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Colombia...without Bogota? Looking for opinions!

Colombia...without Bogota? Looking for opinions!

Feb 1st, 2015, 03:50 PM
  #1  
Amy
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,702
Colombia...without Bogota? Looking for opinions!

I am planning to visit Colombia during the Flower Festival in Medellin (in time for the silletero parade on 9 August) after being in the Peruvian Amazon for three or four days. My time is limited, and my niece who plans to accompany me is not a huge fan of cities. I do like the history/culture of cities, but also enjoy nature/smaller towns. The total trip will be from 31 July to 15 August.

I had originally thought I'd try to fit in Cartagena, Medellin, Jardin or similar for finca stay, and Bogota, but it's really a bit much, I'm afraid. I've been encouraged not to miss Cartagena, and of course Medellin/Santa Elena/coffee area is a main reason for going. (I've been involved with the flower business for thirty plus years.) If I did all, it would be something like two nights in Cartagena, six nights Medellin/finca, two nights Bogota.

For some perspective, when I visited Peru I liked Lima okay, but wouldn't need to go back; Santiago de Chile was more attractive to me and I enjoyed exploring the history (and the empanadas at Tio Willi's in the Central Market, oh my goodness.) Still, even in Chile I preferred the Atacama and Rapa Nui. Is Bogota a "can't miss" or would my time perhaps be better spent in splitting between Cartagena and the Medellin area? Or is there something else I should consider?

Many thanks!
Amy is online now  
Feb 1st, 2015, 07:13 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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It sounds to me like Bogota isn't a good fit for you this trip, but I liked it. But then I adore Lima!
mlgb is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2015, 05:34 AM
  #3  
 
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I like cities too, but don't consider Bogota a "don't miss". We like Cartagena and Medellin and especially the beautiful Colombian countryside more
glover is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2015, 11:45 AM
  #4  
Amy
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Thanks to both of you! I was originally thinking, "Wait, I can't NOT go to Bogota" but this just seems to make more sense. I'd love to do a coffee plantation stay, too, but not sure about access without a car? I'm guessing that flying into Armenia or maybe Manizales would be better than bus for time purposes for the coffee "zone"...Any thoughts?
Amy is online now  
Feb 2nd, 2015, 07:55 PM
  #5  
 
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You could fly into any of the three. We recently flew cartagena to Pereira no stop in order to spend some time in the nice little town of Salento (many coffee plantations around, including some that take guestsZ) . After that we stayed in a much more fancy Haienda south of Armenia. Than flew Armenia to bogota,
glover is offline  
Feb 10th, 2015, 05:00 PM
  #6  
Amy
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Okay, time for more advice, kind people!

I've booked one night's stay in Santa Elena (the "flower farm" town outside Medellin) and will then be in Medellin for the Flower Festival and a few days after. So far, my itinerary looks a bit like this:

Jul 31-August 4 Peruvian Amazon (Explorama--a fourth visit)
August 4-7 Cartagena
Aug 7-8 Santa Elena
Aug 8-12 Medellin (perhaps day trip to Jardin?)
Aug 12-15 Coffee plantation stay (But where?)

I could switch Cartagena to the end (Aug 12-15) but would then have to fly back into Bogota, it looks like, for going home, and then a stop in Miami. With Medellin it's just the stop in Miami. Not a deal-breaker if this would be a better way to go...Also was thinking that Amazon to Cartagena wouldn't be as much of a shock to the temperature system as going back to Cartagena at the end might be? Although Philadelphia can be plenty hot and humid, too! (But I'm usually not out in it if I can help it.)

Yes, I would love to add more time, but no, I can't!
Amy is online now  
Feb 10th, 2015, 07:06 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Could you fly Cartagena to Fort Lauderdale? I believe both Spirit and Jet Blue do that route nonstop. (Spirit also flies to Medellin from FLL).

And then maybe using Southwest to go home from FLL to Philadelphia.

Not sure if you want to mix and match airlines that way.

BTW I had ZERO issues flying Spirit airlines, despite dire warnings. And have always thought Jet Blue one of the best.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 10th, 2015, 07:23 PM
  #8  
Amy
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I have done some mixing/matching (13 "legs" to my Chile/Easter Island/Orlando trip, for instance) so I'll have to look into that. So far, LAN has been the cheapest with the Peru bit added in.

I could maybe slide a day into Bogota right at the front that way: fly Lima to Bogota on the 4th, leave on the 5th for Armenia or Manizales or whatever using a local airline.
Amy is online now  
Feb 10th, 2015, 07:40 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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If you are using LAN a lot, do you know about the US Bank LAN credit card?

I found it handy to build up a bank of LAN miles for those expensive inter-country flights in SA (Unfortunately though the awards are the same miles whether one way or round trip).

I had it for a few years, the first year was no annual fee and I think I paid for the second year's. Not sure what they are doing now with that. One perk is a discount on a ticket purchase every year.

I don't know if you are aware that Jet Blue and Spirit also now fly FLL to Lima? Of course you still have to get to Iquitos but Star Peru is still doing that leg at a fairly reasonable price. Only issue is of course reliability with LAN (most of the time) being better, although I've certainly had my share of problems with them, actually more often than not.
mlgb is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2015, 10:14 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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You could skip Bogota and spend more time in Cartagena to make time for a trip to Santa Marta to see Tayrona park. I stayed in a great apartment in the center of the city for 5 days and went to Santa Marta for day 3 and 4.

Feel free to reach out to get more info on the apartment of the trip to Tayrona.
snapper212 is offline  
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