Travelling to a new country usually requires quite a bit of preparation. One of the most challenging parts of this planning process is deciding what destinations within that county you would like to visit.
This task is especially challenging when you are travelling to a country like Colombia. Deciding where to go and in what order, are part of the creation of a Colombia Itinerary: the most difficult part in planning your trip to this country.
One of the main reasons why it can be so difficult to plan your trip to Colombia is its size. Colombia is as big as Spain and France together and many travellers underestimate the distances between cities and attractions.
On top of that, roads are not always in the best shape and the mountainous topography makes it even harder to get from A to B.
Additionally, there are some destinations that can only be visited during some specific periods and others that shine the best at some specific moments.
In order to help you out with this challenging planning process, I am going to give you my top 5 destinations you should include in your Colombia itinerary if you are planning on coming to Colombia in March 2021.
In my opinion, March is one of the best months to travel to Colombia for the following reasons:
All destinations are opened, except for Caño Cristales and Bahía Solano which only open from July to October.
Tayrona Park is freshly opened after being closed for the entire month of February. This means that you will find the park in its best shape, with good paths and well-recovered nature.
It is considered “low season” so prices tend to be cheaper.
Colombians have no holidays during these days, so there is more availability everywhere.
The weather is usually good. It is right before the rainy period that starts in April.
So, if you are planning on visiting Colombia during March 2021, these are my top 5 favourite destinations you should include in your itinerary:
1. Coffee zone
One of my favourite destinations all year round. The Coffee zone is an area located in the center-north of Colombia, in between the west and the center Andean Mountain Ranges. It is composed of 3 different departments: Risaralda, Quindío, and Caldas.
It has a very pleasant weather during March with temperatures fluctuating between 17 and 23 degrees centigrade.
In addition to the amazing temperatures, the coffee zone is one of the most iconic places of Colombia. People are incredibly friendly and you will find plenty of attractions for every type of traveller.
Landscape lovers will find heaven in the Cocora Valley, where they can enjoy the views over a valley covered in the tallest palm trees in the world.
Hikers will feel at home in the Los Nevados Natural Park. It is an amazing high-altitude park with snow-covered volcanic peaks where you can do multi-day hikes or short single-day treks. Here you can visit high altitude lakes or hike over glaciers on top of some of the highest mountains in Colombia.
For those interested in birdwatching, the coffee zone offers some of the best opportunities in Colombia, which by the way is the #1 country in bird species in the world. In this zone, you will have the possibility of spotting some of the rare and endemic species.
And for those more interested in culture and architecture, the traditional coffee towns of Salento and Filandia will certainly amaze you.
Cartagena has been the most popular travel destination in Colombia for decades and it continues to amaze travellers from all over the world.
During the times of violence and internal conflict in Colombia, one of the only safe places to visit was Cartagena. Therefore, Cartagena has almost 40 years more of experience pleasing travellers than almost all other destination in Colombia.
Even though it might fill a bit touristic sometimes, it is a must for first-time visitors to Colombia. Not including it in your Colombia itinerary will be a mistake you will regret afterward.
Cartagena is an extremely colourful colonial city that has managed to preserve all the traditional houses, churches and plazas. Any tourist will certainly enjoy wondering through its cute little streets, getting “lost” in its many plazas, eating in top restaurants or simply enjoying a coffee in one of the many cozy cafes.
To discover the best of the city, we recommend you take a walking tour of the colonial center and also go visit the Mercado Bazurto, the local market for fresh produce that remains very authentic and colourful.
3. Cerros de Mavecure
An off-the-beaten-track destination that has gained a very good reputation in the last years. The Cerros de Mavecure are 3 amazing rocky hills popping up in the middle of the Amazon Jungle.
Located in the easternmost part of Colombia, right where the Amazon Jungle stops, these hills offer the best possible views over the entire jungle and surrounding areas. Especially around sunset.
These hills are accessible by a 4-hour boat ride through gorgeous nature. The average height of these 3 hills is 250 meters. You are only allowed to climb 2 of them, one to the top (from where you get the best views) and the other one until somewhere in the middle.
The climbing is a medium-challenging trek thought paths created in the back of the hill. It takes around 1.5 hours to get to the top and 45 minutes to come back down.
In Cerros de Mavecure, you will be able to connect with nature and see spectacular wildlife like pink dolphins, wild parrots, and a huge variety of birds.
It is also a unique chance to come in contact with the indigenous people and experience how they live in harmony with nature.
March is a good month to visit the Cerros de Mavecure as the level of the river is quite low and many beaches are uncovered. Therefore, you will have the chance of spending one night in a little beach hut right next to the river and an indigenous village.
Medellin is one of the most appealing cities for foreign travellers. Young people are attracted by its vibrant nightlife. However, this city has plenty of attractions to offer to every type of traveller, even those who are not looking for a party.
The city, that has a very pleasant weather in March, is perhaps the best example of recovery from the violent times. It is crazy to think that a city that was once the most dangerous city in the world, is now a very safe place that is calling the attention of newspapers for its innovation projects instead of its violence.
If you have watched Netflix´s series Narcos, you already have a vague idea of what happened during those dark times. However, you won’t really get the whole picture without you visiting the key sites of this former dangerous city, that is now an example of quick and efficient recovery.
The best ways to really understand what happened and how the city changed, is by taking the Pablo Escobar tour and the Comuna 13 tour.
Additionally, Medellin offers great attractions for nature lovers, such as the Parque Arvi and the Botanical Gardens. The art scene is very much alive here thanks to Fernando Botero who has donated plenty of his most important works to museums and park across the city.
Finally, the surroundings of Medellin offer great day-trip opportunities. I recommend you take a tour to visit the cute and colourful village of Guatapé and climb the Peñol rock to enjoy breathtaking views over lakes and green mountains.
Tayrona is the most visited of all the natural parks in Colombia. The reason is simple: it is gorgeous.
The park is located at the north of Colombia, right between the Caribbean Sea and a mountain chain called the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Its gorgeous white-sand beaches are dotted with huge rocks and are surrounded by jungle.
The park has a lot of beaches, but the most beautiful of all is the one at Cabo San Juan, where you have two almost-identical beaches divided by a huge rock, on top of which there is a majestic viewpoint.
To get to Cabo San Juan, you have to walk for about 2.5 hours through some gorgeous jungle. During this walk, you will get to see plenty of tropical flowers and wildlife.
As it is the most visited of all parks, the paths and beaches can get quite damaged by the impact of having thousands of travellers every day. This is why the park closes every year during the entire month of February. During this month, park officials repair and improve the park facilities and paths and nature gets a deserved rest.
Visiting this park during March, especially during the beginning of the month, allows you to enjoy the park as if it was new. If you are coming to Colombia during this time, you shouldn’t doubt including Tayrona to your Colombia itinerary.
Colombia has plenty of destinations and attractions to visit. I really hope these 5 destinations will help you decide which ones to visit on your upcoming trip to this wonderful country. If you need help planning and organizing your trip, don’t hesitate to contact us.