Having lived in Colombia now for almost three years and having travelled a good bit, people who are entertaining the idea of coming here tend to ask me, “How long should I plan to travel to Colombia?” This is a very hard question to answer because it depends on many factors such as: how much money you have at your disposal, how much vacation time you can ask for, how much of Colombia you would like to see, and how long you would like to stay in different parts of the country. Even so, today, I am going to try to answer this question and tell you what I think would be a solid amount of time for someone to spend travelling around and getting to know this wonderful South American gem called Colombia.
Perhaps the most important thing to tell you is: I think it is unfair to both you and Colombia that you come and only visit one region of the country. Colombia is a distinctly regional country, and to a certain extent, each region is like its own little mini-country. So, you cannot really say you have visited Colombia if you limit yourself to one region. Personally, I would recommend trying to fit in at least two regions, if not three or four. Some of the regions in Colombia you might want to consider visiting would be: Bogotá D.C. and the surrounding area including the towns of Zipaquirá, Villa de Leyva, and Guatavita, Paisa-land, including Medellín, Guatapé, and the Coffee Zone (Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío), the Amazon, the Pacific Coast, and the Caribbean Coast (Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, La Guajira). Which regions you decide to visit, though, will depend on exactly what you want to see and do and the budget you have at your disposal.
With that being said, I would recommend that for every region you want to visit, you devote at least a week of time there. Other people may tell you can visit a region in less time, but with less than a week, you would be pressed for time and would find yourself rushing rather than thoroughly enjoying and fully experiencing the region. I think three weeks in Colombia would give you time to visit enough of Colombia to get a good taste of the regional varieties as well as a good idea of what the essence of Colombia is. In three weeks for example, you would have time to visit Bogotá and the surrounding area, the Caribbean Coast, and Paisa-land/the Coffee Zone without rushing too much. Spending more or less a week in each region, you would have enough time to visit the most iconic sites, taste the most traditional dishes, observe some of the most characteristic flora and fauna, and get a decent feel of what most characterizes each of the regions.
Regardless of what I have said, though, even if you only have a short amount of time to visit Colombia, come! Even if you only have a week, you may would be pressed for time in terms of really exploring different regions, but you would definitely still have time to visit at least two major cities (if you fly)—there are relatively cheap and frequent flights between most major and popular cities, including Bogotá, Cartagena, Medellin, Cali, and Barranquilla. No matter the amount of time you have, Colombia is worth the visit!
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip now.
Paige M Poole
About the author:
“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog http://www.trotamunda.wordpress.com