From Coffee to Canals – Colombia & Panama

20-day Colombia and Panama Itinerary - Colombia

Prices from £2,350 pp

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Duration20 days / 19 nights (flexible)

DepartureDaily

ItineraryBogota - Salento - Medellin - Santa Marta - Cartagena - Panama City - David - Boquete - Bocas Del Toro

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Overview

Experience the highlights of Colombia and Panama on a combined round trip! Your journey begins in Bogotá , the capital of Colombia, and leads through the coffee region to the fascinating city of Medellín and on to Tayrona National Park . After exploring the atmospheric colonial city of Cartagena, fly from Colombia to neighbouring Panama. You will experience Panama City and the Panama Canal, spend some time in the Panamanian cloud Forest before hitting the island paradise of Bocas Del Toro.

What's included

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Excursions as described below
  • Transfers as described

Our ready-made itineraries 1. Add your favourite itinerary to your travel plan  2. Send it our way 3.Our travel specialists will get planning and send you a quote

Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

¡Bienvenidos a Bogota!

Colombia’s vibrant, mountain-flanked capital has come to symbolise the country’s resurgence as a whole. Once considered one of the world’s most dangerous cities, it now welcomes visitors with open arms, and has the history, architecture and charm to be much more than just a starting point for your Colombian adventure. You’ll stay 2 nights in the colourful cobbled cultural centre – La Candelaria – filled with art, food and beautiful colonial buildings and plazas. We’ll also arrange a trip to the mountain of Monserrate with a local guide, so you can admire this great South American city from above.

a Bogota hotel at night with lights

Much of Bogotá’s highlights are easily explored independently on foot – as with any city there are areas it’d be wise to avoid, but you’ll have no need to go to these parts. The centre is full of impressive churches, museums and narrow streets full of colourful artwork and little eateries. If you’d like to have something else arranged for your time in the city, then there’s a range of options including cycling tours, cookery classes, and art or graffiti tours – just have a chat with your travel specialist.

street art in bogota

Sky-high Trees and Steaming Coffees

Today you’ll travel to Armenia by bus or domestic flight and from there you will be taken to Salento by private transfer. The journey takes about an hour, and when you get there you’ll be able to enjoy your first cup of delicious local coffee. You’ll spend three nights in a colourful accommodation with Colombian flair that’s conveniently situated for you to be able to walk to the main square with many bars and restaurants.

a trail with palm trees and mountiains

During your stay, you’ll head out on three-hour coffee tour, where you’ll learn all there is to know about growing and selling the best coffee in the world. Colombia exports the majority of its best beans, so the plantation that you’ll visit is a great place to taste the best this region has to offer. No trip to this region is complete without a to visit the famous Cocora valley, so we’ll also organise you a ticket for a return trip in a classic “Willys” jeep. Once in the valley, you can walk directly to the sky-high wax palms, or you go through a gate to the right and take a beautiful 4-5 hour hike over hills with stunning views of the valley.

a coffee farmer

Eternal Spring in Medellin

With a seemingly ever-pleasant climate and a stunning location surrounded by steep hills and jagged peaks, Medellín is quickly shaking off its infamous past to become one of Colombia’s must-visit cities. You’ll find a character and fast-paced attitude which sets the city apart from the rest of the nation, and it can be a lot of fun to be a part of for a few days! You’ll spend 2 nights in a comfortable hotel in the trendy El Poblado district, with a host of restaurants and bars nearby.

a local man sits

On your second day you’ll take a tour with a local paisa (Medellín resident) guide who’ll show you the ins and outs (and highs and lows) of their city, including the cable cars which connect downtown with the neighbourhoods high up in the hills, and give a spectacular view of the city. You’ll also see the Botero statues, and some lesser-know highlights, before you’re left to explore, relax, or maybe experience a little of the city’s famous party scene!

a group in a local area

Where the Jungle Meets the Sea

Today you reach the city of Santa Marta, which lies directly on the Caribbean Sea in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. On a clear day, you can see the jungle-clad peaks from the harbour of this lively city filled with Caribbean influences and an authentic and natural atmosphere. You’ll stay in a hotel with a sun terrace and outdoor pool that is only a few minutes’ walk from the beach. Depending on what time you arrive, you can go for a walk through the old city centre trying some delicious street food or stroll along the beach.

a boat on the shore

This morning you meet your private driver and take a trip to Tayrona National Park, one of the highlights of Colombia, also a popular destination for the locals, where the tropical rainforest reaches right up to the Caribbean waves. The water is clear, the sand soft so feel free to find a perfect spot under a palm tree and relax. If you prefer a hike, trails are well marked, start at the Zaino entrance and head to La Piscina and on to San Juan del Cabo passing different bays; you’ll walk through the lush jungle emerging at spectacular beaches along the way. At the end of your hike, your driver will be waiting and in about an hour will take you back to Santa Marta, where you will spend another night.

the beach on the Caribbean coast

The Queen of the Caribbean

Today you’ll arrive in Cartagena and quickly understand why this is seen as the most beautiful colonial city in Colombia. Your charming accommodation is in the historic city centre and just a few minutes from the beach and all the main sights. The old town is a bit touristy, but its beauty means it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of a labyrinth of small alleys and many squares. Check out historic centre in the district of El Centro. Otherwise known as “The Walled City”, it’s here that you’ll find a thick wall fortification and colonial buildings that date back centuries.

colourful buildings in a city

For your second day in Cartagena, you’ll have a half day bike tour planned. Together with a guide you will get to know more about the history of Cartagena. You’ll explore the neighbourhoods of Getsemaní, Manga and Bocagrande, passing well-known sights and stopping at various places for your guide to tell you all about the cultural and historical aspects of Cartagena that many people miss out on. The rest of your time here is free to do as you please and there is a lot to discover just by strolling through the streets, watching the hustle and bustle and enjoying the cafes and local street food.

street art in Cartagena

The Canal and Cobblestones of Panama City

Panama City is allegedly the most cosmopolitan in Central America. The ethnic diversity has given rise to a wide array of restaurants for you to choose from; Panamanian-style ceviche, chicken kebabs, bluefin tuna sushi or tikka masala! During your stay you’ll visit the famous Panama Canal and let a local guide introduce you to the city; a world of historic buildings and cobbled streets.

old town in Panama City

Coffee Beans in the Countryside

In the middle of a lush valley, wedged between towering volcanoes, is your home for the next few days, Boquete. Surrounded by exotic flowers, plants and birds you can enjoy the peace and quiet of your surroundings. The humid climate makes this the perfect place for growing coffee. You’ll experience the whole process from bean to cup, and even be able to take some roasted beans away with you.

a blue bird on a brach

Panama Island Getaway

When you arrive at the dock in Bocas del Toro you’ll make your own way to your cosy hotel on Isla Colon. There’s nothing planned during your time here so you can do as you please. Walk along the beach, try some snorkelling, mountain bike or trek inland among the mangrove forests, creeks and rivers. Alternatively, just laze on the beach and soak up the sunshine.

a hut over the sea
Rob standing by tree

Speak to our Colombia specialist, Rob

"Colombia is a fascinating country, full of of the most caring, friendly people you're likely to meet. As the country continues to come out of the shadow cast by the Medellin Cartel everyone wants to show off their stunning country to you. It's a very special place."


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