If you are planning a trip to Colombia it just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Caribbean coast. Depending on how much time you have to spare a 3-week itinerary for the Caribbean Coast Colombia.
As this is a 3-week Colombia itinerary there are things you may want to skip like doing the Lost City, it’s a hard trek and not for everybody. So feel free to extend any place you arrive and like. In most places along this coast, there is no need to book accommodation a long time in advance. I normally book the night before on booking.com unless it is peak season and then you might want to book a little earlier. The exception to this is Minca as for some reason it gets booked up quickly!
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
Day 1-2 Cartagena
As much as I enjoyed Cartagena 1-2 days here was enough for me. Plus if you are planning on returning here to catch a flight or bus to your next place you can always extend your stay if you want to!
For my guide to Cartagena including accommodation, recommendations click here.
Need to book transportation in Colombia?
I highly recommend booking all of your Colombia transportation with GuateGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from my time living in Guatemala and they really do look after their customers. So if anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them and they are always there to help.
If you book through them you will pay a little more than if you book in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security in my opinion. Click here to search for transportation in Colombia.
Day 3-4 Santa Marta
I actually preferred Santa Marta to Cartagena. As beautiful as Cartagena is it is the most expensive place I’ve been to in Colombia and has a very different more touristy vibe. Gringos vacation in Cartagena and Colombians vacation in Santa Marta. Here is the best place to buy anything you need for the best prices. There are also some great beaches, museums and neighboring villages to explore.
For my guide to Santa Marta including accommodation, recommendations click here.
Day 5-8 Lost City Trek
If you want to do the Lost City tour all of the operators pick up from Santa Marta so it makes sense to do it while you are here. You are going to want a day or so to rest after the hike so you can either do that in Santa Marta or head to Taganga for a few days.
For my guide to The Lost City click here.
Day 9 -10 Taganga
I haven’t written a full guide to Taganga as although I went there three times I don’t feel like I got to know the place enough to write a full guide. I have written about it in my Santa Marta Guide though and here are my accommodation recommendations:
Day 11 – Parque Tayrona
You can not visit the Caribbean sea coast and not visit Parque Tayrona if you can I recommend staying 3 nights. If you can’t cope with camping they do have eco pods available, although they are on the expensive side!
For my guide to Parque Tayrona including accommodation, recommendations click here.
Day 12-13 Minca
I loved Minca! Many people say just stay there for a day, but if you have the time I would stay longer. It’s a lot cooler than the rest of the coast and I really enjoyed escaping the heat of the beach for a few nights. There are coffee farms and waterfalls to explore so you won’t get bored! It actually reminded me a little of Guatemala which is probably why I loved it so much.
For my guide to Minca including accommodation, recommendations click here.
Day 14 -16 Palomino
If you prefer a less crowded beach and more laid-back beach vibes then Palomino is likely going to be somewhere you won’t want to leave! I would stay for at least 3 days here chilling on the beach and tubbing on the river!
For my guide to Palomino including accommodation, recommendations click here.
Day 17 -19 Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas
This and the Lost City were my favorite things I’ve done in Colombia. It really was an incredible trip! I mean, just take a look at the pictures in my guide and this video.
For my guide to Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas click here.
Day 20-21 Return to Santa Marta/ Cartagena
I hope this is helpful if you are backpacking in Colombia be sure to check out my other guides! Also, you can follow my 1-week and 2-week Itineraries for the Caribbean coast.
If you need help getting to your next destination take a read of my Colombia transport guides:
How to get from Medellín to Cartagena
How to get from Bogotá to Medellín on the bus or plane
How to travel from Medellín to Santa Marta
How to get from El Dorado airport in Bogota to La Candelaria
Using Public Transport in Medellin
This post was proofread by Grammarly