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Colombia in 1 Week
While a map of Colombia may appear daunting to international travelers, it is nonetheless possible to visit all of the most popular tour destinations within a week.
Travelers may not be able to climb the Andes and also take a boat ride down the Amazon River, but they can still get a taste of the various facets of Colombian culture that make it so unique and inviting. The things not seen on this trip to Colombia will only provide motivation to plan another one in the future.
Days 1-3, Bogotá: Begin a trip to Colombia in the temperate weather of the Andes, where the national capital, Bogotá, is established. Explore the “La Candelaria” district, where the gastronomic meets the architectural in the various bars, restaurants, and markets that populate it. Take a trip to the 400-year old Sanctuary of Monserrate that lies atop the mountain that is its namesake.
A cable-car is available for use but the more adventurous may opt to hike the three hours to the summit. Take the adventure one step further with a plane or bus ride to the Quindío coffee region, where coffee plantations are available for tour (and taste!). Traveling to the next location, Medellin, will likely account for a significant part of the last day here.
Days 4-5, Medellin: What was once one of the most notorious cities on the globe, Medellin is working hard to reclaim its reputation as a safe, fun location for travelers. Its growth in artistic endeavors can be found in guided tours of the many art and science museums as well as the street art in the Comuna 13 neighborhood.
Travelers to Medellin can visit the former estate of the late drug-lord Pablo Escobar, which has since been converted into a safari theme-park complete with a zoo.
Days 6-7, Cartagena: A trip to Colombia means a stop in Cartagena, home of the “Old-town” colonial district that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides having unlimited beach access, the Inquisition Palace is another important part of the city that lends a glimpse into Colombia’s colonial past.
This past is also found in Cartagena’s ancient surrounding walls and maze-like streets. Off the coast, boats can be chartered for snorkeling along the world’s third largest coral reef near Rosario Islands or to find quiet solitude on the beaches of the island of Barú.
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Colombia in 2 weeks
With a full two weeks to explore Colombia, travelers will gain a better sense of both the country and the people. This amount of time is optimal to enjoy longer excursions, see the lesser-known parts of the country, and have time to relax between travel days. It may even be possible to see a jaguar or two.
Days 1-2, Bogotá: Landing in the national capital, Bogotá, international travelers can take a first-hand look at a major Colombian city. Visits to the famed Museo del Oro, a hike (or cable-car ride) up to the top of Monserrate Mountain, and a tour of “La Candelaria” district are some of the many activities within city limits. Salsa classes and visits to the many public parks are also popular.
Day 3, Cundinamarca: By going an hour further from the city, travelers can venture underground into the Salt Cathedral. The sizeable “main room,” carved entirely from salt, is so large that it is meant to house 8,000 people.
Days 4-6, Quindío: A short flight or long bus ride away from Bogotá lies Quindío, the region famous for the production of Colombia’s coffee. Travelers can stay at haciendas or on coffee plantations to learn the farming and production processes, as well as sample the final products.
A visit to the “Parque del Cafe” may prove enticing, should the coffee farm tours not satisfy. With a botanical garden, museum, and 27 amusement park rides, it is a hard location to avoid seeing.
Days 7-9, Cartagena: Fly to Cartagena and get lost amidst the many colonial-era streets that make the town so unique as a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is beach access, but travelers wishing to avoid the usual tourist and local congestion may want to sail out to the island of Barú for white sand or snorkeling around Rosario Island.
The Inquisition Palace and Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas all stand testament to Cartagena’s colonial roots and house relics along with subterranean passages for international travelers to explore.
Days 10-14, Santa Marta: By heading to the small town of Santa Marta, travelers are faced with a choice. It is possible to undertake the four day trip to traverse “La Ciudad Perdida” (the Lost City), which lies deep in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains and is only accessible by foot.
Along the original stone roadway are ancient piazzas, all of which culminate in the historical ruins that still puzzle archaeologists today. On the other hand, those who do not wish to end their trip on such an exhausting note may wish to explore Tayrona National Park.
Nestled comfortably between the warm Caribbean sea and foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, the location is a veritable paradise that travelers of all ages can enjoy before having to finally leave.
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