Colombia trip - first time

Old Jan 14th, 2023, 11:08 AM
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Colombia trip - first time

Hi, I need advise on what is a must and what could be cut out. I developed preliminary itinerary. Not sure if Salento is a must if not planning to tour coffee plantations or Cacoro Valley (is is a must?) May be visiting a Pueblo from Meddellin will give me the flavor. Also a drive ftomSanta Marta to Cartagena is 5+ hours. Is Tyrona a must?
Here is the the plan so faray 1 Bogota - arrive
Day 2 Bogota - full day
Day 3 Bogota to Salento (not sure?)
Day 4 Salento to Medellin
Day 5 Medellin - full day
Day 6 Medellin - day trip to a Pueblo - Gutape (waterfalls, lakes, history, hiking) - recommendations please
Day 7 Medellin to Santa Marta flights 8:29 am
Day 8 Santa Marta (Guanchaca) Minca? and Tyrone (highking, monkeys, and beach)
Day 9 Santa Marta to Cartagena drive (5 hrs)
Day 10 Cartagena - full day
Day 111 Isle Grande (hotel recommendations please)
Day 12 Isle Grande
Day 13 Cartagena - fly home

Day Trip from Medellin - Gutape, Jardin, Jericho, etc. any recommendations no more than 2 hrs one way

I am flexible, no reservations yet. Plant o go Feb 28 to March 13 for now.
Thank you in advance!
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Old Jan 15th, 2023, 10:30 AM
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Too much moving around. Everytime you change locations you are going to lose a full day.
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Old Jan 17th, 2023, 12:18 PM
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I agree with mlgb above, way to many destinations. at a rough guesstimate around 50% of your "usable" vacation time will be spent looking out of the windows of buses, planes, cars or in bus stations and airports.

You don't mention any specific interests so it is difficult to suggest any must or must not dos.

If it were my trip I would would want to spend a minimum of 3 nights/2 full days in each of Medellin and Bogota. Cartagena 2 nights and 1 full day. Outside of those I am not sure I would be bothering with beach time. For me at least, the true essence of the country is to be found in the small towns and village of we visited quite a few. Jardin was wonderful but is closer to four hours travel Medellin as is Jericho. I would want a couple of nights in Jardin and certainly not a day trip. Salento we also really enjoyed. The Cocora Valley is a fantastic short hike. Another option from Bogota, less than 2 hours travel is Villa de Leyva a great place for a one nighter or even a day trip. You may even be able to take in Zipiquira salt cathedral en route.

The are some photos an details of our time in these places on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/colombia/

Colombia is an amazing country but travelling around does take a lot more time than you may think. RTAs are a common occurrence (we were involved in two) so I would avoid night buses without a doubt. Day buses are unavoidable for shorter trips but for longer distances I think air is better.

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Old Jan 19th, 2023, 02:45 AM
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Salento, and general spraking the Quindio area is safe and nice to travel.
Consider this:
(1) Take a flight from Bogota to Armenia. (35 minutes)
(2) Search for a local "finca" accommodation to enjoy locals, views and fresh air
(3) Salento is a beautiful town but overcrowded during weekends. It is nested in the mountain and it connects to main road through two narrow roads. I advice to stay in central small towns or around where you can easily move. [3 days ok to visit not only Salento and Cocira Valley but a couple of interesting places)]
(4) Look accommodation not only through conventional booking sites, check Airbnb . Most of fincas have different kind of rooms. Even if you sed dates blocked, contact the property, they may have good rooms available. In Quindio (where Salento is) I stayed in a beautiful and peaceful finca in a rural area called Caney - Llanadas.. English spoken. Owners are great hosts.
(5) From Armenia it is possible to fly to Medellin. Check Viva Air (arrives at Intl Jose Maria Cordova Airport)
or fly Easy Fly to local Olaya Herrera Airport.

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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 07:45 PM
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I agree with what everybody said regarding needing more time to explore each place, and leaving enough time for travel between locations. We missed Tayrona because in 2018 it was closed to assess the environmental impact of tourism; from what I've heard, it is beautiful but also crowded and takes a lot of time to get around as it is large, and may lack some infrastructure to keep things clean and keep the nature protected from such large crowds.

We enjoyed our time in Minca and Palomino which are nearby and worth checking out, though certainly some things have changed since 2018. For example, I have heard the beaches in Palomino have severely eroded since we were there. If you do end up going to check it out (the laid back beach vibe is still in tact from what I have read), head west towards where Rio Palomino empties into the ocean and you will find some nice stretches of sandy beaches still in tact.

We loved our time in Medellin as well, and spent a good amount of time in Guatape. I think to do a day trip to Guatape is a waste, however, because you will spend most of your time in the bus and not exploring the zocalos, hiking the Pedra del Penol, and kayaking the reservoir. You need at least a day or two to have a proper excursion there.

If you were to leave any of the bigger cities off your list, I would make it Santa Marta. It was our least favorite of the cities we visited in Colombia, but that could be personal preference (of course everything is). That said, we had some fun in Bogota, but I would stay around Cartagena and Medellin if I went back. We loved biking around the city using the amazing bike path system, exploring the parks (like Nutibara and Arvi), the botanic gardens, the cable cars, and the touristy restaurants and breweries in Poblado.

Apparently I can't post my blog url until I have at least 10 posts, but feel free to reach back out if you are interested in more details and photos of what we did and where we went in Colombia.

Cheers, hope you have a great trip! Nate
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