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1 Week in Colombia Itinerary: Guide to the Colombian Coast

Is Colombia part of the Caribbean? You may be surprised to learn about the Colombia Caribbean region on the coast! A Colombia trip itinerary wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the Colombian Caribbean. How long you spend on the Colombian coast will depend on how much time you have to spare. This one week in Colombia itinerary for the coast will help you maximize your time. I also have two- and three-week itineraries!

Is Colombia in the Caribbean?

If you’re asking, “Is Colombia Caribbean?” the answer is yes, or at least partially! A portion of Colombia is located in the Caribbean region. The northern Colombian coast borders the Caribbean Sea, providing access to beautiful beaches, islands, and coastal landscapes.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Colombia ToursClick here to check out the top Colombia tours
Best Colombia Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Colombia
Best Colombia Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Colombia

1 Week in Colombia Itinerary: Exploring the Colombian Caribbean Region

Day 1: Cartagena

1 Week in Colombia Itinerary: Guide to the Colombian Coast

While I enjoyed Cartagena, one day was enough for my Colombia trip itinerary. Plus, if you plan on returning to Cartagena for a flight or bus to your next destination, you will get an extra day in the city. There is much more to see and do throughout the Colombia Caribbean region than touristy Cartagena!

What to Do in Cartagena

  • Visit the historic center, which is surrounded by colonial-era walls
  • Sample local delicacies like arepas and empanadas
  • Tour local museums and historic sites to learn about Cartagena’s past
  • Shop for handmade souvenirs to bring home

Quick Tip: For my guide to Cartagena, including accommodation recommendations, click here

Need Transportation in Colombia?

I highly recommend booking Colombia transportation with GottoGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and flights on their website—I love their customer service. I know them personally from my time living in Guatemala, and they genuinely care for their customers. If a delay occurs and you miss your bus, call them for help.

If you book through GottoGo, you will pay more than at the bus station, but it’s worth it for the ease and security. Click here to search for transportation in Colombia.

Day 2: Santa Marta

1 Week in Colombia Itinerary: Guide to the Colombian Coast

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Santa Marta. If you forgot to pack anything, it’s the best place to buy items for a reasonable price. There are also some beautiful beaches, museums, and neighboring villages to explore.

What to Do in Santa Marta

  • Trek through the jungle to reach the Lost City’s ancient ruins
  • Learn to salsa dance
  • Visit the hacienda where Simon Bolivar spent his last days
  • Go scuba diving or snorkeling

Quick Tip: For my guide to Santa Marta, including accommodation recommendations, click here.

Day 3: Taganga

1 Week in Colombia Itinerary: Guide to the Colombian Coast

I haven’t written a travel guide to Taganga yet. Although I’ve visited three times, I don’t feel I know the place well enough to write a complete guide. I did write about it in my Santa Marta Guide, though. Here are my accommodation recommendations for Taganga:

Cabañas Paraiso

Hostal Aurora

Hostal Casa Roma

Top Tip: If you only have one night, I would book two in Taganga or Santa Marta and hop on the bus to visit the town you aren’t staying in. Since the towns are so close, this will save you time and money.

What to Do in Taganga

  • Hike to Playa Grande, a secluded beach
  • Try a new watersport like windsurfing
  • Stroll through the colorful village shops
  • Hit the town at night for an exciting party scene

Days 4-5: Parque Tayrona

Colombia Guides | Top Tips for visiting Parque Tayrona

You must visit Parque Tayrona to explore the Colombian Carribean fully. I recommend staying for three nights if you have the time. Don’t worry if you can’t cope with camping—they also have eco pods available. However, they are expensive, so this isn’t the best option for budget travelers. To save time, you can also visit by bus or boat for the day.

What to Do in Parque Tayrona

  • Lounge on the beach
  • Tour centuries-old archaeological sites
  • Watch for birds and wildlife like monkeys and iguanas
  • Take a boat tour of the Colombian coast

For my guide to Parque Tayrona, including accommodation recommendations, click here.

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Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

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. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Day 6: Minca

I loved Minca! It’s a lot cooler than the rest of the Colombian coast, and it was wonderful to escape the heat of the beach for a night. There are coffee farms and waterfalls throughout Minca, so you’ll have plenty of options.

What to Do in Minca

  • Hike to a waterfall and swim in the natural pool
  • Learn about how coffee beans are grown and harvested at a local farm
  • Take a yoga or meditation class to recenter yourself
  • Relax in a hammock while enjoying scenic Colombia Caribbean views

For my guide to Minca, including accommodation recommendations, click here.

Day 7: Return to Cartagena or Santa Marta

Return to Cartagena or Santa Marta for transportation, depending on your next destination.

If you need help getting to your next destination, read 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

Quick Tip: View my full Colombia packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Colombia Essentials shopping list here.

Colombia Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Colombia?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Colombia which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Colombia on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Colombia?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Colombia?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

1 Week in Colombia Itinerary: Final Thoughts

I hope this guide to one week in Colombia is helpful if you’re backpacking throughout the country. Don’t forget to check out my other guides! Want a longer Colombia itinerary? You can also follow my two- or three-week guides to the Colombian coast.

1 week itinerary for Colombian Caribbean Coast

If you like this Northern Colombia Itinerary, save it in your Stipple trip planner, where you will find destinations, things to do, and accommodations in one place without juggling between several apps.

1 week itinerary for Colombian Caribbean Coast

This post was proofread by Grammarly.