Colombia is most famous for Pablo Escobar and the drug violence that terrorized the nation for decades. Now, the country is undergoing a transformation and it has become a lot safer since the government signed a peace deal with the FARC guerrillas in 2016. Tourism is rapidly growing, and many see Colombia as a cheap place to party, but it’s so much more than that. Colombia is full of history, some of the most beautiful small towns in South America, Caribbean coastline, and the Amazon. Here is the best 1 month Colombia itinerary!
Days 1-4: Bogotá
Most travelers start their trip in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital and largest city with over 10 million residents. Lots of people say to only spend a couple of days here, but I disagree. Bogotá is a gritty, authentic city, but it has a lot to offer. You can hike to the tallest waterfall in Colombia, make a day trip to an underground salt cathedral, ride the cable car, and dance the night away at one of the most iconic nightclubs in the Americas.
Bogotá also has fantastic museums and walking tours where you can learn about the country’s turbulent history. Keep in mind that it will take at least a day to recover from jet lag and acclimate to the high altitude (2,640 meters).
Days 5-7: Tatacoa Desert
The Tatacoa Desert is one of the most spectacular places in Colombia, yet it remains under the radar. The landscapes make you feel like you are on another planet, and stargazing from the astronomical observatory is unforgettable. Many visitors choose to explore the area on foot, but there is also the option to join a bike tour. Tatacoa is a bit out of the way from other destinations in Colombia, but it’s well worth the visit.
Days 8-10: Salento
Salento is a charming town in the coffee axis, most famous for the beautiful day hike through the Cocora Valley. The town’s relaxing vibe and lush scenery make it the perfect place to unwind for a few days outside of Colombia’s chaotic big cities. You can tour one of the scenic coffee farms and spend your nights playing the country’s coolest drinking sport. Plus, for a small town, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants.
Days 11-15: Medellín
Once the world’s most dangerous city, Medellín has undergone a massive transformation and is now a hotspot for ex-pats and tourists. Medellín is famous for its beautiful women and nightlife, and it does attract a certain crowd. It’s known as the city of eternal spring and seemingly every day it’s 70°F and sunny.
The highlight of a visit here are the barrio tours, where you will learn about the bloody past of the city and how the living conditions are improving. The most famous is the Comuna 13 tour, but Real City Tours offers a more off-the-beaten-path experience in a different neighborhood. There are also plenty of spectacular viewpoints around the Medellín that can be reached by a short hike.
People tend to fall in love with this city, and it’s a safe bet that you’ll meet foreigners spending weeks or months in Medellín.
Days 16-17: Guatapé
The colorful Antioquian town of Guatapé has one of the best attractions in the country, El Peñón. You’ll have to climb 694 steps for these incredible views of the lake, but it’s worth the struggle. Guatapé is a getaway for the residents of Medellín, and it has quite the party vibe on the weekends.
Many visitors day trip from Medellín, but Guatapé is worth more than a day of your Colombia itinerary. Spending the night will allow you to climb El Peñón before the daytrippers arrive and enjoy the exciting activities in the area. You can learn about Pablo Escobar on a boat tour, ride a motorbike through the countryside, or take a jet ski across the lake.
Days 18-20: Cartagena
Cartagena is Colombia’s most popular tourist destination, famed for its immaculately preserved old town and unique costeña culture. The old town is undeniably beautiful, and it’s a popular destination wedding choice for Colombians. Although, I would not recommend spending a ton of time in Cartagena.
Within the old town, there are lots of people selling things on the street and they can be fairly aggressive. The beaches aren’t the nicest, and local women walk up and down the beach grabbing the arms of men in hope of getting paid for a massage.
After you’ve taken in the beauty of the old town and the Getsemani neighborhood, make your way to Santa Marta for a hike through the jungle.
Days 21-24: Lost City Trek
A trek through the hot and humid Colombian jungle to the Lost City is certain to be full of highs and lows. The spectacular ruins of the former Wiwa city are 650 years older than Machu Picchu(!!!). The Tairona people abandoned the city over the fear of diseases brought by the Spanish and kept it secret for centuries. The lush green scenery makes for amazing viewpoints, and seeing the indigenous people going about their daily life is fascinating.
The 4-day hike is challenging, but it’s an amazing experience to be out in nature and learn about the lives of the indigenous people. Many tour agencies offer the trek, but they are more or less the same. All groups sleep at the same campsites, eat the same food, and have guides from the local community.
Days 25-26: Tayrona National Park
After trekking through the jungle, a couple of days at the beach is exactly what you’ll be craving. Located just an hour from Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park is one of the most popular destinations in Colombia for good reason. Along the hiking trails that lead to the immaculate beaches, you’ll encounter a diverse array of flora and fauna. Keep in mind that the national park closes at various times of the year to preserve the land.
Bookaway is a great resource for connecting your Colombia itinerary. You can compare the prices of both buses and flights, and secure your seat in advance!
Days 27-30: La Guajira
La Guajira is a remote desert region in the northeastern part of the country. It’s largely populated by indigenous people and the living conditions are very basic. The best way to visit is on an organized tour by car because of how spread out the region is. Exploring La Guajira’s beaches, sand dunes, and rock formations in a 4×4 is the perfect way to end your month itinerary in Colombia.
That wraps up the best 1 month Colombia itinerary! Next, read about itineraries for other South American countries.
This post may include affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a comission at no extra cost to you.