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colombia, 5 weeks

Leeds, United...
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colombia, 5 weeks

HI everyone!

A friend and I are going to be travelling around Colombia for roughly 5 weeks from the start of August until the 9th of September, we have some basic ideas about what to see - Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena etc, but I was wondering what people's must sees are, and also if there is anything you would avoid. I have heard the flower festival is worth seeing, and my friend and I would love to do some diving or beach activities on the coast. We are also interested in the coffee plantations, and possibly the Amazon basin also. Any possible routes are much appreciated (we fly into and out of Bogota) and generally any suggestions! the trip is hopefully going to be a good mix of cultural sight seeing, relaxing, a few nights out and some activity based excursions! once again any advice is most welcome.

Thank you!

Amsterdam, The...
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1. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

I travelled in Colombia for 5 weeks in Jan-Feb 2013. My favourite regions were the coffee region (Salento & Valle de Cocora; termales de Santa Rosa...); and San Gil and surroundings. I also liked the big cities better than I had expected in advance. And the fact that there is such a different climate and culture (food, music etc) in the north. It's a very diverse country.

It was also more expensive than I had hoped... :-) Especially buses are not cheap and you often need to travel long distances. You could also fly, and there are stories about cheap flights ($20-30) but when I was there I couldn't really find them... cheapest was Medellín - Cartagena at $80 and Cartagena - Bogotá at about $95. Not super expensive but not super cheap either.

Hotels in the big cicites are also not that cheap (about $30 and up for a double room with bathroom). In smaller towns they are cheaper (about $15 and up for room + bathroom).

You can read more Colombia tips in my blog.

Have fun preparing!

Cecilia

…travelpod.com/travel-blog/…tpod.html

Edited: 03 July 2013, 13:37
Bogota, Colombia
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for Colombia
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2. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

There is a low cost airline called Viva Colombia. One way tickets can be as low as USD 30 (Medellin-Cartagena, or Medellin-Bogota).

It is not an urban legend :-)

Amsterdam, The...
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3. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

Yes, I tried Viva, Avianca, Lan, etc.... but after all the extra costs of luggage and whatnot, Viva was still more expensive than Avianca / Lan. Other tourists couldn't find those super deals either. We tried through the internet from Europe (appears to be cheap but then when you try to finalize booking it's suddenly double the cost); and through local tour agencies in San Gil and in Medellín. 70 euros / 80US$ was the cheapest they could offer me.

If someone can tell me HOW and WHERE to book those super deals I'd be happy to know. Because me and all the other tourists I spoke to, couldn't find them. Perhaps only for people carrying a Colombian debit / credit card?

Edited: 03 July 2013, 15:43
Cartagena District...
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for Cartagena, Colombia
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4. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

Cecile,

Those deals that Stephan mentioned are true, but are offered in very rare occasions and often at inconvenient departure and/or arrival times. Do not count on them if you are a tourist with limited time to enjoy in the country.

I have never been on a vivacolombia flight before but understand it has rock bottom prices if you fly with one only bag and do not care that there are no seats assigned...also is a lot more disorganized than all other airlines.

Ive also had pretty good luck with Despegar.com, it is a consolidator so it may send you on one airline and the return flight on another one.

Finally, copaair.com has offered me consistent good and cheaper results if compared to Avianca.

Cheers,

Leeds, United...
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5. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

cheers guys this is all very helpful and much appreciated. Shall definitely have a look at your blog Cecile. With regards to the internal flights, do you have to book in advance to get good prices or can you leave it until a few days before generally? those airline suggestions look really good thank you.

any other hints and tips please keep them coming!

thanks again guys

Las Vegas, Nevada
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6. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

If you are going to be in Colombia for 5 weeks, please please please please go to San Agustin. It's worth a minimum of three days, including the one complete travel day it will take to get there from just about anywhere else in Colombia. I would recommend passing through Popayan, too, on your way out. I was in Colombia for 11 days last fall and my biggest regret of the way-too-short trip was not devoting a day to Popayan,

Second biggest regret? Not going up Monserrate in Bogota. Especially since there is a funicular. I did Usaqen instead, which was OK, but it wasn't a funicular up Monserrate. That, however, is a more correctable oversight than Popayan as Bogota is far more accessible.

Medellin
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7. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

Oscar - the flower festival is well worth it; the calbagata is the best day IMO, which this year is on the 4th. It is a massive horse parade. The car parade the next weekend I also pretty good.

www.avianca.com has cheap seats if you book in advance.

www.vivacolombia.co also has cheap seats if you book in advance.

Both can be cheaper than the bus, which in Colombia generally suck (you do not, that I have seen, find the nice luxury buses like the have in Central America or Peru).

Medellin
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8. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

for info below.

medellin.gov.co/irj/portal/medellinIngles…

Medellin
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9. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

medellin.gov.co/irj/portal/medellinIngles…

Amsterdam, The...
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10. Re: colombia, 5 weeks

Bolivariano buses can be okay: aircon (very cold!! Bring extra clothes on board), toilet... They don't stop for extra passengers along the way. They are about us$3-5 more expensive for an 8 hour ride but save you an hour or more travel time. Other companies spend that much time trying to gather more passengers along the way.

Flying can be cheaper on long legs but mind the fact that low cost airlines such as Viva and Copa charge extra for chcecked luggage and/or more than 7 (?) kilos of luggage, which an overseas 5 week traveller is bound to carry, in the end all the extra fees tend to add up to more than Lan or Avianca might charge. Also it tends to be more expensive (for any airline) when booking with a foreign card. It's hard to actually find those cheap us$30) flights that you hear so much about.

Despegar.com seems to be a website to campare all airlines but I tried it and when coming to the process of paying, prices were always suddenly double or more. And I read a report about someone who paid for tickets through Despegar and the ticket didn't work at the airport and they had to buy a new one there.

Cecilia

…travelpod.com/travel-blog/…tpod.html