My trip began in the north of Colombia and so will my tips. Of course you can do the reverse, skip or add stuff. Below is a little teaser and soon I’ll add more detailed tips for each location.
Firstly I highly, highly recommend crossing the Panamanian/Colombian boarder with San Blas adventures. There is also an option of doing a sail or flying.
First stop for me was a little town just over the boarder from Panama it is called Capurgana. That was the final destination of our San Blas adventure. It is super cute and the accommodation there was incredibly cheap. The only issues was that when we got there it was in the middle of the riots. I was originally going to stay a few days there but we found out last minute, that the last boat till who knows when was leaving that day, thus we decided to drop everything and go!
After a boat and a few chicken buses we finally made it to Cartagena. Wow, what a change from our last stop. A beautiful, modern city, with everything you could wish for, from international food to someone who knows how to wax. Here you can find delicious restaurants, beautiful beaches and huge shopping malls. If you are in the US you are lucky enough to find return flights here for $240 USD.
From Cartagena I then hopped onto a shuttle bus to Santa Marta, I was told to avoid this big ugly city and head straight to a cute little town called Taganga. Taganga is a popular place to dive and is knows as a hotspot from Israelis. It is also a great base for exploring the north of Colombia but you can also do this from Santa Marta.
Here is my must visit list for the Northern Colombia:
I started with the The Lost City Trek (Ciudad Perdida) they pick you up and drop you off anywhere you like. I was picked up from Taganga and dropped back off there.
Tayrona National Park is the next stop if you are working west to east.
Costeno Beach is the next on the stop.
Rancho Relaxo is the stop after, I actually never made it there because I stayed longer in Costeno and then decided to go to the desert instead but I heard awesome things about the place if you just want somewhere to chill.
Polomino would be the next on the map but I actually skipped it to head straight for the desert and stopped there on the way back to break up the journey to Santa Marta.
Cabo de la Vela is one of the most incredible places I have ever visited, it is where the desert meets the sea. The juxtaposition of the reddest dirt and the bluest sea. It is also a great place to kite surf or just sleep in a hammock on the beach a meter away from the water.
Punta Gallinas (The most northern part of South America) you can get here from any of the above but the further away you book the more you will pay. The best was would be to make your own way to Cabo de la Vela and then book a tour from here for 150,000 Colombian Pesos which equals to $70USD, hammock included. The thing you need to know about these type of countries, they have a lot of travel agencies but everyone goes on the exact same tour, so we had people that booked in Santa Marta and paid $300USD for the exact same thing plus transport from Santa Marta. The transport which cost us like $20USD in total but if you hitchhike it would be free. It is just one road so hitchhiking is actually super easy.
After galavanting to the most northern part of South America I stopped over in Minca before returning back to Taganga to pick up my bags and get on the plane south to Bogota.
Minca is home to a little oasis in the mountains away from the heat, called Casa Elemento (it is famous for its giant hammock and delicious family dinners). A beautiful location to relax and to hike.
Hope you enjoyed the read and are now inspired to visit Colombia. More to come on Bogota, Medellin, and southern parts of Colombia.