What to skip on a 10 day Colombia trip?
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Oct 6, 2013 8:59 PM Last Post By: dootsonthemove
Oct 17, 2012 8:36 AM
What to skip on a 10 day Colombia trip?Hello fellow travelers,
I've used lonely planet a lot in the past and have always been able to find all the information I need without starting another unnecessary thread but this time I'm struggling. My boyfriend and I will be traveling to Colombia for 10 days from New York to Bogota round trip from November 16th to November 26th. I need your help in revising our itinerary; I feel as if I'm overdoing it at this point and I'm afraid I will miss out on really just enjoying the country.
So, here it goes, and any suggestions you might have of things we should skip/rethink will be highly appreciated.
Nov 16th) Arrive late night in Bogota, hopefully catch a late dinner and maybe go to a bar/club
Nov 17th) Explore Candelaria and maybe even do Monserrate (is that too ambitious in one day)?
Nov 18th) Explore more of Bogota, different parks, neighborhoods, etc.
Nov 19th) Early flight to Armenia, then bus to Salento, stay at a hostel, spend the late afternoon/evening exploring a finca (if that's possible), enjoy Salento
Nov 20th) Hike or take jeep to Valle de Cocora and see the palm trees, I've read that's pretty much a whole day trip if we want to see the landscape and also a visit to a coffee plantation if we don't manage to do that the day before.
Nov 21st) Early bus from Salento to Medellin, I've read these are safe and the landscape is amazing and they take about 6 hours. Spend the late afternoon/evening in Medellin, maybe take a cable car to one of the hills and enjoy the views of the city
Nov 22nd) Enjoy Medellin in the morning and take a flight to Santa Marta. In Santa Marta enjoy the evening exploring
Nov 23rd) Enjoy a beach in the morning in Santa Marta and then go to Minca for the late afternoon/early evening and enjoy the views from there
Nov 24th) Early bus to Cartagena, enjoy Cartagena
Nov 25th) Take a local plancha to Baru (I'm assuming that's where Playa Blanca is?) enjoy the day on the beach, in the evening explore more of Cartagena
Nov 26th) Enjoy Cartagena during the day and take an evening flight to Bogota, and then catch the red eye to New York from Bogota
Ok, so the above is ambitious and I realize that and that's why I really need your help in deciding the following:
Do we need two full days in Bogota? Do we need two nights in Salento? Is just one night in Medellin enough to enjoy this supposedly amazing eternal spring city?
Is Minca that amazing to trek to from Santa Marta? I know Tyrona has amazing beaches and I would love to be able to do that, but we won't be backpacking and with suitcases I believe it will be very stressful to do a two to four hour hike in the park and then sleep in hammocks? Or am I wrong?
We are both adventurous but we also want to enjoy the trip and feel like we are relaxing and not just running from one place to the next
Thanks so much in advance for your help!
Oct 17, 2012 9:16 AM
1Looking at the map I suspect you can't get to Medellin from Salento in six hours. First there isn't likely a direct bus between these two cities. Pereira to Medellin perhaps yes. I'd budget 9 hours between Medellin and Salento. For bus travel in Colombia roughly estimate 35 to 40 kmh to calculate travel time.
You may want to eliminate either Santa Marta or Cartagena from your itinerary. I don't recall a Playa Blanca near Cartagena but rather one near Santa Marta. Do you mean Isla Rosario near Cartagena? Santa Marta is very small. If you do not plan to go to Parque Tayrona perhaps it is better to save it for next trip. To me either Cartagena or Santa Marta isn't a place you can spend a few days without getting bored.
Oct 17, 2012 11:49 AM
2Thanks for your reply yaofeng, will take it into account. Yes, you are right, there is no direct bus from Salento to Medellin, we will have to catch the Armenia to Medellin bus at an intersection I've read about. And yes, I was referring to the Playa Blanca on Baru, guess it's close to the Rosario Islands near Cartagena.
Oct 17, 2012 2:28 PM
3There is a very famous very beautiful Playa Blanca near Cartagena
Oct 17, 2012 7:25 PM
4Emp99 could you tell me where this playa Blanca near Cartagena is? Is that the one in baru that I mentioned?
Please let me know if you can where this beach is and how we can get there. Thank you!
Oct 17, 2012 8:09 PM
Oct 17, 2012 9:16 PM
6Your schedule could be done easily if you had a month. Your coming to Colombia, you need to slow down and relax, meet locals and have them show you places not listed in the boring Lonely Planet guide. Sounds like your just going to see the world from buses.
Oct 17, 2012 10:32 PM
7Some ponderings, I have always wanted to spend a couple of nights in Salento but ended up spending less than one day there. I understand that it has quite a buzz at night and is good for beers. Definitely do one night at least there (he says without having spent a night there but longing to)
Actually I will be in Salento on 19th Nov too but only for a day again.
Why are you staying in Armenia? I know it is much of a muchness but Medellín is closer to Pereira I am fairly sure and if you lop off a night in Salento then you can go to Santa Rosa de Cabal's thermal baths, have a massage, frolic with your boyfriend in the waterfall and slow the pace a bit. I know a girl in Pereira at the moment that drove there in less than 4 hours from Medellín, I reckon 6 hours tops on a bus unless you hit a landslide in the November rains.
Salento to Cocora is a lovely jeep ride but a hell of a long walk, jump on the back of a jeep
In Medellín, go to Parque Arví and if you can to Santa Elena too, that's up the hills, OK not telling you where to go, just saying where I want to go next time I am there, only a suggestion, check it out.
Nov 25th, you mean a lancha not a plancha. You get there from Cartagena Marina. It costs about 60 mil pesos on a lancha, on a plancha it probably costs more and takes longer. However heed this, the boats that offer Playa Blanca alone also go to the Islas del Rosario too, so if you want to spend a day on Playa Blanca then it is imperative that you get on the boat and tell them in no uncertain terms "I AM GOING TO PLAYA BLANCA" otherwise they wont take you there. Had that prob in September and have since discovered that it is a common problem.
Playa Blanca is indeed on Isla Barú which is not an island but a peninsular. Just thought I'd throw in some trivial.
I personally don't think your itinerary is too hectic, nail the ass off of it and see everything you want to. It's a great feeling when you squeeze lots in and many of these places are great for quick visits.
Cartagena 2 or 3 days is ideal to make you want to go back
Salento, possible in less than a day
Santa Marta, nothing there
Playa Blanca, 1 day
Medellin and Bogota, spend as little or as much as you like
Oct 21, 2012 6:15 PM
8Thank you everyone for the recommendations.
And johnnybogota, I really appreciate all of your input. You gave us some great ideas and we just finalized the plan, and thanks to your recommendation, we will be visiting Santa Rosa de Cabal and the thermal pools. The itinerary now is as follows (for those interested):
->Fri, Sat, Sun night in Bogota, two full days
->Monday morning flight to Armenia and bus to Salento, Monday night in Salento on the 19th so johnny maybe we will run into you, we will be staying at the Ciudad Segorbe hostel
->Tuesday afternoon bus to Pereira and then to Santa Rosa de Cabal, spending one night there
->Wednesday morning visit to Thermal pools, and waterfalls, Wednesday afternoon bus to Medellin, Wednesday night in Medellin
->Thursday all day Medellin and Friday morning and afternoon
->Friday late afternoon flight to Cartagena
Three nights in Cartagena with a day visit to Playa Blanca on Isla Baru and another day visit to the Volcano Totum
We decided to forgo Santa Marta and Tyrona and do that trek on a different trip hopefully.
I will make sure I post our impressions post trip and hopefully have enough insight to help out other future travelers
Oct 23, 2012 10:58 PM
9I'm speaking at a conference in Armenia on Nov 21 and then looking for an aggressive but enjoyable itinerary through 11/26. let me know if you guys want to meet up!
Nov 24, 2012 11:15 AM
A couple friends and I are visiting Colombia from December 26-January 6, and we are looking at following an itinerary very similar to the one you laid out above. I am just wondering how it worked out for you, if there was anything you would do differently, and if all of the travel you planned (particularly the hot springs and traveling to Medellin in one day) worked out.
Thanks much and hope you had/are having a great time!
Oct 6, 2013 8:59 PM
I too am wondering how this itinerary worked out. A friend and I are headed to Colombia in November and we have 10 days on the ground. Thinking of doing the following
It seems like a lot in 10 days, even if we fly from Bogota to Armenia and from Medellin to Cartagena to Bogota.
Wondering if there is a "coffee country" like experience outside of Medellin, that could be a day trip or overnight trip? We really don't want to spend all of our time on buses...
Any help appreciated!
SO looking forward to our trip.
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