Ultimate Colombia 2-Week Itinerary
Colombia is a massive country full of diverse landscapes; it has everything from roaring rivers and luscious rainforests to arid deserts and paradise beaches. In reality, it would take months to explore. However, 2 weeks in Colombia still covers some of the highlights. This Colombia 2-week itinerary focuses on the north of the country, including a good mixture of big cities and beautiful nature.
Tip: Got more time? Explore more with our Colombia 3-week itinerary!
Day 1+2: Bogota (Start of your Colombia 2-Week Itinerary)
Arrive in the capital city of Bogota on day 1 of your Colombia itinerary (2 weeks). This fantastic city is the perfect beginning of your trip, offering spectacular sightseeing, incredible street art, and delicious food. The city is huge and feels very modern. However, dig a little deeper and find ancient neighborhoods, creative districts, and even extraordinary nature.
Street Art Tour in La Candelaria, Bogota
La Candelaria is one of the best places to hang out, with its colorful houses and village feel. You can also do many different street art tours here, as you’ll find many murals painted on the sides of houses and walls.
There used to be a lot of tension between street artists and police in Bogota, which prevented locals from expressing their creativity. These days, things are much better, making it a hub for graffiti. One of the most famous is CRISP, who also runs street art tours.
Tip: For the best viewpoint in Bogota, head to the peak of Monserrate Mountain. If you have more time in Bogota, you can hike up (it takes 2-4 hours, but the trail is only open in the morning). Alternatively, there is a cable car or funicular you can take instead.
Where to Stay in Bogota
The most traditional and charming neighborhood is, without a doubt, La Candelaria. It draws creatives from all over the city, from painters and graffiti artists to experimental restaurants. You can find lots of great hotels in this area. It’s also one of the safest areas in the city. Find a hotel in Bogota.
Day 3+4: Medellin
On day 3 of your Colombia 2-week itinerary, head for one of the most famous cities in the country: the sprawling metropolis of Medellin! This dynamic city has so much to offer, from the unique sculptures of Fernando Botero to the colorful buildings of the charming district of El Poblado.
Taking a bike tour is a great way to get to know the city, cycling past some of the most important buildings like the Palace of Culture or one of the many beautiful churches. It’ll show you the diversity of life here, from graffiti-covered streets to towering skyscrapers and fancy restaurants.
Comuna 13, Medellin (Must-See on Your Colombia 2-Week Itinerary)
An absolute must-do on your trip to Medellin is to visit Comuna 13, which was once Medellin’s most dangerous neighborhood, home to guerillas and dangerous gangs. The government set out an initiative, rewarding anyone who killed guerillas. This ended in disaster, with people shooting innocent civilians and dressing their bodies as guerillas to claim the benefits. Over 400 people died and are now buried in a mass grave in the area.
Since this troublesome time, the community has banded together, working to promote art, singing, and dance in the area. Now it’s one of the most vibrant areas in the whole city! Book a tour with Zippy Tours to learn more about Comuna 13 (every donation goes back to the community).
Tip: Got an extra day in Medellin? Consider visiting the nearby village of Guatape, home to a mammoth 10-million-tonne rock. You can climb the 675 zig-zagging steps to the top, where you’ll find panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and lakes below.
How to get from Bogota to Medellin
You can reach Medellin by bus or internal flight.
By Bus: Buses take 10-15 hours and are scheduled daily and at night. We recommend taking an overnight bus to save on time and accommodation (as long as you’re a good sleeper!).
By Plane: Alternatively, if you’ve only got 2 weeks in Colombia and are short on time, you can take an internal flight to Medellin (1 hour).
Where to Stay in Medellin
El Poblado is the safest neighborhood in Medellin and where many of the hotels are located. It’s an excellent area to base yourself in to see some of Medellin’s top attractions. Find the best accommodation options in Medellin.
Day 5+6: Salento and Cocora Valley
Time to enjoy the incredible nature of Colombia! Salento is a beautiful village that sits up in the highlands of Colombia, a place full of cloud forests, coffee plantations, and waterfalls. The town is famous for its proximity to the remarkable Cocora Valley, home to the tallest palm trees in the world!
Spend day 5 of your Colombia 2-week itinerary exploring the town itself, with its colorfully painted doorways and cute boutique shops. There are loads of great places to get a coffee or a bit to eat or even play a game of Tejo (a traditional Colombian game).
Cocora Valley Tour
On day 6, get up early, jump in an old-fashioned jeep (a Willy), and head for the fantastic landscapes of the Cocora Valley. You can choose from a shorter or longer hiking trail. Both take you among the towering palms, over the rolling green hills, and up high among the low-lying clouds and mist. Exploring the Cocora Valley by horseback is also possible for a different perspective of this magical scenery.
How to get from Medellin to Salento
By Plane: The fastest way to get to Salento is by flying from Medellin. However, Salento doesn’t have its own airport. You’ll need to fly to Pereira (45 minutes) and then take a taxi or a small bus from here (1 hour). The road is good, just a little windy sometimes, so take anti-nausea tablets if you get motion sickness.
By Bus: The cheapest way is by bus. Buses leave Medellin regularly and take 5-7 hours (although it can take more depending on traffic, accidents, road closures, etc.). They stop in Pereira, where you’ll need to change onto a local bus to Salento. If you have a bit more time, we recommend taking the bus as it’s a more sustainable way to travel.
Where to Stay in Salento
Salento town has lots of great accommodation options. The town is small, so you can stay anywhere and be close to all the local things to do (staying on or close to Calle Real will put you the most central). Find all hotels in Salento.
Day 7+8: Minca (Half-Way on Your Colombia 2-Week Itinerary)
Relax and unwind on days 7 & 8 of your Colombia 2-week itinerary. Minca is just the place for it! This beautiful destination sits high on the hilltops, sandwiched between the Caribbean Coast and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
There’s not much to do in the village itself, but the surrounding area is green and luscious. Most of the hotels and hostels take advantage of the fantastic views of Minca, offering terraces, infinity pools, and even giant hammocks where you can relax and look out into the distance.
Did you know? Minca is home to the oldest coffee plantation in the country: Finca la Victoria. Book a tour here to learn more about the coffee-making process.
How to get from Salento to Minca
Take a small bus from Salento back to Pereira airport. From here, you can fly internally to Santa Marta airport, which is 1 hour away from Minca.
Transfer from Santa Marta to Minca
Arrange a transfer with your hotel in Minca ahead of time. You can also take a taxi from Santa Marta airport, which takes around 45 minutes and costs 90,000 COP (21.50 USD).
The cheapest option is to leave the airport and head into Santa Marta town. Find Estacion de Minca (Calle 12, Carrerra 9), where you can take a shared taxi (Colectivo) to Minca. The price is around 9,000 COP (2.25 USD) per person.
Where to Stay in Minca
From sustainable eco-lodges to treehouse hotels, there are many beautiful places to stay in Minca. The ones with the best views tend to be located outside the town, so be aware that you’ll need to pay for motorbike taxis or walk to get around. See all hotels in Minca.
Day 9: Tayrona National Park
Sitting on the coast just below Minca is the extraordinary Tayrona National Park, a wild and beautiful landscape of jungle, boulders, and some of the most incredible beaches we’ve ever seen. The white sand and turquoise blue waters you’ll find here are exactly what you’d expect of the Caribbean!
Travelers come here to disconnect and enjoy the tranquility of nature, enjoying the hiking trails in the park, spotting wildlife, and snorkeling off the shore. Get off-grid on your Colombia 2-week itinerary and stay in one of the open-air hammocks or camp—enjoying a night under the bright stars.
Entrance Fee: 68,500 COP (± 16 USD) during the high season. 57,500 COP (± 13.5 USD) in the low season. Please note that you’ll also have to pay mandatory park insurance, which costs 10,000 COP (± 2.5 USD). Make sure to arrive at the park entrance early, as they only allow a specific number of visitors each day.
How to get from Minca to Tayrona National Park
You can arrange for a taxi to take you from Minca to Tayrona National Park (it should take 50-60 minutes). Prices for taxis can range from 60,000-80,000 COP (14 – 19 USD).
Alternatively, there are shared taxis (Collectivo) that you can take from Minca back to Santa Marta. From here, you can jump on the local bus, which runs between Santa Marta and Palomino. This local bus leaves every 30 minutes and costs 7000 COP (1.70 USD) to the El Zaino entrance at Tayrona (the main entrance to the park).
Where to Stay in Tayrona
To really enjoy Tayrona National Park to the fullest, stay in one of the hammocks or tents and enjoy a night under the stars. There are a couple more comfortable options within the park, but most hotels are located on the road outside the park entrance. See all accommodations near Tayrona National Park.
Day 10+11: Palomino
Follow the coast east along from Tayrona, and you’ll hit the sleepy beach town of Palomino. Enjoy a few days of beachside living; go for barefoot walks on the sand, sleep in the shade of the palms, and watch people forage among the mango trees. Everything is colorful in Palomino, from the painted shacks and tropical fruit juices to the rainbow-colored birds flying in between the flowers.
You could easily spend your time in Palomino just relaxing and enjoying all the great places to eat. However, if you want some action, there are plenty of things to do—for example, tubing along the wide-open river nearby or surfing off the coast.
Tip: Love dogs like us? Join a tour with the Palomino dog shelter. They’ll take you on a riverside picnic with the dogs, where you can cuddle, play, and swim with them. Book your tour on their Instagram.
How to get from Tayrona National Park to Palomino
By Bus: A local bus travels between Santa Marta and Palomino, stopping at Tayrona on the way. From the trail’s end in Tayrona to the main entrance is 1 hour of walking. You can skip this and take a motorbike taxi (as the walk isn’t anything special).
The bus arrives just outside the national park entrance (you have to wave down the driver). The ticket price is 8,000-10,000 COP (1.85 – 2.30 USD)
Where to Stay in Palomino on your Colombia 2-Week Itinerary
We stayed at Casa del Pavo Real, which was fantastic! The service was terrific, and it’s also one of the best food spots in town. Wherever you stay in Palomino, we recommend choosing a place with a swimming pool. This is because many of the beaches in this area are unsafe to swim in (the water has strong currents), so you’ll want a swimming pool to cool down. See all hotels in Palomino.
Day 12+13: Cartagena
Spend the final days of your Colombia itinerary (2 weeks) in the incredible city of Cartagena. Out of all the cities you’ve seen during your 2 weeks in Colombia, this one is the most surprising. Instead of the sprawling tower blocks you’ll find in Bogota and Medellin, discover beautiful colonial buildings and streets that wouldn’t look out of place in southern Europe!
Head straight for the city’s old walls, and discover the historic center with its colorfully painted houses and the labyrinth of streets. Stop and buy some tropical fruit from the Cartagena ladies (you’ll know who they are immediately from their colorful dresses and fruit baskets atop their heads).
Rosario Islands Tour
On your second day, consider taking a boat tour to one of the nearby islands off the coast. For example, the stunning Rosario Islands with their clear turquoise water and white sandy beaches. Stop for a beach picnic, relax in the sun, or snorkel and discover the beautiful marine life. Best of all, this group of 28 islands is only a 1-hour boat ride from the city! Book your boat tour to the Rosario Islands here.
Tip: For a shorter day trip, choose the Baru Islands instead, which are just 45-minutes away by boat. The atmosphere at the weekend is super lively, as locals flock to the islands for the beach bars, music, and cocktails.
How to get from Palomino to Cartagena
By Bus: Take the bus from Palomino to Cartagena in 7-9 hours (change in Santa Marta). There is no need to pre-book in advance; you can just turn up and jump on the bus. To get to Santa Marta, you’ll need to take the local bus, which takes 1.5 hours. Once you’re in Santa Marta, head for the central bus station. Buses leave for Cartagena every half an hour, costing 43,000 COP (10 USD).
Where to Stay in Cartagena
Stay within the walled city to be among the most beautiful buildings in the city. Alternatively, the neighboring area of Getsemani is a bit cheaper but still very well located. Find your hotel in Cartagena.
Day 14: Departure (Last Day of the Colombia 2-Week Itinerary)
It’s the final day of your Colombia 2-week itinerary, and it’s time to say goodbye to this beautiful country. Depending on where you’re going next, you may be able to fly directly from Cartagena (particularly if you’re flying into the US). Alternatively, you’ll need to take an internal flight back to the main cities of Bogota or Medellin, where you’ll have more worldwide flight options.
How to Visit Colombia in 2 Weeks
Colombia is a huge country and could take months to explore. However, 2 weeks in Colombia is still a reasonable amount of time to explore some of the most significant spots, whether its beautiful beaches, wild mountains, or buzzing cities. This Colombia 2-week itinerary gives you the best route and transport options to make it as easy as possible for you to explore the country on your trip.
Getting to Colombia
There main international airports in Colombia are Bogota and Medellin. As your 2-week Colombia itinerary starts in Bogota, we recommend flying directly to El Dorado Aiport (Bogota). Alternatively, if you fly into Medellin, you can begin your itinerary there and add on Bogota at the end of your trip.
Tip: Already traveling in Panama or Ecuador? You can cross the border by land instead.
Getting Around Colombia
Once you’re in Colombia, you can travel between destinations by bus. However, because the country is so huge, the distance between cities is often long, and buses can take hours (especially in Colombia, where there are often road closures and traffic incidents). If you can, we recommend taking overnight buses to save valuable time and money on your Colombia itinerary (2 weeks).
As you only have 2 weeks in Colombia, you might prefer to take internal flights between destinations. Normally, flights between major cities in Colombia take around 1 hour (although you’ll need to add on time for check-in and customs). Be aware that the price of flights can add up once you add baggage, so taking a bus may be cheaper.
By Organized Tour
Many people choose to do organized tours to get around Colombia more easily. The benefit of tours is that you’ll see the highlights of the destination and have your transport and entrance tickets included. Plus, you’ll have a guide leading you, which takes any worry and hassle out of traveling.
Our Favorite Colombia Accommodations
There are so many fantastic places to stay during your 2 weeks in Colombia, whether it’s in a hammock under the stars in Tayrona National Park, a treehouse in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, or a hotel with a rooftop pool among the tower blocks of Medellin. Below are our favorites for each destination on this Colombia 2-week itinerary.
- Bogota: Botanico Hostel, Selina La Candelaria
- Medellin: Los Patios Hostel, Range Boutique Hostel, Nomanda Hotel, Sites Hotel
- Salento: Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel, Terrazas de Salento, Montana Glamping, Hotel Terasu Salento
- Minca: Siembra Boutique Hostel, Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge, Hostel Sierra
- Tayrona: Eco Lodge Chayrama, Ecohabs Bamboo
- Palomino: Casa del Pavo Real, Reserva Natural El Matuy
- Cartagena: Sofitel Santa Clara, Republica Hostel Cartagena
How Much Do 2 Weeks in Colombia Cost?
Colombia has a reputation in South America as one of the cheapest destinations to travel, and people come from all over the world for this low-cost, yet amazing, travel experience. Food, accommodation, and activities are particularly cheap. The only higher cost is for transport because of the long distances and the need to take flights on your 2-week Colombia itinerary. However, generally, it’s an excellent place to travel for those who are on a tighter budget.
Expenses for a 2-Week Colombia Itinerary
A Colombia 2–week itinerary will cost you anything between 400-1600 USD. This includes lunch and dinner, transport, entry fees, and accommodation. Where you stay and eat depends on your budget; there’s something to suit everyone!
- Hotels: 15 – 250 USD / night
- Hostels: 8 – 100 USD / night
- Price per meal: 3 – 20 USD
- Transport: 3 – 15 USD
- Sim: 20GB / 8 USD (Claro)
- Buses: 10 – 40 USD
- Flights: 30 – 150 USD (domestic)
Best Time to Visit Colombia
December-March are the best (and driest!) months to travel in Colombia. Outside these months can be stormy, but the rain doesn’t normally last long, and prices tend to be lower during these months. If you’re traveling to Tayrona National Park during your 2 weeks in Colombia, we recommend avoiding the month of December, as many locals travel for the holidays, and it can be very busy.
Do I Need a Visa for 2 Weeks in Colombia?
Staying for less than 90 days? In this case, most passport holders do not need a visa to enter Colombia. However, to do this Colombia 2-week itinerary, you will need a valid passport and may need to show evidence of a return or onward journey.
Is Colombia Safe?
Although Colombia has a reputation for being unsafe, we had a very positive experience and never felt in danger. The country has had a turbulent history (mainly because of drug cartels, gangs, and guerilla warfare), but in recent years tourism has boomed, and the government has placed more emphasis on traveler safety.
As with all countries, exercise caution (especially at night), and always keep anything valuable locked up at your hotel.
Travel Insurance for Backpacking in Colombia
Although you’re only spending 2 weeks in Colombia, purchasing single-trip insurance is highly recommended to protect against any unforeseen incidents while traveling. For example, you could lose your baggage, have your phone stolen, or even lose money from a canceled flight. HeyMondo is the insurance we use for all of our trips. The service is excellent and easy to use, and they also have 24/7 doctors available in their app for all your questions.
Find travel insurance that suits your trip here. (You get an exclusive 5% discount as Salt in our Hair reader)
What to Pack for a 2-Week Colombia Itinerary
Depending on the time of year you visit, you may have different weather for your Colombia 2-week itinerary. Especially during the nights in the mountains, temperatures can drop, so make sure to always have extra layers with you.
Colombia Packing List
- Take layers – Layers of clothing are essential to add or remove items, especially in mountainous destinations like Minca, when the temperatures can lower in the evening.
- Quick-dry clothing – Depending on when you visit, you may have a little rain during your trip to Colombia. Take clothing made of fabrics that dry quickly because items take very long to dry due to the tropical, humid weather.
- Microfiber towel – Like quick-dry clothing, it’s beneficial to take microfiber towels as they dry much faster and are incredibly lightweight.
- Waterproof backpack – Keep your valuables dry in a waterproof backpack or a rain cover that comes with your bag.
- Raincoat – The final item for rain is a waterproof jacket/raincoat. Some can also be easily folded into a package that you can take anywhere.
- Hat – Always take a hat/cap to protect you against that beautiful Colombian sunshine
- Long socks & trousers – You might also want to take long socks & trousers for some hikes, night walks, or evenings outside to cover your legs and prevent mosquito bites.
- Suitable footwear – Good walking shoes/sneakers/sandals are a must. Hikes can be somewhat challenging with muddy or rocky paths. It’s not wise to wear flip-flops here.
- Earplugs – Your nights can be disturbed by animal sounds, music, or the sound of the waves when sleeping in your hammock/tent in Colombia. Earplugs save you from having a sleepless night!
- Camera – Capture memories of your 2 weeks in Colombia with a waterproof camera like a GoPro, or get good protection gear for your camera so you won’t have problems if it rains unexpectedly.
- Power bank – For long hikes, power outages, or moments in the jungle, it’s helpful to have a power bank to recharge your phone (get one here).
Packing Sustainable Items
- Insect repellent – Bring an insect repellent but get a non-toxic product to prevent harming nature or animals.
- Sunscreen – An obvious addition to repellent is also sunscreen. We recommend a product without toxic ingredients so it doesn’t harm the environment. (Read about alternative sunscreens here)
- Refillable water bottle/purifier – Water is drinkable from the tap in most places in Colombia, except on the coast and in less developed areas. Bring a reusable water bottle with you, which will save you from buying single-use plastic bottles; refill instead!
- Stainless steel straw – Coconuts and fresh fruit juice are often sold on Colombia’s streets. Carry a stainless steel straw with you and avoid plastic or single-use straws. Top tip: With stainless steel, you can also scrape out the delicious inside of the coconut.
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