33 days in Colombia & Otavalo Itinerary

33 days in Colombia & Otavalo Itinerary

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Route & dates

33 days in Colombia & Otavalo Itinerary

Start: Cartagena, Colombia
1
Cartagena, Colombia
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
2
Santa Marta, Colombia
— 7 nights
+2
Fly + taxi + bus:  5​h 15​min
3
San Gil, Colombia
— 3 nights
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  3​h 15​min
4
Medellin, Colombia
— 5 nights
Fly + bus:  3​h
5
Salento, Colombia
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
6
Cali, Colombia
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
7
Popayan, Colombia
— 3 nights
Drive:  10​h 15​min
8
Otavalo, Ecuador
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  14​h 45​min
End: Buenos Aires, Argentina

4
nights
Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena ©
The site of the continent's first Spanish colony, Cartagena retains much of its colonial flavor thanks to a World Heritage-listed old town, encircled by old walls and protected by imposing fortresses.
When in Cartagena, make a side trip to see Playa Blanca in Isla Baru, approximately 1h 05 min away. There's lots more to do: step into the grandiose world of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, contemplate the long history of Walled City of Cartagena, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver, and don't miss a visit to Las Bovedas.

For where to stay, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Cartagena trip itinerary maker .

If you are flying in from United Kingdom, the closest major airports are Rafael Nuñez International Airport and Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport. In November in Cartagena, expect temperatures between 37°C during the day and 30°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Sat) so you can go by car to Santa Marta.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Oceanario, Playa Blanca
Highlights from your plan
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas ©
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
Walled City of Cartagena ©
Walled City of Cartagena
Plaza Santo Domingo ©
Plaza Santo Domingo

7
nights
Santa Marta, Colombia

Santa Marta ©
Many visitors begin their Santa Marta holiday, surrounded by urban clutter and heavy traffic, expecting little from the city in terms of historical importance.
Change things up with these side-trips from Santa Marta: Minca (El Dorado Bird Reserve & Memorial Museum of the Sierra Nevada). Next up on the itinerary: explore the striking landscape of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Blanca, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Grande, and see the interesting displays at Museo del Oro Tairona - Casa de la Aduana.

To see traveler tips, reviews, maps, and tourist information, read Santa Marta trip planner.

Getting from Cartagena to Santa Marta by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. In November, daytime highs in Santa Marta are 38°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to San Gil.

Things to do in Santa Marta

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Minca, Playa Grande
Highlights from your plan
Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona ©
Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
Scuba & Snorkeling
Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino ©
Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

3
nights
San Gil, Colombia

San Gil ©
Providing some of the region's best opportunities for paragliding, rappelling, white-water rafting, kayaking, hiking, and caving, San Gil appeals to adventure seekers and nature lovers wishing to escape overcrowded Bogota, located several hours' drive to the south.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Sun): walk around Parque La Libertad and then explore the striking landscape of Parque Nacional de Chicamocha. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: head outdoors with Outdoor Activities and then take in the dramatic scenery at Cascada de Juan Curi.

To find reviews, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the San Gil trip planner .

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Santa Marta to San Gil in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. In November, San Gil is a bit cooler than Santa Marta - with highs of 30°C and lows of 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 3rd (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Medellin.

Things to do in San Gil

Parks Nature Adventure

Side Trip

Parque Nacional de Chicamocha
Highlights from your plan
Parque Nacional de Chicamocha ©
Parque Nacional de Chicamocha
River Rafting & Tubing
Parque La Libertad ©
Parque La Libertad

5
nights
Medellin, Colombia

Nestled between rising hills in a narrow valley, Medellin serves as an energetic melting pot of people from all socio-economic classes.
Take a break from Medellin with a short trip to Piedra Del Penol in Guatape, about 1h 50 min away. There's lots more to do: take in the local highlights with Walking tours, observe the fascinating underwater world at Parque Explora, let the kids burn off some steam at Parque Lleras, and get engrossed in the history at Museo de Antioquia.

For photos, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Medellin trip app .

Getting from San Gil to Medellin by combination of bus and flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Medellin can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Salento.

Things to do in Medellin

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trips

Parroquia la Nina Maria, Piedra Del Penol
Highlights from your plan
Walking tours
Plaza Botero ©
Plaza Botero
Parque Explora ©
Parque Explora

3
nights
Salento, Colombia

Salento ©
Founded in 1842, the town of Salento represents the oldest established settlement in Quindio.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Mon): appreciate the views at Valle del Cocora and then explore the striking landscape of Bosques de Cocora. On the next day, look for all kinds of wild species at Kasaguadua Natural Reserve, indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink, and then take a spin around town with Bike Tours.

For photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Salento tour itinerary maker .

Getting from Medellin to Salento by combination of flight and bus takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In December, daily temperatures in Salento can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 20°C. On the 11th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Cali.

Things to do in Salento

Parks Tours Nature
Highlights from your plan
Kasaguadua Natural Reserve ©
Kasaguadua Natural Reserve
Bosques de Cocora ©
Bosques de Cocora
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

3
nights
Cali, Colombia

Cali ©
Learning how to salsa may be the most popular thing to do in Cali, but this giant city in southwestern Colombia represents more than just the "Salsa Capital of the World." Home to over 2 million people, thriving Cali serves as a major commercial and industrial center in South America, boasting the fastest-growing economy in Colombia.
Cali is known for zoos & aquariums, historic sites, museums, nightlife, and shopping. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: see the interesting displays at Museo Aereo Fenix, admire the striking features of El Gato Del Rio( Gato De Tejada), get to know the resident critters at Zoologico de Cali, and appreciate the history behind Cristo Rey.

To find out how to plan a trip to Cali, use our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by car from Salento to Cali takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 35°C in December, and nighttime lows around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 14th (Sat) to allow time for the car ride to Popayan.

Things to do in Cali

Museums Zoos & Aquariums Parks
Highlights from your plan
Museo Aereo Fenix ©
Museo Aereo Fenix
Zoologico de Cali ©
Zoologico de Cali
Cristo Rey ©
Cristo Rey

3
nights
Popayan, Colombia

Popayan ©
Popayan vacations hold plenty of appeal for international and domestic visitors, as the city represent one of the most entertaining and culturally enriching urban centers on the continent.
Spend the 15th (Sun) exploring nature at Parque Natural de Purace. There's lots more to do: don't miss a visit to Parque Caldas, admire the landmark architecture of Centro Historico de Popayan, wander the streets of Pueblito Patojo, and take some stellar pictures from Morro del Tulcan.

For reviews, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Popayan day trip app .

Traveling by car from Cali to Popayan takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from Cali in December, you will find days in Popayan are little chillier (28°C), and nights are somewhat warmer (27°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Tue) so you can travel to Otavalo.

Things to do in Popayan

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Parque Natural de Purace ©
Parque Natural de Purace
Parque Caldas ©
Parque Caldas
Torre del Reloj ©
Torre del Reloj

2
nights
Otavalo, Ecuador

Otavalo ©
An Andean market town that has done business its own way for hundreds of years, Otavalo has a largely indigenous population.
Explore Otavalo's surroundings by going to The Quitsato Sundial (in Cayambe), Cuicocha (in Cotacachi) and Zoológico de Quito (in Guayllabamba). Next up on the itinerary: browse the eclectic array of goods at Otavalo Market, walk around Condor Park, pick up some local products at Mercado 24 de Mayo, and contemplate the long history of Estacion Tren de la Libertad - Ibarra.

To find maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Otavalo trip planner .

Drive from Popayan to Otavalo in 10.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Otavalo

Parks Nature Shopping

Side Trips

Ibarra, Cuicocha, Zoológico de Quito
Highlights from your plan
Cuicocha ©
Cuicocha
Otavalo Market ©
Otavalo Market
Cascada de  Peguche ©
Cascada de Peguche

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