Packing for a trip to Colombia can be really challenging. After all, Colombia is home to about every diverse landscape you can think of: the tropical Caribbean northern coast; the hot, humid Amazon; Medellin’s “eternal spring;” the cool, mountainous region around Minca and Santa Marta, and the cold, high-altitude city of Bogota. After spending a month in Colombia, we’ve got all the tips you need to pack your bags and go in our ultimate guide to what to pack for Colombia. Plus, get a free downloadable checklist to help you pack!
Planning a trip to Colombia? We spent 1 month backpacking in Colombia and fell in LOVE with this amazing country. It was our favorite South America travel destination! Here’s a super detailed 1 month itinerary for backpacking in Colombia, including Cartagena, Minca, Santa Marta, Parque Tayrona, San Gil, Medellin, Salento, and Bogota.
We spent 4 months backpacking in South America. Although each of the countries we visited was as unique and different from one another as can be, we did notice a few universal truths about backpacking in South America… things nobody told us about before we left. In no particular order and in various degrees of usefulness, we’ve compiled our observations into this list of 30 things no one tells you about backpacking in South America!
During our month of backpacking, we slept in a LOT of beds in Colombia, and stayed at at a LOT of different hostels. From cramped party hostels to isolated hilltop retreats, it seemed like no two hostels in Colombia were the same. To make things easier for you, dear reader, we’ve come up with the best list of hostels in Colombia: where to stay, and where NOT to stay!
It took us a month of travelling by bus, van, jeep, and motorcycle through Colombia to figure out the various forms of transportation in Colombia! Read our guide to find out the types of available transportation in Colombia and the pros and cons for each type.
Tucked away in the Eje Cafetero/coffee region of Colombia lies the little town of Salento. This town has become a major stop for travelers due to its proximity to the famous Valle de Cocora, myriad coffee farms, and stunning views of the area’s rolling green hills. Our experience in Salento was amazing, and one of the major reasons for that was our hostel, La Serrana Hostel and Eco-Farm.
With an extra week to kill in Cartagena, a day trip to take a mud bath in a dormant volcano sounded exciting and unique. Little did we know that our relaxing spa day would be foiled by an oil slick, vengeful abuelas, and Brazilian Dadbutt.
“How do I stop?? How do I make it stop going down?!?” I shriek frantically at my husband, who is calmly dangling in mid-air a few feet below me. I can’t make out his response through the roaring, cascading waterfall that we are both being drenched in as we rappel down a sheer rock face 250 feet in the air, but it’s probably something like ” Use the rope, idiot!” Oh, right.
I love coffee. Having lived in the Bay Area for the past seven years (minus the past year of backpacking), I can safely say I’m a coffee snob. I’m not so bad as to swirl a mug and say something like “There’s notes of pencil shavings in the nose,” but I can definitely taste things […]
It has officially been 1 month since we took off for South America with only what we could fit in our backpacks. Our first destination? Colombia. We got a lot of weird looks when we told our friends and family we were starting in Colombia; looks that said things like “but you know there’s plenty of coke in San Francisco, right?” Well, friends and family, our month in Colombia was spent coke-free, but we did end up with a lot of questions. Like, why are the coins all random sizes? What’s tranquilo? And what’s with all the honking??
The Valle de Cocora hike in Salento, Colombia is famous for its 200 foot tall wax palms. What people don’t tell you is that the hike also includes a difficult & dangerous uphill trek through deep, thick mud in a rainy cloud forest! Know what to expect. Tips for hiking Valle de Cocora, what to pack for the Valle de Cocora hike, and more information.
The Medellin Metro is unusually beautiful. It’s above ground and, thanks to the hills it winds through, it offers some absolutely stunning views of the sprawling Medellin cityscape. Plus, you can get amazing views of the city from above by taking the Gondolas – they’re like an enclosed ski lift. For under $5 each, we were able to see the entire city of Medellin just by riding the rails, hopping on and off as we pleased, and taking the gondolas! Here’s how to see the city of Medellin in a day for under $5.
The town town of Minca, Colombia isn’t on the typical Colombian backpacker trail. Perched on a mountain in the Colombian Sierra Nevadas, with a population of 800, Minca is if nothing else isolated. But at only 45 minutes away from the much more popular coastal town of Santa Marta, and only 5 hours away from bustling Cartagena, Colombia, it is well worth the detour.