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One week in Colombia

Laguna Beach...
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One week in Colombia

My friend and I are traveling to South America for 2 months this summer, beginning in Bogota on July 1. We can spend about a week in Colombia and would like to know what are the best places to see. So far we know we'd like to see cartagena, but are open to suggestions.

Also, we plan to travel mostly by bus, but the bus routes in Colombia seem particularly long. We would appreciate advice about where it is really important to fly. We are on a budget but also don't want to waste all our time on busing.

Thank you in advance!

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: One week in Colombia

One week, are you kidding? I have spent literally weeks in Bogota itself, making day trips to VDL and over nights to San Gil. I suggest that you pick a city, be it Bogota or Medellin or Cali or Carteg. and spend the week there to do it justice.

Other than this if you are dead set on 7 days and two cities in Colombia, don't take the bus as you will lose a full day if not 1-1/2 days traveling, rather fly.

Good luck and have fun, you will be back, my first trip to Bogota was 1990 for 4 months and I have been back more than a dozen times since.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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2. Re: One week in Colombia

You will understand why bus trips take so long when you see the Colombian landscape! The Andres split into three ranges in Southern Colombia and the slopes are very steep. Surface transportation within each valley is relatively simple and the travel time would be about what you would expect. But if your bus needs to climb an extremely steep mountain slope, then the actual time will be significantly longer. Case in point, Bogota and Medellin look relatively close on the map. And an airplane trip between them is relatively quick. But a bus trip would eat up a day because of the mountains.

On teh plus side, the landscape of Colombia is phenomenally beautiful. You could definitely argue it's the most beautiful country on earth. Add to that the fact that the people are among the friendliest you will find anywhere, and they speak the clearest, easiest-to-understand Spanish out there, and the food is delicious (they grow crops quite well on those steep mountain slopes -- not just Arabica coffee beans), that's why one week is not enough.

BUT, one week is better than zero. Or even six days. If you are committed to only one week, then pair some other place with Bogota. You are already going to be in Bogota, and Bogota is a great place, so that's a natural. Ride up Monserrate. Walk through the incredible Gold Museum (Museu del Oro). Take a trip out of town to the nearby Salt Cathedral in Zipiqueria. Devote three days minimum to Bogota. Then pick one other place.

You could go to Cartagena. It's the most popular tourist destination in Colombia. It's more Caribbean than Colombian, but it's a worthy destination in a two-month South American trip. You could go to Medellin. With its perfect climate (basically, San Diego weather on a mountain side near the equator). a lot of travelers prefer Medellin to Bogota. (For the record, I'm in the minority. I liked Bogota better.) But to get a better feel for the real Colombia, a more natural destination would be better than an urban.

Your best options in that regard would be the Zona Cafetera, the coffee epicenter, with national parks, coffee farms, and beautiful small cities (Salento!) to explore. The other choice would be San Agustin in the far south, with its fantastic archaeological park. That would be an excellent choice if you are proceeding onto Ecuador and Peru after Colombia.

Popayan, Colombia
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3. Re: One week in Colombia

The best city to visit in Colombia is Popayán, this city is smaller than Bogotá or Cartagena, there are less citizens than in Cali, you could visit lots of places, there are many landscapes in here and the sunset is breathtaking. Popayán has the most beautiful religious event in Colombia, and it´s perfect it occurs during one week.

Popayan is the most colonial city, as well is the city with the largest number of churches per citizen.

4. Re: One week in Colombia

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