a Sunday) that left behind the armed conflicts of the past to become a responsible destination with natural resources.
It preserves a beautiful Antioquian architecture with colorful facades, portals and balconies decorated with flowers. In the central square is the church and several cafes, although the most famous is Cafe La Floresta.
This is one of the smallest but most charming towns on the route. It is the ideal destination to visit an authentic coffee farm and there is no better way to start the second day. It is just over an hour’s drive from Salento, in a mountainous setting of rolling hills and humid climate. If you want to enjoy the good views (heh heh), be sure to climb to the San Alberto Terrace where you can accompany the panoramic view with a real coffee.
Cordoba is one of the least visited municipalities and, like Pijao, is a slow and quiet destination. This small town is in the midst of waterfalls, streams, cafetals and bamboo. Córdoba, along with Buenavista and Pijao, forms a magical triangle with the best landscapes of the Triangle Coffee.
Along with Salento, it is the most beautiful town. Beyond visiting Calle del Tiempo Detenido and Plaza Simon Bolivar, stroll through its streets, it’s a pleasure! The Antioquian architecture with its colorful houses is enchanting and the views from the Colina Iluminada Viewpoint, even more so!
Days 11 and 12: Tatacoa Desert
The truth is that it is not a desert, it is a tropical dry forest, we are off to a good start! What is certain is that it is one of the most beautiful and unusual landscapes to visit Colombia in 12 days. During the day you can walk among the Hoyos, stroll through the Valley of ghosts and try to find some fossils of animals that inhabited the area millions of years ago.
gh we said it’s a tropical dry forest, you can swim in a pool. Tatacoa has it all! Dry off well because here comes the icing on the cake: the impressive Cuzco Labyrinth. Its reddish mud walls can reach up to 20 meters. To top it all off, at night you can contemplate the starry sky from the Astronomical Observatory, a privileged place!
We could go on and on about Colombia, its landscapes, cities, dishes and people, but our goal is not to saturate you, but to propose a tour to visit Colombia in 12 days. Here are the destinations that we recommend and that we believe will make your trip an experience to remember. What do you think?