2 Week Colombia Itinerary – The Ultimate Family Adventure Vacation

2 weeks in Colombia - a family vacation itinerary

Here’s the itinerary that will help you embark on an unforgettable family adventure vacation with two weeks in Colombia.

Are you ready for a 14-day journey filled with thrilling experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and precious moments of togetherness?

Buckle up as we take you through the ultimate Colombia itinerary, starting in the vibrant city of Medellin, then venturing to the charming town of Guatape, immersing ourselves in the captivating beauty of Salento, and finally ending our adventure in the enchanting coastal city of Cartagena.

Get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime as we explore the very best that Colombia has to offer for families seeking an extraordinary adventure.

Here’s how we spent two weeks in Colombia. Keep in mind that we had 3 days of travel time in between places that are not included in this itinerary.

These are just the days that we actually did activities and sightseeing.

So, if you want to have 14 full days like this, then add 3 more days to allow time to get to and from the destinations.

Quick Outline Of The Colombia Itinerary:

  • Day 1: Medellín
  • Day 2: Medellín
  • Day 3: Medellín
  • Day 4: Medellín
    • Travel Day: Drive To Guatapé
  • Day 5: Guatapé
  • Day 6: Guatapé
  • Day 7: Guatapé
    • Travel Day: Fly Into Pereira and Drive to Salento
  • Day 8: Salento
  • Day 9: Salento
  • Day 10: Salento
    • Travel Day: Drive to Pereira and Fly to Cartagena
  • Day 11: Cartagena
  • Day 12: Cartagena
  • Day 13: Cartagena
  • Day 14: Cartagena
Medellin cityscape views for Colombia itinerary

How To Plan Your Itinerary For 14 Days In Colombia – The Best Destinations And Sites

Preparing for a family trip to Colombia requires careful planning and consideration. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, there are several factors to keep in mind.

First and foremost, it’s essential to choose the right cities and towns that cater to family-friendly activities and attractions.

Fortunately, Colombia offers a diverse range of destinations that will captivate both parents and children alike.

Initially, we consulted with a local travel company in Colombia to get some idea of how we would get around and what stops would be best for traveling with a small child.

Unfortunately, the tour company came up with some outrageous locations and even included hours of hiking in the itinerary.

Needless to say, we decided to do our own research and found out that it was not as complicated as we thought.

When selecting cities and towns for your 2 week Colombia itinerary, prioritize places that offer a mix of cultural immersion, natural beauty, and adventure.


Medellin, once known as one of the world’s most dangerous cities, and now known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” is an excellent starting point.

Its pleasant climate, vibrant atmosphere, and family-oriented attractions like Parque Explora and Plaza Botero make it an ideal choice.

We made sure to focus on finding the safest and most family friendly areas to stay in during our time in Medellin since this was our first time in South America.

Comuna 13 views of Medellin city - things to do in 2 weeks Colombia

What To Do In Medellin For 4 Days?

Begin your adventure with four days in Medellin, immersing yourself in the city’s rich culture and vibrant atmosphere.

Visit iconic landmarks such as Plaza Botero and Parque Explora, and experience the lively nightlife and delicious cuisine that Medellin has to offer.

When spending four days in Medellin on a family vacation, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the city’s vibrant culture, fascinating history, and family-friendly attractions.

Our ultimate Medellin itinerary includes all the must-see attractions and cultural experiences, making it a perfect addition to a longer family trip through Colombia.

Things To Know When Planning Your Medellin Itinerary

In terms of accommodations, both El Poblado and Laureles are popular neighborhoods for visitors.

El Poblado offers a wide range of hotels, boutique accommodations, and vacation rentals, while Laureles provides a more local and residential feel.

Consider factors such as proximity to attractions, safety, and the amenities that suit your family’s needs.

When it comes to dining, Medellin offers a diverse culinary scene. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Colombian dishes such as bandeja paisa, arepas, and sancocho.

For a memorable dining experience, visit the Mercado del Rio, a food market where you can savor a variety of cuisines in a vibrant atmosphere.

Additionally, El Poblado and Laureles neighborhoods have numerous restaurants offering international cuisine and family-friendly dining options.

By following this itinerary and exploring the captivating attractions, neighborhoods, and dining experiences, you’ll create unforgettable memories and experience the vibrant spirit of Medellin on your family vacation.

Where To Stay In Medellin

If you’re planning a trip to Medellin, I highly recommend staying in the vibrant and trendy neighborhood of El Poblado.

Located in the heart of the city, El Poblado offers an array of attractions, excellent dining options, and a lively nightlife scene.

This area is known for its safe streets, beautiful parks, and stylish boutiques. 

You’ll find a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels, catering to all types of travelers.

El Poblado also provides easy access to popular landmarks like Parque Lleras, where you can experience the city’s bustling energy, and the nearby Parque Arvi for nature lovers seeking outdoor adventures. 

Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s history, indulge in delicious cuisine, or enjoy the local nightlife, El Poblado is the perfect base for your Medellin adventure.

While we didn’t see many families in this area it still felt like a safe and calm neighborhood. And we loved walking to restaurants and cafes.

Our favorite restaurants and cafes:

  • Naan – Indian food
  • Cafe Creta – Mediterranean food
  • Hija Mia – Cafe/Brunch
Medellin restaurants

Next, consider including Guatapé on your list.


This picturesque town, famous for its colorful houses and stunning views from the El Peñol rock formation, offers opportunities for boat rides, hiking, and exploring the charming streets.

Kids will surely enjoy the adventure and parents will appreciate the breathtaking scenery.

This location was a no-brainer for us. While many people visit Guatapé on a day trip we wanted to make sure we had more time to enjoy the town and take it slow.

Therefore, we planned a few nights for Guatape and it turned out to be a great decision!

What To Do In Guatapé For 3 Days?

Spend three days in the picturesque town of Guatapé, where you can marvel at the colorful houses, climb the famous El Peñol rock formation for breathtaking views, and enjoy boat tour on the tranquil lake.

The views of  “The Rock” were unique AND our guide pointed out some interesting spots around the lake like Pablo Escobar’s house (in ruins) and the location (underwater) where the old church used to be.

A visit to Guatape, a picturesque town known for its colorful houses and stunning landscapes, promises three days filled with adventure, natural beauty, and cultural exploration.

Guatape town colorful stairs

Things To Know When Planning Your Guatape Itinerary

Don’t miss the chance to sample local delicacies and traditional Colombian dishes in one of the town’s charming restaurants or cafes.

Savor fresh seafood, typical Colombian dishes like bandeja paisa or arepas, and enjoy a cup of rich Colombian coffee.

Throughout your visit, take in the tranquil ambiance, friendly locals, and stunning natural surroundings that make Guatapé a truly special destination.

Whether you’re climbing El Penol, cruising on the lake, soaring in a helicopter, strolling down the boardwalk, or exploring the town’s vibrant streets, Guatapé offers a delightful blend of adventure, beauty, and culture that will leave you with cherished memories of your time in this enchanting Colombian gem.

Where To Stay In Guatape

We loved staying at the cabins right at the base of The Rock.

The Hotel Zocalo Campestre was the perfect accommodations for us, not only for the amazing views of the reservoir and El Peñol, but also the comfort of the cabins and the genuine friendliness of the staff.

They really helped us plan all of our excursions and made our stay that much more memorable.

remembrance road Guatape Colombia

For a taste of Colombia’s coffee culture, make sure to include Salento in your 2 weeks in Colombia itinerary.


This quaint town nestled in the heart of the coffee region provides a chance to visit coffee plantations, hike through verdant valleys, and witness the awe-inspiring Cocora Valley with its towering wax palm trees.

It’s a unique and educational experience that the whole family can enjoy.

Pretty much every article we read on visiting Salento mentioned that spending a day there was far too little time.

People seemed to really wish they had spent more time in Salento so we took their advice and made sure to plan accordingly.

What To Do In Salento For 3 Days?

From Guatapé, head to Salento for three days, where you can dive into Colombia’s coffee culture.

Explore coffee plantations, hike through the stunning Cocora Valley with its towering wax palm trees, and soak in the charming atmosphere of this quaint town.

Spending three days in Salento allows you to delve into the natural beauty, rich coffee heritage, and charming ambiance of this Colombian gem.

Things To Know When Planning Your Salento Itinerary

This small town is also a great location for purchasing souvenirs.

There are some very unique, hand-made items made by locals at very reasonable prices, so make sure to take advantage and do some shopping like we did!

Salento town square

In the evening, unwind in one of Salento’s cozy bars or cafes, enjoying a refreshing beverage while embracing the relaxed and friendly ambiance that the town offers.

Play a game of Tejo while you’re at it!

I would have to mention that getting to Salento took the longest and might be even longer for you if you take taxis and buses.

We hired a private driver and the ride from the airport into Salento too an hour. It’s a scenic drive through the lush green mountains but I imagine the bus ride would be quite long.

Also, you may opt to land in Armenia and check out that town before heading to Salento.

This itinerary helped us experience the best of Salento’s natural wonders, coffee heritage, and local charm.

From hiking trails in the Cocora Valley to visiting coffee plantations and exploring the delightful town and nearby Filandia, our three days in Salento were filled with unforgettable experiences and authentic Colombian culture.

Where To Stay In Salento

Our stay in Salento was made memorable once again thanks to the staff of the hotel we stayed at.

The views from the balconies of the Hotel Camino Nacional Salento were so dreamy that we just couldn’t stop staring out!

The breakfast each morning got us to a great start and while it is located on the main street of town, it was not too noisy!

Where to stay in Salento for Colombia Itinerary

Lastly, no trip to the beautiful country of Colombia is complete without a visit to Cartagena.


This coastal gem boasts a rich history, magnificent architecture, and stunning beaches.

Explore the walled city, take a boat trip to the Rosario Islands, and relax on the sandy shores. Cartagena offers a perfect blend of cultural immersion and relaxation for everyone in the family.

Cartagena cathedral - itinerary for Colombia

Our research into Cartagena made us think that a day there is more than enough.

However, traveling with a small child, we like to keep things slow, so we planned more than people recommended.

We were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed our time in Cartagena and that having more days there worked out so well.

What To Do In Cartagena For 4 Days?

Finally, conclude your adventure with four or 3 days in the enchanting city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast.

Lose yourself in the cobbled streets of the walled city, relax on the sandy beaches, and indulge in the city’s vibrant Caribbean vibes.

Take a boat trip to the nearby Rosario Islands for a day of sun, sea, and snorkeling.

This two week itinerary offers a perfect blend of urban excitement, natural beauty, and coastal relaxation, ensuring an unforgettable family adventure in Colombia.

A four-day family getaway in Cartagena provides a perfect opportunity to immerse yourselves in the vibrant history, charming streets, and coastal beauty of this enchanting Colombian city.

Things To Know When Planning Your Cartagena Itinerary

You might be surprised how hot and humid Cartagena can be. Our advice would be to plan your outings early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Don’t make the mistake we made one day and go exploring around 11am! But if you find yourself feeling hot, make sure to drink some fresh squeezed lemonade to get hydrated.

We loved the tasty lemonade sold by the street vendors!

One thing that blew me away was the tropical fruit options available in Cartagena.

I highly recommend trying some exotic fruits that you may have never even heard of while walking around the walled city. There are fruit vendors everywhere.

If you don’t take a food tour, then take advantage of a free walking tour so you can get some insider tips on where to eat while learning about the city’s history!

I should note that this part of Colombia felt the most “touristy” to us. Having been to smaller towns we didn’t encounter as many foreigners as we did in Cartagena.

It definitely is geared more towards international (mostly American) travelers. For us, it just took a half day to get used to.

A lot of people had told us not to spend any time in Cartagena, but we are glad we had the amount of days to take it in and go at a slower pace.

With this itinerary, your family will get a taste of Cartagena’s cultural heritage, culinary delights, natural beauty, and coastal charm.

From exploring the historic streets and monuments to indulging in a volcano mud bath and enjoying a sunset boat cruise, your four days in Cartagena will be filled with unforgettable experiences and treasured memories.

Where To Stay In Cartagena

When visiting the captivating city of Cartagena, I highly recommend staying in the historic neighborhood of Getsemani.

This vibrant and colorful district offers a unique blend of colonial charm and contemporary energy. 

You’ll find an array of accommodation options, including boutique hotels and cozy guesthouses, that capture the essence of Cartagena’s rich cultural heritage.

The neighborhood is conveniently located just a short walk from the iconic Walled City, where you can immerse yourself in the city’s history and explore its charming plazas, picturesque streets, and impressive architecture. 

Cartagena walled city sightseeing during Colombia itinerary


When it comes to getting around Colombia, consider a combination of transportation options to make the most of your trip.

Domestic flights (we flew Avianca the whole time) are an efficient way to cover long distances between cities, especially if you have limited time.

However, to truly experience the country’s beauty, consider renting a car or hiring a driver for shorter journeys, as it allows for greater flexibility and access to off-the-beaten-path destinations.

We mixed in some domestic flights with some driving.

For the sake of comfort and not pushing our 3 year old too much, we flew between cities in Colombia. The flights are super affordable and make it so we had energy to enjoy our visits.

Additionally, Colombia’s public transportation system is relatively reliable and cost-effective.

Buses and taxis are readily available in most cities, offering a convenient way to explore local attractions.

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and DiDi are also popular and can provide a comfortable and safe means of transportation.

Our tip would be to use local tours that include transportation so it’s more fun and less stressful trying to figure out all the logistics.

When we planned our family adventure in Colombia, we made sure to consider the preferences and interests of every family member.

Keeping in mind the duration of travel between destinations, the availability of family-friendly accommodations, and the overall safety of the areas we planned to visit.

By taking these factors into account, we created an unforgettable Colombia itinerary that catered to the needs of our family, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the beauty and warmth of Colombia.

IHeartMedellin sign in Poblado neighborhood

Let us help you embark on a captivating two-week journey through Colombia, exploring the highlights of this diverse and vibrant country.

We landed in José María Córdova International Airport and stayed in the Poblado neighborhood of Medellin.

Here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of your time.

1. Day One In Medellin – Comuna 13 Tour

Begin by immersing yourselves in the city’s rich history and urban art scene with a tour of Comuna 13.

This neighborhood has transformed from a once-troubled area to a vibrant outdoor gallery adorned with colorful murals and captivating street art.

Learn about its transformation and the stories behind the art while enjoying the panoramic views of the city.

For us, this was the highlight of our time in Medellin. Not only did we learn a lot from our local guide, but it also provided an interactive and fun environment for our little one to enjoy.

It’s so interesting to know how Medellin went from being a most dangerous city to such an incredible country in Latin America with so much to offer visitors.

Comuna 13 graffiti tour

2. Day Two In Medellin – Parque Explora

Head to the Parque Explora, an interactive science and technology museum that offers an array of educational and entertaining exhibits for all ages.

From the dinosaur replicas to the planetarium shows and interactive experiments, the museum promises an engaging and fun-filled experience for the entire family.

This was our first stop in Medellin and Petra really had a great time. We took part in all of the activities together and enjoyed some amazing views, too!

Pies Descalzos Park Medellin Itinerary

In the afternoon, be sure to include a visit to Parque de los Pies Descalzos. This unique and tranquil urban park offers a refreshing escape from the bustling city.

As the name suggests, it encourages visitors to take off their shoes and walk barefoot on the cool, grassy areas, inviting a sense of grounding and connection with nature.

Surrounded by tall buildings, the park provides a serene oasis where you can relax, unwind, and reconnect with your senses.

With its minimalist design, the park features shallow reflecting pools, bamboo gardens, and sculptures that promote peace and harmony.

It’s a wonderful spot for families to enjoy a picnic, couples to share a quiet moment, or individuals to simply rejuvenate and appreciate the tranquility.

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience Parque de los Pies Descalzos, where the simple act of walking barefoot can bring a sense of calm and serenity to your Medellin adventure.

Our little one loved this park!

Plaza Botero in Medellin

3. Day Three In Medellin – Plaza Botero & Metrocable

Explore the heart of Medellin by visiting Plaza Botero, named after the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero.

This lively square is adorned with Botero’s larger-than-life sculptures and serves as a cultural hub.

We recommend taking a guided tour so you can learn all the little details about this place and feel a bit safer in this part of town.

The tour we took also included riding the famous cable car and metro. We were glad that our guide taught us how the public transportation works in Medellin.

Afterward, take a ride on the city’s iconic cable cars, which provide breathtaking views of Medellin’s sprawling landscape as you ascend to the Santo Domingo Savio neighborhood.

Once there, you can visit the Parque Arvi and enjoy nature trails, picnic spots, and beautiful vistas.

Metrocable Medellin Colombia

4. Day Four In Medellin – Explore Poblado And Laureles

Dedicate your last day in Medellin to exploring its vibrant neighborhoods. El Poblado, with its trendy restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops, is an excellent choice for families.

It offers a lively atmosphere and is conveniently located near popular attractions.

We enjoyed this neighborhood a lot because it gave us so much to see within walking distance. It’s also a location where a lot of digital nomads tend to gather so trendy coffee shops are a plenty!

Another option is Laureles, known for its leafy streets, local parks, and a wide range of dining options. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, discover local eateries, and indulge in delicious food.

5. Day One In Guatapé – El Peñol AKA La Piedra

Start your exploration by climbing the iconic El Penol, a massive rock formation that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

  • Ascend the 675 steps to reach the summit and be rewarded with a stunning vista of the Guatapé Reservoir and its scattered islands.
  • Capture unforgettable photos and soak in the awe-inspiring beauty from above.

Climbing all of those stairs was challenging with a 3 year old but she managed to do most of it on her own.

The views are great as you go up, but the stairs to come down don’t offer the same. We started at 8am and it took us about an hour to get up to the top.

As it got closer to 10 am we noticed the crowds were coming in at a fast pace, so going early is our top recommendation!

Guatape reservoir view from La Piedra Rock

6. Day Two In Guatapé – Water Activities

Embark on an exciting day of water activities on the Guatapé Reservoir.

  1. Rent a boat or hop on a guided tour to explore the reservoir’s numerous islands and hidden coves.
  2. Enjoy the tranquility of the crystal-clear waters and take a dip for a refreshing swim.
  3. For those seeking a thrilling experience, consider renting a jet ski and zooming across the lake, feeling the wind in your hair and adrenaline coursing through your veins.
  4. For a truly memorable experience, indulge in a helicopter tour over Guatapé and the surrounding area. Soar above the picturesque landscapes, marvel at the vibrant colors of the town and the vast expanse of the reservoir, and capture breathtaking aerial views that will be etched in your memories forever.

You can arrange a helicopter tour in advance or once you arrive. The tour we took was 8 minutes long and included other passengers.

The cost is well worth it for us as it was the most memorable and unique way to experience the beauty of this place.

Colombia itinerary - Guatape Reservoir boat ride

7. Day Three In Guatapé – Guatapé Town

Take the time to immerse yourself in the charm of Guatape’s town center.

  • Wander through its streets adorned with vibrant, intricately decorated buildings.
  • Admire the zocalos, colorful bas-relief depictions of local traditions and stories that adorn many houses.
  • Explore the local markets, boutiques, and artisan shops, where you can find unique souvenirs and handcrafted items.

We took advantage of all the colorful buildings and made sure to take lots of photos.

Our favorite spots for pictures include the Remebrance Street (Fuente de la calle del recuerdo) and Plazoleta de Los Zócalos.

8. Day One In Salento – Hiking The Cocora Valley

Begin your adventure with a hike or horseback ride through the enchanting Cocora Valley.

Marvel at the towering wax palm trees, Colombia’s national tree and the tallest palm trees species in the world.

Immerse yourself in the lush surroundings as you explore the verdant trails, cross rustic wooden bridges, and soak in the breathtaking vistas.

If you decide to take the longer route, be sure to visit Acaime, a hummingbird sanctuary, where you can observe these colorful creatures up close while enjoying a cup of traditional Colombian hot chocolate.

We opted for the short trail since we had our little one along and didn’t want to make her hike for 4 hours.

For the first hour, we enjoyed a tranquil horseback riding tour and the rest of the time we just roamed around taking in the incredible landscape. This was the best part of our entire trip!

Cocora Valley trails

9. Day Two In Salento – Coffee Plantation & Filandia

Dive deeper into the region’s coffee culture by visiting a local coffee plantation, or “finca”.

  • Take a guided tour to learn about the coffee production process, from bean cultivation to roasting.
  • Engage in hands-on activities like picking coffee cherries and grinding beans.
  • Immerse yourself in the aromas and flavors as you savor a freshly brewed cup of Colombian coffee.
  • Gain insights into the history, techniques, and artistry behind this beloved beverage.

In the afternoon, embark on a day trip to the nearby town of Filandia.

  • Stroll through its charming streets lined with colorful colonial houses, adorned with balconies and flowers.
  • Explore the central plaza and visit local artisan shops to find unique handicrafts.
  • Enjoy a traditional lunch at one of the local eateries, sampling regional specialties and immersing yourself in the town’s warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The town square is almost identical to Salento but a bit quieter and different colored church.

We went for a long walk to the Mirador De Filandia and it paid off. The views of rolling green hills and the small town were stunning from atop the structure at the summit.

There is also a playground there so our daughter had some fun.

At the base of the structure there is a model Jeep with a person at the stand ready to take photos for you while you wear hats and ponchos and strike a pose on the Jeep.

It’s a fun family activity and great way to get photos of the whole family together. All you have to do is give them a tip!

Colombia coffee triangle - Colombia two weeks

10. Day Three In Salento – Explore Salento

Start your day by hiking up to the Salento Viewpoint (Mirador).

  • Climb the 250 steps to reach the top and be rewarded with a panoramic view of the rolling hills, coffee plantations, and the charming town of Salento nestled below.
  • Capture stunning photographs and soak in the tranquil beauty of the surroundings.
  • Afterward, explore the town of Salento itself. Wander through its colorful streets, lined with artisan shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Sample local delicacies, browse for souvenirs, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the town. Don’t miss trying the renowned trout, a specialty of the region.

11. Day One In Cartagena – Getsemani Neighborhood

Begin your exploration by taking a leisurely walk through the Getsemani neighborhood.

Getsemani offers a glimpse into the authentic culture of Cartagena, with its bustling markets, charming cafes, and lively street life.

  • Admire the colorful street art, lively plazas, and vibrant local atmosphere.
  • Explore the narrow streets, visit local shops, and sample some delicious street food along the way.
  • In the afternoon, visit the city’s iconic landmarks, including the imposing Cartagena Cathedral, the boots sculpture (Las Botas Viejas), and the iconic Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj) in the historic walled city.

Marvel at the architectural grandeur and soak in the colonial charm as you stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets.

Getsemani neighborhood in Cartagena

12. Day Two In Cartagena – Volcano Mud Bath

Experience a unique adventure by visiting the nearby Totumo Volcano, where you can indulge in a mud bath.

  • Climb to the top of the volcano and immerse yourselves in the warm, therapeutic mud.
  • Enjoy the playful experience of floating in the buoyant mud, said to have therapeutic properties for the skin.

Afterward, rinse off in the nearby lake before returning to Cartagena.

mud bath in Cartagena - Itinerary for Colombia

13. Day Three In Cartagena – Food Tour and Sunset Cruise

Delve into the culinary delights of Cartagena by taking a street food tour.

  • Explore the local markets, taste traditional Colombian dishes, and learn about the city’s gastronomic heritage.
  • Sample popular street food like arepas, empanadas, and ceviche, and savor delicious tropical fruits.

This immersive experience will introduce your family to the rich flavors and culinary traditions of the region.

  • Witness the city’s skyline transform as the sun sets, casting a golden glow over the historic buildings and fortifications.
  • Enjoy the gentle breeze, panoramic views, and perhaps even spot some playful dolphins as you sail along the coast.

Wow! I can’t tell you how great this cruise was on our last night of the trip!

There were lots of families on the catamaran which made it also fun for Petra since she could play with other kids her age. The sunset was absolutely stunning!

Cartagena sunset boat cruise in Colombia

14. Day Four In Cartagena – Castillo San Felipe De Barajas

Spend your last day exploring the impressive Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, a centuries-old fortress overlooking the city.

  • Explore the labyrinthine tunnels, climb the ramparts, and learn about the fort’s strategic importance in defending Cartagena.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the Caribbean Sea from this historical vantage point.
  • In the afternoon, head to one of Cartagena’s beautiful beaches, such as Playa Blanca or Bocagrande, to relax, swim, and soak up the sun. Take in the coastal beauty, build sandcastles, and enjoy quality family time by the turquoise waters.

We didn’t make it to the beaches by choice.

Luckily, we spend lots of time on Caribbean beaches since we live in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico so we could use the time to do other things while in Cartagena.

Castillo de San Felipe Cartagena

Speaking Spanish In Colombia

When traveling to Colombia, having basic Spanish-speaking skills becomes even more crucial compared to countries like Spain or Mexico.

While it’s true that English is becoming more prevalent in urban areas and tourist hotspots, especially in Colombia’s major cities, it’s important to note that English proficiency is not as widespread as in other popular tourist destinations.

Colombians are generally warm and welcoming, but outside of the tourism industry, English fluency may be limited, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas.

Therefore, having a basic understanding of Spanish can significantly enhance your travel experience by enabling smoother interactions with locals, opening doors to authentic cultural experiences, and facilitating navigation through day-to-day activities.

By speaking even a little Spanish, you can engage in meaningful conversations, ask for directions, order food, and negotiate prices more effectively. It also shows respect for the local culture and a genuine interest in connecting with Colombians on a deeper level.

Learning a few common phrases and expressions will not only make your journey more enjoyable but also allow you to tap into the rich tapestry of Colombian traditions, customs, and stories that might otherwise remain inaccessible.

Pueblito Paisa Medellin sightseeing - Colombia

Moreover, having some knowledge of Spanish can contribute to your safety and security while traveling in Colombia.

In emergency situations or when seeking assistance, being able to communicate effectively with local authorities, transportation personnel, or medical professionals can make a significant difference.

It provides a sense of empowerment and self-reliance, ensuring that you can handle unexpected situations with confidence.

In summary, while it’s possible to navigate Colombia with limited Spanish skills, investing time in learning the language will undoubtedly enhance your travel experience and enable you to connect more deeply with the country and its people.

Whether it’s delving into the local cuisine, exploring hidden gems, or simply engaging in friendly conversations, speaking even basic Spanish opens doors to a more immersive and fulfilling adventure in Colombia.

When Should You Visit And When To Avoid Being In Colombia

Medellin, nestled in the Aburrá Valley, is known for its mild and pleasant climate that feels like spring all year round.

With average temperatures ranging between 64°F (18°C) and 75°F (24°C), the city enjoys comfortable weather, making it an attractive destination at any time.

However, it’s important to note that Medellin experiences short bursts of rain throughout the year, so it’s advisable to pack an umbrella or rain jacket when visiting.

Guatape Reservoir - cool region of Colombia

On the northern coast lies Cartagena, a city famous for its tropical climate and beautiful beaches.

Cartagena enjoys summer-like temperatures throughout the year, with average highs of 86°F (30°C) and lows of 75°F (24°C).

It’s worth noting that November tends to be the rainiest month in Cartagena, so if you’re looking to avoid the downpours, it’s best to plan your visit during other months.

When venturing into the smaller towns of Guatapé and Salento, the climate remains pleasant, with temperatures typically ranging from 60°F (15°C) to 80°F (27°C).

These towns, located in mountainous regions, can experience cooler evenings, so we recommend packing a light jacket or sweater for nighttime activities.

In terms of the best time to visit Colombia, it largely depends on the regions you plan to explore and your personal preferences.

Generally, the dry season from December to March and July to August is considered ideal for travel, as it offers more favorable weather conditions and fewer chances of rainfall.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that Colombia’s climate can vary, and unexpected showers can occur even during the dry season.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Colombia will depend on your desired activities and destinations.

Whether you’re seeking pleasant temperatures, vibrant festivals, or the chance to enjoy Colombia’s natural beauty, careful consideration of the weather patterns in each region will ensure an enjoyable and comfortable experience.

The busy season is Between December and March, so we chose May for our visit. The weather in Medellin was great, like it always is.

Additionally, we didn’t experience any of the sites being too crowded and the group tours that we went on had only a handful of other people, if any.

Palenque women photo in Cartagena, Colombia

Quick Tips About Visiting Colombia

1. Safety For Tourists Visiting Colombia

When visiting Colombia with your family, it’s important to prioritize safety to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Research and Plan: Before your trip, research the areas you plan to visit and stay updated on the current safety situation. Familiarize yourself with local customs, laws, and potential risks specific to your destination. Plan your itinerary accordingly, taking into account safe neighborhoods and recommended tourist areas.
  2. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings: Be vigilant and maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times, especially in crowded places, markets, and public transportation. Keep an eye on your belongings, avoid displaying valuable items, and be cautious of your surroundings to prevent theft or pickpocketing incidents.
  3. Transportation Safety: Use registered taxis or reliable transportation services recommended by your hotel or reputable sources. If possible, arrange for transportation in advance or use ride-sharing apps. When using public transportation, be mindful of your belongings and avoid traveling during late hours.
  4. Secure Your Accommodation: Choose accommodations in safe and reputable areas. Ensure that your lodging has appropriate security measures, such as secure entrances, locks, and safes. Consider booking accommodations that are recommended by trusted sources or have positive reviews.
  5. Keep Important Documents Safe: Make copies of your passports, visas, and other important documents. Keep the originals in a secure place, such as a hotel safe, and carry copies with you when exploring. In case of loss or theft, having copies will facilitate the process of obtaining replacements.

Remember that being prepared and informed is key to a memorable and worry-free trip. As they say in Colombia, “Don’t be a Papaya!”

Medellin itinerary in Colombia

2. Suggestions For Your Colombia Packing List

When packing for your trip to Colombia, it’s essential to consider the diverse climates and destinations you’ll be visiting.

Here’s a comprehensive packing list to ensure you’re well-prepared for your journey through Medellin, small mountain towns, and tropical Cartagena.


  1. Lightweight and breathable clothing for the warm climate in Cartagena.
  2. Layered clothing for the cooler evenings in Medellin and mountain towns.
  3. Comfortable walking shoes for city exploration and hiking.
  4. Swimsuits for beach activities and water adventures.
  5. Light rain jacket or umbrella for unexpected showers. We brought ponchos.


  1. Sunhat and sunglasses to protect from the sun.
  2. A good quality sunscreen with a high SPF.
  3. Insect repellent for tropical areas.
  4. A day backpack for carrying essentials during excursions.
  5. A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Electronics and Miscellaneous Items:

  1. Power adapter to charge your electronic devices.
  2. Portable charger to keep your devices powered on the go.
  3. A reliable camera or smartphone for capturing memories.
  4. Travel documents, including passports, visas, and copies of important documents.
  5. Money belt or secure wallet to keep your valuables safe.

Other Things To Pack:

  1. Spanish phrasebook or language translation app to aid communication.
  2. Snacks for long journeys or as quick energy boosts.
  3. Stroller for small children

Remember to pack light and smart, taking into consideration the luggage weight restrictions imposed by airlines.

Additionally, check the specific weather forecasts for the time of your visit to each destination and adjust your clothing accordingly.

By packing appropriately, you’ll be ready to embrace the diverse climates and experiences that Colombia has to offer, from the cool mountain towns to the tropical beauty of Cartagena.

Willys in Salento - how to get around in Colombia

Best Way To Get Around In Colombia

When visiting Colombia, the best way to get around and explore the country is through a combination of different transportation options.

Domestic flights are convenient for covering long distances between major cities, allowing you to save time and reach your destinations efficiently.

For shorter distances within cities or towns, taxis and ridesharing services like Uber are readily available and offer a convenient mode of transportation.

Public buses are another popular and budget-friendly option for traveling between cities and towns, with frequent departures and extensive routes.

In some areas, such as the coffee region, renting a car can be a great option for flexibility and exploring remote areas at your own pace.

However, you will love traveling by Jeep (Willy) in Salento and taking the colorful Tuk Tuks in Guatapé.

Additionally, Colombia has an extensive network of intercity buses that provide affordable and reliable transportation between various destinations.

However, it’s important to research reputable bus companies and consider the duration of the journey.

Overall, by utilizing a combination of domestic flights, taxis, ridesharing services, buses, and car rentals, you can navigate Colombia comfortably and efficiently, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable travel experience.

Our hotels helped us secure rides and we also used a tour company to hire private transportation in some instances.

Overall, we had great experiences with all of the methods mentioned above.

riding Tuk Tuk in Guatape - transportation in Colombia

What To Eat In Colombia

Colombia is a culinary delight with a diverse range of flavors and dishes that vary across different regions.

When visiting Colombia, make sure to indulge in the following traditional foods and snacks:

  • Arepas: These delicious cornmeal patties are a staple throughout the country and come in various forms. In Medellin, try the thick and fluffy Antioquian arepas, while in other regions, you may find thinner versions filled with cheese, meat, or eggs.
  • Bandeja Paisa: A hearty and iconic dish from the Antioquia region, particularly in Medellin, the Bandeja Paisa is a generous plate filled with rice, beans, ground beef, fried egg, plantains, avocado, and arepas. It’s a must-try for those looking for a filling and traditional Colombian meal.
  • Sancocho: This hearty soup is a Colombian comfort food, often made with chicken or beef, and flavored with a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices. It’s popular across the country, but each region may have its own variations, so try the local version wherever you go.
  • Empanadas: These savory turnovers are found throughout Colombia and make for a delicious snack. They are typically filled with meat, potatoes, or cheese, and fried until crispy. In Bogota, try the popular empanadas de carne, while in other regions, you may find unique regional variations. In Cartagena we tries the version with eggs which is unique to this city!
  • Arequipe: Colombia’s version of dulce de leche, Arequipe is a sweet and creamy caramel sauce made from condensed milk. It’s used as a topping or filling in various desserts, and you can find it throughout the country. We tried the Obleas in Salento which had this as a filling as well as whipped cream and jam. So yummy!
  • Fresh Fruits: Colombia is blessed with an abundance of tropical fruits. Don’t miss the chance to try exotic fruits like mango, papaya, maracuya (passion fruit), lulo, and guanabana.

You’ll find fruit stands and markets selling fresh fruits in every city and town. The best fruits we had were in Cartagena. We even tried the smoothie versions!

Remember, these are just a few highlights of Colombian cuisine, and each region has its own specialties.

Exploring local markets, street food stalls, and traditional restaurants will give you the opportunity to savor the rich and diverse flavors that Colombia has to offer.

Whether you’re in Medellin, the coastal regions, or the coffee triangle, be sure to try the local delicacies and immerse yourself in the vibrant culinary culture of Colombia.

patacones Colombia food to try

Is 2 Weeks In Colombia Enough?

You may be wondering, “How many days do you need for Colombia?”

Well, the more the better! If we were to go back, we would stay a whole month!

I understand that not everyone has the luxury of a long vacation, but at least 2 weeks is needed to fully enjoy what Colombia offers.

If you only have a week and want adventure, I would take Cartagena out of the itinerary and spend only 2 days in Medellin.

If you happen to have additional time, here is what to do in 3 weeks in Colombia.

What To Do In 3 Weeks In Colombia?

Add the destinations below for the added week:

  • The Lost City Trek
  • Santa Marta
  • Stunning Rosario Islands – incredible beaches
  • Tayrona National Park

If you have an additional week to explore Colombia, you can have an incredible adventure by focusing on a few key destinations.

Here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of your time:

Days 1-4: The Lost City Trek and Santa Marta

Begin your journey with an unforgettable experience on the Lost City Trek.

This multi-day hike takes you through dense jungles, across rivers, and into the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

  • Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region as you traverse ancient trails and encounter indigenous communities.
  • Reach the awe-inspiring Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) and explore its intriguing archaeological ruins.

After completing the trek, spend a day or two relaxing in Santa Marta, a vibrant coastal city. Enjoy the beautiful beaches, stroll along the Malecón, and indulge in delicious seafood.

Day 5: Rosario Islands

Next, head to the stunning Rosario Islands, a tropical paradise located just off the coast of Cartagena.

  • Spend some time unwinding on the pristine beaches, swimming in crystal-clear waters, and enjoying water activities like snorkeling or diving.
  • Immerse yourself in the serene island vibes, take leisurely walks along the shoreline, and indulge in fresh seafood delicacies.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the vibrant coral reefs that surround the islands, home to a diverse array of marine life.

Days 6-7: Tayrona National Park

Conclude your week with a visit to Tayrona National Park, a coastal gem renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and pristine beaches.

  • Trek through the park’s lush trails, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the rainforest.
  • Discover hidden beaches framed by swaying palm trees, swim in turquoise waters, and relax on soft sandy shores.
  • Keep an eye out for the park’s unique wildlife, including howler monkeys and colorful bird species.

Consider staying overnight in one of the park’s eco-lodges or camping to fully embrace the park’s serene ambiance.

Should I Spend More Time In Cartagena Or Medellin?

Deciding how much time to spend in Cartagena or Medellin ultimately depends on your personal preferences and interests.

Both cities offer unique experiences and attractions that cater to different tastes.

Here are some factors to consider when making your decision.

What Cartagena Offers:

  • Historical Charm: Cartagena is renowned for its well-preserved colonial architecture, vibrant streets, and historic sites within the walled city. 
  • Coastal Beauty: Cartagena boasts beautiful beaches and access to nearby islands, offering opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying water activities.
  • Cultural Richness: The city’s vibrant atmosphere, lively nightlife, and rich cultural heritage make it a great destination for those seeking a vibrant and energetic experience.

What Medellin Offers:

  • Modern Metropolis: Medellin is a cosmopolitan city known for its modern infrastructure, innovative urban planning, and vibrant arts and culture scene.
  • Mild Climate: Medellin’s pleasant year-round climate, often referred to as the “City of Eternal Spring,” makes it an attractive destination for those seeking comfortable temperatures and lush surroundings.
  • Adventure and Nature: Medellin serves as a gateway to outdoor adventures such as hiking, paragliding, and exploring the surrounding mountains and picturesque landscapes.

Consider your preferences for history, architecture, coastal beauty, cultural experiences, modern amenities, and outdoor activities when deciding how much time to spend in each city.

If possible, you could also consider splitting your time between both destinations like we did and experience the best of both worlds.

Ultimately, the choice between Cartagena and Medellin depends on what resonates with your interests and desires for your trip to Colombia.

You can also choose to spend time in other big cities like Cali as opposed to Medellin.

walls around Cartagena de Indias

Start Planning Your Colombia Itinerary Now!

A two-week journey through Colombia, with stops in Medellin, Guatapé, Salento, and Cartagena, promises an unforgettable adventure through the diverse landscapes and vibrant cities of this captivating country.

  1. Starting in Medellin, you’ll discover a city known for its modernity, rich culture, and pleasant climate.
  2. Next, venture to the picturesque town of Guatapé, famous for its vibrant streets and the iconic El Penol rock.
  3. From Guatapé, journey to Salento, a charming town nestled in the heart of Colombia’s coffee region.
  4. Finally, end your journey in the enchanting coastal city of Cartagena.

As you traverse these diverse destinations, savor the flavors of Colombian cuisine, engage with the friendly locals, and immerse yourself in the rich culture and history.

One thing that stood out to us was how genuinely warm and welcoming the local people of Colombia are. Their hospitality is something that we will always remember!

Whether exploring bustling cities, marveling at natural wonders, or relaxing on pristine beaches, this two-week itinerary offers a perfect blend of adventure, cultural immersion, and relaxation, showcasing the best that Colombia has to offer.

Did we miss anything? Let us know!

Pin for Pinterest article on 2 week Colombia itinerary
  1. oneearthhotels Avatar

    What a brilliant post and such amazing photos..It was a great article, thanks for sharing!

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      thank you! glad it was helpful content!

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Hi! We’re Rob and Taiss. We set off to live a life in as many places as possible. To actually live in locations around the world long enough to get to know the locals, the culture, and the food, not just a taste of it.
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