I loved how Bogota felt like the real Colombia. You couldn't deny the history and culture in the streets. I loved the food carts with crazy hot sauce, the live music, everything about this bustling city felt authentic. I stay at the cranky croc hostel. It was fantastic and really safe. I would suggest anywhere in Candler. The hostel run a graffiti tour, but I just decided to walk around the city myself. The reception were really kind and gave me a map of where was safe to walk around. The street art was insane & I am so glad we decided to walk around. I wouldn't flash around valuables like iPhones or cameras if walking round alone, just use common sense here. There was so much to see around this area from museums to coffee shops and cafes, to live music, bars full of people watching the football & locals sitting out on the streets. At sunset I recommend you take the cable car up to the monserrate. You will get breathe taking views of the whole city. It is beautiful at sunset on a clear day so check the weather & plan this for the best weather! Also make sure you try the casual dining place "WOK" located across the road from cranky croc. It was so nice to eat fresh vegetables & the owner was super cool & chilled and gave up some tips about the area! I would suggest staying two nights in Bogota. One full day here was great.
This is the start of the coast, so as an Australian I was so happy to get to the beach! Flights with viva Colombia were cheap $30-$40 it's owned by Ryanair, so similar prices/service. In santa Marta I would recommend staying at dreamers hostel. It was so much fun! Really chilled vibes during the day, great big pool, loads of hammocks however a pretty bad restaurant.. head into town for dinner and drinks. There are lane ways full of buzzing bars & places to eat in the main town. It is a really beautiful town, filled with old beautiful churches, colourful buildings, trendy cafes & a huge market so there is plenty to check out
About a two hour drive (70km) from Santa Marta you will find a small but magical caribbean beach town. It is super chilled and hippy. There is a dreamers hostel there, directly on the beach & they can organise all transfers which is great! You can go tubing down the river here which is so fun! It is a bit slow, but worth doing. The views are incredible.
NATIONAL PARK TYRONA
One of the most beautiful national parks just out from Santa Marta. It takes about a three hours through the jungle to reach the beach. You can then rent a tent or a hammock to sleep in. I liked the hammock way more than a tent. They do sell out quicker so its worth arriving easier.. My favourite was Cabo beach!
The most stunning, relaxing, beautiful place! I loved my stay here and would die to go back. Minca is about an hour from Santa Marta. You can get a bus and then you have to get a motor bike really high up in the mountain. The bike ride was really fun but equally as terrifying.. There are no made up roads, I think the only one out of about 15 people who did't come off their bike. I stayed at casa elemento which has the worlds largest hammock! The coolest thing I have ever seen! It is so nice to just relax with a book here and take in the view. I did some day trips to a coffe plantations and a few waterfalls which was really fun. When I stayed there was limited power and water so always good to carry supplied up there & only take what you need in a small backpack.
LOST CITY TREK- I was so upset we weren't able to do this trek because we weren't organised, standard. The trek is 46km & takes you through the amazing jungles, hills and rivers to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern Colombia. A friend did it with an indigenous guid & said it was the best experience.
Cartagena in Colombia is one of the few places in the world that has that old world charm. The streets are filled with culture, beautiful vibrant colours, music & food stands. I could have spent forever wandering the maze of lanes that make up this magical, romantic town. There is lots to see and explore, stunning churches, the gold museum was also really cool. I know it sounds obvious but walk around the wall there is 13km of centuries-old colonial stone walls. If you give yourself enough time, there are also some amazing beaches nearby to explore such as playa blanca and Rosario.
I would recommend staying at La Passion Hotel. It was perfectly located, had a beautiful big rooftop pool. which trust me you will want to use as it is so humid! The interior here was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I loved it so, so much!
Casa Mara is another great boutique hotel. It has a great pool & is so beautiful. It is in a great location. It is out of the walled city but close by to my fav mexican rooftop bar & lots of nightlife!
Hostels - I didn't actually stay at these hostels but my friend Ella suggested staying at mammayena or mystic house.
Malagana Cafe & Bar- Beautiful small, intimate rooftop area with incredible food. The best fish tacos in Colombia and great cocktails. They have a great happy hour with mojitos and margaritas. The food has so much flavour and was fresh. I loved sitting up here at sunset with a cocktail!
Di Silvio Trattoria- This is the best Italian! Such good pizza and amazing pasta! The cocktails were great also but the food is not to be missed. The staff were incredible they were so attentive and just added to the experience. They were so busy I could see them running to the kitchen, so hard working, yet remained friendly & we never felt rushed. This is a must do, we went a few times whilst staying here.
Beer & Laundry - Great place to have your laundry done while eating pizza... win, win!
Stefano's bistro- Great burgers and everything else coming out from the kitchen looked amazing. Good prices and great friendly staff I would recommend this place for lunch. Chicken burger was amazing, highly recommend!
El Baron- This place is tiny but really nice to sit outside by the old church and people watch. We had the meatballs & ceviche which were both fantastic! Really good cocktails & fun happy hour!
Cafe del Mural- This place is so special and a must, must, must visit for coffee lovers! I learnt so much from the owner and had the best time here. It is still the best espresso martiniI have ever had.
Abaco Libros y Cafe- Coffee This is the best coffee store & is open in the mornings. I am from Melbourne and this beats anything we have at home. It's so incredible and the most beautiful book store. I can't recommend coming here enough you will love it. Really amazing service and experienced staff that know all there is to know about coffee.
CASA EN EL AGUA
This hostel is in the middle of the carribian sea! Amazing super chilled vibe, obviously being in the middle of the sea it's hard not to be relaxed.. So great to unwind, to read books, chill out, listen to music at.. Works out about $25 AUD a night so worth it, its such a great experience. To eat you don't have much choice which is not a bad thing because the fresh seafood dinners come directly from the fisherman everyday!!
How to get there- Boats leave directly on a Monday Wednesday and Friday from Cartagena and return on the same days, you book this when you make your reservation. There is no booking fee, so book this with as much notice as possible!
SAN ANDRÉS ISLANDS
You can fly here from Cartagena to a group of islands.. You can do day trips to the islands, swim with manta rays... Real island Caribbean vibe!
One of my favourite cities in the world. It was the former most dangerous city in the world but you wouldn't know it now from walking around the buzzing streets full of bars & cafes. Some parts actually reminded me of noosa… The streets are beautiful, people are dressed really stylish, there’s great boutiques with local designers. I loved all the rooftop cafes & bars… Medellín Museum of Modern Art was incredible, and make sure you go to Parque Arvi!
The Escobar history was of course really interesting here. It was fascinating to chat to locals and hear about their past. There was so much to see and explore in the city! Communal 13 was an amazing, I loved spending time there. I feel like there was so much history & you could really see the real Colombia! Communal 13 was a really dangerous neighbourhood, but it’s been completely turned around. Another area to see is around Favela, again so interesting! You can also do a day trip to Guatape, or even stay here a night..Escobars bombed out mansion stillremains here, you can actually go on a tour and go paint balling there. I didn’t do the tour as I wasn't interested but some other people we met had fun!.The town it’s self is just so beautiful. It is built around lakes, so you can imagine the views.
We stayed in an airbnb but a friend recommend casa kiwi and la playaDrink - One called mansion and Calle 9+1 . All the clubs are five minute walking distance of hostels .
A coffee region about 6 hour from medellin back towards Bogota. You can go horse riding in the valleys, do amazing day treks, cycling, coffee tours are next level here! It is a really beautiful, relaxed, sleepy small town but really stunning. From here you can go to valley corcora which is home to the tallest Palm trees in the world!
Stay at lucinernargo - A really lovely hostel that only charges about $10 AUD a night.. or la serana which is a hostel on a ranch about ten mins outside of the town.