When my friend asked if I wanted to go to Colombia my response was “OF COURSE”!! I had never been to South America before and had been wanting to go for some time. We knew we had about ten days to spare and wanted a mixture of fun and relaxation and our trip was exactly that.
Since we only had ten days, we decided that two cities would be ideal. Bogota gave us the city vibe we were looking for and Cartagena gave us the relaxing beach atmosphere that we both crave. My friend also has family that lives in Bogota, so we were able to meet up with them and see their home.
The airport in Bogota is located in the city so it was easy to get to our hotel via taxi once we arrived in Bogota.
We had originally booked a small hotel through Kayak.com but when we arrived at the hotel, it had been closed down…Yep! CLOSED.
We tried to call Kayak.com but they were not helpful at all so we quickly had to come up with plan B. DO NOT USE kayak.com for booking in Bogota. They are not helpful and WOULD NOT transfer our reservation to another hotel.
We decided to stay at the JW Marriott in Bogota which did not disappoint! The hotel was beautiful. The breakfast buffet was delicious and had a variety of foods and lots of Colombian coffee. The rooms were very nice and spacious and the location was ideal. We were able to walk to shops and restaurants from out hotel which made it a great location for us.
We had a blast salsa dancing with my friend’s family in Bogota! I wish I could remember the name of the place we went to because it was so much fun!
We couldn’t leave Bogota without climbing the famous Monseratte mountain. Monseratte houses a religious retreat and has been a pilgrim destination since the early 1650’s. When you climb the 3000 meter mountain, you can see panoramic views of the city and the sunset. You can walk or take a gondola to the top of the mountain.
In Cartagena, we wanted to stay near the beach, Luckily we found the perfect Air B & B right across from the ocean! It was perfect. We stayed in a nice two bedroom condo that overlooked the beautiful waves. The condo is owned by two people from Denver, CO who we met during our stay. The condo had a nice pool area and was about a 20 minute walk or five minute cab ride to the Walled City. There was also a grocery store down the street so we shopped and ate one or two meals a day in our Air B & B. The arepas in Columbia definitely became a diet staple during our stay.
The ancient Walled City in Cartagena has a romantic feel to it with cobblestone streets, musicians playing around every corner and horse drawn carriages roaming the streets. It is also a hub for restaurants, nightlife and shopping. We chose not to stay in the Walled City because we wanted a calmer vibe but went to the Walled City almost every night to enjoy cocktails and roam the streets.
Cartagena has SO much to offer. We explored for four days and still felt like we could have explored more.
We traveled to Columbia in January and the weather was perfect. Bogota was chilly at night and about 80 degrees during the day. Cartagena was HOT! We did not need any jackets during our stay in Cartagena.
I speak very little Spanish ( a skill I am working on improving) but my friend is fluent. To be honest, I think it would have been difficult to get around without her ability to speak Spanish. If you are thinking of traveling to Columbia and do not speak Spanish, I would make sure to have a translator app and take picture of your destinations to show your cab drivers, I was grateful to be with her so she could help navigate.
We either walked or took cabs in both Bogota and Cartagena and it worked well for us. We did take a short flight from Bogota to Cartagena which was very easy.
We both can not wait to go back! Next time we also want to explore other cities in Columbia because this beautiful country has so much to offer!
Thanks for reading!