Colombia Vacation: How to build it in 8 steps • Lulo Colombia Travel

How to build your Colombia Vacation in 8 steps

Going on holidays to Colombia is a thrilling experience. However, for this experience to be a successful and memorable one, a lot of preparation needs to be done. In this article, I am going to break down the entire process of how to build a successful Colombia Vacation in 8 practical steps.


Throughout the last years, I have personally designed, planned, organized and executed hundreds and hundreds of successful holiday trips to Colombia for foreigner tourists.


That being said, I have to admit that I have also failed at building some trips. Especially at the beginning when we were just starting with the agency.


Luckily, none of those failures was too serious to stop us in our goal of helping foreigners have the best holidays of their lives in Colombia.


On the contrary, those failures made us stronger and provided us with vital lessons. We learned what went wrong and made sure not to make those mistakes again.


With all that experience, we are now confident to tell you what the 8 essential steps are to make sure your trip to Colombia is a complete success.

1. Define Your Travel Dates:

The first step is one of the most important ones: deciding on your travel dates. It might seem obvious, but it is a key factor.


You don’t necessarily need to know the exact dates, but you do need to know the month in which you will be travelling to Colombia.


This is very important as some of Colombia’s destinations and attractions are seasonal. Therefore, before you start dreaming about the destinations you can visit, make sure you define your travel dates to make sure you can actually visit them.

Colombia Vacation

2. Define The Duration Of Your Trip:

Colombia is a very big country, roughly the size of Spain and Portugal combined and distances connecting its destinations are very long.


Deciding on how long you are willing to stay in Colombia from the very beginning, will help you tremendously in the planning process.

Again, you don’t have know the exact number of days. However, having a rough estimate (i.e. 2 weeks), will allow you to get a realistic approach of how many destinations you can visit during your trip.


This will be extremely helpful for when you have to prioritize and chose the places you are going to visit.

3. Get Inspired

If you are reading this post, chances are you have already decided to visit Colombia. But are you already aware of all the amazing places you can visit here?


As mentioned before, Colombia is a very big country. But besides being big, this country’s attractions for tourists are endless.


From jungles to deserts. From Caribbean beaches to the rough pacific coast. From high-altitude glaciers to vast green flatlands. From cute and charming colonial villages to huge cosmopolitan cities. You get my point, Colombia has it all.


Unless you are planning on staying 6 months, you will have to choose just a few destinations for your Colombia Vacation.


However, before you start choosing (which is the next step), start by letting yourself be inspired by everything Colombia has to offer.


I know this is a time-consuming task and there is way too much information online, but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.

2 weeks in Colombia

A great way to start is to go through all the destinations we recommend visiting in Colombia. You can check them here.


Every destination comes with a short summary of why that place is special, some general information about its location, altitude, population, climate, etc. Additionally, it comes with a selection of amazing pictures and videos of that places to help you decide if that place is for you or not.


Lastly, every destination includes a carefully curated selection of the best tours you can do there. This will also help you understand what kind of place it is and decide if you want to include in your trip.


While you are browsing through this list of destinations, make sure to make a Wishlist. My advice is to write down the name of each destination you like and mark it as either:


– a must

– very interesting option

– would be nice only if time allows


Once you have checked all destinations and have finished your Wishlist, then you are ready to move to step 4.


  4. Choose The Destinations You Would Like To Visit

This is one of the hardest challenges of planning your trip. With so many options, it is really hard to choose. Especially if you need to agree on this with 2, 3, 4 or more co-travellers.


In this step is when you merge the results of the previous 3 steps. Start with the easier task: eliminating from your Wishlist, any destination that is closed during your travel dates.


Then, take all the other destinations in your Wishlist and add the amount of days you would like to spend in each of them.


Bear in mind that you will also need to count for some transport time. Some destinations are harder to reach than others, but as a first approach, assume that you will need a half-day to move from one place to another.


Add all these number of days (a) and compare it with the total number of days you are planning on staying in Colombia (b).


If (b) is greater than (a), great news. You can then decide between:

– Staying longer in all or some of the destinations chosen.

– Add an extra destination to your list.


However, I am pretty sure that you will end up with the opposite situation: (a) is greater than (b). In this case, you need to start prioritizing and believe me, this a tough task.


Start by removing from your list destinations marked as “would be nice only if time allows” until (a) equals (b).


If you don’t reach this point by eliminating all the destinations with this mark, then continue the same process with the destinations marked as “very interesting option”.


If you have not reached the equality point and you only have destinations marked as “a must”, then you have a problem.


There is no standard solution to this problem, but  what can help you is to talk to somebody who has already travelled to Colombia.


Even better, you can talk to us. We know this country like the back of our hand and have organized hundreds of trips to Colombia for foreigners. We can help you prioritize and decide which destinations need to stay and which ones will have to be left out.

Driving in Colombia

5. Come Up With a Route

Once you have your final list of destinations and you know that you will have enough time to visit them, it is time to design the route.


This is the most challenging of the steps and it can be frustrating to some people.


Colombia is difficult country to navigate. Distances are long, roads are mainly curvy and mountainous, and they are often in a bad shape. What might look like a short distance on a map, might actually take you a very long time.

Colombia Vacation

For example, the road from Bogota to Cartagena is about 1000 kilometres long. You might think you could do it in around 8-10 hours, but in reality, it takes more than 20 hours of non-stop driving.


On the other hand, the flight from Bogota to Cartagena takes just a bit longer than 1 hour.


You must be thinking that flying is therefore the best way to move around Colombia, and it generally is. However, there are some restrictions to take into account:


– Not all destinations are reachable by plane. Some remote destinations (like Tierradentro) are at least 4 or 5 hours driving away from the nearest airport.

– Not all destinations have daily flight frequencies. Some places like Cerros de Mavecure have just a few flights a week.

– There are not that many direct flights between secondary cities (e.i. there is no direct flight from Popayan to the Coffee Zone or from Santa Marta to Cartagena). This implies that you either take some sort of land transportation or have to make an annoying stop-over in Bogota.

– There are some small airports that suffer a lot from bad weather and get many flights cancelled and delayed.

– Some destinations are only served by charted flights.


In this step is when the help from a travel agent can really come in hand. Of course, you can figure out the perfect route on your own, but the odds are that it is going to take you a long time and you will have to do quite some research. It is a frustrating task to do if you do not have the experience for it.


If you are in for trying to figure the ideal route by yourself, then my advice is to make an excel file with all the destinations and start playing with their order. Have Google Maps and a flight checker such as SkyScanner opened in your computer and try finding the best transportation mode for each connection between destinations.


Be patient and keep trying different combinations until you find that ideal route for your trip.

6. Choose The Activities You Would Like To Do In Each Destination

With the ideal route already designed, the next step is to start deciding on what activities you want to do in each location.


I am sure you that by now you already have a good idea of this, but it is important to choose them and write them down.


Make sure to check the duration of each activity to ensure you will have enough time to do them.


Don’t forget to keep some free time in some destinations for you to rest, relax and be able to take some last-minute tour or activity.

7. Find Ideal Providers For All The Services

By step 7, your travel itinerary for your Colombia Vacation is ready. Now, it is time to start deciding on your providers.


You will need to do quite some research to find the best hotels and tour operator in each location.


Tools like or TripAdvisor can be quite helpful at first. However, be aware that there are quite a lot of fake reviews on those platforms. We have even heard of hotels hiring people to write excellent comments about their hotel and terrible ones about their competitors.

Colombia Vacation

Famous travel guides such as Lonely Planet, the Rough Guide or Le Routard might be more trustworthy. Nevertheless, don’t forget that these books are printed every 5 years or so. This means that by the time you read the guide, the information is already outdated. Hence, always check the publishing date of the guide before taking a decision.


The ideal way to find the best providers for all the services you are going to need, is to ask recommendations from friends who have already come to Colombia or even better, contact a local travel agent.

8. Book


Once you have selected the ideal providers for all the services you are going to need, it is time to start booking. Unfortunately, this is not always such an easy process.


Sure, you can easily buy your flight tickets and make hotel reservations online. However, not all the good hotels are bookable through platforms like Some other might be available in these platforms but might later contact you to ask you for the payment of a deposit that needs to be done by wire transfer only.


Additionally, the website of some of the smaller airlines might not accept credit cards issued outside of Colombia or might have the information only in Spanish.


The ideal way to find the best providers for all the services you are going to need, is to ask recommendations from friends who have already come to Colombia or even better, contact a local travel agent.

Colombia vacation

Finally, there is no good and safe place to book the land transport.


Therefore, most travellers are faced with 2 options:


– Book the essentials (international flights, some local flights and hotels in the big and medium cities), arrive to Colombia and try to figure things along the way, or

– Contact a specialized travel agency that helps you with all the bookings.


Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying it is impossible to organize the trip on your own. It certainly is and many people do it. However, you need to know that it will require a lot of time and you will be taking some risks.

Conclusion On The Process of Building Your Colombia Vacation:

Planning a trip to Colombia is not easy.  It is a country that is just waking up after decades of being practically closed to tourism and its infrastructure is still lagging behind.


However, it is one of the most amazing countries on earth and you should certainly consider visiting it. Especially now that its authenticity is still almost intact.


With this guide on how to build your Colombia Vacation in 8 practical steps, you will have some structure to follow and help you plan the trip of your life.


If you would like the help of local experts to help you with the entire process, or just some parts of it, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you have the trip of your lifetime.


Discover your ideal itinerary for free!


At Lulo Colombia Travel, we create amazing travel itineraries that are tailor-made to your travel style and preferences.


Let us help you come up with an ideal route for your trip in Colombia. By answering the following short questions we will provide you on the spot with a free and personalized itinerary that will serve as a starting point for an unforgettable journey!


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