Explore Medellín & Guatape and the coastal cities of Cartagena & Santa Marta
Take a short flight from the capital, Bogotá, or Cali (see our previous blog) and continue your Colombian adventure of a lifetime.
1. MEDELLÍN (50 MIN FLIGHT FROM BOGOTÁ / 1 HOUR FLIGHT FROM CALI)
Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperate weather, it hosts a famous annual Flower Festival. Modern metrocables link the city to surrounding barrios and offer views of the Aburrá Valley below. Sculptures by Fernando Botero decorate downtown's Botero Plaza, while the Museo de Antioquia displays more of the Colombian artist’s work.
Guatapé is an Andean resort town in northwest Colombia, 83 km east of Medellín. It’s known for its houses decorated with colorful bas-reliefs. It sits by the vast, man-made Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir, a busy water-sports center. Piedra del Peñol, a giant granite rock southwest of town, has hundreds of steps to the top, where there are sweeping views.
SLEEP AT LOS PATIOS HOSTEL
Los Patios, known as the Best Hostel in Medellin, Best Hostel in Colombia and Best Hostel in Latin America by Hostel World in 2018, is a stylish poshtel located in one of the most innovative cities in South America. Medellín.
SLEEP AT CLICK CLACK HOTEL
Bringing Click Clack's award-winning and eyebrow-raising design to the country’s city of eternal spring, the Click Clack Medellín is a 123-room playground of interactive experiences and luxurious comfort, located at the heart of El Poblado.
SLEEP AT HOTEL DU PARC ROYAL
Welcome to the Du Parc Royal Hotel in Medellin, a boutique hotel in Medellin where you will be able to enjoy a unique French-style experience of luxury and elegance. This exclusive hotel near the Lleras Park is the perfect accommodation option for those looking for a space with character, personalized attention and complete services in a select ambiance.
PLAY AT CITY VIBES TOURS
City Vibes Tours offers private or group tours in Medellín Colombia. They have perfect tour guides that will show you the city and make you feel like a local.
PLAY AT EXPEDITION COLOMBIA
Expedition Colombia offers a truly unique outdoor adventure, you can expect to be immersed in the fascinating history, ecology, culture, and cuisine of Colombia. They give personal attention to every trip.
PLAY AT GREEN BIKE TOUR MEDELLIN
There is not better way to explore this amazing city than riding a bike. Discover Medellin riding a bike, visiting places that you wouldn't go by your own guided by a local. With Green Bike Tour Medellin you will get everything, they provide the bike, helmet, gloves, drinks along the road, and snacks!
PLAY AT JONEAL COFFEE TOUR
The coffee you enjoy every day has taken a long journey before being in your cup. With this coffee tour you get to know this amazing journey in detail.
PLAY AT LANDVENTURE TRAVEL
LandVenture Travel specializes in personalized tours that highlight the natural and architectual beauty of Medellin and the towns of Antioquia. There's so much more to see and do beyond Medellín's borders. LandVenture Travel offers marvelous private tours to the most exciting and scenic destinations located within a couple hours drive from the city.
PLAY AT MEDELLIN AND EXPERIENCES
Medellin And Experiences will exceed all your expectation about Medellin and its surroundings with excellent knowledge and a deep passion for tourists, history, local art communities, coffee culture, Pablo Escobar and the main attractions of the city.
PLAY AT MEDELLIN CITY SERVICES
Medellín CIty Services is a local tour operator that provides private bilingual tours in Medellín and surroundings. They offer a wide range of tours according to your preferences. Their transportation services are extensive and designed to help make your arrival and stay in Medellin a pleasant and relaxing one.
PLAY AT NOMAD
Rent a camper van and explore the incredible landscapes of Colombia on your own or book an experience with NOMAD. NOMAD creates unforgettable experiences for you in Colombia.
PLAY AT TURIBIKE
Electric bike is a very easy, fun and eco friendly way to explore Medellín. Turibike's urban e-bikes are comfortable and empowered with a 350W engine (that means the bike do most of the effort for you). They also provide you with a helmet, a security lock, medical insurance and technical assistance.
2. CARTAGENA (1 HOUR FLIGHT FROM MEDELLÍN)
Cartagena is a stunning port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. By the sea is the walled Old Town, founded in the 16th century, with squares, cobblestone streets and colorful colonial buildings. With a tropical climate, the city is also a popular beach destination. Reachable by boat are Isla de Barú, with white-sand beaches and palm trees, and the Islas del Rosario, known for their coral reefs.
SLEEP AT HOTEL CASA DEL COLISEO
In the historic city of Cartagena de Indias, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you will find Boutique Hotel Casa del Coliseo. It is situated within the fort walls in a 17th century colonial building that has been restored to perfection, combining historical charm with 21st Century comfort and luxury.
SLEEP AT VIAJERO CARTAGENA HOSTEL
Cartagena’s walled city is the pride of Colombia, this is where you will find el Viajero Cartagena; located in a unique colonial house in a colorful street full of flowers, balconies and near nature-filled plazas a couple blocks away. Stay in shared dorms (some are female only) or, if you prefer, in private bedrooms.
EAT AT LILA'S POMAROSSA
Lila's is born from the union of two families. Bolivian and Austrian flavors are represented in a refreshing menu with powerful flavors and a Caribbean touch. In a beautiful eclectic environment, they fuse an elegant and modern style with the history that this old house in the San Diego neighborhood carries. Their cocktails are also exquisite, to enjoy at any time.
PLAY AT DURAN DURAN TOURS
Duran Duran is a tour company that shares history, culture, charm & love for Cartagena. A tour in Cartagena with them is a once in a lifetime experience, join them. Have a great weekend with a Cartagena tour by laughing, learning culture, stories, local food cooking recipes, diving, adventuring!
PLAY AT TAROA ADVENTURES
Taroa Adventures specializes in highlighting the rich Nature and Culture of the Colombian Caribbean. They curate unique trips in new and little known places where travellers can connect with Colombia´s authentic local culture and nature to facilitate a positive exchange of experiences between travellers and the local communities.
3. SANTA MARTA (236 KMS FROM CARTAGENA)
Santa Marta is a city on the Caribbean Sea in the northern Colombian department of Magdalena. A busy port, it was also the first Spanish settlement in Colombia. It's the gateway for trips into the Tayrona National Natural Park, and for multiday guided treks to the Lost City (Teyuna) archaeological site in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains.
SLEEP AT VIAJERO SANTA MARTA HOSTEL
Discover a hostel inspired by the local culture and artisans of the area! During your stay, enjoy the pool in the rooftop with a tropical cocktail in your hand, relax in the warm climate of the Caribbean coast and feel the cool breeze of the afternoon. Stay in private rooms (double rooms, rooms with two beds or a special studio suite) or, if you prefer a more relaxed setting, choose a shared room; they all have air conditioning and safe boxes.
SLEEP AT VIAJERO TAYRONA HOSTEL & ECOHABS
Chill, have fun, tan and take a swim at Viajero Tayrona. Enjoy the private beach in Viajero Tayrona or take a swim in the pool with a tropical cocktail in hand from the beach bar. They have private eco habs with their own decks as well as shared dorms (some are female-only).
PLAY AT ADRENALINE ADDICTS
Santa Marta is the perfect motorcycle tour starting point to explore northern Colombia's untouched coastal, mountain and desert regions. These motorcycle tours have been handcrafted through years of location scouting and raw exploration throughout the Santa Marta area. You'll get to experience the most unique and authentic parts of Colombia off the tourist trail.
PLAY AT RENT BIKE SANTA MARTA
A rental company for electric bicycles & scooters. Riding an electric bicycle is the best way to discover the surroundings of Santa Marta. No effort is needed to discover the landscapes of Tayrona Park or the Sierra Nevada.
PLAY AT VELERO SANTA MARTA
Board the 56 foot Artivela and sail to Bahia Concha in Tayrona Park. Choose between swimming, walking on the beach, snorkeling or simply sunbathing on the boat. You will also enjoy a plate of fresh fish made right there on the grill.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: December to March is the dry season with sunny days and warm weather which is the best time to visit Colombia for exploring the cities and beaches. Another small dry season lasts in Colombia from July to September and it can be a good time to visit Colombia as well. The best time to visit Colombia to avoid the crowds and save some money would be the shoulder seasons leading up to the high season and following on from it: November, February and March are the best months to visit for a magic combination of drier weather, fewer crowds and better prices.
VISAS: Visitors to Colombia must obtain a visa from one of the Colombian diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries.
CURRENCY: Colombian peso
LANGUAGE: More than 99.2% of Colombians speak the Spanish language
SAFETY: The normal common sense rules apply, i.e. don't wear flashy jewelry, keep your phones and cameras out of sight, only carry enough money for the day, avoid taking cards or passports out with you.