Backpacking Colombia

Fancy an exciting mountain hike, a relaxing day at the beach, a walk through the jungle or a city trip? Or have you always wanted to visit a coffee plantation? On a backpacking trip through Colombia, you can have it all at once!



Have fun exploring our ideal backpacking itinerary for Colombia.


Important Basics

Official language: Spanish
EnglishSpanish
HelloHola
Goodbyechau
Thank youGracias
Yes
NoNo
Capital city

Bogotá, D.C.

Form of government

Presidential republic

Best time to travel

January, February, July, August

Currency

Colombian Peso

Telephone area code

+57

Fun facts
  • Colombia was named after the famous Christopher Columbus.
  • In percentage terms, probably a larger proportion of the Colombian population speaks Spanish than the proportion of the population in Spain. 99% of Colombians speak Spanish.
  • Colombia has the largest flower festival in the world: Feria de Las Flores.

Cities

Miami

Welcome to Miami! There could hardly be a better stopover on the way to South America than the American Riviera.

The most famous district is Miami Beach, which is located on an island in front of the city. You can sunbathe during the day and enjoy the vibrant nightlife at the famous South Beach in the evening. Especially worth seeing are the Pérez Art Museum, as well as the artists' quarter Wynwood Art District with its countless galleries and booming street art scene.

Can't wait to feel that Caribbean flair? Little Havana and Little Haiti will get you in the right mood for the onward journey to Colombia. The impressive Everglades National Park is also not far from Miami.

On this 3.5-hour adventure tour, you will get to know the paradisical wilderness from its best side. Enjoy a ride in a propeller boat through the park, watch exotic animal species, like alligators, and watch an entertaining wildlife show. The tour only costs €39, including pick-up/drop-off, transfer and entrance fees.

Spend the night in the Miami Beds N’ Drinks for only €16 (eight-bed dorm).

Cartagena

Your first stop in Colombia is Cartagena. Flights from Miami to the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ start at only €100.

As it is directly located on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena will definitely get you in a holiday mood. It is also Colombia’s most beautiful city. After you have recovered from your trip to the beautiful beaches, visit Cartagena’s old town.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws visitors in with its narrow alleys, colourful colonial houses and cosy cafés. Must-sees include the lively quarters of El Centro and San Diego with their green parks, decorated palaces, churches and magnificent villas.

Party with other backpackers in Calle Media Luna, the centre of the party scene in Cartagena. Viajero Hostel Cartagena offers good accommodation for €15 in a six-bed dorm.

Cali

Continue on by plane to Cali for approximately €70.

This southwest Colombian city is considered the salsa capital. Every year, the world's largest salsa festival, La Feria de Cali, takes place here, where tens of thousands of people spend hours dancing to Caribbean rhythms and having a good time.

After the festival, the rhythmic sounds of salsa can still be heard everywhere in the city. The city centre offers several architectural highlights like monuments, churches and various museums.

Cali’s surroundings – its mountain landscapes and sugar cane fields – are something to see. Go on an excursion to the largest ecological reserve of dry tropical forest, Parque Natural El Vinculo, or visit the popular pilgrimage place, Buga, with the Basílica del Señor de los Milagros.

Stay overnight in the centrally located hostel, Casa Miraflores, for €8 (four-bed dorm).

Medellín

Fly to Medellín for €30. About 40 years ago, this city was still considered the world’s most dangerous city. Anyone who watched the series 'Narcos' knows the story of the Medellín cartel and the drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Medellín is surrounded by dense jungle, but the cityscape is characterised by modern skyscrapers and an innovative transport network with a metro system and cable cars.

Get to know another side of the modern metropolis and its street art by doing a tour through the favelas on the city’s slopes. The city in the mountains is also one of the most popular and at the same time cheapest, paragliding spots in the world due to its fantastic surroundings.

Enjoy the view during a tandem flight, dive into El Poblado and Lleras’s nightlife or visit the national park, Parque Arví, where you can plant a tree and watch it grow from home via webcam.

At Paisa City Hostel Medellín you’ll pay €11 per night in a four-bed dorm.

Bogotá

The next stop is Bogotá, the country’s capital. Domestic flights start from €30.

Bogotá is Colombia’s cultural and economic centre and is divided into different zones.

Zone G, for example, is the gourmet zone, where foodies can look forward to countless restaurants offering a wide variety of specialities.

The best place to party is in the bars and clubs in Zone T or the student district.

For shopaholics, the pink zone with cheap and traditional shops is the place to be. Buy a few nice souvenirs at the popular Sunday market in the Usaquén district.

The eight-million-people metropolis’ city centre holds a lot of Colombian history. You will not only find the parliament in the historical quarter La Candelaria but also the oldest colonial houses in Bogotá with colourful, artistically painted facades.

For a spectacular view, take the cable car to the local mountain, Mount Monserrate, where a small church towers high above the city. Overnight in a four-bed dorm (€11) in a centrally located hostel.

Cartagena

From Cartagena, fly back to Miami for about €140.

If you still have some money left from your holiday budget, visit the numerous shops downtown or at the Bayside Marketplace one last time; alternatively, just end your trip with a relaxing day at the beach.

The memories of your Colombia trip will surely put a smile on your face for a long time after you return home from Miami.


Miami

Miami

Welcome to Miami! There could hardly be a better stopover on the way to South America than the American Riviera.

The most famous district is Miami Beach, which is located on an island in front of the city. You can sunbathe during the day and enjoy the vibrant nightlife at the famous South Beach in the evening. Especially worth seeing are the Pérez Art Museum, as well as the artists' quarter Wynwood Art District with its countless galleries and booming street art scene.

Can't wait to feel that Caribbean flair? Little Havana and Little Haiti will get you in the right mood for the onward journey to Colombia. The impressive Everglades National Park is also not far from Miami.

On this 3.5-hour adventure tour, you will get to know the paradisical wilderness from its best side. Enjoy a ride in a propeller boat through the park, watch exotic animal species, like alligators, and watch an entertaining wildlife show. The tour only costs €39, including pick-up/drop-off, transfer and entrance fees.

Spend the night in the Miami Beds N’ Drinks for only €16 (eight-bed dorm).

Cartagena

Cartagena

Your first stop in Colombia is Cartagena. Flights from Miami to the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ start at only €100.

As it is directly located on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena will definitely get you in a holiday mood. It is also Colombia’s most beautiful city. After you have recovered from your trip to the beautiful beaches, visit Cartagena’s old town.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws visitors in with its narrow alleys, colourful colonial houses and cosy cafés. Must-sees include the lively quarters of El Centro and San Diego with their green parks, decorated palaces, churches and magnificent villas.

Party with other backpackers in Calle Media Luna, the centre of the party scene in Cartagena. Viajero Hostel Cartagena offers good accommodation for €15 in a six-bed dorm.

Cali

Cali

Continue on by plane to Cali for approximately €70.

This southwest Colombian city is considered the salsa capital. Every year, the world's largest salsa festival, La Feria de Cali, takes place here, where tens of thousands of people spend hours dancing to Caribbean rhythms and having a good time.

After the festival, the rhythmic sounds of salsa can still be heard everywhere in the city. The city centre offers several architectural highlights like monuments, churches and various museums.

Cali’s surroundings – its mountain landscapes and sugar cane fields – are something to see. Go on an excursion to the largest ecological reserve of dry tropical forest, Parque Natural El Vinculo, or visit the popular pilgrimage place, Buga, with the Basílica del Señor de los Milagros.

Stay overnight in the centrally located hostel, Casa Miraflores, for €8 (four-bed dorm).

Medellín

Medellín

Fly to Medellín for €30. About 40 years ago, this city was still considered the world’s most dangerous city. Anyone who watched the series 'Narcos' knows the story of the Medellín cartel and the drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Medellín is surrounded by dense jungle, but the cityscape is characterised by modern skyscrapers and an innovative transport network with a metro system and cable cars.

Get to know another side of the modern metropolis and its street art by doing a tour through the favelas on the city’s slopes. The city in the mountains is also one of the most popular and at the same time cheapest, paragliding spots in the world due to its fantastic surroundings.

Enjoy the view during a tandem flight, dive into El Poblado and Lleras’s nightlife or visit the national park, Parque Arví, where you can plant a tree and watch it grow from home via webcam.

At Paisa City Hostel Medellín you’ll pay €11 per night in a four-bed dorm.

Bogotá

Bogotá

The next stop is Bogotá, the country’s capital. Domestic flights start from €30.

Bogotá is Colombia’s cultural and economic centre and is divided into different zones.

Zone G, for example, is the gourmet zone, where foodies can look forward to countless restaurants offering a wide variety of specialities.

The best place to party is in the bars and clubs in Zone T or the student district.

For shopaholics, the pink zone with cheap and traditional shops is the place to be. Buy a few nice souvenirs at the popular Sunday market in the Usaquén district.

The eight-million-people metropolis’ city centre holds a lot of Colombian history. You will not only find the parliament in the historical quarter La Candelaria but also the oldest colonial houses in Bogotá with colourful, artistically painted facades.

For a spectacular view, take the cable car to the local mountain, Mount Monserrate, where a small church towers high above the city. Overnight in a four-bed dorm (€11) in a centrally located hostel.

Cartagena

Cartagena

From Cartagena, fly back to Miami for about €140.

If you still have some money left from your holiday budget, visit the numerous shops downtown or at the Bayside Marketplace one last time; alternatively, just end your trip with a relaxing day at the beach.

The memories of your Colombia trip will surely put a smile on your face for a long time after you return home from Miami.

Colombia Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Miami
Home - Miami
Flight
200
Eight-bed dorm
16
2. Miami
Miami
-
Eight-bed dorm
16
3. Miami - Cartagena
Miami - Cartagena
Flight
100
six-bed dorm
15
4. Cartagena
Cartagena
-
six-bed dorm
15
5. Cartagena
Cartagena
-
six-bed dorm
15
6. Cartagena
Cartagena
-
six-bed dorm
15
7. Cartagena - Cali
Cartagena - Cali
Flight
70
four-bed dorm
8
8. Cali
Cali
-
four-bed dorm
8
9. Cali
Cali
-
four-bed dorm
8
10. Cali - Medellín
Cali - Medellín
Flight
30
four-bed dorm
11
11. Medellin
Medellin
-
four-bed dorm
11
12. Medellin
Medellin
-
four-bed dorm
11
13. Medellin
Medellin
-
four-bed dorm
11
14. Medellín - Bogotá
Medellín - Bogotá
Flight
30
eight-bed dorm
12
15. Bogota
Bogota
-
eight-bed dorm
12
16. Bogota
Bogota
-
eight-bed dorm
12
17. Bogotá - Cartagena
Bogotá - Cartagena
Flight
40
six-bed dorm
15
18. Cartagena
Cartagena
-
six-bed dorm
15
19. Cartagena
Cartagena
-
six-bed dorm
15
20. Cartagena- Miami
Cartagena- Miami
Flight
100
eight-bed dorm
16
21. Miami – Home
Miami – Home
Flight
200
eight-bed dorm
16

Total price.

Flights 770,00
Transportation 40,00
Tours 259,00
Accommodation 206,00
Total1275,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Fruitbowl:  Fruits in Colombia are delicious! Start the day with a colourful portion.

Soups

Sancocho: This soup consists of plantains and typical Colombian fruit. It is served with a slice of bread.

Main courses

Ajiaco Santaferana: This delicious, classic chicken stew dish is very popular in Colombia. You can find it in every restaurant.

Tamales: This is a banana leaf filled with rice and additional ingredients, like cheese or meat.

Lechona: This roast pig is stuffed with various vegetables, and is often prepared for certain festivities.

Empanadas: These dumplings are popular among backpackers and can be bought at the roadside at a low price. Depending on what you like, it is possible to eat them with cheese, meat or fish.

Drinks

Tinto: This coffee is a typical, everyday drink in Colombia that is particularly sweet with lots of sugar.

Drinking chocolate: Another popular Colombian drink is chocolate. Local milk is used to make this delicious drink in between meals.

Colombia

The exchange rate for 1000 Colombian Peso is around 0.27 euros (as of February 2020). You can see the prices for certain products as well as the cost of living below.

Cost of living 

Food

Free time

Personal hygiene

Dos

Discover the country’s interior and explore nature inland, not just on the coast.

Be open to the locals: The Colombians are pleasant and hospitable people, especially if you smile at them. Smiling is, after all, a universal language.

Plan your trip carefully: There is so much to see in so little time.

Eat mango with salt: Don’t be afraid to try this typical Colombian snack.

Don'ts

Don't expect buses to be on time: Be patient and wait for a little, you'll get there eventually.

Don't raise your voice towards a local: The Colombians are very laid-back; A hectic pace is absolutely out of place here.

Don't be afraid to try unfamiliar street food: Be open.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

Not necessary 

Vaccine

Yes 

Additional Remarks.

Travel documents must be in good condition and valid for at least six months at the time of entry. We recommend researching the travel document, visa and entry requirements for your home country before your departure. If you travel to Columbia, consult a health care provider before you leave to discuss vaccination requirements.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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