Colombia

Colombia is such a beautiful country! We are so happy it made the cut on our list as, truth be told, the perception of this country being so bad, we weren’t sure it was a good idea to head there.

Luckily, many of our friends had been, giving us the confidence to go ourselves.

Colombia is truly a gorgeous country to visit. The landscapes are so different from one city to another, and its history is incredible. Not only that, but Colombians are so welcoming and happy. It’s definitely worth visiting and without fear. You’re probably as likely (if not more so) to get pick pocketed in Paris or Barcelona as you are anywhere in Colombia. Furthermore, the homocide rate in Medellin, for instance, is nothing in comparison to US cities like Chicago.

Budget

Sadly, we have again gone over our budget. This was partially due to a flight change that reduced our budget by $200, and our change of plan from visiting the Tayrona national park to go to Casa en el Agua instead. We’re happy we made these changes though.

In total we spent $2,062 vs $1,611 forecasted for nearly 3 weeks in Colombia. Breakdown as per below:

All of our accommodation was great and cheap. In Cartagena, we enjoyed a gorgeous bedroom with seaview and balcony for less than $70 a night. Overall amazing value for money, the perfect country to visit when on a budget. From the amount of European travellers we met, South America seems to be gaining popularity as the ‘new Asia’ as a budget travel destination.

What we would have done differently

Because of a change in our flight, we’ve had to skip Salento and the coffee region altogether because it wasn’t giving us enough time to enjoy the area properly. That’s a big regret for me, as I really wanted to visit this world renowned region.

The region south of Medellin would have probably required another week to enjoy too. Jardin, for example, looks gorgeous but we simply didn’t have enough time to head there.

Doing it again, we would have probably skipped Bogota entirely as we didn’t really like this city. We didn’t find it added anything to our trip, apart from the cheapest place to get flights to San Andres Island.

Recommendations

Accommodation

  • Zippy’s sea view Apartment in San Andres was a great spot to chill. Located on San Luis beach, it is in the quieter part of the island and a perfect place to relax. Bonus points for the seaview as well.
  • Casa en el Agua was an awesome hostel to visit for a couple of days. Nestled in the middle of the Caribbean, it is very much a hostel for young people, meaning a lot of loud music and heavy drinking. Not for everyone. We loved it for 2 days (minus the cockroaches in our room). You could do it on a budget if you fancied a dorm room with hammocks – something different!
  • Penthouse 360 in Cartagena was a great spot to enjoy the city. It is quite far from the bustling old town and Getsemani (not walkable), but easy and cheap enough to reach via taxi and the views from the top of the building were insane.
  • Hostal Lleras 8 in Medellin was one of our top value for money hostels. Good little private room with shared bathroom. Great kitchen and shower facilities, and good internet. Only downside is that it is located in El Poblado’s nightlife hot spot, so it is loud at night but nothing good earplugs can’t fix.

For a bite or a drink

  • Hotel Charlee in Medellin was a cool little spot for a cold beer with sunset views.
  • El Buffet de la Plaza in Getsemani was a great venue for some very good local food at a great price. Service is slow though.
  • El Paraiso in San Andres. It’s right on the beach and a good feed for a good price.
  • Aguacate and Bonhomia in Medellin were good spots for a nice drink in the evening. Aguacate had a great happy hour and Bonhomia a gorgeous terrace.

Activities

  • When in San Andres, heading to the Cays is a must do. All tours go there and it’s the No.1 thing to do there. But be warned, it is PACKED with people. It is very annoying, but the places you visit are so incredible that it helps forgetting the nuisance of the crowds.
  • I can’t praise free walking tours enough. We only used podcasts in Europe to learn about the history of the city we were visiting (which were great), but walking tours really are next level amazing. We used Free Tour Cartagena in Cartagena, Real city tour in Medellin for the city center and Zippy Tour for Comuna 13. We loved every single one of them.
  • Our day trip to Guatape was one of the highlights of Colombia. Going with ‘Van Por Colombia’ was amazing, and such great value for money. The guides were awesome, sights beautiful, and food delicious. I can’t praise them enough.
  • Though we missed out on visiting the Salento region and the coffee fields, we LOVED our coffee farm tour at the Finca La Leona coffee farm. Fabian, the owner, was so passionate about his job and you could tell he was super happy to share his passion with others. At 120,000 pesos for the both of us, it was a fantastic experience only 30 min away from Medellin.

#TheDexplorers

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