Thursday 6 June 2024

Colombia is a country which has definitely gained popularity in the last decade. What was once a country associated with drugs and violence, is now the perfect holiday destination if you love food, dancing, hikes and beautiful beaches. If you're wanting to visit Colombia for the first time but don't know where to start, this is how I recommend spending 2 weeks there. 


Bogota is a place you're either going to love or hate. Like any capital city, you’re going to find that the place is overcrowded and noisy but it is also where you're going to find the cheapest food and accommodation. I recommend spending 2 days in Bogota and staying in the Chapinero or Zona Rosa areas. My top recommendations for visiting Bogota are:

  • Take a food tour in La Candelaria district. Here you’ll try an array of local dishes including ceviche, ajiaco and tamales. 

  • Visit the ‘Museo de Oro’ where you’ll find over 34,000 gold artifacts. The museum is also free to enter on Sundays. 

  • Take the cable car to Monserrate for the best views from above of Bogota, as you’ll travel over 3000m above sea level. 

  • Try traditional food in La Puerta Falsa, which has been in Bogota for over 200 years. 

  • Walk through La Plaza de Bolivar, where you’ll also find a cathedral and the parliament building. 

Where to stay in Bogota: Ibis Bogota Museo


After spending a busy two days in Bogota, you’ll want to fly to Pereira. From here you’ll need to take a 1 hour taxi to Salento (I recommend booking a transfer online) which should cost you £50 per car. The Disney movie Encanto was actually based off this Colombian town, and you’ll instantly notice the similarities when you see all the colourful houses and shops as you walk through. Salento is a small place, but I recommend two days here so you’ll be able to relax and fit in the following: 

  • Start your day with a guided tour through the Cocora Valley, home to the largest palm trees in the world which can grow up to 60m tall. 

  • In the afternoon, visit the Ocasa coffee farm to learn about the production of coffee in Colombia and sample some too. You’ll need to take a jeep from the main square to get to the valley. 

  • Try a typical ‘Bandeja Paisa’ made up of rice, beans, plantain, avocado, sausage and chicken. We ate at Donde Laurita and it was delicious! 

  • Walk through the Calle Real, you’ll find lots of jewellery shops and cafes through here. 

  • Sit in the Plaza De Bolivar Salento for a drink and enjoy the live music and dances that are usually going on in the evening. 

Where to stay in Salento: La Floresta


If you’re looking to party in Colombia, then Medellin is where you’ll want to go out. There are two main nightlite areas in Medellin, Parque LLeras and Provenza, the latter is the ‘classier’ area where you’ll find locals and tourists and notable clubs like Perro Negro. Parque Lleras is a tourist trap where you’ll pay £18 for a G&T and the clubs tend to be seedier. 3 days in Medellin is perfect, and I recommend staying in Laureles or El Poblado. In Medellin:

  • Take a guided tour to Comuna 13. What was once one of the most dangerous places in Medellin, is now a cultural hub where tourists come to see the graffiti, music and dancing that fills the area. 

  • An hour away you’ll find Guatape and El PeƱol, which is essentially a massive rock that you can climb via 740 steps to get great views of the lakes that surround it. 

  • Walk through Plaza Botero, where you’ll find over 20 sculptures designed by Colombian artist Fernando Botero. 

  • If you want to try something unique, try an Amazonian tasting menu at La Chagra. You’ll need to have an open mind for this as some of the dishes contain ants! 

Where to stay in Medellin: Los Patios Cool Living


My favourite thing about Cartagena was the contrast between the skyscrapers in Bocagrande, and the colonial architecture in the Old Town and Getsmani district. This is a city where you’ll mainly be walking around and relaxing on beaches or the nearby islands, and you’ll want to because it gets very hot and humid here. 3 days is plenty of time here and I recommend staying in the Bocagrande area or within the City Walls. In Cartagena:

  • Walk around the Getsmani district and get a photo with the Palenqueras (you’ll be expected to tip them)

  • Take a sunset cruise with an open bar or alternatively head to the rooftop bar of the Movich Hotel for the best sunset view. 

  • Visit one of the beach clubs in Isla Grande, you can get here from the port and the ferry takes 1 hour. Bora Bora Beach Club is where most people go as it’s more of a party vibe, but if you want something relaxing and with anopen bar I recommend Luxury Island.

  • In terms of nightlife, XO rooftop is great and you’ll find typical reggaeton music here. If you’re into your cocktails, Alquimico was actually rated in the ‘World’s 50 Best Bars’ and the vibes are great too. 

Where to stay in Cartagena: Hotel Zi One Luxury

Isla Baru

To end your trip, I recommend unwinding in the all-inclusive private resort Isla De Encanto. Only a 1 hour boat ride from Cartagena, this resort in Baru has its own private beach, a swim up bar in the pool and breakfast, lunch and dinner provided. The staff was so friendly and it was a great way to relax and end our trip. 

You can go snorkling, hire kayaks and hop to other islands from here too.

Where to stay in Isla Baru: Isla De Encanto

If you are planning a trip to Colombia and want more recommendations or tips, feel free to reach out to me on social media!

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