Round trip Colombia
Be inspired and make a round trip through Colombia, completely custom made.
A trip through Colombia means a journey full of diversity, because Colombia actually offers everything. The country is located in the north of South America and borders to Panama. Discover the pristine rainforests and tropical beaches. Also explore the colonial villages and vast deserts. Experience unique places such as the Amazon rainforest and the rainbow river Caño Cristales. You can also spend the night in the middle of the rainforest, in a luxurious beach cabaña or on a tropical island. Also discover the history in the Comuna 13 neighbourhood in Medellín, stroll along the street art in Bogotá and experience the Caribbean atmosphere in Cartagena. Welcome to the land of extreme and adventure!
Photo impression of our round trips through Colombia
Areas in our round trips through Colombia
Colombia has about fifty million inhabitants and is more than 27 in size times the size of the Netherlands. The country is the third largest country in South America. Colombia is the only South American country located on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Regions in Colombia
Colombia is divided into 32 departments. Unico Travel will explain a few regions for you.
- Coffee region
- Caribbean Coast
- Pacific Coast
- Los Llanos
- National Park Serranía de la Macarena
The Andes is located in the centre of the country and offers a diversity of natural landscapes. From snow-capped mountains and plateaus to valleys and canyons. In the Andes you will also find the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Bucaramanga. In addition to these large cities, you will also find colorful and colonial villages such as Salento and Villa de Leyva. Also discover unique national parks such as Chingaza National Park and Los Nevados National Park.
Bogotá is the capital of Colombia. The city has more than 7 million inhabitants and is located in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 2,600 meters. This makes Bogotá one of the highest capital cities in the world. The city did not have a good image in the past, but there is little of that nowadays. Bogotá is in fact developing into one of the most vibrant and cultural capitals of Latin America. The historic centre of La Candelaria is formed by the narrow streets, beautiful buildings, museums, street art and restaurants. For spectacular views of the city, take a train or funicular up Cerro Monserrate. In all our trips through Colombia, Bogotá is often the starting point of the trip.
Villa de Leyva
Just a four-hour drive from Bogotá, you will find the colonial village of Villa de Leyva. Characteristic of the village are the white houses, cobbled streets, atmospheric squares and ancient churches. Experience the local life at Plaza Mayor, Colombia’s largest square. In the background you can see the mountains and the white church. The area surrounding Villa de Leyva is also worth exploring. For example, you will find a vineyard, an astronomical observatory and a house built of clay.
Tip! During your trip through Colombia, combine the route from Bogotá to Villa de Leyva with a stop at the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Unique because there are only three salt cathedrals worldwide.
Chingaza National Park
The Chingaza National Park is located between 2,600 and 3,200 meters above sea level. The páramo of Chingaza is also called the sponge of the Andes. The ecosystem consists of plateaus with lakes, grassland, valleys, shrubs, cloud forest and forests. The páramo is characterized by the many big monks. These plants are only found in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Spot the widest variety of bird species in the area among the mossy branches and bromeliads. It is one of the most impressive areas of a trip through Colombia.
Picturesque Barichara is one of the best-preserved colonial villages in Colombia. It almost looks as if time stood still here. Walk past the cathedrals, churches, white houses and enjoy beautiful views along the way. The sandstone cathedral Capilla de Jesús towers and turns orange at sunset. From Barichara it is also recommended to walk to the picturesque village of Guane.
Tip! Explore the village in a colorful tuk-tuk.
San Gil & Surroundings
San Gil is also known as the outdoor paradise of Colombia. The environment of San Gil consists of mountains, waterfalls, caves and rivers. The area is ideal for adventure activities such as paragliding, rafting, abseiling and mountain biking. It is also recommended to take the cable car over the Chicamocha Canyon. San Gil is one of the most adventurous destinations.
A unique natural phenomenon in Colombia is the Tatacoa desert. Officially it is not a desert but a tropical dry forest, because on average about 1,000 millimeters of rain falls annually. The area consists of red rock formations and cacti. It is also one of the hottest places in the country; the temperature can rise to 40 degrees during the day.
If you like history and archaeology, you should not miss San Agustín in your trip through Colombia. San Agustín is a village in the south of Colombia and is known for the archaeological park of the same name. For thousands of years, two indigenous tribes lived in the valleys of the Magdalena and Cauca rivers.
The high mountain ranges and rivers separated these tribes, but they came together to trade, pray and bury the dead. As a result, more than 500 sculptures have now been found in the region. The park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to discovering its history, the area is also known for its coffee plantations, waterfalls and horseback riding.
Medellín is one of the most impressive cities in Colombia. Not so long ago, Medellín had a bad image due to the activities of the drug lord Pablo Escobar, but nowadays the city is visited by many travellers. The ‘city of eternal spring’ has a lot to offer. First, discover the impressive history and historic centre. Enjoy the view over the city from the funicular. Spend the night in a trendy neighbourhood with restaurants and bars.
During your trip through Colombia, also visit the Comuna 13 neighbourhood with a guide. This used to be the most dangerous neighbourhood in Medellín with gangs, drug cartels and guerrillas. Today it is a peaceful neighbourhood with colorful murals. A local guide will tell you all about Medellín’s turbulent history and transformation.
From Medellín you can easily travel to the village of Guatapé and the giant rock El Peñón de Guatapé. The village of Guatapé consists of colorful houses, restaurants and squares. Let yourself be driven around by tuk-tuk and discover this photogenic village. Close to the village is the huge rock El Peñón de Guatapé. The rock is more than 2,000 meters high. Climb the 740 steps and enjoy a magnificent view of the lake and islands from the top.
Tip! Many travellers only visit Guatapé for one day. Unico Travel recommends staying at least one night. Then you will be one of the first on the rock the next day.
Unique overnight stays
Unico Travel works together with small-scale accommodations in unique places. Stay overnight in a boutique hotel in the city of Medellín or in a colorful cabaña in Guatapé. It is also recommended to start the journey in a small-scale guest house near the busy city of Bogotá and to spend the night in a colonial hotel in Barichara.
2. Coffee region
The coffee region is located in the center of Colombia, between the towns of Manizales, Pereira and Armenia (coffee triangle). Colombia is known worldwide for coffee production and is the third largest country in the world in terms of export and quality in coffee. It is therefore certainly worthwhile to visit a coffee plantation, where you will receive an explanation about the coffee process. Spread out over the green landscape you will find many coffee plantations and you have a beautiful view of the mountain peaks of the National Park Los Nevados. You can also visit the colorful villages of Salento and Filandia in this region and relax in the hot springs of Santa Rosa de Cabal. The most beautiful walks can be made in the nearby Cocora valley. The coffee region should not be missed during your trip through Colombia.
Valle de Cocora
In the coffee region lies the Cocora valley. The tallest palm trees in the world grow here. The palm trees can grow up to 60 meters high. The nature reserve is also really beautiful. The walks take you through the green landscape to the valley where these palm trees are located. Along the way you can enjoy beautiful views. The way to get there is also unique. From Salento you travel with a colorful ‘willy’ jeep to the valley.
Tip! Ask if you can stand in the back of the jeep so you can enjoy the scenic views along the way.
Salento is located in the coffee region and is one of the nicest villages during a trip through Colombia. The village is full of colorful houses, local shops and restaurants. It is nice to walk through the village for an afternoon. In addition, it is certainly worth taking the stairs to the viewpoint. Salento is also the ideal base for a walk through the Cocora valley. You travel here by ‘willy’ (jeep).
Tip! The nature around Salento is beautiful. Sporty? Then definitely go mountain biking in the area or take a beautiful horseback ride along a waterfall.
Los Nevados National Park
The Los Nevados National Park is located in the coffee region of Colombia. The park is located between 2,600 and 5,321 meters above sea level. High mountains, volcanoes and blue lakes make up the park. There are three snowy peaks with active volcanoes: El Ruiz, Santa Isabel, and Tolima. The volcano Nevado del Ruiz is located at an altitude of 5,321 meters. The park and its ecosystems, such as páramo, provide water for up to 38 surrounding municipalities.
Spending the night in the coffee region
During your trip through Colombia, it is recommended to spend the night in a traditional coffee hacienda. These colorful fincas are often surrounded by extensive coffee plantations.
3. Caribbean coast
On the Caribbean coast of Colombia’s most popular tourist regions of the country. However, it is worth visiting this region. Discover, among other things, the colorful city of Cartagena, in the National Park of Tayrona to visit at carnival time in the city of Barranquilla.
On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, located in the port city of Cartagena, one of the most beautiful cities in Colombia. A gorgeous city with both a modern and a historical town center. The historic city center, it is located in a city. The wall was built to protect against attacks by pirates in the 16th century. Visit the main street along the cathedrals and churches, places of worship, parks, plazas, and restaurants. Charming plazas include Plaza Bolivar, Plaza, Santisima Trinidad, and the Plaza of Santo Domingo.
Just outside of the city, the fortress, Castillo de San Felipe. From the fort, you will have a view on both the new and the old. Take it and enjoy it all year round, in the summer mood in the city. Especially at night, it was a lot of fun with the musicians and the dancers. Enjoy, also from the walls of a beautiful sunset.
National Park Tayrona
The National Park Tayrona is one of the most beautiful parks in Colombia. The park is located on the Caribbean coast and offers a combination of beautiful beaches and pristine rainforests. From the El Zaino entrance there is a nice walk of a few hours. You walk through the tropical rainforest over bridges, boulders and wooden decking. Then you will arrive at the most beautiful beach in Colombia, Cabo San Juan. Enjoy a pearly white beach with swaying palm trees on an azure blue sea. Along the way you also have the chance to spot crocodiles, watch monkeys swing by and see various bird species fly by.
Barranquilla is Colombia’s fourth largest city. The city is located at the mouth of the Magdalena River and is the main port on the Caribbean coast. The main reason for travellers to visit Barranquilla is because of the carnival. After Rio de Janeiro, the largest carnival in Latin America takes place here. The party lasts four days and consists of parades and processions with floats, dancers and pleasant music.
Isla Múcura is part of the San Bernardo Archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The island is only 26 hectares and consists of white beaches, swaying palm trees and an azure blue sea. The island is about two hours by boat from Cartagena.
Spending the night on the Caribbean coast
Our trips through Colombia often end on the Caribbean coast. So stay the last nights of your trip in a luxurious hotel on the beach, in a boutique hotel in the city or in a cabaña on an island paradise. There are endless possibilities.
4. Pacific Coast
Contrary to the Caribbean coast, the Pacific Coast has pristine rainforests and rugged beaches with darker sand. It is the ideal place to spot humpback whales up close. Discover the fishing village of Nuqui, take a boat trip through the mangroves and explore the underwater world.
The fishing village of Nuquí is located in the province of Chocó on the Pacific coast. The area is not at all touristy yet. The surrounding area consists of sandy beaches, rock formations, swaying palm trees and pristine rainforests. The main reason to travel here is because of the humpback whales. From July to October you can spot the humpback whales in the area up close.
5. Plains of Los Llanos
A still relatively unknown area in Colombia is the Los Llanos region, the vast plains in the east. This is where the Colombian cowboys (llaneros) live with their cattle. The area is quite remote and therefore difficult to reach. There are also only a few fincas where you can stay. Unico Travel has the right contacts. Los Llanos is one of the least visited places during a trip through Colombia and therefore so special and unspoilt.
Fotocredits: Aventur Eco Tours
On safari at Los Llanos
Go on safari in the area of Los Llanos. The area consists of low plains. Go on a wildlife safari like a Colombian ‘llanero’ (cowboy). With an adventurous jeep you drive across the plains in search of capybaras, anacondas, caimans and howler monkeys. In addition, there are also a lot of bird species to spot. It is also possible to make a safari on foot or on horseback. A unique place that is only visited by few tourists.
6. Serrania de la Macarena National Park
The Serranía de la Macarena National Park is located between three major ecosystems, namely the Andes Mountains, the Amazon Rainforest and the Eastern Llanos. As a result, the park has a unique ecosystem with rainforests and tropical grassland. More than 420 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians, 43 species of reptiles and 8 species of mammals live here.
The Caño Cristales River flows through the Serranía de la Macarena National Park. This is one of the most beautiful places during a trip through Colombia. Caño Cristales is a colored river in Colombia. The river is also known as the rainbow river or the river of five colors. Every year, from July to November, the bottom of the river is colored in five colours. Because few tourists travel there, it is still an unspoilt and unique nature reserve.
When people think of the Amazon, people often think of Brazil, but you can also discover the Amazon rainforest in Colombia. It is a place with an enormous biodiversity of flora and fauna. The Amazon rainforest has about 1,294 species of birds, 427 species of mammals, 378 species of reptiles and 3,000 species of fish. With a bit of luck you can also spot the pink river dolphin.
In the Amazon also live several indigenous tribes who have lived here for centuries. The tribes often live deep in the jungle and have their own traditions and customs. Through Unico Travel you can visit an indigenous tribe and possibly also stay overnight.
Spotting wildlife during your trip in Colombia? In the Amazon of Colombia you have the chance to see pink dolphins, crocodiles, turtles, anteaters, caimans, monkeys, sloths and poison dart frogs, among others. In addition, there are also numerous bird species such as macaws, parrots, herons and kingfishers.
Spending the night in the Amazon
There are several options for staying overnight in the Amazon rainforest. For example, spend the night in a tree house in the middle of the rainforest, in a luxurious ecolodge, at a floating lodge on the river or in the authentic village of Leticia.
Transport during your trip through Colombia
Colombia is a very large country, so there are various transport options. Your trip through Colombia is often a combination of private transfers and domestic flights.
Colombia has a good bus network. Buses run to and from between the larger cities, but also between the smaller and touristic places. There are larger buses with Wi-Fi and air conditioning as well as smaller minibuses. You can often buy tickets at the bus stations. Unico Travel recommends public transport especially for backpackers. If you want to travel comfortably through Colombia and save time, it is better to opt for private transfers and domestic flights.
Unico Travel organizes trips through Colombia mainly with private transfers. The drivers know the roads like no other and know exactly which places are safe. In addition, a driver will tell you a lot about the country along the way and it is possible to make various stops.
Colombia is a very large country, so you will occasionally travel by domestic flight. This way of travelling saves a lot of time. You often fly over beautiful landscapes and the flight time is often no more than an hour. It is a safe and fast way to travel through Colombia.
Other means of transport
A fun fact is that Medellín is the only place in Colombia where metros run. You can also travel here by cable car through the city. The nice thing about Barichara and Guatapé is that you can explore these villages by tuk-tuk. In Salento you can take a jeep to the Cocora valley and in the Amazon you canoe on the river.
Taxis are always available in the major cities. Most taxis have meters. However, the meters are not always used and it is useful to agree on a price in advance. Especially in the small villages, taxis often do not run on meters. There are also many minibuses/shared taxis in Colombia that take you to your destination for a fixed price and only leave when they are full.
Driving in Colombia
In Colombia it is possible to rent a car, but people often opt for the plane or the bus because of the long distances. There are of course also safety risks and not all areas are suitable for renting a car. Unico Travel generally does not consider it responsible to rent a car in Colombia. Contact us for more information.
Food and drinks during your trip through Colombia
Discover the typical local dishes during your trip through Colombia. Colombians often eat three times a day, but lunch is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast often consists of arepas, scrambled eggs and fruit served with coffee or chocolate milk. At lunchtime people often eat the menu of the day in a restaurant. This menu often consists of a starter, main and dessert. The meal often consists of soup, meat/fish, rice and beans.
Food in Colombia
In Colombia, most meals consist of meat, rice, beans, potatoes and/or soup. On the coast, on the other hand, much less meat is eaten and more fish.
Examples of dishes in Colombia:
- Arepa (type of cornmeal rolls, often filled)
- Bandeja Paisa (rice, avocado, beans, minced meat, fried banana, chorizo, pork belly, arepa and a fried egg)
- Pandebono (cheese roll )
- Ajiaco (chicken soup)
- Empanada ( filled dough snack)
- Patacon (fried plantain)
- Ceviche (fish in lime juice)
Drinks in Colombia
You can buy fresh fruit juices on almost every street corner. You choose your fruit of choice and this is then mixed with water or milk. Colombians also drink beer and rum of course. The best known brands of rum are Ron Medellín and Ron Viejo de Caldas.
- Chocolate Santafereno (hot chocolate with cheese)
- Aguardiente (alcohol with anise)
Colombia is also known for coffee production. In the mountains in the northwest is the Zona Cafetera, or the coffee region. The coffee that comes from this area is one of Colombia’s main exports. There are therefore several coffee plantations in the area where you can take a tour. In addition, it is recommended to spend the night at a typical hacienda.
Colombia is a versatile travel destination. For example, in three weeks you can discover the Andes, Amazon, coffee region and Caribbean coast. Each area is completely different and that is what makes a trip through Colombia so special. Where you first find yourself in the city, you are in a completely different area in just a few hours.
Unico Travel is happy to help you put together your ideal trip. For example, are you a nature lover? Then Unico Travel can put together a tailor-made nature trip especially for you. Prefer a trip to the most remote and least visited areas of the country? Unico Travel has ideas for this too. Contact us for more information.
Round trip Colombia with children
Colombia is the ideal destination for a family trip. Unico Travel is happy to put together a tailor-made trip for you. If you are travelling with older children, there are many adventurous activities such as rafting, abseiling and paragliding. If you travel with younger children, Unico Travel always adjusts the travel pace. It is nice to spend several days in an area every now and then. Unico Travel always chooses accommodations that are suitable for families, such as hotels with a swimming pool and family bungalows.
In terms of travel distances, it is also very easy. The long distances you travel mainly by domestic flight and the short distances by private transfers. The advantage of a domestic flight is that you are quickly in a new area. With a private driver you can also make stops along the way.
Unique experiences in untouched nature
In Colombia you will find untouched natural areas that are hardly visited by tourists. Examples of these are:
- On safari at Los Llanos
- Hike to Ciudad Perdida
- Rainbow river Caño Cristales
- Overnight in the Amazon rainforest
- Photographing snowy peaks
On the Caribbean coast of Colombia you will find paradise islands. The islands with white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees are surrounded by an azure blue sea. Discover the beautiful underwater world with colorful fish and coral. Tropical islands are Isla Múcura and Isla Barú. In addition, Cabo San Juan in Tayrona National Park is a beautiful beach. Unico Travel recommends ending your trip through Colombia at the beach on the Caribbean coast.
Colombia has a rich culture. Discover the ancient sculptures in San Agustín Archaeological Park and meet indigenous tribes in the Amazon. In addition, indigenous tribes still live in and near the Tayrona National Park. Adventurous? Hike to the lost city of Ciudad Perdida on the Caribbean coast.
Bird destination Colombia
Colombia has more than 1,900 registered bird species. This makes Colombia the country with the most bird species in the world. It is therefore a paradise for bird watchers. Discover the most diverse bird species such as the Cock of the Rock, the Buffy Helmetcrest, the Andean Condor and countless species of hummingbirds.
Why travel through Colombia with Unico Travel?
Unico Travel thinks along with you while putting together a unique trip through Colombia. Every person is different and therefore every journey. Whether you like diving, birding or photography and whether you are travelling with your partner or family, Unico Travel will tailor your trip accordingly. With more than ten years of experience, we know exactly which areas and hotels suit you. In addition, we have visited every country ourselves and we also know the most unique places. Unico Travel puts together a tailor-made trip. You will find various sample trips on our website for inspiration, but no trip which we organize is the same.
- Personal contact
- More than ten years of experience
- Unique and special places
- Small-scale lodges & boutique hotels