10-Days Along the Colombian Caribbean Coast

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Advisor - Fora
Curated By


  • Nature Escapes

  • Family Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Colombia

  • Local Culture

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Food

An aerial view of the Island
Fora’s Take

Embark on an enthralling exploration of the Colombian Caribbean Coast, where cultural wonders, mouthwatering cuisine and breathtaking conservation blend seamlessly. This carefully curated itinerary is your family's passport to guided adventures, unique escapades and the perfect blend of leisure and excitement.

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Day 1: Sun-kissed welcome at Santa Marta

A waterfall against rocks.

Touch down at Santa Marta Airport (SMR) and transfer to your beachside haven. Dive into your resort's refreshing pools and private beach. Savor divine dining options, nightly entertainment and cultural delights right on-site.

Day 2: The treasures of Tayrona National Park

A picture of a hut.

Set off on a guided hike through Tayrona National Park's lush rainforests and pristine beaches. Unearth the ancient legacy of the Tairona people and the cultural wonders of their descendants, the Kogui. With various hiking options suited to your stamina and preferences, this adventure caters to kids and adults alike. As you trek, embrace encounters with wildlife, dips in stretches of untouched sea and tantalizing paletas (popsicles) from local vendors. Savor a casual outdoor lunch at one of the park's restaurants. For an enchanting return journey, opt for a ride on horseback — and be sure to keep an eye out for howler monkeys in the treetops along the way.

Day 3: Minca’s charms

A picture of a street art on the wall.

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Santa Marta is a highlight not to be missed: the Marinka Waterfalls, a twin set of lush jungle cascades embraced by the forest. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you swim in deep pools, relax in giant hammocks and relish the offerings of the onsite café. Next, step into history at La Victoria Coffee Farm, established in 1892. Delve into the journey of coffee cultivation, witnessing the transformation from cherry to cup. Don't miss the chance to bring home a piece of this legacy with La Victoria brand coffee available for purchase. Before leaving the mountain oasis, indulge your senses at Siembra Boutique Hostel, where picturesque jungle vistas provide the backdrop for a sumptuous meal. Dine on the open-air patio, birdwatching as you savor locally-sourced delicacies. Vegetarian and vegan options are aplenty, guaranteeing a feast for all tastes.

Day 4: Santa Marta sojourn

A street view in the daytime.

Founded in 1525, Santa Marta is the oldest city in Colombia and the historical center is charming and well-preserved. Discover Santa Marta's historical gems, from Santo Domingo Convent to Tayrona Gold Museum. Relish a day of urban exploration and gastronomic indulgence.

Day 5: Taironaka trail

A picture of trail in the jungle.

Embrace the morning with a hike to Taironaka Archeological Park, nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Conceived by visionary Captain Francisco Ospina Navia, who originally aimed to cultivate tropical flowers, this park now reveals the hidden remnants of the Tairona civilization that thrived from 200 CE to 1600 CE. Delve into its terraces, paths and pottery, while supporting ancestral heritage preservation, Kogui values and nature conservation. Engage in the indigenous rituals of the Tairona descendants, the Kogui, or enjoy traditional weaving or language lessons. Visitor participation provides economic support, which directly contributes to the community's thriving future.

After an enlightening Taironaka encounter, brace for an exhilarating guided tubing expedition down the serene Don Diego River. Its tranquil waters invite travelers to unwind amid scenic wonders. As you glide downstream, a waiting boat ferries you to the estuary, where the river embraces the Caribbean Sea. A voyage upstream then ushers you to an enticing lunch at a local eatery, a perfect ending to a day of immersion and adventure.

Day 6: Barranquilla bonanza

An aerial view of the city.

Embark on a flavorful road trip to Cartagena via Barranquilla, a culinary melting pot. This city's delectable gastronomic scene is a testament to the influences of Arab, German, Italian, Chinese and other immigrants. Pause here for a lunch break that promises a mouthwatering experience, celebrating a fusion of flavors.

Day 7: Cartagena chronicles

A street view of the city in the daytime.

Start your day by ascending to La Popa Monastery, perched atop a hill, offering unparalleled vistas of Cartagena. Behold the city's splendor from this elevated vantage point. Then, proceed to the grandeur of Fort San Felipe de Barajas, a towering testament to Spanish might in Latin America. A must for adventurers of every age, the Aviation Museum awaits. Dive into a world of hands-on exhibits and interactive displays, perfect for kids and the young at heart. Later, cool off and unwind at your hotel's inviting pool, or bask on the beach. Take a moment to savor the tranquility and soak in Cartagena's coastal charm, letting the day's adventures settle in.

Day 8: Walled city wonder

A picture of wall art in daytime.

The Walled City beckons visitors to explore its enchanting realm. Stroll atop its historic walls, uncovering the splendor of plazas, houses and churches. Dive into the vibrant Getsemani area, where colorful graffiti art adorns the streets and local artisans offer their creations. Indulge in a 1-hour chocolate-making workshop, an ode to Colombia's rich biodiversity. Discover the secrets of Colombian cacao, renowned for its unique sweetness. Embrace the art of chocolate creation, crafting molds with cocoa-butter-based paints and adorning handmade chocolate with your toppings of choice. This experience, recommended for ages 4 to 13, unveils a world of flavors, textures and creativity. Afterwards, roam the captivating streets of Cartagena's Walled City at your own pace. Alternatively, return to your hotel haven to savor a well-deserved siesta.

Day 9: Rhythms of La Boquilla

A picture of bicycle with dresses and flowers

Embark on a guided journey to the charming fishing village of La Boquilla, just a quick hop from Cartagena. Immerse yourself in a private drumming and dancing workshop, a true one-of-a-kind experience. Engage with cultural traditions as you learn the lively Afro-Colombian rhythms like cumbia, mapalé and champeta through hands-on drumming. Dive into the sea's embrace, relishing a refreshing dip before making your way back to Cartagena. The afternoon offers a canvas for exploration in the Walled City, or simply retreat to the hotel pool, where leisure is yours to embrace.

Day 10: Farewell breeze

A picture of the coastal area.

Bid adieu to your hotel haven and journey back home, laden with unforgettable memories of Colombia’s Caribbean Coast.

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to the Caribbean.