A full three week itinerary through Colombia

Colombia. Once known as a very dangerous and not well-known place. As of today, people still believe that Colombia is a place not to visit immediately and one would not think it is a good place for holidays or travel. Well, I can tell you it is! Colombia is by far the most interesting, diverse, and welcoming country in whole of South America! Do you want to be traveling and backpacking through Colombia? Then read everything you need to know right here! 

Personally, Colombia showed me how beautiful life can be. The warming people, living the day as if there is no tomorrow and the millions of things to do gave me a perception of what truly matters in life. This article will explain why you will fall in love with this country and why you will never leave again when visiting. As the title of the this Travel guide was already indicating, we here mainly focus on the backpacking through Colombia ‘style’. Nonetheless offers useful information for all such as where to go, proposals, and images. 

"Living the day as there is no tomorrow. Shouldn't we all have a little bit more of that?"


The Colombians are very warm and welcoming people, with an amazingly strong and colorful history. However, the thing that will get you the most, is its diversity. You can do literally everything you can think of in Colombia. From amazing reggaetón parties and salsa lessons to historical backgrounds in the cities and beautiful nature along both the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines. Backpacking through Colombia offers it all. As for the cities, the capital Bogota along with the lively cities Medellin and Cali is full of things to do, where one could easily spend one or two weeks in and of itself. As for nature, everything is spread around the whole country. From the Amazon region in the south to the national parks such as Tyrona, La Guijira desert, and the Lost City. 

  • Cities: Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena
  • Top 5 Natural Wonder: Guatape
  • Caribbean coastline: Tyrona, Lost City Trek, Minca, Palomino, La Guajira Desert
  • Salamenco Coffee Farm
  • Pacific Coast must-do’s
Colombia Travel Guide
The best Colombia Travel Guide

You need to go if you are:
  • Adventurous 
  • Party animal
  • Nature Lover
  • Willing to take long busses or domestic flights
  • A salsa dancer
  • Time for a three week itinerary
Comuna 13, Medellin, Colombia
Useful information:
  • Valuta = Colombian Pesos (COP)
  • 51.52 million inhabitants (2021)
  • Language: Spanish is the official language of Colombia
  • Safety: Like any country, crime can be a concern in Colombia. It’s a good idea to exercise caution and be mindful of your surroundings, especially when visiting tourist areas and when carrying valuables.
  • Transportation: Colombia has a well-developed transportation network, with options including buses, taxis, and rental cars. Taxis can be hailed on the street or called, but it’s a good idea to use licensed, marked taxis for safety.
  • Accommodation: Accommodation options in Colombia range from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels, with options to suit all budgets and preferences.
  • Food: Colombian cuisine is diverse and delicious, with a focus on fresh ingredients, grilled meats, and tropical fruits. Popular dishes include arepas, bandeja paisa, and sancocho.
  • Climate: Colombia is located in the tropical region, so temperatures are warm and humid throughout the year. Coastal areas can be hot and humid, while mountain regions can be cool and refreshing.

Days overview Summary

Amount of Days
Caribbean Coastline

Day 1-4: Bogota

Bogotá is the melting pot of Colombia

Bogotá is the capital and largest city of Colombia, located in the Andean region of the country, and is a very nice city to visit! It offers a mix of history, culture, cuisine, and entertainment, making it appealing for a variety of travelers. The city is known for its vibrant street life, museums, historical landmarks, and scenic views from places like Mount Monserrate. Additionally, Bogotá is home to a thriving culinary scene and offers a range of dining options to suit all tastes and budgets. 

When in Bogota, I propose you visit:
  1. The Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)
  2. The Botero Museum
  3. The Candelaria neighborhood
  4. Mount Monserrate
  5. The Paloquemao Market

Day 5-11: Medellin

When backpacking through Colombia, Medellin is a 100% must-visit! Medellin is a city in Colombia, located in the Andean region, and is by far the most attractive city to visit in Colombia! It is the second largest city in Colombia and is known for its innovative urban development projects, improved quality of life, and progressive social initiatives. It is also a hub for technology and entrepreneurship, with a thriving innovation district called “Parque de las Luces”. The city is surrounded by mountains and has a pleasant tropical climate. Tourist attractions include the Botanical Garden, the Pueblito Paisa cultural park, and the Museum of Modern Art. Medellin is also a popular tourist destination for its innovative urban development, improved quality of life, and progressive social initiatives. It has a thriving technology and entrepreneurship scene and a pleasant tropical climate. Medellin could be a great destination for you if you’re interested in visiting new places, learning about different cultures as well as Spanish, or exploring the natural beauty of the Andean region. It’s always a good idea to research the local conditions, safety precautions, and entry requirements for any new place you plan to visit in Colombia, but this is city will make you never want to leave again because of its warm and exciting options!

When in Medellin, I propose you visit:
  1. Plaza Botero
  2. Comuna 13 neighborhood
  3. Parque Arví
  4. Pueblito Paisa
  5. El Castillo Museum
  6. Museo de Antioquia
  7. Jardín Botánico
  8. Parque Explora
  9. Metrocable
  10. A football match
Comuna 13

Comuna Trece, also known as Comuna 13, is a neighborhood in Medellin that has undergone significant transformation in recent years. While it was once known for high levels of crime and violence, the neighborhood has implemented several innovative social programs to improve quality of life and promote community engagement. As a result, Comuna Trece has become a popular tourist destination, known for its street art, unique cultural offerings, and breathtaking views of the city. Visiting any new place carries some level of risk, and it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and be mindful of one’s surroundings. However, if you are interested in experiencing the unique cultural offerings of Comuna Trece and supporting its ongoing revitalization efforts, a visit could be a worthwhile experience.

A Top 5 - Natural Wonder: Guatapé

Guatapé, the most beautiful place of Colombia. Located around 80 km away from the previously proposed city Medellin, this place with let your eyes go spinning. You just have to go here, regardless of the weather conditions. A tour of about 2-3h will take you to farms around the waters. This can be easily arranged from your stay in Medellin, where most of the hostels, hotels and resorts have regular shuttles to the area. 

When you do a day trip from Medellin, one normally cruises between the island, where you have additional possibilities to swim, jump off small cliffs, and to wake-board of -surf. Secondly, you will climb the beautiful El Peñón de Guatapé, which creates stunning views over the islands, waters and the town of Guatapé, which you will then visit lastly. A beautiful, old and cute little colonial town makes your day complete. The street art is amazing and the people of the town are very chilled. You can see that tourist all around the year come over to just magnificent area of Colombia, because it is just an art of both nature and human kindness together. Its also not that expensive around the area, so gives you a perfect opportunities to buy some souvenirs for back home. 

Guatapé is one of the most attractive and appealing places on this planet. It has an amazing combination of nature, historical civilization, and amazing views for your best pictures! Therefore, it is not for nothing that I added this to my Top 5 Natural Wonders. Read more about those here. 

Sleep there for a night

Lastly, I propose you book a hostel or one of the hotels around the area to stay over for at least one night. In this way, your full one day programs ends more relaxing. You can enjoy the waters buy night look to most beautiful stars you have ever seen. In addition, you do not have to take the long drive back to Medellin as well. This will for such make your backpacking trip through Colombia even more unforgettable. 

Accomodation type
Breakfast included, nice swimming pool and in the middle of the lake. Perfect for the full experience
Cheap, social and very clean. Perfect for the average backpacker

Read more about:

Day 12-19: Caribbean Coastline

Palomino, Caribbean Coast, Colombia
Palomino sunset, Caribbean Coast, Colombia. Magnificent right?
Tyrona National Park

Tyrona National Park is located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It’s known for its diverse ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, sandy beaches, and rocky cliffs. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, birds, and sea turtles. The park also offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and swimming in the sea. It’s a popular tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, it does get this a 3-star rating from me. This is because it is a bit made for tourist. It has become very popular (for sleeping as well) but therefore also a bit too expensive for Colombian terms as well as being to crowded on regular days. 

3/5 stars because:
Offers a great deal of nature
Many different routes to explore
When reaching the beach, the views are stunning
A bit too busy and nowadays used specifically for tourist. Therefore it lost a bit of its charm
For sure too expensive for what you get. $14 USD

If you are a backpacker, backpacking through Colombia a town as this is definitely a place for you. Palomino is a small town in the north of Colombia and around an hour by bus east of Tyrona National Park. It is a very chill town, where you can mostly relax and party. The beach is very chill and calm and never overcrowded. Nevertheless, will there always be a possibility to buy a drink or to dive with people you meet. That is because it is a very social town! You will meet amazingly many other backpackers here (remember, these are not tourists) with whom you can hang out at the pool of your hostel and go to the beach party. 

4.5/5 stars because:
Small town displaying Colombian life. The inhabitants will show you how you can live life in a way you've never seen before
Calm and charming. Good place to relax for a couple of days
Nice restaurants with different possibilities
Very social. Hence you will meet very nice people here.
Just a tiny bit remote and difficult to reach, therefore the 0.5 star is off

La Guajira Desert

La Guajira Desert is located in the northern part of Colombia and is the largest desert in the country. It is known for its unique landscapes, including sand dunes, salt flats, and cactus forests. The indigenous Wayuu people live in the region and depend on the desert for their livelihoods. La Guajira Desert is worth visiting for its unique natural beauty and cultural significance. In addition, visitors can explore and these sands and forests, as well as experiencing the rich culture of the indigenous Wayuu people.

Day 20-24: Cartagena

Cartagena, also known as Cartagena de Indias, is a vibrant city located on the northern coast of Colombia. The city is steeped in a fascinating history that dates back to its founding in 1533 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Heredia. As a key port city, it quickly became an important trade center for the Spanish Empire, attracting merchants and pirates alike. The city’s strategic location made it a frequent target for attacks by pirates, including the infamous English pirate Sir Francis Drake.

The historic center of Cartagena, known as the Ciudad Amurallada or the Walled City, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the heart of the city’s cultural and architectural beauty. The city is enclosed by thick stone walls that where built to protect the city from invaders. Here, the so-called Walled City is a maze of cobblestone streets, colorful colonial buildings, and charming plazas with bougainvillea flowers. In addition, Cartagena is a true treasure trove of architectural gems, including the imposing San Felipe de Barajas Castle, one of the largest Spanish fortresses in the Americas.

Within the Walled City, you’ll find the vibrant Getsemaní neighborhood, known for its bohemian atmosphere, lively street art, and bustling nightlife. This area has undergone a renaissance in recent years and has become a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with its trendy bars, restaurants, and boutique hotels.

When in Cartagena, I propose you visit:
  1. Old Town – A UNESCO World Heritage Site with well-preserved colonial architecture, including the famous Walled City.
  2. Bocagrande Beach – A popular beach with a wide range of restaurants and hotels.
  3. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas – A well-preserved 17th-century fort that offers great views of the city.
  4. Palacio de la Inquisición – A former palace that now houses a museum detailing the history of the Spanish Inquisition in Cartagena.
  5. Getsemaní – A neighborhood known for its colorful street art and vibrant nightlife.
Want to check out the free walking tour of all the cities?

Check out Beyond Colombia! Daily and provide the best information of the city!

Best Hostels in Medellin, Bogota and Cartagena

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Book your stay in Republica Hostel Cartagena in time!

An amazing hostel within the center of the Old Town of Cartagena. Very nice staff, a swimming pool and impressively clean rooms create a high demand for this hostel. Therefore, make sure to book it in time!