This one week in Colombia itinerary will cover three main cities in the country – Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena.
It is a great itinerary to get a feel for a few different cities throughout the country and to learn more about what they have to offer. There will be plenty of fun and unique activities to take part of along the way, making this one action packed week for your time in Colombia.
From enjoying beautiful viewpoints over Bogota to paragliding above Medellin to hopping into a mud volcano in Cartagena, this trip will have it all and much more!
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1) One Week in Colombia Itinerary Overview
To get started, I want to layout what this 7 day trip to Colombia will look like. The itinerary will take you to Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena, with two internal flights getting you between the cities.
- Days 1 & 2: Bogota
- Days 3 – 5: Medellin
- Days 6 & 7: Cartagena
The itinerary is laid out by arriving the evening prior to day 1. This way you will have 7 full days of exploring, as you then leave sometime late on the final night or on day 8.
It is also important to note that the itinerary starts & ends in two different cities. This means you will need to book a multi city ticket from your departure point (i.e. fly into Bogota / return from Cartagena). Based on logistics, you can also do this trip in the reverse order.
Before diving into the itinerary be sure to also check out the Colombia Helpful Tips overview I put together to better prepare you for your trip.
2) Colombia Map View & Route
Take a look at the map below which shows you where each city that is part of this 7 itinerary is located throughout the country.
The trip begins in Bogota, before going north to Medellin and finally onwards to the coastal city of Cartagena. Depending on flight schedules and preference, the route can also be done in reverse as well.
3) Top Hotel Options
Before getting into the actual itinerary, I did want to lay out some of the top hotel options to choose from in each one of the cities. I have also mentioned the best place / neighborhood to stay in during your time there.
Bogota (nights 0-2): Zona Rosa / Chapinero Neighborhoods
Medellin (nights 3 & 4): El Poblado Neighborhood
Cartagena (nights 5-7): Walled City
4) One Week in Colombia Itinerary
Now let’s get on to the actual trip! The following is a detailed breakout of the daily attractions and activities on this one week in Colombia itinerary. Feel free to scroll through and check out some more in depth posts along the way.
Your trip will start off in the largest city of the country – the capital of Bogota. Ideally, the best option is that you can arrive the night prior, so you will be ready to go the following day.
Day 1 – Bogota
The first day in Bogota will take you through the historical district, hitting the top museums, plazas and viewpoints.
You will follow that up with a local game called Tejo and a nightcap at the one and only Andres Carne de Res.
Learn More: Check out the Things To Do in Bogota guide for all you need to know about the day
The first stop of the day takes you to the Gold Museum (Mueso de Oro), located in the the La Candelaria neighborhood.
The museum is filled with thousands of different objects, sculptures and artifacts, all of which have ties to the pre Hispanic culture of Colombia. As you might expect, everything here is made out of gold!
Plaza de Bolivar
Just a 10 minute walk from the Gold Museum, you will find the Plaza de Bolivar.
The plaza is named after Simon Bolivar, a key figure in the fight for freedom from Spanish rule.
It is a beautiful plaza surrounded by the Palace of Justice, the Parliament, the Cathedral of Bogota, among others. And of course situated in the middle of the plaza is a statue of Bolivar himself.
Once you have enjoyed some time around the plaza area, you can continue towards the nearby Botero Museum. Botero is known as one of the most famous Colombian artists, and the museum is one of the highest rated in the country.
You can recognize his artwork immediately from the unique type of painting/sculpturing he does. If it is a person, an object or a piece of fruit you will find them all throughout this museum.
After some time down in the city center, it is now time to head up above the city. You can take a quick taxi or simply walk to Monserrate, where you will then take a funicular, cable car, or hike up the mountainside.
Once above, you will get some of the best views of Bogota that you can for looking in all directions.
Stay up top to get some nice pictures and relax after a long morning of exploring the historic city. You will also be able to grab lunch with a view at a couple nice restaurants on top of the mountain.
If you are up for it, you can finish out your time in Bogota with a fun game of Tejo.
If you haven’t heard of Tejo before, think of bocce or shuffleboard but with a twist. The game is setup with two people on a team at opposite ends of the room.
Each player gets to throw a metal disk at a clay board about 20 feet away (the professional court is about 50 feet long).
The clay board has a metal circle aligned with four paper squares filled with gunpowder. The object of the game is to throw the metal disk at these paper squares. If you hit the square correctly it should “explode” with a loud pop and some smoke.
Learn More: How to Play Tejo in Colombia
Andres Carne de Res
If you happen to be in Bogota on a Friday or Saturday night I highly recommended to head to Andres Carne de Res in Chia, which is about a 45 minute drive north.
Andres is a mixture of a restaurant, bar, club, and entertainment hot spot, with the location spanning a whole block.
There is also a restaurant within the city center, if you want to experience a more toned down experience than the Chia location.
Day 2 – Bogota & Flight to Medellin
Your second day in Bogota could comprise of a number of things. It all depends though when you decide to fly out to Medellin. Here is an idea of a few options that can be done on day 2.
If you are staying in Zona Rosa you can spend some time around there visiting the shops, malls, restaurants and outdoor spaces.
If you have an afternoon flight to Medellin and are catching up on some sleep from the previous night at Andres, it can be a great option.
Walking around Zona Rosa/Zona T you will find plenty of high end shopping to do and a huge mall (Centro Andino) that you can stroll through.
If you are into gambling at all you can stop by a one of the casinos around the area and play some games around there too.
Trip to the Salt Cathedral
The Salt Cathedral is about an hour away from the city. Here you will find a huge underground cathedral in a salt mine.
Depending on what time you wake up/what time your flight is you could definitely make it there and back in about 4-5 hours if you hire a driver for the day.
Your hotel can help set this up for you or you can book a Salt Cathedral Tour ahead of time.
The Bogota Graffiti Tour is a free tour of the city given twice a day where you can see all the beautiful artwork that Bogota has to offer on its streets.
- 1) Salt Cathedral combo with Lake Guatavita (legend of El Dorado lake) – you can either join a tour or hire a driver for the day that can take you around both places.
- 2) Parque Natural Chicaque – a beautiful natural park where you get away from the craziness of city life and enjoy some nice hiking, viewpoints and relaxation
- 3) La Chorrea Waterfall – another hiking opportunity in the mountains of Bogota
Fly to Medellin
After a couple days of exploring some of the top highlights of Bogota, it is then onto Medellin. The flight should take just about an hour, making it an easy and quick trip.
Day 3 – Medellin / Paragliding & El Centro
Day 3 is going to be an exciting one if you are a thrill seeker. About 40 minutes north of the Poblado area is San Felix – the main paragliding area of Medellin. Here you will find yourself high up in the mountains above the entire city.
During this experience, you will join a tandem paraglide with an instructor and fly above the Medellin valley down below. The flight should last around 30 minutes or so before landing back in the same spot you took off from.
I would recommend taking part of a paragliding experience in the morning as that is when the winds are usually at their calmest. You can read more about some paragliding tips and logistics in the guide linked below.
Learn More: For more info about a morning of paragliding take a look at the Paragliding Medellin overview
Explore El Centro
Since you will probably be finished paragliding late morning, you can then head over to El Centro, the historical district of Medellin.
If you are into a free walking tour, Real City Tours has one of highest reviewed and well spoken of tours you will come by. They take you to all the main attractions and give you some background and history of the city.
The afternoon tour starts at 2:30PM and lasts about 4 hours (must book in advance through the link above). If you aren’t into tours you can also just do it on your own. Follow this map and walk through at your own pace. Note that the walking tour isn’t available on Sunday.
El Centro is filled with plenty of different types of experiences. You have everything including Alpujarro, Parque de le Lucas, the National Palace, El Hueco, Museo de Antioquia, Botero Plaza, and Parque Bolivar.
It really is just a great couple miles of authentic Medellin, seeing the past and present and enjoying the city. Once you are finished with either your guided or non guided tour hop in a cab back to your hotel to end your day.
Day 4 – Day Trip to El Penol/Guatape
A two hour drive from Medellin lay the towns of El Penol and Guatape. In the middle of the two is a massive rock formation called La Piedra de Penol that will give you one of the best views in Colombia.
The day trip can consist of several different highlights along the way including:
- Scenic drive between Medellin & El Penol
- Exploring El Penol & taking in some views
- Climbing up La Piedra del Penol
- Walking around the colorful town of Guatape
I would highly recommend joining in on a group or private tour, where you will have a local guide that will take care of all logistics for the day.
Learn More: I put together a Day Trip to Guatape and El Penol overview that can get you ready for the trip
Day 5 – Medellin / Parque Arvi & Flight to Cartagena
On the morning of your last day in Medellin you will get head up the cable car system of Medellin and into Parque Arvi.
Cable Cars & Parque Arvi
In order to get to Parque Arvi you will head to the Acevedo station. This is where the base of the first of two cable cars is located, which will take you all the way up above the city to the Santa Domingo station.
On this first car you will get amazing views of the entire city of Medellin to the north, west, and south. Once you get to the Santa Domingo station follow the signs to the Parque Arvi cable car. This cable car takes you even higher up the mountain and into the forest and eventually to the park itself.
Depending on how much time you have in Arvi you can do a bunch of different things – everything from hiking, walking tours, ziplining and more.
There are also a few outdoor restaurants and bars at the entrance along with a market filled with different local cuisine.
Flight to Cartagena
Later on in the day make your way to the airport, catch your flight, and then land in the coastal city of Cartagena.
You will see it right away how different Cartagena is from the other two cities. While it will clearly be more touristy, it is also such a great city to walk around and enjoy.
The walled city feels like an old European town, with great restaurants, bars and squares throughout.
If you are into the nightlife scene then you will definitely find a place around the Old Town or Getsemani neighborhood that will suit your needs.
Day 6 – Cartagena / Mud Volcano
You can spend the next morning strolling the old city, and exploring all the twists and turns. It really is a great place to just walk around and get lost in.
After having some lunch you can then head to the El Totumo Mud Volcano.
Located around 1 hour north of the city, you will find this small volcano filled with mud. Here you can jump inside, float in the mud, and even get some massages. A very unique experience to take part of during your one week in Colombia.
Learn More: Check out the El Totumo Mud Volcano overview for all you need to know to do it yourself
Day 7 – Cartagena / Out at Sea
Your final day of your one week in Colombia will have you hit the waters of the Caribbean Sea.
There are a few different options to choose from deciding what type of experience you would like to have.
Rosario Islands Day Trip
One of the top experiences to opt for is joining a boat tour that takes you from Cartagena out to the Rosario Islands.
During a day trip, you will get to ride through the Caribbean coast waters in a catamaran, snorkel & swim in the crystal clear waters, and enjoy some beach time.
Feel free to check out this Rosario Islands day trip cruise for one of the highest rated options out there.
Another option is to rent a boat for the day and have a private driver take you around to the top spots around the area.
Depending on how many people are in your group, this can still be an affordable option altogether.
During a day out at sea, you can expect to snorkel around the Rosario Islands, have lunch on Cholon, and spend time relaxing on Playa Blanca.
Learn More: The Renting a Boat in Cartagena overview will dive into the second option and go over all you need to know.
Your day out on the sea should end around 4:00PM. It is possible to take a flight later this evening if one is available. If not then take a flight first thing on day 8 and head back home or to your next destination in South America.
Colombia as a whole has so much to offer and can be tailored to each traveler’s needs. There really is something for everyone out there.
Of course there are more cities and attractions to go to but this is to give you a good sense what you can take advantage of in the country’s three main cities within 7 days in Colombia.
Have More Time?
Do you have more time to spare for your trip and want to visit some other top spots around Colombia. Here are some more potential places to add on to your overall itinerary:
About a four hour drive east of Cartagena is the town of Santa Marta. Here is where you will find one of the top beach destinations in all of Colombia.
You can spend some time relaxing on the sand, visiting some coffee farms, wandering the markets, or head into the lush Tayrona National Park (more on that next).
Tayrona National Park
Just next door to Santa Marta is one of the most beautiful National Parks in the country – Tayrona. You can decide to visit as part of a day trip or you can opt for an overnight experience.
The park is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, and is packed with beautiful beaches, wildlife, greenery, and so much more. If you are a nature lover, this is the spot to be in Colombia.
Feel free to check out below for some more helpful resources when it comes to planning your overall trip.
Valle de Cocora
Another highlight in Colombia is the Valle de Corcora. Here you will find the tallest wax palm trees in the world. Many people enjoy hiking through this region and taking in one of the most unique landscapes that the country has to offer.
First you will need to get to the small town of Salento, before heading further into the Cocora Valley. You are also bound to find some coffee plantations in the region if you would like to add that onto your trip.
5) How to Get There
For most people who are visiting the country, flying into one of the international airports is going to be the best way to go.
Colombia has various destinations that offer international flights. There are actually 10+ cities all around the country that have them.
For the purpose of this itinerary, you can either fly into Bogota (if going south to north), or Cartagena (if going north to south).
As mentioned, it is important to note that with many Colombia itineraries, you will not be arriving in and departing from the same destination. Instead you will be flying into one spot and then flying out of another.
The way the itinerary is laid out has the trip starting in Bogota and leaving from Cartagena. So, just be aware of those differing arrival/departure points as you are planning your trip.
6) How to Get Around
Since there will be some traveling between cities, there are logistical aspects of your trip that you will need to think about.
In general, internal direct flights will be the best way to go. There are several airlines that run hundreds of flights each day between major cities.
I would recommend looking into LATAM and Avianca when going about your internal flight options. Wingo is a third option, but it is a budget airline. And Satena is a fourth option (they offer flights to Medellin’s city center airport).
For the purpose of this itinerary, there will be two internal flights to think about:
- Bogota to Medellin (day 2)
- Medellin to Cartagena (day 5)
When choosing flights, I would recommend doing them either very early in the morning or later in the afternoon/evening.
With 7 days in Colombia, you do not want to waste a full day traveling. So, try to avoid those midday flights, where you really won’t be able to enjoy any time on either side of the flight.
Medellin Note: as mentioned above, Medellin has a city center airport (EOH). By flying into/out of this airport, you will be able to avoid a 30-45-minute drive to the outer city airport (MDE). Just note that fewer airlines use EOH.
7) Traveling Within Cities
Once you have made it to a city, you will need to think about how to get to the various attractions.
For the most part, there are four main ways to go about it – walking, public transport, Uber/taxi, and guided tours.
Whether it is Bogota, Medellin, or Cartagena, you can certainly make your way around on your own two feet to get around the cities.
Of course, some attractions will just be too far away from one another (that is when you can utilize the next few options). But for the most part, do expect to spend some time on your feet as you explore these various destinations.
If you need to make your way along some longer distances, the most affordable option will be public transport.
Whether that be local busses, trams, or cable car rides, those can all be utilized during your time in the country.
Just be sure to understand your route, where to buy tickets, and how to get from point A to point B. I did find standard Google Maps to be pretty easy to follow for overall directions.
While public transport can be the cheaper option, taking an Uber or taxi can be the more convenient. You will find Ubers and taxis all throughout the cities that you are visiting, and these can be pretty cheap compared to other countries.
If you want door to door accessibility, then that will certainly be possible in Colombia.
Lastly, there can be instances when you want to explore a city as part of a guided tour (whether that be a group or private option).
Guided tours are a great way to visit a certain area, while having someone there to teach you all about the area & having the ability to ask questions.
There are so many different tours to take part of in the country. Whether that be a walking tour, graffiti tour, food tour, or day trip tour, there are options out there for you.
8) When to Travel to Colombia
One of the main considerations when planning a trip to Colombia is when is the best time to visit.
Luckily, Colombia is a year round destination and there isn’t one particular very bad time to go there.
The country is pretty nearby the equator, which means you will not find “seasons” per se. Instead, the average temperature in each city is pretty steady during the year give or take a few degrees.
However, rain does come and go throughout the months. Each region can be affected a bit differently by the rain and climate conditions (i.e. El Nino).
For the purpose of this itinerary, below are some weather basics for Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena.
- Daytime Temperature: 60F – 70F (15C – 21C)
- Nighttime Temperature: 50F – 55F (10C – 13C)
- Rainiest Months: April to July
- Daytime Temperature: 75F (24C)
- Nighttime Temperature: 60F (16C)
- Rainiest Months: March-May & September-November
- Daytime Temperature: 85F – 95F (30C – 35C)
- Nighttime Temperature: 70F – 75F (21C – 24C)
- Rainiest Months: May to November
Many people opt to head to the country during the northern hemisphere’s wintertime. Going to Colombia between December and February is a top time to consider as you plan your trip.
Head over to our Colombia itineraries and guides page to check out some more helpful posts, and feel free to comment below with any questions!