I'm preparing for 12 days in Colombia in early August, landing in Medellin and flying out of Barranquilla. Having read through these forums a bit, I've got a lot of good ideas and general advice, but at this point I figured it would be worth seeing what some of you might have to say about my trip, specifically... (if I'm to be so lucky)
I'm a 32 year old male traveling by myself and I don't speak the best Spanish (a lot closer to the worst). I do travel internationally a lot and have been to Cartagena, briefly, once before (February of this year). I am also a vegetarian. I don't have a set budget but am hoping to keep things relatively inexpensive--my plan is to mostly stay at hostels or maybe rentals from something like Air BNB--seems more fun and social given the circumstances--however I'd spend a little bit more if I knew something was well worth it...
I get into Medellin via Quito on a Friday evening and have been advised that sticking around for the weekend would be pretty worthwhile. I hear Casa Kiwi in Medellin is a good bet and I'm planning on staying there at first. A friend recommended that I consider a couple of day trips out of Medellin, to El Penol and Santa Fe de Antioquia--I'm not committed, but giving both serious thought.
From there I'm not sure if it would be better to take a bus or plane to Santa Marta. And a part of me really wants to see Cartagena again... But something tells me keeping it simple with this amount of time is probably wiser--so right now i'm thinking of posting up in Santa Marta for a little while and possibly setting up a day or so to Tayrona National Park. At some point I need to get to Barranquilla, and really I'm not sure if that should be just to catch my flight home, or for a little more.
Essentially I've more or less ruled out Bogota, Cali, and probably Cartagena so as to keep things less hectic. I travel with groups for work and things are always so scheduled and detailed that, for vacation, I want to keep a relaxed pace. But very little is set in stone yet, as I'm indecisive and just want to make sure that I make the most of my time in Colombia.
It would be cool to meet people, whether Colombian or other, but I'll be happy even if it's just kind of a introspective solo journey. Literally any thoughts, advice or even criticism you might have will be appreciated. I like to be as informed as possible, and appreciate your time.